Archive for January, 2006

These Cheeks Speak For Themselves…

January 18th, 2006 at 7:55 pm » Comments (2)


What can I possibly add to such adorable-ness? (Except that he’s 3 months, and is named Seth.)

The Bargain Shopping Approach to Life

January 17th, 2006 at 1:39 pm » Comments (3)

I love a good bargain. I see them as blessings from above. Ann Taylor skirt, new with tags in my size on eBay for $2, just because the seller spelled it "Anne?" Um, yes, big bargain. Blessing. A kiss from heaven, in the form of a killer deal on a skirt.

I’m not a bargain hunter though. I don’t go out of my way to look for sales, coupons, etc. (Just eBay) I am a bargain appreciator, and I’ve noticed it has seeped into other areas of my life. For example, food. Often I will look at something, say a piece of chocolate cake.  It’s there in front of me and I love chocolate. And I ask myself if it is Worth The Calories? Depends. Is it a great piece of cake? Then pass me a fork. But if the answer is no, no thanks.

Also, this approach has worked – with ultimate success – in the area of Soap Operas. Are there any closet soap fans out there? I understand. As The World Turns is part of my HERITAGE, y’all. I’m not kidding. My mom and sister and I all watched it. My grandmothers ON BOTH SIDES watched it. And in the summers growing up, it only became natural to watch those CBS soaps that came on before and after, and so the ATWT thing turned into Y&R, Bold and the Beautiful, AND Guiding Light. Now that’s just not right. I watched these for years, knowing full well I should never, never, ever admit that to anyone in the church world, because please! The glorification of sin on those shows would send me straight to hell before the cheesy music even finished playing. 

Anyway, I did it for years, listened wistfully to the theme songs, did not go straight to hell, and am here to tell you that I used the Bargain Appreciator approach to ending my habit. Warning: It took years.

For years I’d ask myself if watching such shows was worth the guilt. The changing the channel everytime my kids walked into the room, lest I contaminate their sweet minds. And for years, um, yes. The answer was YES! I mean, I NEEDED to know if Holden would rescue Lily the umpteenth time she was kidnapped. But I continued to ask the question: Is It Worth It?, or Is This A Good Deal? And then a few times a week, the answer started to be no. Now, this is easy with soaps, since you really only need to watch a few every few weeks to ‘keep up.’ But then the answer started to be ‘no’ every day. I am proud to admit that I have been clean and sober from soaps for about 2 years. Maybe less, not sure.

And yes, I’m sorta shallow. Am fine with that. But hey, at least I’m not watching As the World Turns right now, and YES, it’s on, now that I think about it. But we’re watching PBS in my house since I am a more virtuous version of the soap watching gal I used to be.

And before you think I’m a total flake, check this out: (But note the ‘quickly respond’ part! Um, oops)

Romans 12 1-2 The Message Translation

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

What Is It With Homeschooling?

January 16th, 2006 at 2:56 pm » Comments (2)

I’m new to blogging. New to reading blogs, even. And my biggest surprise has been learning that homeschooling is so big. It’s huge!

It seems that every other blog I come across is a homeschooling mom. Who are these super-virtuous (and a little intimidating) women? And, more importantly, why can’y I have their patience?

My friend Cheryl homeschooled for awhile, and frankly, I thought she was nuts. (And she has lovely children. And a TON of patience, also.) Not me. I was going crazy over the length of the Christmas holidays this year. My kids were off from Dec. 16 to Jan 9. January 9TH, PEOPLE! Now that’s just a little excessive, right?

They attend a fantastic Christian school that we’re lucky to have nearby. But even if that school weren’t here, I have no problem saying that it’d be the public schools for us, with a side of extra prayer.

So here’s to the Homeschoolers! I love your sites, and hearing your gentle, loving spirits. I admire you greatly, and am including just 2 of the sites I’ve found so far:

The Letter I Am Afraid To Send

January 14th, 2006 at 3:24 pm » Comments (4)

Dear Reynaldo (I think that is your name),

You work at my favorite post office and I saw you today. For a year now you’ve been my favorite Postal Guy, since you’re careful with my precious manuscripts. You treat my shipments of fiction as if they matter to you, as well. And you used to joke with me about your grandkids and why I am not already published. But no more. Because now you look at me in fear every time you see me, ever since That Day.

That Day, I decided I should do the loving, Christian thing and tell you how much I appreciate you. I wanted you to know that you are special, and your extra concern for your job has been noticed. Appreciated! So I did. Just before I left, I said to you, “Reynaldo (or whatever your name is, since I have forgotten), you are the reason I come in here instead of going to the other post office. Thank you.”

And did you say ‘thanks,’ or ‘see ya next time you want to send off another pile of fiction somewhere?’ No. No, you did not, Reynaldo (or whatever your name is since I have forgotten). You did a double take and looked at me with brown eyes, extra wide. So I left, and since then? Since then I get the same, almost-scared look that I have not understood.

My mom visited lately and I told her of That Day. Her eyes, too, grew wide, as she explained that I had definitely – quite by accident – flirted with you. I was shocked. I only meant ‘thank you’ but somehow I must have said so much more. How surprised was my mother, when she said to me, “Romance Writer, hello? ‘You’re the reason I come in here?!’” And then I realized she was right. I inadvertently came on to you, and now you fear me. Crazy woman, thirty years your junior, who can write lots of fiction, but who completely bumbled a simple ‘thank you.’ 

I apologize. I am not obsessing over you, although I have given you reason to believe otherwise. Truly, I do not even remember your name. (But I really think it’s Reynaldo.) I just remember the wonderful way you used to take care of my mail – and how now you tend to always get really busy, and then your far less competent co-worker must help me. I will never, ever look into his eyes and tell him what I told you That Day.  Actually, I have learned my lesson and I will never say those words again. From now on, I shall avoid eye contact, avoid talk of grandchildren, and remember to only say, “Thanks.”

Not Lusting Over You Even A Little (I promise!),


A Hairball on the Laundry Room Floor Kind of Day. (Yick!)

January 13th, 2006 at 9:43 pm » Comments (3)

Mike gets back soon, and I am so thrilled. He’s been gone all of 2 days, but it’s the 2 days that the kids all ‘turned it up a notch.’ (Of course they do that when he leaves town!)

I meant to get a lot done these last two days. I had lofty plans for laundry perfection, and was sure that I’d work in a cleanup of the garage. Instead, the laundry is still not done and I’m just grateful the kids are asleep and I survived. Wow, did my expectations plummet, or what?

At one point, around 11 this morning, I had one baby crying, another one covered in poop from an explosive diaper, and the cat – well, let’s just say it was a hairball kind of day. Ick, ick, ick. Ick on the laundry room floor.

And did I handle this well? Did I sound like Jeana, or the Prov. 31 woman at all? Oh my gosh, no. In fact, I got out one of those break apart cookies from the package and said aloud: "I am turning to food." All solemn and weird and all, thinking that if I did that, I would not follow through. I did. I ate the stupid raw cookie made with raw egg and everything. And I am not one of those people that likes cookie dough. I do not!  The thought of eating the raw egg in the raw dough grossed me out, and then I kept thinking the day was going to be so much worse if that stupid cookie blob made me sick. Anyway, I do no recommend turning to raw egg-y foods when stressed. And I do not recommend declaring it in a solemn voice to your empty kitchen, because then you’ll just feel like a moron.

Today had a serious bright spot, that all the mommies need to know about. While I was making dinner my 5 yr old and 2 yr old came up with a fantastic game. And it was fantastic because it was a) educational b) promoted their self esteem or c) both of the above?  Nah. It was the best game ever because they came up with it and they were sooooo quiet the whole 40 minutes they played it! They called it Secret Agent, which amounted to a lot of sneaking around on tiptoe and peering around furniture as silently and as unobtrusively as possible. To quote the girl part of the two headed dragon on Dragon Tales, "Looooo-ooove It!" Anyway, there is one drawback. You don’t necessarily know when the game is over and they’re on to something new. And if my kids are on to something new, and they’re still quiet, there is serious trouble going on. Like, let’s-smear-the-toothpaste-on-the-lightbulbs-and-watch-it-cook kind of trouble.

Have a wonderful day, from my Haven of Peace to Yours!

21 Days to Hottie Status. And Counting! (Yeah, right.)

January 12th, 2006 at 1:59 pm » Comments (0)

I’m standing in line at the grocery store the other night – which might sound lame, but it was a total thrill because I was alone. Alone! What’s a lactating mother of four doing anywhere alone? Oh, it was glorious. Anyway, I was standing in line and there was this little Prevention magazine called Fit & Firm. I buy it, and guess what Denise Austin is promising me?

She says I can get back in shape in just 3 weeks. First of all, this incorrectly implies I was once in shape, and secondly, it does not appear to matter to Denise that I recently had a baby. And here’s the kicker: just 10 minutes a day. Ha Ha Ha Ha, Denise.

Oh, Denise, you cannot see me, with my stretch-marked flabby tummy, and you obviously do not see the m&ms next to me. But whatever. I’ll give it a shot and let you know how it goes, even though I don’t believe her claims of rapid results for even a minute.


Today Ethan (the wonderfully weird 5 yr old)decided that we really needed to get our cat, Charlo, on The Planet’s Funniest Animals. He’s motivated by the $100 that accomplishment would bring, and all the way home from kindergarten I heard about this great new idea.

Ethan: "Mom, we need to put up cameras in all the corners of our living room so that if Charlo does something funny, we’ll have it on tape."

Me: "Umm, no."

Ethan: "That’s okay, he isn’t ready yet anyway. He has to learn to be funny first."

Me, with puzzled look on face: "Whaaa.?"

Ethan: "He hasn’t gone to training camp yet. All the animals go to training camp, learn to be funny, and then their owners send in tapes of them."

Yeah, of course. Why did I not know that? I love how his little mind works. Can’t you just picture the Comedy Training Camp for animals? I see a classroom with all kinds of reptiles and cats, dogs, birds and bunnies and a penguin at the front practicing his delivery of a ‘Why did the chicken cross the road’ joke.

Anyway, I have some serious progress to make on Project Fit in the next ten minutes, so I better get busy.


You Know It’s a Nasty Diaper When You Can Smell It Before You Open the Nursery Door

January 11th, 2006 at 1:22 pm » Comments (1)

And it was sooooo nasty. But a good morning nonetheless, and better once that sucker was tied up in a plastic bag, double knotted, and the trash taken out. No, I don’t use those amazing diaper contraptions. I do have one, though – I think it’s called "Neat." It is anything but neat. It sits by my nightstand, and is utterly impossible to use with just one hand. And who ever has two hands free? No one in this house!

So I took Caden and Seth to get their pictures made this morning.  This appointment has been set for a week, and they were clean, nails cut, outfits sorta coordinated and everything. And last night Caden gets his head stuck in the basement door (okay, actually I didn’t see him there because I was holding Seth and Caden was standing in the baby-induced blind spot – and I shut the door on his head) Anyway, faint bruise. Poor kid. And Seth? He scratched the bridge of his little baby nose with one of those newly manicured fingernails. A bloody scratch, right in the center of his face. I am such a good mommy, huh?

The photographer was great – one I’ve used before. But not so great that she could disguise my children’s injuries, and they will be documented forever.

I’m still new to having two babies. The others were far enough apart in age that I never had two such young ones at the same time. And wow, is it tough! Today was a huge success just because we got there on time and made it home.

That might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Or rather, the double stroller involved is a big deal. The thing weighs 46 pounds, and that is before you add children, infant carrier, diaper bag, or purse. People stop and stare, often openmouthed when they see me coming. Sometimes they even laugh, and that’s just not nice. The stroller is not terribly user friendly, which means that even if you’re strong enough to regularly collapse the thing and hoist it into the back of your super-big SUV (it won’t fit into anything smaller, I bet), it will mash your fingers and break all your fingernails every single time. It’s amazingly accurate, that way.

And yet, I’m grateful in a begrudging sense, as it is the only way to tote around my kids. But oh my gosh, once Seth is older I will so gladly chuck it and get a 2 pound folding double umbrella stroller that I will be able to lift with one finger if I want. (One finger with an intact fingernail.)

Until then, I’m the mom at the mall with the bruised and scratched kids in sorta matching sweaters, no fingernails, and the big honker of a double stroller. (If you must stare, at least smile.)

Launch Day

January 10th, 2006 at 3:19 pm » Comments (3)

Who am I?

I am a Christian

A wife

A mother of 4

An aspiring Christian fiction writer, and brand new blogger

Chocolate lover (and I’m not a snob about it either. Plain M&Ms are totally better than Godiva in my opinion, because they come in a 3 pound bag just two aisles away from the diapers)

An awful cook

A hopeless driver (actually a great driver, but am hopeless at finding my way around)

Passionate plant/flower lover

eBay addict (buying only)

Fantastically quick diaper changer (trust me, that totally matters)

Great at finding the humor in this wonderful life I’ve been blessed with

My husband Mike is amazing. He’s the fearless entrepreneur sort whose early forays into the business world had me questioning why God put us together – and how in the world we’d eat. Fortunately, we ate enough to live long enough for him to learn to hone that God-given tendency. Now he owns a highly successful financial advising company, and I get to stay at home with our kids. Mike is the sort who either totally forgets it’s your birthday, or surprises you completely with the world’s most perfect gift. And doesn’t that sound great? Except you NEVER know which it’s going to be. Is it the time he’s going to whisk me away somewhere, like in the last episode of a stupid reality show and this is the finale of romantic dates? Um, no, this time he forgets!

He’s the hands-on daddy sort who loves taking the kids on trips, planning family outings, and will occasionally clean the whole house while I sleep in – at his request. Seriously? God is good. And so is Mike. No wonder I was so inspired to start writing romantic fiction. That guy that is so great in all those books is Mike on a good day. (Mike on a bad day isn’t so bad either. He might snap at one of the kids, leave the kitchen a mess, or play XBOX for way too long in the basement. And really? Who cares? Me on a bad day is enough to scare 4 kids and the cat into hiding!)

My kids. Ahhh, my kids. They’re a great group, generally. But since they’re kids and this is so public, I don’t mind saying I’ll be fairly general about the specifics of their lives. Mind you, not one of them would mind me publishing the details of their lives. But I mind. (And why is it they wouldn’t mind? I have no idea. I mean, as a kid I just would have DIED if I’d known my mother were doing such a thing)

First, there’s Kim. She’s 11 and has been easier to live with lately and we are all praising Jesus for that. She’s a passionate reader and lover of all things horse-ish. She’s interested in anything she thinks might be fun.

Ethan is 5. He’s crazy. Ridiculously smart, frighteningly outspoken and precocious, and is 100% sure that he knows everything in the world there is to know already. He loves watching Animal Planet, telling me what I’m doing wrong, and reminding me of all the things that I do not yet know. He talks almost a much as Kim, which is a WHOLE LOT.

Caden is almost 2. He has an amazing talent for looking at someone and instantly mimicking their mannerisms. He does this in a silent, non attention seeking sort of way, but if you’re aware of it – it can totally freak you out. He is my sweet blue eyed child, and the other three have gorgeous chocolate-y eyes. He’s a quiet sort, but the quiet sort that you have to worry about.

Seth. Sweet, sweet Seth. He is only 3 months old, and I had no idea that God made babies as sweet as this one. He smiles, he coos, and he does not cry. If he has a need or a want, he grunts. Seriously. It’s weird, and lovely and I adore him. He’s also very pudgy and just starting to outgrow his newborn clothes. Well, really he already had, but I loved them and wouldn’t admit it was time to stop stuffing him into them like a sausage and just break out the next size already. But I’m past that, and he’s wearing clothes that are more comfortable now and he seems even happier.

The Cat. Kim named him Charlo when she was 5, and the name was perfect. He’s gorgeous, and fluffy, and so beautiful that my mom and sister refer to him as ‘the cat in drag.’ If you saw him, you’d understand. Everyone assumes he is female, he’s so pretty. And it also looks like he’s wearing showgirl style eyeliner- that probably has something to do with it.

This is who we are. A normal, Christian family in the middle of West Texas. And a total work in progress.