Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The 57 Days of Christmas

I was driving down Main Street Jenks today, and what did I see? Christmas wreaths on the lamp posts and little green trees. I thought it was still October, but I must be wrong because Kohl's and Walmart have Christmas displays up, too. I haven't even found Carter a Halloween costume yet. Maybe if I wait til tomorrow they'll be half off - or less!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Beginnings

We had our first family "Awana" meeting tonight on our living room rug, and it was a HUGE success. Awana is the program our church has for kids on Sunday nights, and it's a great Bible study and memorization program. It is, however, 2 full hours and Mason hates it - despite the activities, games, and snacks. He's a homebody and already hates the fact that he has to be at school all day on weekdays. Add children's choir, Sunday School, and Awana to the away-from-home time, and you get a miserable Mason. So we decided to get the Awana books and do it at our house as a family. Mason was thrilled about the idea from the first mention, and he designated himself "project teacher." He even put on a polo shirt for the occasion. After our lesson, Mason gave us our project (coloring sheets) to work on, and then we played Candy Land (for lack of a Biblical-theme game). It was fun!

Mason is also learning how to play the piano - sort of. He started playing the piano at Mimi's house a few weeks ago and quickly picked up Twinkle Twinkle and Mary had a Little Lamb. So Gigi bought him the John W. Schaum first piano book and started giving him "lessons" on his little keyboard. Between Mason's piano skills and Carter's singing talent (ABC song 24/7 - still) we should have a family show in Branson soon!

$65 Worth of Motivation

I don't know how many times we've said that we need to replace the extra house key that we keep hidden in the garage for emergencies. It disappeared a long time ago, leaving us with just one house key on Jas's car keyring. We always go through the garage to get in the house, so we never need a house key. It just wasn't a priority to replace the spare. Until last night. We (actually Jas, but I won't nitpick) locked the door from the garage to the house and then locked the front door on our way out to go eat dinner. We returned from a nice dinner (nice except for the screaming toddler who hates his car seat and restaurant highchairs) to find ourselves locked out of the house on a Saturday night. Just so you know, there is only one locksmith working on Saturday night, and it's a ripoff business called "Liberty Lock" - a call center out of NYC who contracts locksmiths in Tulsa and other cities to come to your house and charge $65 for 30 seconds of work. There's actually a BBB ripoff alert for this group, but what do you do when no one else can come? Long story short, I got 5 new house keys today and placed them strategically to avoid a visit from Liberty again.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Life without God is no life at all..."

My heart is heavy today because I feel the evil in this world. It's easy to ignore it most of the time, but there are moments when I feel sad that so many people believe Satan's lies and end up choosing a hopeless life without God. I received an email warning about the new Narnia knockoff movie starring Nicole Kidman, and then I watched the trailer. Based on a book by atheist Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass is one book of a trilogy that Pullman wrote to combat the Christian evangelism of the Narnia series. The most disturbing aspect of the website was the section that allows visitors - mostly kids, I'm guessing - to find their own 'daemon.' Everyone in the story has an animal demon that is a part of them. Satan is SO unoriginal - animal spirit mysticism has been a part of secular cultures on every continent in every century. But it's not this particular book or movie that upsets me so much - it's the general misunderstanding of God's love. I've recently had a deep conversation about atheism/God/evolution/etc. with a loved one, so I've thought a lot about what I believe and why. God's love is so real to me, and I see His hand in my life so clearly that it's hard for me to understand how people hate Him or don't believe in Him. There are things about Him I can't wrap my mind around/don't understand/wish I knew. But every time I get frustrated by these things, He sends me a clear message and peace in my heart that His love is sufficient for me if I'll just trust Him. I guess there are people who can't bring themselves to release their questions and fears without concrete proof of something. But this is what I don't understand: Humans are not solely concrete beings - this world is not solely a concrete world - so WHY, WHY, WHY are we expecting concrete proof to explain the meaning/origin of life? Do you really think that finding water on Mars - even the Holy Grail, an amoeba on Mars - will explain how and why we are here? Science has a history of bringing us answers that only open up Pandora's box of more questions. Don't get me wrong, as the mother of a heart patient, I'm thankful for science - particularly medical science. But how many "scientific breakthroughs" are cancelled out later when scientists realize that information was completely wrong? A lot! That's because science is fallible - it relies on human interpretaion and understanding, afterall. Yet Satan is able to lure so many people away from God with the "hope" of future scientific discovery - like the proverbial dangling carrot. Here is what I know for sure: People who have given their lives to and placed their faith in the Almighty God have a peace and a hope that shows in thier eyes, in their words, and in their lives. We are all works in progress - not perfect - not to be relied on as an "example." But we know who we are and where we are going. People who deny God have a demeanor of discontent, even hate many times, that belies their anger and their deep fears of what is to come. After all, as my good friend KJ said, life without God is no life at all. Amen, sister. Amen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Motherhood is...

...a constant process of putting things back where they belong.

...trying to explain to a toddler why he can't eat Bisquick out of the box when there's a picture of pancakes on the front.

...getting the kids all dressed in the morning, but forgetting to put on makeup until you catch a glimpse of yourself in the rear view mirror.

...realizing that your own mother wasn't as crazy as you thought she was - she was just going through motherhood.

...the fine line between bliss and insanity.

...taking enormous pleasure in the rare event of going to the store alone.

...holding onto the precious moments while looking forward to the freedom to come in about 18 years.

...figuring out that you knew much more about raising kids before you actually had any.

I don't know why I keep thinking of these "motherhood is" phrases. They just keep popping into my head, and I thought I'd blog them - very 21st century of me, I think. The Bisquick one was inspired by my trip to "big" store with both kids earlier this evening. I could actually write a whole book of phrases about store trips alone. I may have to make a t-shirt out of the "bliss and insanity" one to sell on my CafePress store. I'll get right on that.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Funeral

I don't usually feel ridiculous for crying at a funeral, but this is just silly. I found myself crying while watching John Black's funeral on Days of our Lives. Especially dumb since this isn't the first time he's died. He's never had an actual funeral, though, so I'm guessing the actor is really leaving this time. He was never my favorite actor on the show - too over-dramatic (even for a soap opera). I'm getting up to do dishes before I totally lose touch with reality and feel the urge to send Marlena a sympathy card.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baby Shower

It's getting very close to the arrival of Mason and Carter's little baby cousin, Asher. We all went to his shower in Norman this weekend and had a great time! We scored tears from Uncle Scooter with the embroidered '5' (his high school soccer number) on the baby shirt designed to look like a jersey. Mason's favorite activity was making art with the paint 'swirler' that Aunt Betsy bought him. Of course, now he thinks we're going to play with it every day at home - he's in for a disappointment. Mom doesn't do paint.
Pictures: Artists Mason and Betsy; Carter's mascara art on his face (anyone need makeup tips?); Mason's super-handsome kindergarten picture

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Won!

I got a letter in the mail today telling me that I have finally won one of the many contests that I enter online. I see a contest, I feel obligated to enter - and end up with thousands of junk e-mails in return. But today all my efforts have paid off. I entered a Disney "Storybook Vacation" sweepstakes - you choose your dream Disney vacation and enter to win it. I was on the verge of getting excited enough to call everyone I know when I read that my entry had been chosen in a random drawing for the first prize. But then I read on. The free vacation must have been the grand prize, because first prize was a free Disney ringtone download. Just what I need - 'When You Wish Upon a Star' on my cell phone. And even that prize isn't available anymore. So my "fun replacement" prize is a Lilo and Stitch game download - "of greater value," according to the letter. It seems to me that both a ringtone download and a game download are of equal value - neither of them costs Disney a dime. But nobody asked me. Thanks, Disney!

Mason came home today with his brown paper lunch sack in his backpack - again. He won't throw it away at school. Apparently, there is a lunch attendant that goes to battle with him every day to get him to throw it in the trash. I'm guessing Mason wins because he always makes it home with the sack. I'm so proud!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Web Favorites

  • Bible.com - Easiest search engine to find that one verse you can't quite remember

  • familyfun.com - TONS of fabulous ideas for every aspect of life with kids

  • realsimple.com - Greatest magazine on earth has every article online one month after publication...organizing tips + decorating ideas + recipes = invaluable resource

  • allrecipes.com - LOVE the ingredient search for when I need to use up some random ingredient in the fridge; also love the ratings and comments by people who have already made the recipe

  • 30daygourmet.com - Not the best web setup, but the recipes are freezer-friendly so I can make 2 meals at once and save one for a lazy-day-dinner
  • froogle.com - I never make a big purchase without checking this site to compare prices. You can find the same item at 10 different stores with 10 different prices.

  • citywrites.com - Unique, hand-written and drawn cards by my talented, entreprenurial friend, KJ

  • leportraits.com - Another entreprenurial friend who turned her photography talent into a business

  • cafepress.com/LittleLinguist - My small Cafe Press store selling t-shirts, bags, etc. with my foreign language designs (mostly French)

  • cafepress.com/newlittleone - My friend Emily's huge Cafe Press store with all kinds of designs for weddings, kids, maternity, friends, sisters, etc. She is the Cafe Press master!

  • smilebox.com - My favorite e-card site with slideshow style cards for every occasion. It's super easy to add photos, video clips, and music to really cute pre-made backgrounds.

I Love My DVR

I'm getting closer to joining the 21st century - I still don't have an MP3 player, but I DO have a DVR and I LOVE it! I've recorded hours and hours of Dora, Curious George, and their other cartoon friends. Not that I let my kids watch hours of TV every day, but there are many times, especially weekends, when they want to watch something and nothing is on. DVR to the rescue! Okay, so I also record Days of Our Lives so I can watch it during nap time. And Mason reminds me every day that I need to record the space shuttle launch later this month. He'll watch that a thousand times!

I read Karen Kingsbury's A Thousand Tomorrows in one day yesterday. It wasn't her best work, but it was short, and I had to find out what happened to poor Ali, the barrel racer with cystic fibrosis. I started reading the other book I checked out but quickly realized that I had already read it. I really want to read the newest book by my all time favorite author, Maeve Binchy, but I'll have to buy that one if I want it anytime soon.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I Love the Library

Mason and I visited the library this weekend without any other kids - it's a whole different experience without toddlers. Our favorite library has a whole room just for kids with kids' restrooms, water fountain, kid-size computer equipment, and a really cool story time room that looks like a jungle with a volcano to climb on after the story is over. I've always loved libraries, but this one takes the excitement of reading to a whole new level. And it's free!! Mason checked out some books about space (although one was in Spanish, and we didn't notice until we got home), and I checked out some level-one reading books for him as well as a couple of Karen Kingsbury books for myself. I haven't read a book in a few months because I keep telling myself that I should be working on finishing writing my own book(s) before I spend my time reading. But every night before I go to bed, I wish I had a good book to read. Oh yeah, Mason also checked out 2 DVDs - The Big Train Trip, which he's checked out a hundred times, and Toy Story.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Haircut Fun

I took the boys to our friend Tabi's house to get their hair cut this afternoon. I put it off as long as possible because neither one of them are great haircut customers. Sure enough, Mason actually screamed at the top of his lungs almost the whole time. At one point, he yelled, "She's cutting off my ear!!" That kid has the wildest, weirdest imagination. I hope he can learn to chill out someday because right now he freaks out about everything. Fun for me! Their haircuts look really cute, though, and Carter didn't cry this time. So it all worked out. After that we went to the park with Emily, Destiny, and Kaylee. Mason was thrilled that we got to go in the "woods." It was actually a frisbee golf course in a patch of trees, but whatever.

Mason is learning so much so fast. He knows enough letter sounds and enough about space that he read his solar system poster to me last night. He had to sound out a few of the planet names, but he got them all pretty quickly. He's learning math concepts pretty well, too. He tells me he's a "very good student." I just hope and pray he continues to think of himself as a good student and a lifelong learner. After 10 years of teaching 6th grade, I know that kids' opinion of their own abilities often changes after a few years of school. I hope I'm a good enough teacher to keep that from happening to my own child!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tuesday, Tuesday

I just went outside to secure the bicycle and little car (big storms outside), and I found a HUGE spider right by the front door. I'll let Jas take care of that when he comes home :-).

I watched part of The Singing Bee tonight, and....well...is that seriously a real show? What an incredibly stupid game show concept. I actually turned on the TV to watch The Biggest Loser, thinking it might motivate me in my own weight loss pursuit. It's not working, though. I have gotten a pretty good workout the past two days. Of course, I've eaten too much junk food the past two days, too. One step forward...