Friday, December 15, 2006

A Breakthrough!

My two kids love to go outside every day and play on our swingset. Consequently, there is very little grass and a lot of dirt under the swings. Now that the weather has turned cooler and the kids are no longer in flip-flops all day, we are having a big problem with dirt being tracked into the house.

We have them stomping their feet before coming in, and leaving their shoes right inside the door. However, Ruthie often forgets. When she does, I have her sweep up the mess.

Last week, I noticed quite a bit of dirt on the kitchen floor. While in the car later, I asked Ruthie if she had done that. She admitted it, and I told her she would need to sweep it as soon as we got home. She willingly agreed to do this.

A few minutes later, Robert piped up. "Mom, I don't think it's fair that Ruth has to clean up the dirt."

Me: "Why not?"

Robert: "Because I'm the one who did it."

People, this is huge. HUGE, I tell you. Accepting the blame, personal responsibility, a guilty conscience... These are all things kids with Asperger's struggle with. I can't tell you how important this is.

I immediately told Robert how happy and proud I was of him for admitting this. (I still am. I get this warm, fuzzy feeling when I think of it.) He seemed very happy and proud of himself, as well.

He and Ruthie discussed it and decided they had both made the mess and they would clean it up together. And they did.

I am one happy, proud mama.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weight Loss

I've been losing weight lately. How am I doing it? To be honest, all I'm doing is eating less. Really! My meals are smaller and I seldom snack. I'm also exercising, but the cold weather has slowed me down on that. (I don't believe in suffering too much!)

Over the past 2 months, I've probably lost 15-20 lbs. I have no idea of the exact number because I have lousy scales. However, I was able to buy a size smaller pants a few weeks ago, and Sunday I wore a skirt that I haven't been able to wear in a couple of years.

I'm still waiting for somebody to say something. Even my DH didn't say anything until I made a comment. Then all he said was, "You have lost a lot of weight." (men!) It's hard when you know you look better, but nobody says a word. I figure I will need to lose another 10 pounds for anybody to notice.

So, if you know me IRL and see me, I could really do with a "Girl! You look fantastic!"


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Funny Stuff

Want a good laugh? Check out the Carnival of Kid Comedy over at Life in a Shoe.

I'm Just Sayin'

I love Diet Coke. Specifically, I love fountain Diet Coke. Even more specifically, I love McDonald's fountain Diet Coke.

So if I go to McD's after a hiatus of several weeks and order a large Diet Coke and not discover until I've driven away from the window that it's a regular Coke, that's just a real bummer. (blech!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

HT: Half Pint House

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Delay of School Called Because of Warm Weather

40 degree weather is just an hour away, so the kids are outside swinging in their pajamas, making the most of the 70 degree weather while it lasts.

I love homeschooling.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The (Supposed) Death of a Beloved Part of Our Home

We went out for awhile this afternoon and when we got home, I noticed the house was a bit, well, warm. The air conditioner (yes, we run the a/c year-round in Houston) was on, but no cool breezes were wafting from our vents.


When Griff got home, he took a look at it and discovered the fan is not working. We are hoping that it is the motor, which Griff can replace himself. (I have a very handy husband.)

BUT, the good news is, we have a bit of time to solve our problem. Take a look at our weather forecast.

Check out tomorrow. High of 70. Low of 37!!! Wowza! Think a cold front is coming through tomorrow?

Now we've just got to get through the warm evening and we'll be okay. It sure beats the time the a/c was out for 3 days in June.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Early Morning Wake-up

I have a stop watch. This stop watch has an alarm. It is set to go off at 5:00 am. I have no idea how it got set. I have no idea how to change the setting or turn it off. For several years, this stop watch has been stored in a cabinet in the laundry room.

A couple of weeks ago, this stop watch made its way out of the cabinet. I'm not sure how it happened, but it did.

It is now in our bedroom. Somewhere in our bedroom. I have no idea where. I have looked under, over, and through everything.

Every morning, the silly thing goes off at 5:00 am. I wake up and try to find it. However, it only goes off for one minute. So, I have one minute to wake up, remind myself I've got to get up and find it, and quickly (ha!) follow the sound. No luck so far. All I've succeeded in doing is stumbling out of bed in a daze and kind of staring around the room. I have managed to open a few dresser drawers to see if the sound gets louder, but that's it.

The whole thing is pretty comical and we have been able to laugh about it, but I really do need to find it.

I think I'm going to have to set my alarm clock earlier than the stop watch alarm so I can be completely awake when the thing goes off.

Lucky me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Things I Have GOT To Get Done

I have a few things that I really need to get done. They will not stop swirling around in my mind, so I'm going to post them here. I find that I can relax a bit once I've written things down. Let's see if it holds true for posting.

1. Get my passport.
Did I mention I'm going on a cruise in February? No? Well, I am! :)

2. Make Ruthie a black skirt for her orchestra concert.
She has to wear a skirt, and rather than search from here to Timbuktu for a black skirt long and full enough for a girl playing cello, I decided I'm going to make it. First stop is find the pattern! Her first concert is next Saturday, so I need to get busy!

3. Get tuxedo shirts for both kids for same concert.
Luckily I know exactly where to find these. - Hobby Lobby!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Friend Monica

When I was in 2nd grade, a family moved in down the street. They were Hispanic, and living in a very Caucasian (read white!)-heavy town, I had never seen a family of that skin-tone before and I remember thinking they must be black. (That's not really important to the story. I've just always remembered that for some strange reason.)

None of that mattered, though. They had 2 girls! The family who lived there before had boys, and while we did all play together, I was thrilled to have girls living so close. Their oldest girls, Debbie, was 2 years older than me. Their other daughter, Monica, was a year younger. We were all friends, but Monica and I were especially close.

I spent a lot of time at Monica's house growing up. I can remember her mother growing peppers in their backyard. I had fajitas for the very first time at her house (this was WAY back before every Mexican food restaurant in town had them on the menu). We used to lay out in her backyard. Her dad used to laugh at the pair of us - Monica with her beautiful brown skin and me with my whiter-than-white-never-tanned skin.

They had a lot of extended family in the Houston area and they were often over at the house. I got to know her family very well. They often joked that I was the adopted daughter. I loved Monica's family as much as I loved her.

Over the years, we have not kept in touch much. We were in each other's weddings. We went to each other's baby showers. Our kids went to each other's birthday parties when they were young. Monica and her parents came to my mom's funeral. But the day-to-day communication hasn't happened much. We talk to each other about once a year.

Monica called me this week to invite me to a Southern Living at Home party at her house. (She knows I've always enjoyed those type of things.) I am so excited to go. Not only will I get to see Monica, but her family will be there. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oh, Those Tricky Old Testament Names

So, Ruthie is narrating her Bible story to me today.

Ruthie: Ahishothel told Absalom...

Me: Ahithophel

Ruthie: Afifofel told Absalom...

Me: Ahithophel

Ruthie: Athithothel told...

Me: Ahithophel

Ruthie: How about we just call him "Mr. A"?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Weekend Plans

We are going camping this weekend. Robert's cub scout pack is having a family campout this weekend and, after 3 years in scouts, we are finally going on one. We have been camping twice in our married lives. Once in Arkansas pre-kids, and once at Guadalupe River State Park with my sister's family when the children were small. I think Ruthie was about 18 months old.

Being the non-campers that we are, I have been borrowing all of our camping gear from friends and family. Luckily my sister Alicia and her family LOVE to camp, so I was able to borrow quite a bit from her. A couple at church offered us their gear when they found out we were camping this weekend, so I was able to round out our supply needs after finding out what dear sis was missing (or, rather, couldn't find).

I am really looking forward to this weekend, and so is Ruthie. Griff and Robert - not so much. I am so looking forward to getting away and really relaxing for a couple of days. It's supposed to be cool this weekend, too. "Cool" being a relative term, of course. Highs in the low 70's. Lows in the 50's. Ahhhh...

I hope to come back with fun stories and lots of pictures!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Good Weekend

We had a good weekend. Not exciting, but good.

On Saturday, Ruthie had a volleyball game. She is playing on a team at the YMCA. They are not what I would call a good team (sorry, sweetie!), but they are having fun and learning. We were excited today because Ruthie actually got two serves in a row over the net. Woo-hoo! Way to go!

After lunch, Robert and I headed out to the Sea Center in Lake Jackson for a Cub Scout field trip. It took us over an hour to get there, and I was not looking forward to the drive, but Robert had a great time. I have some pictures that I'll try to add later with more info about this trip.

Apparently a cold front came through Saturday night because we woke up to cold weather on Sunday. At least, cold for us. It was 55 degrees when we left for church. Brrr! It felt great, though. Finally!

At church, we found out we are going to two services next week. (How did we miss THAT announcement?) They are adding an 8:00 worship service and we're going to try our best to make it to that. Our old church had an early service and we loved going to it.

Griff had an orchestra performance that afternoon. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that he plays double bass. He hadn't played in years, but started again recently and has found 2 community orchestras to play with. The performance yesterday was really good and very enjoyable. One of the pieces they played was "Pictures at an Exhibition", which is one of my favorites.

After the performance, we went to Carabba's for dinner. Yum! Griff took to the kids for ice cream, but I was exhausted and so I headed home.

I must have been very tired, because I went to be at 8:30. Wowza! I though I would wake up at dark-thirty, but I actually slept 'til almost 6:30.

I also watched a good movie this weekend. It was North and South. No, not the civil war miniseries. This one is set in England in the late 1800's. If you like period piece movies, I highly recommend it.

So, let's see... Good times as a family, good weather, good music, good food, good sleep, and a good movie. Yep, that's a good weekend.

* post edited because I wasn't quite happy with it
** sigh... edited again because I forgot the link for the movie

Monday, October 16, 2006


Robert (after about his 10th reminder to finish his copywork): "My pencil is lazy today."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

All (well, not all) About Ruthie

Ruthie was my surprise gift from God. After trying for 2 years to get pregnant the first time, you can imagine my surprise when I turned up pregnant when Robert was only 8 months old. I was in shock and denial for the first part of my pregnancy, but God knew what I didn't. Ruthie would be a joy and the blessing I was not smart enough to ask for. I thought I would share some things about her. I could go on and on, but I will choose 8 things, because she is 8 years old.

1. She loves to draw. And I mean LOVES to draw. She goes through stacks and stacks of paper. I started buying her spiral-bound drawing pads just so I would stop finding pieces of paper all over the floor.

2. She has a very dry sense of humor. She writes comics and some of them have her father and I rolling in laughter.

3. She has my mother's blue eyes.

4. She is tall for her age. If you do the "double your height at age 2" thing, she is going to be six feet tall. I don't think she'll quite reach that height, but she is going to far surpass my 5'3" self.

5. She always cries when reading sad books or seeing sad movies.

6. She loves dogs and wants one desperately. So far we've resisted, but I'm sure we'll give in some day.

7. She is very open. She often comes to me and say, "Can we talk?" We'll go off alone somewhere together and she'll share a concern or question with me. Sometimes it's as simple as wanting permission to watch a particular TV show. Other times it's a problem she's having with a friend or even with me. I hope she never stops doing this.

8. She's smart and she asks the hard questions. Her teachers at church are always telling me about the questions she asks them, putting them on the spot. She definitely keeps us on our toes!

I could indeed go on, but I said 8, so I'll stop.

Thank you, God, for giving me my Ruthie. I love you, sweetie!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Momma's Pride

Griff got a call from a friend from church a couple of weeks ago. They were scheduling fathers and sons to pass communion trays and he wanted Griff and Robert to participate. I was a bit anxious about how Robert would handle it, but I needn't have been. Griff was with him the whole time, instructing him on how to carry the trays, which pews to pass them down first, how to pick up trays and pass them on to other pews, and how to return the trays when finished. And he was so obviously excited and proud of himself. On his first trip down the aisle, I could see him looking for me. When he saw me, he gave me a big grin. Several people around me chuckled. His joy was very obvious to everyone.

Later, I was praising him for doing such a great job (for the umpteenth time) and he finally said, "Mom, stop. You're making me blush." Such a funny, sweet boy.

I didn't know this until we got to church this morning, but the whole service was youth-led. The song leader's son was with his father, helping with that job. His sweet, mic'd voice could be clearly heard singing the songs. He is 8 years old. All the prayers and scripture readings were done by boys ranging in age from 9 years to 13 years. Two middle-school-aged boys did short sermons. They both did a fantastic job, too.

It was incredible seeing all these boys up there, leading us. They are the future of the church and it did my heart good.

The occasion for this special service was the kick-off for LTC. Robert and Ruthie are both old enough to participate this year. We haven't made our final selections, but so far Robert wants to do reading and sign language. Ruthie signed up for reading, art, and scrapbook.

It's going to be a great experience. I just know it is.

(BTW, I've realized that my blog posts tend to be Robert-heavy. My next post will be all about our Ruthie. )

Friday, September 22, 2006

Take Your Kid to Blog Day

Blest with Sons hosts Take Your Kid to Blog Day every Friday. It is a great opportunity to show off what your kids have done, or let them have a turn at blogging. I'm participating this week, showing off some of my children's work from this week.

I am pretty eclectic in my homeschooling approach, but one thing I absolutely love is Charlotte Mason's narration method of learning. For my non-homeschooling readers, basically you read to your child (or they read themselves), then they retell it back to you. Here is a good, short explanation of narration and its benefits.

Anyway, back to the kids. I have been attempting narrating since we started homeschooling back in January, with limited success. Ruthie is capable, but hasn't liked it. Robert has really struggled with it. His Asperger's means that he has difficulties with comprehension and expressing himself, so narrating can be a real struggle. The I read Linda's advice to start with Aesop's Fables. We started and still struggled, until I came upon the idea of having them narrate to me while I typed it into the computer. Success! They both loved this. Ruthie took to it right away, but Robert, while he tried harder, still struggled.

This week, Robert gave me the following narration for the fable of the The Wolf and the Crane. Read and enjoy. :) (The punctuation is mine, but the words are all his.)

A greedy wolf had been eating too much and got a bone
stuck in his throat. He couldn't spit it out nor swallow
it, and of course he couldn't eat anything. So he asked
for the crane's help. He said, "If you can get this bone
out of my throat, I will reward you greatly." The crane did
as he asked and took the bone out. Then the wolf left.
The crane said, "What's my reward?" The wolf answered,
spinning around angrily, "Tch! Isn't it enough
that I let you take your head out of my throat without
biting it off?" The moral is do not expect any reward for
serving the wicked.

It's absolutely wonderful. I almost cried and I did have to hug and hold him close when he was done. When you have a child that struggles, breakthroughs mean everything.

In the spirit of fair play, and because I am also proud of Ruthie's narration, here is hers.

There once was a greedy wolf who was eating and got a
bone stuck in his throat. He could not move it up or down
and he couldn't eat. It was a bad state of affairs for
the wolf. He went to the crane, thinking that she could
surely get it out with her long bill. The crane, as you
could imagine, was very nervous about putting her neck in
the wolf's throat. But the wolf promised her a reward, so
she did it. When she pulled her neck out, the wolf started
to leave. "What about my reward?" she called. "What?!"
cried the wolf. "Haven't you got it? Isn't it enough that
I let you put your neck in my throat without snapping your
head off?" The moral is expect no reward for serving
the wicked.
Want to show off how smart, funny, or cute your kids are? Head over to Blest with Sons and join in the fun.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Father's Love

If you have not heard the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt, you need to go over to Higher Up and Further In and read about it and see the video there. In fact, even if you have heard the story, you should go over and hear it again.

I saw a video of them a year or two ago and it is one of the most incredible stories I've ever heard.

Go. Now.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I have been thinking for weeks about posting my "where I was" story for 9-11. However, I've decided I'm not ready to do that yet. That day affected me on such a deep level, changing who I was and how I thought of my way of life. I have never been the same.

I'm just not ready to talk about it yet.

My thoughts and prayers today are with the families of the 9-11 victims, the victims who survived and are having to deal with the lasting effects, our soldiers, and everyone else who struggling with the memories of that horrible day.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Out of My Comfort Zone

Our school year this far has been pretty, well, to be perfectly honest, boring. We've been at it for 6 weeks and I'm about to start banging my head against the wall. I have no idea how the kids are feeling, but nobody's having much fun around here. And really, what's the point of homeschooling if you can't have some fun.

So, I'm doing something I said I would never do. We're doing a Konos unit study. My friend Heather is a Konos fanatic, but I have been resisting. It just seemed like so much work. And it may very well be. But, something has got to change. So, we're off on a new adventure.

We're going to be doing the Attentiveness study, mainly because that's the same one Heather is doing and she can hold my hand through it. We'll be starting with sound, ears, and music. It also includes frontiersmen (including a Lewis & Clark study), animal tracking, and Indians. If the first part goes well, we'll continue with that.

I'm nervous, but also excited.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. (Really. I will.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blog Naming

Are you curious about the process bloggers go through to choose a name? Barb over at A Chelsea Morning has asked for your reason. Blog about it, then go over to her blog and leave a link to your post.

I actually shared my reason for the name "Imagine" in my very post, which you can see here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Really Funny Commercials

Have you heard the "Real Men of Genius" radio ads for a particular brand of beer? They are hysterical! While I am not endorsing alcholic beverages of any sort, you gotta appreciate the pure brilliance of this marketing campaign.

Here's a link to a list of many of them. My personal favorite is #52 - Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy.

Go and listen and laugh.

Monday, August 28, 2006

This Is Just So Typical!

So, I'm looking for Robert's Cub Scout belt. His first meeting of the year is tonight. I know I have seen it recently. I'm pretty sure it was hanging on the belt hook in his closet, but no, it's not.

I ask Robert if he's seen it (a long shot, but maybe). He also thinks it's in his closet.

I look everywhere I can think of, but still can't find it.

I email Griff at work and ask him if he's seen it. No, he hasn't.

30 minutes before we are to leave, I find it.

It's in the bread basket.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Ingredients for a Fun Morning


1 soft wax ear plug, divided in two

1 ear


1 9 (almost 10!) year old boy without any sense


Insert ear plug into ear. Have Dad spend an hour trying to remove. When that fails, you get to miss school the next morning while you see the pediatrician. After a valiant effort by the doctor, you head off for the ENT to give him a chance. After an hour in the waiting room, the nice doctor is able to remove the ear plug and you get to go home.

Now, doesn't that sound like a great way to end the week?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Well, That's Just Your Opinion

We have been doing school since the beginning of August, which is about 2.5 weeks earlier than the local school districts. I made this decision for a couple of reasons.

  • I wanted plenty of time for fun stuff this year and didn't want to feel like we were falling behind by taking a day off.
  • It is as hot as blazes outside (exactly how hot is "blazes"?). I'd rather have time off on a pretty fall/winter/spring day.

This has already paid off. We got less than a full day done last Thursday. Friday was great, but it is our "enrichment" day (music & art appreciation, history projects, science expirements, etc.). On Monday we met some friends at the park for lunch, then the kids had their first orchestra rehearsal, so very little school was done. And, of course, the field trip yesterday.

Ruthie does not seem to see things quite the way I do, though. I was talking to Griff on Monday evening, telling him how crazy things had been. Ruthie piped in with, "Yeah, our homeschool is falling apart."

Today we are hitting the books hard. We don't want our homeschool to fall apart! :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fun Was Had By All

We went on our first official field trip of the year today. A co-op we did some things with last year organized a trip to see the Body Worlds 3 exhibit. In addition, we could choose other things to do at the museum as well, all at the cheap-o group rates. We chose the IMAX and Cockrell Butterfly Center.

We went through Body Worlds very quickly. It was really too much for the kids. It was very graphic. I'm not sorry we tried it, though. I liked the parts I did see.

We had time before meeting our group at the butterfly center, so we spent time in the normal Exhibit Halls. They have a great hands-on section for kids on the ground (basement?) floor. The kids always love that.

After that, we headed to see the butterflies. I always love this part. They have a "tropical rainforest" you can walk through with thousands of butterflies fluttering about. Here are some of the better pictures I took today:

The kids are now asking to raise butterflies. I talked to one of the moms who has done it and she told me to check out this web-site. I'm seeing a side-excursion in our science studies for awhile.

They also usually have a couple of experts wandering through, showing something. Today, they had a giant walking stick.

See that hand? That's MY hand. The kids wouldn't touch her (yes, she female), but I decided to put on my brave hat today and let that thing crawl on me. Aren't I a good mom? :) I have never seen a walking stick that looks like this one. I meant to ask where it was from, but I forgot. I've google'd it, but haven't found it yet. If anybody can give me more info, I'd appreciate it.

They also have an entomological exhibit with all kinds of bugs to check out. When I saw these, I just had to take the picture.

They are hissing cockroaches. The white one is an albino hissing cockroach. Can we all say "EWWWW!" I really can't stand these things. They are one of my "WHY?!" questions for God when I get to Heaven. I can handle just about any bug except these.

After lunch and more museum, we headed to the IMAX to see "Ocean Oasis". I had no idea Baja California had that kind of aquatic life. Beautiful and amazing. Ruthie especially loved this.

After one more trip into the museum, we headed home. It was a full day, but a great one. The kids have been to the museum on many school field trips, and I have gone with them, but I don't ever recall having so much fun with them. It was so much more relaxing than previous field trips. We all had an excellent time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


From my soon-to-be-10 year old son...

"When I grow up, I'm going to eat pancakes and eggs and milk for breakfast."


"Of course, I'll need a wife or someone else to make them for me."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sleep (or the lack thereof)

I had 2 nights this week where I was unable to sleep and was up 'til 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

Today, I made up that sleep with a 4 hour nap. (yowza!)

This means I will not be able to go to sleep tonight until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

And so the cycle continues....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Unfinished Business

I have a flaw in my character. Okay, more than one, but we're zeroing in on one for now. I am always starting projects, then fading at the end and never finishing them. (Can we talk about the trim painting I haven't finished from 3 years ago?!) I have several posts that I said I would follow up on, and never did. So, here we go.

Remember Hurricane Rita? (I know that was almost a year ago, but I point to my previous statement about the trim painting. A year is nothing!) All that drama was, for us, for nothing. The storm moved east. We got some wind and some neighbors lost some branches on a tree. We got very little rain. We even watered our yard the next day.

Stray Kitty - She is still part of her family. I'm still refusing to name her, although we have considered the names of Sneak and Spook. She's an odd thing. She will only stay on one side of the house (breakfast room, kitchen, dining room). She rarely ventures out from there. If I go into the kitchen, she follows me around and just stares at me. She doesn't meow. She doesn't need food or water. She just watches me.

I never told the story of my trip to Galveston. We did go and we did have a good time. We went to Schlitterbahn on Tuesday. That was fun, except for when we lost Ruthie for 30 minutes. That was NOT fun. Maybe I'll tell the whole story of that someday.

My personal Diet Coke challenge - Well, I didn't come close to the sticking to the one a day, but I did manage to make 3 12-packs last 2 weeks. That's not quite 3 a day. Definitely an improvement.

If there's anything else you're wondering about, just ask. I'll give an update.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, That Was A Bust

Confession time... My family's dinners are often (always?) hastily thrown together. I am very much an it's-5:00-what-in-the-world-are-we-going-to-have-for-dinner type of cook. I'd love to say that I can throw together a great meal with things I find in the pantry, but that would be, well, a lie.

Last week, however, I decided I would try to actually plan out meals for this week. To make this easier, I used my recipe software and pulled out a pre-planned menu it included. I printed off my shopping list from this same software and went grocery shopping yesterday.

I put tonight's meal (sweet and spicy chicken) in the crockpot this morning. It was pretty much done by the time Griff got home from work.

Then the problems began.

Griff: Is there teriyaki sauce in that recipe?

Me: No, it's soy sauce.

(brief silence)

Griff: I do appreciate you cooking dinner tonight, but I really don't like soy sauce.

Me: What?! I've been married to you for almost 16 years and I didn't know you don't like soy sauce?!

Griff: (trying to be nice about this) I'll try it.

(he takes a bite)

Griff: I'm sorry, but I really can't eat that.

Me: Let me try it. (I take a bite) Nope, I'm not going to eat it, either.

We call Ruthie in to try it. She takes a bite and spits it out into the trash. By this time, we're all laughing. There is no way Robert will eat it after all this, so we don't even ask him to try it.

I don't want to throw it away, so I decide to call a friend and offer it to her family. She said she would take it. Her family actually likes soy sauce!

So, my efforts for dinner tonight were a complete failure.

On the plus side, though, I did get Pei Wei for dinner. Yum!

(Tomorrow night's dinner is meatloaf. I should be pretty safe with that.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tickle Your Funny Bone

If you like to laugh at the funny things kids say and do, check out Carnival of Kid Comedy over at Life in a Shoe. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just So You Know

Ruthie went to a birthday party at a friend's home yesterday evening. I picked her up at about 8:30. Between moms coming in and girls leaving, the front door ended up staying open for several minutes.

All of a sudden, the smoke alarm on the ceiling in front of the door went off. Birthday girl's mom reached up and pulled the cover off to turn it off. She told us this happened all the time. The heat and humidity from outside would set off their smoke alarm.

Did you get that? The heat and humidity coming into the house set off their smoke alarm. At 8:30 at night. In an air-conditioned house.

And I choose to live here. I LIKE living here.

I am a very, very strange person.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Works-for-Me Wednesday

I am once again participating in Works-for-Me Wednesday. My tip involves my stand mixer.

I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer. It's great, but I always had a problem when using it with cake mixes (or any dry mix). It seems no matter how many times I scraped the sides of the mixer, I always ended up with a small amount of dry mix in the bottom of the bowl.

The last time I made a cake, I got the idea to add the wet ingredients to the bowl first, rather than the dry. Ta-da! No dry mix left in the bottom of the bowl.

This may violate some sort of baking rules (I am no chef, as evidenced by the fact that I use cake mixes!), but it works for me!

Be sure to check out the rest of the great tips over at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Car Trip Survival

Have you discovered the joys of books on tape? If you are looking for a way to make a car trip easier with children, without the use of a DVD/video player, you will find these to be invaluable. The kids and I went to Memphis last week and they did beautifully well on the 10 hour trip. I give most of the credit to books on tape. (I would love to say that it's because I've done a wonderful job of training them to sit quietly for hours on end, but anyone who knows me and my children would out me as a complete liar.)

Here are some of our favorites. Some were listened to on this trip. Others are from trips in the past.
We got all of these from our library.

Hank the Cowdog - These are read by the author and are absolutely hysterical. We took 3 of them on our trip, and while I was a bit Hank'd-out by the end, the kids never tired of them.

The Secret Garden - Oh. My. Word. I had never read this book. I just fell in love with the reading. What an absolutely beautiful book. It made me want to move somewhere with actual seasons and start a garden. For someone who can't keep an ivy alive, that's really saying something. I'm not sure Robert enjoyed it as much as Ruthie and I did, but he did not complain about it. (There are many different audio versions of this book. The one we had was read by Josephine Bailey.)

Redwall - It's one of our favorites. It's done by a full cast and is fantastic. It also got Ruthie interested in reading the books. She has now read 3 of them, all since May. Warning:
You need a really long trip for this one. I think it is 16 hours long.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy - This one was for me. While it is a trilogy written for children, mine are much too young. However, I found them completely entertaining.

If you can recommend any other audio books, please do so in the comments. They do not have to be children's books. My list contains those because I am rarely in the car without my children, so that's what I end up hearing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yep. That's Me.

created with

Anyone surprised? Anyone? HT: Higher Up and Further In

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ruthie's Summer Reading

My Ruthie is so much like me when it comes to reading. Like me, she was one of the last in her class to learn to read. Also like me, once she learned, she quickly passed up everybody in reading ability. (I hope that encourages some of you who have children who are not learning to read as quickly as their peers.)

Once I learned, it took no encouragement to get me to read as a child. I have fond memories of days filled with Little House books, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Bobbsey Twins, and more.

The main difference in our reading habits is that I am actively encouraging her to read "good" books. (I still can't believe I had never heard of Anne of Green Gables until college!) The occasional "twaddle" makes its way into her reading, but I feel that as long as the majority of them are well-written books, she is doing fine.

Here is what she has read this summer (so far!).

The last 3 books were picture books that belonged to Griff when he was a child.

I will post Robert's reading list for the summer later.

NOTE: In case you're wondering, Ruthie is 8 years old.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I Can Do This!

My drink of choice is Diet Coke. I know. You don't have to tell me. It's not good for me. I know that. I haven't chosen to give it up yet, though. Someday. Just not today.

Because I do love it so much, I rarely keep it at the house. I try to limit it to when we are eating out. If it's here, I will drink it throughout the day. I can go through a 12-pack in 2 days. I kid you not.

The only time I let myself buy it is when it is on sale for less than $2 a 12-pack. These days, that doesn't happen very often. However, it is usually put on sale around the 4th of July. Our grocery store, in fact, had a great deal. 4 12-packs for $10, with a $10 rebate. That makes them free!

So, of course I had to buy them. I actually bought 3 12-packs of Diet Coke and 1 of Sprite (a rare treat for the kids).

I don't want all this Diet Coke to disappear in less than a week, so I am giving myself a challenge. I will only allow myself 1 can each day. One!

Can I do it? I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Evolution of a Trip

A few weeks ago, my sister Alicia and I were headed over to Dad's for the day. We were talking about our summer plans when she mentioned that she desperately wanted to go to Colorado. Alicia absolutely loves Colorado. However, her husband couldn't take off work and none of her children wanted to go. (She has 4 children - 2 are in college, one will be a senior next year, and her youngest is 13) She said she wanted to just get in the car and go - no reservations, no firm plans - just go. So I said, "Why don't we go?"

She was so excited to see that I was interested. We immediately started talking logistics. It would be Alicia, her son (who is young enough to be told he's going on vacation), me, and my 2 kids. We would go to Mesa Verde and be gone a week. We would have to get our husband's "okay", of course, but we didn't see that as a real problem. Wow, what fun!

Then, our first obstacle. We received invitations to a wedding shower for my dad's bride-to-be. Right smack dab in the middle of our trip. This was the only week Alicia could go, as well. So, it was either miss the trip or miss the shower. We didn't feel like we could miss the shower, so the trip would have to be modified.

On to plan B. 3 days in San Antonio. We'd go to Sea World, the River Walk, the Alamo, and one or two of the other missions. It would be cheaper (making the husbands happier), and we'd still be getting out of town. The kids have never been to Sea World, so they were happy. The shower was yesterday and we were to leave this morning.

Then, my sister called last night. Was my heart really set on San Antonio? Well... She was feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the trip. She had had no time to get ready for it. We could still go, but... What did I think about going to Schlitterbahn in Galveston? I could tell by her voice that she was not doing this lightly.

I talked to the kids, stressing how hot Sea World was going to be, and how we could go in the fall when it was cooler. Were they okay with it? Yep, they were. Okay, Alicia, we can do that. However, what do you think about staying the night in Galveston after Schlitterbahn, then going to the beach the next day. Sounds great to her! We leave tomorrow morning.

So we went from a week-long trip to Colorado, to 3 days in San Antonio, to 2 days in Galveston. Alicia thanked me profusely for being so sweet about the whole thing. I told that I thought if she ever suggested a day trip to me, we'd probably end up downgrading it to shopping at Wal-Mart. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Wedding in the Family

I've been mulling over this post in my mind for weeks. I want to handle this graciously, but honestly. I don't share my blog with many "real" people in my life, but if they do come by, I don't want to be ashamed of what I've written. So, what's the big deal?

My dad is getting married. July 29th.

I'm happy for him. I really am. I know he's been lonely. I always expected him to marry again. Mom wanted him to marry again. (She even tried to make recommendations! LOL) It's been a year and a half since Mom passed, and that's a respectable time of mourning. Marsha, his bride-to-be, is a lovely lady.


It's hard. It's harder than I thought it would be. Everything is going to change. Everything.

I was going to give Daddy a scrapbook of his and my mom's trip to Scotland from about 5 years ago. Mom had started working on it when she first got sick and never finished it. I somehow ended up with the pictures and supplies. I was waiting for a time when it would not be so painful for him. Now, it just seems like it would be tacky. "Here's your wedding present, Daddy. A scrapbook of the biggest trip you and Mom ever took!" Umm, no, I don't think so.

Marsha lives in another town. She has a business of her own, so it makes sense for Daddy to move to where she is. The travel distance for me is just a bit farther, but that means I no longer have a reason to go "home". I was thinking today about lifelong friends of my parents that I may never see again. That makes me sad (and determined that I will go back for visits).

Holidays will present new and different challenges. Daddy will no longer belong to us alone. He will have to consider his new wife and her family needs. That is as it should be, but it's just one more thing to juggle.

I'm going to have a step-mother. Wild.

And I know there will be other changes that I haven't even thought of yet.

I want to emphasize again that I am happy for my dad. I really, really am.

I'm just a bit sad for me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Kitchen Meme

I was tagged by Sprittibee via her Gathering Manna blog to participate in this kitchen meme.

1. How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? How many are in your family?

There are 4 of us in my family. On weekdays, we typically eat breakfast and dinner at home. I am currently trying to break the eating-out-for-lunch habit for me and the kids. Griff eats lunch out every day. On weekends, we eat out 2-3 times (depending on the current cashflow). So, I'd say we eat about 15 meals at home each week.

2. How many cookbooks do you own?

16. Most of them are the church cookbook variety - my favorites!

3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?

Probably twice.

4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relatives, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)

I love the magazine Quick Cooking, but after taking the magazine for a year and never using one of the recipes, I did not renew. I figured that one year gave me enough recipes to try (especially since I wasn't actually TRYING them - ahem).

5. How do you store those recipes?

I have some recipe software and a cookbook that you write your own recipes in. I also still have a lot of the magazines hanging around waiting to be input into the software.

6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?

I follow recipes to the letter, unless they have an item I don't care for. Griff doesn't care for mushrooms, so I might leave those out. I don't like onion, so I usually reduce the amount in the recipe.

7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?

Lots and lots and lots of Italian (spaghetti, baked ziti, ravioli, etc). Second place would probably be Mexican, but I really prefer to eat that out.

8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)

I would have to say that my favorite part is when I use the time to teach my kids how to cook.

9. What's your least favorite part?

Cooking the meat. I don't know why, but I just dread that part.

10. Do you plan menus before you shop?

Nope. I should. I know I should. But I don't.

11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?

I love my Kitchenaid mixer, Pampered Chef stones, and my crockpot.

12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?

Can I count new kitchen cabinets as one item? Mine are not laid out well and some of the doors are too narrow to fit things through them. Oh, and they are an ugly 70's wood stain.

13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?

Hmmm... Specifically cooking-related - probably new dishes. Mine are chipped and broken. However, the next thing that will change in my kitchen is the floor because the tile is literally cracking beneath our feet.

14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?

Oh, how I wish! I'd love to have a small separate freezer.

15. Grocery shop alone or with others?

I usually go with my kids, which I don't mind. Occasionally, though, I go by myself and that can be nice.

16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week?

Hardly any. A meal without meat is not a meal for my husband. It's just not gonna fly.

17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?

I don't have a theme currently, but I definitely want to go the French Country route. As far as colors go, I love a blue and yellow kitchen. Red is good, too. Of course, there's always green, my absolute favorite color... See why I haven't painted my kitchen yet?

18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?

I didn't cook much until I was an adult. I think the first thing I learned to make was cinnamon toast (in the oven). I have no idea how old I was. Probably early teenage years.

19. How did you learn to cook?

I picked up a few things from my mom just by watching her, but I'm mostly self-taught.

20. Tag a few other people to play.

If you would like to participate, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's the Little Things That Make My Day

I've made a discovery that has made my on-line surfing time easier. I have been coming across lots and lots of good blogs lately. And, unlike me, these ladies actually update their blogs on an almost-daily basis. (Shock! Can you believe it?!) So, of course, I and my addictive personality were spending way too much time on the computer.

Then, I found it. Actually, Melissa found it and posted about it on her blog. For me, it is the neatest thing since, well, the internet. And best of all, it's free!! What is it? Bloglines.

Now, maybe you're so completely computer savvy you have heard about this long before now and you're thinking, "She's just finding out about THAT?!" But, just case you aren't and you haven't, I wanted to tell you about it.

I have set up an account and subscribed to many of the blogs I read on a regular basis. (The blogs have to have a feed.) Once I go to my account, I get a list and it lets me know if any of them have been updated. I can select them from that list and the posts from the blog show up right alongside my list, not in a separate window. This is great because my computer is old and S-L-O-W, so opening new pages with lots of graphics sometimes take awhile.

Now, I don't get to see all the nifty-neato things at sites, but I still plan on stopping by the real thing occasionally to check out what's new in sidebars and such. (I promise to stop by and see the unveiling of your new look, Sprittibee.) It's a small price to pay for simplifying my computer time.

There are many more things you can do with Bloglines, but I haven't figured them out yet. I'm happy with just my blog list for now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

This little gem of an idea was started by Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer. Every Wednesday, you can check her blog for a handy tip, as well as a list of links of others who are participating in this. I love this idea and have already used several of the tips I've come across.

My tip concerns saving steps in the kitchen. I have different "stations" around my kitchen. My coffee station has filters, coffee, and a sugar bowl in the cabinet directly above my coffee maker. I have sugar, flour, baking powder, and measure cups and spoons above my stand mixer. When I recently moved my toaster across the kitchen, I moved the honey (which is pretty much only used for my son's honey-butter toast) so that it is directly above it. Yes, that cabinet contains dishes, but it now has a small space reserved for the honey.

My stations accomplish two things. I'm not having to walk around all around the kitchen getting various items, and I free up space in my too-small pantry.

It works for me!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's Been Goin' On

It's been a couple of weeks, I know. I could come up with all sorts of excuses, but I think I'll just skip it.

Here's a summary of our last few weeks. (click on images to see them larger)

We went to Six Flags in Arlington the day before the Arlington Book Fair (a homeschool convention). The park was only open to homeschoolers and it was a great day! I think the high for the day was about 80 degrees and it was just heavenly. The kids had a blast. I rode a ride called Superman Tower of Power and I don't think I've recovered yet. I will never (I repeat, NEVER) ignore my feelings of trepidation again. (Do you hear me, Heather? NEVER!).

The school year wound down with a couple of co-op end-of-year bashes, including a field day. I can't believe the year is over.

My niece graduated from high school Saturday night. Would someone care to explain to me exactly how that happened? Where has the time gone? When did she turn in to such a beautiful young woman? I realized today that she was 9 years old when Robert was born. Goodness.

Griff rescued a stray kitty a couple of weeks ago. He found her on the side of the road, barely alive. We've taken her to the vet for her vaccines and Griff's been nursing her back to health. For being a wild kitty, she sure has a calm personality. She growls and hisses and doesn't really care to be carried, but overall she's been very good. Even our own cats just look at her curiously. They don't seem threatened by her yet. I've told Griff that we are NOT keeping her. We'll turn her into a good pet and find a home for her. (Just about the time we all get attached, I'm sure.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Our Curriculum

I don't tend to think of my blog as a "homeschooling" blog, but it is a blog about my and my family's life and, let's face it, homeschooling is a big part of it now. I see questions all the time about what curriculum is being used for what grade, so I thought I would include that information here. I'm also including how I think it's working for us. If you're a homeschooler, I hope you find it helpful. If you're not, and your eyes are glazing over at the thought of reading this, you have my permission to skip this and return another day.

We've only been homeschooling since January. I started out following the Well-Trained Mind approach to classical education. It was very helpful as a newbie to have something to follow. While I love the classical approach, I feel that with more experience I will follow the guidelines of that book less strictly. However, I strongly recommend it to anyone who is just starting out.

Items used for both children

3rd grade

  • Math - A Beka 3 - There are too many colors and distractions on the page for my son. We are switching to Saxon next year.
  • Grammar - Rod & Staff English 3 - I really love this program, but my children prefer workbooks, so I may change it. I really do love it, though, and they've done fine.
  • Music - viola lessons and practice
  • Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power - This program has really helped my son's handwriting.
2nd grade

  • Math - Abeka 2 - Ruth really likes this. We will be sticking with it for at least another year.
  • Grammar - We started with First Language Lessons, but it is heavily oral and Ruth hated it, so we switched to Rod & Staff English 2 (see above comment about this program).
  • Music - cello lessons and practice
  • Handwriting - Bob Jones University Handwriting 2 I chose this because I think it's a very pretty handwriting style, but not too difficult. It's slightly different than what you would consider traditional school script.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Made Me Cry

I'm a member of several e-mail lists. Over the past few days, "fighting" has erupted in one list over a particular subject. Once I saw the way it was headed, I stayed away and deleted most of those messages.

Today, I sent an email to the list. The main point of my email was that even though there had been a "fight", this group was extremely helpful and supportive and I thanked everyone for that. I've read quite a few wonderful posts over the past few days and wanted everyone to know how appreciative I was.

In response, I received a private, snarky email from somebody who was deeply involved in the disagreement. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I actually sat at my computer and cried about this!

Why did I cry? The contents of her email weren't that bad. I spent quite a bit of time, thinking about this. I think I've figured it out.

When you're face-to-face with someone, you usually get some idea of how they're feeling. Body language, facial expressions, etc. So, if they make a hurtful comment, you're not completely taken off guard. I was. I had no idea she (or anyone!) would respond that way. It came from left field and plowed me down. It left me feeling misunderstood and unappreciated.

Email is a wonderful, but tricky, thing. So, be careful what you send out to others. But also be careful how you read things from others.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Links

I'm going to be adding some new links to my sidebar, but until I get around to it, I'm posting them here. I know I owe credit for some of these to others and I apologize if I forget to mention it. If you let me know, I'll give you the credit you deserve.

Blogs I've Been Reading

Here in the Bonny Glen - Blog of children's author Melissa Wiley. You want children's book recommendations? You got 'em. More than you could possibly ever need. Plus, it's fun to read about her family.

Rocks in My Dryer - She has started a "Works For Me Wednesday" series that's spreading. I plan on participating at some point, but haven't gotten it together enough to do it. (HT: Half Pint House)

Schooling Links (helpful whether you're homeschooling or not)

Here, here, and here.

Other Things (not destined for sidebar)

Here's a great article about girls (and women) and their body perception. It's by J.K. Rowling, but no matter how you feel about the Harry Potter books, this is worth reading.

I was going to save this post and add more later, but have decided against it. So, here ya go!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Curb Appeal

Griff is a This Old House junkie. He watches This Old House, This Old House Classics, Inside This Old House, and Ask This Old House. It's given him all kinds of grand ideas for things to do with our 25-year old fixer-upper. (Don't get me started on his kitchen renovation plans.)

A couple of years ago, we saw an episode where they did patterned concrete. Griff fell in love with it. Our driveway was broken and cracked and he dreamed of replacing our with patterned concrete. It was all a "someday" dream until we got "The Letter".

"The Letter" came from our home owner's association. They told us we needed to repair our driveway. After a letter telling them exactly how much money we've put into this house in the last 3 years, they backed off. For awhile. Last fall, we got another letter. After fuming over it for a few days, Griff decided maybe we should go ahead and fix it. (I think all the tuition we're no longer paying is making us feel rich. ) Of course, the way we do things, that doesn't mean a patch. That means a completely new driveway. And, while we're at it, a new back patio because of our drainage problem. And then the front walk will look old and shabby, so we need to replace that, too.

So, we did it. The last week and a half has been taken up with this project. From the teeth-rattling jackhammers to the stress of picking just the right colors, it's been quite a ride. But totally worth it. It looks fabulous, if I may say so myself.

I'm including some before and after pictures so you can ooohhh and aahhh yourself. Click on the images if you want to see them larger.


After (the walkway is dirty, so it's not the best picture):

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This One's For You, Linda

by A. A. Milne

Has anybody seen my mouse?

I opened his box for half a minute,
Just to make sure he was really in it,
And while I was looking, he jumped outside!
I tried to catch him, I tried, I tried ...
I think he's somewhere about the house.
Has anyone seen my mouse?

Uncle John, have you seen my mouse?

Just a small sort of mouse, a dear little brown one,
He came from the country, he wasn't a town one,
So he'll feel all lonely in a London Street;
Why, what could he possibly find to eat?

He must be somewhere. I'll ask Aunt Rose:
Have you seen a mouse with a woffelly nose?
Oh, somewhere about -
He's just got out ...

Hasn't anybody seen my mouse?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Future Plans

The other day, while riding in the car, Robert was reading his Bible. All of a sudden, he said, "Mom, you know what I want to be when I grow up?" No, sweetie, what? "I want to be a preacher." Why do you want to be a preacher? "Because I want to tell people about God."

It put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My sweet, sweet boy.

I'm Not So Sure About the Energetic Part

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Ruthie and I spent time Friday afternoon and Saturday going through everything in her room. Every shelf, every drawer, every basket. Everything. The kids have gotten to the point that it is honestly difficult to keep their rooms clean because they have so much stuff. So, I decided it is time to pare it down. Ruthie did a great job. She is really good at letting go of things for the most part. There were a few things I had to talk her into getting rid of, but overall it went very easily. Her room looks wonderful. We were able to get rid of her toy box and fit most of her other toys into her closet. Her room looks empty!

Next, Robert's room. I walked into it late Saturday afternoon and immediately turned around and walked out again. Goodness. The Legos, the Bionicles, the Transformers, the Hot Wheels. All those little bitty pieces are overwhelming. Plus, he is NOT good at getting rid of things. I am pretty much on my own for this job if I want to actually get rid of anything. I will, though. By the end of this week, he'll be pared down as well.

It is so liberating to let go of these things. For me, anyway. I'm not sure how liberated Robert will feel. :)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Did I Hear That Right?

Griff: Did Robert just say 'ziggurat'?

Me: Yes. We studied them a couple of weeks ago as part of ancient Mesopotamia. I have lots of pictures. Want to see them?

Griff: No, I know what they are. I was just surprised to hear it come from him.

(Griff walks away, shaking his head and laughing)

I love it. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Health Insurance (ARGH!)

Griff recently received the option to refuse health insurance through the company he works for. We pay over $600/month for a family of 4. In looking at ways to cut expenses, we looked at our health insurance. We decided we wanted to look into private insurance with a health savings account. That would mean a high deductible, but we are very healthy and once we had enough money in the HSA to cover the deductible, we would be okay.

Imagine my shock when Robert was refused coverage because of his Asperger's. I couldn't believe it! I fully expected them to refuse to cover any AS-related expenses (of which there have been NONE since we took him off of Stattera in the summer of 2003). I did not expect them to refuse coverage for him completely. He is no more likely to get sick than any other child.

I'm part of an AS email list and I asked about this. Someone replied that this is typical. Private insurance does not have to cover anybody, so they don't cover AS. What a crock.

I'm grateful that we still have that company insurance, but what about those people who don't? What do they do? What about Griff's dream to be self-employed? What do we do about that?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I love libraries. I have for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a small-ish town that had one library. As soon as I was old enough (which was much younger than what would be old enough now!), I would ride my bike down there several times a week during the summer. I loved it there. Really, really loved it. It was so quiet. Remember that? When you had to actually whisper in a library or risk being scolded by the librarian? The card catalog was actual cards that you flipped through to find what you wanted. I would fill out the pocket card and take it to the front desk where they would stamp the due date with one of those date stampers that have all the numbers and months that roll around. (not a good description, I know) I was so impressed when they got a machine they could stick the card into and, ka-chunk, have the date stamped on it automatically.

After I married, I discovered the library closest to our home and started visiting it. If they didn't have the book I wanted, I filled out a little slip of paper and put it in a box. When it was available, I would get a letter in the mail telling me it was waiting for me. One day, I asked Griff to stop and pick up a book for me. The librarian at the desk handed him some sort of modern economics book. Griff said, "I don't think this is right." One of the other librarians came up and said, "Oh, no. Rhonda doesn't read that type of book." She then went to the shelf and found the right one.

I tell you that story to make a point. I went to the library tonight. I had reserved several books online (after searching the online catalog) and received an e-mail that they were waiting for me. I went into the library and pulled my books off the alphabetically-sorted-by-name reserve shelves. I then went to the self-service check out. I put my library card in the scanner and scanned my own books. It printed out a due date slip and I left. I didn't once speak to, or even make eye contact with, a librarian.

While this way is definitely more efficient, I don't think it's better, and I've decided I don't like it. I believe we will start checking out at least some of our books with the librarian at the desk. I wonder what things are like now at my hometown library? I think I'll stop in next time I'm home.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Searching for a Church Home

We have been without a church home for several months now. We left our former congregation because of its ties with the school the children were at. When the elementary principal's daughter is in your son's class at church... Well, you can see the problem.

We have been visiting a church close to our home for a couple of months now. To be honest, the only thing it has going for it is that it's close to our home and there are a lot of girls Ruth's age. We just cannot get enthused about it. To me, that's a sign that we shouldn't be there.

Every other place we would consider going to church is 20-30 minutes away on a Sunday morning. That means that for Wednesday nights and special week-night events, it would take us close to an hour to get there with traffic.

I'm feeling lost and depressed and frustrated.

Please pray for us as we go through this.

Monday, March 27, 2006

This and That

Griff's birthday was yesterday. We had some friends over Saturday night to celebrate. I made tacos. Our friend April brought her "famous" black bean salsa. It's a favorite of Griff's. It had been a long time since we've entertained. I'd forgotten how much fun it is. I got Griff a couple of Monty Python's Flying Circus DVDs. (Polly!... Polly Parrot!)

The weather here is absolutely gorgeous. I think we'll do all our reading outside today. :)

My kitchen floor is broken. Really. We have this terrible white ceramic tile that we've always planned on replacing someday. A couple of weeks ago, a section of it started flexing when you step on it. Then the grout started coming out. Friday night, Griff couldn't stand it anymore and was just going to pop out one of the tiles to see what was under there. 4 tiles later... My floor is now broken. Good news, though. I'll be getting a new kitchen floor earlier than we had intended. (I'll post a picture later today.)

I did our taxes yesterday with Turbo Tax online. Even with that, it took me most of the afternoon. But, it's done and we're getting money back. (woo-hoo!) It's enough to pay for curriculum for next year and our trip to the
Arlington Home School Book Fair and Six Flags in May.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm Addicted

It's time for me to come clean. I can no longer deny it. I am addicted to... books. Particularly, children's books.

Just today, I placed an Amazon order, went to Half-Price Books, and the library. I currently have 34 books checked out from the library. Of all those books, I think two are adult books. Tonight, we went out to eat near a Barnes & Noble. I lobbied hard for stopping there after dinner, but Griff shot me down. We're off for Spring Break next week and I'm planning on driving 45 minutes to my old stomping grounds to go to my all-time-favorite used bookstore. I'm almost giddy about it.

Yep. I'm hopeless.

Oh, and I'm completely unrepentant about it, too. So, if you were expecting this confession to lead to change, you will be sadly disappointed.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Angels in Disguise

I read something recently that reminded me of the following incident.

One of the first times my mom was in the hospital, I was driving up there late one Saturday night to relieve my dad by spending the night with her. I had not really figured out the best way to get there (boy, did that change!) and ended up on Fannin by the Astrodome. If you're familiar with Houston, you know that this is NOT an area you want to get stuck in. So, of course, my car engine died.

I owned a cell phone at the time, but had not yet gotten in the habit of carrying it with me. I was close to panicking at being stuck there. I flagged down a couple of girls in the car next to me (my engine died at a light) and asked if I could use their cell phone. They graciously said yes, but I could not remember the hospital number and, long story short, by the time I finally reached my mom's room, my dad had already left. By this time, I was almost hysterical. I didn't know what to do.

Shortly after I got off the phone with my mom, a car stopped and two men got out. To be honest, they were downright scary-looking. If I had seen them on the street, I would have tried to figure out a way to cross over to the other side. They came up and asked if they could help. They pushed my car over to a side road and told me to try starting it again. Amazingly enough, it did. They then followed me to the hospital to make sure I got there safely. I never saw them again.

They were incredibly nice and helpful. While a police car had driven straight past my stranded car, these two men stopped and helped.

I learned something that night about making assumptions about people. I also wonder if God sent a couple of angels to help me.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thank You, Sir, and Have a Nice Day

I have a low voice. I have always had a low voice. However, when I got pregnant the first time, it got lower. I was told it would go back to normal after my child was born.

It didn't.

I can now, depending on the songleader, sing the bass part at church. I'd always been an alto, but even that can be too high for me at times. A worse problem, though, is that I started being mistaken for a man on the phone on a regular basis. I worked on my phone voice, trying to make it chipper and more "feminine". It helped, until I got a cold a few weeks ago. In the last week, I've been mistaken for a man on the phone 3-4 times.