Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ladies Night!

Last night hubby graciously gave me the evening off so I could have some girl time.  One of my bestest friends came to town and we went to dinner and then a concert.  This is BIG NEWS here in Abilene.  Nothing ever happens in this town, and we never ever get an artist worth seeing in concert.  I think everyone in town (who wasn't at home babysitting!) was there.  I've never seen traffic backed up to the off-ramp of the highway - all people waiting to get IN to the parking lot!  It actually took us longer to get in than it did to get out afterward!

The concert was fabulous.  Josh Kelley (who I'm not familiar with at all) and Justin Moore (who I saw last summer) opened for Miranda Lambert.  She is a terrific entertainer, she sounded great and I really like her music.  Nothing at all to complain about (other than the drunk guy in front of us).  We had an evening filled with girl talk, frozen alcoholic drinks and great entertainment - FUN!

Here's a video of my very favorite Miranda song:
(Please ignore the conversation you can hear - that is the above-mentioned drunk guy ruining my video!)

video

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So mad I could...

Have you ever been so mad you could cry?  I have, and I did.

I had the bright idea to cancel our home phone service since the only people who actually call us on that number are salesman and my father-in-law.  Hubby's dad lives right next door and has our cell phone numbers, so it's not as if he won't be able to contact us.  And frankly I could do without the sales calls!

Canceling our home phone service consisted of calling AT&T to switch our account from home phone & internet to "dry loop DSL" only.  When I placed the order, I was given a tech support number to call once our phone was disconnected so I could "re-register" our internet service.  That was not nearly as simple as it sounds.  I was on the phone for about an hour doing God knows what to my computer in order to somehow reset the modem for this new service.  Everything went according to plan as long as I had my modem directly plugged in to my laptop.  Once I disconnected that & tried going wirelessly through my router, it was a no go.  The AT&T agent gave me a "Connect Assist" telephone number to call to help me with that, but she neglected to tell me that it's a FEE BASED customer assistance. 

I can't remember the last time I hung up on someone, but I did that yesterday.  Twice.  The Connect Assist agent tried to sell me a $15 a month service plan in order for them to talk me through getting my wireless network working again.  I told her flat out that it WAS working before they did whatever they did, so how is it not AT&T's fault or problem?  After I told her "thanks but no thanks" I decided to call the technical assistance number for our router, thinking maybe they could talk me through how to sync the router and modem again.  Apparently our router is older than dirt, because he told me it no longer qualifies for free technical assistance and he wanted to charge me $9 for a one-time service call.  Will $9 break me?  No.  That's not the point.  The point is that everything was working fine before AT&T talked me through that procedure, and now that it's not, I have to PAY to get it working again? 

I was in tears by the time hubby came home yesterday afternoon.  He called AT&T and got the same story, even after talking to a manager.  The only other thing they could suggest was maybe reinstalling the router.  Luckily I still had the disk so we tried that.  Unfortunately it started asking us for all kinds of information we didn't have like an IP address and Default Gateway - and it said those were things our ISP gave us.  Ha.  Our ISP (AT&T) gave us nothing but headaches.  I decided to go out on a limb and call a different technical assistance number for AT&T and just ask them for that information.    Luckily I got the one person on the phone who was willing to help us.  I don't know if it was just dumb luck that she knew what to do and did it without charging us or what, but I'm forever grateful to the AT&T agent named Kelly.  She spent over an hour on the phone with us, talking me through what to do, what to change.  At one point I even turned over control of my computer to her through remote access so she could work her magic.  Thankfully by 5:30pm we had working internet service AND a successful wireless network again.

Whether the $40 a month we'll save not having a home telephone will be worth all of that frustration remains to be seen! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do you have willpower?

Lately it seems I am surrounded by people trying to "do without" for whatever reason.  My BFF recently started counting calories, even though she runs a gazillion miles a day and wears a size -2.  Last month our church was encouraging us to fast for 21 days.  Obviously they don't want you to starve for three weeks, but "fasting" in their opinion can mean anything:  giving up one meal a day, sweets, junk food, etc.  Another of my friends decided to "fast" from television.  As you all know, the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is Lent.  For as long as I can remember, my mother has given up chocolate for Lent.  Pure insanity, and yet she continues to do it.  We talked about it recently and she said she'll stop when she's 65.  I told her she will have earned her retirement from Lent.

What would be a challenge for you to give up?  I like to think I don't have an addictive personality, but there are certain things that I MUST have.  I did not inherit the "give up chocolate" gene from my mom.  I don't sit and scarf down boxes of candy bars every day, but I do need a little taste now & then.  Diet Coke is a must for me.  McDonald's Diet Coke in the large styrofoam cup with lots of ice = perfection!  What do I spend most of my time doing?  Reading books or hanging out online.  Could I give up either one?  Maybe under the threat of death!  After all, the internet is what keeps me in touch with friends and family since almost none of them live near me!  And what would I do if I couldn't read?  There are a handful of tv shows that I like to watch, so once that was done, where would that leave me?  I might actually have to do something productive like CLEAN!  Or entertain my children.  Willpower is highly overrated! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

A weather contradiction

What does it mean when the current weather status is 64 degrees and "thunder/wintry mix"??

Our entire afternoon was messed up thanks to this crazy west Texas weather!  Originally we had just planned to have a nice Easter dinner.  I bought a ham, planned potatoes and veggies & bread, etc.   Then we had talked about maybe seeing a movie, but we never mentioned it to the kids and decided to go play golf instead.

We braved the dark clouds and the ominous thunder for four holes, after which we were sidelined by rain.  We thought to wait out the storm & then continue on (which I was VERY much in favor of after having a birdie on the previous hole!) but when the hail appeared, we figured we'd better book it back to the clubhouse.  Hubby saw a news update inside the clubhouse that mentioned a tornado, so we called it a day.

Thankfully the only hail we had there was about marble-sized, so my brand new car sitting unprotected in the parking lot at the golf course wasn't damaged (that I can see so far).  Unfortunately hubby's truck wasn't so lucky.  We came home to find the hail pictured above, and his truck is sporting the proof on its hood.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Random act of kindness

Happy Easter!

An incredible thing happened to our family today.  After an early worship service at church (8:00am - yikes!) we decided to go out to breakfast.  It was a toss-up between IHOP and Denny's.  We opted for Denny's because it's at an out of the way truck stop and we figured IHOP would be way more crowded.  We were right - Denny's was practically empty.  The service was good and our breakfast was delicious.  

About halfway through our meal, a waitress (not ours) came to our table and asked if our waitress had brought our ticket yet.  When we told her no, she said that was good because a gentleman over in the corner wanted to buy our meal!  She said he told her he wanted to buy for "the family of four over there".  He was seated quite far away from us - we could see him but not overly well, but hubby and I both knew that we had no clue who he was.  The waitress asked if we knew him and we said no.  She said it must just be an Easter blessing for us.  

Unfortunately he sneaked out before we could even go over to him and thank him.  Hubby walked through the attached convenience store and tried to find him, and we even waited for quite a while to see if he was just in the restroom.  No luck. 

It was so surprising - something like this has never happened to me or hubby before.  We really felt bad that we weren't able to give our thanks, but I told hubby that maybe the guy wanted it that way.  (I also told him that maybe he did it because he thought K and I were cute - hubby didn't appreciate that)

After being on the receiving end of a random act of kindness like this, I can tell you how appreciative it makes a person.  The next time you think about doing something nice for someone else, even a stranger, DO IT!  It will make their day, even if you don't know it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pride

Pride is known as one of the seven deadly sins.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2   

As a mother, I would like to think that being proud of your children and their accomplishments does not fall under that category.  It's amazing how much pride you can feel as a parent.  I hope that my children learn the lesson in the above verse because I want them to grow up to be compassionate and humble.  On the flip side, I want them to become confident in themselves and their abilities.  A little pride in themselves can't be a bad thing either.  Do I want them to be arrogant and boastful?  No.  Do I want them to be sure of themselves and proud of their achievements?  You bet.
     
None of this is more apparent than when watching youth sports.   Last night was K's team's first game of "coach pitch" instead of straight t-ball.  Considering these kids are three- and four-year-olds and very few of them have ever had a ball pitched to them before this week, they did amazingly well.  They all batted three times, and K only needed to hit off the tee once.  My heart felt like it could burst when she made contact those other two times.  A monumental moment?  Not really, but definitely worthy of some cheers and applause.  

Today J's game went decidedly in our favor.  To the tune of 20-1.  For the past two years, both in football and baseball, J's team has been on the losing side of scores like that, so it's really nice to be part of the winning team for once.  Having been on the receiving end of routs like that, though, definitely gives me (and I hope J) the wisdom to be compassionate to the other team.  I believe we can be happy that we won without being arrogant by putting the other team down.  After all, everyone is giving their best effort.  Being proud of ourselves shouldn't come with the cost of bad sportsmanship.  Our guys displayed that very well today.  After one inning was over, one of our players was running off the field and he looked at a boy on the other team and as he passed by he said, "Good job, catcher."  It wasn't even my son but I can't even tell you how proud I was. 

On a side note, J is notorious for swinging at high pitches.  Not just high, but over-his-head high.  The coaches warn him every time he's up to bat, and even the fans have been known to toss a "Watch out for the high ones" at him.  I've resorted to bribing my son.  I told him before his last game that if he didn't swing at any high pitches AND didn't strike out looking, I would give him five dollars.  Well, he swung at a high one so he lost the money that game.  Today he earned his payoff.  His first at-bat he swung at the first pitch and got a base hit.  I missed his second at-bat but I found out he hit the ball but was thrown out at first.  His third at-bat he ended up getting hit by a pitch (on the shoe!), and both times he was on base he scored.  A well-deserved $5 in my humble opinion!     

(I have to add that I probably won't have very many more baseball pictures to post.  My camera is a jinx for Jared, and since I've stopped bringing it, we've been winning, so I'm going to be a little superstitious and leave it at home!) 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free-speaking Friday

First and foremost on my mind today is how thankful I am we finally got some rain this week!  Texas has been ravished by wildfires and over a million acres have been destroyed so far.  I heard on the radio yesterday that most of Texas is in the worst drought in 44 years.  Yikes.  And you wonder why I complain about the wind and 100 degree heat in April!  We had a thunderstorm Wednesday night which probably only dumped enough water (and hail) to make the ground damp but we'll take it.  It takes a lot for this solar-powered lady to appreciate rain, but I am hoping the small rain chance we have the next few days pans out as well.  Right now, though, I am NOT thankful for today's windy and hot (95) forecast.  Ugh.

Aside from the obvious problems our weather has caused this year, one consequence of the severe drought is the noticeable absence of the lovely Texas bluebonnets.  Every year since my children were born I have taken spring pictures in a huge field of bluebonnets.  There was only one other year that the flowers didn't bloom (due to a late freeze or not enough rain or something).  We have to drive past my bluebonnet field on the way to baseball (which we do just about every day) and it's so disappointing to look out at the desolate landscape.  There are so many people who always say they look forward to my pictures in the bluebonnets every year, and I hate that it's not going to happen this spring.

More randomness:
There are two "reality" tv shows that I watch:  American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.  I watch them religiously and I get very invested in the outcome.  Want to know the irony?  I don't vote!!!  Isn't it dumb to get mad (I mean MAD) when the wrong person gets voted off when I don't even vote for my favorite?  Last week one of my favorites was voted off Idol and this week one of my favorites was voted off Dancing.  I don't have a leg to stand on when I complain that America got it wrong, though, because my phone line and email address and texting fingers were apparently on vacation.

Speaking of Idol:  We've already established that I am a country music person so it's no surprise that I am a fan of both Scotty and Lauren.  Ironically I am also a fan of James Durbin who has been known to sing Judas Priest and imitate Hulk Hogan on the show!  Anyway, back to the country peeps... I have no gripes with Lauren.  She's cute and likable and has a beautiful voice.  That girl can flat out sing.  Both she and Scotty are only 16 years old, which is totally amazing.  Scotty, however, has two little quirks that turn me off.  He constantly tilts his head when he sings and it looks so cheesy.  Also, I can't stand the way he holds the microphone.  He holds it like it's a taco or something.  You're a man - grab it and hold onto it and sing into it... don't hold it to your mouth like a piccolo.  As long as I just listen to him without watching him sing I'll be fine.  If he ever puts out a cd, I'd love to listen to it.  Just don't make me watch him perform any of the songs live!  (Incidentally, I found out after I wrote this that on the little "skits" this week where the contestants dissed each other, they were saying the exact same thing about him.  I didn't see it because the thunderstorm knocked out my Fox station for the first half of the show)

I never expected hubby to jump on the reality show bandwagon, but he did.  It cracks me up, though, because he doesn't get into the big ones like Amazing Race, Idol or Survivor.  No, he watches the obscure ones like Pawn Stars and Garage Wars and Operation Repo.  Or my favorite:  Swamp People.  I think these shows bring me back to Wednesday's post about Spongebob.  Occasionally I'll catch a glimpse of one of these shows when I happen to be in the room and I honestly can't understand the draw.  Why it is entertaining to listen to a bunch of uneducated Cajun rednecks and watch them attempt to shoot gators while reading subtitles because you can't understand a word they say is beyond me.  Must be a guy thing.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Make believe

What is it about little girls and playing dress-up?  Right now K is sitting in the middle of my living room floor surrounded by a menagerie of stuffed animals, and she's wearing her ladybug Halloween costume.  She is constantly asking to wear that or her Cinderella dress.  Someone gave her a box of Disney princess dress-up clothes for her birthday last year and it was a sad, sad day when I had to tell her that she's too big for them.  Literally.  In her mind, though, she is a petite three year old who can wear dainty skirts and ball gowns.

It's not even all about dressing up.  K's idol is Taylor Swift.  She knows every one of her songs by heart and often wears flowers in her hair and will sit at our piano and "play" while singing.  She'll even turn on the recessed light above her so she has a "spotlight".

I'm very thankful that my little girl has such a vivid imagination, although sometimes it gets tiring.  You have no idea how many times a day she will tell me, "I'm a unicorn.  What will you name her?"  One day she was watching a cartoon in which the little boy broke his arm.  I had the most awful time trying to convince K that her arm did NOT hurt and it most certainly wasn't broken.  She pretended so hard that she convinced herself and was literally crying because she was afraid her arm was broken.  Can anyone say drama queen?

J has a decent imagination, too, as evidenced by his LEGO obsession.  He will buy a LEGO set and speed through the instructions to build it according to specs.  After a while, though, he takes everything apart and comes up with his own creations, even going so far as to rearrange the body parts of all of his little LEGO guys.

It really makes me wonder if we are all gifted with vivid imaginations and creativity, but only certain people bring it to the forefront in their adult life?  I think about the ease at which songwriters write a melody and artists bring their creations to life.  I'm amazed when I think about inventions - how do you think up something that has never before existed?  I am a smart, competent, well-rounded individual, but I don't really have a creative bone in my body.  As a child, though, maybe I was just as delighted in dressing up and make-believe as the next person!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Anyone with children under the age of ten will be able to sing the rest of that song.  I bet they'll be just as hard-pressed as I am, though, to figure out just what is the draw of Spongebob Squarepants.  I will admit there are very few good television shows designed for "in between" kids.  What happens when they outgrow Dora and Little Bear but aren't quite ready for ICarly?  Surely there is a better option out there than a whiny little yellow sponge?
As I sit here writing this post, my sweet little princess-loving, nightgown-wearing, My Little Pony-obsessed daughter is watching episode after episode of Spongebob.  She will even sing (ok...yell) the opening theme song at the top of her lungs.  In my opinion, there is nothing about this cartoon that would be interesting to a girly-girl like mine.  And yet here we are.  She has learned to deftly control the tv remote and the first show she ALWAYS looks for is Spongebob.  She can't really read yet, but she knows enough to look for the show on the guide with two "S" words.
I wasn't exactly thrilled when J started watching, but he was far from the only little boy to enjoy it.  What I don't understand is K's addiction to this mind-fluff phenomenon called Spongebob Squarepants.  Every once in a while I can distract her with a DVD (thank you Tangled!), but for the most part, what she's watching is the SS cartoon.

I guess I should be grateful that we're over the Max & Ruby kick?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sleeping like a baby

Have you ever wondered where this phrase came from?  Certainly not from my house.  To put it simply:  my babies don't sleep!!!  If you "sleep like a baby" in this family then you are extremely sleep-deprived! 

If you are a parent of children who are not good sleepers then you can relate.  You always hear about OTHER kids who sleep through the night from the time they are little bitty babies or the kids who have to be woken up for school and sleep until ten o'clock on weekends.  If you're on my side of the coin, then you are just hoping and praying that your kids will turn into normal teenagers and actually want to sleep past sunrise eventually!

Neither one of my kids slept through the night until they were well over a year old.  Even now my almost-five-year-old will get me up at least once during the night.  She's cold.  She needs ice in her water.  She's scared.  She can't find her stuffed jaguar.  She heard a noise.  You name it, she'll make up the excuse.  And sleeping in?  Forget it.  "Sleeping in" around here means you don't get up before 7am!

I have been a mom for over nine years and for over nine years I have continually wondered why my children seem to need less sleep than other people's children.  I've often wondered why my children seem to need less sleep than me!  I inherited a lot of things from my mom, but the one thing she didn't give me was a love of early mornings.  She's the type of person who wakes up at 5am before her alarm goes off.  And she'll actually get up instead of groaning that it can't possibly be time already.  My children definitely take after their Grammie in that respect.  It doesn't matter what time they go to bed... it could be 8pm or midnight, but they will still be up by seven. 

Have you ever noticed that your kids need even less sleep when you need more sleep?    Or that when they do decide to sleep it is not when you want them to?  The mornings that we have to be somewhere early is when K will decide to sleep, and waking her up is NOT pretty.  It really starts the day on a sour note if she is not allowed to wake up on her own.  That's going to make for some interesting mornings when she starts kindergarten next year!  There are some mornings after J goes to school that I would love to go back to bed.  Sometimes I do.  It never fails, though, that those are the days K will wake up a few minutes later.  The occasional days she actually will stay in bed past 8:00 are the days that I stay up. 

Yesterday K fell asleep on her daddy's lap around 4pm.  I'm guessing she is coming down with something because a) she never naps and b) this was the second day in a row that happened.  Anyway, she conked out for the rest of the afternoon/evening.  I finally carried her to bed around 8pm and she never even flinched.  I knew, though, that it was too much to hope for that she'd actually be down for the count.  Sure enough, just as we were getting J ready for bed at 9pm, here comes K out of her room. 

I am a night owl and don't mind staying up late.  In fact, I often do, because it's the only time I get "me" time - to read, to watch something on tv that I want to watch, to chat on Facebook, etc.  I do make myself go to bed at a decent hour on (most) weeknights, though, because getting up at 6am is brutal otherwise.   I knew K wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon so I put in a DVD for her and read my book until 11pm.  We kept all of the lights off and I will sheepishly admit to helping her along a little bit with some sleep-inducing allergy medicine.  Surprisingly I never heard a peep out of her after putting her back in her bed and she slept until 7:15 this morning.

So while hubby and I were not blessed with good sleepers, every now and then, like yesterday, we are offered a glimpse of what "sleeping like a baby" is like!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm thinking glass half full...

If you're reading this and you know me, you've already heard me bemoan the wind.  If you don't know me and you're reading this, let me tell you that I HATE WIND.  There is not a big enough, bold enough font to emphasize that.  I've decided, though, that there is one saving grace about this crazy west Texas weather - you will never ever be bored.  Just when you are lulled into a (false) sense of complacency, Mother Nature's gigantic curveball hits you right between the eyes.

To put this in perspective, let's talk baseball.  Last weekend we had a t-ball game Friday night and a baseball game Saturday afternoon.  It was hot.  Blistering hot.  I'm talking 99 degrees in early April hot.  The kind of hot where being in the shade really makes no difference.  The sun was so hot that you couldn't risk sitting on the metal bleachers in the sun and the sno-cones were melting faster than the kids could eat them.

Fast forward a week.  You know when there is an "Airport weather advisory" from the National Weather Service, it's not going to be a pleasant evening.  Both kids had a game last night at 6pm.  Our skies were an ugly brownish-gray color all day - both from the dust swirling in the 40+mph winds as well as smoke traveling hundreds of miles from the wildfires all over west Texas.  Not only was it extremely windy and dry (6% humidity today) but a cold front moved in.  The sweltering heat of last weekend was a distant memory.  Last night we were breaking out the jackets and blankets that we thought were safely packed away until football season. 

See?  How can you be bored with that?  Whether you love the heat or loathe the wind or abhor the cold, the ever-changing weather in west Texas certainly keeps you on your toes!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free-speaking Friday

One thing I've discovered about blogging is that it's a challenge trying to come up with an interesting topic every single day.  That's why I decided I would bring a mixed bag of whatever to Friday's blog.  I'll just write what's on my mind instead of trying to be clever or come up with some kind of theme post.

Today I realized something.  I often find myself doing things in my everyday life because I have to, not because I want to.  Yes, that's the consequence of being a grown-up.   I didn't get to the ripe old age of 38 without knowing that.  In our family, hubby is the money-maker and I am the caretaker.  Even though I am a homemaker and technically "unemployed", there are certain obligations - things I must do to keep our family on track and our household running smoothly.  I know what my job is and I think I do it well.  Sometimes I find myself putting off something I want to do, even something insignificant, because I feel I should be doing something else.  

Let me try to explain.  This morning I was tired.  Not just "hit the snooze to give me five more minutes" tired, but TIRED.  I have restless legs syndrome and it has been horrible this week.  I never have a problem sleeping, but the last few nights have been insomnia city for me.  When my alarm went off to wake J up for school at 6am today, getting out of bed was the very last thing I wanted to do.  Mom's don't get the day off, though, ever.  I made breakfast, packed his lunch, tied his shoes (yes, he's nine and can't do that yet) and sent him off while dreaming of going back to bed.  I'm tempted to do that just about every day.  As a stay-at-home mom, I have that luxury.  However, I'm rarely rewarded because the days I DO decide to snuggle back in, K will invariably wake up ten minutes later.  The odd day she sleeps past 7:30 or 8am are the days I have managed to buck up and ignore my pillow.

Going back to this morning - I withstood the temptation of crawling back into bed and put in almost ten miles on my exercise bike instead.  In my opinion, a workout and reading/dozing in bed are not even remotely on the same plane.  I'm glad I exercised and getting it out of the way first thing leaves the rest of the day open to not dreading it!  But as I was sweating through the miles, I sat there and wondered how often I do the things I feel I should do versus doing something I want to do.  Yes, I wanted to work out (well, not really, because I hate exercise but I NEED to) and I much prefer to get it over with sooner rather than later.  Would I rather opt for sleeping in or curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and a book?  No question.  So why do I feel compelled to do something I don't even remotely want to do?

I know you can't go through life doing whatever you want.  Can I run off and join the circus?  No.  My house would disappear under a pile of dust, my children would have to survive on Taco Bueno and hubby would miss me (I hope).  And no, I really don't want to join the circus.  But I think it's so easy, too easy, to get bogged down in "shoulds" and "can'ts" and focus on responsibility, all the while losing out on the carefree & fun aspects of life.    

Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to stop & smell the roses.  Maybe next time I will convince myself to ignore the exercise bike and go back to bed after all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Field trip!

Whenever you plan an outdoor activity in the spring here in west Texas, you are pretty much guaranteed a hot and windy day.  Or a cold and windy day.  Today we had the hot variety for  K's preschool class field trip to the Abilene Zoo.  This was her fourth field trip this year.  They also went to the fire station, the farm and the planetarium.  Thankfully all of our field trips are either free or relatively inexpensive.  A friend of mine in Alabama told me that her kids field trips are $10, $20 and even more per kid.   That's crazy, but would you want to be the one parent having to tell your child they can't go?  I think I'll be happy with the $5 and under field trips we have, windy days & all.

Waiting for the zoo presentation to start.

Trying to figure out how to make six legs from their fingers!

Insect antenna!

They got to touch a hissing beetle (gross!), this box turtle (did you know only the males have red eyes?), a red snake and a dwarf rabbit.
The "Swordfish Class" at the zoo!



After meeting some animals and looking at the rest, the most fun of the afternoon was when the girls were rolling down the "mountain" as they put it!
 
Who knows what they were talking about here!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Diversity is key

I think it's fun to be unpredictable.  Life is full of surprises, and I think we should be, too.  In one of my previous posts I mentioned being a creature of habit.  Routines and such are my "thing".  I cook the same meals, I mostly wear the same clothes over & over, I have the same old "haunts" online, I mainly read romance novels and I usually only watch tv shows I know and love.

One area where my life is varied, though, is music.  I will admit to being a country girl at heart.  99% of what I listen to is country music.  That hasn't always been the case, though.  Before the Garth Brooks revolution in the 90s, country music wasn't really "cool" in upstate New York.  I grew up listening to pop music.  I could belt it out right along with Whitney Houston (or at least I tried!) and my very first concert was Rick Springfield.  I am a classic rock fan and even went through a rap phase.  My mp3 playlist is a mixed bag of just about everything.  On my walk yesterday I was jamming to "Bust a Move" and "Walk this Way" .  By the time I got home I was singing along with Lonestar's "Amazed" (mine & hubby's song) and then I had my own private worship service with Michael W. Smith's "Thank You for the Cross" and "How Great Thou Art" (Alan Jackson's version is beautiful).

Later this month I am going to a Miranda Lambert concert that I am very much looking forward to.  My concert experiences have been just as varied.  Here's an abbreviated list (in no particular order):

Reba McEntire
John Michael Montgomery
Alan Jackson
Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Joel
Rod Stewart
George Strait
Foreigner
Journey
Styx
Alabama (probably one of the best concerts I've seen)
Taylor Swift
Garth Brooks
Brad Paisley
Darius Rucker
Ty Herndon
Neil Diamond
Michael Bolton
Aerosmith
Sheryl Crow
Shania Twain
Tim McGraw
Faith Hill
Kelly Pickler
Montgomery Gentry
Pat Green


One of my biggest complaints about where I live (aside from the God-awful wind) is the lack of musical entertainment.  Other than local Texas bands, we rarely have good performances here.  When I heard the ad on the radio for the Miranda Lambert concert I jumped on it.  She's one of my favorites and I hate being in a concert drought!  I am also looking forward to this summer when my BFF and I will be going to see Tim McGraw at Bethel Woods in New York.  This fall I am taking my girl to see her idol Taylor Swift at Cowboys Stadium.  We took her last year and she fell asleep.  I'm hoping she'll be better company this time!   There are many artists I haven't seen and would love to, including Sugarland, Bon Jovi, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney... the list goes on & on. 

Who is on your playlist?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No cameras allowed!

I've decided that I'm not going to take pictures of J batting anymore.  I stand at the fence with my camera ready, hoping for and anticipating that perfect action shot.  And every time he's been at the plate, my camera jinxes him.  Walks and strikeouts are always on the menu for him and I have yet to get that elusive ball-hitting-the-bat photo.  After he struck out his first time at bat tonight, I put the lens cap back on the camera, climbed to the top of the bleachers and proceeded to focus on the game.  His next at-bat?  Base hit, RBI and he eventually scored!




Perhaps I can con one of the other moms into taking photos of my child because from now on, whenever J is batting, I'm watching, and NOT through the viewfinder - at least until he begins hitting on a more regular basis.  Don't think the players are the only ones who are superstitious! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

I do not have OCD

If you know me,  you might try to argue that statement.  I am very particular about most things.  Very.  I am a perfectionist.  I like order.  I like everything to be a certain way.  Chaos is my enemy.  However, while doing a little research for this post, I realized I do not suffer from OCD.  According to Wikipedia, this is the definition:

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety, or by a combination of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). 

I am a worrier, but the "repetitive behaviors" thing does not apply to me at all.  You've all heard about people who wash their hands two hundred times a day or someone needing to open & close a door four times before they'll walk through.  That is NOT me.  Following a link from that Wikipedia definition, I came across this:

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder which is characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency.  People with OCPD may feel anxious when they perceive that things are not right. This can lead to routines and rules for ways of doing things.

Anytime "personality disorder" is mentioned it tends to make people uncomfortable.  Who wants to admit there is something wrong with their personality?  This definition is much more my style, though.  Orderliness?  Perfectionism?  Routines and rules for ways of doing things?  That's right up my alley.

I think there is a little bit of obsessive-compulsive in everyone.  Even my husband, who is a very laid-back, low-key guy, has a few "quirks" (which I'm revealing at the risk of incurring his wrath!)  such as being unable to sit with his back to a room or needing to sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door.  Just last night I learned that he has to sleep with the opening of the pillowcase toward the inside of the bed.  I've been oblivious to that one for ten years!  A friend of mine pretty much lives her life in chaos, and yet her linen closet is immaculate - everything folded a certain way, items grouped together and even color-coordinated.  Admittedly I have more than a few quirks.  I'm not ashamed to admit that everything has its place and I like that.  My husband has learned to let me load the dishwasher because I'll end up rearranging it anyway (and I can fit more dishes!).  I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read (ok... shelves of them) and they are all alphabetized by author.  OCPD?  You bet!

So what quirks do you have?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Where is spring?

All across our great nation, I'm sure there are millions of people asking that very same question.  Just last week my mother reported more snow in New York.  There is rain/snow/wind in the northwest and temperatures in the 20s in the Rockies.  Spring spent literally two minutes here in Texas and now it's gone.  Summer came in with a vengeance already.
Honestly, 97 degrees in early April is absurd.  Driving home after J's baseball game, the temperature actually climbed to 99.  I know I live in Texas where it's hot, dry, windy and did I mention HOT, but still.  I can't even imagine what kind of summer we're going to have if this is a preview.  Is it too much to hope for to have just a few weeks of more reasonable temperatures?

J's baseball team, the Royals, is doing very well.  They are 5-1 so far.  Today they won their game 12-5 and had two home runs, a triple and a double. 

J's only at-bat today.
 Getting some base-running tips from Coach Dad.  J walked (and scored).

Gearing up to steal second base.

Monday night the Royals will face the only team to have beaten them this season.  It will be a very tough game again, but after two big wins over the last three days, our guys should be flying high with confidence.  Go Royals!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tiger's Blood

Did you know that there is peer pressure involved when you become a blogger?  I didn't really have any set plan when I set up my blog.  I thought I would write something when I felt inspired to.  Apparently I'm supposed to be inspired every day because hubby complained about the lack of a blog entry today.  I told him I was off the hook because technically there were two posts yesterday.... but I guess he wasn't satisfied with the ladybug photo.

Aside from the literary criticism, hubby is a great guy.  If you are lucky enough to be married to your best friend then you know how comforting it is to be with someone who just gets you.   I tend to over-react to things and while hubby doesn't always understand my hurt feelings, he does try to help me get over them.  This morning he had to come back home to get his cell phone and he didn't show up empty-handed.  He knew I was in a funk (about something...I won't bore you with the details) and he brought donuts for his ladies (including ones with pink frosting for K).  He told me he thought I needed a little sweetness.  See what I mean?  Lucky me.

So what does this have to do with the title of this post?  Don't worry - I don't have a Charlie Sheen impersonation in my repertoire.  Tiger's blood is the sno-cone flavor K chose after her t-ball game tonight.  As a mom and the person who does the laundry, I much prefer bubblegum.  Pale pink sno-cone is much easier to get out of a baseball uniform than the bright red of tiger's blood.   (And speaking of laundry - two practices and three games in six days makes for a very busy laundress!)

 K fielded three balls in one inning!

 What a hit!
 The infamous tiger's blood treat.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

They say it's good luck to find a ladybug...

This must be my lucky day!

I took this picture earlier today when Kelsie wanted to wear her ladybug costume.  I was going to save it for a day when I really needed a smile (or couldn't think of something to write about), but it turns out I really need that smile tonight.  Sometimes even the small things in life can get you down.

What day is it?

So it took me until 2:30pm to realize that today is not Friday.  Being a stay-at-home-mom really throws my calendar awareness out the window.  I am pretty organized and yet some days I don't even know what day of the week it is!  Today really threw me for a loop, though.  It's amazing how much a creature of habit I am.  K normally goes to preschool on Tuesdays & Thursdays.  Since she's not at school, it doesn't feel like Thursday at all.

I have really come to treasure my Thursdays.  It's almost like a bonus Friday for me.  Everyone loves Friday - it's the end of the work week, most people have fun weekend activities planned, etc.  A lot of people (including me) often use it as an excuse not to cook.  What's for dinner?  Well, it's Friday so that means we go out!  I like Friday as much as the next person - no getting up at 6am for school for two days, hubby is home from work for the weekend, and in the fall weekends mean football!  Thursday is a great day, too, though.  For the last couple of years, hubby and I have made a point to have lunch dates on Thursdays.  Just getting to see him for an hour during the day is a bonus.  Plus, Thursdays are a school day for BOTH of my kids, AND it's payday for hubby.  Not much to complain about.

Today is an exception, though.  K is getting over a stomach bug and I decided to keep her home from school just in case.  Those five and a half preschool hours go by so quickly, yet when we are home even an hour is endless.  Luckily we still had our lunch date to break up the day.

I don't know what I will do next year when both of my kids are in school full time.  Will every day feel like my Thursday or Friday?  One can only hope...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So much for modern technology

    If golf is the game people love to hate, then a computer must be the technology that we love to hate. 

    Technology and computers are fantastic...when they are working properly.  Anyone who is familiar with the "blue screen of death", however, knows that computers are often NOT working properly!  Recently we added two new laptops to our household.  Hubby's old laptop was dying a slow death and he got tired of it shutting down in the middle of a session or having it open up twenty internet windows for no reason.  Thanks to a nice tax return from Uncle Sam, we decided to upgrade my computer from a netbook (that I love) to a bigger laptop.  Thanks to these new additions, I decided to test my brilliance out on creating a home network.  I got a little ahead of myself when I thought I had successfully completed this mission.  All of the computers were set up for file sharing (including our desktop) and our wireless network was secure.  Everything was peachy... for a day.

    After resetting the network settings on the pc for the tenth time,  I decided to do a little testing yesterday and got way more than I bargained for.  Everything stopped working.  Obviously I'm not as computer savvy as I thought.  Huh.  I decided to do a complete system recovery - basically wiping everything from the computer and starting from scratch.  Unfortunately even THAT crashed and now the only thing I can get on the screen is an error saying that one of my windows .dll files is missing or corrupt. 

    This is WAY beyond my expertise. The computer is almost nine years old, which equals about a thousand in computer years.  I'm thinking it might be time to send it to the technological graveyard.  It's definitely not worth all of this time and frustration, just so J can watch YouTube videos!

    Since I was up half of the night with a sick child, I'm probably not in the best frame of mind to tackle anything remotely this complicated.  I think I'll go watch Tangled with my daughter instead.

    Happy computing!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I hate wind!

According to weather.com, here's our forecast for today:

Through 1pm: Partly to mostly sunny with strong and gusty winds. Temperatures steady or slowly warming to the low 50s. Winds N at 25 to 40 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Give me cloudy.  Give me cold.  Give me rain.  Heck, even give me snow.  But this wind?  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!

My deck chairs are blowing around on the back porch.  The swings on the swingset look like they have invisible children riding them.  My mail is probably going to be scattered down the highway later because my mailbox doesn't latch properly.  Both of my kids have baseball practice tonight and won't that be fun?

My baseball caps are definitely getting a workout.  Every day is a bad hair day in west Texas in the spring.
And they call Chicago the "windy city". 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The game we love to hate

Today my family decided to go out on a golf date.  With someone who hasn't played in a couple of years, a third-grader and a little girl who just wants to pick flowers, perhaps we were not your average golf foursome. 

As we all know... golf is a puzzle without an answer.  Gary Player

I wish I had thought to bring my camera along, because it was one of those moments in time that you want to remember.  With work and school and sports and everything else, taking a few hours to just enjoy doing something together is a rare occurrence.  My hubby hasn't been able to play golf for a long time due to back problems.  Even before that he quit enjoying it - he says his golf game went downhill when he got married.  Being the martyr that I am, I'll be a sport and take the blame.    

Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child.  Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.   John Updike

I have been playing golf for about fifteen years.  I am marginally better than I was when I started.  Sometimes I have a round that even impresses me.  Other times, like today, I have several really nice shots and then a bunch of lousy ones that ruin my score.  To me, though, it doesn't matter.  Even when I'm not playing well, I'm just happy to be playing.  I was so happy when J told us he wanted to learn to play.  His first couple of seasons were interesting.  Partly because there is very little natural athletic ability in our family and partly because he was a little boy with no attention span, focusing enough to actually learn to play has been difficult.  

All I've got against golf is it takes you so far from the clubhouse.  Eric Linklater

The last few times we've played, though, J has done so well.  Some of our instructions might actually be sinking in, because when he actually slows down & pays attention, he can really smack the ball!  He gets mad when he doesn't strike it straight & true every time.  Don't we all.  

I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's golf game:  it's called an eraser.  Arnold Palmer

As much as I enjoy bringing my son along for a game, I was so happy to have my usual golf partner back today.  He won't want me saying so, but ever since I had a lower score than him, hubby's desire to play golf has been non-existent.  The back/shoulder thing is a legitimate (but also convenient?) excuse!  He is a good golfer, but he also has a bad golf temper.  If he's not playing well, he's not having fun.  He's even been known to throw a club or two.    

They say golf is like life, but don't believe them.  Golf is more complicated than that.  Gardner Dickinson

I come by my golf desire naturally.  My dad is a spry 70 and beats me every time.  My brother plays as often as he's able.  My mother says she has no hidden golf athlete inside her, but she loves to watch it.  I know people, however, who think golf is the most boring sport you could ever consider playing.  People who don't play golf really don't understand.  What I've noticed is that you either love it, hate it, or have no interest in trying.  There is no "lukewarm" in golf.  Next weekend when the Masters is on you will find me glued to my tv (or at least the leaderboard online).  The NCAA basketball final four?  <yawn>  As they say... different strokes for different folks.       

Golf combines two favorite American pastimes:  taking long walks and hitting things with a stick.  P.J. O'Rourke

This morning on the course, the sun was shining, the wind was really blowing and the golf gods were sort of smiling.  We had a fantastic time. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Victory is sweet!


Here's my little baseball player.  K's team did great!  Although "great" is a relative term when you hit off of a tee, outs don't really count and you don't keep score.  They made an attempt to put the players in "positions" but it's hard when the ball is only hit 10 feet and every infielder converges on it.  Getting someone out pretty much consisted of fighting the other players for the ball and then racing the batter to first base.  The game lasted all of an hour, which in actuality is a VERY LONG TIME when you're trying to keep ten 3 & 4 year olds interested in something other than if they are getting sno-cones after the game.  


 One of the boys came running into the dugout after scoring and he yelled, "This is AWESOME!".  My daughter, on the other hand, sat down and said, "This isn't like what I expected."  I asked her what she thought it would be like, and she said, "Like Jared's."  Of course, her brother is in his fifth year of playing so he's now in REAL baseball with kids pitching and base-stealing.  I can see how K was a bit disappointed.  Unfortunately she inherited her brother's talent for standing in one spot just WAITING for the ball to come to her.  Since she was playing in between first and second base and only about three balls made it that far the entire game, it was slim pickings in the field for #12.

She did enjoy the pink bubblegum sno cone with Daddy after the game.  It's all in what motivates us, right?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's!

Wow.  Starting a blog is a daunting task.  Who knew?

You know how sometimes you come up with this great idea, or at least it seems that way at the time, and then when the time comes to pay up you think, "Huh.  Maybe I'm not so clever after all."  I think that's what happened when I decided to start a blog.  I really don't have anything exciting to write about.  I'm just an everyday person living an ordinary life:  basically the girl next door with a husband, two kids, two cats, and three fish.  I watch American Idol, read more books than anyone I know, cheer my kids on in little league games (we'll get back to that in a minute) and have a brand new car.  Is any of that jot-this-down-worthy?  Probably not.  After all, why would someone want to read about that when they are living a similar variation of that exact same life?  Then I decided that even if nobody reads my blog, it's more about me writing it than anyone reading it.  A creative outlet, so to speak.  And who knows...there are millions of other bloggers out there and someone is reading THEIR blogs!

Anyway, today is April first.  Many of my friends are excited about the official start of baseball season.  For me, that started a month ago.  My son has already had three games and another one tomorrow.  The excitement for me, today, is the start of my daughter's t-ball season.  This is her first activity - EVER.  For almost five years she has sat faithfully (but not always peacefully) on the sidelines watching her big brother.  She has cheered him on (even literally getting down on the field with the cheerleaders once) at all of his games, and now it's finally her turn.  Last night she wanted to make sure I was going for her team and nobody else's.  Have you ever seen three- and four-year-olds play t-ball?  No?  Interesting doesn't even begin to cover it.  Add in the fact that my sweet, beautiful daughter is the most sensitive and dramatic preschooler I know - well, I'll just tell you all about it tomorrow.
Go Pups!