Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Every year we go to my grandparents' farm for Thanksgiving. It snowed on us on Friday! We had about two inches that stuck through the night and into Saturday. We've done Thanksgiving there my whole life, and I don't remember it EVER showing.

Being a born-and-bred Texas girl, this was me.

My favorite part of the weekend, besides the snow, was the FOOD. Oh, heavens. You see, the farm is 8 miles from the nearest town and forty miles from the nearest fast-food joint. SO, that means that literally every meal is home-cooked, and nary a salad in sight. I'm terrified of weighing in at Weight Watchers this Thursday. I might have been okay, but my grandmother made the best chocolate cake in the world. Actually, she made TWO of them. *sigh* It's like heaven on a fork.

Jet's favorite part was playing with my aunt and uncle's labrador retriever, Zach. Being a good retriever, Zach LOVES to chase after things that have been thrown specifically for that purpose. Being a good three-year-old boy, Jet loves to throw things. They're a match made in heaven!

All in all, it was a great weekend. However, my (22-year-old) baby brother gave me his head cold. Since he's bigger than I am now, I can't exactly beat him up for doing it. I can't even hold him down and tickle him anymore. I was telling one of my students about this, and she told me that this is his way of getting back at me.

She's probably right. :)


Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is what happens...

... when you spend your days with teenagers.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's the little things in life

Last Christmas, my three-year-old, still-making-monthly-payments-on-it, out-of-warranty car decided not to start. Knight is experienced in car maintenance and parts and stuff, and he decided it needed a new starter. He found one and installed it himself.

A few months ago, it pulled the same stunt. The remedy this time? New battery.

A couple of weeks ago, it did it again -- twice in one week. My parents have an extra car, so I borrowed it to get back and forth to work. My dad and Knight took my car to a trusted mechanic. He kept it for a week, but couldn't figure it out. He couldn't get it NOT to start. Figures.

Finally, we decided to call the dealership. I detest dealerships. We bought our car from a GREAT dealership when we were living in Dallas. Then, we moved here, and I can't stand the local one. Fortunately, the next town over has one, too.

I called the service department and described the problem, keeping my fingers crossed that it wasn't something ridiculously expensive. The guy on the phone said he thought it was the ignition, that they've seen this problem before. He said that the part is $30, and the installation is one hour of labor at $100. I asked if it was something that Knight could install, but he said that it has to be programmed due to the security features on the car. Truthfully, I was dancing on the inside because $130??? Is nothing in the world of car repair. They were able to work me in for yesterday a.m.

I didn't really like the idea of spending my Saturday morning at the dealership, but... on the other hand, it was an hour of uninterrupted reading. :) So I drove the 45 minutes to the dealership, checked the car in, and headed to the waiting room. There was only one other man there, reading the newspaper, and the TV blaring Saturday morning cartoons.

I sat on the couch and cracked open my book, which, unfortunately, wasn't something I was looking forward to all that much. I also turned down the TV.

About 30 minutes later, the receptionist for the service department came over to me. "You'll never guess what it is," she says to me. She had a smile on her face, so my heart didn't drop into my stomach like it normally would have, had a mechanic fed me that same line.

"Your key."

Whaaa??? My key had somehow gotten twisted a bit, so it wasn't making contact every single time. This explains the randomness of the starting issues, as well as why Knight was able to start it every single time. Also, the mechanic that had been looking at my car had Knight's key the whole week.

The damage? $7.21. That dealership has a customer for life, because they could easily have ripped me off for $130.


No teacher is an island

There's an adage among teachers that says that we will beg, borrow, or steal to get good lessons that work for our students. Of course, there are a few old battle-axes out there who don't share, but those are the ones who get stolen from. I really don't understand the attitude that says that they are the ones who developed that lesson, so it's only theirs to use. I mean, aren't we all playing for the same team? In the end, it's not about us as teachers. It's about our students, learning to be successful young adults who can think on their own two feet, so to speak.

There are two sides to the coin that is my job. I am THE high school science teacher at my school. I teach five courses -- 8th grade standard physical science, 8th grade honors physical science, 9th grade biology, 10th grade environmental science, and 11th grade chemistry. There is a senior physics class that is taught by one of our math teachers. He loves it, and, honey, he can HAVE it. I've never been a phan of physics. (Couldn't resist.)

On the one hand, I have a certain autonomy. I can pretty much do whatever I please in the way of teaching the lessons, providing, of course, that it's ethical and blah, blah, blah. There isn't really anyone standing over my shoulder, telling me that this lesson should be used for that topic because it's just better.

On the other side of the coin (sorry for the mixed metaphors) is the isolation. I'm in my third year at my school, and this is my third year to teach four of the courses. My method of operation is one of continual self-improvement. I want each year to be better than the year before, both in my classroom procedures and course content. I feel like this is the first year that I've really had my feet under me, with regards to the curriculum, and can begin making it better, instead of just using whatever comes with the curriculum. I should be able to add my own special flair to it... great activities, better labs, etc.

So, along with not having anyone telling me how NOT to do things, I don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of. There isn't anyone with more experience, whom I can consult about a lesson. I'd love to have someone available all the time -- someone whose brain I can pick on a regular basis about each lesson in all five of my courses. Someone who can advise me on how to make it BETTER this year. Someone to waaaaatch overrrrr meeeeee.... Oh, wait. My apologies to Gershwin. (Life should break into song more, though, don't you think?)

Next week, though, I'm going to the CAST conference (Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching). There will be over 400 vendors, each with freebies to hand out. I'm taking about eight 1.5 hour workshops over various topics that I should be able to use in my classroom almost immediately. I'm also taking one four-hour course on hazardous materials issues. I think this one will be the most valuable, since there weren't ANY classes offered for my science education degree on how to handle, store, BE RESPONSIBLE FOR all of the chemicals that we science teachers use on a regular basis. I really don't understand how we're supposed to learn all of that sort of thing. Talk about on-the-job training.

(Side note: When I got the job at my school, the chemical storage was in a metal cabinet that had been EATEN THROUGH on one side by the fumes from the improperly-stored acids. There were mercuric compounds that someone had ordered years ago. There were about 20 bottles of unmarked solutions. Did I have any training on what to do with all of this? NO. I'm still not really sure how to handle all of this stuff. I mean, I know the basics, so I just use the chemicals that I'm comfortable with. I think my chemistry students are missing out on some great stuff, though. Again, it would be nice if there were someone available for consult about this stuff.)

Anyway, the conference is right here in Austin, which means I'll be able to sleep in my own bed every night. It also means I can afford to go to it. What with my school being a private school, they don't have much money to go toward stuff like this. My principal is paying for my substitute for the two days I'll be out, so I don't have to use my personal days, but I have to pay for the actual conference myself. (She did say, however, that she's lobbying the board to provide $500 per teacher next year to take care of things like this.) Fortunately, this one's rather cheap -- $120, which includes a year-long membership in the association that puts on the conference, as well as three smaller ones.

The conference is Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week. One other cool thing -- we have the entire week of Thanksgiving off, so it sort of extends my holiday. ;)

The BEST part is that I don't have to steal anything. They're giving it all away!



There are about eleventy things I could write about... Jet's fever this weekend, my upcoming science conference, Thanksgiving plans, Knight's new job, my car finally getting fixed, our plans to move next summer, things going on at school. I want to write about each one in witty, Mir-esque style, and I know that I could make an entire post out of each one.

I'm just stuck. Blogger's block, if you will. Or maybe it's pencil envy (Mir just writes so well) that keeps my fingers still.

What is this lack of self-confidence??? I'm really not used to it... in fact, I'm afraid I might come across in real life as exactly the opposite. Arrogant, sometimes, about my teaching especially, my parenting, sometimes even my wife-ing (is too a word. Yes, it is. Is, too. Is too. ISTOO!)

*sigh* Well, now that I have that off my chest, let's get on with it, shall we?


Sunday, November 4, 2007


They're finally here. The Never-Ending Whys of the Three Year Old.

Jet and I had our first exchange of the whys-and-becauses a few days ago. We were in my room. I can't remember what started it, but I do remember what ended it.

"Because I said so."

Hey, at least I never lied to myself and said, "I'll never say that!".


Saturday, November 3, 2007

The pressure's getting to me

Sinus pressure drove me from the bed at 6:00 this morning. My allergies are killing me this week. I've heard tell, and I think it's true, that if you don't suffer from allergies before you move to the Austin area, then you will within five years or something. So! If you've been seeing the ads on TV for allergy meds, and are feeling left out because you don't need them, then I've got a bridge to sell you! It's in Austin, and you won't even have to share it with the bats.

Heather has been posting about National Blog Posting Month, where all of these people decide that they'll post everyday for a month. For me, that's a bit much, and I think it shows my self-awareness that I cannot actually commit to this. It would turn into more pressure that I just can't handle, and then I'd feel guilty for not posting, blah, blah, blah. Yes, it's silly. Hushup. But at least I recognize this about myself. Instead, I'll use it as a new starting point.

Today we are going to my sister-in-law's house to celebrate my niece's 11th birthday. I just love the thought that Big Daisy doesn't know a time when Aunt Damsel wasn't around. Knight and I met just after her first birthday.

One quick story about Big Daisy, in celebration of her birthday... A month or so after our wedding, Knight and I stayed with Big Daisy and family for a week while Knight was working on a car (we were living in an apartment in Dallas at the time, so he couldn't do it there). Big Daisy was about five at the time, and had been a flower girl in our wedding. It was a HUGE deal to her, that wedding.

I had a summer cold that week that we stayed with them, and wasn't feeling well. My sis-in-law was boiling a chicken to make dinner, and I just asked for some of the boiled chicken to eat. I put some in a bowl, and took it to the living room to eat.

Big Daisy climbed up beside me to investigate the contents of the bowl. As kids do, she asked for a bite. I told her that I didn't want her to eat after me because I was sick. I explained that she could get sick, too, if she shared my food. She asked why I was sick. I said that I didn't really know... I just was.

A silent moment passed before she looked up at me with huge eyes and asked, "Is it because you got married???"


Friday, November 2, 2007

Less stress, sort of

I have my lesson plans for all five classes done all the way up to Thanksgiving break! Woo!! We get the entire week off, so I'm really looking forward to the vacation.

We go to my grandparents' farm in western Oklahoma every year. They don't have internet, and my cell phone doesn't even get reception. Nothing to do but RELAX! Oh, and the EATING. Oh, my. It's positively sinful, the relaxing and the eating. The only interruption to the napping is the snacking. Well, usually, anyway. This year will be different for me.

I have to write a paper. Ewww. It's to get my teaching certificate through ACSI -- an international Christian schools association. I've had to get Biblical CEUs, too. Those were actually pretty interesting. I did some correspondence courses from Moody Bible, and I'm such a nerd that I loved studying them! :)

The OTHER part of the application process is that I have to write a six page paper over the/my philosophy of Christian education. I could talk forever about how I love my job and I believe that Christian education is, to quote our superintendent, a cultural necessity. But to write a SIX PAGE paper??? Eww.

Before I can write the paper, though, I have to "read" six books on Christian education. Five of them are required, and I "get" to pick the sixth one from a list. (Pardon me for not jumping for joy, but I'm afraid I might injure something, like my pride.) I've attempted to read one of the required books, and I was ready to pry my eyeballs out with a screwdriver by the end of the fifth page or so. I know it must be horribly boring, because I usually devour anything having to do with education or teaching. I'm very interested in and passionate about the subject. This first book, though? Ugh. Maybe I'll pull a teenage stunt -- read the first and last pages of each chapter and try to glean something from them... at least enough to slide a quote into the paper to show that I cracked the book.

Speaking of teenage stunts, please, for the love of all that is holy, do not ask me how long I've had to do this paper, or when it was due.

(P.S. The "read more" button isn't working just now, so don't click it. You can already see the entire post. Sorry!)


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday School, Soapbox-Style

Our church had the annual men's retreat this weekend. Knight has taken a larger role in the men's ministry, and he was a key player in getting things organized. He approached me last week about teaching the High School Sunday school class this weekend so that the guy who was scheduled to teach it could go on the retreat. I believe his actual statement began with, "Now, I'm not asking you to do this yourself, but..."

A few years ago, before I got my current teaching job, I taught Jr. High Sunday school every week for about a year. Then, after I started teaching full-time again, I found it to be too much. My calling and the passion that God has given to me is definitely for teens, but my full-time ministry is my teaching at school. After a full week of "ministering" to teens, I wasn't able to love on them on Sundays. I found myself short on patience, as well as short on time to properly plan a lesson for them.

So last Sunday, the guy (who is not our youth pastor; he's just a normal guy, volunteering for the job) approached me and said something like, "So, you're teaching next week? You may need some help with those boys. They can be unruly."

I was like, "You do know you're speaking with a trained professional, here?" I didn't say that out loud, of course. But I was thinking it.

We both went to the youth pastor to let him know I was teaching. I talked with him for a few minutes about curriculum, and told him that I'd come up with something on my own. It's more authentic, and usually more effective, that way. Guess what he said?? "You might need some help in there. I'll call around and see if I can get one of the men who's not going on the retreat to sit in with you."

He called and left me a message on Friday just before he headed out to the retreat to let me know he'd contacted one of the men, and that he was willing to help me ride herd.

At this point, part of me is thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" The other part is thinking, "I know pride goeth before fall, but I've been doing this full time, everyday for seven years. How bad can it be?" I knew I couldn't send them to the principal's office, and I knew I needed a great lesson to hold their attention, but still. I'm a teacher. Born that way. I've mastered the body language. The Look (one eyebrow raised, saying "Excuse me?!?!?").

Saturday rolls around, and I've been mulling over what to teach all week. Still, I got zip. Lord, whatever I come up with has to come from You at this point. I got nuthin'. It's been a crazy week, and I know you know that, so I'm believing You'll come through.

My dad was on the retreat, too, so I invited Mom over for homemade vegetable soup for dinner on Saturday. On a whim, she'd bought a DVD of Christian stand-up comedians, and brought it over for us to watch. Jeff Allen was one of the comedians, and the first three minutes of his schtick is about his teenage son. It's not the same clip, but you can see something similar here.

It just galls me that the church that hired this guy thinks it's okay for him to stand up there and slam his son. I don't think it's okay for him to get paid to describe his son's antics with an attitude that says he (the son) is just a dumb, money-grubbing, self-centered, ungrateful jerk.

This is probably my biggest pet peeve. It's stereotyping. By a man who claims he's a Christian. And the whole group of church-goers in the room is laughing with him.

I didn't think it was funny.

So I decided to show it to the youth and see what they thought. Guess what? They didn't think it was funny, either. Sure, they laughed at first. But when we really got down to it, they admitted that they were offended. Some of them are angry that "society" sets such low standards for them, as if they (as a group) have nothing to contribute. So, basically, I contrasted Jeff Allen's portrayal of teens with God's portrayal.

He used young people. David. Daniel. Two of Paul's letters to Timothy are included in the Bible. The first 9 chapters of Proverbs are directed explicitly to young people. What does that say about what God thinks about young people? They're IMPORTANT. He has a plan for them NOW, TODAY. They don't have to wait until they "grow up" to determine God's plan for them.

I was pleased to report to the youth pastor this afternoon that the kids were GREAT. In fact, I told them what he had said, along with the guy who was supposed to be teaching, and THREE other people that morning. I asked them what they are doing to contribute to or bust out of the stereotype. I think it was a good discussion... several of them had ideas, and were honest about what they could change about themselves.

I know it was a great lesson, because it wasn't from me. Several of them came up to me afterward and thanked me for teaching. All I could say was that it wasn't me.

My dilemma now is whether or not I should say anything to the guy who was schedule to teach them. He spoke with Knight this morning, around the time I was teaching, and made some snide comment, wondering how I was doing because the kids could smell fear. Perpetuating the stereotype. I wish I could come up with a way to tell him that they're unruly for him because of how he thinks of them. It shows that he has low standards for them, but I wonder if he makes the connection between his actions and their reactions. That bugs me; I'm angry on their behalf. I don't know if it would do any good to approach him about it, though. Maybe someday.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

This is me! Writing!

Heather guilted me into it. (Just kidding, Heather! Thanks for the encouragement!)

I am now SIX weeks into the school year. For the very first time, I sat down at my desk Friday afternoon after my last class and blinked in amazement at the fact that I was caught up. Now, for you to understand the trauma I have endured, you need to understand my Nerdiness. Inherent in my nerdiness is a compulsion to be completely organized, all the time, and I really stress out when I'm not. I've managed to let go of quite a bit of that here at home, but work is a whole 'nother story. It's just been... well... traumatic for me to NOT be two weeks ahead in my lesson plans, even though I've worked several Saturdays.

I finally figured it out, though. All of my five classes cannot possibly do a lab for every chapter, and it's okay that they won't. You see, I LOVE my lab. It's new and clean and well-stocked. (I should know. I spent all of last year doing it.) More to the point, I LOVE having kids in my lab, because they LOVE being there. So, I've practically killed myself trying to do that for them, and it's just not physically possible for me to keep doing it.

Truthfully, there are several labs for each class that have to be done at the beginning of the year because they are technique labs. If they don't do them, then they're lost later in the year, and I have to backtrack to those labs anyway. Now that all of my classes are through the first few chapters of their respective curriculums, though, it can slow down some. I can focus on the concepts that really need labs in order to be understood, instead of just looking at a lab and saying "Ooh! That's a fun one! They'll LOVE that! We have to do it!"

In other news, my laptop screen is still broken. This contributes to the lack of posting since I have to come ALL THE WAY into Knight's office (a whole ten feet!) to use a computer. (It really is a bit of a pain because I can't keep an eye and a half on Jet from in here.) Fortunately, the laptop still works, and he has it magically hooked up to his monitor. I don't see us spending the money to fix my laptop, because I am cheap. Knight is trying to convince me to just use his, and he'll "just get a new one". Because he's loves me sacrificially like that.

I've lost a total of 12.2 pounds in six weeks on Weight Watchers. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. Just today, I was in the grocery store and crouched to get something from the bottom shelf. When I stood up, I had to hitch up my jeans. I haven't had to do that in a looooong time. Big huge thanks to Granny and Grandad for helping me finance the expedition! :)

One Jet story before I go to bed: His new talent is "tinkeling standing up". He's quite proud of himself. He informs me before he goes to the bathroom that he's "gonna tinkeling standing up". We had these tin, magnetic spice containers on the side of our fridge, and I had them all on the kitchen table because our freezer finally became Too Much. (Thanks for the "new" one, Mom and Dad!). Later that evening, Knight and I were watching TV, and Jet was being awfully quiet after having finished his meal in the kitchen. Knight discovered him playing with those spice containers, and little green flakes were everywhere.

We decided to just let him have at it, since we don't use them anyway. Knight gave him a big bowl and a wooden spoon, and stood him on the chair next to the table. Soon the house was filled with the aroma of basil, fennel, mint, oregano and whatever else was in those things. We continued our TV-watching. A few minutes later, I heard Jet pouring something into a cup. I thought to myself, "He didn't have any water...??" I looked past Knight just in time to see him tucking his "pee-nit" back into his pants. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he had peed in one of those empty tin cups. I promptly told Knight, "That's all you! That's so totally a guy thing!" He went into the kitchen, talking at Jet, but I don't even know what he said because I was laughing too loud. I'm sure I was helping the situation.

So, now, he's done a similar thing for the last three evenings while in the bath. He'll put a little cup that he plays with in the bath on the side of the tub and PEE in it!

I don't know what to do with the boy.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Kim at Frugal Hacks has a post up for a giveaway! If you're a budgeteer like me, check it out and enter to win!


Monday, August 27, 2007

It's finally smoothing out...

We're starting to get back in the routine. Life is always hectic during the beginning of the school year for our family. I work 10+ hour days, and poor Knight and Jet have to basically fend for themselves.

We did have an enjoyable weekend, though. We had free tickets to Schlitterbahn, so we went on Saturday, along with my sis-in-law and her family. It was SOOOO fun. Jet has never been much of a water kid, but I really think that swim lessons this summer helped. The water park has a TON of litte-kid areas, with a million different things squirting water into an area where the water is less than a foot deep. He warmed up to it pretty quickly.

In other news, I've lost 7.6 pounds in three weeks on Weight Watchers. The system really works for me. I'm a scientist at heart, so the point-counting, data-gathering-and-tracking, and form-filling tickles me to no end. I love to look back over the weeks and see my progress in charts and graphs. :-P Plus, it's online, and I have ONE meeting, ONE block of thirty minutes every week that is ALL ABOUT ME, and doing something I'm happy to be doing. Knight is so supportive and keeps Jet without one single complaint so that I can go to the meetings.

School is going well... I've sufficiently scared the new crop of 8th graders. They don't so much as blink without say-so in my class, which is exactly how I want them for the first few weeks. Soon, we'll loosen up and they'll learn how to read me.

That's all for now! As usual, I'll try to update more frequently!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Well, it's better than the alternative.

I think thirty would be better if I was well.

I was okay most of the morning, when I had to sit through a video for inservice. And I was mostly okay when 10 of my co-teachers went out to lunch with me to celebrate. I was especially okay when one of them suprised me by ordering a slice of strawberry cheesecake for me. I only felt guilty for about a nanosecond... and then for a few minutes more after I actually put it in my points calculator online after we got back to school, but by then I was so stinkin' tired, I didn't really care.

Finally, about 2:00, I gave up and called the doctors' office. The nice appointment lady didn't have anything with my doctor today, but finally consented to let me slide in and see the PA (who I really like anyway). She let me bring Jet to be seen at the same time, since he was the one who brought this crud home.

I left my 10-mile-long to-do Post-It dangling from the monitor and took off, promising myself I'd either go back to work tonight, even though it IS my birthday, or come in early tomorrow. Because, HELLO, the KIDS COME TOMORROW. FOR SCHOOL. And I think they are expecting a PREPARED TEACHER. Or, at the very least, the tuition-paying parents would probably appreciate it. And I think I'm a work-aholic. I prefer to call it a "very strong work ethic."

(Lemme just tell you now that I'm already contemplating putting on my PJ's. It's 7:30 p.m.)

Of course, Jet is mostly fine, so she had some samples of decongestants for him. Me?? Ohhhh, no. I don't get off so easy. Sinus infection. Yaay.

So, thirty dollars in office visit copays and EIGHTY dollars in prescription copays later, here I sit, having not had an appetite but drinking some chicken broth (zero points!) to hopefully stave off antibiotic-induced nausea. I think I'll see if Knight will just let me cruise on to bed and drift into dreamland while he takes care of Jet.

I'm SUCH a party girl. See what getting old has done to me?


So. I am THIRTY today.

So far, it's not at all painful, except for the raging cold I can't seem to shake. It is, however, not yet 6:00 a.m., so we'll see how the day goes...

Both Beezneez and Knight harassed me last night about it being my last day in my twenties... I just don't get no respect around here. :)

My parents took the whole family (minus Jet) to a new Brazilian steakhouse in town on Sunday night. It was a-mazing. It was every bit as good, I think, as the old one (beware the music on that site) that we loved in Dallas. If you've never been to a place like that, you REALLY need to go. It's for the carnivore in all of us.

My birthday present to myself is sticking with Weight Watchers (which I managed to do even on Sunday night... granted, I used ALL of my points on one meal, but that's the idea -- to budget your intake). My goal is to be nicer to my body in my thirties than I was in my twenties. Heaven knows it needs it.

I think today will be a good day at work. I have several odds and ends to tie up and three sets of lesson plans to finish before the kids come tomorrow. It'll be a busy day, for sure, but hopefully a good one.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Scratched CD's or DVD's?

Buy a banana!

I haven't tried this yet myself, but it's interesting!!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Can you tell that school started?

I started going back to work a little on August 1st, and we officially started inservice this past Wednesday. It's par for the course for the rest of my life to suffer for this period of about three weeks... family, blog, house... you name it. Several years ago, I finally realized that this is just how it is and I stopped feeling guilty about it.

However, I do have some great news to share. First, I joined Weight Watchers last week. My second meeting was last night and I'd lost three pounds! Yay! This all came about because my Granny usually likes to take me shopping for clothes when we're together. Now, usually, I don't mind one tiny little bit. This time, though, I wasn't ready to buy more clothes in my current size.

I'd been looking at joining WW for a couple of months. (I don't make fast decisions in areas like this. I want to be sure it's what I'm really ready to do before I make the financial and time commitment.) So, I told Granny about it and she offered to pay for my first three-month package. It's been really easy for the first week, even with the new chef at school providing lunch. Of course, I'm a data-driven, form-filling person, so the points system really works for me. Knight has been riding my coat tails a little... we figured out how many points he needs, and he's been paying more attention to how he eats. So, thank you, Granny!

Also, I have a cute Jet story (of course). He went back to his playschool on August 1st. I had not slept well the night before, which is rare for me. I had woken up a few times, and, well... everything is so much scarier and more emotional in the dark when you're exhausted, you know? I kept asking God for peace about our decision for me to go back to teaching this year. I was actually worried more about me missing Jet than about his health and safety and well-being at his playschool.

When we walked in the door, all of his friends were jumping up and down and ecstatic!! to see him after the summer. The whole class lined up to hug him. I had tears in my eyes as I watched him embrace each of his friends. There is nothing sweeter than the joyful emotions of three-year-olds, because they don't hold anything back.

After the hugs were done, he and three of his little boy friends stood in a circle and started talking. The conversation immediately turned to who was wearing big-boy-underwears and who wasn't, and, more importantly, what was on those big-boy-underwears. I caught Jet just before he pulled down his shorts to show off his baseball underwears.

I got back in my car and thanked the Lord for showing me what my Mommy-Heart so desprately needed -- that my son his happy and well-loved at school!

One more story before I head to work!! Jet was doing very well with potty-training, but he's had a tough time at school. It seems like he forgets until it's too late and then has an accident on the way to the potty. Last Friday, Mrs. P (the playschool director, who is good friends with my mom and who we know from church) was cleaning him up and had this conversation...

J, pointing: That's my pee-nit.

Mrs. P., seriously: Yes, it is. I heard you had an operation this summer?

J: Yes. The dop-ter fixed it.

Mrs. P: Oh, yes, that's good.

J: How's it look!?!?

Mrs. P, sputtering a little: Oh, um, it looks just fine.

J: Thank you.


Monday, July 30, 2007

The Nickel Tour

I finally have pics of the new decorations!

The window over the kitchen table:

The large window over the couch (note the snazzy throw pillows):

The new rug:

And the overall effect when walking in the front door is, I must admit, quite pleasing:

Yay! A big, BIG, HUGE thank you goes to Knight for hanging the valances. Thank you, Googly-Bear!


Here I am!

Once again, it has been forever since I've posted.

I took a road trip with my sister and Jet to visit our grandparents. The 7-hour car trip with Jet was not nearly as painful as I was expecting it to be. In fact, I still have about half of the 15 or so little toys I had bought to distract him throughout the trip there and back. (Yay for the Dollar Spot at Target!!) I was budgeting on giving him one every hour or so, but it wasn't necessary.

Also, we are officially potty-trained!!! (Well, I've been trained for a good 27 or 28 years, but JET has finally gotten the hang of it.) He made it all the way there with dry underwears, and only messed his pants once on the way home. We had stopped at a park for lunch and to let him play, and I think he was so excited to be able to run around a bit that he just forgot.

I have some cute pics from the trip that I hope to post soon. I managed to pack the USB cord for my camera, along with some batteries, but NOT THE CAMERA. Duh. I also forgot to pack something to sleep in. I ALWAYS forget to pack a nightgown. I honestly think that most of my pj's are from road trips.

Luckily, though, Tinkerbell brought her camera. She took some fantastic pics, and I'll post them as soon as she uploads them to her Facebook. (Andale, Tink!) Wal-Mart saved the day, er, night, with regards to the sleepwear.

I can't believe that summer is actually ending. Jet will start back to his playschool on Wednesday, and I'll go back to work. We'll have some short days this week, to wean me off of being home with him all day, everyday. I think the thing I'll miss the most is being able to scoop him up and get hugs and kisses anytime I darn well please. I know once inservice and school actually start, I'll be really busy. I usually don't even really think about how much I miss him until around 2:00 in the afternoon, and by then I'm two hours from heading home, so it's bearable.

I did get the valances made before we left town. The handsome and uber-talented Knight helped me hang them. In fact, the poor man had the entirety of his Saturday taken up with honey-dos. Don't worry, though, he was paid handsomely. With DINNER, people.... Sheesh. (Sorry, Dad.) I will post pics of the window treatments, soon. I also bought sheers and throw pillows and rugs, oh my! They are really beautiful.

My dad mentioned that it looks less like a college dorm now, with the windows done. I have to agree. I didn't really realize how much it would help me to feel like we live in a home instead of someplace we're renting. Everytime I walk in the door, I have a big sigh of "Oh, that's just SO NICE!!! And PRETTY!!" It just rilly, rilly, rilly makes me happy!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Early Sunday Conversation

Me, softly: Jet, sweetie, wake up...

Jet: mmmghmmmpfpmmmm *stretch*

Me: Time to get up and get ready for church.

Jet, sleepy but happy: Yep, time to get up.

Me: Do you want to help me make waffles for breakfast?

Jet: Nope... my tummy has enough waffles in it.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

So much time, so little to do

I've not posted in a couple of days, and now I have a herd of things galloping about in my head, demanding to be described. Things about...

  • new hobbies (knitting)
  • how irritated I am with neighbor's barking dogs (extremely, but that really is a whole post on its own, given the history involved)
  • the fun I've had and money I've spent on decorating the living room (tons on both counts)
  • how well Jet is healing from his procedure (very)
  • my new adventure in cutting calories (two days in a row, I've been under my goal - yay!)
  • more cute phrases for the Toddler Dictionary
  • other little things that would make great blog fodder had I nothing else to say

So, saddle up and prepare to follow my thoughts as we attempt to round them up into some semblance of order.

You know what they say about pictures and words, so let's start here:

I found this book at my mom's house last week. I think it belonged to one of my sisters. After reading post after post of Barb knitting totally adorable things, I decided to just go for it. I read the book (self-proclaimed nerd, here - everything I do begins with a book) and ventured to Hobby Lobby to purchase necessary items for every knitter's first project - the scarf.

The first attempt yielded a too-small gauge, but was good for practice. On the next trip to Hobby Lobby, I got bigger yarn AND bigger needles. Still not quite right, but still practicing. A lot.

I'm hoping to have the scarf done for my niece's 11th birthday, which is at the end of October. Three months. Think I can make it? I dunno. I'm visiting my grandparents next week, and Granny told me to bring my things so she could help me.

At any rate, it's fun. I enjoy it because, unlike my other hobby (reading), I don't block out the world.


This is the yummy fabric that I bought to make valances for my living room and kitchen windows. (Actually, my mom took pity on me and my living room, which is currently a study in neutrals - white walls and brown furniture. Every. single. piece. of our furniture is BROWN.) I had picked up a swatch of this fabric over a year ago (maybe even more than that), before we were even ready to buy a house, and have been drooling over its $27.99/yard yumminess ever since.

I've found this project to be like the Mouse and Cookie story. First, I wanted to make valances, which required two trips to Hobby Lobby for fabric and batting (they were out of the fabric the first time), and one to Home Depot for boards and various hardware.

Mom was generous and told me about this great rug she'd found for my sister's apartment at Wal-Mart. She also gave me money to buy it, so first I went to Wal-Mart and got a rug (slightly different from Beez's rug, but similar).

During the trip to Home Depot, I realized that I really wanted sheers to put on the windows, and I'd better go ahead and get the rods to do that because once those valances are up, it'll be impossible to hang sheers behind them. So I decided which rods I needed and picked those up.

My dad accompanied me (and Jet) to Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and then helped me cut the boards to size in his shop/driveway. In the process, sticky pine sawdust (Texas snow) coated my car. So, we washed my car.

This morning, I spread out the rug and compared it to the fabric. Not quite right. Wonder if Target has rugs? I know they have sheers! Jet and I loaded up and went to Target.

But first, I went to the jewelers and dropped off my ring so it would be ready before I leave town next week. While I was at it, I took my pearl earrings to be re-glued (the pearl fell of of one of the posts) and had them solder my wedding band to the ring. Should be ready by Tuesday.

At Target, we first made the obligatory stop at the Starbucks. (Mom, I felt your pain today - the THREE people behind the counter took 12 minutes to get my iced chai together. No steaming or brewing required! Just pump the chai in, fill it up with skim milk and add ice. TWELVE MINUTES.)

Next, the curtains. Jet was being his normal, active three-year-old self, so I peppered the walk with various forms of "stop that, get up off the floor, walk, don't touch, let go, put it down" and a hefty dose of "why can't you just ACT NORMAL" thrown in for good measure. All of that became unnecessary in the curtain aisle because we could hear some OTHER little boy in the next aisle pitching a wall-eyed fit and his mother telling him that he was "not getting a toy" and they were "leaving RIGHT!! NOW!!"

He stood very still right next to me while we listened to three or four minutes of this. (That was nice, because I could browse sheers in peace for a bit.) Then he solemnly looked up at me and slowly said, "I get a toy because I beed good, right?" I'm not above bribery, so I told him that he would if he didn't pitch a fit like that little boy.

Found the sheers. Next: rugs! I found the perfect rug. I called mom to see if she could come to Target because I needed reassurance that it really was the rug I wanted. I'd been burned before. Unfortunately, she was unavailable -- working. I'd forgotten that some people have to do that during the summer. :)

I forged ahead and loaded up the rug, with a matching small one for the kitchen just in case. In case of.... umm... spills. Yeah, that's it. Spills.

Everybody knows that if you buy fabric for valances and rugs and sheers, then you might need... throw pillows for the couch? Of COURSE I need throw pillows for the couch! Picked up four -- two in red and two in sage green. And some cup towels. I briefly considered an apron, but thought it might be carrying things a bit too far.

By this time, Jet has had enough, so we head to the check-out where he picks a happy treat. I paid for everything, after picking my jaw up off the floor from the shock of the total, and carted everything to my car. I managed to successfully wedge a 5'x8' rug into my four-door Saturn Ion.

At home, the sage green pillows are too dark with my BROWN couch, but they'll have to wait to be returned until after Jet's lunch and nap. I get him down and staple batting and fabric on four valances, and batting on the fifth before my staple gun gives out. I needed about 10 more staples from the dumb thing, but it has up and died on me.

After Jet's nap, I wedge the OLD rug into my car to return it to Wal-Mart and pick up a new staple gun. Then we go BACK to Target to exchange the sage green pillows for gold-ish ones, where I successfully resist the temptation to buy even more STUFF. (Purses and shoes and clothes, oh my!)

Back at home, again, Knight confirms my belief that the old staple gun really is dead (he takes it apart first, though), and informs me that the staples I have are too big for the new staple gun. *sigh*

I cannot stomach another trip, so he stopped on his way home from worship team rehearsal at church. I loooooooove this man.

I hope to have pictures of the finished product on Sunday!


Monday, July 16, 2007

Delicate matters, part deux

Jet had his little procedure today, and he's doing well this evening. I'll post more tomorrow, I hope, but since he stomped on my laptop and cracked the screen, I'm relying on Knight's generosity with regards to his own laptop in order to post. :) He's a pretty generous guy, that Knight, but he may need it at work tomorrow.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Technology Schmechnology and Messes

Color me irritated. I figured out how to do the "Read More" thing and now it's messing everything up. Okay, so KNIGHT helped me figure it out. Anyway, it was working great and now it's not and I'm mildy irritated because he's out of town until tomorrow. :) You can still read the entire post if you click the title of the individual posts.

A friend of ours got some free tickets to Promise Keepers this weekend, so Knight went with him. I think it's awesome that he's going. In the past when he's gone, he comes back really on fire. I've been praying that some of that will be contagious for me.

Yesterday, my sister came over and played with Jet. His room was a mess before they came, and it was trashed by the time we got ready to put him to bed (totally not my sister's fault!). Since he gets up in the night to come to our bed, I try to clear a path for him so he doesn't trip over stuff. Last night though, there wasn't even space to do that. I couldn't see carpet anywhere. So, we cleaned up. He does a great job helping, especially if it's something that delays bedtime. :)

This morning, on the way to the bathroom, I looked in his room, having temporarily forgotten that we cleaned. I was pleasantly surprised and mentioned it to Jet. "Hey, look! Your room is all clean!". He remembered, too. "Yeah, mommy, we cleaned up!"

After the potty, he wandered in his room and said, "I'm gonna make a MESS!" He proceeded to grab a few toys and throw them in the middle of the floor.

Supressing a laugh at his boy-ness (!!), I had a short discussion about how we can get out toys to play with them, but not just to mess up his room. If he wasn't going to play with it, he needed to put it back in the toy box. He tilted his head and kind of looked at me funny, but said "Okay, Mommy."

I suppose throwing the toys in the middle of the floor with the express purpose of making a mess may be considered "playing" with the toys in the mind of my three-year-old son. :)


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Delicate matters

Jet has been having... um... boy problems. He's been telling me that his "pee-nit" hurts. Often. And I'm sure that someday he'll appreciate that I've told the internets about his pee-nit. If it wasn't for him, though, I wouldn't ever have anything interesting to write about. Such is the price of being an adorable little boy. :)

I originally thought it was related to swimming. He started complaining about it a few days into the swim lessons. Maybe the chemicals in the pool? Swim diapers? Potty training? Who knew?

I wish it were that easy.

You see, we never really talked about whether or not to have him circumcised. I had read all over the internet the pros and cons about it (because everything we read on the internet is gospel, donchaknow!?!?). I don't have one, so I figured we should just let the boy be. I guess Knight felt the same - I can't really remember -- and when Jet's doctor came to our hospital room after he was born, we politely said, no, thank you to the circumcision. I did ask his opinion, and he sort of shrugged and said it really was a personal preference.

Fast forward a few weeks. For some reason, we changed our minds. Okay, I probably changed our minds (the Royal "Our"). I'd had a horrible kidney infection after Jet was born, so I'd been seeing a urologist. I asked him the circumcision question in passing, and he gave me all the reasons why we should have it done. He said it didn't really matter when boys are young, but there are all sorts of issues that (ahem) arise as men age that can be avoided if they had just been circumcised.

My urologist referred us to the pediatric urologist in his group, who said he figured Jet was still little enough to have the procedure done in the office. So my mom and I took him in (Knight was working) at six weeks old. Dr. Snipthetip sent me back to the waiting area, which was just as well, because I was enough of a wreck in the waiting room. I probably would have been yelling worse than Jet if I'd stayed in the room.

After about five minutes, Nurse Snipthetip (no relation) motioned to me to come back to the room. Dr. Snipthetip informed me that Jet was already "too big" for the instrument that they use. They discovered this after they had strapped him down to the table, numbed him up, and retracted the foreskin.

I felt like the worst mother E.V.E.R., both for letting them do all of this to my sweet, innocent baby, without actually accomplishing the mission, and because my first thought upon hearing about the problem was, "Well, Knight will be proud to hear that his son was too big."

The only way for him to be circumcised at this point was to take him to surgery. That thought was too scary for a six-week-old baby, especially for an elective proceudre. Dr. Snipthetip told me just to leave things alone down there and it would take care if itself.

So, here we are, three years later, and he'll have to be circumcised. I don't know for sure if it was Dr. Snipthetip's fault after not being able to complete the procedure the first time around. Anyway, I'm hoping we can have it done ASAP, both to relieve the discomfort Jet is experiencing and to just get it over with, already.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I'm so very not creative, artistically speaking. That's why people like this guy totally impress me.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm so glad that God qualifies the called...

...and doesn't just wait until we're qualified to call us.

Our church does Backyard Bible Clubs instead of Vacation Bible School. For the BYBC, the youth break up into teams and learn a set of curriculum. Then they go to various places in town, assemble a bunch of kids from the neighborhood, and love on them and play games and teach them the curriculum for four days. This year, they are doing two, two-and-a-half hour clubs each day (in the past, they've done up to four, one-and-a-half hour clubs everyday). It sounds fairly simple as I write it, but it's really not. The youth have been preparing for this week since May, and the whole church gets involved in one way or another.

Last year, I helped my mom cook two meals a day for 65+ people. That was actually kind of neat; I've had 25 or so years of practice in the kitchen with my mom . We work well together. Plus, it was fun to spend time with my mom.

This year, they're doing things a bit differently, so they don't need people in the kitchen full-time. So, I was hit up to go to the Spanish-speaking club and help translate for the youth. (See, Dad! I DO use that major, at least once a year!) I speak textbook-Spanish. It's great, but I feel like I sound like a dweeb. Ever met someone from a foreign country who only learned English in class? They speak differently - kind of stilted, difficult to understand at times. I'm a bit slow at first, but can catch on quickly when I'm using the language. For example, we go to Mexico to shop sometimes... it comes in handy, there. I've been known to translate a bit for people in stores or at the pharmacy or a restaurant or whatever. It's also handy for eavesdropping. :)

This situation is different, though. It's kids. Little kids, as in 6-10 years old. I have never felt so stupid as when listening to a 6-year-old rattle off a question in a language in which I struggle so hard to communicate the basics. You know how sometimes kids have their own words for things? Yeah, throw in some of those and a ton of slang while you're at it, and I feel like a total moron because I'm trying to talk to a little kid, for pete's sake, and he's looking at me like I grew a third eyeball in the middle of my face.

Oh yeah, and there's the added stress of holy-crap-what-if-I-mess-up-and-tell-this-kid-that-God-is-a-cow or some other such nonsense. Maybe that's what the Bible refers to when it talks about the Holy Spirit as an intercessor. I don't really think so, in fact, I'm pretty sure that's referring to a prayer, but ... I'm sure He's working hard as I trip through explaining the gospel to these adorable children. Fortunately, I'm not the only translator. We also have this wonderful woman from our church who's a native speaker. That helps a ton, because I can always turn to her and ask, ?Como se dice fill-in-the-blank?.

You know what, though? It's amazing what has happened to me in the last couple of days. By merely making myself available to God, and telling Him that I'm willing to be used, I'm more at peace, despite the blows to my pride. It's very difficult to put into words...

One of the things we've been struggling with lately is budgeting. We went though the period of absolutely no money because Knight was looking for a job (God took care of us, though, through odd jobs for Knight and the generosity of my family). Then he got a contract (hallelujah!) and the first couple of paychecks gave us this kind of heady feeling of Hey! We have some money! Yay! and maybe we let go of a little control and spent a bit too much. So then we were back to broke. In the last week or two, though, we've come back around and are better.

I've still struggled with contentment, though. Maybe part of this peaceful feeling has been brought about by a realization that I am grateful for what God has blessed us with, after working with these kids in a poorer part of town.

Maybe it's also a letting go of pride as I struggle to communicate with these kids. I'm not all that all by myself. The only way I can be the best I can be is to let God work through me. It's so freeing to come to that realization. Again. To just let go of my ridiculous expectations in the various areas of my life, and remember that God will provide. All He needs from me is surrender.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Clause and wines

Earlier today, I showed Jet how to use the remote to "clause" his DVD while he went potty.

This evening, he had to go potty and picked up the remote. I was curious to see if he would remember which button to push to pause it. He remembered, but he didn't quite point the remote in the right direction the first time, so it didn't work.

For his second try, he pushed the fast forward button, which is just below the pause button. I instructed him to push the play button, and then the pause button. He figured it out, and then proudly told his daddy, "I pushed the trinangle button, and the button with the two little wines!!!"

Yes, I could do with two little wines, myself. :)



On a trip to Mexico a few months ago, my mom brought back a wooden top for Jet. It consists of a wooden handle, the spinning top, and a black shoestring. Jet and Knight played with it for several days in a row on the the kitchen floor whilst I was attempting to cook dinner. Soon, though, it was relegated to the toy box.

Today, though, Jet rediscovered it. However, the plastic thing had come off of one end of the shoelace, making it frayed and impossible to thread through the hole on the spinning top.

So Jet did what any intelligent young man would do. He brought it to Daddy, Fixer-of-All-Things-Broken.

J, holding up frayed end of shoestring: Daddy, the stick came off of it

K, pointing to the other end of the shoestring on the ground: There's a stick on the other end.

J, turning in complete circles, looking everywhere but the end of the shoestring: Where?

K: Bring it here.

J,toddling over to Daddy and holding up string: OK.

K, lifting the string so that the end with the stick is dangling at Jet's eye-level: Here, this end.

J, eyes wide: *slow, audible, astonished intake of breath* Woahhhhhhhhh.... That's awesome...

If only it would stay that easy... to set his world to rights and be his forever hero. I imagine, though, that Daddy will always be his hero, even when it's not cool to say it out loud.


Friday, July 6, 2007


My littlest sister has started her very own blog. *sniff* She's growing up so fast! I remember like it was yesterday, changing those iddy widdy diapers... *sniff*...

OK. Over it. I think.

Anyway, on one of her posts, my other sister questioned her nickname of Beezneez. I would like to refer her here.

It would seem that she is now the odd girl out, being the only sister wifoub a blog. :)


Ring Bling

I went to a different jeweler today about the reaction I've had to my wedding ring. Remember that my doctor diagnosed me with a nickel allergy? Remember that I went to see another jeweler who basically told me that there wasn't much he could do? We were ready to see how much it might cost to get the diamonds reset into something that wouldn't, oh, I don't know, cause my skin to blister up and bleed.

Well, Mr. NewJeweler figured out the problem, after informing me that yellow gold does not have nickel in it. "They" (has anyone ever actually met "them"?) only blend nickel with gold to turn white gold into yellow gold. My ring, being yellow gold, doesn't actually have nickel in it... or it shouldn't.

This jeweler actually spent some time looking at the ring with his little eye-thingy. He went through a few minutes of examining and hmmming and ohhhhing while I resisted the urge to chunk my very adorable but very active and curious son through the front plate-glass window of the store and into the street. Getting Jet to stop touching things!! was harder than nailing jell-o to a tree, but perhaps not quite as difficult as herding cats.

Mr. NewJeweler told me that the part of the ring that had the I Love You cut out of it was actually white gold, which had nickel in it. The light bulb went off in my head -- this would explain why I was having the reaction only on the top of my finger instead of all the way around it. So, he said he should be able to cut that part out and it would stop bothering me. He doesn't think it will affect the stability of the ring, but he can fill it in with yellow gold if it looks like it will. Best case scenario: twenty-five smackers and I get to wear my wedding ring again! Yay! Worst case: about $100, depending on how much gold costs at the hour he decides to fill it in. Still not bad, considering we were looking at resetting the diamonds in platinum for around $1200.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fantastic Fourth

We had a house full of people for the 4th of July. Jet's Aunt Deanna and Uncle Karl, Grandpa, cousins Big and Little Daisy and another cousin all came over to celebrate. We had lunch, worked puzzles, watched movies, blew bubbles, took naps, and had some fantastic burgers for dinner.

Another friend of ours, whom we hadn't seen for a long time, also came over. She and I were trying to remember when we had actually seen each other, and determined that it had been about five years. (Five years?!?! I thought, Am I actually old enough to have friends that I don't see for five whole years?!?!? And we're old enough and mature enough to still be friends after all that time?) She and I have one of those really cool friendships where you don't have to talk every day to maintain the friendship. We've emailed sporadically over the years, but not regularly.

In fact, I was a little nervous when she decided to accept my invite to come. What if it's all weird and uncomfortable?, I thought. What if we don't really have anything to say to each other? Our lives are so different these days... Jet and Knight are my world, and she's still freewheeling and single...???

I don't know why I worried. We slid into comfortable conversation right away, and spent a fantastic day catching up on each others' lives and families. It was so good to see her!

Most of the towns in our area canceled festivities for yesterday. The whole reason for everyone coming to our house was so we could go wander around the festival in the park and see the parade, but the ground is just too soggy. I had been all excited because it seemed like the first year in a long time that we weren't worried about it being canceled due to a burn ban. It's usually so hot and dry this time of year.

During this not-writing-much phase of mine, we've had literally tons of rain. The main river that goes through our town flooded its banks by 31 feet. My parents' lot backs up to a smaller river; they're in a 500-year flood plain. The water rose really high at their house, too. Their house didn't flood, but the water was probably about 10 feet from their back porch.

Our swim lessons were canceled for several days because the pool is in the park where the river is. The whole park was closed, and then the pool had lost power, so the filters couldn't run... we were supposed to be finished with lessons last Thursday. They were rescheduled to extend into this week, and we finished on Tuesday.

One last thing... Mir referenced a column by Nora Ephron called The Six Stages of Email. Go read it -- it's hilarious!!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Whatever shall I say??

The lovely Lady M wrote a post yesterday that really resonated with me. What to do when one's day seemed boring? Does one blog anyway?

I've not posted much this week because I don't know what to write. I've struggled with this before.

I have a hard time choosing WHAT to write about... so much so that I sometimes don't write anything for fear that it will be a boring list of what we did today.

One of my reasons for trying to blog is to practice writing more descriptively. As a science teacher, I write procedural things - very specific, no pronouns, to the point, leave no room for questions. Sometimes I start a post and it begins to sound this way. I usually don't have a "natural flow" for writing... I tend to belch it all out on the page as kind of a list, and then I have to go back and flesh it out with descriptives.

Sometimes I get writer's block for my blog because I think of several things to write about, but doubt whether anyone wants to read about it. Other times, I run out of time and go several days without posting. (You have to understand that I walk around mentally pointing out situations that could be considered blog-worthy, if properly described.) Then I feel overwhelmed because I don't know what to post about.

It doesn't really help that the first blog writer I started reading on a regular basis was Mir at WouldaCouldaShoulda and WantNot. She's just brilliant and witty and funny. Somehow I got it in my head that every post I write should be like that.

Suddenly, though, after reading Lady M's post, I realized (again) that I just need to write. This blog is so therapeutic for me. It feels good to write, to get my thoughts organized, and to have a place to record memories. Diaries or journals never worked for me because I my hand gets tired before I get finished, and I always feel the need to go back and edit things to make the words flow more smoothly. (Someday I'd like to write a post with all of the original words still there, but marked through, just so you could see what I mean, except you wouldn't be able to read it because 75% of the words would be marked through.) But this blog is sort of like an interactive journal... it's fun to read other people's comments.

So, I've apologized to myself for doubting myself again, and for not writing for the last week. Clean slate! Start again! (Or maybe it's Continue!... whatever!)


Monday, July 2, 2007

Jet's birthday party

... was over a week ago. It was great, even though I chickened out on the cake. I did, however, sell the car mentioned in that same post. I doubled my money on it, too, and bought Jet some Veggie Tales DVD's. I got a heck of a deal on them, I might add.

First, I had received a 50% off coupon for Veggie Tales DVD's from Family Christian Stores. Go sign up on their website, and you'll get their snail mail newsletter, including some great coupons. I read the coupon carefully -- it didn't have any restrictions, so I thought it could be used for more than one DVD. When I got to the store, they had several of the Veggie Tales DVDs on sale for $8.97 (down from $15.99). I picked up four of them, as well as three bargain books for me (at buy two, get one free), and a $5 T-shirt. I also had a 25% off of one item coupon, and a 50% off of one item coupon. The nice girl at the checkout applied all of the coupons just like I wanted her to... and I walked out with 4 Veggie Tales DVDs, three books and a T-shirt for about $22. Yay!

Jet's Aunt Deanna and her family came over, we grilled burgers, opened presents and ate cake. It was perfect!!

My baby boy was ushered into three-year-old-dom in fine style. :P


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Toddler Dictionary

The older Jet gets, the less he says things that are toddler-ish and adorable. Let's document them for posterity, shall we?

Bref-tuss: n; the first meal eaten, especially in the morning (ex. "I wanna waffle for breftuss.")

Cooled up: v; the process of lowering the temperature of an object (ex. "I will eat dat waffle after it has cooled up.")

Pee-nit: n; male reproductive organ (Do you really need an example?)

Wif-oub: prep; used to indicate absence of something, best communicated with a whine (ex. "I can't do it wif-oub you, Mommy!")


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hooray for Eggplants!

I just have to brag on myself in this post. I've discovered the local Farmers' Market, and it makes me happy.

Last week, on Thursday (the Farmers' Market Day), I picked up blueberries, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, cantaloupe, and eggplants. The corn was fabulous last night as part of Jet's birthday dinner, the blueberries have been fantabulous with yogurt and wheat germ for breakfast, and the cherry tomatoes are perfect to just pop in my mouth for a snack.

The best by far, though, were the glorious eggplants. I'm rather new to the world of eggplants. Heretofore, I've simply had Knight grill them as he's grilled sausage for dinner.

Tonight, though, we moved to the next level: Eggplant Parmesan, sort of.

First, I arranged my three pie tins right next to the skillet on the stove, a la Rachael Ray. In the first tin, I had flour, salt and pepper. The second tin lovingly contained two beaten eggs, and the third had Panko bread crumbs (my other new favorite food). I had my EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) hot and ready in the skillet.

I tenderly sliced eggplant into 3/4" rounds, then pressed it in the flour, egg, and Panko. Into the EVOO it went, sizzling happily.

Meantime, I sprayed an 8" square baking dish with Pam and opened a couple of cans of Italian-seasoned tomato sauce. I also opened a package of Fiesta Blend Shredded Cheese (this is where the "sort of" comes in -- I didn't actually have any parmesan!) and another package of sliced provolone.

After the eggplant was brown on both sides, I spread a bit of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and arranged a layer of eggplant. I poured some tomato sauce on top, and sprinkled with the shredded cheese. Then I placed a few pieces of provolone on top of that.

I lathered, rinsed, and repeated, and put the dish in the oven at 350.

Then I had to figure out what to put with the eggplant. So, I did my standby asparagus (fresh asparagus drizzled with EVOO, sprinkled with garlic and ginger powders and a tiny bit of sugar, also baked at 350, handily enough). Watermelon leftover from the night before would complete the gourmet feast.

I mentioned to Knight as the eggplant was baking that I would be supremely disappointed if it wasn't as tasty as my tongue expected it to be.

Let's just say that I wasn't disappointed. In fact, let's say that it was heaven on a plate. Not even the President eats like this. :)


Friday, June 22, 2007


I'm a member at Work It, Mom!, which is a community for working moms.

Today, I recevied the following email:

Once a week, starting today, we will post a question or a topic on this blog and invite all of you to write your reactions to it by submitting it as a short article or essay to Work It, Mom! (Yes, you have to join the site, which will take just a few seconds, and our online article submission form is extremely simple. Plus you will have an article published with your own byline, which - ask any blogger or author - is a good thing.) Then post the link to your submission on your personal blog or email it to your friends and ask them to vote for your essay. The author of the essay on the weekly topic with the highest rating based on the highest number of votes will win a $50 gift certificate from Spafinder.com!

This week's question: If money was no issue, would you work and what would you do?

To read my essay, click the "Read More" below, and then go vote here. Thanks!

A Girl Could Get Used to This

I’m a self-professed nerd. I don’t wear a pocket protector, or have tape across the bridge of my glasses. Reading isn’t really a hobby; it’s more of a necessity. I read pretty much anything and everything, from the back of the shampoo bottle to Gray’s Anatomy.

I’m a perpetual student. Not in the classic sense – I don’t attend classes. However, there’s a special satisfaction that wells up inside me after I’ve learned something; I love to learn for the sake of knowledge. This is why I read.

I believe that my love of learning is what makes me a good teacher. I teach high school science – physical science, biology, environmental science, and chemistry. My deepest desire for my students is for them to relish that feeling of success that comes from learning something, to become so addicted to it that they constantly strive to better themselves, that they never become complacent. Even deeper than that, though, is my desire for them to apply that fervor to their relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ, to constantly strive to become more like Him.

I live for those “Aha!” moments in my classroom, that defining moment when I can see the light bulb switching on above their head, and their eyes light up with understanding. Sometimes that’s a direct result of something I’ve said or done, but my very favorite times are when they’ve sweated through a problem or misunderstanding for as long as it takes to GET it. Then they look up with pride in their eyes, and the surge of adrenaline that accompanies the “I did it!” makes them want to do more. I celebrate those moments with them; I shout and clap and dance and sing for them, but sometimes only on the inside, depending on the personality and motivation of the student.

I’ve taught for seven years and never taken a summer “off”. I’ve taught summer school or worked. In the summer of 2004, I had our son, but I was so sick afterward that I don’t really count that summer as “off”. Even after he was born, I worked or took classes during the summers.

Until now. This year, I remembered that one of the reasons I wanted to teach is that I would have time off with our children. This year, I had my own “Aha!” moment. We have a son now, and that time that I always dreamed about is here. I get to have time off with our son.

I’ll admit that I wondered how I could compete with his playschool in terms of friends to play with and activities to do. Could I really keep him happy at home? I had no intention of finding a zillion things to do in order to fill every second of every day. After all, that wouldn’t make much of a vacation for me. My life is scheduled to the minute every single day during the school year. There was no way I’d do that to myself during the summer, too.

So… I’ve slept in until 6:45 or 7:00 every morning instead of getting up at 5:00 and leaving before the rest of my family is even awake. I’ve made breakfast for my husband every morning and packed his lunch. I’ve gotten early morning cuddles from my son, those sweet, sleepy, heavy, warm cuddles, just after he wakes up, every morning. I’ve colored pictures, rolled play-doh, put together puzzles, blown bubbles, watched movies, swam in the pool, and read books by the dozen. I’ve planned menus, purposefully gone to the grocery store, hunting down the best bargains, instead of dashing through grabbing something quick to eat, and cooked dinner most nights. I’ve caught up on laundry and thoroughly cleaned the house. I’ve not been too exhausted at the end of the day to spend quality time with my husband. I’ve not felt guilty for not doing laundry on Saturdays when family is here.

I’ve also realized that those same “Aha!” moments I’ve cherished with my students are ten million times more powerful when I experience them with my son. I refuse to feel guilty about it, but I wonder how many of those moments I’ve missed because he had them at playschool. I know I’ll never be around for all of his light bulb moments, but I’ve really enjoyed experiencing more of them this summer.

I’ve realized that those same desires I have for my students – to succeed, to take pride in their work, to strive for greatness – run ten million times deeper in my heart when they’re passionate desires for my son. I want to be around more to help ingrain those characteristics in him.

This summer has been like a hit of a new drug, and I’m addicted. My catch phrase has been “A girl could get used to this.” I tell that to my husband every morning when we’re eating breakfast together. We do have plans for me to stay home when we have our second baby, hopefully next summer, but it almost can’t come fast enough.

As passionate as I am about my teaching, I’d give up my classroom in a heartbeat. I like to think of staying home as just getting a new teaching job. One at which I feel slightly unprepared, but still fully capable. I’ll learn as I go, just like my first year in the classroom.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

To my sweet son

Three years ago today, our lives were changed forever when you arrived.

It seems like this should be a long, loving, detailed entry about how wonderful you are and how enriched our lives are since you've been a part of them.

The truth is, I'm just speechless. You are the reason I have a slight taste of what God must have experienced when He sent Jesus to earth.

There truly aren't words to describe the depth of our love for you, or our unending gratitude to God for giving you to us. So, we'll do our best to show you for the rest of our lives.

I love you, little one. My prayer is for you to someday be excited to follow God and discover His plans and rewards for you.

Happy, happy third birthday, sweetie.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Remember the post I wrote about Planning for Jet's Birthday this week? I found an ABC article that illustrates perfectly the outrageous lengths people will go to in order to "celebrate" their child's birthday. I wonder how many of the people in that article can really afford those types of things, and how many are plunging themselves deeper into debt in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, as if the Joneses really care.

This makes me think of the date that Knight and I had this past weekend. I won a trivia contest on the radio a month or so ago, and the prize was lunch for two at Sullivan's Steakhouse, a ritzy place in downtown Austin. Since we live and work 30+ minutes away from said ritzy steakhouse, there was no way we could make it for lunch. I contacted the restaurant manager and he said he would give us credit for dinner.

We dropped off Jet at his Aunt Duh-Ahnna's (that's how he says it) house on Saturday night and headed out. We love to try new things together, espcially restaurants, so we were pretty excited. Knight, in particular, was looking forward to it because they have steaks.

We ended up late for our reservations because there was a bike race downtown, the path of which circled our restaurant, effectively blocking all vehicular access. We parked a couple of blocks away and walked, yielding for hordes of speeding bicyclists. Thank heavens for traffic directors. I had visions of trying to cross the street and getting run over, limbs and wheels and chains tangling... I was sure I would lose any battle between me and these Lance-wannabes.

Anyway, the moral of this story is coming up, I promise. As we were relishing cajun ribeye and crab-stuffed shrimp in a place where the cheapest entree is $30, I looked around to see who else was there with us. I wondered aloud to Knight about the financial status of everyone else. Who could afford it? Who couldn't? I've always harbored a bit of envy for people who had real money -- those who truly could afford to eat like this every weekend and not worry about what it was doing to their monthly budget.

There were a few families who had brought along their children (and this was not a place I would consider child-friendly). There were groups of college-age students, dressed to the nines. There were groups of older folks, dressed in business-casual. There were other couples like us, seemingly on a date.

We figured that the families with children were the ones who could really afford it. Someday, we'll be in that place, too. For now, we're working our way toward it by only going to places like that when we have gift certificates, instead of charging it on a credit card.

I just don't know if I'll ever be in a place where I don't automatically consider the budget when deciding whether or not to eat out. I don't think I'll ever spend $30,000 on a birthday party for a toddler. Maybe that's a good thing.


Rain, rain, go away

Doesn't the rain know that we have swim lessons this week? It could have at least waited until Friday. (We only have swim lessons Monday-Thursday.) It's supposed to rain tomorrow, too. I wonder if we get make-up days? I know they can't control the weather, but it bugs me that I paid for eight days of swim lessons, but might end up only getting six. I couldn't find any info on their website about it.

Other things, namely Jet's underwears, have been mostly dry all morning, except for the time that I sent him to the bathroom and realized I had to go, too. I went to the other bathroom and took care of things as quickly as possible. When I came around the corner to check on him, I arrived just in time to see him dunking his underwear up and down in the potty.

I was rendered momentarily speechless, with the thought of "Why on earth would anyone...???" running through my head. I quickly regained control before he could actually flush them.

In a flash of insanity, I questioned Jet about his antics.

Me: "Jet! What are you doing?"

Jet: ...??? *dunk, dunk, splash*

Me: "Well, stop it!"

Jet: *grin*, *dunk, dunk, splash* "Look what I could do!"

Fortunately, he hadn't done a Big Job, but may have tinkled in the potty. I couldn't tell.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Jet is doing, well, swimmingly (go ahead and groan, it's ok) in his swim class. For a kid who was terrified of water, he warmed up to it quickly.

On Monday, the first day, we arrived about 10 minutes early, and his teacher was with another class. The lifeguard said we could go try the kiddie pool. Jet wasn't too keen on it, what with about 8 other kids in it, splashing their little hearts out. He wanted to go to the "big boy pool", which surprised me.

We visited a little with kids and parents that were also there for our class. He is the oldest, by quite a bit. Most of them are in the 18-24 month range, and some of those seem to be born for the water!

When we first walked down the steps into the pool, Jet clung to me. As the teacher talked, he began to relax, and quit digging his nails into me each time I pretended to think about moving deeper into the water.

The point of that first class was just to get the kids used to being in the pool. Miss Anjie even had a bag of toys for them to play with. Jet was really excited about that -- he could hardly wait for Miss Anjie to stop talking so he could get to the toys. He ended up selecting a pink ring that was handy for throwing.

By the end of the class, we had a system down. He would throw the ring as far as he could, and then I would ask him to blow bubbles three times. Then he had to float on his tummy and kick his legs as we walked around looking for the ring (it sank to the bottom of the pool). I would scoop the ring toward the top with my foot, and he would reach down to grab it.

It was quite a transformation -- from screaming, "I wanna go HOME!" at about 10:30 a.m., to screaming, "I don't WANNA get out!!!" at 11:15.

Today, he was a little tense as we waded into the water, but quickly began asking about the ring. We added a new step to the routine because he wanted to climb the ladder at the side of the pool. So, he would throw the ring from the side of the pool, jump into my arms, blow bubbles three times, float on his tummy, and kick as we went looking for the ring. Then he'd kick back over to the ladder and do it all over again. Three hundred times.

I'm just so proud of him!!!

Bonus: two-and-a-half-hour naps both days. Yay!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Britain's Got Talent

Have you seen these? They're incredible. You have to watch them all the way through.

First, there's the completely adorable 6-year-old Connie singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It brings tears to my eyes to hear her, and you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. Listen to Simon at the end -- he really is human!

Then Paul Potts,a car phone salesman, blows away the judges with his opera singing. I don't know for sure, but from some of the comments I saw on YouTube, I think he may have won the whole competition.

There's also Craig and his baton twirling. His story is sad to me, because he hid his dream from his parents. At the end, one of the judges asks him how it makes him feel, and his reply is that when he's doing his baton twirling, he sort of shuts off the rest of the world. He says that he loves what he does. There's one really good close up of his face in the middle of his performance, and you can really see that he's loving it. Watch for it.

I just thought these were so cool -- I wanted to share!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Planning for Birthday No. 3

My baby boy isn't a baby anymore. He'll be three next Wednesday!

Do you remember this post where I so excited because I bought this really cool car for Jet for his birthday? Well... we're rethinking the brilliance of that purchase. You see, we don't have a paved driveway at our house (it's just dirt and rocks) or sidewalks in our neighborhood. Our house is definitely too small to ride it inside. I just don't really think he would enjoy it all that much because there's not a good place for him to ride it. Getting him something he would enjoy is really the point, right, because it is his birthday and all...?

I posted the car on Craigslist yesterday to see if we could sell it. We've already thought of something else he would enjoy more. Several months ago, we picked up a basketball goal similar to this one at a garage sale for two dollars. Jet loved it! He definitely got his two dollars' worth out of it, but it broke about a month ago. I'm thinking he would love to get a new one.

We'll be having his birthday party next Saturday. It will be small and simple - just family, I think. I really don't understand all of the drama and extravagance of having these huge birthday parties for toddlers. Plus, I figure I'll keep it easy while he's too young to know better. :) To be honest, I don't know that I'll ever "go all out" when compared to some other parents.

Deanna and her family will come up, and my parents, sister, and brother will come over. We'll grill burgers, I'll make some of Mom's yummy baked beans (I'll be happy to provide the recipe if you're interested -- so easy and delicious), and cut up a watermelon. We'll let him open presents, and blow out the candles on the cake. That's about it.

Now, if there's one area that I kind of go all out on, it's the cake. I love to make his birthday cakes. For his first birthday, I made this inchworm cake. It was super easy and really cute. I'm having trouble remembering what I did for his cake last year. I'll update if I do remember. :P

This year, I think I'm going to do either a car or a fire truck. While I was digging, I found a whole page of yummy-looking cake recipes. I bookmarked it to try some of them later.

Now I need to make my list of all the stuff I have to get done between now and then... grocery shopping, housecleaning, etc. I have to admit that it helps to have a deadline. Otherwise, I just let this stuff linger until.... well, until I don't know when. This is the downside of Summer Vacation -- too much time! :) It will feel good to get the house thoroughly clean.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Money, money, money

I was so excited about this, I just had to share... I've discovered the world of bloggers who blog about saving money/frugality/financial peace, etc.

I know I've linked to Mir at WantNot several times. She is fabulous, and scouts out great deals on stuff. As she usually says, those deals are great, if you were already planning to buy those items or need to stock up for your gift closet. Thanks, Mir!

The new blogs I've found are a bit different; they offer tips and tricks to manage money. This is a topic near and dear to my heart since Knight and I did Financial Peace University a few years ago. To be honest, once I started clicking around, I became a bit overwhelmed by all of the good advice I saw. Here are a couple that I thought were great and that are in my Reader now:

NCN at No Credit Needed offers great tips, and has a neat post up right now where readers link to their favorite money-saving tips. He has several blogs, including a Network system which I will be checking out soon. It sounds neat!

Trent at The Simple Dollar is an excellent writer. I enjoy following his thoughts on various decisions he makes. It helps that we are about the same age and in the same stage of life, so much of what he has to say is relevant to me.

If you're a nerd like I am, go click around on their sites and get excited about saving money!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Swim lessons

We're officially enrolled in swim lessons. I went for the lessons for the younger kiddos. He barely squeaks in, since the lessons start on the 18th and he'll be three on the 21st.

As I browsed the options for swim lessons online, I was all excited to see that the parks and rec department had an online registration for the lessons! I also discovered that they had ONE spot left in the class I wanted.

I've come to appreciate the beauty of signing up for things without having to wade through the tedium of recorded phone menus ("For the first circle of hell, press 1. For the idiocy that is the customer service representative, press 2. To scoop out your eyeballs using dull spoons, press 3.", etc.). Plus, I can do it in my pajamas. I figure that organizations put in online registration systems so that they don't have to pay people to man the phones or the front desk registration areas so much. Ultimately it saves money, right?

Wrong. I discovered that, in order to register for programs online, I had to be assigned a user id and password. Fine. I figured I'd enter all my pertinent information and then their auto-emailer would send me a user id and password.

Wrong again. I received an email stating that "someone would contact [me] in 24-48 hours with [my] user id and password". Whaaaat? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose? At least, it does in my mind.

Anyway, I had done all of this on Saturday afternoon. I received an email with the user id and password from an actual person about noon on Monday. So, excitedly, I went to register for the swim lessons. They still had that one spot open!!

Somewhere in all of the small print, I remembered seeing that I would have to add individual members of my family to the account in order to sign them up for different programs. I tried to figure out how to do that, but couldn't seem to get it done. So, somehow, I thought it wouldn't matter that it was my name signing up for the swim lessons instead of Jet's.

Wrong again. They had a drop-down menu to select the person who would be participating in the activity. Since mine was the only name available on our account, I selected it. It wouldn't let me register because the class is for children 0-36 months old, and the participant (that would be me) would be -- get this -- 358 months old at the start of the class. If that doesn't make a body feel old, I don't know what would.

I started poking around some more, trying to figure out how to add Jet to the account. I finally found the FAQ's page. In order to add someone to the account you have to... no, really, guess... call them at the office. They even gave two phone numbers. However, the first one they listed didn't work -- I got the "boop-boop-BOOP this phone has been disconnected or is no longer in service..."

After calling the second number and sifting through the phone menu, I connected with someone who, surprisingly, knew what she was doing. She added Jet and Knight to the account with ease and dexterity. As we were ending the conversation, I mentioned that I would be signing up online for the swim lessons. She mentioned that they would charge me a convenience fee to sign up online.

Let's think about this for juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a second, here, while remembering that I thought I could do this the easy way -- without having to call anybody!

I kindly pointed this out to the nice lady on the phone, and she was super-nice and signed us up for the lessons without charging the over-the-phone convenience fee.

Thus ends the story of How Not to Sign Up for Swim Lessons the Easy Way.