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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Well, It Finally Happened...


It has happened.

If you read my post about receiving the Stylish Blogger Award and the list of things I shared about myself, you know that I have been walking 3 times a week for a while now.  Many times my neighbor comes with me.  She works from home, so we usually go on her morning break.  Well, this week, she called and told me her morning had gotten crazy, so she couldn't go in the morning, but if I would wait for her, she could go around lunch time.  So, I waited.  Then, she called and said that work was still crazy and she couldn't get away.

Oh, I was tempted to not walk. 

Really, really, tempted. 

But, it was a beautiful day and Rainman was home.  So, I thought, well, why don't we all go for a walk.  The two big girls decided to ride their bikes along with us.  A-man wanted to ride his also, but he is a crazy driver and I didn't trust him on our busy street.  So, we decided to take a stroller and the Burley.  That way all 3 of the little kids could ride if and when they wanted to and nobody would have to carry them or listen to their whining about being tired.

It started out great.  We walked.  The big girls would ride ahead and then loop back to us, but I could see them the whole time.  So, not too stressful.  Rainman and D-Man walked side by side and talked baseball.  I brought up the rear pushing the stroller with S-Girl inside.

A little ways up our street we heard a mower.  Rainman commented about how funny it was to hear a mower in February.  As we got closer to the mower, we ended up lining up single file and kind of parading past.  As I got to the yard, the older man who was mowing gave me a little wave and shut off his mower.

Oh, I thought, some Southern hospitality!!!  Maybe he will invite us in for a sweet tea or a mint julep!

His opening comment?

"Oh, you got all the grandkids visiting, huh?"



I apparently look like a grandmother.

We went on to have a fairly pleasant conversation and finish our walk.  I don't remember too much of it because I was a little distracted thinking about my rocking chair waiting for me back home.

Rainman has been through this before.  When A-man was about one, he took him with him to a meeting at church.  When she saw him come in, the secretary asked him how old his grandson was.  But, I really didn't think it would happen to me. 

We got home and were laughing about it and A-man - my little sweetheart - said....

 "I don't know why that man thought you were a Grandma, don't have short, curly hair or a wrinkly face."

I was telling a group of people about this story last night and saying, how amazing it was that A-man sort of stood up for me.  I told them that usually he is the one who tells me that I don't look good in something or that I am fat....or in his words, fluffy.

My pastor offered a little pastorly wisdom and said it was probably a case of "It's okay if I do it...but don't you talk bad about MY momma!"

So, I am off to keep growing out my hair (its only been about 15 months since I had a cut), slather on some Anew face cream and I might just call that 800 number for the LifeStyle Lift thingy that "only take about an hour"!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Can I Walk the Red Carpet?

I just got an award!

Granted, it was from my sister, but it still counts, right? 

I mean, some people's sisters don't even like them - let alone award them stuff, right?


Here is the deal.  My sister, Karen, at Karen's Ideas Galore received a Stylish Blogger Award. Then her job was to award it to other here I am!!!  While I was getting ready to write this post, my friend Jill at Chillin with Jill, also awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award!  I think a walk down the red carpet to be ridiculed by Joan and Melissa is right around the corner!  Whatever will I wear?

As part of this award, I am supposed to share seven things about here goes...

1.  I am a good cook - but a better baker

2.  I am a horrible housekeeper

3.  I am a  horrible housekeeper, but I am good at organizing stuff.  I like that kind of thing too - so if I could just get someone to come and do the dusting, scrubbing and mopping for me - we would be all set!

4.  I have "baby fever".  I am 43.  I am a mother of six. This is the longest I have gone since I started having babies at 30, without being pregant....and I have baby fever!

5.  I once wanted to be a star on Broadway....except New York scared me too much to actually GO there.

6.  I like to paint...not pictures (although I have always wanted to give that a try)...but walls and furniture and stuff.  I even like the smell.

7.  I miss having coffee with my sisters!

Since I was given 2 awards, I will share another 7 things about me.....if you are bored, just skip down to who I am awarding the Stylish Blogger Award to..

1.  I have been getting a runtime error 217 message when I am on-line, for months now and I can't get rid of it. 

2.  I really like my kids - even though I am basically with them 24/7 and they drive me crazy sometimes....they are funny, smart little people who I like to be with!

3.  I have walked 3 days a week for the last 6 weeks.  I still have to force myself to go - but I am proud of myself when I do.  I walk for 1.5 miles.  It takes me 45 minutes.  There are hills involved.  I don't have to stop and take breaks anymore.  Can I get a woot woot??!?

4.  I love to read.  I panic a little bit if I don't have a book waiting for me...even if I don't have time to read has to be there just patiently waiting for me.

5.  I like to watch T.V.  A few favorites that I probably should be ashamed of are:  Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, The Middle, Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, The Mentalist, 19 Kids and Counting, Oprah's Behind the Scenes show on her new network, Tabatha's Salon Makeover (this one has to be watched without children present - there are a lot of "beeps"), Cougar Town and Glee.  Did I say that these were a "few" of my favorites?  I won't include the Real Housewives of Anywhere - because I don't make a point of watching them, but if I happen to click over there....I am absolutely sucked in....I can't seem to help myself.....

6.  I watch too much T.V. (see above)

7.  I secretly wonder what my old friends/acquaintances on Facebook think of me Now and what they really thought about me THEN

Now, I would like to spread the love and present this award to the following blogs:

1.  Karen's Ideas Galore.  She really does have a LOT of great ideas...

2. Kandilandblog.  This is my sister too.  She started this whole thing.  She is funny.  She is a talented photographer.

3. Chillin with Jill.  She goes back and forth between making me belly laugh and making me cry with her observations about life.

4. Whatever.  I like Meg.  She seems like someone I would be friends with "in real life".  She has lots of kids. She is funny.  She is crafty - but relatably that a word?

5. Clover Lane.  She has lots of kids too.  Apparently I like people I can relate to.  Anyway, while she is realistic about the ups and downs of life and is honest about things like yelling at her kids...I probably should have added that to my list above....I yell at my kids too.... she tries to accentuate the positive.

6.  Life With Books.  Jenners is funny and smart.  Her blog is about just what it says. Life.  Books.  She does book reviews and tells you her honest opinion.  If you are looking for a good book, she has a section of ones she recommends.  I feel like she would be a kindred spirit with me especially with my panic when I don't have a book waiting in the wings.  I laugh outloud when I am reading her blog.

7.  Moms By Heart.  I met Lori in real life a few years ago when we went to a family reunion near her home.  She graciously welcomed our family into her home, even though she had never met us and we could have been crazy people.  Well, we are a little crazy, but we mean no harm....I mean we are not serial killers or anything!  She has great ideas on how to save money and does a lot of research and work on who has the best deals of the week and ways to get free or almost free stuff for your family.

8.  Sunny Side Up.  Erin is one of those ladies that you sort of want to hate....beautiful, beautiful children, handsome husband, lives in a beautiful home....but you just can't.  She is sweet and smart and nice and really organized!  She has the cutest decor and shows a lot of before and after organization pictures....I love them and her!!!

9.  I'm a Lazy Mom.  This one cracks me up....My sister, Karen, found her blog and recommended it to me with the caveat that I not be offended that she was suggesting I go there....thus implying that I was, in fact, a lazy mom!  Her site has lots of ideas on being a good mom/mother/housekeeper - but doing it in the easiest possible way...thus the Lazy Mom title!

10.  The Empty Bobbin.  I have recently gotten re-interested in sewing (mostly because of my 10 year old daughter) - but in looking for ideas, I stumbled across this one.  She is an advanced seamstress/quilter, but her work is lovely.  Good for inspiration.  She just published her first sewing pattern for a really cute card table playhouse idea....go take a look!

11.  Laundry and Vodka.  I love Alex and her dogs, Nigel, Nash and Natalie.....and I am not really a dog person.   She is funny....and I am pretty sure she gets sucked into the Real Housewives of Anywhere too!  She has great recipes and takes great pictures.  She is someone I hope to meet in person someday.

12.  The Man Crew.  Kristy is another blogger who agreed to meet my family and I when we were in her neck of the woods a few years ago....although she didn't welcome me into her home....we met at a park!  We had a great visit and she remains one of my favorite on-line friends.  Her blog is about her life surrounded by men through a move across country away from family and friends (she was able to help me through our recent move) and life as - in her words - a crunchy, granola, homeschooling mama.

13.  Come Home to Roost.  I think I stumbled across Marlowe on Pioneer Woman's blogsite...She has lots of kids too and a bunch of them are blond, like mine!  She is just fun.  Her kids are beautiful.  She makes me laugh.

14.  Money Saving Mom.  This one has lots and lots of good ideas for saving to budget...and just ideas on cutting corners....something we all need right now.

15.  One Day at a Time.  I recently found Amy through Meg's Whatever blog.  I love her honesty about life.  One of my favorite posts from
 her was called Love First. about when her son, Ben, was born.  It is beautiful.

Okay, that is it.  I hope you check these great blogs out. 

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1.  Thank and link back to the person (or people) who awarded you this award

2.  Share 7 things about yourself

3.  Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers

4.  Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

Friday, February 18, 2011

Actual Valentine's Day Events

Okay, so on actual Valentine's Day, here is what we did....

Rainman had the day off, so he took all....yes, all...of the kids and ran errands so I got to take a nap.  It was wonderful.  Then he brought me these....even though I had asked specifically that he not spend any of our tight, Dave Ramsey, budget, on flowers...he did it anyway.  A-Girl said, "Mom, they were expensive....I don't think you want to even know how much they cost!"  She is right.  I do not want to know.  They are pretty though. 

The bag contains our dinner.  This is his card for me....a really funny one....he used to give me serious, heartfelt cards and I always would give him funny cards.  We finally realized that we were giving each other the kinds of cards we wanted to get.  So, now we have switched and he gives me funny ones and I give him serious/heartfelt ones.  We are both much happier and each feel much more loved!

We are still at a strange stage after our move.  We no longer live nearby any family - so built in, trustworthy babysitters are not to be found.  We don't really have any teenagers that we trust yet.  We are on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover budget and while, D-Man is old enough to watch kids for a quick run to the store, isn't ready to babysit them for real.  So, we had to improvise.  We had the kids split $5.00 footlongs from out well that we have 6 kids.  We sent them to the basement where they happily ate (usually food is off limits in the basement) and watched Elf.

And Rainman and I had Chinese food....

And this....

Nummy!  I love Chinese food.  Although he forgot to grab our fortune cookies when he left. This place has a bowl full of them at the checkout and you are supposed to grab your own. The kids told him, but he thought they had already put them in the bag and that would be stealing cookies.  He is a very honorable man!

Rainman and I are very casual drinkers.  When I say casual, I mean that we drink once or twice a year.  He decided that he would get some beer for himself.  We have a beer stein that we got when we were in Belgium, which he gets excited about using the rare times that he has beer at home.  (He has been known to put on his wooden shoes that we got in Amsterdam while he drinks his beer).....anyway, this time,  he just poured himself a St. Pauli Girl beer. 

He did the lip smacking "aaahhhh" after his first drink.  Then said something about it foaming up weird...but didn't think anything of it.  We went about our meal and I looked at his bottle and noticed something and starting laughing outloud.  Here is what I saw....see if you can see it....

He bought non-alcoholic beer.  So, I guess we will change his drinking status to "never"!

We soaked in the hot tub - without kids climbing all over us and adjusting the bubbles every few minutes - and actually were able to have a conversaion.  Rainman also gave me this....

And look.....

I still have some left and it is already Friday!  I am very proud of myself...aren't you?!?  
When we finished our dinner, the kids came upstairs and we all watched Despicable Me.

All in all it was a great Valentine's Day.  I am glad I got to spend it with Rainman alone for a while....but that I could also spend it with the kids!  It was the perfect balance....for me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pre-Valentine's Activities

I meant to actually be organized and post this before Valentine's, but as you are obviously reading this AFTER Valentine's Day, you know that I am not organized!  Oh, well....

We made some candy molds for some of our special people for Valentine's Day.

It took a lot of concentration...

And the results were worth it!

 And, little Chef V-Girl was there for encouragement!

I will post about our actual Valentine's Day soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Should I Be My Own Boss?

My sister is starting a brand new job and I told her that I knew they would love her because every employer we have had has loved us.  We are hard workers.  We are nice.  We are helpful.  We usually go way above and beyond what is in our job description.  But this got me to thinking....about my "job" at home. 

My house is a mess.  Yes, all of us are here, living in it, for most of the 24 hours in a day since we homeschool.  But, really, sometimes it is ridiculous how messy it is.  I have tried to have a schedule.  I have tried to assign chores.  I have tried to have special days for things like laundry, bathrooms, mopping.  I will admit that I am rarely behind in laundry though.  Woot woot!

But nothing has really stuck.  So we all kind of stumble along until I get another scheme to try.  I got to thinking about my performance reviews and various bosses that I have worked for and, really, not to brag, but everyone thought I was great.  When I would leave a job to take another, I was always asked to stay.  Always.

I am fairly sure that if I were being evaluated on my homekeeping skills...I would NOT be asked to stay on. I would be bid a fond farewell and asked not to include their names on my reference list.

Which got me to thinking....was I only a great worker because I got positive feedback from people?  Was I really NOT a hard worker - but someone just desperate for praise?!?

I had never thought of it that way before.  But, it just might be true.  Otherwise, why would my house be a mess?  Why would I rather read a book or make a batch of cookies than clean?

So that got me to thinking....Could I fool myself by being my own boss?  I could under-promise and over-deliver and have a great clean, organized house!  Sadly, I think I am smarter than that.  I don't think I would be fooled.

Oh, well, perhaps I should stop thinking so much and just start cleaning.....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Our Valentine Decor

Here is what we have done for Valentine's Decor around here....

Yes, Karen, I know this isn't quite symmetrical....the kids did it...but just like my messy Christmas tree, I love it!

Here is a closer view for you....

I stole the idea from Sunny Side Up, so if you would like to see a much classier, neater, more symmetrical version go take a look. 

If you need a unique, cute and easy Valentine's gift idea for a hubby or friend, here is a good one!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How Did My Mother Do It?

Yesterday, I sat through a Spelling Bee for my 3 oldest children. 

How did my mother do it?

When my brother and sisters were growing up, we were involved in sports, plays, speech competitions, office skill competitions - like shorthand and typing -  (my sister, The Idea Girl, even made it to the Nationals!).  We were in singing competitions and even pageants.  How did she do it?

I won my local "scholarship"  pageant one year. 

By the way, the girl in green is my sister, Kandilandblog and my sister, The Idea Girl is next to my mom.  Sorry about the 80's hair, but I looked good in this one! 

I remember my mom coming up on stage after the crown was placed on my head, her mascara and eyeliner were all smudged and her face was flushed.  I think she even did one of those big outloud sighs and said something like "Whew, I am sure glad that is over!!!"  I didn't understand it back then.  I get it now.  I really, really do.

When I was young, I had some minor medical issues that required some painful procedures every year or so.  I remember my dad would take off work and he and my mom would take me to the hospital.  For some reason, instead of them being in a far off waiting room, they would be close enough to hear me.  One year I remember my procedure was done and the nurse opened the door to let my parents come in - only Mom wasn't there. Just my Dad.  Through my tears I remember asking, "Where's Mom?"  He told me that she couldn't take hearing me in pain so she had to go stand way down the hall, so she couldn't hear my crying.  I didn't understand it back then.  But, now, I get it. Completely. I really, really do. 

How did she do it?

I don't mean, how did she sit through all this boring stuff her kids were involved in.

I mean, how did she not have a heart attack from watching us on the sidelines?!?!?

The Bee was a first for all my kids.  It would be their first time standing in front of a microphone spelling for a crowd.  Some of them even get nervous spelling in front of just us family members!  To be honest, I registered them for the Bee a few months ago....then kind of forgot about it.  We remembered late last week and so we began cramming the list of Scripps study words we were given.  Aren't I teaching them good life skills for when they are in college???

I started getting a little nervous for the kids.  Not bad though.

I took each child aside and gave them one of my famous, rousing, motivational speeches about how I would be proud of them no matter if they won or lost.....that I just wanted them to do their "personal" best....that this was good experience...... that they would be happy someday that they had the courage to do this....that I wanted them to be happy for their siblings if they did well....even if whichever kid was I talking to did not....blah, blah, blah! 

I got the biggest reaction in my speech about how this was a story they would tell their kids about over.....and over.....and over.....and over....just like their Dad tells them about his spelling bees....and the times he he almost made it to Washington, D.C...... and which words messed him up (maelstrom and deuce - for those of you that are interested).  In his story, he tells them how one year, after he lost, he was crying in the back seat of the car and his mom and dad stopped at the store....his mom ran in to get something and his dad turned around AND....

Now, for this story to have any impact, you have to know a little about his Dad.  He was tough.  He was a WWII vet.  He was gruff.  He softened quite a bit in his later years, but at this time, he was still rough and tough and crying from a boy was just NOT done.  Rainman will tell them how he was a little afraid as his dad turned around in the front seat AND.....

Gave him a $1 and told him how proud he was of him.  This moment of "softness" was never spoken of again.  Never!  But my husband remembers it.  I know I have a picture of him in his bow tie from this day - but I can't find it.  I will post it later if I can dig it out.  He wondered (on our way to the Bee), why our kids were dressed the way they were - because he remembers he had to wear his bow tie)  Maybe later I will tell you what my response to him was.

Anyway, I told the kids that they would have a story they could torment their kids with over and over and over too just like Dad does!  They all thought that was pretty funny.

Okay, fast forward to the Bee.  They have a Junior Bee which is for 1st through 3rd grade, so L-Girl is in this one with about 16 other kids...and then the regular Bee for 4th through 8th grade where A-Girl and D-Man compete, where there are also about 15 other kids. 

With every word, Rainman and I are get  more nervous.  I am video taping, so I have to watch, but I am sure that I am holding my breath for each word.  Rainman, on the other hand, can't even look.  He hunches over in his seat and covers his face with his hands.  At one point, he leans over to me and says, "I don't know if I can make it!"  We whisper laugh together.  Who knew this would be so stressful for us, the parents?!?!

I found myself (occasionally) wishing that other people's children would get a word wrong.  Really... it was only every now and then - because you do kind of find yourself wanting all the kids to do well.  You can see their earnest little faces scrunch up in concentration, or their gaze going skyward to the fluorescent lights, or their little eyeballs searching for their parents as they try to spell a word that they have never heard before....or worse when you see their panic when they realize that have put a letter in the wrong order and there is no going back. It is heart-wrenching.

Anyway, L-Girl got 3rd Place!!!

She was doing really well and was whizzing along and then she whizzed a little too quickly at the word - plural - she said, "P-u......(insert slightly panicky look to the ceiling - deep breath because she knows she has made a mistake and cannot go back).....u-r-a-l.  Plural."

D-Man and A-Girl didn't place in their Bee, but they both did awesome.  They were knocked out by the words "Indelible" for D-Man.  A word he had never heard of.  He spelled it, "I-n-d-e-l-a-b-l-e" and A-Girl was knocked out by "Enormous".  She spelled it, "E-n-o-u-r-m-o-s" with the "U" in the wrong spot.

Some of these homeschool kids are really, really, smart, and, I bet their moms didn't forget about the Bee and have them try to cram a bunch of words into their weekend!!!

All of the participants received a ticket for a free buffet at CiCi's Pizza, so we took advantage of that last night to celebrate.  I think, maybe, just maybe, my blood pressure is back down to normal today.

This event makes me think of two sayings....

Once you have children, you wear your heart on the outside of your body.

And, this one is for you, mom....

The older I get, the smarter my mom gets!!!

I get it now.  I really, really do! 

If my kids are in pain, and if I can't be there physically holding their hand, I will be found as far down the hall as I can get, so I don't hear their painful cries either. 

I am also sure that there will soon be pictures of me with my make-up running, my face flushed...I will probably be clutching my chest in some fashion and I will have a proud look on my face, because, quite frankly, my kids are awesome!