Saturday, August 30, 2008

One Syllable Too Many


Apparently I have the uncanny ability to cuss in Spanish. Actually I can cuss and "talk dirty" just with one syllable. "America's Got Talent" here I come.

I was out for a "Girl's Night Out" with some, well, girls, and we were visiting a local Mexican restaurant. I knew exactly what I wanted to order, but I was late arriving, and the menus had already been taken away.

I knew that I wanted chimichangas, and I knew that on their menu they were in the appetizer section. I also knew that they are smaller than your typical chimichanga. With all of my Spanish speaking expertise I knew that for all things smaller than normal you add a "ita" at the end of the word. For instance, chiquita, is a small or young girl. I think.

Since I was ordering small chimichangas, I placed my order, yet put a "ga" and a "dita" or something that made the waiter's face turn bright red. According to my girlfriend I ordered a small amount of dirty "love making" and a lot of it. Oops.

I was mortified and tried to apologize to the waiter but he took off away from our table at lightning speed. I imagine that he could wait to rush back to the kitchen and tell his coworkers about my extra syllables and dirty mouth. They were probably having a good laugh at my expense.

From now on I will not try to speak any Spanish. It just gets me into trouble.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Super Nanny


I love watching Super Nanny. I still watch the old episodes because I have not seen all of them during the regular season. Every time I watch, and my 12 year old son usually watches with me, I cry. I don't sob so that he turns and asks, "What's wrong mom?" but I get a lump in my throat and force back the tears.

I do not cry because I am sentimental or sad, I cry because I can relate, with every bone in my body.

I relate to the fact that parenting is gosh darn hard. I relate to crayon marks on the walls of the homes. I relate to being lazy and letting someone stay up late. I relate to not being so fun at home all of the time because I am too tired or would rather do something else than sit and watch Oswald.

I relate to crying because disciplining children is a lot of work. I relate to my husband and I needing more alone time. I relate to not following through on rules or disciplinary threats. I relate to kids that don't eat everything you put on their plates.

I get it. I can relate.

My kids don't hit me when I ask them to do something and generally stay on their "spot" for a time out instead of wandering away seventeen times like the kids on television. My kids are great about going to bed, staying in bed, and sleeping in their own beds, and for that I am grateful. My kids don't throw food or smear marker colors on the hallway walls, but they do have their moments when the chaos is overwhelming. They shout, argue, and disagree on a regular occasion.

Being a mom is tough. Being a good mom is tougher. Being a good mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and co-worker is nearly impossible - without God. How do people function without God? For me, it is impossible.

I get the stress and frustration. I feel for moms all over the world. I know how hard it can be. That's why I cry.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Cubical Life


I have never done time in a cubical. As a school teacher the classroom was always my office. As an author my office is my kitchen counter, the dining room, my bedroom, and everything in between.

Working in a cubical is taking some getting used to. I cannot see anyone from where I am sitting, but I can hear everything.

I know all about the life of those around me yet I cannot tell you their name. I know what they do all day at work, but have no idea where they live.

I know that one girl isn't good with directions and likes to saunter around visiting with people. Another guy wears headphones which probably soothe him with music to drown out the silence.

The older gentlemen down the way just had his wife visit him with their two twin granddaughters. They were going shopping and getting some lunch.

Another guy calls someone honey, but I don't know who that is, and the young guy on the other side and down a bit likes to eat Hot Pockets for lunch.

I keep to myself, ducking inside a empty "real" office to hold my phone conversations. I'm quiet yet restless while I type and read. I am next to two empty cubicles and at the end of my row is an empty "board room." People smile if they have to pass by but no one ever introduces themselves.

Tomorrow I am going to make some new friends. Instead of just them asking random questions like. "Do you know who is preaching on Sunday? or What is the name of the printer in this area?" I will start with, "Hi, I'm Linda. I work with regional campus launches. What is your name?" I think that is more friendly than just pretending that I am an introverted soul who doesn't ask questions, is non-relational, and quiet. Tomorrow I will venture out of my cubical and become more involved with office life.

Wish me luck. As if luck has anything to do with, well, anything.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nothing Sacred

My bedroom used to be semi-sacred. Not that I lock the door when I exit and use a special key to enter, but I like to fool myself into thinking that there are enough other rooms in the house to accommodate people that everyone does not need to be in my room. I don’t consider it an extension to our living room, but evidently I don’t know much.

The other day I came home and found not only three of my children huddled around the computer in my bed room, but three neighbor kids sitting on my bed watching television as if it were a public couch for use by any and all wandering bodies. My children had offered everyone snacks, how hospitable, so, in addition to bodies, those bodies were chewing food and littering my carpet with crumbs. This was no fault of the neighbor kids. There were obviously invited to relax and unwind in my bedroom.

I wasn’t pleased with the situation and thought to myself, “What is the likelihood that anyone else on my street has six children inside their bedroom?” I’m pretty sure that my bedroom is the only one within a five mile radius where children come and go as they please, bouncing on the bed, sitting in the chair, sharing snacks, and playing the computer as if the room were a family room for any and everyone. Arg!

I kicked everyone out immediately and mentioned to my own children that I would appreciate them using other rooms in the house to watch television and play the computer. I’m not too sure that I used the word, “appreciate.”

Next time I leave the house for any reason and leave a babysitter in charge, I’ll be sure to mention the fact that my bedroom is off limits. I might even decide to lock the door. However, in that case I couldn’t even get into my room. It’s a guessing game when it comes to unlocking a door with just a deep hole in the knob. I might have to resort to yellow caution tape.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Backpack Blues


I had no idea that shopping for a backpack could bring so much agony. Gone are the days of grabbing a Disney themed backpack or something plain with a few fun key chains dangling from the zipper pull for added zeal.

My middle mister has spent all summer hanging out with bigger boys, my twelve year old and his friends, so he has assumed the identity of a twelve year old boy with a seven year old body. Rarely does anything that is fit for a seven year old appeal to him including Disney themed backpacks or any camouflage model from Old Navy.

While my biggest mister and his friends are going for shock value this year at school, he has opted for a "Camp Rock" backpack that will surely fall apart within the first week of school along with his "High School Musical" lunch box. Although my middle mister idolizes the big one, there is no way he is getting a "High School Musical" anything.

Yesterday during our grueling day of uniform shopping and haircuts, my middle mister found the backpack of his dreams. Since the price tag read $41.00 he got the thumbs down and pouted for a good half hour. Also, the backpack was fit for a college student and hung down past his buns when the straps were set at the smallest length.

Today we must find the perfect backpack with the perfect price tag, otherwise, some seven year old is going to be stuck with his last years model or one with "Dora the Explorer." Wouldn't that be disgraceful?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday Service

I cannot remember the last time that our family attended church services on Sunday morning. Ever since our church introduced the idea of a Saturday night service and encouraged its members to attend, we went ahead with the challenge and never looked back.

Attending church on Saturday has been a ritual in our family. Instead of rustling the four kids up in the a.m. and rushing through breakfast, we leave the house at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night after snacks, showers, and freshly gelled hair, and journey to church.

We are a regular feature on Saturday nights at Saddleback Church and have been for nearly 13 years. The kids see their same teachers in the Children's ministry, we sit in the same section in the Worship Center, and often encounter the same group of people, the Saturday night folks, that we do each week.

I realize that we are in the minority by attending church on Saturday night. We also attend Christmas Eve services three day prior to Christmas Eve, Easter service on a Wednesday, and Mother's Day service on Saturday. It took some getting used to, but we are now in a serious groove.

Lately, for my job, I have been visiting our regional Saddleback Church campuses on Sunday mornings. There is something very special about Sunday worship. I'm not sure if it the morning thing and starting my day off with church, or the reminiscing of tradition, and being on the exact same page as millions of Americana's across the country, it feels right.

Although our family will still attend services on Saturday night to avoid the crowds on Sunday morning, I get Sunday mornings, the ambiance and the tradition. I'm grateful for freedom of worship whether it happens on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, in a church, in a high school gymnasium, on a couch in a living room, under a tree in a park, next to a hospital room bed, at a corner booth in a coffee shop, or in a movie theater.

Church isn't about a building or a day, it is about a moment, spending time in fellowship, worshiping, diving into the Bible, and meeting with God and His people.

With so many options, we have no excuses.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good Bribe Gone Better


I don't limit myself when it comes to bribes with my children because the bribes typically console the selfish side of me.

While most people waste money on large foo-foo coffee drinks, this week I have spent $7.74 on three orders of small fries and three boxes of apple juice from Burger King.

Since I like to run in the morning before work, and my husband has already left for work, I have to leave big kids at home in order to run. Only at very desperate times do I leave the youngest home with my 12 and 14 year old. He is trouble maker and a handful for them on most occasions.

I don't appreciate getting the phone call when I am two miles from home from my biggest boy informing me that the little one is out of control. To alleviate any problems, I bribe the youngest to ride with me in the double jog stroller.

I plop his body on one side of the seats, and load the other side with his DS and games, Pirates Booty, his blanket, and a pillow.

Halfway through my run we encounter a Burger King Restaurant. I waltz in, order small fries and an apple juice, tear off the top of the bag, and settle my boy in with his juice and fries.

My son spends the last half of the jog eating french fries and drinking apple juice without a complaint.

My big kids do fine at home. The house is not on fire when I return, my youngest is happy and content, and I, for two dollars and 58 cents, have had a great run.

It's all good. It just takes a little bit of money.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Little Girl, Big World


I never knew that taking my daughter to register for high school would unleash such a pile of emotions for her.

Prior to this day, all my daughter could talk about was school. Clothes shopping, no more uniforms, new friends, high school activities, registration, and everything that goes along with attending school, however, the reality has set in and the nerves have been singed. It was all so overwhelming.

We arrived to a long line of students and their parents waiting to enter the Little Theater for orientation. The chatter was sparse as students stood anticipating what the first week of school would deliver, as the large stone walls of the surrounding buildings shot up all over the campus, ominous and cold.

We went to five different stations herding through lines like penned up cattle ending with a piece of paper that would determine the course of the first semester. P.E. third period before lunch, drama, great, Algebra and English after lunch, at the end of the day, ugh.

Homework made its way into her thoughts, classrooms with teachers unknown to either of us, upperclassmen with man voices, and girls bored with high school and ready to move on to college. P.E. uniforms, dressing out, locker issues, making it to class on time, finding someone to sit with at lunch, waking up early - all the stress came at her like an bolt of lightning.

She comes from a class of 60 students in her graduating class to an overwhelming 600. Ten times the size. I would have understood if she broke down and cried since I was on the verge of tears myself.

Our little girl who donned her "Bug's Life" purple backpack, and quickly shooed us away, armed and ready for preschool, independent and confident now has a woman's body, highlights, a cell phone, and half of her confidence has been smothered.

We'll see what happens. This school might not be the right fit. We may have to contemplate other options and that is okay. The "high school experience" isn't for everyone. It was for me, but she is not me.

Now we wait. Freshman fun night is coming up where there are more friends to meet and more to get used to. Perhaps the "first day of school jitters" will subside and the nerves with resume to normal or perhaps not. For now, that bridge has yet to be crossed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inappropriate Laughter


My daughter thought it would be funny to wait outside the bathroom door for my middle mister to exit. She laid on the ground while leaning against the door, stealth-like, while I had no idea what exactly she was doing.

As my son exited the bathroom she let out a huge growl and bolted toward him scaring him so badly that he came to where I was sitting in the kitchen, flopped onto the rug, and began crying.

My daughter was caught in a giggle she could not control. When she finally stopped laughing, she was grinning ear to ear pleased with herself in every way for scaring her little brother to the point of tears.

I wasn't happy. As I scolded her about her tactics, she couldn't stop smiling. Just the thought of watching him scream and cry was, in her eyes, hysterical. Inappropriate laughter.

Why is it funny to see other people get scared?

The next day she, and my oldest son, decided to hit each other with drumsticks from my son's Wii Rock Band game. Again, hysterical. The harder she hit him with the drumstick on his legs, and the louder he screamed, "OW!" the more boisterous the laughter. When they switched positions, the result was the same. My son would laugh uncontrollably as my daughter screamed. Inappropriate laughter.

Why is it funny to watch other people get hurt?

My family loves the show Wipeout. They laugh incessantly at other people's expense, bruising, and blood. I rarely laugh if I am watching the show. Call me crazy. I just don't think it is funny. The real humor from the show comes from the guys commentating, now they are funny.

I know that my kids aren't the only children who laugh when people get scared and when others get injured, that's what kids do. That's what adults do. I just don't understand what it is about our human nature that makes fear and injury funny. But, I don't understand a lot of things, and that is okay.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

28 Minutes


Twenty eight minutes is how long it takes me to do the following:

~Walk to the bookstore from the movie theater.
~Wait in line at the bookstore cafe' to purchase a black coffee.
~Visually locate a seat with a chair and table.
~Pour a cup of water from the pitcher on my way to the table.
~Walk to the table with my coffee, water, and computer in a bag over my shoulder.
~Approach the table and bump it slightly spilling the entire coffee contents all over the table, chair, and floor narrowly missing the student seating next to me.
~Walk back to the counter to inform the cashier of my spill, offer help in cleaning up the mess, and offer payment for a coffee refill.
~Return to the table to sop up the spilled coffee from the table while the cashier mops the floor.
~Retrieve my refilled coffee from the counter.
~Return to my table where my water was sitting to find two men who snatched my table, and moved my water to an empty table with no chairs.
~Query the men who took my table, moved my stuff, and, in a huff, leave to find another table.
~Fail in attempts to locate another table.
~Leave the building and find a table outdoors with free Wi-Fi.

THAT, is exhausting.

I am a rookie when it comes to taking my laptop out of my home and working on it somewhere else. A rookie!

From now on, I will just stay home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

See-Through


Dear Lady Walking into the Restaurant,

I need you to know that you are wearing a cream colored dress that is see-through. I know this because I can see your underwear and so can all of the members of my family. You are wearing hot pink bikini undies from Victoria Secret that say "Pink U" across the butt section.

Just to let you know, you may want to check your backside in the mirror before you leave your house. I'm sure that my family and me are not the only people who can tell you which pair of underwear you chose to wear today.

Your picture may end up in one of those fashion magazines with a black bar across your eyes. Consider yourself warned. Better yet, just wear a pair of the sunglasses pictured in this letter.

Sincerely,
~Linda

Monday, August 18, 2008

Amazing - period


Amazing is such an overused word. Food can be amazing just as easily as a sunset. However, witnessing the Civil Forum, at Saddleback Church, live, was truly amazing.

We first drove into the entrance of the church campus, past of few piles of protesters arming the sidewalks with an array of signs. We then pulled behind a long line of cars which were being checked for having the appropriate tickets.

Once we parked and walked toward the Worship Center we stood in another long line, in the sun, noticing a plethora of officers and some snipers in combat gear positioned on the roof.

When we reached the front doors our I.D. and tickets were checked on a computer. We left our cell phones and my purse in the car after strict instructions to bring nothing into the building. The next step was to get "searched" by the secret service for any guns, ammunition, bombs, cow bells, wooden sandwich boards, metal tweezers, or sharp jewelry. I got the "go ahead" signal.

We journeyed toward our seats expecting the bleachers, but still thrilled to be in the same building as John McCain and Barack Obama. When we located our seats we quickly discovered that our two seats were separated by an aisle, and one of the seats was positioned so that the person sitting in the seat could not see the stage, and had to stare at the large screen instead. There was a wall that shot up from the floor of the Worship Center blocking the view. I was bummed out to say the least.

I decided to schmooze my way around the folks sitting in the floor seats in attempts to find two "up close" instead of "way back behind a wall" seats. After all, I had thirty minutes to kill before we were going to be asked to return to our seats. I found several "A-listers" who had spectacular seats. None of them had two extras. Bummer.

I returned to our bleacher seats continuing to grumble about the location. At that moment a very wonderful person, Yazz, offered her "center" bleacher seats which had full view of the stage and all of the Civil Forum activity. Gleefully, I accepted wondering silently if I could be kind enough to do the same for someone else. Hmmmm. We sat down, but continued to anticipate something in the floor section becoming available. Nothing did.

The Forum was outstanding. Before the senators came on stage they entertained us for a bit with some music. Our friend Tim Davis sang an awesome rendition of the National Anthem which brought out a resounding applause from the audience.

Each candidate did great, McCain, in my opinion did better, and the media most definitely supports this. Everyone was nervous at the beginning both Obama and Rick Warren received a make up re-apply during the breaks. At one point during the commercial break when McCain was up front, someone from the audience yelled, "We love you John!" He laughed.

After the final handshake they held us in our seats for fifteen minutes. They needed time to exit the "official people" properly into their helicopters. We left the building at 7:20 and filed through a deluge of live broadcasts with reporters stationed on the patio. This is where my "big break" comes in. Are you ready? Three people told me that they saw my husband and I on CNN during the ending commentary from the CNN host. We were walking along the roped area which divided the media from the exiting audience. Autographs anyone?

Since my husband taped the Fox broadcast and not the CNN broadcast, I never saw it. Hopefully I will during re-broadcast. My black and white patterned dress evidently stood out for viewers.

Down the stairs which lead from the Worship Center were about twenty interviewers with cameras and microphones stopping people and asking for a response. No one stopped us.

When we finally got back to our car, cell phones, and my purse, we sat in the parking lot for quite a while. We checked our cell phones for any messages and we both had the follow message which was sent at 4:40, 20 minutes prior to "show time" from a great friend of ours. "Looking for u I have 2 seats in the front row for u." To which we replied, "Thanks for trying!"

We missed out on our front row seats next to Cindy McCain and a host of other "A-plus" listers, but we still had a blast.

What an opportunity! Quite a historical experience. America rocks! Freedom rocks!!

I love my church.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Normalacy Resumes Sunday


The hub bub around work is amazing. News channels litter the streets, signs are strategically placed informing media and visitors where to go, trees are being hoisted and lifted into place, hundreds of flowers sit in plastic pots ready to be planted, and people in the office have one thing on their minds - Saddleback's Civic Forum.

I started this job on Monday just 5 days prior to the biggest event in our church's history. The noise is exciting even though I have no specific role other than to attend the event wearing business attire and arrive two hours before "air time." I have strict instructions to not stand up and shout political slurs or protest any opinions using a cow bell and tambourine. Those get checked in at the security center.

"This is a historical event!" I told my husband when I received the tickets last night. "We need to be a part of this!" Although he said he was excited, his facial features gave me no clue.

My enthusiasm slumped as the night grew older and my worry kicked in. "Is anyone going to blow up the worship center while we are inside? Will there be plenty of security to make sure that no assassins arrive and sit behind us?"

My husband was reassuring and confidant that the Civic Forum would be well secured. The would be assassins instead will be convinced to give their life to Christ.

I am proud of my pastor and church. I'm excited to be a part of this event. My husband and I have been members of Saddleback for sixteen years and have seen it grow and change each year. I worked at Saddleback when it was just me and 20 other people in and around the office. I was there before press releases and news media. To me is is still my little church.

I am thrilled to be part of a team advancing the kingdom of God. I love going to work at a place where worship is led prior to the staff meetings, however, I'm tired. My body and family have yet to get into a groove where mom five days a week and is off work on Saturday and Monday.

Trust me though, my energy will have a resounding come back tonight while I anticipate sitting face to face, okay, with a few thousand chairs between us, with the two presidential candidates, and my pastor.

Friday, August 15, 2008

One Tooth Less


My biggest mister has fifteen teeth to lose. After second grade his tooth losing came to a screeching halt. The reason? He is a slow tooth loser. That's it.

Recently he lost a tooth. It was quite an affair after four years. He wiggled, pressed, and pulled until his tooth finally popped into his fingers. He was thrilled to be back in the tooth losing game.

After his tooth came out he handed it to me. I was quizzical and asked, "Aren't you going to to put it under your pillow?" He smirked and gave me a "sheesh" noise with his mouth as if I had just asked him, a twelve year old, to write out a Christmas list and send it to Santa Claus.

"Mom, really? I'm not putting it under my pillow." he said matter of fact.
"Don't you want any money?" I asked.
[another breathy noise followed by an eye roll]

My big boy no longer cared about the infamous tooth fairy and the money that she leaves in exchange for teeth. He has missed his window of opportunity that was mixed with fantasy and imagination, somewhere between the second and sixth grade. Sad.

They are all growing up. Eventually I won't have to leave the window open anymore for the tooth fairy to arrive and exit, however, for now, I still have a seven and five year old, with mouths filled with teeth just waiting to wiggle and escape. For them, this aging tooth fairy will keep a steady flow of one dollar bills on hand - just in case someone, who still believes in leaving teeth under pillow and waking to a one green dollar, loses a tooth.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dirty Car


It never fails. Yes, never. Every time I wash my car it rains. I avoid washing my car due to this phenomenon. It could be blazing hot with clear skies and the next day an unexpected storm comes rolling in and trickles its wetness all over my clean car leaving spot marks.

My husband and I spent the evening together washing our cars while the boys played whiffle ball, I mean argue ball, on the front lawn. We started late in the evening and literally washed until dark tying to avoid streak marks only the afternoon sun can deliver.

Our cars sparkled and I was finally at the point where I could drive somewhere without getting embarrassed by the metal filth I was driving.

The next day it rained, not buckets, not even cup fulls, but it did rain. Since it always rains after I wash my car, if I were Noah, I would know exactly when the floods were arriving. After finishing the Ark, I would wash my car.

If I were a Native American and it was drought season, I would just wash my car and the rains would come, helping to water the corn fields.

If I were getting married outdoors, my car would have to remain dirty. I couldn't take a chance on having it rain on my wedding.

If I were past my due date and pregnant with twins, I would wash my car. When the barometer drops as with a storm, babies are born by the crib fulls, or so I've heard.

I suppose I could add this talent to my "list of accomplishments." It is quite an impressive talent, no?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Hire


As of Monday, I am officially employed. I have a real job. I receive a paycheck and insurance. I work at our church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA.

I wore a skirt to work my first day and everyone else I saw had flip-flops and jeans. I need to reconsider my clothing selections. Maybe summer attire is different from Fall attire. I'll have to survey more office outfits before I dress down.

Life has changed around here. The kids aren't quite used to mom working, but do anticipate being able to do more with the added paycheck.

My new role will be Campus Launch Coordinator. We are launching seven new Saddleback campuses in and around Orange County by the year 2010. I am in charge of helping to make those new campuses happen. The campuses will operate like a regular Saddleback Church with the exception of the message. The message will be a video, taped from our main campus, and will be delayed one week. I'm sure that this is all riveting information, right?

Since my supervisor is still on vacation, today I will be spending my hours reading. I need to read the book The Multi-site Church Revolution. I'm considering sitting my children down in a circle and having them listen to the first three chapters. Since it is not a picture book, my hope is that they will all fall into a deep sleep, then I can finish the book on my own while they snooze.

So, after six years, I am back in the work place. I'm excited. I need to learn how to love a cubical instead of a classroom like I am used to.

I wish that school started Monday.

And, by the way, that is not a photo of my cubical. I will post one when I "move in."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bulk Up


I decided to try out the new grocery store in town called "Sprouts Food Store." From the get go I thought that it was of the "Whole Foods" variety and assumed that it was just another overpriced organic health food store. You know the type. They sell chicken that is hand fed with grain that has been organically grown and rinsed with filtered spring water. The chickens live in a lavish hotels with room service, and beautiful women stroke their feathery bodies with handmade wooden combs.

When the chickens die of natural causes at the age of fifteen, they are sold to organic food stores where they then charge the customer $25.00 for a pound of fresh chicken. I can't afford chicken of that variety.

Sprouts Food Store was nothing like that. Their produce was inexpensive and looked great, and they had normal priced chicken and beef. The best section of the store was the "bulk food" department. The only time I have ever bought in bulk is when I purchased gummy worms and snack mix from the regular grocery store.

This bulk department was phenomenal. I strolled up and down the aisles carefully reading the labels of the bins which offered everything from trail mix to flax seed. What exactly does one do with a pound of flax seed? I decided to purchase some granola and a few scoops of sliced almonds. I like to put the almonds in my yogurt with sliced bananas.

Each aisle had a sign which read: "If you would like to sample something, please ask." I figured this was a simple request. It most certainly would deter people from grazing the bins for hours and leaving the store "bulked up" without spending a dime.

At one point I caught a small boy reaching inside the bin of cashews. The bin was the perfect height for him to lift up the lid and dip in his hand. On his second scoop and after shoving the contents, I mean stealing the contents and shoving them into his mouth, he looked up and saw my glare. He shut the lid and continued his chewing.

His mother was deliberately not paying attention in hopes I assume, of keeping her children occupied and content while she searched for other grocery items. His last dip was into the bin of gummy bears. Halfheartedly, his mother told him to move on and step away from the bin. I glared once more and he ran to his mother's side. I was not about to watch him steal another handful of food.

Another group of three people were snacking on some dried fruit. Why is it that people assume it right and acceptable to peruse the bin aisle, plucking samples at will? One or two is fine, but handfuls and multiple selections? Where are the "bin police" when you need them to write up a citation?

I left the store with plenty of summer fruit, some extra lean hamburger meat, and two chicken and apple sausages. My almonds were only $1.20, and the granola I bought to try in a bowl filled with skim milk was only $.68.

While I scored at Sprouts, some boy out there is skipping dinner. It just so happens that he isn't very hungry. Apparently he is all bulked up on cashews, gummy bears, and whatever else escaped my glare.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Beat Must Not Go On

The other night we took our family to meet some friends at one of those outdoor food courts. The center had an array of eateries, and nestled in the middle of the court were a bunch of tables. Toward the back was a water fountain.

The fountain had a flat area where the water shoots up from the ground and children, who are exited about going home in wet clothes, can walk over the shooting water attempting to not get wet, or deliberately stand over the water in hopes of getting wet.

I am now acutely familiar with how heavy a child can get when they are wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and shoes, which are completely soaked, and sporting a tummy filled with food. It feels as though they weigh twice as much as they do when the are hungry and dry. Evidently the shooting water sprouting from the cement below was irresistible, even without a bathing suit.

A local band played music in the table area while children ran around, darting to the fountain and back to the tables for a quick bite of their food.

Since we were meeting some friends there that I had not seen in a while, I was anxious to talk with them. Upon deciding what to have for dinner, it became apparent that I would not be holding any type of legitimate conversation with anyone.

The band's sound system was turned up loud enough to stifle any conversation hoping to take place. This was very annoying. If the music had been good I would have saved some conversation for the "breaks" and enjoyed the music altogether, however, this was not the case.

My girlfriends and I complained relentlessly about how frustrating it was that we could not hear each other talk, let alone, hear ourselves think. When we asked the man selling boxes of CD's which no one was purchasing, to have the band turn the music down a notch or two, he agreed, but did nothing with the request. The bad music remained.

For two hours we screamed across the tables hoping that our words would be heard and that the band would stop playing. We anticipated the nine o'clock hour when the band would exit the stage area and we could resume to a normal level of conversation. Unfortunately, they played until 9:30, and by then we were too drained from shouting to reengage each other in a moderate voice level.

In a nutshell, the band sucked. My ears were ringing, my food got cold, and my children were soaking wet. Next time I'll bring the portable Karaoke machine and use the attached microphone in conversation. That way I won't have to shout. I will also bring some towels. Squirting water appears to be unavoidable no matter what the thermostat reads.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dinner is Served


I am partial to dinner. Not necessarily dinner fare, I can eat eggs and bacon for dinner or grilled cheese sandwiches, it is the timing of dinner that I enjoy.

Breakfast it typically a bar and coffee followed by more coffee, and lunch is rarely a meal that is enjoyed while sitting with the family.

Dinner however, is something that I anticipate with joy. I know that we will usually sit as a family and talk about our day, while eating a meal that has been cooked by either me or my husband, and on some occasions, been picked up from one of our favorite eateries. My husband is home to buffer the conversation spinning around SpongeBob episodes or Slip N' Slide tricks and help with children needing attention.

The day is winding down by the time dinner arrives, and relaxation is beginning, but the very best part about dinner is that it is always followed by dessert, and two young boys who don't nap anymore, with a lot of energy, getting ready for bed.

I love sleeping children - and dessert.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Smoothies For Sale


I have, sitting in my freezer, three bags of frozen strawberries. I stocked up on them since my daughter, for the past three weeks, has awoke from her slumber and asked if I could make her a smoothie using bananas and strawberries. I have become quite the smoothie maker and have saved myself a $4.00 purchase from Juice It Up!

Since I take the fresh bananas which are on the verge of turning brown, and chop them into sections and freeze them, I also have a full stock of frozen bananas for smoothie concoctions.

Suddenly, and without any warning, my daughter has decided that she no longer wants me to make her a smoothie for breakfast. She has moved to the old stand by: a bowl of cereal.

So, sitting in my freezer are three bags of frozen strawberries and three bags of frozen bananas.

Perhaps instead of a lemonade sale on the corner of the street today, my kids can sell smoothies. I can only imagine the revenue! At two bucks a cup, we should be able to have dinner out this evening. What a plan!

BTW, here is my recipe:
4 oz apple juice
2 oz orange juice
5 frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
6 ice cubes
1 tub vanilla yogurt

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Gap


The five year gap between my 12 and 7 year old is ever widening. If it was a crack before, it has suddenly become a gully.

While my biggest boy has crossed over to the subject of girls, talking with them on the phone, and having friends text message female friends since he doesn't have his own phone, my middle mister is trying to hold his own in the conversation by talking about pizza and Guitar Hero. In his attempts to join in the talk between my biggest boy and his two friends he tosses elementary pieces of sentences into the dialog hoping that someone will grab hold of what he is saying and allow his words to become involved. "Did you know that Sam got Guitar Hero on her DS?" No one engages his question. "Brandon, remember when we had pizza last night?" No response.

The big boys stuck in a tar pit of wondering what the girls are up to and have no concept of any other car conversaions taking place. They are sinking into a pool of sixth grade girls with sweet words, and grand intentions of spending the school year in deep "like" with someone of the opposite sex.

The gully was inevitable - bound to happen eventually.

Thankfully all is not lost. On the baseball field the conversations merge between boy and pre-teen and the gully returns to a cracks width. They both love baseball and still share that common bond.

While my youngest only has one girl in his life, me, my biggest mister now has two. Me, and the young girl who calls the house asking, "Is Zack there?"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Braces-Free


No more visits to the orthodontist.
No more gunk stuck everywhere.
No more sipping soda through a straw.
No more brushing and teeth cleaning in the girl's bathroom at school.
No more smiles with lips only and no teeth.
No more canker sores and mouth cuts from metal.
No more swollen gums.
No more payments to Dr. James Meeks

Oh happy day!!! My girl is braces-free.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Makes You Tired?

When someone tells you that they are exhausted you automatically assume that they have had a busy day of watching children, got up early, have worked a full time job somewhere, have narcolepsy, or have a thyroid condition, have slept on the floor for the past week with no pillow, work the graveyard shift at the tow yard, have insomnia, let their twelve cats take over the bed, or perhaps, just finished a triathalon.

Evidently, I have trouble staying awake after getting my hair done, combined with lunch with my daughter, and shopping. Whew, what a day.

I am also exhausted after spending the day on the beach even when my children are happily entertained and I actually have the opportunity to relax. That sun just saps the energy right out of me.

How in the world does relaxing make me tired?

When my daughter sits home all day doing nothing, she constantly complains about how tired she is. Strange.

Why does sitting make her tired?

Wait, now that I think about it I do have a thyroid problem, woke up at 2:30 a.m. to a small body laying beside mine, woke again at 6:30 to turn on Sponge Bob for another child, had a carb laden lunch, and read a glossy magazine at the hair salon. Reading also makes me tired, but I learn so much.

Did you know that Advil helps with sunburn, and Gwen Stefani is having another baby at any moment? You know what that means? Yep, stretch marks. Oh, and Will Smith was in Hawaii with his family and Cheryl Crow dresses her baby in seersucker shorts. When did Sheryl Crow have a baby? Is there a dad? I think it is against the law in Hollywood to have a baby when you are married. You have to be unwed, or 15. Or, unwed and 15.

By the way, Hollywood is gross. Really. I've been there. Beverly Hills is nice, I worked there one day. Yes, for one day, in a restaurant. That is another blog.

You have just experienced a random act of blogging, and posting with no rhyme or reason. Typically this is not how I roll, except for now. I'm too tired to focus on one subject. I hope that you didn't get a whiplash.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Soon We Forget

My seven year old has a problem. He has an unappeasable appetite for doing everything that his brother does. His brother is twelve.

My seven year old had a spectacular day. After hanging out with his two best friends at VBS, and having a blast, we drove through McDonald's for a healthy round of chicken nuggets and french fries. (side note: McDonald's no longer offers ranch dressing with the nuggets. You have to pay $.27 if you want ranch dressing. I purchased 12 pieces of chicken and could not get one single ranch dressing. The manager agreed that it was a dumb rule, but none the less a rule. The cashier guy stuck two in my bag when the manager left. Good boy.)

After lunch we went to Toys R Us. Hold your applause, it gets even better. My middle mister and his big brother put their money together to purchase a new Wii game, Power Pros 2008. My littlest mister had a five dollar bill that was creating a disturbance in his pocket so he purchased a cap gun. It was $.50. With that price tag, I agreed to buy the other two boys a cap gun. Generous, hunh?

To enhance an already wonderful day, my middle mister came home from the toy store and played several rounds on the Wii with his big brother, and shot off two rounds with the cap gun. Two of my biggest mister's friends came over for dinner and played with the boys past dark. No seven year old should have that much fun.

One of the moms, took all of the big boys, and my middle mister to Target and then on the way home bought everyone a Frostie at Wendy's. Can you say spectacular day with big boys?

It just wasn't enough. When my twelve year old got invited to spend the night at one of the friend's homes, my seven year old cried because he could not go along with them. The entire day, and all of it's glory, was lost to one sad moment in a pool filled to the brim with great moments.

"Did you already forget all the great things that you got to do today just because you couldn't spend the night Zack's friend's house?" My husband questioned.

What a lesson.

Do I focus on the trial so much that I lose sight of God's blessing within the trial? Do I get hung up on the bad moments and forget about the pool filled, brimming with great moments? Don't I get frustrated about the sticky lessons life throws and ignore the sweet victories which God so graciously provides? Yes, yes I do. However, I will try harder now, to savor the good and to not forget. After all, I'm not seven. I just act like it every once in a while.

How great is our God? Pretty great.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Secrets


My youngest was unable to fall asleep quickly last night. He claimed that he was too hot even though he had a oscillating fan blowing on his body, and the air conditioner was on. He is brilliant at excuses.

I knew that my boy was tired, and I also knew that he was going to need an extra 10 minutes of tickling to settle down his manic brain.

When ever he gets wound up, like he was last night, he will stop me in the dark of his bedroom, and ask me some random question which often pertains to something he heard or witnessed earlier in the day which I have completely forgotten about. If he sees a "lost dog" sign, he will ask what I think happened to the dog or if I think that the people found the dog yet. If he has been with friends, he will often tell me something that happened at their house that is generally uneventfully, but needed to be shared.

Last night he crept out of his bedroom just seconds after I had given him some water, prayed with him, tickled his back, and fixed his blankie perfectly over his body. I ushered him back to bed and told him that he needs to stay in bed. After a few minutes he started in with a story.

"When I was at [a neighbor's] house [their mom] said that they are not allowed tell any secrets in their house. What does that mean?"

I tried to explain to no avail. He kept on with questions until he was almost wide awake again. I had to tickle his back for a full fifteen minutes until he stopped wiggling and question asking.

As for our house, we do have some secrets. For instance, I doubt that the neighbors are aware that I can perform a better head stand than my biggest boy, that I brush my teeth in the shower, or that I have a set of dumbbells under my bed in case of a home invasion. Of course, those are my little secrets, unless they read this blog post, then my secret will be revealed.

Good Love


My youngest doesn't talk, he yells. Even if he has some great information to share as opposed to being angry, he shouts. I could be in the next room over, ten feet from his face, and he yells, "Mooooom!!!!."

The other day he was ascending from the bottom of the stairs, yelling my name. Before I could echo back the affirming, "Yes?" he was already into the second shout of, "Mom!" When he reached the top of the stairs and saw me standing, I was wearing my angry eyes. He was smiling.

"Please don't continue yelling out my named after I say 'what'" I tell him as he approaches my side. We have had this conversation before, so he knows that it makes me nutty when he shouts my name from anywhere in the house.

"I just wanted to say 'I love you.'"
"I love you too, but you don't have to yell."
"Well I love you, I love you, I love you."

His "I love you's" continued for about thirty more times and for the next three minutes as he walked around the house. The rest of us giggled and he smiled while continuing in his scratchy, hoarse voice from "woo hooing" at the X-Games then my middle mister spoke up. "Hey, what about me?"

"Well, I love you, but you only get one."

Love is good.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Am I a Bother?

Things that bother me:

1. Exiting the shower and stepping in sand
2. Receiving cold bread at a restaurant
3. Receiving cold butter with cold bread at a restaurant
4. People who put a note on my car that says, "Please don't park here!! Thank you!!! (aren't the streets public areas?)
5. Getting the evil eye when I don't bring in my own shopping bags to the grocery store.
6. Body lotion that smells a little like cigarette butts, unintentionally I'm sure
7. Stale chips
8. Not wining on the "scratch off" lottery tickets
9. Seaweed in my bathing suit
10. Twice baked potatoes that are frozen in the middle after cooking for 30 minutes
11. Dog smell (and I love dogs)
12. Toilets that don't flush correctly
13. Dirty feet and fingernails on kids
14. Dull knives
15. Empty soap dispensers in a public restroom

I'm curious, what bothers you?

Friday, August 1, 2008

X-Games Mania



I never thought that I would be attending the X-Games with my family. That is something that dads do with their children while mom stays home and enjoys the quiet. However, since one of the participants is someone that we all know, and are close to his family, we were excited to attend.

Since I do not know what one wears to the X-Games, I attempted the first shirt in the picture and got the thumbs down from my husband. Too dressy. When I put on the tank top, I got the A-OK. Problem solved. I probably should have been wearing a bandanna headband, metal spiked bracelets, and black studded boots, but I am fresh out of those accessories, oh, and the local tattoo parlour doesn't open until midnight. Whew!

Our friend Kyle Loza won the X-Games gold metal which was spectacular. The guy is on fire for God and is a great witness in an otherwise dark environment.


What fun! I cannot imagine doing what those X-Games athletes do. We had a great family bonding experience. (P.S. When I tried to fix the "red eye" on the family photo, a black "thingy" appeared on the nose of my husband. We cannot get rid of it now...uggg! I suck at photo stuff)