Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sweets for My Sweets

I'm a glutton for punishment.  As if it wasn't bad enough that I gave up sweets for Lent, today I decided to do some baking.  That's right - I tortured myself in my own kitchen.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store after the kids and I saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman at the movie theater.  There were lots of fresh berries on sale this week, so we picked out fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

I was cooking dinner tonight and decided to put those fresh berries to use.  I made The Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler, except instead of blackberries I used a mixture of our cache from the produce aisle at HEB.  I was so good, I didn't even taste the batter.  That's a big step, my friends.

Before Pic - There's no after pic because the kids ate it too fast!

You were only supposed to bake it for an hour, but there must be something wrong with my oven because I had to bake it for almost two hours.  And I had to smell it the whole time.  Mike told me I should just have a taste, because I made it myself and it wasn't like it was a poptart or a donut.  I looked at him blankly.  That's a slippery slope - if that's an out, I made it myself, guess who will be deep-frying donuts tomorrow!  

Y'all should be proud - I never ate a single bite.  I didn't even try the spoon I served the bowls with.  Mike said it was amazing.  The kids practically licked their bowls clean.  And Mike said that technically on Sunday you can have whatever you gave up for Lent.  So I should just have it Sunday.  

Is that true?  Or did he make up his own rules again?  Sounds like a story to me ... Either way, I'm not eating sweets on Sunday.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Stop and Listen

Last Sunday, we went bowling with our Life Group.  We also played games in the arcade, and played laser tag.  Let me tell you what, do not cross me in laser tag.  My friend, Heidi, volunteered to watch the little ones, so I had the good fortune to go into the laser tag room with only Mike and Sammy, who's old enough to fend for himself.  I must have some kind of mom smell that emanates off of me, because sure enough within 5 seconds of me being in that laser tag room I had a little shadow.

She was about 5 years old, and followed me everywhere.  I would try to set myself up as a sniper, and there's my little 5 year old shadow standing right in front of me, so everyone knows where I am.  I told her to stop following me, I told her to go away, I even would take off running in a full sprint.  But wherever I want, there she was.  Her own mom was even in there playing laser tag with us, so I don't know why she chose to follow me.  I kept saying "I'm not your mom!" or "Go over there!" but there she was.  I couldn't lose her.

In the end, my little friend stuck with me the whole way, and even considering that I had a shadow I still ended up being third of all the people playing laser tag.  I still don't know where her mom was.  They give you a scorecard when you're done.  That's kind of dangerous for competitive people like me.  I'm proud to say, though, that ChasePlace ranked pretty well.  Mike was first, I placed third, and Sammy came in fifth.  Not bad, ChasePlace.  Not bad at all.

Which brings me to my larger point.  I'm a working mom now.  Working moms don't have time for illness.  Just like I didn't have time for my little friend in the laser tag room.  Sick babies mean taking a day off, and that's hard because it means (in my position, anyway) that you have to find someone to fill in for you if you have any trainings scheduled.  

Let me introduce Patient Zero.  Patient Zero would be Payton.  Payton is Sophia's friend, and she went bowling with us on Sunday.  On Tuesday, Patient Zero was diagnosed with strep.  Sophia was pretty whiny throughout our entire week, and on Wednesday she started complaining that her throat hurt.  I told her to drink a glass of water and suck it up, cupcake.

On Thursday, Sammy had his Open House at school.  Open House went great, and we actually ran into my friend, Heidi, and her daughter, Patient Zero.  Heidi told me that Patient Zero was doing much better, and I was thrilled to hear that, because Heidi just started a new part time job this week and I want it to go well for her!

Then we went home.  As soon as we got home, Sophia started up again that her throat hurt.  Paging Mom, are you listening here?  She laid down in the chair, and I went over to her and felt her forehead.  Surprise, surprise . . .she was pretty darn warm.  I took her temp and it was 100.1 or 99.7, depending on which ear I checked.  Part of me said give her ibuprofen and move along, you've got a training tomorrow and she can't be sick, but the other part of me said it's time to stop.  And listen.

My mom instincts took over.  Mike stayed at home with Sammy, and I immediately loaded up Sophia and took her to the RediClinic at HEB.  I was half-thinking they would think I was crazy because technically, she wasn't even running a real fever (100.4 is the magic number, my friends), but I took her anyway.

We had to wait over an hour, but when we were finally seen they did a quick strep test as well as a quick flu test.  The doctor read her strep test from across the room, so it was pretty conclusive.  She had strep.  I'm so glad I ignored the "you've got a busy day tomorrow" and listened to my instincts and took her to the doctor before it could get any worse.

My friend Danielle took my training for the day, and I started my Spring Break a day early, trading my professional clothes for yoga pants and a T-shirt.  Surprisingly, Sophia felt really great today.  Her fever stayed low, and we watched princess movies and cuddled.  I'm so proud to be her mom, and I'm glad that I stopped and listened...

Meanwhile, I'm waiting ... If Sophia had it, that means Sammy and I might not be far behind.  So I wait ... And stop ... And listen ...


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent and Other Things . . .

As many of you know, I was raised Assembly of God, and now consider myself non-denominational, so I've never celebrated Lent by giving up something.  In contrast, Mike was raised Catholic, so he spent the first 25 years of his life giving up peanut butter, chocolate, candy, sodas, school (just kidding!).

Currently, in our Life Group, we are studying Kyle Idleman's gods at war, which focuses on the false gods that we live with in our culture today.  I know what you're thinking - no one has a false god, right?  That went out with the golden cow over 2,000 years ago.  WRONG!

When you look in the book of Joshua, chapter 24, it says to "choose for yourself today whom you will serve."  Something to keep in mind there is that in Joshua's time, serve not only meant to worship, but it also meant where your time, money and efforts are focused.  So in other words, to choose whom you will serve does not mean one big decision - it's a continuous action - made up of little decisions that each of us make every single day.

We all serve little gods.  They can be gods of comfort, pleasure, power, status, perfectionism . . . just to name a few.  Part of the study is identifying those gods that are at war for our heart, at war to take our focus away from the one TRUE God, Jesus.  Most recently, I've been digging deeper to identify the gods of comfort in my life.  Remember, a god is something we go to in times of struggle, rather than reaching deeper for the Lord.

With all of the focus on gods of comfort, I've realized that I'm a big dessert-aholic (is that a word?).  So, keeping that in mind, I've decided to give up sweets for Lent.  I haven't given up anything for Lent ever - not in 32 years.  This is a big step for me.  I've also committed to stopping and praying for God's acceptance and strength in those times when I would normally grab a piece of chocolate if I was stressed, or placate myself with a cookie after work, or plan a nice dessert when I had a bad day.

I'm not brave enough to say I'm giving up sugar completely, because I'm not going to scour labels for sugar.  However, if it fits in the sweets/dessert category (cookies, chocolate, cake, candy, poptarts, donuts, etc) then it's not going in my mouth!

It kind of leaves me wondering, though . . . I was driving to work this morning and totally jonesing for a donut or a cherry poptart, and I realized that I was pretty much lusting in my heart for some sweets.  Which technically means I already had them, right?!?!

Silly, I know, but definitely something to consider.  I know Ash Wednesday is pretty much over now, but it's not too late - anyone else have a god of comfort they plan to give over to Jesus?  Lent season is a great time to try . . .


Am I Still Alive?

Wow . . . wow, wow, wow.  So much to say, so little time.  Suffice it to say, I haven't blogged in a VERY long time.  But that, my friends, is about to change.  Get ready.  I really hope you are ready!

In the past few years (since I last blogged) . . . I went back to work and started teaching 7th grade math.  From there, I accepted a position in our district's technology department and am now a Classroom Technology Designer.  Yes, my friends.  I get paid to share what I love - technology!  iPads, SMARTBoards, using cell phones in class . . . it's all in the job description.  Definitely a challenge (some more days than others), but I love it!

And on the homefront . . . Sammy is now in 2nd grade (where does the time go - I still remember when he was making a pillow pet!) and Sophia, my little pooper, is now 4 years old and ready to start Kindergarten in the fall.

Plus, we adopted another German Shepherd!  Are you surprised?  Kona the Wonder Dog needed a friend, and we heard that a young GSD was in need of rescue.  Zeus is now almost 2 years old, and he has fit into our little pack quite well.  We're just glad he decided to make us part of his pack.  More on that later!

Meanwhile, stick around awhile - hoping to blog more often!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts on the Eve of Kindergarten


Today is the day before kindergarten starts for you.  I've done everything I possibly can to prepare you for this day, but somehow I've forgotten to prepare myself.

I still remember the day that you were born.  I was so excited to finally be able to hold you, my sweet baby boy that I carried in my body and protected for nine months.  You didn't cry immediately, and then you let out a low, sweet wail that would touch my heart, grab on and never let go.

I've watched you turn into such a big boy the last few months since you turned 5.  You are such a sweet helper to us around the house, and you are such a wonderful big brother to your sister - she loves you more than anything in the world, and you love her the same.  It is absolutely beautiful to me to see the way that you take care of her and help her.

These past few weeks, we've shopped for your school clothes.  We cleaned out your closets and your dresser, and you dutifully tried on every single piece of clothing.  You were a big boy and didn't cry when you had outgrown your favorite 'cowboy' jean jacket and your cowboy boots, and I promised to buy you new cowboy clothes as soon as I could find them in the store.  You helped me hang up all of your new clothes, and you've done a great job placing your shoes in the bins I put in your closet, and taking care of all of your new things.

We went to get your haircut for school last Tuesday.  Of course, after we got home you decided to snip a piece off in the front, with the reasoning that you didn't want a brown piece in the front.  I get it buddy, I really do - Mama doesn't like brown pieces in the front, either.  I got onto you for cutting your own hair, and we repeated over and over again that scissors are for paper.  You seem pretty contrite about it now, and honestly I really can't even see where you snipped it since it's right by your cowlick.  I never would have known if you hadn't left the snip of hair on the bathroom floor.  I guess that's something I didn't teach you very well - how to hide your mistakes and cover your tracks!

We met your teacher last Wednesday.  Her name is Mrs. Miller, and we brought her a clipboard you and I made with ModPodge and patterned scrapbook paper.  She loved it, and you showed her that you're a helper already by carrying a big box of Goldfish into the meeting room.  It was heavy, but you carried it proudly, and you stoically tried to put it exactly in the front of the room where Mrs. Miller would find it when she was making her presentation.  You were excited to find out that Mrs. Miller was your cousin Austin's teacher eight years ago, and I hope that means you'll turn out to be a great kid, just like he has.

I watched you write your first name on the post it note where you decided you wanted your seat in the classroom to be.  You did it quickly, trying to finish fast, and ended up writing your S backwards, and writing it in all capital letters.  I asked you to take another look at it and try again, and when you did, you wrote your name perfectly, just like we've practiced for the last year and a half.  I hope Mrs. Miller will give you a second chance and ask you to try again, and to take your time, just like Mommy does for you.  I know she will, but I'm still worried for you.

You met new friends in your classroom, Kai who lives in our neighborhood, and Mason who lives right next door to Uncle Aaron.  I watched you clown around with them, and hoped that you would remember that there is a time for laughing, and a time for learning.  You decided to sit right next to your new friends, so I bet Mrs. Miller hopes so, too.

I ordered special labels for you with your first and last name and a pirate symbol on them, and I carefully placed them on all of your things.  I hope the labels make you feel special, but I really hope it means that your things will come home with you at the end of each day!

We talked about your backpack.  I showed you where all the special pockets are, and we adjusted the straps so that it wouldn't hang halfway down your little back.  I even put an extra change of clothes in there, right down to underwear and socks, just in case.  Mrs. Miller asked all of the parents to do that.  I just hope I remember to change the clothes based on the seasons, so that you won't come home in shorts in December!

I made a big decision and decided to let you ride the bus to school this year.  Kai and his big sister Amaya will be on the bus as well, so I hope you'll have friends and you will enjoy getting to ride the big yellow school bus.  You and I talked about where the bus will pick you up and drop you off at, and I'll be waiting there for you each time, hoping you'll come home with lots of stories of your adventures for the day.

Yesterday, we talked about how you'll get to school on the first day, and we decided what you wanted in your lunch box.  You know to take home anything you don't eat, and you know to remember to keep your sandwich box and your snack box.  You also know that you have a pirate water bottle on the side of your backpack, so you'll always have it in case you are thirsty.

You have been so excited this past week.  Every day, you wake up and you tell me exactly how many days you have left until kindergarten starts.  This morning, you got to go into the big kids worship service for the first time ever, and I watched you proudly raise your hand and smile when Pastor Bronson asked for kindergarteners!

I know that you are ready, Sam, and I know you are going to do amazing.  It seems I've spent the last 5 years getting you ready for your big day tomorrow, but somehow I forgot to get myself ready.  It's so hard for me to know that I won't be there to help you tomorrow.  If you fall down, I won't be there to wipe your tears and get you a Transformers bandaid.  If someone hurts your feelings, I won't be there to hug you and tell you it's all right.  If you do something awesome, I can't be there to high five you and congratulate you. 

But, I will be there at home, waiting to give you a hug and hear about your day.  I can't wait to find out all of your new adventures, and I know that you are going to grow and change so much!  I hope that I can be the mom that you need me to be tomorrow - I hope that I can give you a huge hug and wish you luck, and that I won't cry in front of you.  And I hope that you will learn and grow, and that you will excel, just like you always have.  I know that you will, and I know that I'm going to be ok, too. 

I love you, Sam . . .

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