About Me

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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm not always one to be overly outgoing. I tend to show my true colors only after I've felt you out and you've felt me out and we've somehow mutually decided that we'll be friends. Even though you might not hear me tell a story that I think is so funny I snort and cry in my laughter until we've hung out for a year or two...I'm still pleasant. I see no reason not to be.

I like flashing a smile when I meet you on the sidewalk. There's no reason not to say hello to the greeter at Walmart. If you've bagged my groceries and are walking me out to the car to then put them in my trunk...well, then, why wouldn't we chat about the weather?

Now, I also tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I mean, even I, who bubbles with friendliness, has off days. On those days my eyes might not meet yours, or my smile might be contrived. Nobody can be 'on' all the time.

All this said, there are are two women I have issue with. One is a bagger at our commissary. (If you're unfamiliar, the commissary is the grocery store on base. There are baggers who "work for tips only" and will also take your purchases to your vehicle and load them in for you.) I've seen her in the aisles of the store while she's on breaks. She's been at the end of my cashier's lane more than a few times. I've lived here for over two years. We've interacted. However, she has never said more to me than, "Plastic or paper?" She answers my questions with as short an answer as possible. And she wears a permanent scowl. I try not to judge, but really...you work with people! I bet if someone kept track the other baggers made more with their tips than she does because they smile or say hi to my kids or any of it! Enjoy yourself...just a little.

The other woman I haven't given years to impress me. She is a parent at Gracie's preschool. We've been there for two months! In that time, though, she's been on the phone every time I see her. I'm not really sure if she's talking to someone every morning and afternoon or if she uses the phone as a way to keep people at a distance. It's not just the phone that annoys me, though. She also keeps her foot in the door when signing her daughter in so there's no way she'll be trapped inside and faced with possible conversations. She doesn't say good bye to her daughter, just ushers her through the door, signs the sheet, and leaves. I have seen her give a brief wave to the teachers. And she parks in such a way that she'll be able to get out, regardless of what chaos this brings to the rest of the parents. The drop off portion of the parking lot is a one way U shape. She has never driven through it that I've seen. She parks in the entrance so the tail of her car is almost still on the road, then backs out when she's ready to leave. I have also seen her pull up on the grass, not in the driveway at all. This act, in and of itself, is not offensive. It's what most of us do when we don't want to get stuck in the U part, waiting for parents in front of us to come back out. However, instead of pulling straight out into the road and going on her way after scurrying out of the school, she does a 3-point turn in the road, stopping traffic in all directions.

Now, this woman might not annoy me quite as much, although probably, but her daughter is also unpleasant. She's not nice to Gracie and I'll assume she's not all that great with the other kids either. She's rude, bossy, takes things, a little brat. If I knew just her I'd think, "What a little imp," but having met(?) her mother I instead think, "How sad."

It seems to me that taking a little time to be cordial, pleasant, considerate to others encourages others to carry that positivity on in their days. It's discouraging when the rest of us consistently have to make up for one or two people's crabbiness, especially when we have to make up for it by trying to tolerate your kid's reaction to you. Frustrating. And I'm not even the teacher.

So, let your personality shine...and if it's a little dull, start polishing. Give it a good spit shine. Please.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Growing Pains

Edited for clarification

I have a friend back in Washington who I think of every time I want to start a sentence with "there's a country song..." because she was the one who pointed out that I can reference a country song for just about anything! Hi Hollie!

So, there's a country song that goes like this:

"There's gone for good and there's good and gone
and there's gone with the long before it.
I wish she'd been just a little more clear.
Well, there's gone for the day and gone for the night
and gone for the rest of your doggone life.
Is it a whiskey night or just a couple beers?
I mean what kind of gone are we talkin' 'bout here?"

Chris Cagle continues on, trying to figure out is his woman's coming back or not. Between you and me, I don't think she is. But, anyway...I thought of this song yesterday when I was thinking about growth.

Sometimes growth is obvious. Physical growth for example. Sometimes it surprises you that the kids need new clothes, again, but it can't be denied that they've grown. Sometimes we don't realize growth for some time after. This happens often with spiritual growth. If we're not focused on it, we might not even know where our spirit is, but all of a sudden the need arises for us to be faithfully present or we're challenged in some way and we realize our spirit has been growing all this time.

There's growth within us and outside of us, in our interpersonal relationships. Sometimes we tend to ourselves or others with great care and promote that growth. More often, though (at least for me) we find ourselves too busy with whatever to weed and water these little vines of friendship, love, personal growth.

We grow up, grow apart, grow old, and grow together. And none if it's easy. Change precipitates growth and it can be very emotional and not always seem like a good thing. But, in the end, I think growth is our goal. It's my goal.

I get nervous about change, but I embrace it too. I love that no matter how hard the change is or how long it takes to realize it...I'll grow. I'll learn something, about myself or my family. I'm face decisions that are exciting or nerve-racking. I'll come out the other side with stronger beliefs, closer friends, more to smile about. I may also have more questions, but the answers will come in time...with more growth.

Edited to add...this morning I was thinking about this post and wondering if it was clear to anyone else how the song related to my blabber about growth. With the chaos of life I didn't get a chance to log on and re-read it to see if it might be clear or a little foggy, until now. It's not foggy at all...there appears to be no connection. (sigh) What's a girl to do?

In my defense, I'm often writing these posts with Tyler climbing on me...at least. I can't recall if that was the case when I originally posted Growing Pains or not, but let's just say it was...so I can feel better about the lack of substance tying the topics together.

For the inquiring minds that might want to know, the tie for me is in the fact that there are so many kids of "growth" and "gone." Plus both words start with G. That's it! No big revelations. I was thinking about friendships and growing apart, or never growing together, or the ways we dance in and out of people's lives while we grow. While considering all that I heard the song and I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if we knew what kind of growth we were talking about at each stage of life?" So often I have an "aha!" moment way after the fact and realize that I grew out of a situation that at the time seemed pointless and painful. If only things were a little more clear...

(like my writing)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Puff Pastry - Daring Baker's Challenge

Well, well, well...the time has come for my first post as part of the Daring Kitchen. My little sister (and her two blogs - life and food) turned me onto this fun and exciting idea....get monthly "challenges" to bake and cook! Fun, huh? The excitement is increased in that we all (all the challenge members) reveal our posts all on the same day to show what we've accomplished. People from all over the world are baking the same thing I am. Some are better at it than others...in this case I'm "other." But we're all learning, sharing, and just plain enjoying ourselves!

So, without further ado...here's my first challenge:

Puff Pastry

The recipe was provided in the challenge, along with a wonderful video to watch on how to make puff pastry. That video make a world of difference. The recipe itself was rather lengthy and scared me a touch. The video made it much more approachable. Anyway, you can find the recipe at the end of my post.

It turns out that puff pastry needs to be kept cold at every step, which can be tricky here in Georgia. I'm not sure if that was the issue or if my egg wash dripped over he sides too much or if I twisted the cutter when cutting out my shapes...all or any of these things can effect the puffiness of puff pastry. Who knew?

Anyway, mine didn't puff wonderfully...but it sure tasted good!

This challenges was not only to make the puff pastry but then to turn it into Vols-au-Vent. Sounds pretty neat, huh? From what I make of it, this is simply puff pastry, cut out, baked, and filled. We got to chose our fillings and could go a sweet or a savory route. The recipe makes a ton of pastry, so many challengers did both. I had a great plan to make the savory for dinner and let the kids chose a sweet filling for another night. I still might do that, I have frozen dough left, but for now I've just done the savory.

I actually attempted baking the dough twice, with the same results...not so much puff. The first time I found out that our camera had completely broken and couldn't take pictures of my seafood filling. Since then, though, we've gotten a wonderful new camera and you can all drool over my creation!

I started with two pieces of bacon, cut into about 1" bits. I browned them in a nonstick pot and took them out to drain when done. I added sliced red onions and cooked them on low for a while, added mushrooms and let them be happy together. Don't they look happy?

I should note that I could eat this combination on just about anything. So good.

After this, though I tossed in some scallops to cook through and finished it off with some black pepper, a spoon of cream of mushroom soup, and of course the original bacon. It was lovely (and reasonably healthy...just don't count the puff pastry!)

See? Lovely.
We enjoyed some blueberries and garlic veggies to complete our meal.
I'm excited about my first Daring Challenge and can't wait for the next!
Now for the recipe...
Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

There is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the book. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry dough (although they go on to use it in other applications). They do seem to give slightly different ingredient measurements verbally than the ones in the book…I listed the recipe as it appears printed in the book. http://video.pbs.org/video/1174110297/search/Pastry

2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter
plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8" square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24", everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:

If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.
There ya have it! Give it a try, or at least enjoy this indulgent treat from the freezer section of your grocery store...it was way better from scratch though. No matter what, though...enjoy! Happy baking!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Perfect Saturday

Isn't the perfect weekend something every good American yearns for? Realistically I don't find myself thinking, "Gee, that was the perfect weekend" after every weekend, or even after most. Maybe it's because Monday sometimes springs up out of nowhere and surprises me. Maybe it's because I'm simply not paying attention. Maybe this is just all on my mind because last weekend was no where near perfection. I had a fever, the chills, the inability to swallow without grimacing...but enough about that.

No matter what, though, this weekend I was thinking about having the perfect weekend. What is the perfect weekend, you may be asking. Well, I think it can mean different things at different times and to different people. For me, right now, though, I'm looking for a balance between having fun and feeling productive, and between time with family, for myself, and with my husband. Overall, I'd like to crawl into bed Sunday night content. I don't want to feel totally exhausted or have leftover energy that could have been used doing something earlier. I'm not asking for elation, but simple joys and memories that bring a smile to my face.

So, with all that in mind...I thought I'd share that we're off to a good start. I know Saturday isn't over with yet, and I hope I'm not jumping the gun, but thus far...it's been a great Saturday! The kids and I traversed to the zoo. We visited every animal that we didn't have to pay extra to see. I love that they get such enjoyment out of watching the animals do there thing. And, as always, we saw animals close up that we usually see from a distance. Some were active that are usually lazy. We got to talk to zoo volunteers and keepers and learn new facts or details. It was a really nice way to spend the day.

The kids all napped on the way home and I drove the long way. I enjoy taking the back roads when there's no hurry. It really only adds a few minutes, but I get to see the subtleties of life rather than highway signs zipping past. There were families in their lawns playing, mowing, and working. I saw a woman sitting on her front porch reading, a few trucks with umbrellas out selling boiled peanuts, and lots of garage and yard sales. Saturday, at its best.

Now that I've been home for a short time I've had the chance to start some laundry and make some preparations for dinner. And, of course, I've got the chance to be online. The day is going well. I feel content. Positive motivation will hopefully carry us on through Sunday, where the plans are for a little alone time, some productivity, and more time in the kitchen.

So, in the paraphrased words of Trace Adkins...here's hoping that one of those days leads to one of those nights that leads to one of those days. He was talking about some other kind of contentment (and I'm not counting that out) but the sentiment is the same...practiced perfection.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Miss Me?

I don't even know when my last post was...I know, I should keep better track. Honestly, I usually do and try to post something at least every few days. But I've been out of commission for a while. Let me catch you up on the last week, though.

Friday we went to a friend's house. We had a great time and it was nice for the kids to play with friends. It really was a nice change of pace.

Saturday Scott and Jace went to a truck race a few hours away. It was very exciting, I hear. They met up with "a bunch of guys who drive Ford trucks and Dada knew them all!" Jace was very impressed. "They even provided us with some chips to bring home." Yes, he said provided. Anyway, these were guys that Scott regularly talks with online on the truck sites. I'm so glad he got a chance to hang out for a day, with the guys, with Jace, and not being productive! He needs that break every so often...you know, once or twice a year!

While they were gone Gracie, Tyler and I were supposed to have a girl's day. Yes, I know that Tyler's a boy. Really the day was about Gracie and I, but Tyler would be around to provide entertainment! However, I woke up with a sore throat and quickly acquired a fever. The kids gave me a break in the morning and luckily, with lunch, started to feel better. So, while Tyler was napping I painted Gracie's nails, trimmed her hair, and cut and dyed my own hair. The good news is, Gracie had fun! The bad news is that I wasn't really feeling better...just gearing up for feeling a lot worse.

By Sunday night I was blowing my nose, spitting, and not eating or drinking...anything to NOT swallow. My throat felt like it might be swollen to the point of sides touching each other. I saw the doctor Monday morning. I didn't have H1N1, which was the diagnosis everyone was ready to give me. The tests showed strep. Just strep...ug. So, I'm on drugs and feeling better.

It hasn't been all up hill, though. Tuesday morning I had no voice. When I first woke I could whisper. Gracie whispered back at me. Jace loved that I used hand motions while trying to get them ready for school. Tyler just got mad at me. "Mama! MaMa!" I felt so bad that I couldn't respond to him. But eventually my voice can back.

Yesterday I felt so much better. At the end of the day my throat was a little sore from a day of talking, but so much better. I did take one of the meds that was prescribed at dinner time last night. It had codeine in it. I'd taken it the two previous nights and hadn't had any issues. Last night I had some sort of strange trip and felt rather odd for a few hours...Tyler totally had four eyes when he climbed on my lap for something. Not such a great feeling. So, no more of that for me! I'll stick with Motrin and Tylenol, thank you very much!

So, health wise, I think we're back on track. Woo Hoo!

So, keep your eyes peeled...I'll hopefully be posting something more exciting in a day or two. I know...you're on the edge of your seat! I will leave you with something to think about though...did you know that October starts next week? Yeah, I know! Go get ready, and I'll catch ya here again later! Peace out.

...I don't know...maybe I'm still being effected by last night's bad trip???

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Could Have Been...

Every so often I find my mind wandering back to the days of a younger, cooler me and wondering what if...???

What if I'd taken more interest in playing my flute and gone to band camp? At the time I didn't know there was such a place, but in the past few years I've heard it could have been quite the fun summer experience.

What if one of my art teachers hadn't "lost" my favorite piece of artwork right before the Letchworth Central Arts Festival? Maybe I would have stuck with art classes and realized my interest in fashion design. I know a few high school classmates who wouldn't be laughing at my clothes if I were making money selling my styles! Actually, they might still laugh, but I probably wouldn't feel so bad about it.

What if I hadn't wanted to be my older sister quite so badly and gone out for the cheer leading team rather than the swim team? Granted, I didn't have the ideal body for either, but I might have had the passion for cheering! Scott says he wouldn't have married me if I'd been a cheerleader, but I'm not so sure. If he thought I was cute in a suit, he surely would have liked a little skirt, right?

I guess in the end we'll never know how my life would have been different had I followed some other dream, but it is fun to wonder about. Daydreaming has always been a hobby, one I like now and one I liked when I was cooler and younger!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Little Things

Scott isn't known for being mushy, romantic, or even tactful. He has improved over the years, but I do still occasionally have to ask him to repeat something in a less offensive way. Thankfully, I know he'd never say anything to intentionally hurt me, and with that comforting knowledge I can make this request of him. He laughs and tries again. What a good sport, huh?

What Scott is good at, though, is the little things. He's wonderful at kissing my forehead while I'm entranced in my writing. He has been known to rub my back, for a brief moment, when I'm working in the kitchen. And sometimes he even reaches his foot out to touch me when we've retired to our own sides of the bed. He's a good egg, too. I'm gonna keep him.

Well, today, he said something that literally took my breath away and when I thought about it later, I got a little choked up. See, I have school loans that we'll be paying on as long as any mortgage. I am taking a writing course that he encouraged me to take called "Breaking into Print" and have yet to be published. And today, when I got a letter from the school I'm enrolled in for another course focused on writing for children he didn't say "forget it" or "are you kidding?" I read the letter and said, "This could be another area to consider, but I wonder how much more it'll cost..."

"Do they take the GI Bill?" was his response. (Back story: the GI Bill is a benefit that he receives for his military service but recently became transferable to dependants, like me.)

I didn't talk for a second. It may not sound like much, but what he was saying (or what I heard) was that he believes in me. He supports my dreams. He loves me.

He's not only a good sport and a good egg...he's a darn good catch and I'm so fortunate he caught me.

Monday, September 14, 2009


So, the kids were looking in the back of the car, where I'd put a bag for Good Will. The bag contained things the children would complain about if, they realized they no longer had them, but that they haven't missed in a month and, therefore, don't need those things. The bag is white and some items are distinguishable through its stretchiness. I was supposed to drop the bag off while they were in school today, but I didn't. So, there it sits in the back of the car. And the kids were looking in the back of the car.

Obviously I said, "Get out of the back of the car."

They got on their knees and looked closer, so I thought. "Get OUT of the back of the CAR!"

Jace actually started to climb, and I still didn't get it. "Jace! Get out of the car!"

"I am. You said to get out of the back." No hint of humor in his voice. I think he honestly thought I was yelling at him to exit the car via the trunk. I was not.

"So, I did. What I meant to say was, 'you don't need to bother yourself with what's in the back of the car. Get out your door and head inside.' K?"

"OK. Hey, is that my car?"

"Nope. Go inside."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's In A Name?

I live in the South, currently. It's an interesting study in names. When we first moved in some neighbors stopped by to say hello. One gentleman introduced himself, "My name is James, not Jimmy...that's my brother. Still not sure why Mama did that?" I'm not kidding.

Then, when Jace started school he came home with friends called Little John and Big Red. These nicknames probably aren't all that unusual, but seem the perfect fit for Rural Georgia, don't they?

Last week, while I was waiting to pick Jace up from school I heard a mother say to her son, "Brutus! You git over here! Did I tell ya to go over yonder? No, sir. I'm you're mama, ain't I? You git over here and listen to your mama!" My windows were open and I had to concentrate so I didn't start laughing!

And then there's kid's names...I know a Jayden, Brayden, Hayden and Ayden. I have cousins named Marrissa, Terressa, and Tessa. Gracie's class has a Christian and Tristian, a Tiera and Talea, and a Passion.

Names can be so much fun. I really enjoy learning new ones and hearing the trends. And what is in a name? In Kindergarten I was Ann Marie and it didn't suit me. My family had always called my Annie and that was so much more my personality. So, in 1st grade Mom requested that they call me Annie. My classmates thought I was a new student!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Long Day Done

I just got home after a long day involving breakfast walks around WalMart and Kmart, a preschool parade, one of the more unorganized luncheons I've been to, and a nap in my car. Upon walking through the door I realized I hadn't peed all day and might want to do that...now. So, I did. Since my jean shorts were already around my ankles I chose to take them the rest of the way off and opted for an elastic waist band for the rest of the day. Once that decision was made it was clear that the too-small red tank top I'd donned in honor of Patriot's Day needed to be abandoned too. I got rid of my bra too. Why not? All of these disrobing decisions before I'd pulled my underwear up. But, as soon as I did that I decided to trade them in for a less sweaty pair.

You may be wondering if it was necessary to completely change everything. Let me assure you, I'm much more comfortable now, as long as no one comes to the door...that could be awkward. In my defense, though, it was hot today. Granted it was only 86, according to the thermometer on my car. (Should be noted that when I say "only" and "86" in the same sentence I'm breaking my own rules. Just last week when the news guy remarked that it was going to "only be in the 80's all week," I declared that "only" and "80's" shouldn't be used together.) But 86 was plenty hot today. All that parade watching, which was followed by time on the playground while they tried to organize three preschool classes, parents, and employees in a picnic format, left me sweaty, probably smelly, and sleepy.

So, now I'm in my AC ruled living room (set at 78, by the way), in fresh clothes, enjoying a movie with the kids. Aaahhhh...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One and Two and...

Denise Austin was inspirational for a few weeks. I'm not sure what happened. Someplace between her bologna about traveling "to these warm and wonderful destinations so you can feel like you're working out in the Bahamas" and the way she's so cheerful no matter how much discomfort I'm in...I lost interest.

It might also have something to do with the fact that I was getting up half an hour earlier than I really wanted to and felt tired most of the day. I was drinking caffeine constantly, which many people tell me is OK and just part of being an adult. No matter how many people drink coffee, I really didn't like the idea of having Mt. Dew (diet or not) or chai tea every morning and usually a few more times during the day. It just seems to me that water is such a better drink for my health and what I would normally drink if I wasn't so tired due to that missing half hour of slumber. Plus, I'm not convinced that Denise was working me hard enough to make up for the calories I was imbibing for my caffeine fix.

So, I've taken a step back from my morning workouts.

But, of course I feel guilty about that too.

What I'd really like is to swim, take classes, get involved in a team sport, or do something together with Scott. But it doesn't seem that these things are written in the stars for my life right now, at least not without a little creativity.

Scott's been bothered that he is unable to have a consistent workout either. I mean, seriously...he's up at 3:30 or 4:00 most every morning and not home until 7:00 most nights. I don't know why he can't find the time to head to the gym? Oh, wait...the gym keeps normal hours, that's right!

All kidding aside, I want to help him. I don't like the idea of either one of us neglecting ourselves. We're trying to be active on the weekends together and as a family and Tyler and I have been walking 3 or more times a week. For that extra that can make the difference in our clothing sizes, though, I've ordered the answer to our exercise prayers, hopefully. It's a workout called 10 Minute Trainer. I like that it's only a few minutes. I'm not kidding myself that there won't be a few more minutes tacked on for stretching and cooling down, getting changed and tying my sneaks, but the actual workout is lightening quick...if lightening takes 10 minutes.

I've already informed Scott that I'll be withholding dinner from him until he does his workout. He's agreeable. And I just decided that if I haven't done the workout by when Scott gets home I'm going to ask him to request (nicely and without making me feel unloved or unappealing) that I spend 10 minutes with Tony Horton while Scott eats his dinner. Doing this together will ideally provide us both with the motivation and support we need to get back into some shape other than that of lumpy mashed potatoes, which is my current look.

Wish us luck! We should be started in 5-7 business days. Ready, set....go!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Poor Bees

So, I'm 31 years old and I just figured out (last night) that the birds and the bees are women and men. I'm pretty slow to catch on sometimes. I mean, I knew the cute little phrase referred to s-e-x, but hadn't connected it specifically to boys and girls.

This awakening on my part came while I was thinking about my menstrual cycle. (This is where you might want to stop reading, but I promise not to be gross or anything, so there's really no reason to abandon me now.) See, my mom talked to me very briefly about my period, saying it was my body's way of making a nest to prepare for an egg. When no egg is left, then the nest is taken down. She didn't do a bad job explaining the reason for having a monthly cycle. However, at the time, I didn't get it. Now I do...I'm the mama bird.

If you think about it, there are other aviary references to women in our world. When we talk a lot some people say our chatter is chirping. When we nag or pester, we might be picking or pecking. It's called nesting to arrange your home for baby's arrival. And when the kids eventually leave home we are left with an empty nest. We're totally birds!

So, if we're the birds, must be the men in our lives are bees. I couldn't come up with as much to support this other than the obvious 'stinger' reference and that sometimes we want to swat at them. But they must be the bees, right?

Let me go back to mom's explanation for a second...she did a good job of explaining why I'd have a visit from Mother Nature every so often, but she didn't touch on what I might be dealing with during this visit, that Mother Nature might overstay her welcome, or the side effects for the bees in my life. (...not to mention my little monkeys now. What a zoo!) It was those very side effects that got me ruminating on this subject in the first place.

I was telling Scott that I didn't remember being quite so emotional and grumpy during my ovulation window in the past. Granted, I've been pregnant or nursing for a good part of the last seven years, so these not-so-pleasant memories may have faded. But I just don't think I had to try quite so hard to be good company all month long. Because really, let's be honest...my period may last just a week out of the month, but approximately 14 days before that joyous phase started I ovulated. Now sometimes ovulation takes place without notice. But lately I think I've been feeling the release of my eggs, loud and clear. Is 'release' really the right word? It sounds so nice, as if the ovary open the door and sets the egg free. Let me go on record as saying 'tug-of-war' might be a more appropriate description. I don't know whether the egg isn't keen on the idea of being let go or if the ovary gets cold feet, but there's definitely some tugging and pulling that doesn't make me feel all cheery and lovable. It was all this that I was explaining to my tolerant husband.

He told me he hadn't really noticed that I was all that miserable, maybe just a little grumpy.

I told him, "I must me doing a decent job of hiding it, then. Because I feel like my patience level is almost gone the past few days. Like, if we're talking on a scale of one to ten I'm at point zero zero something."

To which he said, "Then let's talk a scale of one to 100, so you can at least use whole numbers."
He's so understanding and wonderful! I really did appreciate that he was trying to help me feel not quite so awful.

This interaction lead to a conversation about how guys really do have it tough sometimes. I mean most of the time, they're just big babies, but sometimes they can't get it right, but it's not for lack of trying. Ninety-eight percent of the time a little caress relaxes me, leaves me feeling cared for and loved, and might even get me thinking about snuggling up closer. But every so often, a little pat or touch or kiss will make me tense up, sigh (not the contented kind, but the fed-up kind), and possibly bite. OK, so I've never bitten Scott for cuddling with me. He's lucky I have a little self control.

Luckily, Scott and I are able to talk, openly and freely, about such things as my grumpiness and the fact that while I'm feeling like a schmuck he has to try ten times harder to even get me to smile. But many a man is left hanging with a woman who tells him he should know why she's upset as she stomps away. Those poor bees.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Driving Directions

I do a lot of driving. I spend at least two hours on the road every day. That's plenty of time to find things to correct in other people's driving abilities. Between being the kids' school bus and running errands I also have a few things to say about parking. So, here's a list of things that everyone needs to know when behind the wheel.

-- If you're going 40 mph in a 55 mph zone, do not speed up when getting passed
-- If you were just going 40 mph in a 55 mph zone, don't try to make up for it by driving 55 mph in a 40 mph zone.
-- Yes, that stop sign was meant for you too.
-- Semis take longer to speed up and slow down. Give them the space and respect they deserve.
-- Drive slowly in parking lots. WalMart is not the place to test your 0 to 60 time.
-- When dropping your child off in the two lane drop off zone, do not park in both lanes.
-- If you're going to be inside the school for longer than hugs, kisses, and singing your child in, don't park in the drop off zone. Park in the parking lot or on the street so others are not stuck behind you.
-- In my opinion, there is no good reason to leave one child in the car while you go inside a store or school. I've been tempted. I've never done it. I don't care if they're not old enough to open the door. I don't care if you locked the car. I don't think it's a good idea and I pray you never find out why. And, if you do choose to leave your baby in the car when you're dropping your child off at school, please do not act panicked and in a hurry to get back to them. If you're that worried, don't leave them in the first place.
-- Using your turn signal allows other drivers to know which direction you're going at a 4-way stop. That's helpful information.
-- Speaking of 4-way stops, if you stop first, you get to go first. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in waving me on, but I can wait those few seconds to let you go. Really.

Hopefully this little guide will speak to those who need to hear it. The bottom line is...just get out of my way when I'm on the road, in a parking lot, or dropping my kids off. That's not to much to ask, right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Jace: Why do we have underwear, anyway?

Gracie: You can totally hear the p in computer. My name starts with G like Georgia. K is for kiss, Keyontae and Kate. (A little mama's note for full comprehension...Kate is Uncle Jared's girl friend and Gracie adores her. Keyontae is a boy in Gracie's class. She just learned his name last week, though. For the first few weeks she referred to him as "the boy who loves me so much.")

Me: If I get up half an hour early to work out and follow that with a cup of hot chai or hot chocolate is it worth it? What's more important...sleep or exercise?