Monday, March 31, 2008

Help! Geeks Needed!

I need some technical assistance.

I'm trying to upload a video. I've done it once before and it worked just fine. Now I don't seem to be able to do it.

I use the video icon, it takes about 3/4 of eternity, and then instead of some HTML on my little page, it's blank, as if I hadn't just spent the last four hours waiting for my video to load.

What am I doing wrong?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Slothlike, Really

Well, no, we have not babystepped off the face of the earth.

See, I go through these different obsessions, very much like my father, and right now I'm in the middle of a reading jag.

I have a fairly limited number of authors that I truly enjoy reading, so most of my books have been read 4 or 5 times. When I do discover a new author, I read pretty much everything by them. Then I might not read anything for a few weeks. Right now I'm reading Ellis Peters' books; both the Cadfael series and the Inspector George Felse series. Between the two there are 34 books. My poor family!

I had Zaya take the above picture of his neglectful mother. It took a few tries, but we finally got one we could use. Mim, on the other hand, hasn't quite grasped the idea. Her picture is below.

I'm averaging a little less than a book a day, so, all in all, there isn't time for much else. I just finished one, though, so I'm going to rush around now and put some supper in the crock pot, do some laundry, and pretend to be a good mother.

At least until naptime.

And the crazy thing is that I don't really like Ellis Peters' style that much. They're OK, but fairly predictable and with unconvincing characters. Oh well. 11 down and 23 to go. Pray for Art, if you've got a spare moment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes, Anyone?

Poor guy doesn't have enough behind to keep his pants up! Oh, and I did not dress him this way on purpose, it just happened.

Remember those last formal pictures he took? I think we might be in trouble!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Thoughts

Here was Mim's prayer tonight.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for today. Thank you that all us go to church. Thank you that my Mommy go to church wif me. Thank you that my Daddy go to church wif me. And thank you Jesus that Daddy not spit on the rug. A- Men!

Sounds like Daddy and I need to have a little talk.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Little Pre-Easter Festivities

Yesterday was the Easter Parade at the Nursing Home here in town. We don't have a grocery store or a gas station, but we do have one of the best nursing homes in the state. It's clean, well run, and I wouldn't be afraid to put my own loved ones there, which is saying something.

Anyway, the Friday before Easter all the pre-schoolers get together and do a little Easter Parade at the Home. The idea is to wear your Easter clothes, but that doesn't always happen. I respect Murphy's Law, and I'm pretty sure there's something there about dressing your little ones in their fancy Easter outfit and sending them to an extended care facility.

Mim's dress is one I picked up last year, and she has a different dress for Sunday that was given to me in the intervening time. Therefore, she was able to dress up all floofy without Mommy being a nervous wreck. Jaida (and baby sister Addy) wore a cute little easy-clean knit, because her mommy is smart. (And has worked in that nursing home for years.)

That was yesterday. Today we decorated eggs in the morning, and the kids went to the town-wide egg hunt in the afternoon. We came away with lots of little toys, candy, (No chocolate. They learned their lesson last year when every child there walked out with sticky, brown hands.) and about $4.85 in change.

Our egg decorating was a big success this year, because I did not buy egg dye. I came across these great little dye-filled cotton swabs. All you do is snap one end and the dye runs out the other end and into the swab. They're fantastic. Then the kids just color with them on the eggs and the dye dries quickly.

OK, so it makes a bit of a mess on fingers, but so did the total immersion method. (Sounds a bit like baptism.)

Be that as it may, the results were a happy mom, two happy if slightly discolored kids, and nine colored eggs. Success all around. (Those in the left line are Zaya's, the two in the center are mine, and those in the right are Mim's. As you can see, I have no artistic tendencies to pass down, and can only hope my husband's genes will make up the difference.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #54

13 Most Romantic Fictional Couples

I'm not really a romantic per se, but hey, I'm a woman and we all, whether we want to admit it or not, love a good romance. I don't read any books that are just romances, but I don't enjoy many books that don't have at least a little bit of a love interest, because yes, I have two X chromosomes, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Likewise I don't usually watch movies that are just for the sake of romance, but I'm not above enjoying the occasional decent love story.

(In no particular order.)

1. Aragorn and Arwen - And no, I don't mean Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen. I mean the original characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She, as an elf, gives up her chance to go to the grey havens and live as an immortal. Very touching.

2. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane - I've always been a big Dorothy Sayers fan, but my favorite books are the little series where Lord Peter meets, falls in love with, chases and eventually marries Harriet. She gets on my nerves at first, but he is so much the perfect catch, that it makes it all worth it in the end when she sees the light. (The series with Harriet Vane is as follows: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, Busman's Honeymoon.)

3. Princess Leia and Hans Solo - Come on, you know we all love the scene where he suddenly realizes that Luke is actually Leia's twin brother, so there is no competition for her heart after all. (He's dumb, but he's so very handsome.)

4. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet - I love the book, of course, but I have to admit that I think of the actors from the A&E film version when these names cross my mind. Who doesn't love Mr. Darcy? And how many of us girls didn't dream we were Lizzy?

5. Donald Lockwood and Cathy Selden - This is the main love interest in the movie Singin' in the Rain. Gene Kelly...ahh.

6. Captain and Maria Von Trapp - I have to admit that I'm thinking of the musical here, and not the actual story from which it was taken, although I'm sure they qualify too. Yet another rags to riches, really, with a few twists. We girls are real suckers for the cinderella stories.

7. Sabrina Fairchild and Linus Larrabee - Both of these movies, the old one with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and the new one with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford, are great. Every woman dreams of being swept off her feet by the man who could have anyone he wanted.

8. Roderick Alleyn and Agatha Troy - Alleyn is the Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard in the mystery stories of Ngaio Marsh. He falls in love with, and eventually marries, Agatha Troy over a series of stories. Very Wimseyesque as far as that goes.

9. Raoul de Valmy and Linda Martin - This is the love interest in Mary Stewart's Nine Coaches Waiting; one of my favorite books. (She wrote nine romantic suspense novels, and they're all very good. Her later stuff is annoying.) Yet again, the man is rich and powerful, yet somehow loves and rescues a fair maiden who finds herself alone and in distress.

10. Sir Samuel Vimes and Lady Sybil - These are two main characters in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, yes, it's actually satirical fantasy, but they make a romantic couple nonetheless, because of their flaws rather than in spite them.

11. Andrew and Princess Angelique - What, you've never heard of these star-crossed lovers? That's because Andrew is a rat from Wyoming, and Angelique is the princess of France's rat underworld. (Her palace is under the Louvre) These characters are from Dear Rat, one of my favorite books from childhood. And speaking of childhood....

12. Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson - The poor man lets Nancy drag him literally all over the world, but that's romantic, right? He's always there for her, while still somehow attending classes at the mysterious Emerson University. I remember wishing Ned and Nancy would, you know, at least kiss or something. He kissed her on the cheek once in a book, and that was very exciting.

13. Amaryllis and John Guido - These characters are from The Magic Garden by Gene Stratton Porter. The story is not very realistic at all, but compelling, nonetheless. I read it as a child, on accident, because I had been told to read The Secret Garden, and got mixed up. I haven't seen the book in years, so I'm sure the relative romanticism of the couple has diminished a bit, but I remember them being oh, so interesting when I was young.

There, and now you all know what a sap I really am.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blog, Blogger, Bloggest!

Zaya has recently fallen in love with superlatives. The other day he was running around the house saying,

"Big, bigger, biggest! Red, redder, reddest! Tall, taller tallest!" (and so on)

When he ran through the living room he was looking for superlative inspiration and came up with,

"Hot Wheels, Hot Wheelser, Hot Wheelest!"

Apparently there are still some aspects of grammar that are a closed book.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Musty Monday

I'm having a little trouble with motivation today. It's rainy outside, and I have no plans, so the only reason I really need to get my house clean is for my own personal satisfaction...and it's not working.

I would actually much rather be reading my book on the living room chair with some delicious pastries and big cup of real tea with cream and sugar. Unfortunately, I have no baked goods, real tea gives me heartburn and my children don't really like it when I sit and read and ignore them for hours on end.

Right now they are listening to the music from last year's VBS at Grandma Lilibeth's church. It's all very Jewish sounding music, and the kids love it. I get regular requests to "dance to Hallelujah!" which makes sense to me if it doesn't to anyone else.

As a side note, I highly recommend the books of Dorothy L. Sayers to anyone who likes a good British mystery with interesting personalities. I'm currently re-reading Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon. Well, I've finished the first and started on the second. If you're new to Sayers I wouldn't recommend starting with those, as they are the last ones, so you won't know the characters as well as you'd want to yet.

The electricity is cutting on and off, so I'd better go.

Storms. Argh.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Babystepping Melodrama

Wild Hair Night, otherwise known as the Great Nap Scandal of '08.

Our church has AWANA as their Wednesday night program for the kids, so Zaya is officially a Cubby. A few weeks ago was Wild Hair Night for all of the AWANA kids, and Zaya was so very, very excited. For a full week before the advent of the special evening Zaya would wake up in the morning and say, "Is it Wild Hair Night?!"

On the Tuesday evening before the great day, Art did a practice run with Zaya. (The top picture.) Zaya ran around the house like a lunatic, thrilled as he could be with his wild hair.


On the following evening, verily, the evening of Wild Hair Night itself, Zaya flipped out. He cried as I sprayed his hair, he cried as I combed it, he cried as his daddy fixed it in its previously wild position. Notice the pathetically reddened, tear stained eyes as his vicious, uncaring father holds him and his wicked mother takes his picture.

He had finally stopped crying by the time we got to church, and when he saw all the other kids he was excited once more.

Why? I have no idea, but it steeled my resolve to insist on at least a little nap each day, because I really just don't need that kind of drama in my life.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #53

Actually, it's been a lousy week so far. For several reasons.

However, it could be worse. It could be much worse. I don't want it to be worse, so I'm going to stop and count my blessings.

Here goes.

Thirteen Things that are NOT lousy about right now.

1. My children are healthy. They have colds, but nothing more serious, and I thank God for that. They also still appear to love me, which, given my current attitude, is not something I've earned.

2. I got to eat Mazzio's pizza tonight at Joe and Tina's house. ergo No Cooking. Can I get a big Amen?

3. My daughter did not hurt herself when she fell down five stairs this evening.

4. Tomorrow I will go to a Bible Study and I have hopes that God will teach me something through this one.

5. My husband is very, very patient. Even when I'm a total basketcase, lousy mother and generally annoying person to be around (ie someone who writes non-parallel sentences), he still doesn't ever yell or even show that he's upset.

6. My father can see out of both eyes now. He recently had two cataracts removed. The situation was scary for several different reasons, but everything's fine now.

7. My hispanic friends are progressing in their ESL classes and are teaching me a lot of things about life, love and mothering into the bargain. I feel so comfortable with them, and that's a good feeling.

8. I have a doctor who is taking an active role in helping me solve my heartburn problems, and I am feeling optimistic about the whole process.

9. My parents and siblings are all great people, who I feel I can talk with, be with and trust. That's saying something in this world. We can discuss anything and everything, and it's bound to be funny, insightful, and weird. I love that.

10. I was reminded today of how short life is, and how it should be lived. Breawna's memorial service was very touching, and I was deeply impressed (as in, marked) by the words of our pastor.

11. Art finally made an appointment with the doctor to get a mole on his head looked at. (Love you honey!)

12. I have possibly the best in-laws in the world. (Except Art, of course. I better watch it.) My mother-in-law watches my children anytime I need it, and she gives us food and is willing to talk with me about anything. My father-in-law argues theology with me, makes fun of my English major, and teaches my son the finer points of picking his nose, but I wouldn't have it any other way. If my own father wasn't able to come help me, for one reason or another, I wouldn't hesitate to call Mr. T. (Those are his boots the kids are working on in the picture.)

13. I have a Savior who loves me, despite myself. And that's really saying something.

Well, I feel better.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lots of photos. Hope you have high speed!

Approximately every other Tuesday we go to the bookmobile for a fresh infusion of library books and a little story-time with the librarians. The kids love it, and I do too as it's yet another reason to change out of my sweats and brush my hair.

OK, you're right, I've been known to go in my sweats.

Anyway the point is that the whole experience is a strange one when you think of how most children in this country experience the library. We climb into what is essentially the back of a little truck and the kids roam around stepping on each other and picking through the book selection. (They get new ones fairly often)

After they've loaded the bag we go inside the nursing home. (That's where it parks) Our story time is in the lobby of the apartment section. There is usually one other family (our youth pastor's wife and two sons). (Hi C!)

After story time the kids and I always go down to the local cafe. Our town cafe has had a long and sordid history, with ups and downs, but we're currently riding a wave so the eating is good. The kids love it, and because they've been doing this since they were babies they handle it fairly well.

In fact, when Mim was born the (then) manager bought her a baby gift. I guess she knew it was a little future customer.

All that to say, life's a party here in small-town America. Y'all are missing out!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for the N family in our community. They lost their daughter unexpectedly last night.

Breawna was in college here in a nearby town, but still lived at home because of her disability. She's been in a wheelchair all her life, but I don't know of anything she couldn't do. Except fight this last battle. She only had a cold, or maybe bronchitis, the doctor said, but it was enough, whatever it was.

Although her body was twisted up, and so tiny, her mind was sharp, kind and wise. I don't remember her ever saying anything in Sunday School that wasn't intelligent and applicable. She graduated as Valedictorian from her high school class, and won over the whole community through her years of growing up here.

We're all going to miss her.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #52

13 Things I Liked as a Child (But No Longer).

1. Fruit Snacks - We used to beg our mother to let us take fruit snacks in our school lunch. Mom's standard response was, "They're just candy, and the school says you can't bring candy in your lunch." We tried to explain that the school had no problem with fruit snacks and everyone else brought no avail. I buy them for my own kids now, and I tried some the other day. She was right. Sugary sweet and not really all that good. (We tried the same thing with Kudos Bars and her response was the same. Totally unfair.) =)

2. Velveeta - I used to love Velveeta, and wasn't really interested in eating other kinds of cheese. I'm still OK with it melted in recipes, sort of, but I'd much rather have real cheese. The thought of just eating a slice of it is revolting.

3. Hair Bows - You know the kind I'm talking about. Those huge bows made of cloth or metal or whatever. (I had some friends with hairbows made of balloons [uninflated, of course] and boy was I jealous.) Now when I look back at our pictures, I realize we looked like we were about to take off, like tiny little pre-adolescent helicopters.

4. Suicides (pop drinks) - I'm pretty sure kids are still doing this, but I don't know why. This is when you mix different kinds of pop together up at the fountain. I remember doing this particularly at Pizza Hut. Again, I don't know why.

5. Arcade Games - Another thing from Pizza Hut. We would beg Mom and Dad for quarters to play Pac-Man and put in the Juke box. They would just point out that once you used those quarters, they would be gone, and you'd have nothing tangible to show for it. We still begged. They didn't give in. Now I'm already having the exact same discussions with my little ones. Especially about the little machines outside Wal-mart with the jaw-sized pieces of bubble gum and the trinkets made out of lead and Panda dung.

6. Singing Solos/Drama - I honestly don't remember the first time I performed a song on stage, I was too young. As a preacher's kid it was just all part of life. My Mom even talked me into painting my face like a mime and doing sign language/miming to different songs at the nursing home and etc. Looking back, it scares me to death. I can still sing in church, but I definitely prefer a group with me, or at least one other person.

7. Science - I still like science, but when I was little I used to do all sorts of crazy science experiments in my bedroom and imagine that I could be a scientist when I grew up. That was before I had discovered my math inabilities and the fact that chemistry and physics were basically just math.

8. Chef Boyardee - We ate so very many little microwaveable cans of Chef Boyardee Italian meals for school that I can't so much as look at one now. My children love spaghetti-o's and I'm sure they would like those little containers if I bought them one, but I don't think I could stand to smell them again.

9. Braces - Yes, as a child I thought it would be cool to have braces. I know, you're probably picking up on the fact that I wasn't a very intelligent child. I refrain from comment. Little did I know that I would be spending four years in braces through Jr. High and High School. I learned my lesson.

10. Cookie Crisp - Another thing we begged Mom to buy for us. She said it was just like eating chocolate chip cookies with milk, and we said, "yeah, so?" After I got married I bought a box to eat. They were OK, but definitely not as good as I had built them up to be in my mind. And definitely not as good as chocolate chip cookies and milk.

11. Pop Rocks - I don't exactly know why these were so appealing. I mean, a candy that pops when you put it in your mouth? Now I just find them disturbing.

12. Glasses - Yeah, I know. Dumb. I just thought people with glasses looked so cool. I wanted them so bad that I was always asking Mom to take me for an eye exam. In second grade, when I really did start having trouble seeing, Mom was skeptical of my motivation. By the time I got to the optometrist all I could see was the big E. It wasn't Mom's fault. I was like the boy who cried wolf.

13. Hi-C - This was just basically Kool-Aid in a juice box. We drank quite a bit of these with our lunches, though, because there weren't many packable drink options back in the day. Now I have no interest at all in juice boxes. Besides, they're a mess because my kids squeeze them.

Check here fore more Thursday Thirteen.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Da-Dum...Da-Dum.. dadumdadumdadum

Believe it or not, I'm not the one with a big mouth in this family. OK, figuratively, sure, but not literally.

Art can cram an entire banana in his mouth without swallowing. That's a big mouth.

Zaya appears to have inherited my mouth, and Mim has her father's. Even when she was a little baby, she could unhinge that jaw for a bite of babyfood like a little baby snake. Amazing.

Here's Mim pretending to be a shark. She chases people around like this, particularly her big brother. It is rather frightening.

Happy Birthday Zaya!

Zaya was born four years ago this afternoon.

If I had known how little sleep I was going to get for the next four years, I would've been a lot more nervous than I was, but I wouldn't have changed my mind.

I know we're only getting started, but already I can look back and see where we've been. It's an interesting feeling.