Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas at Gigi and Grandad's

We drove into town on Friday and went straight to the hospital to see our new little cousin/nephew, Baby Isaac. He's the cutest little thing, and we can't wait to see him again on Wednesday.

Once we got to Gigi and Grandad's house, Mason and Carter ran in and found their presents under the tree. Carter's eyes got huge when he saw what was there. "WOW...COOL...a TRAIN!" Then he saw his present behind Mason's train and he gasped, "AND a FIRE TRUCK!" We didn't even have time to unload the car before they were playing with their toys. Mason was beyond thrilled with his electric train, Webkinz puppy, and Titanic toys. Carter crawled in and out of his fire truck toy box, and he pushed his fire truck scooter all over the house. I was pretty happy, too, with my new Wii Fit and food processor. Mason is trying to convince me that the Wii Fit is for the whole family...I don't know about that...

I've also had a fabulous time catching up with old friends. Becky and I spent an afternoon going around town taking pictures of the things that make Borger special/unique/nostalgic for those of us privileged enough have lived there. Then our good friend Luisa stopped by for a chat...just like old times...very old times :) I couldn't ask for a more perfect trip home!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Footballs and Fire Trucks (and a puppy)

Three Christmas celebrations down - one to go. On Christmas Eve, we started at our friend Wanda's house to admire at her vast collection of Hallmark ornaments and exchange gifts. We brought a tiny one and left with 2 really big ones. Carter got an enormous fire truck, and Mason got Lucky the Wonder Puppy that obeys commands. I think they actually would have been happy with just those presents for Christmas, but there were many more to come. Later that evening, I let the boys open the present that they made for each other. I had this brilliant idea for a new Christmas Eve tradition...except Carter didn't understand the concept of giving away something he worked so hard on. He wasn't happy when it came time to exchange presents and give away "his" hand-painted red train. He got over it, though, when he saw the coloring book and crayons that Mason had made for him. He still thinks the red train is his, but he doesn't try to steal it anymore.

Christmas morning came quietly. Mason is a late sleeper...even on Christmas. Once Carter and I woke him up, though, he was by the tree in seconds. He got, among other things, a box of football shirts. He didn't look thrilled when he saw the shirts, but he didn't say anything. Later that morning, he asked me why he and Carter got shirts for Christmas. He did love his Wii football game, though, and Carter spent most of the day in his fire truck bed tent. They were even more excited when Mimi, Grandpa, and Betsy came with stacks of presents. Mimi slipped in a box of clothes, too. It must be a mom thing.

Now we're all packed and ready to leave for Christmas celebration #4 in good ol' Borger, Texas. We're hoping for a new baby cousin when we get there. He was due Christmas Eve, so our chances of seeing him this week are good. This could be the best Christmas ever!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Party

Mason was kind enough to let Carter crash his class Christmas party today, and we all had a great time. The kids had centers where they could make bead necklaces, cardboard candy canes, and ice cream cone Christmas trees. Somehow I missed the memo about bringing a book to looks like I'm going to be one of those parents. Maybe by the time Mason's in 5th or 6th grade I'll have my act together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just Call Me George

I have to admit that I had a few George Bailey moments this weekend. I haven't been close to jumping in a river, but I have thrown a few "pity party" temper fits because things aren't going my way. And I might have snapped at my kids a few more times than they deserved. So God decided to put It's a Wonderful Life on my TV today. I've never watched it as an adult, and I don't even think I've watched it from beginning to end. Here are some things I noticed:
  • George's friends and family prayed for him at the beginning - maybe the last time that sincere prayers were included in a Hollywood movie.

  • There were some risque innuendos - like the man who decided he needed to go home to see his wife after watching a blond bombshell walk down the street.

  • The black housekeeper was treated like a precocious child - and sexually harassed by the younger brother.

  • Young George's boss beat him, causing his ears to bleed, and still remained his boss - not sent to jail.

  • Alcoholics were funny and smokers were cool.

  • The teenagers looked more like 40 somethings, and their parents looked like they should be in a nursing home.

Okay, so I might have missed the intended point of the movie. I did take the hint, though, and decided to find ways to solve the problems that have really been eating at me. The main issue is the unorganized state of my house, which leads to maddening searches for keys, shoes, coats, etc. several times a day. So I started the quest for organization today by straightening my desk and hanging a key rack. That's not going to help me keep Carter from losing his shoes, but it's a start. Maybe by the new year I'll have the entire house and both cars organized from top to bottom - like that Kate chic with 8 kids. If she can do it with 8, surely I can do it with 2...right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekend Pics

The Glenpool Christmas Parade was this weekend. Mason was on the FBC Awana float (that won 2nd place), but somehow I didn't get a picture of it. Carter and I (and Christina, Tabi, Ben, and Cooper) watched from the side, trying not to blow away in the gale force winds. Notice the horses and motorcycles. No small town Oklahoma parade is complete without horses and motorcycles. The other essential factor is the local news anchors and weather people riding in convertibles. Didn't get pics of them, either.

Mason is quite the inventor. This is his telescope, made entirely of tape and construction paper. He eventually decided it didn't work and started using it to hit Carter. But it was clever while it lasted.

I'm not sure what Carter was thinking with this look. The fireman hat/pajama shirt/backwards underwear/high heels getup looks like something straight out of a parade in San Francisco. The fireman hat, by the way, is a permanent part of his wardrobe these days. He insists on wearing it to school, church, the store, etc. People around here don't recognize him without his hat.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope this Christmas greeting finds you happy, healthy, and surviving the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We’re enjoying a wild and crazy December with two little boys who are begging for every toy they see and waiting very impatiently for Christmas to come. With 2008 coming to an end, we thought we’d send our own version of the year in review.

2008 started with plans and preparations for Mason’s mitral valve repair surgery. It was scary and stressful for sure, but we had a ton of support from our loved ones. Thanks to your prayers, cards, and generous giving, we’ve never felt so loved or so blessed. By the time March 11, the date of the surgery, rolled around we had that “peace that transcends all understanding” that Philippians 4 talks about. The surgery was a huge success, and Mason is a much healthier kid now. Even his pulmonary problems, which had been diagnosed as asthma, have almost completely gone away.

Later in the spring, we decided to put our house up for sale, which is an adventure in itself. We spent the weekends painting and cleaning, trying to make it look like HGTV says a house should look when it’s on the market. Of course, they have a staff to make that possible – and no kids around to undo what’s been done. Thank goodness we sold the house fairly quickly. And, just for the record, the house was a total disaster the day we showed it to the people who ended up buying it. We had moved the furniture to paint, and the buyers showed up on our doorstep asking to look at the house. So much for HGTV and their “staging” theory.

In September, we closed on the house and moved three miles away. The moving process was just as busy and hectic as everyone says it is, especially with a two-year-old around. Carter was really good at unpacking boxes – while they were still at the old house waiting to be moved. Hopefully we won’t have a toddler the next time we move. It’s not good for a person’s sanity.

In the midst of all the selling and moving chaos, Mason started first grade, Carter started his class at the Jenks FBC Preschool three days a week, and I started working across the hall from him in the three-year-old class. I also started a freelance writing career from home, which keeps me busy when I’m not at the preschool. Jas finished German I and German II in the spring, officially fulfilling all of his degree requirements for his BA from OU. He’s also working on a “Jewish Roots” Christian ministry and should have a blog up and running soon.

In hind sight, 2008 has been a turning point for us in many ways. We look forward to discovering what God holds for our lives in 2009 and beyond. There’s never a dull moment around our house! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you’ll drop us a line to let us know how you’re doing!

Jas, Angela, Mason, and Carter

Friday, December 12, 2008


Every December I flounder through the holidays, trying to get everything done, observe as many fun traditions as possible, and appreciate all the little moments with my kids. And then every January, I vow to do a better job with the process next year. Just for the record, this December is no different - no more spectacular or more organized or more enjoyable - than any other year. There have been a few highlights so far, though.
  • Christmas Pictures: My ever-so-kind friend Wanda helped me orchestrate a photo session for Mason and Carter. I was nervous because my kids and portrait studios do not go well together, but it was a huge success! I have the pictures ready to post, but I'm trying to decide if I should post them before or after we give the framed copies to the grandparents for Christmas (shhhh...don't tell).
  • The Tree: We left our tiny, old tree in the attic of our old house (on purpose), so Wanda gave us one of the many trees that were hanging out in her attic waiting for a new home. The only problem is that she forgot to tell us it used to be one of the White House Christmas trees - it's HUGE! Luckily, this house has 20 foot ceilings (just an estimate - maybe an exaggeration) in the living room, so it fits perfectly. I'll post pictures once I get my camera working (Is anyone getting me a new camera for Christmas?).
  • The Nativity Scene: I bought a book with daily family devotions that center around the birth of Jesus, and it suggested putting one piece of a nativity scene in the kids' stockings each night, starting December 1. So we've been doing that, talking about each person/animal/manger and stable as we put them in the scene. Mason and Carter loved it! There aren't anymore pieces left, but Carter still begs me to take "his" sheep down and put it in his stocking so he can pet it and place it lovingly in the stable - again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Minding Our Ps and Fs

Carter is starting to outgrow one of his cutest habits. He's always "pingers" instead of "fingers" and "pire pighter" instead of "fire fighter." But this week I noticed that he's starting to correct himself and say it the right way. Probably a good thing so the kids don't make fun of him at school, but still a little sad...

Speaking of Fs, Mason announced yesterday that he was going outside to play the "f word."


Football. He went outside to play football. I encouraged him to call it by its name and not refer to it as the "f word" outside the house.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Mason, Carter, and I have been taking advantage of the warm weather in the afternoons by playing outside. Our new house has a two-level deck that Mason calls the "boat deck." Mason and Carter think of all kinds of adventures to pursue - playing football (Mason's made-up rules, of course), hitting things (anything but a ball) off of the teeball tee, making teepees out of sticks, digging holes (Mason says they're fire pits - whatever that means). I even found my own workout routine that I an do while they're playing. It involves jogging laps around the yard (front and back), and step aerobics on the steps of the deck. Okay - I only did that one day. The rest of the days I sat in one of the patio chairs, working on my computer.

Check out Carter's new Mater shoes. He can put them on by himself (which is why I bought them), and he's very proud of his "race car shoes." And they're fleece-lined, so he can wear them all winter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Want That!

Carter's asleep, and Jas and Mason are driving back from Norman. So what do I decide to do with my "free time" (Not actually free when there's so much writing and housework to do, but a girl's gotta' rest...and it is Sunday, after all!) I made a delicious lunch of Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry, sat down on the couch to flip channels, and stopped on an infomercial for a mini-grill thing that makes all kinds of yummy-looking food. In five minutes, the show's host made at least ten different meals, snacks, and desserts. At the risk of sounding like my kids - I want that! If anybody is still looking for a Christmas present for me, get me the GTXpress 101. (I promise not to put it under the counter and forget about it like I do with most of my other kitchen gadgets.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Totally Unrelated Side Notes

On the Economy: I keep seeing all these news stories about people having to "cut back" and "spend less" during these "hard economic times," and I'm a little confused. I always have to cut back and spend less, so maybe everyone else's economy just came down to the level where my economy has always been.

On Christmas Shopping: Done. Thank you, Mr. Internet! Carter has been looking at the same fire truck bed tent in the Lillian Vernon catalog for weeks, so I ordered it for him. Mason has a hand-written Christmas list this year (with invented spellings - so cute!), and I ordered the first thing on his list - sort of. He wanted the John Madden football game for the Wii, but I ordered the Backyard Football instead. Somehow I don't think John Madden created his game for 6-year-olds. The grandparents took care of the other things on his list (Titanic and polar bear stuff - ??)

On Potty Training: If I only had to train for going #1 on the potty, I'd say the job is near completion. Carter climbs up on his stool and goes all by himself. He tells me he has to to potty, and then he says, "You stay here, Mama. I go myself." Going #2 on the potty, however, is another story. That one could take awhile.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Confucius Say...

I'm not big on Chinese proverbs, but I saw a good one while I was researching today. I can't remember the exact wording, but it went something like this:

"Anxiety is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."

Very true, very true! My favorite Bible verse is about anxiety, too (Phillippians 4:4-9). I wonder what that says about me.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Potty Boot Camp

Today is Carter's first full day in underwear - or at least that's the plan. Of course, that means I have to stop what I'm doing every 30 minutes or so to take the little munchkin to the potty. We tried underwear for a few hours on Monday, and we went through 4 pairs. Should be an interesting day!

Totally Unrelated Side Note: I'm intrigued by a new show I happened to run across today. It's called The Doctors, and it looks like it might be the best thing since WebMD. I'm an avid self-diagnostician, so I'll be recording this show to watch after the kids go to bed.

Boot Camp Update: No accidents! He even stayed dry when I put a pull-up on him to go to the mall (I'm not THAT brave). The only problem is that he's still waiting for his naptime pull-up to go poo. I even made up a cute little song - and he sang the song with me - but still no poo on the potty. Here's the song: (To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It)

Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun,
Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun,
'Cause we get to wear our un-der-wear,
Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

6 Decades and Counting

Gigi and Grandad came to our house yesterday and were met with a surprise 60th birthday party. Now we're enjoying a nice weekend together in our warm house...avoiding the ice cold winds outside.
Totally unrelated sidenote: I went shopping for jeans today (and decided I'm going to have to hire a tailor to design a pair of jeans for my body), and I heard the following conversation in the dressing room:

Little Boy: (very loudly) Eighteen!?! Mom, do you weigh eighteen pounds?
Mom: (very quietly) That's a size, not a weight.
Little Boy: (even louder than before) Is your body an eighteen?
(Long Pause)
Mom: Unfortunately, yes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

In-Your-Face Evangelism

Mason came home from school yesterday and immediately got out a piece of paper and a pencil. He started asking me how to spell the words from John 3:16. So I obliged...F-O-R G-O-D S-O L-O-V-E-D....all the way to L-I-F-E. When he finished he asked for a piece of tape so he could make it into a scroll. "It's for Jasmine," he said. "It's her last warning." I'm not sure if he's witnessing to her or threatening her. Maybe it's time for a lesson about compassion before he gets sent to the principal's office for smacking around his classmates with scripture scrolls.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Awesome Sunday

After we got off to a late start yesterday and missed Sunday School, it ended up being a blessed day. Pastor Steven's message from James about avoiding faith failures was just what I needed to hear. Favorite quote: "The only thing worse than being disappointed with God is being disappointed without God."

Before the message, though, (and after I muddled my way through a choir song I was supposed to know but didn't) six teenagers, who had given their lives to Christ at a youth gathering, were baptized. It was really neat to see that, but I had a sobering realization as I was watching. I realized that God gives me chances every day to join in his blessings and be a part of his plan. And even though it's such an invigorating experience when I obey and do His will, for some reason I still stubbornly disobey and miss out most of the time.

One of the girls who was baptised was a girl that God put in my path months ago and very clearly told me to invite her and her little sister to church. They were at the park, and her little sister was playing with Mason because they know each other from school. As the older sister was talking to me, I knew without a doubt that God had brought them to the park so that I could invite them to church. I almost did, but for some reason I never got the words out. Two weeks later, I was greatly humbled when I saw the girls with their brother and sister in the balcony at church. They had walked. They reminded me of the Herdman family from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - not exactly your typical "church kids." Anyway, I took the hint from God this time and offered them a ride home. Since then I've been their chauffeur on Sundays - except when the youngest one decided to "break up" with Mason (who probably didn't even know he was her boyfriend) and refused to ride with us for a few weeks. I've really enjoyed it and feel kind of disappointed when they don't need a ride. When the oldest girl got saved last week and baptised this Sunday, I was so proud of her. I couldn't help but feel ashamed of myself, though, for not joining in God's plan for her life sooner. It showed me that God's will is going to get done with or without me. He wants me to be a part of it, but I can choose to miss out if I want to. I don't think I want to miss out anymore.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Kay Weidner shared this with us at the Ladies' Ministry dinner tonight. She took the apron email that's going around the net and wrote a second part to give it Biblical meaning. She was kind enough to let me reprint it because I thought it was so inspiring.

The principle use of the apron was to protect the dress underneath, but, along with that, it served in lots of other ways.

It could be used as a potholder to remove hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears and on occasion for wiping a child’s dirty face or cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, baby chicks and sometimes half hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when unexpected company came, you would be surprised at how much furniture it could dust in a matter of seconds.

And when the weather was cold, grandma could even wrap it around her arms.

Those old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over a hot stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields. Dinner meant the noon meal. We had breakfast, dinner and supper back in those days.

I’ve seen my Mother shoo flies out the back door by waving her apron. I’ve seen her wipe her floury hands on her apron after mixing up a batch of biscuits.

I’m sure that young women now a days would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

Reading this about the apron, I wondered if there were anything to compare to Grandma’s old apron. After thinking about it, I decided, that indeed, we could compare it to the Bible and our quiet time with the Lord.

As long as we read the Bible and spend time with the Lord, He can keep our heart clean underneath just like that old apron kept Grandma’s dress clean.

He can cool things down for us when things get too hot or help us to handle them just as Grandma would use the apron to take hot pans from the oven.

And just as Grandma used her apron to wipe a sweating brow, God will use His love to wipe our troubled brow.

Certainly, He can dry our tears and even teach us how to dry someone else’s tears. Nothing like spending time with Him to wipe away a dirty thought, just as Grandma wiped a dirty face.

Carrying eggs or baby chicks would have taken a light and caring hand just as God carries our burdens and troubles with a light and caring Hand if we let Him. He will help us follow through with those half hatched plans, too.

He’s a good place for us to hide behind when “company comes”. As a matter of fact, if we have on our “apron” we never have to worry about company coming. The old dust of the day will stay cleared away by His guidance.

Spending time with Him will warm our hearts just as that old apron was sometimes used to wrap around cold arms. We can feel his arms around us and warming us with his love.

Many needful things were carried in that apron. Kindling, wood chips, apples, vegetables, the daily needs of the time. If we spend time with the Lord, he will carry and give us those daily needs. He promised that He would. He told us to ask for it when he taught us how to pray. Give us this day our daily bread.

Just as a wave of the apron signaled “time to eat”, a good thing for hardworking men in the fields, a quiet time with the Lord can signal good things and times for us and it filters right down to our families.

And just as the apron could “shoo away” pesky flies, being read up and prayed up can shoo away undesirable things such as gossip, unkind thoughts, apathy.

As for trying to figure out how many germs there are on an old apron that was used everyday, I don’t remember ever getting sick from Mother’s old apron. Matter of fact, it may have made us resistant to certain germs. Just as staying close to the Lord will make us resistant to certain temptations.

Grandma’s old apron was able to do all these things for her because she used it EVERYDAY. The good things it helped her do, of course, filtered down to her family. That makes me think that if we use our quiet time with God EVERYDAY, it too, will filter down to our families.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do You Know More Than a First Grader?

Tonight, Mason was asking me why centipedes have something on them that can burn your skin. I answered that that's how they protect themselves. It's the same answer I've given about wasps, bees, etc. This time I ended my confident, parently explanation with, "God gave every living thing, even bugs, a way to defend themselves." He quickly replied, "What about ladybugs?" I told him I'd have to get back to him on that.

I Voted!

I asked around and discovered that I could vote at my old polling place since I forgot to re-register in our new town. I planned to go this morning between dropping off kids and going to work. Ha! I've never seen so many cars and people at the Glenpool Library. So I went at 2:30 and got right in. Mason voted at his school in a mock election. He tells me he voted for McCain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Junior Firefighter

Thanks to our friends Christina, Joe, and Fireman Keith, we got a personal tour of the fire station tonight. It only took Carter about 3 minutes to warm up and start running around the trucks yelling, "Woooo Wooooo Wooooo HOOOONK." Mason had been before with Christina and Joe, but this was Carter's first visit. He was in Heaven! (except when he thought the sirens might turn on)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October Outings

Pic #1 - M & C at the pumpkin patch
Pic #2 - Mason and Jas roasting hot dogs at the Sunday School class get together
Pic #3 - Our family at the SS class hayride and "bonfire"
Pic #4 - The cutest little fireman
Pic #5 - M & C at the Boo Ha Ha on Brookside. They dressed up twice for pre-Halloween celebrations, so Mason decide he didn't want to trick-or-treat on the real Halloween night. We went to a football game instead.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rambling at Midnight

Can you be a prolific painter?
How do you spell Chattahoochee?
Is there a hyphen between high-maintenance? low-income? fast-paced?

These are the kinds of questions I run into every five minutes when I'm writing....which is why it takes me so darn long...because I have to Google everything...and then I have to blog about it to relieve my frustration...okay, back to writing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fair Pics

Pic #1 - This ferris wheel was scary! I had a curious 6-year-old and a wiggly 2-year-old in an open bucket with no straps, handles, or safety bars AT ALL. The metal gate in the front didn't even close all the way. A mom's worst nightmare!

Pic #2 - The petting zoo was a big hit!

Pic #3 - Mason rode all of the kids' rides over and over, but this airplane was the only one I could convince Carter to ride. He whimpered and clutched my arm the whole time. That was the last ride of the day for him (except for the deadly ferris wheel)

Pic #4 - The Just for Kids building kept them busy for hours. Carter rode little cars in the Little Tykes Land, and Mason built this tower all by himself from the ground up. Of course, he had more fun knocking it down.

Pic #5 - M and C got to milk a pretend cow, gather plastic eggs, and pick plastic fruit to earn money for the Country Store. These little farmers bought bags of chips with their earnings - the only free food at the fair!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prince of Egypt

Mason wanted to watch the Prince of Egypt movie that we stole from Mimi's house last weekend (ummm...Mimi...can we borrow Prince of Egypt?....Thanks :) It's not the mindless entertainment that I was hoping it would be for a restful, relaxing evening. I've seen it several times, but never with a curious 6-year-old. So far I've had to come up with explanations for Egypt, the Hebrew people, slavery, pyramids, the Sphinx (and why his nose fell off), mass infanticide, the burning bush, plagues, Passover, children dying, lambs dying, blood on doors, the parting of the Red Sea...and the movie's not over yet. I love the movie, the story, the message, and especially the music. But I think I'll make sure Jas is home the next time we watch a historically-based movie.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I know I'm obsessing about the healthy family dinner thing, but I can't help it. I have to record the fact that Carter ate every last bite of his spaghetti pie...with hidden broccoli and carrots...AND whole wheat pasta. Mason wasn't as enthusiastic, but he warmed up to the dish when I threatened to take every snack/dessert item out of the house for a month if he didn't start eating meals at dinner time. He's getting into the habit of eating as little as possible on his plate and then asking, "Did I eat enough to get dessert?" Of course, "dessert" is usually something like cheese crackers or a couple of whole wheat Fig Newtons, but it's still a bad habit.

The little goof is also reading food labels to see how much fat and sodium it has. I didn't teach him that...must have been something they did at school. Here's how it goes:

Mason: Carter, let me see those Cheez Its to see if you can have some.
Carter: Okay. (hands him the box)
Mason: Oh...nope...they have too much trans fat and sodium. Sorry. (puts the box back in the pantry)
Carter: (breaks into screaming fit and tries to climb the pantry shelves)

Of course, Mason never lets the amount of trans fats or sodium in his snacks stop him from eating them. He just likes to be the nutrition police for everyone else.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Smells Like a Wasp in the Refrigerator

I think I'm losing ground on the quest to add veggies to my family's diet. Mason is starting to reject the healthy versions of the junk food that I've been making with pureed veggies. This morning I made sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon, flax seed, and whole wheat flour...they tasted much better than they sound. Mason sat down in front of his plate and wrinkled up his nose. "These smell like a wasp is in the refrigerator," he said before he took a bite. I'm guessing that in 6-year-old logic that means they smell bad. He took a few bites of pancakes drowned in syrup and then declared he wasn't hungry. Carter didn't do much better.

Despite their stubbornness, I still plan to keep adding veggies to their food. They're bound to get used to it one of these days. Here are some of the super easy "recipes" I can usually get away with:

Ramen Noodles - Add squash baby food, small bits of chicken or frozen shrimp, and finely chopped, frozen carrots. The frozen shrimp cools off the soup and adds protein. I do usually thaw the shrimp and carrots slightly. Carter LOVES this and drinks the broth (with the squash) through the straw in his special "straw bowl." I need to find a lower fat low sodium version of Ramen noodles at some point.

Mac-n-Cheese - Add squash baby food to boxed macaroni and cheese. I think I went overboard on how much squash I added a few times, and the boys wouldn't eat it. The key is to start slow and gradually add more over several months- something I'm not very good at because it requires patience.

Hamburger Helper - Add sweet potato or carrot baby food to lasagna and other tomato-based Hamburger Helper mixes. Add squash to the others, like the ranch one that is Mason's favorite. Once again, I have to be careful not to add too much.

Canned Spaghettio's and Raviolis - Add carrots or sweet potatoes. I need to see if Wild Oats has a healthier version of these fattening favorites.

Grilled Cheese - Add a little bit of squash baby food to shredded cheese and mix with a pat of butter. This works with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Luv Junie B. Jones

Mason and I abandoned the Narnia Chronicles several weeks ago in favor of the much lighter Junie B. Jones series. Narnia was giving me a headache. You can't just read it as-is to a have to paraphrase and do LOTS of explaining. And I don't even like fantasy. So we started reading the Junie books that Mason checked out at the library. I read it in her voice, and I do a great imitation of a bratty first-grader, if I do say so myself. Here's a passage we read tonight about Junie's boyfriend, Ricardo, breaking up with her:

"Because, Ricardo. Because I am your girlfriend. And you are my boyfriend. And boyfriends and girlfriends are only allowed to chase each other. That's how come."

Ricardo's face turned very glum. "But I like chasing new Thelma," he said kind of whiny. "It's fun."

I patted his arm very understanding. "Yes, well, I don't make the rules, Rick, I just enforce them," I said.

Ricardo didn't talk for a long time. Then finally he stood up. And he shook my hand real nice. "Junie B., it's been fun being your boyfriend," he said. "But I think it's time we started chasing other people." After that, he waved good bye. And he ran off to chase new Thelma again.

It won't be long before Mason realizes boys don't read these kind of stories - I'm just enjoying it while it lasts.

If Obama wins by one vote in Oklahoma... will be my fault. I missed the deadline to register in the city we moved to. I did at least think to call the election board to find out if we needed to re-register, even though we just moved 3 miles down the road. AND I informed Jas of the situation - he made it in time. I just forgot to go to the DMV before Friday to fill out the form - because I had a few other things to think about - like a screaming toddler who makes it hard to think when I'm running errands. Sorry John and Sarah!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blogger's Block

My best friend Collyn (since the second grade) reminded me tonight that I haven't blogged in a week. I think I have a case of writer's block. I also have a case of cleaner's block and decorator's block where my house is concerned. I have chef's block in the kitchen and gardener's block in my very small, very dry garden. I just can't find my "get-up-and-go" this week. Next week is Fall Break - maybe I'll get motivated to quit being a slacker mom then. For now, though, I'm super sleepy and can't write type another word before I go to bed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Freakin' Fabulous

I'm watching TV while I'm "working" on my writing projects for the day. My favorite fashion guru, Clinton Kelly, is on Today (which I usually can't stand to watch because Kathy Lee is just as annoying as she was with Regis 20 years ago). I'm learning a lot about being Freakin' Fabulous (the title of Clinton's new book). Apparently, I need a new wardrobe, a more modern haircut, a set of wine glasses (even though I don't drink), and fresh flowers in at least one room of my house every day. Every day? Seriously? Who does that? I think I'm happy being Freakin' Unfabulous, but thanks for the advice, Clinton.

Totally unrelated side note: I have pictures to post of our State Fair outing, but I can't find the box where I packed the camera's USB cord. I stayed SIX hours at the fair with the boys. Jas abandoned us after an hour - he had to leave for work. I was determined to get my $80 worth if it killed me. Yes, I spent $80 at the fair. And I was trying to be frugal! Next year, I'm going to rent a booth and sell t-shirts that say, "Tulsa State Fair - Expect the Expensive." Maybe I'll earn enough to cover our expenses.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cracking up!

Check out my yearbook photos from The big hair one from 1994 is dangerously close to my senior picture from 1992.

P.S. Jas's pictures were laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-my-face funny, but he won't let me post them.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Top 5 and Bottom 5

Best moments of the day:
  • Getting Mason to school on time despite a crazy morning
  • Carter wearing his fireman's helmet to take Mason to school
  • Getting my calendar, bills, writing schedule, and bookmarks organized
  • Having fun at a baby shower that I dreaded all day
  • Bedtime hugs from chubby little arms

"Not so best" moments of the day:

  • Running late again with my morning routine
  • Carter throwing his shoes and fireman's helmet at me on the way home from school (luckily he has really bad aim)
  • Getting behind on my writing by spending too much time organizing
  • Cleaning pencil marks off the wall (Carter) and attempting to tape my broken glasses back together (Carter)
  • Mason's drama/complaining/whining about being sent to his room (for throwing slices of bread at the top of the refrigerator, trying to knock down a toy that I had taken from him, for throwing it across the room, after I told him not to....there's more to the story, but my blog space is limited)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Portrait of a President

I'm watching Diane Sawyer's interviews with McCain and Obama, and they're very interesting. Putting my political views aside (for once) I'm intrigued by the life stories of these two men. I almost cried when I saw the picture of 10-year-old Barak clinging to his father's hand the one and only time his father visited him. And I loved the story of John McCain standing up for the Filipino cafeteria worker when an upperclassman harassed the guy. And, of course, his POW experience was incredible...especially the fact that he had a chance to be released before he was tortured, and he refused because it wasn't his turn. Above all, though, I think they both need to be thankful that their mothers chose to carry them to term and give them the gift of life. I pray that Obama will have a change of heart about the live-birth abortions he supports, and I hope McCain will learn a lesson about the sanctity of life from his running mate. (Did I say political views aside? Oops!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I wrote this!

Here are some of the writing projects I'm most proud of. It's fun to see my words on professional websites.

New York Dog Tours - I felt like I was a New Yorker for a week, researching and writing about Manhattan.

Childcare E-Book - You have to pay to read the whole book, but some of the paragraphs are on this intro page. I probably won't do another e-book. This was a TON of work, even with my own home daycare experience and a file box full of childcare manuals and state documents at my fingertips.

Art Pottery - I'm learning to love the history and culture of art pottery as I write for this blog.

Womb to Bloom - This site hasn't launched yet, but I loved writing "girlfriend to girlfriend" articles about maternity and newborn topics.

Real Estate - I now know more than I ever wanted to know about Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, and 21 other states, thanks to this project.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Big Night

We finally made it to the Big Truck Event that Mason's school has every year. It was BIG fun!

Highlights of Mason's night: "Driving" the ski boat and getting M&Ms from the ambulance.

Highlights of Carter's night: Getting up in the fire truck 15 times and "riding"the school bus.

Highlight of my night: Talking to Mason's teacher about how sweet he is in class. You never know how your kids act when they're away, so I was thrilled to hear her gush about him. She also told me that he started a small prayer group in the library the other day. He was waiting with a few other kids in the library while the rest of the class went to the restroom. One of the kids said, "Well, what do we do now?" and Mason answered, "We could pray." So they all bowed their heads and prayed for their friends and family. We may have to change his name to Mason Graham :)

OH...and I got roped into attending my first PTA meeting after the Big Truck Event. It was a little scary, but I survived. I thought I might get trampled by the parents of the kindergartners when the kids sang at the end. People rushed to the front, some even standing on chairs and tables, to get their cameras and video recorders in a prime location for the perfect shot. I'll find out if kids are performing before I attend another meeting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Experiencing God

Jas is going through the new version of the Experiencing God Bible study, and our discussions are reminding me of how much I loved that study in college. "Seeing God at work and joining in..." is the message in a nutshell. It's given me a new appreciation for people who consistently share God's Word with everyone they meet...that takes such a love for people and a dedication to stop thinking about yourself and minister to others. SO much easier said than done.

Case in point: I saw a local news story last week about the old Lucent building in OKC that was "being prepared" for hurricane evacuees. I didn't know until this weekend that it was the Oklahoma Baptist volunteers running the operation - giving their time, energy, and money to fill a need in people's lives. There are Southern Baptist groups that are first responders to major emergencies across the country, but you never hear their names in the news. One name in this story I recognized - Chris Wall - the husband of a friend from OBU. It's so good to see familiar faces, as well as faces I don't recognize, of faithful people who just want to share God's love with people who need it. They inspire me to look for ways that I can do that on a daily basis.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tiny Backseat Driver

Carter has decided that he should be the navigator when we're in the car. I'm not sure how he makes his decisions about where we should go, but it's usually the opposite direction of where we're actually going. Every time I stop at a light or stop sign, he points and says, "Dat way...NOOO....DAAAAT WAAAY!!!" and then breaks out his famous, ear-piercing scream when I turn the other way. Sometimes I can convince him that I'm going towards the train tracks, which makes him happy. But he doesn't fall for that much anymore. My friend, Wanda, reminded me that Mason went through this phase, too, and he got over it at some point. Of course, he replaced it with another phase of some kind, I'm sure, but at least I know that I'll be able to drive in peace again one of these days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Too tired to blog

The entire house showing/selling/moving process has completely eaten my lunch...I haven't been this tired since...well, I'm too tired to remember the last time I was this tired. Maybe I need some iron...or some caffeine...or some ginko biloba (whatever that is). Anyway, we're all moved in and living out of boxes, which is tiring in itself. Every time I need something, I have to go on a scavenger hunt. And every time anyone else needs something, they ask me, and I have to go on a scavenger hunt. You'd think that would be motivation to get things unpacked more quickly. Not so. I'm hoping to have everything put away by Christmas.

On another note, Mason is doing great in the 1st grade. He seems to really like school this year, although he complains about getting up and going some mornings. The other day, he was getting out of the van in the school parking lot when he looked at me and said, "Mom, I've been going to school for three whole weeks now. I think that's enough, don't you?" This is also the first year that he's been interested in playing sports. He plays football everyday at recess, and every conversation we have usually ends up being about football. When I ask him how his day was, he answers "good" or "bad" based on how many touchdowns he made...or didn't make. I was hoping to make it a few more years without joining the dreaded little league routine that every other family on the planet seems to be a part of. But Mason is already begging to join a football team next year. I'd better enjoy my free weekends while I still can.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

In Search of a Fabulous Tablecloth

I've been looking for a cute, waterproof tablecloth for years. I used to be able to leave my antique mahogany table uncovered and just use place mats...and then I had kids. Now I have to cover it with waterproof tablecloth, and I've found that they just don't make cute vinyl tablecloths. I've seen the same ugly ones on the market since I started looking four or five years ago. They make everything else in really great, trendy designs...why not vinyl tablecloths?

Anyway, I decided to look for laminated fabric or oilcloth on the internet and just make a tablecloth (because I'm such an accomplished seamstress :0). Instead, I found the cutest oilcloth products sold by two different stores on Etsy, Chalkydoodles and Modern June. I didn't really want to spend $69 on a tablecloth, but Chalkydoodles lets you choose your own design by mixing and matching their fabrics. I may have to break my out of my cheapo-depot shell for once and get one of these.