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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hacked: the first draft

It was a night like any other dark and stormy night. The house was quiet. Eerily quiet. So quiet you could hear a mouse (OR SIX). In this house, there lived me an eccentric old woman, who suffered from depression, anxiety, OCD insomnia. Her only cure was to sit on the couch with her laptop blogging while watching shows like The Bachelorette and Make It or Break it write.

After a long week of battling six an army of mice and crossing battle lines, the mice launched their surprise attack. A hacker. They sent spies across enemy lines to destroy years of writing and memories. They must have had a mole on the inside. Kris perhaps? Maybe it wasn't intentional on his part. Perhaps he was just taken in by their cute little eyes and petite figures. Perhaps one night while I sat blogging, he felt lonely and just needed someone to confide in. And perhaps the deranged rodent mastermind, who has apparently been stalking Kris for weeks, decided to take matters into her own hands.

So she hired a hit man of sorts. A hacker. Someone who could destroy my entire life, my identity. Someone who could take from me what matters most. My blog! husband. This past week has been an absolute nightmare.

Did anyone out there notice that I have been rather quiet for a week? Like uncharacteristically quiet? Want to know why?

Someone hacked my Gmail account. And then sent out a link to some of my contacts. It got flagged and Google shut my ENTIRE account down, with no warning and no explanation. My email. My blog. My calendar. My Google Reader. My life essentially. The first few days were filled with anger, bitterness, frustration and utter despair (only slightly exaggerated). For days, I had nowhere to go. No way of knowing what had happened or why. I felt lost in a world of bloggers, flaunting their un-hacked accounts, writing away. OK...now I'm REALLY exaggerating, because in reality after a day without my blog I just started a new one. I couldn't just sit idly by and wait and HOPE that Google would figure it all out for me. I took matters into my own hands. And I'm pleased with the outcome.

So where does this leave us dear readers? Here is where I am going to make my plea. Little Bishop Chronicles has officially been re-established HERE. Please take just a moment to follow me there, as this will be my last blog post here. PLEASE! PRETTY PLEASE!! I'm obviously not afraid to beg. Because I love all of you stalkers! I truly do! I was devastated when I thought I had lost all of my posts (MY MEMORIES), not to mention this great group of followers that has been looking to me and me alone 50 other bloggers to bring joy and laughter to your otherwise boring days. Man I'm arrogant aren't I?

So if you are still reading this now, check out the new layout and give me a chance over there. I'd love you forever! I'm SO thankful that Google was able to give me everything back, but I am going to be moving my blog officially, so if you loved me here, please consider loving me there! See how easy I have made it for you?!? There are only 13 a couple of new posts there. Recipes included in some of those new posts-doesn't that entice some of you?

Now, with that out of the way, who wants to tell me how to import this blog into my new one?

And one more thing. I had almost 800 UNREAD items in my Google Reader, so please forgive me if I missed some of your posts. I just had to mark them all as read and will start afresh with your new posts! It was just too overwhelming but I sure am glad to have my reader back!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My nemesis

They say bad things come in threes. I find this puzzling in light of the most recent circumstances on the home front. We captured a third little mouse last night. The trap was very unkind to this unfortunate creature...or so Kris told me. With small shrieks of panic and anxiety, I disposed of the first two, all by myself! When we heard the trap last night and saw the rodent's futile attempts to break free I told my husband "You can get that one." I'd had my fill.

Unfortunately for him, the mouse's struggles caused a small mess that I had no intention of looking at, let alone cleaning! But Kris stepped up and saved me, and with our third mouse properly evacuated from our home, I tried to tell myself that three was it. Notice, I said TRIED. I'm a paranoid pessimist, so I pretty much assume there are at least 5 other mice breeding underneath my dishwasher. But there was that small shred of optimism, of hope, in me that they-those bad things I referenced in the beginning-were all done. Afraid not. Sometime during the night I heard our last remaining trap sound its glorious, beautiful music. We had been asleep but I don't sleep well or deeply so I heard it snap, said "Kris did you hear that?", he mumbled "yeah" and back to sleep we went. I awoke to find the trap flipped over. There was no immediate assurance that a mouse had indeed fallen prey, but rushing around to get out the door by 7am, I hoped for the best before telling Kris "I love you. Bye. Oh and there's a mouse in the trap for you!"

He called me after he got up to ask if I had actually seen a mouse in the trap. I told him I had not. I didn't even turn the kitchen light on. I just knew the trap had been flipped over and to be honest, I'd had it up to "here" (imagine me standing with my hand drawing a line 2 feet above my head) with mice. I did not want to start out my morning with visions of a dead rodent. You know? Kris told me that there was NO mouse in the trap. So mouse #4 is still out there. I REALLY hope it was the deranged mother mouse. You know, the one that doesn't care about her children? She has sent three of them out to die, with no regard for them at all. Granted, if she is under there creating more babies each day, I suppose she can afford to lose two or three. BUT...I have four and even on my rough days, I can't imagine sending one or two of them out, never to return. I have lost ALL respect for this mouse, as a mother.

The reason I think (HOPE) mouse #4 is the mother, and mastermind (not to mention completely unrealistically infertile now!) is because it was obviously near/on the trap because it managed to spring the trap without getting caught. And this is not the first time that has happened. Her babies are idiots. She, however, is not. If I could just lure her out. Have a chat. A little heart to heart. From one crazy mother to another. I could just explain to her that this is MY home. My kids don't get in her kids' beds and she needs to keep hers out of mine. And then, I could do as my friend Derek suggested the other day: "If you're feeling particularly vengeful, you could just strangle the thing and look it in the eye while you do it...so it KNOWS the score." Yeah, that's exactly what I'd like to do! Well put Derek!

Sigh...

Kris is talking about getting rat poisoning. Our kids are old enough that they won't get into it. We'd put it in areas they wouldn't go. We have had so many suggestions and some really great advice. Someone mentioned calling an exterminator. This of course is my first choice, but it's expensive and Kris wants to try a few other options first. Being that he hasn't suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, he can't really understand what these mice are doing to me. I'm scared to be in my own home. Not because I am afraid of the mice themselves. But I'm constantly on edge. I never know when one will run across my foot. EWW! I don't know if they are getting into the food. I constantly inspect everything. Because I know they are rooming somewhere under the dishwasher (though it could be in the basement), I hate being in my kitchen. This makes cooking difficult. Let's face it. It makes cooking almost non-existent. It takes sheer willpower for me to move through my house. And there is no way I'm even going in my basement, for fear that they have a huge nest somewhere down in my laundry room. Kris insists he has been down there and hasn't seen any, but my overactive imagination is WAY beyond that at this point. And it's not just my kitchen I can't stand being in. I'm tense and jumpy being anywhere in my house. Last night while laying in bed, I felt something move across my neck (we had the fan on in our room so I'm SURE it was just a stray hair) but immediately I started envisioning scenarios where there were mice running across my body while I slept. These mice are really NOT helping my current non-medicated mental state.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Standoff

Let me start by telling you about the little "incident" we had yesterday. I was standing at the kitchen sink cleaning something when I heard Abbey screaming and crying. Naturally I assumed she and Olivia were fighting, so I was getting ready to put my best mom voice on (a.k.a. yell). She ran into the kitchen in near hysterics. She said "I just saw the mouse on Olivia's bed!" At this, I grabbed the broom and headed back to their bedroom. I slammed it down on the bed a few times, trying to get the mouse to scurry out so I could attack it. No luck. So I left the room and went back to what I was doing, broom never leaving my side.

That's when I heard Kaleb scream and he told me he was trying to go to the bathroom and saw it in the hallway by the laundry baskets. When they told me again it was just sitting back behind the baskets I went back there, clutching my broom tightly. We closed the bedroom and bathroom doors so it couldn't dart into one of those rooms. The only place it could go was right past us. So imagine it if you can. I'm standing in the narrow hallway, with four small children gathered around. We're standing still and tense, watching two white laundry baskets full of clothes. That's the scene.

I spotted the mouse back there and decided to move one basket to get a better view. I moved one successfully, spotting the mouse hiding as far away as he could behind the second basket. Keep in mind the kids are all still hovered around me. Broom lifted, I reach over to move the second basket. The mouse took off, scurried OVER MY FOOT and into the living room. We all started screaming (though Kat insists she did not scream) and jumping around in all directions! It would have been amusing to anyone observing.

We didn't see the mouse again before we left for the day. It was quite the exciting morning, as you can imagine. Shortly after I got home from work, I heard the trap engage. Kris said "I think we got it." I was scared (but hopeful) to look; I did glance over though and saw there was indeed a small mouse trying to get its head out of the trap. After a few moments of struggling, it gave up the fight. It was time to celebrate! But then there was the question of "Who's going to pick it up?" ONE of us managed to remove the trap with said mouse in it and that was that. Or so we thought...

In the back of my mind, I worried that there was more than one. I was convinced that my first sighting of the mouse was that of a small brown mouse. The one that was caught was more grayish and seemed awfully small. But I tried to tell myself I just saw it wrong the first time. Until this morning. When I woke up, a second trap has been sprung, and we caught another small gray mouse.

While I am thankful and happy that we now have two less mice in our house, I am still worried there is a mother mouse somewhere, the one that keeps moving, feeding from and then avoiding the traps. We have two traps still set (though the peanut butter is completely gone from one of them) and we'll see what happens.

At this point, I have to ask myself what kind of a mouse mother sends her children out into a war zone? A cold, deranged one. That's what I say! I think the mastermind mouse is still living under the dishwasher, probably breeding a bigger army. This does not make me happy. Not one bit! But for now, I'll just have to rejoice in the little victories, right?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Did we get the mouse?

Oh yeah! We did! I can't write tonight though, so the standoff and subsequent capture will have to wait. But it's gone...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Who wants some fudge??

I hate making fudge.

It is time consuming and painful.

So I just refused to make it.

Until a few years ago.

I discovered a recipe online for microwave fudge. I had my doubts. Surely you can't make fudge in the microwave. At least, not fudge that looks and tastes like fudge. Boy was I wrong!

I am not sure why more people don't make their fudge this way. I'll be honest. The consistency/texture isn't exactly like what you may be used to, but it is fudge-like and tastes great! And with as easy as it is, why WOULDN'T you make fudge this way?

I don't have a picture. Primarily because I'm too lazy to go to the fridge and take a picture!

Ready for the recipe?

1 12oz package chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Pour chocolate chips and milk into microwave-safe container. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add flavor of choice, pour into square pan and cool in fridge for 2-3 hours.

Possible flavors:

Amaretto
2 tsp almond extract (you can add 1/4-1/2 cup almonds if you want)

Mint
use mint chips in place of milk/semi-sweet OR 1-2 tsp mint extract

Almond Joy
1 tsp coconut extract, 1/4 cup coconut, 1/4 cup chopped almonds

Strawberry/Orange/Cherry
2 tsp extract of choice

Walnut/Pecan
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Almond Joy is my favorite!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More on the mouse...

To show you just how smart this mouse of ours is, the trap was directly in front of the dishwasher. And yet the mouse managed to pull the trap back towards the dishwasher, so that the trap could not engage!


If that wasn't enough two nights ago, LAST NIGHT the mouse decided to take the trap that was here:

And pulled it underneath the cabinet!

When I got home from work today, Kris showed me the two traps we had originally set. The mouse has managed to take all of the peanut butter off of both traps, spring one trap and bend the other one so that it could not spring. It managed to thwart our attempts!


Preparing the traps...making sure they are being set correctly...


We'll be ready tonight. It's WAR!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Smarter than a mouse

If only we could be smarter than the mouse we are apparently keeping as a pet...

Kris finally got some cheap traps, the kind that crush the mouse, instead of the more humane ones that close the mouse in, since they aren't working anyway. I have no good feelings for this mouse that has caused me an extreme amount of anxiety over the last few weeks. So I'm OK with doing whatever it takes to get it out of my house. I had a dream last night that there were three of them. It's weighing on me so heavily now that I am dreaming about it!

I HATE to be scared. Just ask Kris what happens when you stand outside the bathroom door, thinking it would be funny to startle me when I open the door. He has never done THAT again! I tend to be jumpy in general, especially when I'm not in the best place mentally. So, naturally, I am extremely jumpy and on edge. I never know when the mouse is going to show itself and so my guard is constantly up. There has been a lot of screaming in my house this last week. The mouse has peeked it's tiny little head out from under my entertainment center. It has run across the baseboards in my living room. It has gone down into the hallway towards the kids' rooms. It has spent time under the China cabinet in my dining room. And it has run across the kitchen to hide under the dishwasher right in front of me. Last night I was so on edge I was thinking about the mouse and saw a shadow move across the ceiling and screamed. Poor Kris. I scared him! I had to explain to him, feeling quite foolish, that I'd seen a shadow and it scared me.

Last night we learned just how smart this mouse is. Kris set the traps with peanut butter and we put one in front of the dishwasher, where it seems to reside (underneath it) and one in another area we see the mouse hide. Kris watched one of the traps move last night. Backwards. Not sideways. Backwards. It was as if the mouse had reached out it paws, placed one on each side of the trap, and pulled it back! This left the trap to where if it sprung, it would hit the dishwasher, instead of fully engaging. Kris turned it sideways at this point in the hopes that it couldn't do that again. This morning when we woke up, the peanut butter was gone from one trap completely. Additionally, the trap that had been in front of the dishwasher was missing SOME of the peanut butter, and beyond that, IT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN FLOOR!!! I am not exaggerating, not even a little.

So instead of US capturing the mouse, it's like the mouse is saying to us, "I'm gonna get you!" AHHH!!!! Kris thinks he may not have set the traps right. We have no idea what we're doing. We've never tried to catch mice before. The instructions for setting the traps were confusing. But either the mouse is really THAT sly, he has help from 20 other mice, or the traps are set wrong. Let's hope it's the latter!

I told Kris last night that if the mouse would just start cooking meals for us, I'd be OK with letting it live here. You know, like in Ratatouille?


A new plan

I woke up this morning to the knowledge that God is good and kind. It took something as simple as my children sleeping in. Today is my day home with them. I shared a lot of my feelings with Kris last night, including some things I wasn't really able to write about here, which of course was NOT easy...I told him how I was scared to be alone with the kids. Not because I am afraid I will do anything to them, but because I am afraid of the out-of-control-I-can't-handle-this feelings that I have had lately while alone with them.

The kids are notorious for sleeping in on days that Kris is home with them and getting up by 7:30 on days I am home with them. Last night they didn't go to bed until 9pm, which usually means they will wake up incredibly cranky and it sets the tone for the whole day. I don't know why...it is just how it happens. I tend to believe that Kris makes more noise in the morning than I do and so they hear him and decide it's time to get up. But for whatever reason, even with all the factors against them, Kaleb and Abbey (our earliest risers) didn't get up until 8:30!! I still can't believe it because those two NEVER sleep past 8am. Katherine and Olivia are still asleep. We did have a minor incident a few minutes ago with Kaleb trying to wake Katherine up, but other than that, they've been pretty good. Granted, I've only been up for 30 minutes and the day is still young...

So it took a little thing like the kids sleeping in to remind me that God is looking out for me. Of course I knew He was and is, but the reminder brought me some comfort this morning.

While I'm talking about this, I have serious issues with the mindset that if you're depressed, you just aren't trusting God enough. From someone who loves the Lord AND battles depression, that's just not true! You can trust God to the very core of your being and still be depressed. I do not believe that it is as simple as "just trust God". Trusting God doesn't free everyone of depression. Maybe some, but not everyone. Because I have been at the height of my spiritual walk and still battled this. And I'll curl up in a corner and cry silently fight anyone who tries to tell me differently. FOR ME, there is little connection between my mental health and my relationship with God. My mental health is not an ultimate indicator of my spiritual health. Sure, when I am completely relying on God, I can "handle" things better than when I'm not. That is true with any aspect of your life. But that doesn't mean that God is going to prevent you from experiencing something. Sure he CAN. It's well within His power to do so. But sometimes He chooses to allow you go through certain things in life. Struggling with depression is no different than the person who has to live life with a missing limb or cancer. Sure the exact struggles are different but ultimately, the burden is the same. God doesn't always keep our lives nice and neat and free of pain and sorrow. I have no doubts that He COULD, but that just isn't how God works. At least, that has not been how He has worked in my life. You can't learn and grow if God makes everything easy for you.

Last night while we were talking, Kris and I came up with a new plan for working this summer. It isn't ideal (for him!) but it will be better than what we are doing now. He'll go to the office to work in the morning (7am-noon) and then at noon I will meet him down there with the kids. He will take the kids home and I will work until 8pm. We'll see each other less, but we think that this schedule will reduce some of the tension we both feel because we have to get certain things done whether the kids are around or not. Not having hours to put in during the morning hours will help me while I am home with the kids too. It will relieve the pressure I constantly feel to get all my hours in. It'll be easier on the kids because I can give them the attention they are needing. It's really a much better deal for me than for Kris, but I married a good man and he is willing to make this sacrifice for me. We just have a month and a half left before school starts, so it's not a permanent schedule. We'll see how it goes...

Friday Funnies


It's been a long, crazy week. I feel like I've barely been home. I think I feel that way because I HAVE barely been home! My schedule was completely thrown off by working onsite for one of our clients on Monday and Tuesday. After work Tuesday, I went to our downtown office and worked even more. Wednesday was spent TRYING to work from home before getting out and celebrating an awesome night at WICKED (blog with pictures to come!). This morning was filled with a funeral and then work. I'm feeling drained. And to top it off, I have NOTHING for Friday Funnies. It isn't for a lack of listening either. Some weeks I guess the kids just don't give me good writing material! Or rather, FUNNY material. There is ALWAYS good writing material with those four...this week it just doesn't really fit the theme! SO...maybe one or two of you will link up and give me something to laugh about? Please? Pretty please??? :-) The link will stay open until Saturday morning so you'll have a little more time in case it is 5pm on Friday and you're just now reading this!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rambling thoughts...

I'm going to expose my heart here tonight. I'm a mess. I'm an emotional, un-medicated mess. I've really been struggling with my emotions and state of mind these last couple of weeks. There are some issues I'm struggling with that I can't even write about, because either they involve someone else or they are just too personal. Don't get me wrong...I'm not known for being IMPERSONAL on my blog. But there are just some things that even I know are inappropriate to write about in a public setting such as this.

I am in no condition to appropriately be a mother to my children. Hear me out. I've battled depression for well over 10 years now. Some years are worse than others. Sometimes it hits me hard and I'm down for the count. It's been a year and a half since my last major depression, and it was one of the worst. I went to a new doctor and got back on medication and finally things started to improve. I started feeling better and everything began to even out.

And I did good for quite a while. And like most crazy people, since I was feeling SO good, I thought for sure I could go off of my medication and have no problems at all. WRONG. It just took a while for my body to get all out of whack again.

The good thing is that I have been through this enough to recognize what is happening. I was waiting (last week), to see if I started feeling better. Instead, I feel like I am drowning. The biggest clue is how I feel completely incapable of 'handling' my children by myself for long periods of time (and by long I mean more than a couple of hours). It's even worse when I try to throw working in there too. I think it's time to call the doctor...

I know that some people will think that I shouldn't even share this much of myself here on my blog. But I need to talk about it and I'm not good with the face to face/verbal aspect of talking. And I know that I am not alone...and maybe there is someone else out there that is too afraid (or worse, ashamed) to talk about it. And if sharing my story can help someone else, even just a little bit, then it's the right thing to do.

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Mama's Losin' It

I've seen people participate and I've thought about participating from time to time but never quite got around to it myself. This week, however, I am taking the time to be a part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. The 'prompt' I chose was "What summer means to your family."

This is really the perfect prompt after these last few weeks. Summer is in full swing. The kids are not going to summer school, which is a nightmare blessing in disguise, and Kris and I are barely able to see one another, let alone have any real conversation that isn't done over the phone with kids screaming in the background or via Google Talk while we are working.

To me, summer means chaos.

Summer means not seeing my husband.

Summer means less routine and no structure (poor parenting at its finest), which in turn leads to even more chaos in my house.

Summer means I should not have gone off of all my medication, or at the very least that perhaps I should consider going back on it until school starts again.

Summer means odd work schedules. Me working long days in the office on Monday and Thursday. Kris in the office the remaining days. On our off days, still trying to put in 8 hours from home. Or, like today, me covering for our onsite liason (in Fenton MO) for 7 hours and then driving to our downtown office and putting in another 5 hours.

Summer also means HOT. I hate hot. I hate humidity. I hate having vehicles that are old and can't stand up to the heat.

Summer ultimately means one cranky momma, who will complain at the drop of the hat (what's new?) about every little thing. It means that the tension in my neck is never-ending, making the pain almost unbearable.

Yet...

It also means that I have spent another year married to my best friend.

It means that a few days a week, if I can tear myself away from the craziness of trying to work while my kids CONSTANTLY ask me things like "When can we eat breakfast?" or "When can we have a snack?" or by 10:30am, "When can we eat lunch?" (all to which I reply "Eat whatever you want as long as you can get it for yourself!"), I could actually spend some time enjoying my kids.

It means that three days a week, I don't have to (but should) get up before 8am. The kids know to go downstairs and watch cartoons between 7-8am and let whichever parent is still home sleep, or at least lay in bed pretending they can't hear the screaming and fighting and tattling.

It means that I've had the bittersweet privilege of watching my kids grow another year older.

It means that my favorite fall weather is not far behind. Fall makes me smile. It makes me ache for heaven. Not in a morbid sense. In the sense that fall reminds me of how awesome God is. It reminds me of the beauty of God's creation and fills me with peace and hope.

Summer reminds me that if I can just survive a little while longer, school will resume, work schedules will normalize, the leaves will begin to turn and fall will soon put things back into perspective for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Dirty Hair Days - Update #4

This will be my fourth and final update on my experiment using baking soda & water to wash my hair, instead of shampoo. For all the old updates and the original reason for starting the experiment, go here.

This picture is to show you that for the most part, the fly-aways or frizzy parts that used to stick up all the time are at the very least a little tamer. When the humidity is bad, I think I will forever be cursed with that. But overall, there is a decrease in it. I am not sure if it is because my hair is healthier or what, but I'm telling myself that is the reason!

Overall, I have loved this experience. If I could give one tip to anyone else trying this, don't be afraid to use MORE baking soda. When I don't use the right amount, my hair feels very heavy and greasy at the back of my head. When I use the right amount, my hair feels clean and light and wonderful.

So how do I look at my 6 week experiment? About the same. But I've saved money, my hair is healthier and I feel good about what I am doing. So I am going to continue using baking soda and water and will not go back to shampoo again.


Business2Blogger

Business 2 Blogger

I know very little about blogging, given the vast amount of information that is out there. But a blog friend of mine (Deanna at Mom's The Glue) wrote about Business2Blogger this morning and I decided to check it out. I'll admit I am feeling a bit intimidated by the whole thing, but it seems like a possible way to get involved in reviewing products and hosting giveaways. I see my blog friends all around me getting to test out great products and then write about them, and I think "Hey, I do that for free. No one gives me the products and I don't have them to give away, but if I like (or hate) something, you're gonna know about it!" So, the more I think about it, the more I think this type of opportunity would be a good fit for me. Realistically, I am going to try something and write about it, whether it's given to me or not. I'm a passionate person and writing is my outlet.

I was trying to put the button on my blog, but because I am using a pre-made template, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to add the button into the HTML. I started getting frustrated and just decided to start out by writing a blog post about Business2Blogger and later, with the help of my husband, I will add the button to the blog itself.

I really wish I could just wake up one day 'speaking' HTML. To just know that language would be great. To be able to open up the code and look at it and not be completely confused by the jumble of letters and symbols. But that is not going to happen, so I'll have to learn the hard way, like everyone else!

But that is beside the point!

I'm going to try out Business2Blogger, see what happens and will report back to you!

Wish I could take the day off

I am home today, after working out of the home the last two days. I only put in about 7.5 hours Monday, but then I worked a good 12.5 hours yesterday. I was trying to work extra and get myself caught up and actually ahead so that I could take the day off today. Not going to happen though. I left the office still behind, thus I need to put in some hours today, instead of just playing with my kids, going to the library and grocery store, making Cool Ivy lotion for my winners and writing. Though I will most likely manage to squeeze all of that in before I begin dolling myself up for my night out on the town with the husband to see Wicked! It's going to be a busy day. Fortunately, because I've already worked 20 hours this week, I only NEED to work for four hours today.

Kris and I are going to a funeral in the morning. A dear man who battled brain cancer for I believe 17 years went home to be with the Lord on Father's Day. An amazing man of God and example of all things good and kind. I know the funeral will be a celebration of his life and legacy and while it is a sad, sad time for the family, it is also a time of rejoicing and I am thankful that Kris and I get to be a part of it and had the privilege of knowing this man and his family.

I'm worried about Friday Funnies. I've got nothing so far. Well, that's not true. I have one very short moment to write about so far. So unless the kids do funny, crazy things today, I'm afraid I won't have much. But I'll still write what I have and hopefully some of you out there will be able to join in. Maybe I should invite a couple other bloggers to co-host with me. What do you think? Anyone interested in co-hosting Friday Funnies with me? I'm new to a lot of this stuff and maybe that is what I need to do? Suggestions? Comments? Volunteers? Fire away!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's almost here...

Tomorrow night...



Wednesday, June 23, 2010...



We are going to...




The Fabulous Fox Theatre




to see...






I.AM.EXCITED.

ECSTATIC.

THRILLED.

WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE!

I have been waiting for this show to return to St. Louis. Knowing next to nothing about it in 2007, I quickly found out what all the fuss was about. The music is incredible. Incredible isn't even strong enough to describe it. The story entertaining and fulfilling. I read the book Wicked, so I could see what the musical was based on. And as soon as we were able to pre-order our tickets, we did. We are DEAD CENTER, Mezzinine.

It is going to be an incredible night!

Way Back Wednesday

I've mentioned before that I made a local blog friend here in St. Louis (Melissa @ The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom). She, along with a couple other great bloggers are starting a little meme called Way Back Wednesday. You can get more details here, but the gist is taking a trip down memory lane. I've been married for over a decade now (11 years-HOLY COW HOW DID HE NOT KILL ME BY NOW???-) and so it is really fun to reminisce! The topic this week is "What are your favorite memories from your wedding?" Seeing as how my 11th anniversary has just been celebrated, I thought I would join in and share some of my unique, funny memories. And let me just say that some are extremely unique. Such as the backyard barbecue reception we had. Literally. In my backyard! It was EXACTLY what I wanted!!

Complete with burgers, hot dogs, and Mom's Swedish Meatballs!

My dad built a gazebo shortly before the wedding out behind the house I grew up in and it was just gorgeous! Check it out! Dance floor and benches, under the shade of the trees, surrounded by beautiful flowers.

People tell me to this day that my wedding reception was one of the funnest ones they have ever been too!


Dancing with my dad...to Butterfly Kisses...


Then having the pleasure of dancing with my Pappaw, who went to be with the Lord just over a year later. I will forever cherish this picture!


And what would a big event in my life be without a somewhat odd, amusing story? Here is the picture to set the stage:

You like my Men In Black limo driver? Well, he's not the crux of this story, but he did play an integral role.

Kris and I were in the limo on the way to our overnight destination when we realized that one of our friends had left to head back to St. Louis, with all of Kris' essentials in his car (we were in my hometown in Indiana for the wedding). Shoes, deodorant, toothbrush, etc...and we weren't going to have a car until the next day, so obtaining these items was going to be problematic. The limo driver overhead us talking and told us he could swing by Walmart if we wanted. Did we WANT to? Not really. Were we willing to be the crazy people who did it? Of course!

The limo pulls up outside one of the only stores in town to supply our grooming needs. Our choices in this semi-small town were Walmart and Kmart. I'm not even sure if Kmart was still open at that time of night. We get out and we proceed to go about our business, fully decked out in wedding attire (minus my veil). Shortly after walking in, I heard a little girl say "Mommy look at that girl!"

As we were checking out, the young kid at the cash register said "Did you just go to prom?" I said "Um...no...we just got married." How do I look like I went to prom? Who wears a wedding dress to prom?? It was funny anyway. We got back in the limo and were driven to our destination. And now, almost every year on our anniversary we go to Walmart, in whatever town we happen to be in. It's kind of our thing. It's just what we do. Some years we wind up taking 2-3 trips to Walmart! Very classy...













Monday, June 21, 2010

Second lotion winner!

Well ladies, all 5 of you, your chances were REALLY great, but unfortunately only one of you gets to win the lotion. Ready to see who it was?

Cool Ivy!!! :-) That is so cool!


Congratulations Melissa! I'll be in touch so we can make arrangements to get you your lotion.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mice and fire

Both of the above words caused me quite a bit of anxiety yesterday. Our bedroom is in an addition in our house; therefore, it does not have central air/heat. Is that what it is called? I don't know much about the technical terminology here. I just know that we have a space heater in the winter, and a window A/C unit for the summer. The space heater works great. My mother-in-law was kind enough to give it to us. It heats the room extremely well...too much at times, which is great because that means we won't overheat it during the winter months, like we have with space heaters in the past.

The air conditioner is a different story. During the hottest summer days, it barely cools the room down. The room remains humid and smells musty all summer. But it is better than nothing. So I am thankful for it, though I am never content wouldn't mind a better window unit. We've had it for years and it was well-used before we took possession of it. So I am convinced that if we had a better, newer model that our room would stay pleasant and we could actually keep the door open. Currently though, it cools the room better and keeps our central A/C from kicking on too much if we leave the door shut. Which is just as well since our bedroom is a an embarrassing disaster area that I am absolutely ashamed of, yet unwilling to do anything about catch-all for pretty much everything that doesn't have a home.

ANYWAY...

Last night while we had friends over playing bridge, I started smelling something. Burning. Something was just not quite right. It seemed to be coming from the kitchen. Of course, I remained rooted to my spot, envisioning Kris opening up the bedroom door (that is off the kitchen) and flames being everywhere, however unrealistic that might have been. It wasn't nearly that bad, but there was smoke throughout the room. The wiring or something went wrong behind the outlet the A/C was plugged into and melted the faceplate and a plug cover that was in it. Who knows what else would have happened if we hadn't been home! I am so thankful we were there and awake and able to deal with it. Kris and one of our friends went to Walgreens to get a surge protector and/or something else to hopefully keep it from happening again.

The mouse we've been housing for a week or so made another appearance last night. It was hiding out underneath the dishwasher and kept peeking its head, looking at me. Testing me. Taunting me. Of course it creeped me out. I didn't scream so much. I'm pretty sure I freaked out a little bit though and got some laughs out of my friends and husband (i.e. I'm pretty sure they were making fun of me!) I'm a little hazy on the details. ;-) I hate that stupid mouse.

As I was writing this, a neighbor came over and said "Did you know your grill was on fire like that?" I asked in shock "It is?" Sure enough, when I went out there, having just preheated it to grill some pork steaks, it really was on fire. Not just on the inside either. The cover and handle are scorched. I turned the grill off but couldn't get close enough to turn the gas tank off yet. I couldn't lift the handle either (too hot) so it's still smoldering on the inside. My overactive imagination is now playing out scenarios where it explodes.

Granted, the house burning down would (hopefully) ensure that the mouse problem is solved. But I'm pretty sure I'd rather keep the mouse for a pet than go through that! A little later I decided to cook a pizza and also some toffee. I couldn't help but think "I wonder if one of these appliances will catch fire." They didn't. Today anyway...

For the dads in my life...

Mama M. is having a little contest to celebrate all the wonderful Father's out there. I was planning to write this post anyway, but decided I would link up and enter the contest while I was at it.
First and foremost, to my Dad. I am so thankful that God allowed me to be your child. I have so many good memories, but overall as I watch Abbey and Livvy twirl throughout the house in "pretty dresses" expressing their need to be princesses, I am grateful that you always made me feel like a princess. It's important to a little girl and I love you!!

To my husband and the father of my children:

I have so much to say I am not even sure where to begin. There are so many qualities you possess that make you an amazing father. It is not enough to just write a blog post to express how blessed I have been these last 9 1/2 years, exploring parenthood with you.

My favorite memory of you as you became a father for the first time was the look on your face as you gazed upon Katherine's tiny little form. Tears brimming in your eyes you looked from her to me and just kept repeating "She's so beautiful!" I cherish that memory! With each new birth, your absolute joy and amazement was incredible to witness and something I will never forget.

As the children grew, you remained passionate about being involved in their lives. Holding them, hugging them, kissing them, playing games with them, giving them complex algebra problems, and exasperating them as all men are naturally prone to do. YOU are a present father. A constant in their lives. A place of strength and comfort and safety. Though they don't see it now, when they have their own children, I know that they will look back and be amazed at your dedication, commitment and love. And they will realize how truly blessed they were. Our girls will look for men who will embody all the qualities you possess. Our son will grow up to be a loving and kind man, who adores his children. Because of your example.

You are no less passionate now about fatherhood than you were almost 10 years again when this journey began. The depth of your love for your children (and me!) is the greatest example of God's own love that I have ever witnessed. I count myself blessed that you have shown me firsthand what it means to be loved unconditionally, and that you extend this same love to our children.

You amaze me every day and if you don't already know it, your children adore you. You love them without abandon and it is one of the greatest gifts you could give them. Never, EVER underestimate your value or the impact you have in their lives. I pray that our girls will one day choose to love a man like you; one who will cherish them, build them up and love them unconditionally, through the good times and the bad. I pray that our son learns how to love his future wife (and some day children) as you have loved all of us.

We are blessed beyond measure, having you in our lives. I do not tell you that nearly enough. I hope that you know how deeply we all love you and appreciate everything that you do for us. It is because of you and your love for us that we can even begin to understand how deeply God loves us.

From the bottom of my heart, I love you.

I almost forgot...in honor of Father's Day, here is our very own "Godly singer" Abigail singing about her name, which means "Father's Joy".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thanksgiving in June

I love turkey. Kris loves turkey. We'd have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner once a week if it was feasible (and I had the energy to make it all!). Plus leftover turkey is always great (unless is goes bad). Tonight we are having turkey. I found one on sale a month or so ago and finally decided to thaw it out. Turkey is also fairly painless to make; it takes time yes. But little effort really. I just put some salt, pepper and Lawry's salt on it, put it in the roaster oven and let it cook. That way, my oven is free to make the other delicious sides that go so great with turkey.

I'm planning to make homemade mashed potatoes, frozen corn, and homemade gravy to go with it. I've also tried two new recipes, both of which are mostly yeast-free. The bread is gluten-free and isn't bad. I'm not sure how it will taste as just a stand alone bread. I can see how it would be good with gravy or toasted with butter though. The recipe is at Elana's Pantry, where I get most of my tasty gluten-free recipes. My pictures aren't the best. They're aren't ever, but they are worse today because I seem to have misplaced my digital camera and had to take pictures on my phone.


Next up, Weight Watchers Strawberry Pie. This recipe was posted recently on Mom's The Glue and seemed like a perfect additional to our fairly healthy summertime Thanksgiving dinner.







Another chance for lotion...

So, my 100th follower never did get back with me and I wasn't quite sure how to handle the lotion giveaway for that particular person. After some thought, I decided we'll just have another giveaway drawing for the second 'batch' of lotion. All you have to do to enter is comment on this blog. No extra entries. Just comment and I'll virtually draw a winner on Monday, June 21. You can still take your pick between Cool Ivy or Lavender Woods. Tell me in the comments which kind you want and make sure you leave your email address. And Katie (the winner of the lotion giveaway originally), I haven't forgotten about you and hope to get your lotion out to you this week! I was having issues 'packaging' it and now I just need to find a safe way to get it to you, since the best way to package it turned out to be an 8oz. jar. Also, if you get this lotion, I have learned by trial and error that you should get it out of the jar with a clean spoon or clean hands. If you dip dirty fingers into it, it will grow mold. And it's kinda gross. So, there's a tip when dealing with homemade lotion! Open to U.S. only.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More awards? For me?!?



When I first began dipping my toes into the blogging world back in February, I never imagined it would become to me what it has. I had 32 'readers' at the time I participated in the Ultimate Blog Party 2010. I had no idea what to expect, and was really clueless to all the great bloggers out there. You know how when there is an accident everyone slows down and wants to see what is going on? We have this desire within us for knowledge. For more. I feel that way reading other people's blogs. Some blogs I subscribe to for the great giveaways or coupons/deals, but some of them, listed as "Blogs I Love" in my Google reader, are like those accident scenes for me. I can't help but slow down and try to take in as much as I can. There is something so satisfying about it. I can know absolutely nothing about the person behind the blog, but when they write, I am drawn in and want to know more. I want to see how the story is going to end. I want to get to know the person behind the blog.

I am truly humbled that there are even one or two people that understand what I am talking about and feel the same way about my own little blog. I never imagined my blog would grow and become what it is today. I am constantly amazed at the relationships I've built and friends I have made through this blog. This whole process has been one of enjoyment and true fulfillment and I can't help but take some time to acknowledge that from time to time. Every time I get a new award, I am in awe. That someone reads my blog and thinks "Man I like this girl" or "I love the way she writes" is one of the greatest compliments I have received. I am humbled that any of you reading this may want to know more as you pass by this accident scene that is my blog and life.

That being said, I was given two awards recently. Technically three, but one was a duplicate but who's counting? (Me!) Two bloggers I love chose to award me and I am humbled and blessed that they think anything of me and this blog of mine.

The first one was given to me by Kelly at Between The Lines AND Melissa (I just learned her real name yesterday!) at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom. Thank you ladies for your generosity and faithfully slowing down traffic to look at my accident called life! ;-)


1. Thank whoever gave you the award.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself that readers may not know.
3. Pay it forward by nominating 15 bloggers you've recently discovered.

The next award is actually one I've never seen or heard of but this one was also given to me by Kelly (see above).


1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 10 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.


I'm a rebel so I'm going against the rules. Really, that's not the reason but I'm going to do what Kelly did and combine the rules a bit and award anywhere between 1-10 people. I won't know until I'm done! Before I pass on the awards, here are some random facts about me (I'll try not to repeat any I may have already told you):

*I'm going to see Wicked next week!!! I am SO SO SO excited about this and have been looking forward to it since I missed the chance back in 2007.

*I don't think that I will ever truly learn how to accept a compliment. Instead of saying "Yeah right" (most of the time) though I have learned to smile and say "thank you" even if I don't believe that someone could actually think something good about me. Unless it's about my cooking. I LOVE hearing one of my kids say "Mommy your food is the best!" and I do believe it! This gives me immeasurable amounts of joy.

*I am left-handed and turn my paper completely sideways to write (what's paper?), and the opposite direction that MOST lefties turn theirs.

*Because there is a mouse in my house (yeah, I'm a regular Dr. Seuss), the other day my scrunchy fell out of my hair and landed softly on my neck unexpectedly. I screamed, convinced the mouse had just run across the back on my neck even though it was completely unrealistic. TRUE STORY!

*I hate cats. I'm sorry. I just do. I see one and get angry. It's irrational, but true nonetheless.

*I love the word "nonetheless".

*I'm a GLEEK (but you already knew this). I just felt like it was worth reiterating.

*I like the word "reiterating" too.

*I am attracted to bald men. Specifically bald celebrities:

Michael Jordan


Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller

Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break gave me a LOT to ogle!)

Sinead O'Connor (JUST KIDDING!!!)


Yul Brenner in The King & I (NOT KIDDING!!!)


Arnold Vosloo



Ok, enough of that! On to who gets the awards! My nominees would be:

Melissa at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom. Melissa, you can just use the second award if you want so you don't have to come up with another 10 people or so to nominate. Or you can nominate more Beautiful Bloggers. Your choice!

Emmy's Boo's and Rawr's

Thrifty Wifey

The Life of Ann James

The Motherhood Umbrella

Start Dreaming

ShowMeMama







Friday Funnies


WRITE YOUR STORIES, LINK UP BELOW AND JOIN IN. OR, JUST ENJOY MY KIDS. :-)

I heard Abbey singing the following song this week:

"It's my talent to sing. It's my talent to sing. My talent will always be to sing."

We were getting ready to go to my parents' house for the weekend and the kids were helping me get their clothes together to pack. Livvy was getting excited about leaving and exclaimed:

"Daddy will be surprised we're gone!"

I had to explain to her that Daddy was coming with us and we couldn't leave until he got home. Her response?
"Oh."

Katherine hears all of this, laughs and like her mother says "Livvy's hilarious!"

The kids were having a lively discussion about ice cream and ice cream toppings and at the end of the conversation, proving how much she listens to every word her parents say, Livvy said "Nice, Kaleb!" I say that all the time in response to things. It's much more amusing from the lips of a four year old!

I think I've mentioned before that Livvy is a chatter box. She even talks in her sleep. Seriously! So we're in the van and she is bored and whining (what's new?) Then she said "You know what will make me stop talking?" "No Livvy. What?" "Playing on your phone." Later, after seeing a picture of herself from a couple years ago she said, "I talk a lot when I have short hair but when I have long hair I don't." As if THAT is why she talks incessantly!

While at my parents' house this week, Abbey was excited to tell me that she used the grown up toothpaste, instead of the kid toothpaste. She made me smell her breath and then told me "The toothpaste says sparkling white, but it was really sparkling pink." I knew what she had meant. The toothpaste must have promised to make your TEETH sparkling white, but the color was pink, and Abbey couldn't really have known this. I couldn't help but laugh when I went upstairs a while later and saw the toothpaste on the sink.


Abbey was getting dressed Sunday morning and excited to show Mammaw her new "pretty dress". I think Kris told her she was beautiful and she said she should write a song called "Beautiful Just Like You" then she told Kris that she would sing "beautiful" and then he would say "just like you!"

Livvy was talking to me and being silly and I'll be honest. I tuned her out. I have NO idea what she was saying. She was yelling and going on and on about some picture she had drawn. And I just heard all this "noise" and started laughing. And she said, "What??? [pause] Are you going to make that a Friday Funny??"

I'm going to start a little installment within Friday Funnies here called "Godly songs with Abbey". Abbey talks all the time about how she wants to be a Godly singer when she grows up and she has been singing more and more songs lately. I am going to try to video at least one of them each week to put on here. In the midst of chaos and craziness while trying to work from home I heard Abbey singing a song in her room-and while it isn't "funny" so much, it's just too precious not to include on here. Here is what I heard her singing:

"Oh thank you, thank you to the Lord. It will be a pleasure to know the Lord. You just have to say thank you and then God will still love you. When you don't think anybody loves you, he's the one person that always will. I say thank you. You say thank you. This is the life of the Lord."

In this video, Abbey is singing about her talent. It seems fitting to end with this song, since earlier in the week, as I mentioned above, I heard her singing about her talent always being to sing.


And last but not least, when I got home from work I found a sign. A poster, if you will. I'll preface it by saying that yesterday Kaleb was begging me to buy paper towel because he wanted to start his own cleaning business. He found the Windex and decided cleaning windows and doors was the way to go. He wanted Katherine to go into business with him, but she wanted to do a craft business. Apparently today Kat gave in because here is what I saw when I got home. Check out their logo! I LOVE MY KIDS!!!

Our Motto: When you make a mess we clean it our best!

Kris said that if he had money he would pay them sheerly based on their creativity. Those kids are awesome. Really. I am so proud!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can it be? Are the Smurfs REALLY coming back?

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook today (thanks Chris!). After my previous Smurfs post, I couldn't help but share. And when it comes out, I suggest that all of us pick the same day to go see this and then come back and talk about it! :-) Gleeks will be thrilled to know that Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays (Emma) amongs many others will be in it! Who else is smurfing excited???