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Saturday, October 31, 2015


Our little town has the cutest tradition of a scarecrow contest every fall.  We had to go without D-man this year because, well, he is old and busy and has a girlfriend.  So, to fill our open boy spot and to keep my numbers of children to be responsible for at 6, we borrowed a little mini A-man for the day.

Another Cousin It...

(To explain this was....step on a crack, break your mother's back - done by a chiropractor's office)

I loved this one done by a church, with a little praying scarecrow....

(You can't quite tell from the picture, but this is the Tooth Fairy and S-girl is in a dentist chair)

We had a fun time just wandering and taking pictures.  We even found Waldo...

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sleep and Weird Noises

A bit of FYI business before I move on to my main post.

I am wrapping up review season with the TOS there will be quite a few reviews coming your way in the next few weeks.   Some of them are exclusively for homeschoolers, but some of them can make great supplements for your public school kids too.  So, don't write them off automatically.

I had intended to get up this morning, have my 5 minutes with God and leave the house to write.  It was a really good plan.  When I went to bed last night I realized that I actually didn't need to set my alarm because nobody needed to be anywhere in the wee hours of the morning...and no extra kids/babies needed me this morning.

I was so excited.

Rainman and I slept from 10 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. at our bed and breakfast and were shocked at how good we felt when we got up.  We could have slept for hours more, if we didn't have to be adults. ( I wonder if some of it had to do the fact that even if there was a weird noise or something, we knew we weren't the ones that had to deal with it.)

It felt so good.  I was super excited to get that kind of restful sleep in my own bed.

I didn't get to bed quite so early last was probably 11 or so before we were all tucked in our beds where we were supposed to be.

Rainman and I had some nice pillow talk and off to sleep we went.


Until the beeping started at...hmmm....I would say 1:00 a.m. or so.

I knew just what it was too, because it had scared the kids earlier in the week when it started beeping in the basement.

It was our First Alert Carbon Monoxide detector.  It had gone off earlier in the week in the basement. Of course, I was the only adult we opened the doors down there...set the reset button and waited.  It stopped beeping.  All good.

Then a few days later, it did it again.  It got to the point that the kids were afraid to go in the basement.  They started going down 2 by 2 whenever we needed anything from down there.  (It made me laugh because our basement is heaven compared to, say, my Grandma Braastad's creepy basement - starting with her steps where someone could grab your ankles through the back.....)

I didn't panic too much about it beeping (even though the kids had read the back of the thing where it said to call 911 and were in a bit of a panic) because logically, I couldn't figure out why it was going off - since we had had windows open with the nicer weather.  When I had it in the basement, it was sitting right next to our dehumidifier, so I thought maybe that was the problem.  I decided to do an experiment and put it upstairs, in our kitchen.

It didn't go off for days....until 1:00 a.m. last night.

Of course.

This time though, I wasn't the only adult at home, so I woke up Rainman to help me handle it.  He got right out of bed and headed to the basement, while I tried stopping him to tell him I had moved it into the kitchen.  It was a comedy of errors with us both stumbling around, squinting at things trying to figure out why it was being so stupid in the middle of the night.

We couldn't figure it out because it was plugged in right under an open window.  I went back to bed about the time Rainman got out the screw driver to pop that sucker open and take a look inside.  LOL  It is nice when you can trust someone enough to head to bed and let them handle it.

He was gone a really long time.  Long story short, he did a little internet research and the 5 chirps every minute we were hearing meant that our detector had reached the end of its life and needed to be completely replaced.....not that we were about to become a sad news story.  So, he just unplugged it and chucked it in the garbage.  We mumbled to each other that we would have to add that to our list for Lowe's (that and batteries for our smoke detectors....which we remembered we had just taken a few of them off the ceiling when they beeped and we didn't have replacement batteries for)

Ahhh....sleep.....where are you?

Rainman, of course, even though he had been the light...and reading on the computer...fell asleep almost immediately.  Took me a little longer, but I did too...until.....the next round of weird beeping/chirping started at 3:33 a.m.

This time it was Rainman's cell phone that he had forgotten to charge - emitting its.." need to charge me" annoying tone....that I seem to be the only one to hear...and it is the middle of the night.

I flopped out of bed and went and plugged it into the charger mumbling about never getting to sleep. Rainman, who had awoken at my dramatic cover flop, looked at the clock and reassured me that it wasn't even 6:00 yet, so I would be good.


I didn't actually wake up this morning until 8:30 when the light from the sun actually hit me in the face.  It was great, and weird....I am almost always out of bed when it is dark.  It was honestly very, very strange.  Plus, sleeping in like that messes with my alone time/quiet time.  A-man was already up doing school when I came into the living room.  So, it has just been a weird morning, but one where I can honestly say, I appreciate having a partner in life with Rainman,  for those times when even if you don't want to, you have to be an adult.

I went back to bed last night and started thinking about my kids....especially D-man and A-man having to be the brave one that checks out the weird noises or even to be the one that stays up getting to the bottom of the weird noise, so their wife can go back to sleep with the full confidence that they will handle it.

I hope and pray that all 4 of my girls end up with a nice, brave fellow adult to face the weird noises with too.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maestro Classics - Review

Fun, music review from Maestro Classics.

You have heard me talk about Maestro Classics before.  This time around, we got to listen to The Nutcracker.

We have used Maestro Classics before when we got a chance to listen to Swan Lake. by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.   I was already much more familiar with the music from The Nutcracker than I was with most of the music in Swan Lake....but, I still learned a lot and completely love Maestro Classics and their whole concept.

Their whole "thing" is to bring classical music to the....ahem.....little people.   Hahahaha!  You know what I mean though, right?  Normal people, not just the tuxedo wearing crowd eating pate in the lobby....asking someone to pass the Grey Poupon.  You know?  Just making it more able to be understood by normal people like you and me.

Maestro Classics puts stories to classical music.  That is all...and yet, it is so much more.

Aside from the music, there is a ton of stuff that can be used for educational purposes too.  The little CD book that comes with has a few learning activities in it that tie to The Nutcracker ( the little 2 page tutorial on the harp just solidified my desire to playing it!), but you can also download other printables and curriculum guides.

The curriculum guide covers ballet, geography, history, science, language arts, normal art, math, (shocker - right?).  Ha!

I did not utilize the curriculum guide for us....yet....because, I wanted to save it and pull it out at Christmas-time for us.  But, I have peeked at it...lots of good stuff on the history of nutcrackers, mini-musical studies surrounding Tchaikovsy.  I always love the sneaky fun math problems(based on some information put together by the Houston Ballet) like....If 70,020 people attended the Nutcracker last year and 30% were men, 25% were women, and the rest were children, how many of each group were there in attendance that season?

So, put in simple terms....this CD/curriculum  from Maestro Classics can be as educational as you want.

But, let me tell you what I absolutely loved about Maestro Classics (both this time and last time)....I personally learned so much about music that I have been hearing for years.  I will say that I completely and totally wish that I had heard Maestro Classics version/story of The Nutcracker before I ever saw the ballet.

I can remember the first time I saw The Nutcracker at a fancy schmancy  ballet company in Minneapolis. was cool. It was magical.  It was magnificent and a feast for my eyes.

And...I was confused for almost the whole entire time.  I remember leaning over and whispering to my friend...", is this part a dream?  Wait....what is happening?"  I am sure, in restrospect, she was completely annoyed.

Now, I know I will have done better for my kids.  They won't be confused.  They will understand the story. Not just be familiar with the music.

The story telling part is done by Jim Weiss, a super talented storyteller from Illinois.  The other thing that is great about this version of The Nutcracker is that it is only an hour long (but it includes both acts and just gives a condensed version of the whole Nutcracker without skipping anything )and it is intended for ages even V-girl understood what was happening.  

I think the idea behind Maestro Classics is brilliant because it makes classic music seem not so out of reach...check them out for your family.  They would be perfect for road trips or when you are out running errands.

Take a look and see what the other TOS reviewers thought of their musical experience from Maestro Classics.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Apologia Educational Ministries - Review

Apologia Educational Ministries is definitely a huge name in the homeschooling community.

This time around, I got to try The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and not an actual curriculum product.

Seriously....for you people that know me in real life.....could they have picked a more perfect looking planner for me?   I mean, really, I could practically hang it on the wall in my living room for art.   LOL  It made me so happy just to look at it, I almost didn't want to open it up!

Let me give you some details of what is in the planner.  It starts strong (and perhaps a little scarily) with a calendar spread from 2015 -2023....for long term planning.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is meant to be used in conjunction with planners that your kids can use.

The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens (ages 7th - 12th grade)
The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students (ages 4th-8th grade)

These planners were created by home school moms Debra Bell and Zan Tyler.  I will admit that I was getting a little scared of the planner until I read a bit of their overview.  They said things like....planning doesn't get rid of chaos and disorder, but can reduce it.    They used the phrase "order brings peace".  I totally understood that.  Then, they got even deeper on me and talked about planning for your days being a way to bring a greater awareness of God's activity in my homeschool journey.

They moved from this overview into a 12 page user's guide to explain their recommendations or vision when they created it.  Yes, I started getting scared again.  But, it really made sense.  It helped that I knew right from the get go that these women understood my life.  They said one of the most profound and truthful statements ever on the first page of the "How To" section - they said, "There will always be more to do in homeschooling than you have time to do."  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  They get me and my mind.

Honestly, this whole thing planner experience was a roller coaster for me.  They would get me and reassure me - we would have the exhilarating ride up and then, they would bring me way back down plummeting me down the rails - with things like their recommended Plan for Peace recommendations:

1.  A yearly planning retreated (4-8 hours)
2.  Monthly planning sessions (2 hours)
3.  Weekly planning breaks (30 minutes)
4.  Monday morning tutorials (20 minutes per child)
5.  Friday afternoon weekly reviews (15 minutes per child)

Can you hear my screaming, hands in the air,  descent from wherever you are sitting?

Hahahahaha....just kidding.  But, those times did make me a wee bit nervous!  There was a section about prioritizing and it said something along the lines of this little are unlikely to have many school years where goals are realized.  Okay....feeling a little more grounded now.  Then, they moved on to "rejuvenate" with weekly planning sessions.  I liked the sound of the word "rejuvenate"....if you want me to spend 30 minutes a week "rejuvenating"....that sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

I started getting a little more motivated and inspired when they explained how the Monday morning tutorials should go.  It is a fabulous idea to spend time with each of your children and discuss their upcoming week.  I love the idea of specific, scheduled, prayer time together.  Ties right into my Not Just  A Sunday Thing concept.

Okay.....this is turning into a nice, tame, not making me nauseous kind of ride.  It got better with the little 5 steps to independence - which, honestly, ties into how Rainman and I have kind of done things with our kids already.

If I was still having second thoughts about this planner - especially the 4 to 8 hours they recommend for yearly planning session.  It was much less scary when I looked at the 2 page spread of an example of how to tackle the Yearly Planning Retreat.  Seeing it in pictures made it seem way less scary somehow. (kind of like IKEA directions....)

Absolutely loved their recommendation to utilize the website and their list of "fighting" verses.  I also love that they recommend setting character goals and not just academic goals.

So, I was feeling pretty good about this planning system.  Not nearly as scared as before.

( computer won't let me change this one so it is right side up!   The quote is worth having to work a little harder to read it though...)

I loved the inspirational quotes on the pages, love that it wasn't pre-dated, so I could start my year when it worked for me.  I loved that the weekly planner chart includes sections for your "battle plan" and encourages you to have a fighter verse AND sections for hospitality/outreach.

They have a separate section for your to document your "memorable moments"  (family funnies - victories - progress - promising signs - small beginnings - finished projects).  This is one that I love the idea, in theory, but I have to wonder if I would really do it.  But, I love the idea in its concept.

There is also a separate section for you to document "evidence of grace" (God's grace - God's mercy - God's faithfulness - God's protection - God's provision).  Can you imagine if you actually wrote all of that stuff down, so you wouldn't forget all that evidence?!?!?

So, using this planner has been a little off and on...a little of a roller coaster ride, if you will.  Ha!  I am sort of getting my sea legs and figuring out the best steps for us and setting up new routines and systems for us as individuals and as a family.  But, I am as excited about this as I have ever gotten about a planner....that is saying something!

Take a look and see what the other TOS reviewers thought of their Ultimate Homeschool Planners.


What We Really Did on Monday

We had to be home from our time away by 10:00 a.m. on our anniversary.  So, on our actual anniversary, we really taught 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade.  We babysat adorable 9 month old twin baby girls.  And, we also went to a Key Club induction ceremony.

Have you heard of Key club.  I hadn't until D-man and A-girls school started a chapter.  It is part of the Kiwanis Clubs.  In simple terms, they are basically a service oriented volunteer organization.

Their school started a Key Club at the end of last year, so their official induction ceremony was this fall.  It was scheduled for the night of our anniversary.  We decided that since A-man's baseball game was cancelled, that we could all attend the ceremony and then we could pop over to a Mexican restaurant that we had a gift card for, for a family anniversary celebration.

D-man and A-girl had to be there early, so they took the car and we met them there later with the van.  When we arrived, we saw both A-girl and D-man buzzing around.  Busy with stuff, not just chatting.  I was pretty sure D-man was some sort of officer, but honestly couldn't quite remember which one.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you are looking at your child and you can't quite figure out what was going on....where this kid has been in the world they got so good at something?

Let me just say this about D-man, he has always been super smart.  Always.  Super smart. Homeschooled.  Non-homeschooled.  His brain just works in a way where he can remember and fit together all the stuff he needs to know to get it right on tests.

He has also always been a pretty funny and clever guy, but as he has gotten older, and more mature, I could see him quieting down and picking and choosing his times to be funny.  It is a good thing.  It is a mature thing.

Well, it turns out that  D-man is actually president of his chapter of Key Club, which means the bulk of the induction ceremony duties were on him.  He was basically the Master of Ceremonies behind the microphone.

He is a really good public speaker.

Who knew?

He spoke clearly.  He had inflection.  He looked around at his audience.  He made a few jokes.  He basically had command of the stage.

I sat there thinking....who is this kid?  I just didn't know he had this little piece of him in there.  The local head of the Kiwanis club spoke and shared part of his earlier conversation with my son.  It is interesting to hear what other people think about your "people".  It was interesting to hear what D-man had shared  with him.

A-girl also holds an office.  She is the fundraising coordinator.  Neither of us are completely sure what that means yet, but I know she will do awesome.  She is determined to do her best in absolutely everything she tackles.  So....look out world.

Side note:  A-girl has been eyeing one of the skirts in my closet for awhile now.  It is a skirt that hasn't fit me in forever, but has made all the moves with us because I can't quite let go of it.  She asked if she could possibly wear it to the induction ceremony.  I said yes.

The funny thing is....well....I guess in my mind there are 2 funny things.  The first funny thing is that I remember thinking I was big (fat) at the time I used to wear this skirt...but I wore it all the time.  It was my date outfit.  I wore it with this rust colored scoop necked t-shirt.  I had a lot of dates, so I wore it a lot.  The second funny thing is that both Rainman and I are pretty sure I actually wore it on our first date....20 something years ago......exactly.

Awwwww......or Ewwwww......depending on your outlook.  Emoji

Anyway, the induction ceremony went great.  We realized, at one point,  that A-man and D-man were wearing the same basic outfit.

D-man and A-girl finished up their duties and off we went to the Mexican restaurant....but it was closed.  Cones blocking the parking lot kind of closed.  Boo.

Luckily, there is another Mexican place nearby since we were all wanting chips/salsa (but we didn't have a gift card) - we decided to live dangerously and go anyway - because it was $1.00 taco night!  Yay!

Rainman and I both decided we would get a margarita in honor of our anniversary.  This place has them in like 5 different sizes....colossal, monster, jumbo, large, and regular....or something like that. Well, Rainman ordered a large and told me to get a I did.  (Peer pressure: apparently I am still susceptible.)

Oh, my was practically larger than my head!  Can you even imagine with the colossal or monster sizes are?!?!?

Don't worry, I wasn't driving and I didn't finish it!  It was yummy though...I could have just had that and my chips and salsa and been a happy woman.

It was a good anniversary and I am glad we got to do something special with the kids too.  Strange to think back to both our first date and the day I married Rainman.... and see what has become of see the 6 little people that have entered the world because of us....because of our first date at Baker's Square....because I said yes to a second date....because I agreed to marry this guy.....God is amazing, isn't He?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Our Itty Bitty Time Away

Like I told you yesterday, Rainman and I got to sneak away for a little bit for our anniversary.  Back in the early days of our marriage in Minnesota, we went to a Bed & Breakfast every year around our anniversary.  That stopped somewhere about 3 or 4 kids into the deal.  It just got harder and harder to coordinate childcare, our work schedules, and our money.  So, it sort of faded away.

Earlier this year, Rainman announced that he thought we should go to a B&B down here for our anniversary.  He even looked on-line and found a few for me to look at.  I told him I would research and see what I thought and see if we could figure out childcare.  Back in Minnesota....we had family that we could farm the kids out to....or Rainman's mom would fly up from Chicago and stay with the kids.

Georgia is different.  No family and friends that are busy with their own kids/jobs.  However, we also have sort of old kids now.  Rainman assured me that D-man and the other bigs could handle it.  I absolutely trust my kids to babysit other people's children...but, for some reason, I was hesitant about their own flesh and blood.  Ha!

Our biggest problem was finding time that would work.  But, we found a itty bitty time slot right at our anniversary.

Last week, Rainman kept asking we going or not?  (Oops...I hadn't done anything) I looked on-line and found a little B&B south of Atlanta that I thought looked promising.  I contacted the inn keeper and she had vacancies.  So, we booked it.  Talked to the kids.  Figured out logistics of vehicles and which kid needed to be where and made sure D-man could handle it.

Rainman and I finally hit the road heading out about 4ish on Sunday afternoon.  At about 4:30, my cell phone rang.  It was D-man.  We had forgotten to leave him keys for the van.  Oops.  So, we turned around and drove home...again.  It was a lovely drive...both times.

We got to the town, followed our printed Mapquest directions that.....didn't take us to the B&B. Luckily, we had Rainman who has a brain for these types of things....we drove around a bit, looked at house numbers, he did some guess work, drove by many of the same houses 2 or 3 times,  and....we found our place....after driving around town for about 20 minutes. (I would have just stopped and asked for directions at the fire station, but that is me...where is the fun in that, right?)

We dropped off our bags in our room and decided to go try to find someplace to eat.  We were hungry.

But, that is the thing about small towns.....especially small towns in the south....lots of places are closed on Sundays.  So, we drove and drove....nothing....not many restaurants...and the ones we found, were closed.

We finally decided to drive to a nearby larger town and see if we could find anything there.  Then, we did the modern day problem solving technique (when you don't own a smart phone anyway)....we texted D-man and asked him to look on-line and see if he could actually find anything that was open and that looked good.  He found us a place that sounded good, but we couldn't find it.  Our car also doesn't have GPS either.

So, we resorted to the unthinkable....we actually called D-man on the phone, so he could describe the map to us on the phone. After a few false turns, we finally found this great little steak house in a strip mall by Rite Aid.  Despite its very odd location, it was really good.

We didn't try to have any big talks or discuss big lists on this anniversary.  We have done both of those before with mixed results.  Sometimes it has been fantastic and sometimes we have spent money to be at a B&B only to be completely annoyed with each other and our time filled with awkward silences!

This time, we were just together.  We just chatted about stuff we thought about.  The kids.  Work.  My writing.  Just chatting.  No "discussions".

It was nice.

I think we both had a good time.

We loved our inn keeper, Jenny, (by the way - small world moment here - after I booked with Jenny, I was looking on-line at reviews and things and found one from a friend of mine from church - who it turned out had been friends with Jenny since kindergarten!)  Rainman and I  decided Jenny had a very interesting, adventurous life.  Plus, she was super fun and super sweet.

She is also a caterer and has had some cool clients.

How you christen a room when you have been  married for 19 this....LOL!

Jenny left us yummy chocolate cake for our anniversary.  The frosting was like my mom's chocolate frosting.  That thick kind that hardens.   Yummmmmm......

The bathroom was spectacular.  Although it took Rainman a minute to figure out how to flush the toilet.  Apparently I have been in a lot more old houses than him because I coached him through what to look for from the hallway!

I was so excited about getting into this tub.  So excited.....

.....but, I was too tall for it to be comfortable.  I ended up having my knees up in my face, but, if you were a shorter person than would have been fantastic!

There was even a music room, which, if we had had more time, I would have sat down and played the piano for a bit.

We sat outside on the porch for a bit.  It had a comfy love seat and this cool lighting.

Jenny served us a beautiful and delicious breakfast, but apparently I am showing my age again, because I just.... ate it when it came.....and didn't remember that I should have taken a picture of it until I was almost done.  It was far less pretty then.  So, use your imagination....

Jenny even sat with us for a bit and chatted.  We were in a hurry to get home because we had obligations and children waiting for us.  But, it was good.  It was really nice, just a bit more rushed than I would have liked.

If you are ever south of Atlanta, near Barnesville....check out the Rumble Seat Bed and Breakfast and say hi to Jenny.  Tell her I sent you.  She is awesome!

On a side note:  Remember she is a caterer too and she also does cooking classes and not just regular, old cooking classes...check this out...

...she also does destination classes.  Last year, she took a group to Tuscany for a week.  See?  Fun, adventurous life.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Love Is.....

Today is my 19th wedding anniversary to Rainman.  We snuck away for a miniscule amount of I am reposting this article I wrote back in February about what love actually is....

Remember that comic strip from the 70’s, Love Is…..? They had the little naked people extolling little “love” snippets of wisdom. Remember that one? That was my first introduction to thinking about love. I remember reading that comic strip, feeling slightly creeped out that they were naked, but also feeling wishful that someday that would be me….in love. (Insert breathy sigh here…..)
I was a voracious reader when I was in high school. I think my mom would haul me back and forth to the library every Saturday morning for a new stash of books (I will have to ask her if I am remembering that right). I read a lot of things. I read Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, but, I also read a LOT of Harlequin Romances. They were pretty innocent back then. No heaving bosoms or anything. In lots of those, the couple would fight through the whole book and finally realize on the last few pages that they were meant for each other! Or, the heroine would be a young innocent 19 or 20 year old with her first job, of course, as a secretary who knew shorthand, and the hero would be the rich, foreign businessman that would boss her around for the whole book and then, finally, on the last few pages start being nice, because he realized he was in love.
I am not sure if mom knew that I was reading romances or not. I may have hidden those ones between the other, more scholarly looking books. But, my thought process on what the man/woman relationship should be, was being formed. Yes, by my parents and others I knew in real life, but, also every t.v. show I watched, and every book that I read. Let me tell you, the thoughts that were being formed were creating a very unrealistic idea of romantic love. Very unrealistic.
desperately wanted to be in love. To be loved. Of course, he would be handsome and rich. Of course, he would take me on whirlwind adventures and buy me things. Of course, we wouldn’t argue (even the young, naive me knew that wasn’t what ideal couples did!) Of course, he wouldn’t ever be gross or rude.
And, of course, I didn’t get asked out in high school.
I pretended that it didn’t bother me and kept busy with….everything I could. But, I was totally bummed out and felt like a loser. Wanting to have a boyfriend pretty much consumed my every waking thought.  Uggg, when I think of the time and opportunities I wasted on the pursuit of….love/boys.
Ahhhh, the foolishness of youth.
As someone who has come out the other side and survived numerous bad relationships from my first boyfriend, as a freshman in college, who was a pastoral student who didn’t like the attention I got when I sang and totally and completely broke my heart. To the pot smoking biker, with the wallet chained to his pants. To the, pretty sure he was slightly corrupt, police officer, that was 18 years my senior (Want to be a little creeped out? He was fighting in Vietnam the year I was born.) To the very bad, very brief, very unhealthy first marriage. I feel like I know a thing or two about love now. Real love.
I definitely feel like I know the difference between the important things and the not so important things now, when it comes to love. Things that teenage me, or even young 20’s me, wouldn’t have understood….or, would have even thought about.
Important things like:
Looks really aren’t that important. The man you fall in love with might have really gross feet. You will probably gain weight after having children. The man you fall in love with won’t care at all about how much you gained or how long you keep the baby weight. He really, really won’t.
Sadly, the lessons I learned about love, came from the failures. They were heart breaking, gut wrenching, and even downright stupid ways to learn. My hope is that somehow I can pass along these lessons to my children, so they don’t have to learn the hard way, like I did. Unrealistic? Maybe. But a mom can hope, can’t she?
I learned about someone truly loving me for me, not the package, by being married to someone who was all about the package. I won’t go into detail about that marriage, but, he seemed to love me (or be kind to me) only if I kept the house clean, and washed the dishes when he thought they should be washed. He hid food from me…for, in his own words, “my own good”, because he wanted me to “look like the woman he married”. The tall, slim beauty pageant blonde he was proud to be seen with. We got divorced.
I am still a little ashamed to be a divorced woman. That was absolutely not part of my plan for romantic love or my life. But, I am. It is what it is.
But, I learned.
Picture 1
I am happily married now, to Rainman. Someone who, much to my children’s embarrassment, is “all over me” size 8 or size 22….because….he loves ME….even when there are dirty dishes piled on every available inch of counter space, and when there is laundry, toys, and school projects strewn all over the living room.
Rainman really and truly loves me…for…me.
I want my children to learn from my many, many mistakes. I want them to know what is important in love and in life. I want them to know that boring is good. You don’t need drama, or even “chemistry” to be happy in love.
I didn’t think Rainman was cute on our first date, but, we closed down Baker’s Square that night, because we couldn’t stop talking. I didn’t like the way he was dressed. He had what I jokingly refer to as “anchorman hair”. I didn’t like the fact that he was Catholic. Since I didn’t even think he was cute, he and I certainly didn’t have any of the oft touted “chemistry” that everyone says is so crucial to a relationship. But, did you catch the part about us closing down Baker’s Square because we couldn’t stop talking?
Guess what? I think he is super cute now. We have had 9 pregnancies with 6 children to show for it, in our 18 years of marriage. Those children are in an almost constant state of embarrassment from us being so “into” each other. So, guess how our “chemistry” is now?
Picture 2
Rainman isn’t romantic. Never has been. Never will be.  I have survived. (Here is my dirty little secret….I am not really the right kind of girl to be on the receiving end of romantic gestures either. I roll my eyes at flowers, jewelry and mushy sentiments being expressed. So, I guess we were meant to be. LOL)
Rainman isn’t a lot of things. He isn’t selfish. He isn’t picky. He isn’t concerned about how I look.
Love Isn’t…..
Love Isn’t…..flowery words and gifts.
Love Isn’t…..romance.
Love Isn’t…..only for the good looking, rich people.
Love Isn’t….. going to stop bad things from happening to you. They will.

I want my kids to know that you will have days where you wake up and say, “Who is this person I married?” You might even say, “Why did I marry this person?”
I also want them to know this very important thing:
You will not always like the person you married.
That one shocked me. Scared me, even. Nobody told me that one (they didn’t tell me about morning breath and kissing either). But, once I figured it out for myself, I could scroll back through memories of couples that I have known – my parents included – and realize that it was true. It did not mean that I had made a horrible mistake in marrying Rainman. It certainly didn’t mean that I should cut my losses and start over with someone else. It was normal. It would pass. I would once again like, and fall in love with this super nice, and yes, slightly annoying, man.
Love Is…
Love Is…..your husband making sure you have a full tank of gas.
Love Is…..your husband going to the grocery store…so you don’t have to.
Love Is…..watching your husband make your kids giggle…..every single day.
Love Is…..being with someone who isn’t tied up with image….yours or his own.
Love Is…..your husband giving YOU a massage, even though you are a massage therapist.
Picture 3
Sometimes, love does NOT come in the package or the way you envisioned, (sometimes it is a size 22 – me, sometimes it is attached to a person with gross toenails – Rainman), but it can be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Rainman and I make absolutely no sense on paper, but we are awesome in real life. Boring, but awesome!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Not Just a Sunday Thing - Week 2

How did your week go? Were you able to take your first 5 minutes and spend them with God?  Were you able to make your faith and Christianity Not Just a Sunday Thing?

Want to know how I did?

Well, day 1....was a total bomb.

Yes, that is right.  Monday - the day after I made my big pronouncement about the importance of spending the first 5 minutes of my day with God - I totally forgot.


I just got wound up with my life and my people and my To Do list and...I just forgot.

Until a friend of mine, texted me and thanked me for my post and shared with me that she had started her day with Jesus and how awesome it was.

Uggg.....can you even believe it?

Don't answer that.

Tuesday was much better.  I actually, successfully got up before everyone in my house and was able to sit down with my coffee and spend some quiet time...just praying and talking to God.

I may or may not have starting my morning prayer time with the words, "Are you there, God?  It's me...Kayla...."

Out of 6 days, probably 4 of them were pretty much just what I had pictured in my head in my first post.

Really and  truly, just sitting in my Archie Bunker chair in the living room, in the still dark outside, wee small hours of the morning, with my mug of hot coffee, praying and spending time with God.

The other 2 or so,  didn't happen like I had pictured - either little people got up at the same time as me, which threw me off and got my mind running around or I just let myself get busy right away and didn't start with God.

I definitely noticed a difference in my days.

Care to hazard a guess as to which ones just went better?

The days that I started with God were just as busy as usual, but I found myself having little moments throughout my day that I had to mentally pause and notice.

Little moments of joy or laughter.  Moments where I had to just stop and laugh at something the kids said or did.  I couldn't stop the joy from bubbling over and out into the world.

(that just reminded me of this canvas L-girl did with an Audrey Hepburn quote)

Not that I wouldn't have noticed those funny things on a non-prayer day, but I had moments where I actually threw my head back and laughed (then thought in my head - wow, I am really enjoying this moment).  I am not sure if I am making any sense to you, but, to me, it makes sense.  Ha!

I feel like on the days that I started with God, my focus and perspective was where it was supposed to be...yes, I still had to do all the crap that was waiting for me...but, I had the underlying sense that the people and those..moments....were really the important things.

Not sure if I am explaining myself well or not.  It was just a subtle, internal focus change that seemed to make all the difference in the world.

So, I am going to take the hint and continue with my first 5 with/for God thingie this week.  Anyone else want to join me?  I wouldn't mind having someone else to nudge me back to where I am supposed to be when I let everything else crowd in and take know?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Senior Year for D-man

D-man is a senior this year.  I can hardly believe it.  Really.  It went fast.

He is such a nice, sweet guy.  He has a sweet girlfriend.

He really, really is a nice guy.  I saw more of his nice/sweet side while we were on vacation than I do on a typical day around here though. (but, let's be honest, he could probably say the same thing about me too)

We are busy at home.  We are all going our own way, managing our own To Do lists and people get cranky.

He has had a few favorite colleges picked out for a while now.  He has applied at 2 of them, so far, and heard back from one.  The University of Alabama has accepted and offered 2/3 of his out of state tuition - which comes out to like $17,500 or something ridiculous like that!  Translation:  It is an expensive school.

He is very close to having a 4.0 GPA for his high school years.  Want to know why he doesn't actually have one?

Freshman year - homeschool - French class - with his mother as his teacher.

Yup, me.  I am the reason that he doesn't have a 4.0 GPA.  Because of "me" he only has 3.97 or something like that....because I gave him an 89.  But, I will say it was definitely a fair grade.  He wasn't trying that hard and he didn't care.  I kept warning him, but, I think he was really thinking that I wouldn't actually give him a B....but I did....and now, just like everyone warned has come back to haunt him.

Okay, "haunt" might be too big of a word, but you know what I mean.  He blames me for his lack of a 4.0.

 I blame him.

We shall see if it causes any problems, I guess.

D-man is a really smart guy, but both Rainman and I have been sensing that he doesn't really get how much college is going to cost....even if he gets the Hope or Zell Miller tuition scholarships for Georgia residents.  Tuition is the cheapest part of heading off to college.  And, none of us want him to have to take out many...if any....student loans....that will be with him for years and years after he graduates.

I have tried talking to him about money and his plans.  He proclaims that he is working and saving and everything will be fine.  But, then he buys some more Twenty One Pilots merchandise or goes out to eat again.....and Rainman and I wonder.

So, I thought I would put it in black and white for him.  I made a spreadsheet with his colleges of choice and put in all the data that I could find about true cost of attendance, I factored in expected or offered scholarships and came up with the dollar amount left to cover....and then divided that into 9 months to show him how much money he was going to need to come up with every month.

For every school, if he doesn't get any more scholarship options, it boiled down to him needing close to $2,000 a month.  Crazy money.

He wasn't phased at all and said something about it being less than he had thought.

So, my little spreadsheet idea may have backfired.  I am trying to do that parenting thing where you try to suggest and guide, but then stand back and hope that things go well for them when they really pick their path. is hard.

On a totally fun note,  D-man thinks he wants to be a pharmacist and when he took his ACT and SAT this last year marked that somewhere on there, so he is being sent college stuff almost everyday.

This one was my favorite!

They sent an actual pill bottle filled with information through the mail....just like this, no envelope or anything..  Oh and check this out!

Can you read those "warnings"?  LOL

I almost want him to go to this school just because this was so clever.  Really.

Except that it is really far away from, nevermind.