Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Pumpkin day short of a Jack o' Lantern

Yes! We have another birthday in our little family. October is a busy month for us! Of course it makes it easy on my dear husband, since he only has to remember one month, October, as being a very special month for us. It doesn't hurt that "hunting season" starts in this month too!

Today is my baby boy's birthday! He would cringe right now and turn red if he saw the word "baby," but I don't care. He is my precious little one, a true gift from God. I still remember when I found out I was pregnant... shock! I already had a one year old, had miscarried another and now I thought God was playing a cruel joke on me. I was scared to even tell anyone for a while. I had my feelings unintentionally hurt during my last, very short, too short pregnancy, that I was afraid to even rejoice over this new little one. Then when I realized it was going to be alright, that God had blessed me with a new little one to love, I started to pray for strength. I knew I would need it, because I already had a spirited, adventurous, stubborn little girl, who I was totally in love with...but it almost scared me some nights thinking of two strong little personalities, so close in age.

Then he was born. Apart from nursing issues and definitely some potty training issues later, my son was precious! He was this smiling, friendly, even tempered little man. And I adored him! He loved people and people loved him. He was tenderhearted, sensitive and very loving.

It still makes me smile to remember how he would follow his sister around, learning and copying everything she did, even taking the "blame" for so much, because he didn't want her to cry...

Oh, how times have changed. They do grow up, don't they? Yet, even though we have had to work through some "frustration" issues and he now fights with his sister on a daily basis, I still think God has great plans for this little man of mine.

Today is Jordan's 10Th birthday. He had a very good day too. His dad was a "Watch Dog Dad" all day; that is where a dad volunteers and helps and hangs out at school. Jordan told me later that everyone thought his dad was "cool." He was so proud. It was also the honor's assembly and Jordan finally got a ribbon for having straight "A's." And then there was extreme elation on his face when he opened his gift; new hunting bibs, the PlayStation 2 game (hunting) he wanted and a shirt with a deer on it. If you can't tell, my little boy has hunting on the brain. He is all geared up to go hunting this weekend on the junior hunt with his dad. Is it alright to actually pray that he kills a deer?

Anyway, today, I am a very proud mother. Is my son perfect? No. But, underneath all the childish things and stages he goes through, I see great potential. I am in awe at the thought of what he might grow up to be. Thank you, Lord for Jordan.

In case you are wondering about my title...he was actually born two days late. I was hoping for a birthday gift, yet afraid he would be born on Halloween. Instead he came on the 30Th. I always said he was my "pumpkin boy, one day short of a Jack O' Lantern." And there you have it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pondering 38 years...of LB's!!!

The birthday "girl"...
with Kayla

with Jordan.

It is my birthday today. I'm 38. Wow! Time really does fly by, doesn't it? My son asked me if I was excited that it was my birthday, I just smiled. Truth is the older I get, the less I really want to celebrate. Oh, don't worry, I'm not one of those people who gets depressed with each birthday, I have way too many other things going on to worry about that. And I do love a good birthday hug, card or gift. :) But somehow, once you pass a certain year, it's not that big a deal. That is until you reach your 90's like my Aunt Fay, then everyone is just praying you'll make 100!

Why is it that we only really celebrate birthdays when we are kids or when loved ones are old and we are afraid it will be their last. The truth is that none of us know how long we have in this world. In fact I come from a family where both the very young and the very old have passed away, before we were ready for them to go. So it seems that each day should be a celebration. Each breathe should be a praise.

I'm so guilty of zooming through life, forgetting to stop and "smell the roses," waiting until "tomorrow" to get things done, when TODAY should be where my focus is... I shouldn't wait until my birthday comes around to ponder where my 38 years have gone and what I have accomplished during that time. I should be excited about today and find the joy (no matter how small it seems sometimes) in just living.

Being the sentimental fool that I am, I found a box of old letters, while cleaning my office. (Don't worry, Sis, I'm still working on it!!!) In the box was an old note from my best friend at college. in the note she was encouraging me, talking about "LB's." You see, that was our code for "little blessings." We use to pump each other up, encouraging one another to look for the "little blessings" in each day. How could I have forgotten?

Well, the day is only half over, and it has already been full of "LB's." It makes me actually look forward to what is to come.

I pray that you have a good day too! Take a moment and add up your own little blessings. You don't have to wait for your birthday, to ponder how blessed you are, no matter your circumstances!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Freezer "clean out"...

Now normally when you hear the words "freezer clean out," you probably think about eating leftovers in the school cafeteria. Oh, do I wish it was that simple! My story starts when Kevin came to my work place yesterday. "I have good news and bad news, what do you want to hear first?" Like usual, afraid of the bad, I took the good news first. He was able to replace my flat screen TV at the store, after it started doing crazy things with the picture. I'm happy, because that was certainly good news. The TV wasn't that old. :)

However, after the good news, came the bad and definitely the ugly... The deep freeze somehow got unplugged and we had one "stinky" ice box. Here is the comical part, unless Kevin found someone else, I was going to have to clean it!!! You see, the men in my husband's family may be big, strong guys, but there is one thing they can't handle very well... funky smells! If you want to see Kevin throw up, hand him a bucket of rotten meat. I remember, even though he changed them, that dirty diapers use to make him gag once upon a time too. So here I was wondering how on earth I was going to get this done?!

The answer came in the form of a doctor friend from church. Kevin rode to the football game with him last night and they got to talking. The friend took pity on my husband (or should I say me?) and said he would come over today and help. Smells don't bother me. I don't know if it was from years of living in a third world country, years of changing dirty diapers and cleaning up throw up or just strong genes, but it takes a lot to make me gag. However, I knew I wasn't strong enough to make this all happen... moving the freezer, cleaning it out, etc... In the end, our friend and my son cleaned the freezer out. (he must take after his mommy!)

so I am very thankful to say that my freezer is now cleaned out. It still has a little stench, but it just hopefully needs some time to air out. Overall we got some good "ribbing" done at Kev's expense. My favorite moment was when he came in the house with two orange "ear plugs" stuffed up his nose!!! I asked if I could get a picture, but he wouldn't let me. You will just have to visualize it! But I'm still cracking up thinking about it!

Oh, life is never boring around our house...

Friday, October 24, 2008

My office...

OK. So, when we moved last October, I was rather excited that I had a room for my office, library and scrapbook stuff. I had "sort of" a room at the last house I lived in, but I had to share it with the laundry area, the dog and storage. All of that stuff didn't leave much room for my "organized" office. I can hear my family laughing at the words "organized" and "Mich's office" being in the same sentence!!! I admit, I may be the most organized person when it comes to planning events and church activities, but usually my space at home stays a total mess!

I promised myself when we moved, that I would change all that. However, the plan hasn't been totally carried out. I may not share my space with the ironing board or dog crate anymore, but millions of boxes fill my area. It started with us putting all the unpacked boxes in my room and then soon became the "if you don't know where something goes or you are too lazy to put something up, let's just throw it all in Mom's room!" I will admit that I tend to be just as bad as my family. When company is coming over, it is so easy to throw everything in the extra room and shut the doors. And it has worked for us for a year now...

But let me tell you, this Mama is tired of the mess!!! I've been thinking about it all day. I'm going in tonight and if I don't come out, it means I was buried alive among the junk. It may not all get done tonight, but I am determined to at least create a path. So wish me luck! If you are a family member or friend who has seen my room, well you might want to say a little prayer for me too!

Oh, by the way, I am a little mortified by the picture I posted, but hopefully I will have an "after" picture real soon. It is a must, for my sanity depends on it!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Ponytail "Pick me up"...

I had a horrible headache yesterday, so I was not in the computer mood, so I'm just now getting around to telling you something that happened to me on Monday. Not earth shattering news, of course, but just a funny little tidbit.

It all started Sunday, when I decided to let my hair go the curly route. Ya see, my hair is not super straight or full of beautiful curls, it is somewhere in the middle, which means I can never just get out of bed and comb it. I either have to help the natural curls along with a curling iron or blow dry my hair straight. Well, I had the Monday morning blues... nothing went right in my getting ready for work. I over slept. I didn't have time for a shower. I didn't have time to even iron my scrubs. (My husband thinks this is a funny waste of time, since they are wrinkled by the end of the day anyway!) Of course, this isn't always a problem, since usually my hair has already been blow dried straight the day before. However, I had gone the curly route on Sunday, and let's just say when I woke up Monday morning, it was slightly on the SCARY side! I remember looking in the mirror and declaring to myself that it was definitely a ponytail day.

Now, the truth is, I don't wear a ponytail very often, anymore. Usually when I do, it is because of dirty hair or because it was a bad hair day. Since I have already established why I had the ponytail, I will now tell you how I felt. Yucky! I felt like everyone was looking at my hair all day, wondering when was the last time I took a bath!

The worst part is that after work, I had to go to Monday night Bible study with the youth girls. I came home in dread. I looked once again in the mirror with disgust. Here I was tired, dirty hair in a ponytail, fixing to hang out with a bunch of teenage girls. They are going to take one look at me and turn the other way. It is sad, for here I am an adult woman, trying to still impress a bunch of girls! What is wrong with that picture?! I finally gave up, put on my oldest sweatshirt and jeans and headed out the door. If I was going scruffy, I might as well go all the way!

Truth is, God meets us when we need a little boost. He sends a little angel our way with a "pick me up" when we desperately need one. In my case it was about 40 young angels!!! You see, I was feeling low about myself, yet when I walked into the youth area where there were about forty something young girls hanging out, I was greeted with smiles and hugs. The crazy part is about 20 of them, no lie, asked me about my hair. They "liked" my hair in a ponytail. In fact, every time I turned around, someone was asking me about my ponytail. Funny, huh? I haven't received that much attention on a Sunday morning when I think I look my best!

Now I know I didn't look wonderful, for my hair really was dirty and I had stains on my sweatshirt. However, I learned a valuable lesson that night... it didn't matter! God sent his little angels with words of unnecessary praise to help boost my spirit and send me a hug.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The "Perfect" Pumpkin!

The day started with a few grumbles, including a few of my own, for it was Saturday and we had to get up and be at the church by 9:00a.m.. We were signed up to go with the kids at church, to the Pumpkin Patch. When I first asked the kids if they wanted to go, everyone said "yes." However, we lived life since signing up, and well... Kayla was told it was for little kids and boring and Jordan was a little mad at his dad because he was hunting with friends and not taking him. And I really just wanted a "relaxing" day... Truth was, I had never been to the Pumpkin Patch and wanted to check it out, as well as spend some time with my kids. So, even though I had thoughts of cancelling and the kids wanted to bail on me, we went. And you know what? We had fun! Not "Disney World" kind of fun or "this is the greatest day ever" kind of fun, but rather " just a "relaxing, I love being here with you" kind of fun. There was a hayride, farm animals, tire swings, hay mountains, good food and of course a pumpkin patch. They even ended up having a few friends there. My favorite part of the whole trip was watching my kids pick out their pumpkins. Jordan went for the biggest one he could find, then found a smaller one that he could carry. Kayla, however, walked through the patch rather slowly. A friend asked me what she was doing. I knew what she was doing. She was looking for the "perfect" pumpkin. Sure enough, here she came, toting her pumpkin. It was almost perfect. It had one very small dent, but other than that it was a perfect shape, size and color. She was so proud! She of course has big plans for her pumpkin, soon to be "jack." In the end, it was a fun day! (Oh! And Jordan did get to go hunting with his dad this afternoon and they shot a 6 point. He had to call and tell me about it.) And the weather was beautiful! Happy Fall!

Jordan's Pumpkin!

Kayla's Pumpkin!

The "Perfect" Pumpkin!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Walmart, fried okra and a few trips down memory lane...

After work tonight, I had to go to Walmart. Ugh! I remember as a child thinking it was the greatest place on earth, then when I grew up and it started taking "my own money," well somehow it isn't as fun. Dad, it just isn't as easy for me to write a check as I thought it was for you, when I was a child! :) It is great when you find that "perfect" deal, but rather frustrating when you go in for "3" items and come out with $100.00 worth of groceries! What is up with that anyway?!!!

Today I was in there for 2 hours!!! My husband was ready to send in a search party to look for me... I probably needed it too. You see, our store just "remodeled." That basically means that nothing is where it use to be, or even where you think it might be. They changed everything in this store and I do mean everything! I find myself going down the same aisle 3 times because all of a sudden the rice and pasta isn't on the same row anymore and tuna is on the same aisle as the soup... The sodas are now clear in the back of the store, while the bread decided to be up front and... well you get the picture.

Anyway, we do have a new deli. I was passing by it today and saw the variety of different foods; lunch meats, cheeses and a rotisserie chicken, when my eyes landed on one of my favorite foods. Fried okra! Yes, I will say it again... I love the stuff. Next to fresh garden tomatoes, okra is a favorite. Of course it has to be fried. I stopped to get some, but realized how long the line was and knew I was already late getting home, so sadly I passed it by... for today, anyway.

The thing about okra, is that it always brings along a "bowl" full of memories when I eat it. There are those snapshot moments that hit me every time I take a bite. My Granny and Grandpa's garden on the farm, going to the buffet for Sunday dinner with my family or eating on my Aunt Fay's back porch (she really did make the best okra in her cooking days!). Just thinking of all those sweet moments makes me crave some even more. Even going to the Walmart deli has its own set of memories. During the months before my Nanny died, we would all take turns going and staying with her. My sister and I could have lived off the chicken nuggets and fried okra from the Walmart deli!

As I sit here typing this, I'm smiling, thinking of all the crazy expressions everyone is wearing while reading this post, wondering why in the world I'm blogging about a veggie! Truth is that it is more about the memories the vegetable holds than the food itself. Have you ever stopped and thought about how certain things, often insignificant things, can trigger big memories?

Grocery shopping... 2 hours.
Slow line... frustrating.
A cart full of food... 120.00.
Spotting the okra in the Walmart deli... priceless!

I smiled all the way to the car and then called my sister...

I pray, during your busy, sometimes frustrating day, that something will "pop" out at you and trigger a smile...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's in a name?

As I've already shared, I work in a daycare. I love rocking the babies. There is something so soothing about that baby smell, a mixture of baby products, a little spit up and their mommy's perfume. I love it! I certainly get my "baby fix" on a daily basis these days and in large doses too! As I'm rocking, I have plenty of time to think and often I find myself curious as to the background of some of the names that go with the babies I hold. Are they family names? Do they have a special significance or story with them or were they simply picked out of a baby book because they sounded good?

I know, because I've been told many times, that my name came after a lot of thought, making sure that nothing cruel or funny could be made out of my name its self or my initials. You see my aunt had initials that spelled the word "JAB" and my dad has never forgotten how cruel some kids could be. In the end they stuck me with the name MICHELE. (Yes, it is spelled with one "L".) Do I like it? I wouldn't say it is my favorite name in the world, but I've grown fond of it in the sense that I can't see myself named anything else. Honestly, who hasn't at one time or another wished they had a different name? As I have told my daughter (who doesn't like her own name) when you are a parent, that is your gift in life... the ability to name your child anything you want!

While my dad, was always worried about spellings and initials, my mom was one of those mothers who didn't believe in nicknames. She always told me if she had wanted me to be called by a nickname, she would have just named me that! Yet again, who hasn't gone through childhood or their teenage years without one? Over the years, I've had many... "'chele," "Mish" and the one I still sometimes go by "Mich" are just a few.

What I think is funny and the who;e reason I wrote this, is that no matter how hard my dad tried to come up with a name that couldn't be made fun of and my mom insisted on no nicknames, you can't help the fact that God created children with great imaginations and stages in their speech development. Sometimes kids can be cruel, however sometimes they can be extremely funny too!

One of my favorite called names was given to me by a very special child. The first time he said it, I died laughing, but then it stuck, and I even used it for a while, until he and his brothers outgrew it! My sweet, adorable, creative nephew started calling me Auntie "Chelf," once upon a time and I thought it was precious. Although, he wouldn't think about calling me that today, after all he is a big 3rd grader now, I still smile when I remember...

Which brings me to today... I was walking out of the baby room at the daycare and the Preschoolers were eating lunch. This little, cute as a button, three year old stopped me; "Are you Mrs. chelf?" I was smiling the rest of the day! Oh Dad, you tried, but 38 years ago did you ever think the kids would call your baby girl a "shelf?" You just have to laugh!

What's in a name? Memories...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ten painted pumpkins, 7 silly hats, a bomb and a cookie cake!

Our ten little painted pumpkins...
Ten silly girls and Kevin, who is the "BOMB!"

The cake that didn't crumble...

OK. So you are probably asking yourself... "What in the world is she talking about?" Well tonight we finally got around to having Kayla's birthday party. After a little drama this morning (Kayla was afraid nobody would come!) and a little drama in the kitchen (my first cookie cake decided to crumble!) we had us a little party. And boy did we party!!! My husband deserves the dad of the year award for this one. He was the man among ten preteen girls. (Jordan was spending the night at a friend's house.) And of course they loved him!!! I keep telling Kayla that the kids think her dad is "cool," but to her, he is still just dad.
Our big activity of the night was painting pumpkins. I found these cute ceramic banks and they loved being creative. Then "Bro. Kev" was the judge. It was cute, for one of the girls wrote; "Bro. Kevin is the bomb!" on her pumpkin, hoping to "bribe" the judge. He asked her later if he could keep it to put in his office and I gave her the sample pumpkin I had painted to take home.

We also had a silly hat contest. I wasn't sure when we planned this that the girls would get into it... but let me tell you something... they loved it! There were some pretty crazy hats too! Again, Kevin was the judge.

We also had a Guitar Hero competition. Kayla smoked everyone, but of course we wouldn't let her take home any prizes, since she had plenty of gifts to open. I think the best mistake I ever made was during my Christmas shopping last year, when I ended up with two Guitar hero guitars. Kids love to compete against each other and we definitely use both guitars!

As for the food... well they may have been girls, but they can certainly eat! And my cookie cake turned out the second time around. Baking is not my specialty!!! But in the end, I did alright!

Kayla ended up having a great time! Only five friends couldn't come and one of them brought her gifts this morning. I have to say, juggling a job and trying to do for my kids, like I use to has been hard, but the smile on Kayla's face tonight made it all worth the effort. The party was a success and I even had one girl ask me when the next one would be... Christmas? We shall see...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Work day...

As I sit here I'm trying to find the strength to get out of my chair and do what I need to do today! Since going back to work, I've been having to shuffling the chores and responsibilities that I use to be able to do when I wanted. This past week was so busy, that I have a list of "ten" things I have to get done today or I will end up insane, without electricity or naked if I don't! Pretty sad, huh?

My list goes something like this...

1. Clean my bathroom. Mr. Mold and his friend Mr. Mildew have taken up residence.

2. Pay my bills. I'm a little behind this month, I pray I still have water and electricity at the end of the week!

3. Wash clothes... a never ending task, but at this point we are on the verge of desperation. I don't think our family would be very good prospects for a nudist colony either!!! :)

4. Kayla's birthday party invitations... the party is next Saturday!

5. Sorting through the summer and winter clothes... I hate doing this every year!

6. Dusting... I've forgotten what color the furniture actually is in my living room!

7. Sunday School lesson for tomorrow.

8. The kitchen. There are dirty dishes in the sink, a dishwasher to unload and I can't tell you the last time the floor was mopped! (Good thing my kitchen floor is brown! At least I hope that is what color it is suppose to be!!!:) )

9. Party favors for Monday night Bible Study. This is a fun project I do every week!

10. My office. If you have ever been to my house, I don't need to explain. However, I will say this... it could get me a spot on one of those shows on HGTV where they help you clean up and get organized. Yes, it is that bad!

Of course the list could go on, but I won't bore you with the details. Just say a little prayer for me as I "muddle" through. Chris Tomlin and I will be good buddies today! (I listen to music when I clean, to keep me upbeat!) Hopefully, I can light a fire under my daughter and get her to help some too!

My husband and son are at the "deer" camp having their own "clean up" day. Funny, huh? I still think this hunting thing is such a phenomenon when it comes to the male species. It turns them into different creatures... they get up early, they clean, they work, they "skin" and "gut" things when they cringe at a dirty diaper and they go a whole day without sitting in front of the TV or PlayStation!

So as you can see, no lazy weekend for this family! I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Hope you enjoy your weekend!