Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another Birthday, Another Decade

You know, I've noticed that whatever age my kids are, I frequently have "flashbacks" to that same time period/age from my own life. (And as we've entered the middle school years, some of it's not been pretty. I'm more than happy to snap back to 2006!) Well this week, not only did Bethany have her 13th birthday, our sweet niece Maggie had her 12th, and we were literally swept back to the 70's for her birthday party. She started a few years ago with a 50's party, and has steadily worked her way through the decades each year.

This week we all got together to celebrate their birthdays, and to drag out some clothes that were perhaps better left in the 70's! Danny (Maggie's Dad, on the left in the picture) went to his mom's house and found some clothes that he had worn in high school- complete with the shoes! (This picture is best viewed with the "bow-baca-waca-waca" 70's style music playing in your head, by the way...)

Uncle Jeff loaned Bethany his hair for this picture (no, the fro wasn't his real hair...) Maggie is wearing a vintage shirt from her father's wardrobe, and Bethany's wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd 1977 concert shirt from Target. (You can change your mental soundtrack from "waca-waca" to "Sweet Home Alabama" if you want.) She is also sporting the disco ball (on her right ear) that usually hangs in her locker.

You may be wondering how the rest of us looked. I worked really hard to get the "wings" in my hair to "feather" just right. I didn't have long hair in middle school, so I would've killed for my hair to look then like I got it to look the other night. We didn't take many pictures, but here's the one Luke snapped of me, just before we left:

It was a fun party! I think maybe we should keep the fun and the memories, and send the clothes back...

Happy birthday, Angels!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thirteen Candles

I am now officially the mom of a teenager! Bethany celebrated her big 1-3 yesterday. It's been a perfect celebration!

We had some of her best buds lurking in the copy room after Awana Sunday night. I called her on her cell phone while she was hanging out with two other friends (and co-conspirators) and asked her to please go to said copy room and check our mailbox. She walked in while 13 of us jumped up and yelled "Surprise!!!" She was. Very.

The kids enjoyed food and presents until... the limo arrived! Then it was time to pile in and enjoy arriving at teenhood in style! The limo drove everyone around the lake for awhile and then dropped each of them off at home. It was a blast! Her friends absolutely made it SO much fun, picking fun tunes on the radio and cranking the volume, laughing and taking crazy pictures. A perfect way to celebrate a birthday!

That night two of the girls came home with us and had a fun night of do-it-yourself "spa" treatments, complete with facials, pedicures, snacks and giggling.

Yesterday the three amigas and I spent the morning at the mall where they had fun completing a scavenger hunt that Bethany and I had made up ("Find 3 outfits your mom would never let you wear in a million years." "Find 3 purses over $75" "Buy a 25 cent bouncy ball at Old Navy" "Try on at least 3 pairs of shoes" "Count how many people ask you if school's out today"). They shopped, enjoyed Starbucks, tried on fancy dresses, and enjoyed being 13!

This is your time...

This is your dance...

Live every moment, leave nothing to chance.

Swim in the sea, drink of the deep...

Embrace the mystery of all you can be.

This is your time.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Extreme Elmo!

Tickle Me Elmo X TMX Elmo

Even more fun than Hyper-Calvinism, it's Hyper Elmo! Speaking of Christmas gifts, THIS is what is apparently the hot toy this year. It came out this week and it's already sold out everywhere. They are supposed to be $39.99 or so, but they are going for several times that on Ebay already. The original "Tickle Me Elmo" came out ten years ago, at which time Bethany (along with every other 3 year old in America) asked Santa for one. He left her an IOU and a note, saying that the Easter Bunny would bring it. (Which he did! "Thanks, Easter Bunny... ::bock::bock::::")

Kyle and I have been cracking up at this video, which I will post here because this is the closest that most of us will probably get to one this year. Enjoy!


I've been waiting for this article to come online. It was in the September edition of "Christianity Today."

And, just in time for Christmas shopping season... for that hard-to-buy-for Calvinist, you can get the "Jonathan Edwards Is My Homeboy" t-shirt (seen at left on the cover of CT) here. If you'd like to go a little further back in church history, you can find a "Luther Is My Homeboy" t-shirt here. Of course, those are take-offs on the original, always-popular "Jesus Is My Homeboy" shirt, found here. If the person you're shopping for is more Eastern in their belief system, they might like the "Buddha Is My Om Boy" shirt, though. It's available here. It's never too early to start looking for that perfect gift!

Anyway, if you're interested in this sort of thing, the article is good. I'd post my thoughts, but it's been a long week of school, it's Friday, and my brain is tired. If you're wondering what I think of the article... let me just say that I might wear the above t-shirt, around the house anyway... ;)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Keeping it Simple

I've always avoided the "____ for Dummies" books or the "Idiot's Guides" books, simply because, well, I'm not an idiot or a dummy! (I did buy Latin for Dummies, once, because I was desperate...) Lately, though I've been trying to keep things s-i-m-p-l-e in my life and that K.I.S.S. maxim has been popping into my mind- "Keep It Simple Stupid." Well, once again something inside me bristled at the word "stupid," so I've been brushing it aside while still trying to apply the principle itself. Well! I came across a book a few weeks ago at Half Price Books that I picked up because of its lovely title: Smart Women Keep it Simple. Now THERE's a book I can get into!

I posted yesterday on my homeschool blog that I've been strategically saying no, and it's been really helping our school schedule. So today, I was reading a chapter from "Smart Women," and it really affirmed what I've been thinking lately and added some new scriptural insight. Chapman says,
"When I become unbalanced and wonder how it happened, the Bible offers this explanation: "A doubleminded man [or woman]," James 1:8 says, "[is] unstable in all he does." Some women say yes to the Lord and no to the world. Others say yes to the world, but no to the Lord. But the doubleminded woman says yes to everything! Consequently, she's continually off-balance, like a drunken high-wire artist, lurching dangerously along the wire, leaning first to this side, then to that. She's a cataclysmic fall just waiting to happen."
"Nobody wants to be doubleminded. But how do we know when to say yes, and when no is the better answer? Is the key to balance making snappier to-do lists, or prioritizing more efficiently, or ceasing to be so co-dependent?"
"I don't think so. The answer is easier than any of these things, and also much harder. Paul says, "I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3)
"Simple, pure devotion to Christ- that's the prescription for a life in balance. The balanced woman is not out to please some of the people all the time, or all of the people some of the time. She's not committed to please anyone at all...except Christ. Her strategy for living is to be simply, purely, passionately devoted to the Lord."

That's it! Simple devotion. But, what does that look like as it is played out in my daily life and in my commitments? That's what I'm praying through right now, and what Chapman's book explores. Food for thought. It's a great book, and it's available for $.01 on Amazon right now. Smart!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

This morning I was mulling over in my mind what "works for me" as I went throughout my routine at home. I became aware that I saw these in just about every cabinet and closet I opened. Apparently, they work for me!

I have become a clear-storage-drawer-aholic! I love them because they come in a wide variety of sizes, are stackable, portable and inexpensive. Here are the various ways I've used them:

* in my bathroom cabinet with all of the first aid supplies (easily accessible by the kids.)
* stacked in my closet and filled with all of my jillions of flip-flops
* in the island in my kitchen with all of the Rubbermaid/Tupperware lids in it, with the containers stacked on top.
* a big, flat one in the bottom of the school closet art projects or school "stuff" that I don't know what to do with. When full, I label it with the date range and stack in in the attic (I'll go through it later... when they leave for college! :::sniff:::)
* in my bathroom closet with all of our travel-sized toiletries, travel iron, travel anything- ready to pack!
* stacked in my laundry room containing all of the different sizes/categories of dishrags, cleaning rags and kitchen towels so they don't take up kitchen drawer/cabinet space
* next to the kids school desks (you can scroll down in that post to see a picture)
* in Bethany's bathroom cabinet, stacked, for all of her hair clips, bands and scrunchies
* stacked in the kids closets with various categories of toys, art supplies and accessories

Anyway, this isn't any new earth-shattering advice that no one else has ever thought of or done, but it certainly works for me! Visit Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips from some super-smart moms.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fun with a 'Capitol' "F"

Back in May, I posted about some friends of ours, James and Liz, who got engaged while we were all in Maryland. Well, the wedding was this past weekend in Austin. We made a quick trip down there for it, and we had a blast! Luke was one of the ushers, so we went down Friday for the rehearsal and dinner, then enjoyed a beautiful ceremony Saturday. Their pastor from Alabama did the ceremony, and it was worth the trip just to hear his wonderful message. One of the things that stuck with me was that your spouse should be the greatest recipient of the gifts and talents that God has given you. I needed to hear that.

The kids & friends with the groom before the ceremony.

James and Liz, cutting the cake with his fire ax. (He is a fireman!) He said the guys at the firehouse polished it for over an hour, so it was clean enough to eat off of!

Some of the Maryland friends, together again!

The reception was at a club overlooking the city, which was hopping because of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as those (including President Clinton) who were coming to pay their respects to former Governor Ann Richards who was lying in state in the capitol building. (I'm sure ole Bill stopped to listen to a few of the bands before he left the city...Maybe he even brought his sax!)

Before we left Austin, we went to the Texas History Museum (since we're studying Texas History this year, and what kind of homeschooler would I be???) and we went to watch the bats under the Congress Ave. bridge .

We made it home just in time for another fun week of Awana, and it's been a busy two days of school so far!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Works-for-me Wednesday

Well, apparently WFMW hasn't "worked for me" in a few weeks, but I decided to jump back in today. One that Shannon posted a couple of weeks ago was a great idea about using a notebook to organize her life. This reminded me that I do something similar, but a bit simpler (for me).
A few years ago, just when my kids began their involvement in a jillion different activities I found a "multi-pocket folder" at Office Max. I have used this to categorize all of the papers and info that come into our house: team rosters, phone lists, notices, order forms, calendars, schedules, notes about team pictures, etc. I have been through two of them so far! My categories are whatever organizations or groups we are all in in any given school year, so that one resource contains all of the phone numbers for our various classes, teams, Bible studies and co-ops. It has been a lifesaver for me! (And it has worked better for me than a 3 ring binder because I don't have to hole punch anything.) I saw some the other day at Wal Mart that are plastic and have a piece of elastic to hold it closed, which I thought was really clever since it often gets really full, is often grabbed "on-the-run" and is subject to having coffee spilled on it. Perfect for the busy mom!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Where has the time gone?

I haven't blogged in... ages! Literally. Last time I blogged, I was a year younger. Since my last entry,

I've turned a year older...

We (and 596 other faithfuls) kicked off our Awana year...

We've been to west Texas and back again...

The kids and I have done LOADS of school...

We've had buckets of rain...

The temperature has been down in the 50's...

It's gone back up to the 90's...

Despite my b-day I managed to stay in my 30's (for one more year)...

and Luke celebrated his spiritual birthday!

About an hour ago Luke called to say that they had someone quit today so he had to work a job and drive a rig home, so he would be a little late. I have a homeschool association meeting tonight, and Bethany has graciously agreed to watch a friend's children for her so she can go to the meeting as well. Kyle decided he would go to the meeting too, as it is in a meeting room at a park and he would like to play. I have been finishing preparing all of the new library books for our association (as I am the librarian.) I was also mentally honing what I would speak on tonight (as I am one of the speakers.) About an hour ago I looked at the clock and immediately had that "WHERE has the time GONE???" feeling. Kicking it into high gear, Kyle and I quickly shuffled stuff into the car while Bethany hurriedly smeared each of us a sandwich and put a cooler together (she's going to be a great mom!). I quickly made myself look as presentable as I could, shoved my feet into some flip flops and we all dashed out the door. As we were shooting out of our subdivision, I glanced down at the clock in the car and realized it was 5:35, NOT 6:35. (The meeting starts at 7:00.) Well. Hmph. We turned the car around and came back, ate our sandwiches at a leisurley pace (sitting still and not going 40 mph, no less!)and I hopped on to blog for the first time in, well, ages!

The ironic thing is that the topic I'm speaking on tonight is... "Scheduling."