Monday, September 29, 2008

Week in Review, 9/21--9/27

1. Justin has been doing more work on the playroom (pictures soon!) and the kids love playing outside so much more when Daddy is out there. I don't hear nearly as much whining to watch TV, and they come inside filthy and happy. It's great.

2. We had some good family time this weekend with my side of the family. Even though we all live here, we don't get to be together as often as we'd like, so it was enjoyable.

3. I had an anxious morning, and I needed to get the worried thoughts out of my head. I went on an errand by myself, and spent some time praying in the car (I'm sure I looked QUITE sane). Then I wanted to sing some hymns--we don't sing the old songs that much at our church anymore--and while I was singing I remembered the story about the little girl whose Sunday School teacher asked her if she knew God's name.

"Yes," said the child. "It's Andy."

"Andy?" said the puzzled teacher. "Where did you hear that?"

"You know, in the song," said the little girl. "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me..."

That made me giggle, and the combination of the prayer, the songs, and a laugh improved my mood for the rest of the day.

1. Does anyone else feel it's a total beating to take your younger child to an organized activity your older child is participating in? I had to do this three times this week, and it wore me out to keep Mr. Blue safely entertained. He's not any more hyper than the average two year old boy, but he is active and he makes a fuss when he can't do exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. I know this is normal, but it makes me dread going to gymnastics or school events, instead of enjoying watching Miss Pink.

2. This is more of an "Ack!" than a "Nay," exactly.... Miss Pink has a crush on a boy (an OLDER boy!) at church. I think she likes him because he is an extrovert who likes to volunteer for activities, and because he wears glasses like she does. It bugs her that she is not in his class and never gets to talk to him, so I suggested that she pay him a compliment, like, "I like your glasses." Then I thought, "I CANNOT BELIEVE I am giving my daughter advice on boys at her age." At least at her age she still listens to me. (So far she has still not been able to talk to him. So there's no reason for me to worry yet!)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Which I Wax Rhapsodic About My Daughter's School

So we're a few weeks into the school year and I am very happy with the experience of having a kindergartener at this school.

You should know that ever since Miss P was BORN, I had a low-level worry simmering on the back burner of my mind (how d'ya like that metaphor?) I had to decide between public or private; and if public, which district and school would be best and if would we need to move in order to obtain a good elementary education for our munchkins. Private was ruled out because of cost, and I've never thought homeschooling would be a good fit for our situation. So I decided to try to enroll her in this school, and see what happened. We got her in (it's a first-come, first-register type of deal) and now Mr. Blue can attend there too. She doesn't have to switch schools if we move, either, as long as we stay in the district, which is not a problem.

The school she now attends is a charter school, the only one in the district. It's a public school, funded by the district and subject to the same curriculum guidelines and testing. However, there are some differences--some of which may not be that different from a lot of good neighborhood schools, because they are just good educational practices, and others which do seem unusual. Some things I like:

1) The kids wear uniforms, which is becoming more and more common even in regular public elementaries. But this school is pretty strict on having the EXACT type of skort or polo shirt, which I guess could be annoying if you weren't used to it. But I went to a church school where we had to have the clothes bought from a certain store, and shoes had to be only certain colors, etc., etc., so it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Lucky for me, Miss P likes the uniform and it is about a million times easier to get her dressed in the morning than it is when I have to have elaborate negotiations with her about what matches and what clashes and why she can't wear the same clothes she wore yesterday even if they're not dirty.

2) There are really good teachers who assign interesting and relevant work to the students. Projects posted outside the classrooms are things like blueprints designed by students in math class or Picasso-esque self-portraits in art class. The quality of the work is better than I could get out of my eighth graders. Besides her regular work, Miss P is learning quite a bit of Spanish. She now knows what abstract art is and how to create it, and about solids, liquids, and gases. As her pre-K teacher said, she is a learning sponge and she is soaking up some good stuff.

3) They have neat ways to connect kids of different ages so they learn together. On horizontal schedule, which they're on now, the kindergarteners are with other kindergarteners for special classes (but not just the same kids from their own class, so they get to know more kids their age.) All the K-2 kids also have a "buddy" who helps them find their class and open packages at lunch and even go to class with for certain activities. Kindergarteners are paired up with a 3rd grader, 1st graders with a 4th grader, and so on. Not only does it help the little ones, the older kids get to be responsible leaders. Leadership is very big at the school, so that by 5th grade every kid has an extra job at school, whether it's being a tour guide or a traffic monitor.

On vertical schedule, the kids mingle by team. Each team has one class of each grade level. So they will go to P.E. or whatever with their team, no matter their age.

4) The big plus in my book, though, is that parents are truly welcome to get involved. In fact, we are required to volunteer ten hours a year in order to have our child at the school. There are tons of volunteer opportunities, including things that can be done at home for those who can't take off work. They also have a child care room available for part of every day for moms who want to volunteer but need a place for their younger kids. The teachers WANT you to volunteer in their classroom, or you can help in the office, the library, the nurse's office, or lots of other places. I am going to eat lunch with Miss Pink tomorrow, too. It's awesome!

5) The absolute best thing is that Miss P says, "I love school!"


Monday, September 22, 2008

Week in Review, 9/14--9/20

The beginning of the week went by smoothly, after Hurricane Ike did nothing here except a little rain. Miss Pink and Mr. Blue are both enjoying their schools and I am enjoying the convenience of having the school just down the street. It was especially helpful on Thursday when I drained the car battery by running the radio with the engine off while I was waiting to pick up Miss P. We calmly walked down the street to pick her up, then walked home. By the time Justin got home to take us back to the car, the battery was recharged.

The big event of the week was Justin's 40th birthday party on Saturday. You may remember it was supposed to be last Saturday but we postponed it. We ended up having a good time with friends. We kept it low maintenance--burgers and hot dogs grilled by my dad, chips and dip, (and raw veggies provided by my mom for the health conscious, but she also made a seven-layer dip and brownies, so it canceled out) and Justin's favorite lemon cake and a decadent ice cream dessert.

Here's to another busy week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good for you runners who said "no" to the cockroach! The more I think about it, the marathon doesn't sound all THAT bad compared to a nasty insect, but it was the only thing I could think of that I have always said I wouldn't do. I'm all for being fit, but one of my life mantras is I. Don't. Run. Except when chasing my children (but that's against my will and I catch them pretty fast anyway.)

Here's a question for you.

If you could, in retrospect, change one thing about your childhood, what would it be?

Having spent several years in therapy, it's pretty easy for me to answer. I would change the fact that somehow I got the idea that I had to live up to high expectations in order to be loved and accepted. In the back of my mind I always lived with the fear, "What will happen if I screw up?"

This happened for several reasons: because my parents are high achievers, because I was the firstborn they believed could do anything, because I was precocious, and because my father is a pastor and preacher's kids get a lot of scrutiny. But part of it was just my personality. I can see it in Miss Pink--all of her teachers comment that she's "a little bit of a perfectionist." She wants her work to be "just so" and she wants to be the best at everything. The difference between her and me? I'm aware of this tendency and how it would affect her if I didn't help her counterbalance it. So I do things like flaunt my mistakes, say things like "Oh well, it's not the end of the world" when I mess up, and teach her that we can fix a mistake. Oh, and that it's okay not to be the BEST at everything as long as you are trying.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Me! Me! Memememe!

Here's a meme I did yesterday. It actually made me think about myself! (Of course I always overthink these silly things and answer like I'm being interviewed for a job.)

1. My uncle once spanked me and my cousin for going out by the lake alone. I was shocked; I had no idea he was allowed to do that.

2. Never in my life have I done something physically dangerous on purpose.

3. When I was five I was in first grade.

4. High school was emotionally exhausting.

5. I will never forget the day my children were born. (Okay, that’s two days, but I can’t play favorites.)

6. Once I met my husband, I knew I could trust him.

7. There's this boy I know who has the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen.

8. Once, at a bar, I read aloud a short story about a preacher’s daughter who has an affair with an evangelist. I am a preacher’s daughter. I wondered if the audience thought it was autobiographical (it wasn’t).

9. By noon, I've started looking forward to Mr. Blue’s naptime.

10. Last night I watched What Not to Wear while my husband was out playing softball. Gender stereotypes much?

11. If only I had more energy and motivation to get things done.

12. Next time I go to church, I need to remember to bring snacks for the kids.

13. What worries me most is failing.

14. When I turn my head left I see a curtain and the view out my bedroom window.

15. When I turn my head right I see the dresser on the other side of the room.

16. You know I'm lying if I say I’m not worried about anything.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is the feeling of having so many possibilities in the future.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I'd be one of the girls dressed up as a boy to accomplish some far-fetched goal.

19. By this time next year I'd like to have written ten short stories and/or begun a novel.

20. A better name for me would be—I can’t think of a name that suits me better than mine.

21. I have a hard time understanding people who abuse their children. I just don’t understand hurting helpless innocents who love you.

22. If I ever go back to school, I probably wouldn’t stop until I had a Ph.D.

23. You know I like you if I keep talking to you. I’m not hard to figure out.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be my husband.

25. Take my advice, don’t stress over being perfect. Be good enough, and things will work out.

26. My ideal breakfast is one I don’t have to cook and that clogs my arteries.

27. A song I love but do not have is “The Arms of an Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you eat some barbecue.

29. Why won't people stop ascribing the worst possible motives to each other?

30. If you spend a night at my house, we will feed you well and the kids will wake you up early (sorry).

31. I'd stop my wedding for nothing.

32. The world could do without PMS.

33. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than run a marathon.

34. My favorite blondie is my little boy.

35. Paper clips are easy to lose.

36. If I do anything well it's cook.

37. I can't help but be grateful for the blessings I’ve been given.

38. I usually cry at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It gets me every freakin’ time.

39. My advice to my nephew/niece is: Be willing to take some risks. Accept responsibility for the choices you make. Live and love like there’s no tomorrow. And laugh every day, especially at yourself.

40. And by the way, I have to leave to go to my friend's house.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What She Taught Me

As a child, I played with a small group of kids. This was because almost all of the children I knew attended our church-school, and most of those also attended our church as well. Some came and went, but a core group of us remained year after year, as familiar with each other as with cousins. Some were my dearest friends, some I hated and feared, and some I ignored. But no one could be avoided for long, because we were together so much.

I was never one of the most popular kids in our group, but I had an accepted position, probably because a) my father was the pastor of the church and thus in charge of the school; and b) I did know how to act in a socially acceptable way (most of the time.) When my father introduced me to Becky, I knew two things without being told: that he wanted me to be nice to her, and that the reason I needed to be nice to her was that she wasn’t going to fit in on her own. This was because it was clear that she was different—that kiss of death in the child’s social order.

It was also obvious that Becky didn’t have the same kind of parental attention directed at her that I did. Her cheap clothes hung awkwardly on her narrow shoulders. They didn’t always match. She wasn’t dirty, but I could see that no one ever chased her around with a comb, either. Her almost colorless eyes were magnified behind enormous round plastic glasses (oh, those terrible crimes inflicted by ‘80s fashion). And Becky was painfully shy. When we played together, I was the leader. She was willing to play whatever games I devised, hardly speaking. Every once in a while, though, a smile crossed her face, showing her small, grayish teeth, before she hid her mouth behind her hand, afraid to show too much joy, lest it be taken away.

I was conscious of feeling pride and responsibility, that my father had silently given me a mission: to Include Becky. I knew I was up to the task. I sought her out at church, invited her to sit next to me in Sunday School. I dragged her over to my friends after church, indicating that she was now A Part of our group.

It didn't work all that well. For one thing, my friends didn't act hostile toward Becky, but they seemed puzzled as to why we needed to pay attention to her when she didn't have anything to say and was barely willing to participate in our elaborate games of make-believe. Becky had simply been on the outside so long that when invited in, she didn't know how to behave. As weeks went by, I found it easier to stop trying so hard. I let Becky drift while not completely rejecting her--thank goodness I wasn't capable of being that cruel.

Christmastime was approaching, and my father and I were going shopping for some presents I needed to buy. It's the only time I can remember us going out on this kind of shopping trip together. I needed to buy the requisite $5.00 gifts for church and school gift exchanges, and somehow the idea was born that I would also choose a present for Becky. I am almost positive that this was my father's idea; I don't think I ever would have thought of it myself. But once he presented it, I was excited about it, since I didn't have my own money and hardly ever bought anything for anyone.

We went to a five and ten cent store. (Remember those? Now they've been replaced by dollar stores.) I looked around at all the choices and finally selected a plastic purse for Becky. At that age, I thought that having one's own purse was the epitome of being grown-up. I don't remember if it came with anything like a fake lipstick or keys (I know there wasn't a cell phone, because they didn't exist) but my father thought it was a fine choice.

The next Sunday was the last one before Christmas. I approached Becky and said something like, "I have something for you." All of a sudden I felt as shy as the girl in front of me. I realized that by handing her the present my mother had wrapped for me, I was running a risk. She might be thrilled to get another present when she didn't get very many at home, or she might feel horrible that I had gotten her a present when she obviously couldn't afford to get me one.

Amazingly, though, she said, "I have something for you, too."

As she opened my present and oohed and aahed over the purse, I stared at the small yet heavy object she had placed in my hand. It was wrapped in a scrap of newspaper and covered in too much tape, obviously stuck there by Becky herself. I pulled off the paper to find a silver dollar, one of the few I'd ever seen. I knew in one of those inexplicable flashes of insight that seem to light up the world that this was one of her only treasures.

And she had given it to me.

I didn't deserve it. I knew that with the same searing clarity. What had I done? I had only done my duty because my father asked me to. I would have never thought of befriending her, let alone buying her a present, if it hadn't been for him. He'd even paid for the present. Giving it to her had cost me nothing.

Her present had cost her much more. But she wanted me to have it, because I had been friendly to her. She didn't know that when I included her, I was feeling smug and proud of myself for including someone so obviously beneath me socially. Look at me, I was thinking, being nice to the poor little girl.

Becky wasn't poor. She was rich in ways I couldn't then imagine.

I don't remember seeing Becky again. I'm sure I did--but I can't remember anything but that moment of shame and gratitude that let me see myself as I really was. It's certain that before long, her family moved away (something that they apparently did a lot, which couldn't have helped her shyness) and I lost the chance to make a true friend of her.

Yet for years I kept that silver dollar in my most cherished hiding place, and I have never forgotten what Becky taught me.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week in Review, 9/7--9/13

1. With Miss Pink in school all day and Mr. Blue in preschool 8 hours a week, I have more time to do all the things I need and want to do--from keeping the house cleaner and more organized to reading blogs to writing. Then when I have the kids with me, I just enjoy them. I had wondered if I was fooling myself that when they got older, I'd have enough "me time" to make me less stressed--but I'm pleased to say that I was exactly right, and I am really enjoying this stage of our lives!

2. I'm reading a lot more. Like most people, the number of books I read went down when I discovered blogs. But now that I have to pick Miss P up every day, I have to wait 30 minutes or so in the car (I have to get there that early to get a decent place in line). I cut the engine to save gas, roll the windows down part way, let Mr. Blue listen to that Blue's Clues CD we all have memorized, and start reading whatever book I am keeping in the car. Bliss.

3. Justin finished the slab on the playroom addition. Now I can really see how big the room is going to be. Next up: framing.

4. I had my hair guy give me bangs. I like them a lot. Miss P said, "Mommy, your bangs make you look so different!" What do y'all think?

I hate these pictures--except for my hair. My husband had the camera right up in my face and I felt very self-conscious (although I'd asked him to take them for a profile pic). Also I plucked my eyebrows for about 15 minutes last night. Anyway, I still like the bangs. If I got square glasses I could look like Sarah Palin (kidding).


Friday, September 12, 2008

The One Person You Meet in Heaven

More than a year ago, I started posting and answering questions from a little book called If... that I've had for a long time. I used to use these hypothetical questions with my students to get to know them better, and more recently I use them as icebreakers for our small groups at church. Anyway, back when I posted them before I never got many answers (and I still might not--ha!) and I quit doing it, but I want to go back to using them as writing prompts. You can answer in the comments or if you want to write a post if they make you think of something longer, let me know and I'll link to your post!

The earlier ones I've done are here, here, here, and here. I'm going to go straight through the book rather than picking questions I'd rather answer. There are some I'll just skip, since they just flat go against my morals like "If you had to sleep with someone other than your spouse..." Um, no. Since that's never going to happen, and I don't even want to go there in my thoughts, I'll skip those. Sometimes two closely related questions follow each other, so I'll do them both.

Here's the next unanswered question.

If you could dine alone with anyone from any period in history, which person would it be?

This is a toughie for me. (I don't know why we'd have to dine alone, either. Aren't spouses invited?) All of a sudden the only people I can think of are recluses like Emily Dickinson or great people who had huge problems to think about like Abraham Lincoln or Dr. Martin Luther King. "I'll tell you about a dream, Dr. King--the dream to take a shower by myself without a child!" Not exactly on the same level, is it?)

Oh, I know! C.S. Lewis! I'm rereading some of his books now and he is as amazing to me now as he was when I was sixteen--or younger, when I loved Narnia with all my heart. Anyone who can write scholarly books on poetry, apologetics of the Christian faith, science fiction, and children's fantasy--and all of it so well--must have been a fascinating man. I would love to just ask him some questions and listen to his answers. Since he was a long-term bachelor who preferred the company of men, I hope he wouldn't mind spending some time enlightening me about the faith we share. Good thing I believe I'll see him in Heaven, right?

Who would you like to meet?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Playroom Addition Stage 1

Several months ago it was decided to build a playroom onto our house. I use the passive voice deliberately in this case because I didn't decide anything. I agreed to my husband's decision to build the playroom. And since he is going to do all the work, who am I to stand in his way?

Why didn't I immediately jump at the opportunity? Well, because when you are married to a builder and live in an older home, you are pretty much constantly in the middle of a remodeling project. Everything has to be updated, or--I don't know, he will lose all credibility as a builder or something. But since he has to do everything on his time off, and we occasionally like to do things as a family (read: Mama doesn't have to wrangle the kids by herself) it takes longer to finish said project than it would if we hired someone (or if I helped, but that ain't gonna happen. Believe me, he does not WANT my help.)

Plus, I didn't want to spend the money. But we got the money together and I agreed it would be nice to have another room for all the toys, plus a bigger computer area. So now the remodel has begun. (It actually began several weeks ago, but I didn't have the pictures uploaded until now.)

Ready? Here we go.Here is the "screened-in" porch that was already on the back of the house when we bought it. The quotation marks are there because none of the screens were actually still there by this time. They got torn and flapped in the breeze, so we cut them out. It wasn't a bad porch, but it faces the west, so...not so enjoyable to sit there in the blazing-hot Texas evening sun.

Now behold my shame. Look at that mess! I don't even know what kind of junk was in those piles. In my defense, I got it ready to throw away months ago and Justin promised to haul it off but never did. I agreed to the remodel partly because I knew this junk would get thrown away.

Ah--much better in this picture. The porch and the junk are almost gone, making the site much easier on the eyes. (The cute boy in the diaper helps, too.)

Ewwww--that was under the brick?

This took Justin six hours to do. I brought him ice water. To his credit, he didn't complain (maybe because he knew I'd be thinking, "I told you so").

And this is how it looks today. There are some intermediate steps--namely, three or four days' worth--not pictured. It has been raining some here but Justin really wants to finish this part while he can take off work. So when it ended up being way more work than he could handle in the amount of time he had, he did something really smart--he hired guys to help. (Two of them work for him and couldn't deliver cabinets today--so even better, we're not paying them out of our pockets but out of the company.)

Sometimes it's really awesome to have a husband in the building business.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On Cynicism

I am on fire! I had two pieces of writing I had to finish before Friday: the weekly lesson I write for our church's Wednesday night classes, and a Sunday School lesson that I was asked to teach this Sunday for a class of adults my parents' age. (I've taught them before, and had a lot of fun, but I tend to think I need to come up with some Deep Thoughts when I teach people twice my age, just so they won't sit there thinking, "Why, this arrogant little twit." But enough about my insecurities.)

I wrote BOTH lessons today while Mr. Blue was in preschool. So the rest of my free time (now that I have some more) for the week is free for other types of writing. Not to mention that I don't have to feel frazzled over the weekend, which will be taken up by Justin's 40th birthday party. I can just focus on the party, knowing I've got something to say that I THINK will interest the class. I love being prepared early.

(Why yes, I WAS the type of student who wrote all her term papers in the first month of class. You may hate me now.)

And I'm going to share part of my lesson with you, because I can't stop thinking about it. It's called "Cynicism Is Not a Spiritual Gift."

I love that title. I got it, and most of the inspiration for my lesson, from a writer named Dave Burchett. So this is not original at all, but I definitely tried to apply it to myself because I have a tendency toward cynicism. says that being cynical is being "contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives." Did you catch that first word? Contemptuously. Not only does the cynic distrust other people's nature and motives, he or she isn't very nice about his or her beliefs, either.

The dictionary also says that cynical people are "captious; peevish." Peevish means "perversely obstinate" or "marked by ill-humor" and captious (which I am humbled as an English teacher to admit that I had never heard of before) means "marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections."

Simply put, a cynical person can be mean.

Unfortunately, sometimes as we get older, we forget that cynicism is a warped philosophy and that it's not an accurate worldview. I read a T-shirt slogan that reflects this viewpoint: "I'm not cynical. I'm just experienced." While I admit that it's easy to get cynical about human nature, especially in certain contexts (like politics!) when our human flaws such as greed, desire for control, and verbal sniping are on prominent display, I also think that we need to fight against cynicism. Cynicism is the easy way out. Cynicism says, "Look how much the world sucks! I'll just sit here and be snarky about it, because what're you gonna do--people suck and that's all there is to it."

Well, people CAN suck, but that is no reason to opt out and spend all your time cursing the darkness instead of lighting one single...well, you know the rest of the cliche.

Basically, cynicism has all the maturity of a teenager who lives in a perpetual state of existential despair of the hopelessness of life and loathing toward the middle-class capitalist values that represent everything he despises--while living off the money made by the people who have those values. It's basically a pose to cover the fact that the cynic isn't doing anything to make things better. It's always easier to judge rather than help out, you know.

Anyway, the lesson goes on to suggest some ways to combat cynicism toward others who seem to us to be Bad People because they are Different from us (as distinguished from anyone who has actually inflicted harm on us or someone we love, I might add). One important thing is to look in the mirror. There is a person looking out at you who is capable of nearly everything that makes you angry when other people do it. If you are a Christian, this might resonate with you: You and I are the wretch spoken about in the song. It's amazing grace that saves us because the grace needs to be amazing; that's how bad we are, how bad we would be if not for the grace of God. If a person is really trying to follow Christ, they will come to a place where they acknowledge that they are just a messed-up person saved by grace.

Another point I try to remember: I don't know what other people are going through. Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, tells about how he was on a train with a tired-looking man and two small children who were running amok. They were dashing up and down the aisles, hollering at the top of their lungs, making each other cry—you name it. And their father just sat there staring out the window and doing nothing to curb their behavior. Stephen Covey and the other passengers were starting to get really annoyed. They looked at each other and shook their heads and even made exasperated sounds, but the man was in his own world and didn’t take the hint. Finally, Stephen leaned forward and asked as politely as he could (given how irritated he was), “Sir, don’t you think you should control your children a little better?”

The man looked at him with bloodshot eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I guess I just don’t know how to handle them right now. We just left the hospital where their mother died today.”

What a change in perspective! Sympathy and concern instantly replaced the aggravation. I find that when I try to remember that everybody has problems, and that they are probably doing the best they can at that moment, given what they have to work with, then it is easier for me to cut them some slack. Being compassionate and loving and open-minded is a much happier way to live than being bitter, suspicious, and cynical—believe me.

I think I can stop now, because it probably feels like I told you the whole lesson, even though I didn't. I hope you will join me in choosing to hope, to forgive, to be loving and compassionate rather than angry and cynical. I do believe that each person who chooses to act in a loving way makes the world a better place. And that's a spiritual gift the world could really use.


Monday, September 8, 2008

I DON'T Like Ike

My ILs are having to evacuate from Hurricane Ike and are coming here again on Thursday.

P.S. I'm not as stressed this time--I don't have to cook (long story, but basically we have something scheduled every night and I already wasn't going to cook) and I have something already planned every day so there won't be long stretches of time to sit around and stare at each other. But seriously. This hurricane thing has GOT to stop.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Week in Review, 8/31--9/6

1. The IL's got back home safe and sound and their houses are fine. So thank goodness for that.

2. Justin has made progress on the playroom addition that is taking the place of a pitiful screened-in porch on the back of our house. (I'm going to post pictures later this week.) Last weekend it took him 5 or 6 hours to bust up the concrete that needed to go in order to form the new slab. That's a long time to spend swinging a sledgehammer. On Saturday he knocked the brick off and stretched the lines for the dimensions of the new slab. On Sunday he put in the form boards and worked on digging around the outside. All of that while it was VERY hot outside. I had to hold the tape umpteen times for him to get the measurements exactly right, and I got hot and tired, and I was only out there 1/20th of the time he was. What a great guy.

By the way, it was HIS idea to build this playroom/computer room. I did not order him to do it, no matter what he tells you*, and in fact I tried to dissuade him several times, but it is HIS PROJECT and really it makes me proud that he is so good at this kind of thing.

*to make me look bad, because he thinks it's funny to pretend that I boss him around

3. Being a super-conscientious student who always turned every assignment in on time, if not early, has stood me in good stead for the first two weeks of public school, when papers keep coming home demanding to be filled out and returned by a deadline. I dare not fail, lest my daughter's teachers be disgusted with my slacker ways.


1. Mr. Blue's EVIL molars are still making us ALL miserable. I know he feels bad, but he can't have candy instead of meals just because his mouth hurts (such a mean mommy I am!). The tantrums that happen when he doesn't get his way over the silliest things ("YOU PUT MY CUP ON THE TABLE AND I WANTED TO DO IT MYSELF!!!") are just all over my last nerve.

2. Dave Ramsey says we have to have a budget that "names every dollar" every month. Give a person with anxiety issues an assignment like this, and some obsessing will follow. I know it's important and good to do this, and I am not as uptight as I was last weekend when I was trying to figure out how much money we need for variable expenses like food.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh, hi! Guess I need to update, huh? Well, here's what's been going on.

  • The visit from the ILs went well. They actually only stayed a couple of days, leaving on Tuesday morning. Once they heard that it was OK to go back, they went on home to check on their houses and BIL's horses, which he'd had to leave behind. On Monday Miss Pink played all day with her cousins, while Mr. Blue came with me, Justin, my MIL, and her sister for a tour of Justin's shop and some houses being built nearby. It was fun.
  • One bad thing: Miss Pink stayed in the hotel pool for three or four hours, and got swimmer's ear. She was hurting pretty badly on Monday night. The nurse called in some drops for her and she stayed home from school. The bottle of drops held about a tablespoon worth of liquid which cost $50 after insurance. What's in there, gold dust? Sheesh.
  • Mr. Blue's first day of school went fine. He went right in and started playing and at the end of the day gave his teacher a hug. I don't know what I did to get two kids like this, but I'm glad--otherwise I'd be an emotional wreck.
  • Speaking of ailments, Mr. Blue is cutting his molars, and tonight we noticed another reason why he's been saying his mouth hurts: his gums are swollen and they bleed a little when we brush his teeth--not around the teeth coming in, but the ones next to them; and he has ulcers on his tongue which must hurt like heck. Anyone have any idea if the teething is causing this? Of course I'll call the doctor (and maybe dentist) tomorrow, but I just thought y'all might know what was going on. Especially since my husband is as freaked out as if this were the seventh sign of the Apocalypse.
  • Today Mr. B was in school and I was FREE! But of course it wasn't enough time to DO anything, unless you count writing a church lesson and going to a new exercise class, and of course I should count those. I just always think I should get more done than I do. I am going to be SORE tomorrow, though, so that exercise definitely counted. Also I may be going to the doctor or the dentist. I bet you are jealous of my life, aren't you?