Monday, June 30, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane...Literally

I'm trying to become a snickering from those of you who know the extent of my athletic abilities. Anyway, while I'm staying at my parents' house, my walking/jogging trails are the streets from my past (somehow the phrase "streets from my past" sounds darker than it's supposed to...) Every house I go by is a house with a story - a friend lived there, I babysat for someone there, I had a crush on someone there, knew juicy gossip about someone there. Of course, now all of those people have moved, but it still seems like someone I know might come walking out at any minute. Kind of fun. Kind of sad.

I went shopping at the one clothing store in town and found matching shirts for the boys to wear. I want to take a picture of them dressed alike just once, and it won't be long before Mason is too old to let me do it. Poor Carter has some kind of rash on his cheeks, though, so I'll have to wait a few days and see if that goes away. In fact, I have my doubts that the matchey-matchey photo shoot will ever actually happen, but we'll see...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wii Crazy

We've been at Gigi and Grandad's house since Friday, and we're having a great time. When we drove into town, Mason wrinkled up his nose and gasped for air. "What is that smell? Carter, hold your breath so you don't breathe it in!" I hated to have to tell him that that's just the way Borger smells. You get used to it after awhile.

The big thing around the Hanna house is the Wii. Mason has wanted one for weeks, and my parents have one (actually, they're obsessed with it). The whole family came over last night to play baseball, bowling, and various Wii Fit balance games. I really wish I had a video of my dad swinging his hips like a madman for the hula hoop game. Maybe I can get him to do it again for YouTube.

I had grand plans for finishing huge sections of my ebook and completing multiple chapters of my novel, but so far I've only written a few hundred words. It's that darn Wii! I think I'm going to have to find a place to get away and concentrate - the little, old library, perhaps? I'll try that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Food for Thought

I'm trying to ignore politics until at least September, but I can't help hearing about how wonderful it is to have a candidate who promises real change. As a history buff and former social studies teacher, I think it's interesting that no one sees how this phenomenon fits in with history. Promising change is nothing new. Giving impressive, impassioned speeches is nothing new. Unfortunately, the most powerful speakers who promised the biggest changes ended up being leaders none of us would support - in hind sight, of course.

Fidel Castro - If you haven't studied him, you should know that he denied being Communist when he was trying to get support. On April 25, 1959 he said communist "influence is nothing. I don't agree with communism. We are democracy. We are against all kinds of dictators.... That is why we oppose communism." The Cuban people were so desperate for a better life that they eagerly accepted and supported Castro's message and promises of change. They overlooked the obvious lies (and blatant ties to terrorism) and placed their faith in this leader. Their other choice? Another dictator (Batista) who brought in all kinds of tourist dollars, but neglected the majority of the citizens, who were struggling to put food on the table. They had to choose the lesser of two evils, but did they make the right decision in supporting Castro and his message of change? Judging by all the Cuban illegal immigrants who have risked their lives since then, and even lost their lives, to come to the United decide.

Adolf Hitler - Certainly the most famous world-changer in modern history. He gave impressive, empowering speeches that filled the nation with hope. His message was change at all cost. The German people were in a severe depression and desperate for change, even if it meant ostracizing their friends and family who believed differently. Freedom of speech? Obviously not. In the beginning, the Nazi party was widely supported and celebrated under Hitler. Anyone who had opposing views was ridiculed, jailed, and eventually killed. Just for the record, Hitler did change Germany for the better - temporarily at least. He gave them what they wanted, convinced them to trust him with a dictatorship, and then showed his true colors.

They say history repeats itself - but only when we forget the lessons of the past.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Day for Me

I had the rare opportunity to spend the entire day Saturday doing something for myself. I went to a writer's conference to hear Deb Raney, a Christian fiction author, speak. It was from 9:00 to 4:00, and I assured Jas as I walked out the door that I wouldn't dream of staying the whole time. I think he got really excited when I called at 9:05 to say I was lost and thinking about just turning around and coming home. He tried not to sound disappointed at 9:10 when I called to say I had found the place.

Deb Raney was speaking words from God directly to me. I'm sure I'm not the only one that felt that way, and there's nothing supernatural about Deb. But every word that came out of her mouth was an answer to a question, concern, doubt, or worry that I've had about becoming a fiction author. It turns out that I'm not the only person to have confidence issues with my writing - it's apparently fairly common. I was just about to drop the WIP I've been working on for over a year (I use the term "working on" very loosely - more like "sitting on") and start another book based on an idea I'm more excited about. This conference not only changed my mind, but it got me excited about Maggie, Clay, and Graham. You'll have to read the book to find out who they are. Hint: one of them doesn't make it past the first chapter.

Even my lunch was interesting. I went by myself for the first time in...I have no idea how long...and I almost pulled into McDonald's! That's how brainwashed I am. I came to my senses and drove to Panera Bread instead. I watched people and eavesdropped on conversations for almost an hour. No chasing toddlers, no arguing about why we're eating at Panera instead of Chic-fil-A, no leaving my food on the table to take anyone to the bathroom - just hoping the bus boy doesn't throw away my lunch. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Oh, and Jas, Mason, and Carter all survived.

Touching Side Notes:
Deb Raney's story about her husband's grandparents is so sweet. I love the part when the grandmother visits her husband in the nursing home and flirts with him - because he has Alzheimer's and doesn't remember her. Grab a tissue if you decide to read it.

A sweet lady lady in our church passed away in Peru while she was on a mission trip last week. It was a terrible ordeal for the rest of the mission team - they're still grieving. But Ms. Mola is in Heaven rejoicing today. What a way to go - leading people to the Lord on the foreign mission field at age 86!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day Weekend

  • We've just returned from our mini-vacation to Norman and southern Oklahoma. Here are the highlights:

- Pool party at Uncle Bane's where Mason swam for hours

- Photo shoot with baby Asher

- Playing with Mimi, Grandpa Trent, Aunt Betsy, Aunt Jessica and Uncle Scooter, Aunt Kitty and Uncle Derek, and G. Aunt Stacy

- Visit to Arbuckle Wilderness (well...sort of...we didn't pay for the full tour, but the econo-tour made the boys just as happy...all they wanted was a "prize" from the gift store anyway)

- Playing at Baba's house in Ringling

- Carter falling and splitting his lip open 5 minutes after we got to Baba's house (see the blood on his new kitty cat that he bought at the gift store?)

- Going "down to the barn" with Aunt Stacy and walking barefoot in the creek (she said there weren't snakes, but I see snake tracks in the pictures)

- Mason practicing the piano (scales make lovely background music)

- Mason getting bitten on the face by Mimi's big dog (who obviously doesn't like hugs from kids) and having to go to the urgent care center for "liquid stitches"

- Dinner with the whole family at the Boomerang (where I chased Carter around the building for two hours)

- Running into Mimi and Aunt Stacy at a restaurant on the way out of town (they say they were just shopping and happened to see us, but I think they tailed us to the restaurant :-)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today I...

... finished the first section of an e-book for a client (payday - yay!).
... learned the difference between a corporation and an LLC (e-book research).
... walked/jogged/ran laps around the playground while Mason and Carter played (I figure 40 laps is about a mile - purely a guesstimate).
... came home and ate chocolate to cancel out any positive effects of the exercise.
... purposely ignored my messy/dirty/needs-to-be-painted house, telling myself I'll straighten/clean/paint while Mason is in Norman next week.
... spent too much at Target (will be taking back the baby doll top that should only be worn by flat-chested girls, unlike myself).
... bought Jas an unlikely Father's Day gift (but it is something he needs).
... bought a knee brace so I can walk without limping (I'm getting old!).
... made a scrumptious cod and asparagus dish with fresh bruschetta topping.
... looked at my friend Leslie's blog and portrait studio site (that girl is good - the picture of the new baby in between the older brother and sister made me cry - it's a must-see).
... thanked God for a wonderful (not perfect) life.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fun Mail

This is the second day in a row that Mason has opened the mail box and discovered a fun surprise. Yesterday, he got a Ring Bearer book from Aunt Kitty and Uncle Derek (He was the ring bearer at their wedding...a year ago...oh my!! Happy Belated Anniversary K & D!)

Today he and Carter got cards with $5 each from Gigi and Grandad. Fun!

I'm just wondering why I never get fun things in the mail. Bills. Credit card offers (like I need another one). An occasional scam letter (like the "Who's Who for Professional Women" membership form I got yesterday - ha!). But rarely anything fun. And never money.

By the way, I don't realize how old and ugly the "kid couch" is until I see it in pictures. We keep saying we'll get rid of it, but then we'd have to let the kids demolish the new furniture on the other side of the room. Jas and I bought (charged) that couch a few months before we got married. That means it's 12 years old. No wonder it looks so bad!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cruisin' the Neighborhood

After one week of riding his bike without training wheels, Mason has advanced to extreme biking. He rides over dirt hills (small ones) and hops off of curbs. He does usually have a helmet for his stunt riding, but Carter tore out the padding and lost it. Good thing Walmart's so close now!
In other news, I discovered the other day that Carter knows all of his letters. He plays with his alphabet toys all the time, but I didn't realize how much was sinking in. Maybe I should get him some toys with the names of the presidents, planets, and elements on the periodic table. We'll see how much we can pack into his little 2-year-old mind.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I just ran across an article on Yahoo called 12 New 'Necessities' That Drain Your Cash. This paragraph is the gospel truth if I ever heard it:

Childhood Parties
If you don't have kids, you probably can't appreciate how out-of-control children's birthday parties have become.
"Every kid has to have a bouncy house for their birthday," says Hunt, who lives in Southern California. "It's not enough to have just a cake; you have to have a meal. And now you have to invite the parents."
Hunt adds that such celebrations no longer are restricted to "big" birthdays, but occur every year.
"And they celebrate graduations, from preschool, for kindergarten, for elementary, junior high," she says. "When they get to be teens, the whole group has to go somewhere. By the time you graduate high school, now you go to Aruba."
Young parents, you've been warned.

I thought I was the only one who was appalled by the amount of money people spend on kids' birthday parties - and presents for that matter. I've started to give into the trend out of pure peer pressure, but this article has motivated me to stick to my guns. I've already paid the fee to rent the community pool for Mason's birthday in July, but that's it. After this year we're going back to the basics with parties. Thank you Jay McDonald for writing this!

Wiki Wiki

The kids performed their little songs for the VBS Family Night on Friday. Carter's 2-year-old class was adorable, of course. He knew the song and the moves, but he was more interested in playing with the props. He disappeared about 30 seconds into the song and spent some quality time with an inflatable turtle behind the rest of the group.
Mason's group, the K-5 kids, was cute, too. Mason was tired, but he did at least attempt some of the choreography. He spent a lot of the time chewing on his shirt, though. Yes, that's my child on the end, the one with his shirt pulled up and his pants unbuttoned. I'm so proud! The Wiki Wiki song has been in my head since Friday. I'll try to post the little video clip of it later.

Friday, June 6, 2008

This is why... never leave a toddler alone in a room with a laptop. He may look like he's just watching TV, but he's not. He's secretly plotting to rip all the keys off of the keyboard and scatter the tiny plastic components all over the shag rug. Don't let his innocent looking face fool you. He is walking destruction.

FYI - There are two interlocking plastic pieces underneath each and every key on the board. Finding them all was like looking for 20-30 clear contact lenses - in a shag rug. Proof of the power of prayer (yes, I was praying for my computer): I found them all, figured out how they go together, and put every single key back on. Now that's a miracle!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Love Google

I've decided that Google is now the Walmart of the internet. They've come a long way from the simple, one-box search engine website that they used to be. Now they offer tons of really useful tools. I've been using their price comparison site,, for a long time - I check it all the time to see how much things cost. But now I've discovered two new Google services that have revolutionized my life (okay, maybe a tad overstated).

Google Docs - This is a FREE online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program that lets me upload my Word and Excel documents OR create new ones. Then I can access them from any computer. It's super easy to use, and I can share them with other people much more easily than attaching them to email messages. My art pottery client introduced me to this so that I can write his blog posts and share them without emailing back and forth. We also have a shared list of blog topics that both of us can add to at any time. So cool!!

Google Calendar - Today I found Google's FREE calendar program. I have daily, weekly, and monthly calendars with events and deadlines typed in. I can share my calendars with other people and print copies for the fridge. This program does everything but complete the tasks for me. I'm sure Google will come up with a way to do that one of these days, too. Do you think it will be free?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Soundtrack of my Life

I never really watched the show Ally McBeal, but the few clips I did catch involved the characters having soundtracks that defined who they were at the moment. I was thinking about the soundtrack of my life - when I was little it was sitcom themes - cheesy 90s music in high school - country music for about a month when I lived with my friend Becky in College Station. Now the soundtrack of my life is a mix of cartoon theme songs and this:

You only get the full effect if you play it full blast on surround sound. That's what I hear as I clean the kitchen, fold laundry, write articles, talk on the phone, etc. And before you get all judgemental on me and decide that the screaming might stop if i stopped long enough to attend to the poor kid, let me assure you that the screaming continues through hugs, kisses, and peace offerings. Once he gets going, he pretty much has to cry it out on his bed before he can return to his usual, adorable self and join the rest of us. Somebody remind me of this when he's 18 and I cry because he's not my baby anymore.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Busy Week

So much has happened since I posted my last entry a week ago. Here are the highlights in a nutshell:
  • Summer is here, and we visit the park a lot (see pictures)

  • Mason finally took off on his bike (without training wheels) and rides all over the neighborhood.
  • I'm working toward being a "vocal artist" rather than just a "singer," thanks to a vocal artistry conference I attended with the church praise team. American Idol, here I come (Do they make a 30 Something version of that show?)
  • We had yet another hail storm with baseball size hail pelting the house. Good thing the roofing company hasn't replaced the roof from the last hail storm yet. There was a block of ice in one of our bushes for two days, even though it was 90 degrees outside. And my poor little potted flowers were beat to death. Very sad.
  • Carter doesn't even mention his binkie anymore, and he sleeps in his own bed almost every night. (He does tend to get out of bed and fall asleep on the hall floor, though.)
  • Vacation Bible School is this week, and we love it! I help with the crafts (easiest job on the list :), Mason tells me all about missions when we get home, and even Carter doesn't cry or try to stay with me when his little class comes to the craft/snack shack for their snack. What more could you ask for?
  • A red wasp flew in our bathroom today when I was giving the boys a bath. It was a fiasco that began with Mason screaming bloody murder and running stark naked into his bedroom, and ended with me slamming the bathroom door and shoving towels under it to seal off any openings. Needless to say, Jas had a fun task to take care of when he got home - the wasp was in the towels when he pulled them out from under the door. Thank goodness for dads!