Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ready for Halloween!

Well, I guess we are ready! We have our bag of 100+ candy bars. Well, I guess it is somewhere now under 100. I vow every year to get the candy later and/or not eat it. In years past I have actually bought candy I don't like so I won't eat it. So, this year I bought chocolate and well, you know the rest of the story.

We have our costumes: My son is going to be Spiderman. I guess I should attach something significant to him so I know who my Spiderman is. I mean, isn't every boy under age 8 going as the red or black spidey this year? This costume has those foam muscles. Our friend, Joe said they look more like spidey boobies than muscles. This is a true statement - they do. We have actually had this costume since it hit TarJay over 2 months ago. You know how as soon as you buy your pool supplies in April they go ahead and put the Halloween supplies out in July. Yeah, so that is how long we've had this. I mostly convinced L not to wear it outside, but the last couple days we had a Fall Festival at church - snow cones and today a school party - cupcakes.
'Nuff said. So, we have now washed the costume twice before Halloween is even here.

B is going as Sharpay from HSM. Of course! We found the last bit of her costume tonight - the headset mic with sparkles! The blond wig is going to be fun as is the fun jewelry she has. She, unlike L, will not touch her outfit as to debut it on Halloween night. It is in pristine shape. She is mostly excited that I am letting her wear these very long dangly earrings that I would normally never let her wear until she graduates from college and will most likely give her an infection in her earring holes. But they do make the outfit and I am a girl who believes you just suffer for the beauty of a well-coordianted outfit sometimes. Accessories are everything!

Buddy even has a spiderman costume. L really wanted the dog to match him, so we got the smallest of spidey costumes for dogs. Really, we should have looked for a cat costume - it would have fit better. Maybe not the smartest of Halloween purchases but it was on sale. Buddy spends most of his time in his kennel on Halloween because he barks at everyone and scares all the kids. All 7 pounds of his furry little self. But, again - it was on sale and I love a sale.

Pumpkins carved. Omigosh, I so love hubby for this. I really love that he enjoys doing this with the kids. They draw their faces and he handles the knives! Truly they are works of art.

Hubby and I don't dress up. I was looking at adult costumes at the Halloween Mart today - this is a real store. They were actually charging between $40-50 for these! It would seem at that price that you should at least get the boots, hair, makeup and all that makes the costume look authentic, but no, those are extra. In this store I was also just in awe of the sawed off body parts section. It was a treat to see my 3 year old son hold up a rubber "bloody" foot and just not even know what to say. My 7 year old daughter though had only one thing to say, "That is gross." I agree. Let's just stick with our happy Spiderman and Sharpay Halloween and leave the scary body parts here. Yes, you know our house is covered in happy face pumpkins, smiling scarcrows and mums and that's fine by me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Cool House

After school most every sunny day, my kids play outside with the neighbor kids. Our block is home to about 25 kids and it can be crazy. So, to say that they are not allowed in my house is an understatement. But, occasionally, if it is just one or two we invite them in. My daughter who will turn 7 next month has had her share of playdates. My son, who is just 3 is just learning the total funness of having a friend to play in his room with his stuff. In his total cute little boy voice he ran into ask me if the neighbor boy across the street could "come inside the house and pway". "Sure!" I obliged. So, I overhear him inviting the little boy in like this, "Yeah, you can come in my house!" He shrugs his little shoulders and opens the door for his friend and says, "It's a cool house, you wiwl wike it." He has a little trouble with his "L" words. At this point it is so cute, I don't correct it much. Anyway, back to the story.

The neighbor boy has been here before so it is not like he doesn't know our house and that is not really the point of my story anyway. I guess it just warms my heart to know that my kids enjoy having their friends over to their house. It makes me feel great to know they think it is cool. I remember growing up and the friends houses we would love to hang out at. They were cool because of a couple things.

1. FOOD - lots of great snack foods, fresh baked goods, plenty of Kool-Aid.
2. Cool toys or music as I got older
3. Warmth. A mom who interacted with me. A dad who joked with me.
4. Time to be alone and hang out.

I remember a friend, Heidi. She was my best friend from the 4th grade until the 9th grade when we moved away. We would play with Barbies for hours during when we were younger. As we grew older, we would take our cassette player loaded with Micheal Jackson or Def Leppard and we would sit in her big back yard talking for hours about boys, school, cheerleading, and God. She was the first person with whom I actually had conversations about God. These are awesome memories to me! I loved spending time at her house.

So, as my kids grow older, I hope I can remember what makes the house the one that my kids friends want to hang out in. A Cool House.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rain Rain Rain!

Praise God for the rain! Our whole state has been in a drought and it has been raining for 3 days! The sun is breaking through this morning, the rivers and lakes are up a little and my lawn doesn't look like a baseball field!

Here are some fun quotes on RAIN...

“The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed- It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”
William Shakespeare

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain
author unknown

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.”
author unknown

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. -- John Updike

If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with a little rain. -- Dolly Parton

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Clark Kent

Okay, so I pick L. up from preschool today to have his assistant teacher tell me that we cannot have him acting like a superhero in the classroom. Yeah right, try telling a 3 year old boy who is IN LOVE with superheros that he cannot be one in the classroom. Apparently, the boys act too rough. So, I had to explain to him how supers are really regular people, ie: Clark Kent, Peter Parker, the Incredibles, and that they cannot be superheros when they are just going to school or work. But when they get outside they save lives and fight bad guys and totally be superheros! He was very into this idea and I hope it works at school. Somedays, I get this boy thing!

Preschool is going better. He has only had one time out in the last 3 weeks which is good. And I feel like his behavior is actually improving at home because of the structure he receives there. He loves going and loves his teacher. He is actually making me art! He never sits still enough to do art projects and it is great to have something his little hands make. He gets very excited to show me his projects, I guess because I get so excited when he brings me them.

Courage in Leadership

Last week, I had to present a synopsis of a chapter from a book I read about leadership.
This is an outline of what I presented and wanted to share:

Next Generation Leader - Five Essentials For Those Who Will Shape The Future.
Andy Stanley http://www.northpoint.org/

Leadership is synonymous with Courage. You have to be courageous to be a leader. Courageous leaders do the following four things where others might not.

1. Change
Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's courage. --Anais Nin
Progress requires change and growth requires progress.
Courage to act on what needs to be changed defines a leader.
Leaders take people places they’ve never been before.
Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. And once they move away from the pack, they are positioned to lead.

2. Risk
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.- Anais Nin
Courage is not necessarily the absence of fear.
Leaders generally regret missed opportunities, not risks taken.
Eventually a leader’s lust for progress overwhelms his reluctance to take risks.
Failure is part of success.

Think back to a missed opportunity and to a failure? Do you have more regrets for the missed opportunity or the failure?

3. Opportunity
“Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 1 Samuel 17:8-9 (Story of David and Goliath)

Where there is great fear there is often great opportunity.
Identifying and acting on opportunities define leadership - For instance, David was had fear of Goliath like everyone else but he seized the opportunity to become great and went on even though he was fearful. Everyone else saw it - he acted on it.

4. Caution
God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.

Leaders worth following are always careful.
Leaders understand the unique roles of confidence and caution. Courage requires both. David’s caution did not keep him from the battle, but neither did he allow his confidence to blind him the need to select his stones with care.

Are you careful or fearful in your leadership?

1. The Courage to say No!
Saying no can be the ultimate self-care. --Claudia Black

Opportunity does not equal obligation.
Create a "Stop Doing" list.
Good opportunities can divert from one great opportunity!
Fear keeps us from saying no!

2. Facing Reality
Refusing to accept reality is called denial - it is a sickness and unhealthy.
We can lose sight of what is actually happening around us.
Leaders worth following face reality even if embarrassing.

3. Dream
Dream no small dreams, for they stir not the hearts of men.

Must allow your mind to dream of what could be.
No brackets on thinking.
What could it be? What should it be?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Go Fish

Okay moms! Here is a great band for kids. Go Fish! They are a 3 man group - singing songs that they say are for kids but won't drive parents bonkers. We just saw them in concert and I have actually seen them twice at MOPS conventions. They are dads of young kids and trying to make it big on the kid music scene. Check them out. My kids love them, they don't drive me bonkers and they really are cool! Superstar is the best CD but their new one Snazzy is pretty cool, too.

And here is another one - local to the RTP area in North Carolina
Stacey Clearman and the Littleland Band. The Kazoo song rocks!

Batman in waiting

So, this is my little guy in his Batman cape and mask waiting for his friend across the street. He is waiting on the grassy area as close to the street as possible without actually going in the street. Even though we live on a very quiet dead end, he knows to stay out of the street. This is because of my good parenting skills - rule one: do not let your kids play in the street! :) So, he just has to push that as far as he can.
Anyway, I have to say that I never thought having a boy would be so much fun. He is in constant motion and constantly in some superhero costume as he is here. It is hysterical! I think mostly because he is so serious about it. He really runs around shooting webs like Spiderman and doing "karate" moves all over the house. He is now into trying to scare little girls and thinks it is funny. I don't really like that he does this, but what a typical boy thing to do! It is hard for me to believe he is turning from my baby to a little boy. So, yeah - what a fun guy he is - I love him like crazy.

B's new 'do!

So, B wanted to get her hair cut - short and with a flip out. That's what she told the stylist. So, here she is. Omigosh, what a cute girl - I just love her! So, now she wants me to curl this little do every morning. She is setting her alarm to get up earlier so she can make sure I am up to curl her hair. She is only 6! Good golly what do we have to look forward to?!?

Souper Sunday - Texas Stew


Here is a yummy recipe that my friend shared with me and I cook it all the time. My family loves it and it's a good one for the cool weather coming up. It is a good crock pot recipe or one that can cook all day.

Texas Stew

8 servings

2 lbs beef cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can of Mexican style stewed tomatoes - undrained
( I use regular stewed tomatoes so it is not so spicy)
1 can condensed beef broth - undiluted
1 (8 oz.) jar of mild to medium salsa picante sauce
1 (10 oz.) package of frozen corn
2 carrots, scraped and sliced
1 medium onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/3 Cup of water
1/4 Cup of all-purpose flour

Saute meat until it browns. Then combine the next 10 ingredients in a 4-5 quart pot or crock pot. Cover and cook on high until starts to boil - reduce to low for up to 10 hours (note to Saladmaster customers: Saute your meat, add next 10 ingredients, Cover, heat to medium until the vapo-valve clicks. Reduce to low for about 2-4 hours. You will save yourself lots of time, but you can also leave it cooking all day.)

Combine water and flour - bring soup back to a boil and stir into soup until thickened. Serve.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Track Out

So, these are my tensions with year round school. I so love having the time in October to be with B. It was nice to have her home and spend time alone with her while L was in preschool. It is awesome to have the break from homework, packing lunches, rushing to the bus stop and the general busyness that comes from school.

But here is my issue - nothing else stops. The entire rest of the world runs on a traditional school calendar. Sports, activities, church, work - life! So, while your youngin' is having this little vacation, you are still running here and there. And you still have parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, etc. etc. and figure out how to entertain her.
So, I guess that will take some getting used to.

For me it is hard to have the gearing up time again and again. I mean, in the Summer you take off 3 months and at the end of that time you are so ready and geared up to start school. For 3 weeks you don't even have time to gear down before you have to gear right back up for school to start up. That is also hard.

But the beauty of track out is that you can actually take a vacation in the off season and that is a good thing - financially and crowds. Less crowds, save money - it might make it all worth it!
So, we are thinking Disney in January. I am not sure if I would have ever even considered a trip to Disney in January, but now we can.

Okay, good to vent that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


"I have no fear of drowning. It's the breathing that's taking all this work"
Those are lyrics from a Jars of Clay song. I am not sure what they meant to say in the first place because drowning makes me think of letting go and that is not always that easy. I would think that if I were drowning I would fight like mad. I guess at some point you give up and yes, sometimes giving up can be pretty easy to do. Giving up is actually a lot easier than the last part which says this to me. "It's the breathing that's taking all this work..." - the ebb and flow of life that takes work. Not giving up.

I have been confronted with lots of relationship issues of late. Relationships that are dear to me. Some lost relationships.

I have been confronted with others relationships and how they are dealing with them. And what I am finding is that they are hard. They take work. They take love. Holy Cow, they take more love than I personally think I have. Well, of course it takes more than I have. I have to depend on God's love to get me through them.

I think God's intention is for us to live in community. Genesis tells us this: So God created human beings[c] in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Then again he finds that Adam is alone and needs a companion. He creates Eve. ( Gen 2:18) Why does he need a companion? I mean he has everything he could possibly want! God does not think it is good that he is alone.

I love my friendships. I love my relationship with my husband, family and kids. But the truth is that they are both rewarding and difficult at the same time. We have different backgrounds, different perceptions of life and sometimes making those mesh is just a pain. I have to admit that in the past and even a little now, I feel like running from the ones that get hard. What I am finding is that I can't run. I have to get messy with people and talk and work it out. Work.

My father in law talks about marriage in this way. It is a series of hills and valleys. Sometimes the relationship is on top of the hill and all is well. You are drowning in the love of each other, in sync with each other - life is good. And then there are the times that the marriage is in the valley - nothing seems to be good. The times in between are climbing back up the hill - work. It seems a lot of time is spent here.

Another friend who was experiencing some difficulties in a relationship said this and I thought it was pretty cool. She finally just had to let go of the control of a situation to God and she said this, "It's amazing how that works, when you release everything to God! The thing is that we have to continually do that, because we tend to always want to take over. God often puts us in these kinds of situations with other people to refine our relationship skills, patience, grace, and so many more attributes. We just have to allow Him to!" Wow - very mature.

I am not sure if God actually puts us in the situations as much as he ALLOWS them to happen so we can refine those fruits of patience, grace, understanding, love - all those things needed to be in relationship.

And sometimes - some relationships just don't have any room to be reconciled. For me this is hard. I don't like people not to like me. So, it is hard when someone severes a relationship with me. I find it hard to let go of it. In my mind, shouldn't all relationships be reconciled somehow? I mean, maybe a couple that divorces over a serious issue cannot be married again, but can't they eventually forgive and be friends. Can't friends that have a disagreement over the values they hold dear, eventually at least acknowledge the friendship they once had. Agree on the values they do share? Be friends again?

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