Friday, August 29, 2008

Skribit Reply - another recipe!

This is one of my family's absolute FAVORITE desserts. It's a great treat when I make it - and it lasts for a few days.

Surprise your family this weekend!

Éclair Torte

1 C. water
½ C. butter (no subs!)
¼ t. salt
1 C. flour
4 eggs
1 pkg. cream cheese (I use the whipped)
2 (3.4 oz.) pkgs. instant vanilla pudding mix
3 C. cold milk
1 (12 oz.) carton whipped topping (I’m a snob and make my own from whipping cream – there’s just no substitute in my house!)

Chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat bring water, butter, and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Beat until smooth. Spread into greased 9x13 baking dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, pudding mixes and milk until smooth. Spread over cooled puff and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Spread with whipped cream and refrigerate. Drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving.

Like I said, I am a whipped cream snob - don't like using the frozen stuff. I almost always whip my own - it's SO MUCH BETTER. If you don't know how - it's easy:

Buy a carton of whipping cream. Pour it into your mixing bowl (use the whisking attachment if you have different ones). Whisk whisk whisk on high until the cream is just starting to get stiff, mix in - oh, maybe 1/4 - 1/2 C. granulated sugar and maybe a Tablespoon of vanilla extract. Then whisk until stiff peaks form. DO NOT OVER WHISK or you'll ruin it - just until you can pull the beater out and the whipped cream seems stiff and keeps its form.

If you buy the larger carton of whipping cream, you probably won't use all that you whip up for this recipe, so you'll have some leftover to put atop your coffee for a few days. BONUS!

You will not regret using real whipped cream.


Oh Happy Day HAPPY DAY!

In 8 hours and 19 minutes, I will be picked up for a whole girls' weekend away!! I'm spending the day counting down the minutes.

My Bible study group at church consists of 5 fabulous chicks, and we've had the summer off. This weekend we are kicking off another year together. YAY!

Lesa's parents are in Australia for a year, so we are taking over their empty house in southern Indiana - an absolutely beautiful area. And great shopping, too!

So if I don't post, just be happy for me.

All the boys (and Heidi - poor girl!) will be home having a great boys' weekend, probably scratching and making gross noises. Whatever makes them happy.

The pull is great to take my laptop (I don't go much of anywhere without it), but I'm convincing myself that I need a TOTAL break, which means ripping that thing from my clutch for two whole days. I think I can do it. I think I can . . . I think I can ...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Serenity Now. SERENITY NOW!

Oh. My.

The last two days were like scenes from a bad after-school special with Alexx (17). Teen 'tude and all.

This morning, Joel (10) forced me to take a frightening ride on the pre-pubescent hellcoaster.

Now I am huddled in a whimpering ball waiting for Seth to come down the stairs with his head all spinning around atop his shoulders seething with demonic rage.

Would it be wrong if I sold myself to the gypsies?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please Remember - I'm Not A Photographer

Update - here are photos (bad photos, but you'll get the idea) of the recipes from my last post.

Mexican Lasagna To Die For (if I do say so myself)

This is one of my favorites. I took about 6 different recipes that appealed to me and went to work combining what I liked about each. I then began experimenting and came up with the recipe below. It's what we're having for dinner tonight along with spanish rice (that I also made up the recipe for).

It looks daunting, but it really isn't a big deal at all.

Mexican Lasagna

1 can corn, drained (or 1 ½ C. frozen or fresh corn)
1 large can (24 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1-1 ½ T. cumin
few pinches of salt and pepper
couple handfuls of cilantro, chopped
1 box no-bake lasagna noodles (I like Barilla flat no-bake noodles)
2 C. salsa
1-1 ½ lbs. ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken (you can put chicken breasts in the
food processor for ground chicken)
2 green onions, chopped
4 C. shredded fiesta blend cheese

For serving:
sour cream
fresh diced tomatoes
shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sauté garlic in oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes (don't let it burn or get brown!). Add 1 large can crushed tomatoes, stir in about ¼ C. cilantro, salt, pepper, and cumin. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In large saucepan, brown meat. Drain fat. Add corn and salsa and cook for a few minutes.

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

½ of tomato sauce mixture
lasagna noodles
½ of meat mixture
1 ½ C. cheese
lasagna noodles
remaining tomato sauce mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro and green onions
1 ½ C. cheese
lasagna noodles
remaining meat mixture
remaining cheese
sprinkling of cilantro

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Suggested toppings: sour cream, fresh diced tomatoes, lettuce.

Spanish Rice

2 C. uncooked long-grain rice
2 ¾ C. chicken broth
1 can (14 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, lightly drained (leave a little liquid)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. onion, diced
1 T. cumin
1 T. olive oil
handful of chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Saute onion and rice until onion is soft, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute or so more.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and cumin. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Cover, turn heat to low and cook until liquid is mostly absorbed – about 25 minutes. DON’T LIFT THE LID TO STIR.

When the rice is finished, stir in cilantro, salt and pepper before serving.

Skribit Reply

Well, I've got two suggestions on Skribit. First - what kind of stuff about our relationship? How we make it work? Our history? Do comment and I'll do it!

Second - I have tons of recipes and I'm always either coming up with new ones or trying ones that I find. How about I post what we're having or one that I think is just irresistable?

Okay. There.

I Think I Hear Banjos

Oh my gosh, I'm such a loser mom sometimes.

I just shooed Joel (10) onto the bus carrying his socks and shoes. Nice! And not only that - I had to stand outside and have the bus wait so he could run and get said socks and shoes! The bus driver looked none too happy with me.

The good news is - it's because we were having a fine, relaxing morning and just lost track of time.

But, oh, the sight of my son getting on the bus barefoot. Did I go to sleep and wake up in Arkansas?

Disclaimer: In no way was that last comment meant to offend those of you who live in Arkansas, have relatives in Arkansas, like vacationing in Arkansas, or simply think Arkansas didn't deserve that jab. I'm sure Arkansas is a fine place to reside and believe in the equality of all states. For crying out loud, I live in Indiana.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeling Convicted This Morning.

Question: Do other people get the best of your personality? Are you unwittingly giving your leftovers to the ones who need your very best the most - your family?

They (whoever they are) say that we often treat those we love the most in the worst way because deep down we are sure in those relationships and know they will not leave. Well, I don't feel like I do that, but I guess that I am guilty of not stopping myself from giving in to those frustrating feelings and pointing out things to those closest to me that I would normally let go with friends. And I usually justify it with my kids by rationalizing that they need to hear these things in order to learn - I'm being parental.

Well, that's a fine line to walk, now isn't it?

I am told a lot that people enjoy how "real" I am. It's true - I don't try to hide things or act like I'm someone I'm not. If you ask me in passing how I'm doing, you might very well just hear it. I don't like false platitudes or phony conversations. I like to connect with people. However, that being said, that feature of my personality also dictates much of the time that I say what I'm thinking whether or not it really should be said, and do not hold back my feelings sometimes when I really should. And my family is most often at the receiving end of this; you know - those closest to me.

This all came from a conversation I had with my 17-year-old last night. While I am desperately (since he's nearly out of the house and into adulthood) trying to instill in him a few things that just don't seem to be taking hold, he feels like I don't think he can do anything right.

Point taken.

I just feel that crazy urgent sense of if I don't get these things through to him, who will? Well, talk about being knocked over the head. During my morning "appointment with God" my reading revealed something that I already know but needed to hear - "While we are waiting, God is working." Why can't I get through my head that I'm not controlling this?

So I am going to be working on giving the best of my personality, even in frustration and disappointment, to those closest to me because they need it the most. And also try to keep in the forefront of my mind that those things that I am trying to "fix" are being worked on by God in His own time frame - not mine!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just Schedule Me For My Straight Jacket Fitting Now.

Alrighty. I'm about to embark on a mission that I neither have time for, nor does it probably really matter. But. If you are anyone even remotely close to me, you know that I have an inveterate "figure it out" personality. Especially when the issue at hand just might drive me insane.

There is a beep in my house. A BEEP. Not a continuous beep, just one beep. One beep every 10-15 minutes or so. Like Chinese water torture. It's not loud - in fact, it's low enough that no one can find its origin.

It sounds like when our electricity has gone off and the house alarm begins to tell us that it's on back-up battery. But we had our alarm disconnected last spring.

One beep.

Here's what I know:

It started a week or so ago.

Every time you hear it, no matter where you are in the house, it sounds like it's coming from somewhere else - you never feel near it.

It is not a smoke detector battery. They are hard-wired. Plus when you stand next to any of them, the beep is coming from somewhere ELSE!

It is not happening at the same interval. I decided this morning that I would time it. First 15 minutes apart, then 5 minutes, then 20 minutes. Oh Lord, help me.

I can already tell that this is going to waste a whole dang bunch of my time and energy. But who in their right mind could let this go? Joel says he thinks it's a warning that something is wrong. Well, that's helpful. Thank you, Dr. Doomsday. When the beeps get to be a minute apart, we'll all retire to the bomb shelter under the garage.

Sean doesn't care (are we surprised?). He just enjoys watching me slowly lose my mind. Again. Over something insignificant.

So that's where I stand on this beautiful Monday morning.

Good day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Was There Really Any Doubt?

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME is all I can say about my dudes in Third Day. They rocked! Switchfoot was good, but nothing compares to the best band ever. :-)

It was a great time of being surrounded by great Christian friends and just being totally filled with the spirit of God and all He has for us. I think I love Third Day so much because they speak to my heart so deeply with their lyrics - and Mac Powell's voice is just phenomenal. It's also another thing that Sean and I share - our love for their music.

With our four tickets it was Sean, my girlfriends Lesa and Susan (Mrs. Zipps to you all), and me. But we were surrounded by a group of people from our church, as well. And we ran into other people we also know from church who weren't seated near us.

God delivered a beautiful summer sunset (you know how important those are to me!) behind the stage, and - well, it all just felt perfect. Except for the $80 sodas.

Laughing and cracking up, relaxing, dancing, praising, just taking in the messages - some of my favorite ways to spend time!

And Sean was the dude with three ladies on his arm for the evening!

Our best attempt at trying to take a shot of ourselves!

I would be totally lost without those two precious friends in my life. They are great encouragers, good mamas for me to learn from, and insanely fun to be with! Between the three of us, we escaped 9 children ages almost 8 months, 19 months, 4, 5, 5, 7, 7, 10 and 17. I actually can't believe we stayed out of trouble. That must have been Sean's presence ...

Click on the Third Day photo in the sidebar to go to their website and hear their music, watch video of them and learn more about the band.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Know, I Know, I KNOW!

Everyone keeps asking me on my forums and e-mailing me all up in my face about why in the world I haven't written about the concert last night. :-)

Well, just chill it! I thought I would do it when the little boys went to bed, but I ended up watching an episode of Lost online that I missed at the end of the season.

Granted, I know I have until, like, February to watch the episodes that I missed, but I needed my Lost fix tonight. It was the one where Benjamin's daughter was killed. Oops - did I ruin it for someone?

And - see how far behind I am? (Stacy's gonna kick my butt).

Soooo - I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. I promise.

Check It Out!

I have a new gadget, or widget as they are called. Whatever. Check out Skribit! (to the left) It allows you to make suggestions on what I should write about, ask me questions, ask me to follow up on something else I wrote about, etc. Whatever! It's a great interactive tool.

I can also make suggestions or ask questions and have readers vote on them.

I'D BETTER HEAR FROM YOU! I know you're there - I read the stats on my pages. :-) I also put Skribit on my other blog, as well. Though that one gets much less traffic than this one.

To make a suggestion or ask a question, just click on the words and it will take you to a box for you to write within. So let's hear it!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I just sold Seth's big stroller on Craig's List - my last "baby" thing to be rid of. No blubbering post about not having babies anymore or it being the end of a phase of my life.

Just happy for the $40. :-)

Happy Friday! Carry on.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I've been boo-hooing over not being able to go to see my favorite band, Third Day (best band ever!), since they set up their date at Verizon Music Center here in Noblesville. We have tons of other things that our money is going for right now and concert tickets is not one of them. (I also had to turn down buying Steven Curtis Chapman tickets yesterday with my sister - so hard!) But we've got financial goals that - again - don't include concert tickets.

Well, without going into details - this afternoon I was blessed with four free tickets for the concert tomorrow night! I am so excited! Third Day, Switchfoot, Jars of Clay ... here we come!

It's been exactly a year since we saw them last, and no one except Sean really knows how I've been pining away for those tickets . . .

Did I mention how excited I am?!?!?!?!

Thank you - you know who you are. I appreciate so much your thinking of me when this came up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Riding the Storm Out

My morning quiet time and reading a little while ago produced a few real gems. And it was especially insightful since I had a baaaaaaaad morning with Joel (10). He was diagnosed with a mood disorder this past spring, and it was in high gear this morning. As I was praying for strength and patience in another room while he was ranting in the kitchen, the words, "ride the wave, just ride the wave" came to me. And boy, was it wave after wave in that 45 minutes before he left.

I was literally seeing in my head the scene in "Castaway" where Tom Hanks was leaving the island and he had to overcome huge wave after huge wave to get past the point where they were breaking and get into the open sea and be on his way.

Without going into details, just before Joel left, he was absolutely enraged at something I was telling him he needed to do in his assignment notebook every day at school. I mean enraged. He wanted to do it his way, I was trying to explain to him why he needed to do what I said, etc., and we were going in absolute circles and he was in angry tears.

As his bus pulled away, I was praying for his day and praying for wisdom and guidance in parenting him, and as I prayed, "help me build his confidence ..." I felt like God put those words in my mouth to speak to me, because at that moment I literally heard the words, "You are eroding his confidence by demanding he comply with your request. Give him the chance to prove he can do it his way."

And as I was still floating from this exchange, in my reading my heart was spoken to once again from Psalms 16. Verse 8 says, "I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me." I really needed to hear that, as well.

I am in such awe of God and the way He works this morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hot Air - And Not Coming From Me For Once!

We get hot air balloons flying overhead around here quite a bit. But this evening it was a little more cool than usual - as it was flying pretty low over the golf course in our neighborhood.

Seth thought it was awesome, but Heidi was more interested in the dog walking on the other side of our common area.

Dogs. So egocentric.

And This Is Why We Have Teenagers

For mowing the yard. For babysitting. For installing the new microwave while Dad tells them what to do.

Alexx and his pal Harrison:

For those of you with still-little kids - they do pay off . . . eventually!

Who's On Your List?

No, not that list.

Not that one, either.

The list of people who are dead that you would just love to bring back and spend a day with or just see what they were like. Let's say, five. Do tell.

Here's mine (it is ever-changing, so this is today's version):

1. My grandad, who died when I was two.

2. Mark Twain (interesting quote: But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most? --Mark Twain)

3. Princess Diana

4. Dale Earnhardt

5. Okay - not a person, but - my dog, Hunter, who died in January.

Can you tell I've never lost anyone super-duper close? I'm sure going to need some quick help when that day comes, having no experience and being this far into life.

These Are The Moments

Seth and Maddie started kindergarten with big grins and excitement that absolutely could not be contained.

When we pulled up to the curb in the drop-off line, they unbuckled their seat belts, stood up, and Seth exclaimed, "This is it, Maddie. THIS IS IT!" And then capped it off by saying, "This is totally awesome!"

You would never have guessed that he's already been going to this school for two years already in Early Childhood!

And ...


It's been a few days, and I think y'all are due for some Heidi.

Seth declared that she was cold this morning on the back porch, and thought she needed to be covered up. It was all of 68 degrees -- burrrrrrr. I guess that is cold to my little native Texan.


She's so darn scooshy and fluffy, I can barely control myself. Come on - you know you want her.

What A Pleasant Surprise!

As you know, I am not. a morning. person. NOT. But God is working on me. Now that school has started back up, our new routine is coming forth. Or more specifically, my new routine. And it's a pleasant surprise. I have prayed about it, but I didn't really think I would feel a turn-around in my attitude this quickly.

Why do I doubt God like that?

There has opened up a nice pocket of time for me. Like the sweet spot you hit after you've taken a few bites of a Carmello candy bar, like coming to the whipped cream inside of a Ding Dong.

After Joel (10) gets on the bus in the morning at the crazy time of 6:45, I have until 7:45 or so until Alexx (17) comes downstairs (and only then for a few minutes before leaving for school), and then sometimes another half hour or so until Seth (5) wanders down. Wow.

What has opened up is a beautiful, uninterrupted time slot for my "morning appointment with God". During last school year, mornings were rushed and I had about a 20-minute window to spend with my Bible and in prayer before my homeschool day with Alexx began. It was never, ever enough time - and the rest of the day flew by.

Now I have plenty of time. I am in the middle of a year-long study of women of the Bible (AWESOME book!), as well as my "Mom's devotional Bible" - both are great food for the female soul.

I have always tried to carve out time before my day starts for my appointment with God. It's amazing how different my attitude and actions are when I make this a priority. So right now, I'm replacing the complaining about the crazy early bus pick-up time with gratitude.
Please remind me of this in a few months when it's dark, cold, and I just want to stay cuddled up in my warm bed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Women Who Has To Get Up Too Early

My 10-year-old's new school schedule just might kill me. I may have mentioned a time or two here that I don't do early morning very well. In fact, having to get up early in the morning when I don't want to turns me into something that makes the Hulk seem like a cute puppy. Don't make me get up early. You won't like me when I get up early.

Joel has to wake up at 5:55 in order to make it onto the bus at 6:45. This is insane. Until last May, he had to be out the door at 8:05, so this is a major shift in routine. So far he is handling it fine, but that's because it hasn't set in yet. Oh yeah - it set in with Sean and me at 5:56 yesterday morning. We're very quick learners.

I called Mrs. Zipps this morning moaning and groaning about this. She thought it was funny. Mental note to self: call her in the morning right when I have to get up and show her how funny it is. :-)

So let's look at the bright side of things, shall we? I get to enjoy the sunrise. I get quiet time to myself. I have good quiet time with God and my Bible to start my day. I am up early enough to order a set of Miracle Blade III knives (and get a 2nd set absolutely FREE) - a $460 value for only $39.95. You just can't beat that deal.

I know - it's all in my attitude. God will work on me through this. I'm being challenged to grow in an area that I'm not so good in. Isn't that what this life is all about?

I actually have a fortune hanging on my bathroom mirror that I got from a Japanese restaurant the night we went out for my birthday FIVE YEARS AGO when I was pregnant with Seth. I kept it because it's something I need to be reminded of quite often. It even made it through the move from its place on my old bathroom mirror in Houston. It says, "Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life."

Well, there ya go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


As moms, sometimes it's hard to keep up with the changes our kids are going through. Just when we become accustomed to what's going on, one of them goes and grows into something else! Darn kids.
I've always had to be able to switch gears on a moment's notice because, being so spread out in age, my boys are always in very different stages in life. I dealt with potty training and driver's ed. at the same time; I was pregnant while my oldest son was going through his first sex ed. class (great timing). And now I've got several milestones in my midst.
My oldest son starts his last year of school while my youngest starts his first. Now to be fair, Seth has been in two years of Early Childhood at the same school due to his autism, so I'm not having those oh-my-baby-is-going-to-school feelings since he's already been there. But still - it's kindergarten. My last baby is going to kindergarten!
Alexx is attending a new school this year after being homeschooled last year, and Joel is also starting a new school today - the Intermediate School. So it's change, change, change all around the Anderson family this week.
I am bracing myself for the inevitable ups and downs that come with trying to make new friends, adjusting to a new environment, giving it all a chance to work out before we freak out about some small thing (that seems to be how my boys handle things - I wonder where they get it?). I am praying that we have smooth transitions,that routines are established soon, and that we can keep things to a dull roar around here.
A tall order, indeed.
Here's to a new school year - for all of us! I can't wait for my own things to start back up again - a new year with my TeenMOPS girls and their kids, my weekly Bible study group, an actual two-hour time span every day when all three boys will be out of the house ...

The first thing I'm going to do with some of that time? Freeze corn! Yep - I'm an Indiana gal through and through.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Last Hurrah.

We just had to do one last fun thing before school starts tomorrow, what with all of the chains and torture they'll have to endure from then until next May and all.

So the boys and I decided to throw a bunch of money down the drain and go to the State Fair. They offered to go ahead and deep fry us as we walked in the door, but we opted out.

The boys ingested all that my $35 would buy them which included these Dippin' Dots and mile-long piece of banana taffy:

The 2nd generation drummer of the family begs to differ:

I got a tiny little bite of the funnel cake before the vultures landed:

And you can't go to any fair without partaking in a lemon shake-up:

There just ain't nuthin' like sittin' on a curb throwin' back some good ol' fair food!

And we ended the day watching the sweet little baby pigs nurse. I LOVE PIGS. Most of you have no idea how serious I am about that statement. I will tell you about it. Someday.

And I will have you know that I had a grilled pork chop sandwich - and that's IT! I'm so proud, because the batter-fried pickles were just calling my name.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Those Famous People Ruin Everything.

The following is an excerpt from an article on today about celebrities setting such a high standard for regular women to follow post-pardum:

Elaine Schoch once loved nothing more than spending her Sunday mornings flipping through the “mind-numbing” celebrity-filled pages of Us Weekly. Then something happened: her daughter Samantha, born Feb. 4, 2008. “I decided to subscribe right before I had my baby so I could still read the gossip every weekend,” says Schoch, a 31-year-old public relations maven from Denver. “But then I just got depressed. They’d have all these beautiful pictures of Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie and they’d be talking about how they lost all their baby weight. It made me feel bad about myself. So I canceled my subscription.”

I and my judgemental self have so many snide things to say about this, I am not even sure where to begin. I could write such a long, snark-filled post that I would probably lose a few readers. But I will just say this, half-snarky (yes, this is me at half-speed) response.

Perhaps if Ms. Schoch cared less about how celebrity moms look after childbirth and more about what a miracle she had in her midst, her emotional well-being wouldn't depend on what she read in Us Magazine. There are so many other things in the days after childbirth, and heck - regular life - to help you fall victim to depression, that the last thing one should do is allow celebrity magazines and gossip to have an impact on your thoughts, your feelings, your self-esteem.

And furthermore, perhaps if Ms. Schoch invested her time on Sunday mornings on something a little deeper than "flipping through the mind-numbing pages" of Us Magazine, her thought processes wouldn't be so shallow.

Hey, I agree it's hard sometimes to see celebrities with their trim bodies and hear them talk about how glorious and easy parenting is - with their personal trainers, nannies, chefs, assistants, etc. I like scanning celebrity websites and flipping through People Magazine, too. But it's entertainment, folks! It doesn't impact my day, my life, or my self-worth. Now the impact on impressionable kids - that's a whole other ball of wax.

Come to think of it, thank God I don't let celebrity lives affect my emotions. Compare myself to Christina Aguilera? I'd have to switch to a diet of lettuce and air - and cut off my head.

And lettuce is only good smooshed up against a glob of mayo or drenched in ranch dressing. Duh.

This Just In.

Alexx (17) and Joel (10) are arguing over who gets to clean their bathroom. Not who has to clean it - who gets to clean it.

Has the world turned on its ear? No - I told them whoever cleans his room first gets a special lunch out - and whoever cleans their disgusting bathroom gets a bonus.

I am not above bribery. But to ensure the jobs even get done - no media (tv, video games, computer) until rooms are clean.

I'm so mean. Or so I've been told.

Update: Joel locked himself inside the bathroom so he can clean it alone. Whatever. I just want the smell that's wafting into the hallway to be gone.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Great Way To Start A Morning

Joel is trying to teach Seth how to play chess. For real.

Just how well do you think that's going? However you are imagining, well, it's going worse than that.

When I went to take the picture, Seth said, "Mom! We're trying to play CHESS."

Any minute now, I think Joel's head might explode.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"I Knew It! I Just KNEW IT!"

That was Maddie's response when she and Seth were told just moments ago that they will be in the same kindergarten class starting next Wednesday. Their first reaction? To slap their arms around one another. All together now - Awwwwwwww! I made them do it again for the camera. Such a mom.

They are so excited they are now just running in circles.
And this just overheard:
Seth: "You're my best bud."
Maddie: "No, I'm your girlfriend."
Sweet, sweet kindergarten love.

Monday, August 4, 2008

For The Love of God.

WHY can't they make a light mayonnaise that tastes better than licking shampoo off of the shower floor?

I love mayonnaise. I. Love. Mayo. It would make burnt rubber taste good, if that's what your desire was. So why, with all of the world's research and development, can they not find a way to make something similar that isn't so ding dong fattening?


Happy Monday!

That's me trying. Trying to appreciate the start of another week. But I'm sad. I had Sean home all week last week and now he's gone again.

We have a great time together, my best friend and I. We rarely get on one another's nerves, laugh and joke about anything and everything, and have fun like kids. Well - like we did as kids together! It doesn't really feel like we've ever grown up. And I'm sure a few of our friends would agree with that statement a little too quickly.

Some of you are probably doubting that we get along so well, and that such affection and fun would turn to bickering if given much more than that week together. Well, we've actually been tested on that.

When I was newly pregnant with Seth in 2002, Sean was severed from his job in a corporate buy-out. As a result, Sean was home for three straight months while looking for another job. We lived in Houston at the time, so there was no family near, no visits to parents' houses, no really going anywhere away from one another for any length of time.

Sprinkle in a few raging pregnancy hormones (okay a lot), stress from a job loss and wondering when another will come along and a baby on the way, worry about money issues, and two older boys who aren't the easiest kids to manage, and you've got yourself a mess. Right? Aren't all of these things individually some of the hottest issues that cause couples to argue and marriages to crack?

Yes, it was an incredibly stressful period of our lives. But we actually had a great time. We had so much fun getting to spend three straight months together. Sean got to spend some awesome time with the boys, and at the same time develop a greater appreciation for what it's like to be a stay-at-home parent - something I think all men should experience if their wives are stay-at-home moms!

We believe that we would be the perfect couple to run a business together, or work together on some venture because we get along so well, respect one another's opinions, appreciate one another's talents; and even though we may not see eye-to-eye all the time, we have a way of working through differences that works well almost all of the time. The rest of the time, I have a big iron skillet that I smack him over the head with; and then he's all like, "Wow, you're right. Your way would be so much better."

We talk a lot about how great that time together was - and can't wait to do it again . . . when we retire . . . or hit the PowerBall jackpot. Both of which seem like a complete impossibility right now.

This marriage that we have didn't come out of the box this way. It's taken hard work and compromise. We are acutely aware of the fact, and have been for a long time, that God drove this relationship from the beginning. No details now, but there really is no reasonable explanation at all as to why we should have even lasted past a few dates - let alone through an accidental pregnancy at 19, college, careers, cross country moves, job changes, difficult parenting issues, and the way he leaves his socks in various places around the house every night.

Another thing that we wholeheartedly believe in is sticking together like glue - clinging to one another in the onset of stress and difficulties. It's much harder to drown two people clinging together with all of their might than it is to pull someone under who is thrashing about all on their own.

But for some reason that only God knows (and we have fully appreciated for a long time now), we grew from dating 16-year-olds to now-still-happily-married 37-year-olds who still wink at one another across a room and can't wait to hug each other when we've been apart. We always say it's a miracle we grew in the same direction since we started out so early together.

So I'll take my weeks here and there that he can take off from work, hug on him during the few hours that he's home at night and on the weekends, and continue to send him silly messages during the day.

We know and appreciate that what we have is rare and that we are lucky. But it's not really luck at all. I believe we are exactly where we were intended to be.

Friday, August 1, 2008

All Done! Now what do we do?

Sorry for the dark night photos . . .

Sean relaxing amidst the fruit of his labor. And yeah - here's my darling husband with the dog about whom he adamantly said before we brought her home, "If she jumps up on the couch anywhere near me, I'm making her get down."


The White Man's Overbite

My husband's video for dance instruction and self-defense.