Friday, July 31, 2009

Sham Wow!

My oldest son used his birthday money to purchase a Sham Wow. Yes, you read that correctly. Those advertisers must be doing something right. He was lured in by the amazing feats of the Sham Wow, and it's absorbing power. As if he ever gets into a cleaning pickle and needs to have a Sham Wow handy.

When we arrived home, he couldn't wait to open the box, and the two little kids kept begging him to let them have a Sham Wow too. They spent the next 15 minutes pouring water all over the kitchen and testing out the absorbency of the their terrific new toy. Imagine that.

At one point I got bold and poured some coffee onto the white tile in our kitchen. "Can one of you gentlemen help me clean this coffee mess before someone slips and falls?" I questioned the three of them as if I were a seasoned actress in a Sham Wow commercial. "Sure!" they blurted. The boys and their Sham Wows actually did a great job.

The Sham Wow has been tested on the dog, windshield, and patio chairs, just to name a few. It even got shoved into a bowl of water for the true test of absorbency.

My 13 year old boy just spent his own money on cleaning cloths. Infomercials work. Either that, or the Sham Wow guy is extremely persuasive. I should get him to sell my book.

Join me at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA on August 9, at 9:30 a.m. when I speak at "Chick Chat" in the Refinery Gym on Raising G-rated kids! "Kids Camp" is provided for $5.00 per child.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder

I didn’t realize that shopping for undergarments for my teenage daughter would result in so much embarrassment that a heavy dose of convincing and bribing would be required. After telling me six times that she didn’t want to go she finished with, “Can we bring one of the boys?”

Since I knew that no boy on planet Earth, unless they are under the age of two and complete clueless to what undergarments are, would step foot in a store and enter the undergarments section, I said, “Sure!” Next I turned the television to mute, and questioned the boy pile collapsed on the couch playing a game of “Smell my feet.”

“Who wants to go bra shopping at the mall?” The three boys couldn’t sit on their hands fast enough and in addition, stared directly at the ceiling so as to not make eye contact.

“Well, I guess it’s just you and me girl” I said to my daughter standing up to grab my purse. “Well I don’t want to go either,” she replied. “I hear a Chai Tea Latte calling your name” was the last chance I had to convince her, which worked. I also reminded her about all the fun were going to have trying on bras that were too big and snapping each other’s bra straps, and how we could indulge in high fat, and sugar laden snacks from the mall which can only described with words like sticky, drizzled, and oodles.

She walked slower leaving the house than a lion sneaking up on his prey, so I told her that I would purchase the undergarments for her while she visited other shops, and that I would give her an advance on her allowance so that she would have enough money to purchase some shoes that she dreams about nightly. I’m nice like that.

When we got to the mall I went directly to the store which sells her favorite undergarments as she darted off in the opposite direction. I was tempted to shout out, “I’ll be in here buying you a cute bra!” but muted my words.

To my grave disappointment the store that I visited, no longer carries undergarments. Lucky for my daughter. I left the store and met my daughter at the department store where she was drooling over the new shoe smell. She was thrilled that I was not carrying any new purchases in my arms and when I suggested that I visit the lingerie section of the store we were in currently, she walked in the opposite direction and buried her head in some bracelets and sunglasses.

I am certain that three years from now when my daughter is entering college, she will be wearing the exact same bra, whether it fits or not. It's not like I haven't tried.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Instant Night Time

What do you do when it is the middle of summer and you want the kids in bed early but they whine that it is still day time?

What do you do when the bright 6:45 p.m. sun is still streaming through the window of your boys who need to be convinced that it is very late and way past their bedtime?

Get out some duct tape and a dark table cloth and cover their window on the outside.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Barriers and Obstacles

No one likes obstacles; those barriers that keep us from entering the parking lot we need to go through, the cones placed in our lane on the highway which indicate that our lane is about to end, or the locked door that we were hoping to enter. We have a place to go, we know which direction to head into, we know how long it is going to take for us to get there, and we eliminate all ideas spinning in our head regarding the possibility of our journey being slowed or blocked due to obstacles or barriers.

As a mom of four children I encounter obstacles every time I try and leave the house with my children. Inevitably I hop into the driver’s seat, listen for the sound of four seat belts to click into place, and then back out of the garage only to throw the gear shift into park, and tend to the fact that one child his missing a sock, another left their phone on the couch, someone forgot to shut the front door, the gate to the backyard is ajar, there is a bicycle lying in the middle of the lawn, an epidemic of parched throat syndrome erupts, and, my coffee mug is sitting on the hood of the car. Because of the obstacles, we are fifteen minutes late to our destination, I am frustrated, and the joy, joy, joy, joy is not down in my heart.

Recently, our pastor taught us about “Prayers that Really Work” and that in addition to praying frequently, passionately, and specifically, we can pray, and ask God to remove obstacles. He called these prayers, bulldozer prayers, prayers that ask God to clear the way for us. This has changed the way that I pray.

Lately, I have diligently prayed that God remove the obstacles called dishes, e-mails, and television, which keep me from focusing on the things that are most important in my life like spending time with my family. I have also begun to pray for God to remove the obstacles which keep from hearing what He wants to teach me throughout my day.

Knowing these bulldozer prayers, and using them regularly, is just another way for me to be specific in my prayers, and have clearer communication with Him.

What obstacles do you need God to remove?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Either we conform to our desires to the truth or we conform the truth to our desires."

Os Guinness

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crazy Waves in So Cal

On the day that we are experiencing up to 15 foot waves, we take 15 boys to the beach for my son's 13th birthday party. I kept counting heads and praying for God's protection.

I found 5 beautiful seashells, saw 6 sea stars, thousands of muscles, a handful of oysters, 10 purple sea urchins, a multitude of hermit crabs, and a few fish, and we can home with all of the boys in one piece. Thanks God!

A great day indeed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Have a Bag of Mail

I am not proud of the fact that I have a bag of mail. I have a bag of mail that I need to tend to. I have a bag of mail because it has accumulated from the days past because I haven't had a chance to read it. The bag of mail includes magazines, bills, announcements, junk, and the ever-so-famous Penny Saver.

I keep forgetting that I have a bag of mail so the handles keep getting heavier as each day's mail gets added.

My bag of mail contains no greeting cards or checks. I know what those envelopes look like and pluck those out of the mail pile on my journey from the mailbox to the front door. Those are top priority and the rest of the mail, well, is mail bag bound.

I used to like mail, sorting it, opening it, and flipping through the advertisements. I just don't have the time anymore to commit to the investment of mail management. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Scrambled eggs, bacon, sunny side up egg, donut, pancake with buter pat, dipping pancake sticks and a bowl for chocolate syrup for the dipping sticks equals one hour for me to get stuff done without getting interrupted. Nice.

I love homemade Playdough.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pulling Teeth

I like pulling teeth, literally. My secret weapon is a dry tissue and grip.

My biggest boy never had an issue with my pulling out his loose teeth. In fact, he was excited when I finally got a good grip on his dangling tooth and removed it from his mouth. Not only was there success with removal, but the tooth fairy would inevitable bring him some cash by sunrise. Not a bad deal.

My middle mister is not as willing to allow my great pulling skills with his dangling teeth. He is stubborn, and, evidently isn't in a hurry to receive cash. This guy lets the teeth dangle for days and then complains that they bother him. He continues to ignore my offer to yank out the culprits and waits until he chews something which causes it to fall out. This can take days.

Recently his two front teeth became loose and dangly. My offer still stood and his refusal remained, except this time his excuse was that he didn't want them both to be out at the same time because he would look nerdy. He forgot that a handsome boy with two missing front teeth looks adorable.

One tooth fell out when he bit into a strawberry and the other fell out during a short visit with a hamburger. Since his adult teeth were already poking through, he never actually got the opportunity to look nerdy, or as everyone else viewed it, adorable.

The big teeth are getting settled in their new surroundings and for now, we are on a loose teeth hiatus.

I still have a six year old who has an entire mouth filled with baby teeth that will eventually need to be pulled. I hope that he appreciates my teeth pulling skills. I'm quite the expert. I'll have to wait and see, and, I may need to purchase more tissue.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Just as you don't refuel your car while it's in motion, you can't refill your soul while you are in a flurry of activity."

Doug Fields
"Refuel-an uncomplicated guide to connecting with God"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Iceberb Lettuce, Raw Onions, and Grapefruit

I realize that my opinions don't matter much except when they pertain to me and my blog. With that said, I had to opportunity to partake in a dinner which I did not have to cook. That is always a plus. Since it was a warm evening, and salad was on the menu, I was happy.

Had the menu consisted of stuffed bell peppers and brussel sprouts I would have opted out and brought my own PB & J.

The lovely salad was of the taco variety, complete with cheese, seasoned ground beef, and crushed corn chips. What came next made me rethink the P B & J. The ingredients sat on a bed of iceberg lettuce, white in color, and all things non-green and nutritious. I am not a fan of iceberg lettuce.

A side option to the salad was raw onions. I am also not a fan of raw onions. Cook them in a nice saute or coat them in batter and deep fry them, and I can eat bowls full.

I also deeply dislike grapefruit. Who had the idea that a bitter citrus fruit, which requires gobs of sugar in order to become palatable, was a great fruity treat? Why not opt for the cousin, Mr. Navel Orange, and sideline the scoops of sugar?

I also dislike tomatoes, all pepper varieties, and cauliflower. I like the basics, green beans, carrot, and celery, just to name a few.

If you ever invite me over for dinner and serve salad, I'll eat the iceberg lettuce, but will eat my way around the peppers, raw onions, and tomatoes and, 1000 island dressing.

What fruits and veggies do you dislike?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Riding Waves of Guilt

I am a huge fan of natural, God created, bodies of water. I am not a fan of those encased in plaster or cement. Now you know.

I had the opportunity to join my son for a swim in the Pacific Ocean the other day. The thing about the ocean in Southern California is that at the onset of the salty water making contact with your thighs, belly and neck you can either feel refreshed by the cool waters, or numb enough from the chill to have surgery administered to your limbs without the use of anesthesia. Thankfully this swim was of the refreshing variety.

After a few dips and dives my body began to get used to the temperature to the point where it was addictive. The water was so refreshing that I was completely relaxed, laughing as my son and I frolicked in the waves and bobbed in the water with only our heads peaking up from the ocean’s surface. I could have stayed right there, in that moment, for hours.

I glanced back at the shore and noticed that my friend, Sarah, was packing up the chairs and umbrella, and making neat piles of towels. Evidently the two 8 year olds and 3 year old were useless as they stood under the outdoor shower rinsing off layers of sand that had stuck to the thick coating of sunscreen.

Over come with guilt, yet reluctant to exit the water, I told my son that we should get out and help Sarah since she was working solo. Without a hitch he informed me that the perfect time to swim is when others are packing up the beach gear. He continued with the notion that it is then, that you inform those who are intent on leaving, that you must rinse off your sandy body by jumping into the water, and then proceed to stay in the water until all things on the shoreline are packed.

That kid is smart.

I exited the water and my son continued to swim. Guilt got the best of me, and, my need to please others.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My teenage daughter approached me the other day informing me that she was intrigued by the fact that she and her 13 year old brother had one in the same goal on their list of goals. Before I had the opportunity to query her goal setting, and what that entailed, she was rushed to give me the information that was dying to escape her lips, so I let her talk.

“I accidentally saw Zac’s list of goals and we have the same goal.”

“What goal is that?”
“We both want to adopt a baby from Kenya.”

“That is so amazing. You just have to go to college, and then get married.”

“Oh, I’m not going to adopt the baby, you are.”

“Oh, really, that is your goal? Dad and I will have to pray about that one.”

Even though I was slightly intrigued with the fact that she and her brother both thought that we should consider adoption, I sloughed off her request and instead concentrated on her idea of setting a list of goals. I was less concerned with what was on her list, and more concerned with the fact that she had enough maturity to compose a list. “I don’t even have specific goals for my day.” I thought to myself.

A few days later my husband approached me as I was working at my computer and said, “I made a list of goals for myself.” He too was motivated by the fact that our two oldest children had created a list, and was inspired to do the same.“Can I read them to you?” I eagerly said, “Yes” and listened intently to his daily goals, which might I add had no mention of adopting a child from Kenya. His list included everything from answering e-mails within 24 hours to spending time in God’s Word each day. I was inspired.

At this point I realized that I was the only one in our family over the age of 10, who had the ability, yet failed, to write a list of goals. I not a fan of being “odd man out” so I made my list: Refuel spiritually at every moment possible through prayer, devotionals, and worship music, listen to voice mails and return calls in a timely manner, write for one hour, 5 days a week, and don’t yell unless a child is running out into the middle of the street, were a few of my 10 goals.

The act of typing these out and committing to adhere to them was stimulating. An act of surrender proceeded. I was certain, that only through God’s help would I be able to achieve all ten of my goals in a 24 hour period.

My son, daughter, and husband inspired me to make a list of goals and I’m glad that I did. Goals are good. Goals help us to stay focused. Goals give us meaning and structure, and, if your goal includes adopting a child from Kenya, that is amazing.

What goals do you have for your day, week, for the month, for the year? Make a list.

Monday, July 13, 2009

All Good Things Must End

Today is our last day at the borrowed/free of charge beach house. I may tear up. Going back to reality is tough. No one should do it alone.

I fall asleep to the sound of the ocean waves breaking on the shore and wake to the sun streaming though the window. I swallow a few cups of coffee, go for a jog along the beach, and sit along the shore all day. When the little kids get bored, we hop on a golf cart and drive them to the pool. We eat dinner on the patio while watching the ocean do it's thing and the phone rarely rings.

All is well.

My girlfriend is returning from Hawaii and settling back at the beach house she calls home, and we, are leaving here and settling back at, well, our wonderful home. I don't feel sorry for her.

I miss my bed, but that's about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Daughter the Missionary

My girl cannot stop talking about her trip to the Domican Republic and how much fun she had. She cannot stop talking about how God showed up and did His thing. She cannot stop telling me about the friends that she bonded with and grew closer to. She keeps telling me that she wants to go back very soon.

Check out her photos here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let's Go for a Run?

We are staying at my girlfriend's house near the beach. Her 19 year old daughter asked if I wanted to go for a run with her. Of course I said yes. Since I run 5 days a week, I knew that I could kick some 19 year old girl butt on the running trail, that was, until I saw the trail on which she was taking me.

"It's only six miles" she said on the short drive. "There are a lot of hills too. Are you okay with hills?" I laughed at her question. "Of course I can do hills Hailey. Really?"

What Hailey failed to tell me is that the hills never end. What Hailey failed to tell me is that there are weird bugs, Mountain lions within miles, deer, dust, and masses of sweat. What Hailey failed to tell me is that the 6 miles will feel like 15. What Hailey failed to tell me is that she is like a svelte Gazelle. What Hailey failed to tell me is that we should bring water. What Hailey failed to tell me is that I would end up with dirt lodged in my armpit wrinkles. What Hailey failed to tell me is that I am too old to run her trail.

I snapped this photo in between wheezing, and trying not to fall over. I deserve an award.

Hailey hasn't asked me to go running with her again. She suggested a session of Hot Yoga instead, where there are no weird bugs, hills, or dust.

I'll bring my water.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How was your Vacation? Delicious!

My girlfriend has graciously given us her house for ten days. Her house just happens to be minutes from the beach and pool. She's nice like that.

After a long pool and beach morning I just served the following lunch to six boys:
3-BBQ chicken sandwiches
1-16 oz bag of potato chips
4-chicken and cheese quesadillas
1-cheese quesadilla
1-gallon of vanilla ice cream complete with Magic Shell and whipped cream
6-bottles of water
napkins were optional.

I'm exhausted already.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Thoughts

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Ephesians 3:17-19

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July Fourth!

"Do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." —Galatians 5:13

Friday, July 3, 2009

Easily Entertained

I have discovered that with my youngest boys, currently, the best form of entertainment for them is a wiffle ball, plastic bat, a mitt, and seven other boys my oldest son's age.

They don't actually play baseball with all of these items though, the game is called "Argue Ball." They spend minuets on end arguing about the call that was made, whether the hit was foul or inside, and if the base tag actually occurred, or if the smashed baseball hat called a base, was missed entirely.

Argue ball keeps them entertained for hours and is only halted for a Popsicle break, or injury, and this game is a first choice activity after 2 hours of regular baseball practice. Who knew?

I am well aware of the fact that at the exact moment when the weather is unbearable, and temperatures soar, the boys will return to the confines of the air conditioned house and resume position on the couch, but until then, Argue Ball rules.

Cool summer nights rule.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fashion Tips

I don't consider myself a fashion expert, but I do watch a lot of "What Not to Wear" and not only listen to what is said, but take some things into account. I'm a rule follower. What can I say? I do what I am told, for the most part.

There are three obvious fashion ideas that should be well known among all people who wear clothes. If you just said, "Well duh, people don't walk around naked. Everyone wears clothes" this is true, so, everyone should be privey to the fashion items that I am about to address unless you are an infant. Infants can wear whatever they want to. For the record, do any infants read my blog?

1. Unless you are a lifeguard, tennis instructor, or are employed by a fast food restaurant chain, visors have no business in the workplace.

2. Socks should not be worn with flip flops.

3. Clothing covered in pet hair is never in style, unless you happen to be a pet. Invest in a lint roller.

Consider this your fashion tip for the day, and, if you are wearing socks with your flip flops beccause your feet are cold, that is no excuse. If your feet are cold, put on some slippers.