Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apparently, I'm not only indecisive, but also boring...

I suffer from Acute Menu Anxiety Disorder.

Don't scoff. It's a real thing. (And I know a few of you know what I'm talking about...)

For those of you who do not suffer from this, you will think I'm off my rocker and you can go ahead and skip this post, because I would like us still to be friends.

I cannot describe the feeling I have when I go into a new restaurant, or pull up to a drive-through where I am not familiar with the selections. Ricardo, being a cut-and-dried male, knows what he wants. Without even looking. A burger. With cheese. And possibly bacon. (And the man is as healthy as a horse...go figure).

I, on the other hand, look at the menu in my hand, with the waiter hovering nearby, or the invisible person at the drive-thru saying, "Whenever your ready...." My eyes glaze over, and I suddenly can't focus. C-h-i-c-k-e-n. What's that? I think I've heard of it before, but I can't concentrate. Is it good? Will I like it?

Severe anxiety, people. It's beyond sad.

So my loving hubby, knowing this about me, doesn't rush me anymore. He knows I need to take my time to allow my eyes to un-glaze, peruse the menu, and come to a decision. And possibly even spend time researching menus online before we go so that I am a smidge more prepared. I love him for that.

Today, I remembered that I had a Starbucks card that I have been hoarding since February. I like my Starbucks as much as the next person, but I seriously only go maybe twice a year. But today was extremely hot, and we were out running errands, and I though, Hmmmm...a Mint Mocha Frap sounds heavenly right now.

So we stopped in, and even though I knew what I wanted, I kept my eyes glued to the menu board as I ordered it. There were just too many words that I could mess up. Tall. Mint. Mocha. Light. Frappuccino.

And apparently, that is one of the easy ones.

As I stood there waiting for my order (it's amazing how many people can still afford to buy ridiculously expensive coffee at 2:00 in the afternoon), I had the distinct privilege of listening to some of the orders come in.

Light Green Tea Frap, no something or other, add energy. Huh? Energy? Is that just a fancy way of saying, Hype it up with extra caffeine?

Venti Breve Cappuccino, 6 shots, half-soy, add vanilla. What is Breve? That's what the lady said, so hopefully I got that right and am not in actuality typing some off-color word. I am so showing off my sophisticated side here. (I have since googled it. Apparently it is something made with half and half. Or cream. Don't quote me, now... I didn't spend much time researching it. )

Light-Iced, Decaf, Triple, Venti, Non-fat, 3 Splenda, Extra-hot, Stirred, No-foam, Caramel Macchiato with Whip Cream and Extra Caramel.

Ok, I didn't really hear anyone order that today. I saw that one on the internet. Man, that puts my boring ol' Tall Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato, my favorite, to shame.

There is even a site called "How to order a complicated drink at Starbucks". Oh my. Just thinking about that makes my head spin.

So in addition to my Menu Paranoia, I am apparently also boring when it comes to my coffee selections. What I want to know is, does the fancy complicated drink taste better than the humdrum, run-of-the-mill drink that comes straight off the menu board?

If you are a complicated order placer, you can share it here. It will bring me untold amusement, but I will nonetheless be in awe of you. Who knows, I might even adopt it as my new favorite, but rest assured that I will have to write it down and read it off of a piece of paper each time I order it. Because, again...sophistication.

That is sure to impress them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To go or not to go?

There are two camps of people. Or I should say, two camps of women.

Those that love to go to home parties (think: Tupperware-style) and those that do not.

Which camp do you fall into?

Around here, there are LOTS of home parties to go to. PartyLite. Mary Kay. BeautiControl. Lia Sophia. Silpada. Beijo Bags. Pampered Chef. And I'm sure that I'm only scratching the surface here.

I really don't mind going to these parties. They are usually hosted by a close friend, and so I like to go and participate, make a purchase to help them out, mingle and visit and feel like a grown-up getting out of the house for an hour or two.

However, a slight problem can arise when multiple people within our circle of friends decide to host a party. Does anyone else ever run into this? You end up being invited to 3 or 4 different parties, featuring the same products, and then you start to feel obligated to go and buy. And although you might love the things you are ordering, the bank account can start to rebel pretty quickly.

So this Thursday I've been invited to a Pampered Chef party. And I love this (expensive) stuff. It's being hosted by one of my good friends. But, I know for a fact that I cannot purchase anything right now. So what do I do? Do I go and then try to slip out without anyone noticing that I didn't buy anything? (I so know what my sister will say about this. She has no patience for this kind of thing). Do I tell my friend up front that I can come but can't buy? Do I just not go? Oh, and she just built a brand-new custom house that I have been dying to see, which is another reason that I want to go. Yeah, I know...I'm really focusing on the issue at hand here.

So tell me. Which is the lesser of the etiquette evils here?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Melodious Prayer

A crazy thought popped into my head tonight. I blame it on the weather; we had slightly cooler temperatures today, and at 10:00 tonight when I was watering my flowers, a breeze kicked up and I felt downright chilly. The air held a hint of fall, which is my favorite season, but which also makes me nostalgic and reflective in ways I can't even explain.

So, I thought, how awesome would it be if I could jump in my car, drive 10 hours to Dallas, arrive at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel, march myself in the front doors and past the amazing atrium, down the enormously long hall and past massive conference rooms, make a left down another hall, and then...ahhh. There it is. Tucked away in a corner, set back from where the throngs pass by, silently waiting for someone to come and bring it to life.

A white grand piano.

I spent many an hour here when I lived in this city 10 years ago. It was a sanctuary for me, a place where I would sit and play, letting the melodies roll from my fingers as I talked to God. Sometimes I would come, upset over boys or school or work. Or boys. Yeah, mostly boys. That old white piano has seen my tears, and heard unnamed refrains that only lived for the one time that they were played. Playing this piano, all alone in a big empty hall, became a way for me to pray and to worship. I always left with a little more peace than I had arrived with.

Tonight, I would settle for any piano. There are prayers inside of me that can only be expressed through music and that cannot escape until I trail my fingers across the keys and set them free. But in our little house, there isn't room for a piano...a fact which I have lamented many times.

It's ok, though. Someday I'll have one. And until then, my heart can still pray. And sing.

I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His Eye is on the Sparrow
And I know He

Friday, July 25, 2008


So in light of my last few posts, I'm thinking that one on thankfulness is in order. Because, truly, I am thankful. For my family, my life, even for the interruptions and chaos of everyday life. Because the interruptions and chaos mean that I have a life, and that is not something I take for granted.

Recently, I was thinking about the little insignificant things that can brighten my day instantly. I truly love what I do, I love the fact that I can stay home with Savannah, but sometimes, the sameness of each day can make them all run together. In the midst of the laundry and cooking and reading books to an insatiable toddler, sometimes something a little out of the ordinary can breathe a fresh outlook into it all.

Things like getting a real letter in the mail. A thunderstorm mid-afternoon. Finding a good deal on blueberries.

And sheets.

We have 4 sets of sheets for our bed, but there is one in particular that makes my heart do a little happy dance. It is the set we have had the longest, which means that it has had plenty of time to mellow and soften and get all silky-feeling. I have a system for our sheets; I rotate them out every other week so they all get the same amount of use. This means that I have to go almost 2 months before I can put on my favorites.

And yes. I have been tempted to move them up in the rotation, but in the end, I can't, because that would be cheating, and I wouldn't enjoy the satisfaction of reveling in the sheets NEARLY as much as I would if I stuck to the system.

And no. I don't take this too seriously at all....why do you ask?

I get so excited when I go to the linen closet and see that, Hey, they are up in the rotation! I look forward all day to the time when I put my head on that pillow and stretch out between pure silkiness; if I were a cat, I would be purring with unadulterated contentment.

Oh, the delight. It's the little things. And I know you've got at least one, too...what makes your heart happy in the midst of an uninspired day?

My new bloggy friend Casey at Finding Beauty in My Everyday Life is hosting something that she calls Finding Beauty Friday. If you have had an unexpected thing of beauty happen into your life, something that has given you pause and made your soul smile, go on over and join in.

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One night this week...

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you are one day ahead the entire week? You start off thinking that your Monday is Tuesday, and it just goes from there. It feels so much like a Friday to me right now, and yet it's only Thursday. I blame my hubby's wacko schedule, and the fact that Savannah has been testing the waters with a newfound sassy (read: rebellious) attitude. And also that I babysat for 4 kids 3 and under yesterday afternoon, which is a post in and of itself. Lets just say that I have a newfound respect for those of you that have a bunch of little ones that are close in are awesome.

Monday evening I was running the water for Savannah's bath. I stepped out momentarily to gather a few things. And also I might have run really fast to the kitchen to check my email. Because I am obsessed like that. It only took a few seconds, and I hurried back to the bathroom. Savannah stood by the tub, proudly pointing and saying, "Look, water!"

I did a double take and gasped. She had taken two of my purses, emptied them, and flung everything into the bath. Cell phone. Wallet. Money. Makeup. All bobbing up and down in the water. It would have made a fantastic photo for the blog, but my mind did not go in that direction. I screamed, fairly loudly I'm afraid, and then started flinging water everywhere as I scooped everything up and on to the counter. I completely lost it. Why? Why? Why would you do this? Don't you know....Her eyes were big as she watched me fly around on the verge of lunacy while the words spewing from my mouth grew louder and louder.

She shouldn't have done it. Obviously. And she was disciplined for it, because she really did know better. But after calming down, I realized how poorly I had handled it. Have you ever been to a store and seen a little kid doing something he's not supposed to? And then the mother starts to berate him, loudly and with way more force and ranting than is necessary? Sometimes with screaming that can be heard across the parking lot? I have. And I usually cringe and want to run and give the little kid a hug. Not because the correction is unnecessary, but because the way it is done seems out of line.

So maybe I don't scream and go crazy and yell at my child in public. But what makes me think it is ok in the privacy of my own home? It doesn't do any good. For a split second, it might have made me feel better to vent. But what was done was done, and it would have been so much better for me to get down on her level, explain things to her, and then carry out the discipline. Which is what happened in the end, but only after my little hissy fit was over.

Oh, the guilt. Every night when I pray with her, I ask her forgiveness and God's forgiveness for my lack of patience and for things that spring from my mouth without compunction. I have one chance at this, and I don't want her memories of me to be one of wild flailing and foaming at the mouth and irrational behavior. I am her example. If I don't want her acting like that, then I have no business acting like that.

Thank God that He has equipped our little ones with such sweet forgiving natures that allow them to wrap their arms around our necks two seconds later and say, "I love you, Mama."

We finished up her bath, and I went to deal with the sodden contents of my purse. The cell phone was water-logged and there was no chance of it cooperating. Lisa at The Preachers Wife suggested that I bury it in a bag of rice to draw out the water, which I did. The next day, it turned on like magic, and I made a phone call to my mom to test it out. I was thrilled that it was working, until about 5 minutes into our conversation when it suddenly rebelled and shut down. I haven't been able to get it to work since then. Any ideas???

So that was the start of my week. Disobedience, guilt, forgiveness, grace, prayers, and peace. And at the end of the day, a hug and kiss and sigh of relief.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Our days during this past week have been turned upside down. After talking it over, we decided that it would be a really good idea for Ricardo to get a night job so that we could have a steady income while waiting on some key things for the business. He was lucky enough to find one that gives him mostly 3rd-shift hours, so that he is still around to deal with the business during the day. In all honesty, it is not how I would have chosen to have things turn out. I would have chosen for a boatload of money to be poured out upon us, but sometimes my way is not the right way. Or the most realistic. This job is necessary, and I'm not complaining. And I still fully believe that things will turn around, and that this will be a temporary solution.

So I am adjusting my day to accommodate this weird new schedule. I am getting up earlier (so not my favorite thing to do, but I have no choice when Savannah starts hollering at 6:45 that she wants to get up. And for this night owl, it is nothing short of torture). I am starting dinner mid-afternoon so that we can eat early enough for Ricardo to get to work on time. My bed hasn't been made at all this past week, because Ricardo has been catching short naps whenever he can, and I don't see the point in making the bed 3 times a day. It makes me feel unfinished to leave it unmade, but I guess I can get over that.

When I put Savannah to bed at night, she asks where Daddy is. She misses him during prayer time, but when I tell her that he's at work, she says, "Ok. Pray for Daddy."

I was thinking last night as I lay in bed how independent I used to be. Going places by myself at night, taking walks alone in semi-dangerous neighborhoods without a second thought (although looking back on it now - not smart), moving across state lines without knowing a single soul in my new city. How things have changed. Oh, I'm still my own person, of course. But I've noticed that when Ricardo is gone, I am a little jumpier. I don't really want to venture out into our neighborhood to take a walk with it being just me and Savannah. The creaks and cracks that emanate from the house at night seem a little more ominous. It takes me a little longer to fall asleep at night, and the bed is much, much colder. It's funny how you gradually become dependent on just knowing someone else is around.

As I'm getting older, I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I am a scheduled person. And I don't like change. For the longest time, I would try to convince myself otherwise. When taking a personality test, I would look at the question that said, "Are you spontaneous! and fun-loving! and adaptable!, or scheduled and a list-maker and orderly?" And I would think, Oh for sure, the first one. That sounds fun! I can be spontaneous. If I really WANT to be. The other choice just sounded too restrictive and boring, and who wants to be associated with that?

But I'm no longer in denial. I like things to be planned. I make lists. I don't like my schedule to get out of whack. And when a situation comes along like the one we're currently in, well, things are bound to get out of whack. So I can either become stressed out, or I can attempt to go with the flow. I've been trying to choose the latter.

That's not to say, though, that when 9:00 rolls around and I tuck Savannah in and we say a volley of "I love yous" as I walk out the door, that I don't breathe a sigh of relief. The day is over, and I have a little "me" time to recharge and ready myself for whatever is upcoming.

And I am now noticing that it is 1:00, so that gives me...what, 5? Maybe 6 hours of sleep before my princess beckons me in the morning?

Time to head in. Goodnight...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Maybe she's color-blind...???

Savannah and I, lounging on the couch, playing the Color Game:

Savannah: What color my eyes?

Me: Brown.

Savannah: Oh! Brown! Ok. What color Mama's eyes?

Me: Green.

Savannah: Ummm...what color my hair?

Me: Brown.

Savannah: (digging her finger into my mouth to force it open) What color Mama's teeth?

Me: You tell me...what color?

Savannah: Ummmmm.....ummmm....Ye-yo! (more commonly known as yellow. Yellow, ya'll).

This is precisely the moment that The Color Game came to a screeching halt as I rushed to my bathroom in search of my Crest White Strips.


Friday, July 18, 2008


Ok. Who gave you permission to transform from a baby into....this?

Who said that you were big enough to ride a bike? To start repeating everything...and I mean everything...that you hear Mommy and Daddy say? To sit on the potty like a big girl?

Um...on the last one, I'm going to pretend that I'm thrilled that she's taken to it so well. Which I am. Really! But is it ok that there's a teeny tiny part of me that is sad that she doesn't really have a need for diapers during the daytime anymore? Because it's just one more step away from the world of baby and toward a whole new world that I'm not sure I'm ready for.

Mama Belle had a post awhile back that made me think. Her girls are a little older, so the things she is experiencing with them are quite a bit different than the stage that I'm at. But I think the overall feeling is the same. You want them to grow up, to be happy and smart and well-adjusted, but you're also left standing there, choking back tears and wondering just where all the time went. I want to be so intentional in raising Savannah. I want to absorb every minute, and yet there are so many times where I let these opportunities sail by. The days pass in their sameness, the everyday things we do start to run together, I get irritated and snap and yell. I sometimes forget that these days, right now, are the ones when she is learning and soaking everything in, wanting to be just like me and comprehending things far better than I realize.

Before Savannah, I had this weird idea that when I had kids, things would sort of fall into place. Traditions and routines would just create themselves. We would automatically read stories and do puzzles, plant a garden together, sing Jesus Loves Me at the top of our lungs. Effortless.

Boy, was I wrong. Everything takes an effort. Nothing just happens. I have to decide to take time out every evening before bed to read her Bible stories, and to answer her a million times that Yes, it's Moses in this picture. The potty training thing wasn't really intuitive; we had to sit down and make it happen. When I'm cooking breakfast and she pulls up her chair and says, "I help Mama!", it takes patience to let her stay there in my way, breaking eggs and spilling blueberries all over. It takes kicking my selfishness to the curb when I want to watch TV and she's begging me to come outside to play with her.

I'm overwhelmed by the responsibility sometimes, the thought that I get one chance at this and I could so easily mess it up. I seriously don't know what I'm doing most of the time. But I do know the One who gave her to me in the first place, and He reminds me daily that I can do all things through Him. And I'm pretty sure that includes raising up this beautiful little baby girl child to love Him with all her heart.

It's time to party!

Welcome to my little corner of this BlogHop!

Hi! I'm Jackie, and I've been blogging for about 6 months. What started on a whim has turned into the greatest outlet and full-fledged addiction for me, and I've met some incredible people that I think of as my friends now. To get to know me a bit better you can read here why I hate answering the door, or here as I contemplate what it means to me to be intentional. I'm a SAHM and I have a sweet hubby and sassy baby girl that I love to death.

If you were here in person, I'd invite you in, hope like crazy that you would overlook my unforgivably trashed house (yay for virtual parties!), and tell you to help yourself to some food. Which would include a table of nothing but desserts. Like key lime cheesecake. Triple chocolate brownies. Blueberry nectarine cobbler. Oh, and a chocolate caramel trifle.

In addition to the sugar overload, it might also include this spinach artichoke dip. It is seriously rich and yummy. It might have something to do with all of the cream cheese and bacon in it...maybe.

Thanks for dropping's been a fun Friday evening! I'd love to get to know you a little better, too, so leave me a comment and tell me a little something about yourself. I'll do my best to make the rounds myself this weekend. Thanks to Robin for hosting...go visit her and find more weekend BlogHoppers to visit.

Feel free to drop back in anytime...there will be brownies waiting for you...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Leaping walls in a single bound...not one of my superpowers

It was a Friday, and Savannah and I were at home by ourselves. Ricardo had just left for the evening, and we weren't expecting him to be back for a couple of hours.

I usually do whatever watering and light yard work that needs to be done in the evening when it is much cooler, so I headed outside to get started. One of Savannah's favorite shows was on, and she begged to stay inside and watch it. The air conditioner was running, so I closed the sliding glass door behind me, but I was still able to see her from where I was.

I was watering my snapdragons, marveling that they were still (somewhat) alive and kicking, and thinking how fortuitous it was that The Garden Party at The Preachers Wife was held at the beginning of June. Back when my flowers were in full bloom, not droopy and parched and begging for relief from the desert heat. Such were the thoughts running through my head.


I heard it from behind me, and I whirled around, suspicious. Because there absolutely shouldn't have been a click coming from behind me. Savannah stood on the other side of the sliding door, grinning at me and looking completely innocent. You know the look...the angelic face that dares you to imagine that any wrongdoing has taken place. The look that calls for investigation. I marched over to open the door.

And...I was met with resistance.

She had locked me out.

Problem was, I wasn't positive that she knew what she had done. Which meant that she might not be able to unlock it and let me back in. I indulged in a moment of sheer panic as I envisioned all of the chaos that could ensue now that she was virtually unsupervised.

So I tried to talk to her calmly. Savannah. Look. See this lock? Ok, just push it up. Like this! See? Push it, ok?

She giggled and ran away. More panic. When is Ricardo supposed to be back, anyway? Yeah. Great. He just left. He won't be home for at least a few more hours.

She came back to the door. I abandoned my calm and instructive tone in favor of one that was tinged with undisguised alarm. I pleaded and cajoled and threatened. And she literally stood there and laughed at me. Which sort of ticked me off, because then I thought that maybe she really did know what she was doing, and was getting a big kick out of it. Exactly how much of this fun little scenario can a two year old understand, anyway? (Rhetorical question, folks. I KNOW they know way more than we know they know).

I calmed down enough to remember that we have a keypad to our garage, and that I could let myself in that way. If I could get to the front yard, that is. Our wall is about chest high on me, and I am neither lithe nor athletic. And hopping over walls...yeah, that's something I generally avoid doing.

But I had no choice. I marched bravely to the wall, planted my hands on top and gave a mighty heave. So mighty that my toes barely left the ground. Ahem. Clearly, I would need assistance.

There was a bucket nearby that looked flimsy and wobbly, but I upended it and hoped for the best. You had better believe that I took a furtive glance around before I hoisted myself up in a tremendously unsteady manner. It would just be my luck that the neighbor would happen by right then. But no, the coast was clear, and so with much exertion, I managed to make it to the top and then crash in a most ungraceful fashion into the gravel below.

I burst into the house, frazzled and ready to let Savannah have a piece of my mind. But again...that whole question of was she trying to? Was she just playing and didn't know what was going on? I really only try to discipline if I know that she has clearly recognized what is being asked of her, but deliberately chooses not to obey.

So instead she got a thorough lesson on how to unlock the sliding glass door. Just in case. So that Mama doesn't have to go hauling herself over the concrete wall again anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Multi -Tasking

Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Blog reading while on the treadmill...way better than watching TV.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We have a winner...!

You all are terrific.

Thanks to every single one of you who stopped by to leave me a comment and enter my humble little giveaway! I had so much fun reading everything you had to say and learning a little more about you. To those of you who said you would choose sleeping in late (or sleeping all day!) as your way to spend a day to yourself, I am so with you. Apparently we are all in the same boat of sleep-deprivation.

And now for the winner:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers: 29
Timestamp: 2008-07-15 06:13:53 UTC

Commenter #29 is Genny at My Cup 2 Yours! Who, by the way, is a fantastic writer and has a beautiful blog. Stop by to visit won't be disappointed.

Congrats, Genny! Email me with you mailing address and I'll get your goodies out in the mail to you sometime this week.

You might have noticed over on my sidebar the little category that says What I'm doing right now. I admit it...I have succumbed to the temptation of Twitter. I was anti-Twitter for a long time because, well, I figured I wasted spent enough time on the internet the way it was, and did I really need to add yet another online addiction to my repertoire? But then I saw several of my blogging buddies twittering and tweeting and singing like songbirds, and so on a whim I joined. It's fun! Best of all, it doesn't take up much time, and you can see at a glance what everyone is doing. So tell me...have you jumped on the bandwagon? Are you anti-Twitter? Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about, which is perfectly fine, too.

And because a couple of you have asked's a quick potty-training update. Miss Savannah has taken to it quite well; much to my surprise, I don't even have to give her M&M's anymore after each time. I think that is largely due to the fact that she is now the proud owner of a pack of Dora the explorer panties, and getting to wear them is a treat that far outweighs any amount of chocolate. Who knew? We still have a ways to go, I think, but overall I'm thrilled with how she's doing.

And lastly, I have been awarded again with the Arte Y Pico Award. Michelle at Life with Three was sweet enough to present this to me....thanks, Michelle! She has a great blog that I always enjoy visiting...go check it out!

And that's all, folks....

Friday, July 11, 2008

In which I throw myself the smallest of parties

As of today, I have officially hit 100 posts! Who knew that back in November when I finally sat down and threw a few jumbled thoughts together at the insistence of my sister that this would turn into a full-blown obsession? At the time, my only thought was to keep my scattered family in the loop with our life way out here in the desert. I hadn't even consistently read any blogs prior to that, so I had no clue how big this blogosphere really was or what it was all about.

And here I am today, surrounded by some very lovely readers who have become friends, some that I know in real life and some that I know only through the beautiful stories that you tell and that I follow every day. It's the most amazing thing to feel a connection with someone who you've never met, but who you think of and pray for throughout the day.

So, I'm going to do a small giveaway in honor of my 100th post. Emphasis on small. After seeing the incredible giveaways that some are doing, I was tempted to forego mine completely. Because mine's pretty puny in comparison, especially considering the fact that I am "re-gifting" a couple of the items (hey, if Elaine can do it, so can I!). Oh, believe me when I say that I wish I could give every single one of you a $100 gift card to Target. Or buy you gas for an entire year. Something crazy and awesome like that. But...hmmm...if I were able to do that, I wouldn't be sitting here right now; I'd more than likely be here:

The Hammock Beckons, Talipasak Beach at High Noon, Romblon, Philippines

A girl can dream, right?

But anyway. I'm not there, I'm here. So let's give a little something away!

There are few things I love more than getting lost in a book. And a steaming Caramel Macciato. Oh, and chocolate. So I'm combining these favorite things of mine:

This book (the one that I won from Linda a while back, but which I am now passing on to one of can read a little bit about it here).

A Starbucks gift card for $5 - hey, it will at least buy you one cup of coffee. Can't complain about that.

And a box of Starbucks Caffe Mocha Truffles. Let's just say that if I were not trying to drop a few (ok, more than a few) pounds, these would not have made it into the giveaway.

And there you have it. Leave me a comment, and tell me something about yourself, such as your favorite childhood memory. Or your favorite flower. Or maybe what you would do if you had a day all to yourself.

I will leave this giveaway open until midnight on Monday, July 14, then I'll do a random drawing and announce the winner sometime Tuesday. And as much as I love my Canadian friends, I'm going to have to keep this to the U.S. only...I'm so sorry. And you lurkers out there (I know you're there!) feel free to leave me a comment, too. I'm nice. And I'd love to meet you.

Thanks, everybody - I'm looking forward to getting to know you better!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quite possibly more than you wanted to know

While I don't intend to give you a daily play-by-play on each victory and defeat of potty-training in our household, I thought an update might be in order.

We started off the morning full of optimism and excitement. Which lasted all of 2 minutes. I set her on the potty, and she promptly burst into tears and refused to stay. However, she still felt entitled to her M&M, but I was quick to inform her that's not how this business works.

I figured we both needed a break after those 2 grueling minutes, and we both happily escaped the bathroom. I felt a slight twinge of guilt that I hadn't stuck it out, but I reasoned that maybe she wasn't ready. Maybe I wasn't ready.

But after lunch, I decided to give it another try. I set up the computer in the bathroom so that she could watch videos, which made her oh so happy and willing to give it another shot.

The air conditioning vent was directly above the throne she was so royally seated upon, and she got chilly every time it kicked on. She's nothing if not resourceful, so she grabbed the shower curtain and wrapped it around herself, saying, "This is nice and warm." Don't worry, the curtain is washable. I thought I better throw that in there for those of you who are cringing at the thought of the germs now attached to the curtain.

2 hours (yes, 2 - she's a stubborn one), 4 movies, 2 bowls of grapes, a cup of milk, a pack of flashcards, and a sore backside (for both of us - I sat on the hard floor) later, we had results. I tell you, it was music to my ears. And may I add that I never thought that would be music to my ears. But it was.

She giggled hysterically, looking slightly amazed, and said, "Mama! Pee-pee!" I laughed and also cried a bit as I did a little dance and told her how proud I was. And then because I was deliriously happy, or maybe just plain delirious from sitting on the hard floor for 2 hours, I awarded her with two M&M's. Which completely went against everything I said in my last post.

At this rate, when she poops (hopefully tomorrow!), she'll be getting half a bag as a reward. This potty-training stuff is hard work.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Some good old-fashioned bribery

Having purchased this over the weekend...

...let the potty-training now commence.

According to Ricardo, the size of the bag should not be an indicator of how long it's going to take. Or at least we're hopin'.

Savannah rarely, very rarely, gets candy. I searched high and low for the teeny mini m&m's. The regular-sized ones were all I could find. I am tempted to cut them in half, but that might be taking it a bit far.

So. I think a good chunk of my day today will be spent keeping my daughter company in the bathroom.

Thank God for wireless least ya'll can keep me company while I'm in there doling out the m&m's.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Great Trade-Off

You know the general rule that all mothers adhere to? The one that goes something like this: If you cannot see your child, and she is being particularly, unusually quiet, it probably means she's doing something that she's not supposed to.


However, there is a little something that I call the Great Trade-Off. This is when you know that they're up to something that you might not want them to do...say, emptying out your Tupperware cabinet, or pulling all of your socks out of your drawer...but since it's nothing life-threatening and you know it will only take you a few seconds to clean it up later, you let them continue. All to buy yourself a few uninterrupted minutes.

Please tell me you've done this. At least once in your life.

Case in point:

Savannah had a box of regular Crayola crayons that she got when she was about a year and a half. A few weeks later they were all either lost or snapped in half. The perfectionist in me cannot stand broken crayons so I would toss them (that was before I found out I could do this with!).

Just before Christmas, I ran across a big box of self-sharpening crayons. Each one was encased in a plastic tube, and you just had to turn the bottom to wind it up. Perfect! I figured these were the answer to the breaking-of-the crayon problem, so I snatched them up. Brilliant, right? Surely she could not do any damage to these, because after all, they were made of plastic. Practically impervious.

A few weeks ago, we sat in the living room, getting our evening fix of Wheel of Fortune. This is probably very, very uncool to admit that we watch it every evening. But we do. It is our Family Show, and we get excited about it. Even Savannah gets in on the fun, calling out the letters as they come up.

So. About half through, Savannah wandered behind the couch where her crayons and coloring books are kept. And she was being extremely quiet.

Red flag.

I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "Counting, Mama! One, two, three, four..." Ok. Back to the show. The thing was, I knew she was up to something other than just coloring and counting. But...the Great Trade-Off had commenced.

Later on, I walked by her coloring station, and saw this:

She had methodically taken each crayon apart, rendering them completely useless. The plastic case, the crayon part, the white wind-up thing. All sitting in piles. She couldn't snap these crayons in half, but she sure could wreak havoc on them nonetheless.

So much for my brilliance. And that impervious plastic.

Tonight I was cleaning up the kitchen, and I realized I hadn't seen her in about 10 minutes. I asked Ricardo where she was, and he said she was playing in her room. Quietly.

Once, again, cue the Great Trade-Off.

And also once again, I was in for this little treat:

I keep the pink basket full of hair accessories on her dresser, where she can't reach them. Or rather, where she couldn't reach them before she realized she could utilize that box underneath her dresser as a handy little step-stool.

What is so fascinating about dismantling things? She now has a few barrettes that have been stripped of their fancy little flowers. And she isn't satisfied with just emptying the She has to take every single barrette (and there are a lot of them, trust me) off of the paper holder and mix them up.

But no matter that it took me 10 minutes to separate all of the barrettes and match up every single ponytail holder according to color.

At least I got the kitchen cleaned up. And that's what I call a good trade.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


We usually celebrate the 4th of July every year by going to a friend's house and having a cookout and lighting an entire super-sized box of fireworks. The kind of fireworks that are absolutely ear-splitting. It's hilarious; in between setting off each one, the adults sit around and try to cram in about 20 seconds worth of normal conversation before the next one crackles to life. Then for a whole minute we sit and focus on the can that is spewing sparks into the air, because it's useless to try to talk over the racket at that point. The kids usually tire of it after about 15 minutes and run inside to play, but for some reason, the adults keep lighting them until the box is empty and our eardrums are permanently impaired.

We decided to do something different this year, and took Savannah to the Balloon Fiesta Park where the city launches its big fireworks show. We arrived about 7:30, spread a blanket out and set up lawn chairs, and settled in to listen to Blood, Sweat and Tears play a concert. I felt a little out of it when I discovered that I only knew 2 of the songs they played, but I just now googled them and found out they've been around since the '60s, so that made me feel a little better, like I am not totally out of the loop.

The evening was perfect. Balmy and breezy, 70 degrees. Savannah ran in circles, and then we lay on the blanket, looking up at puffy white clouds and a sliver of the moon. Ricardo offered to brave the lines to get a snack. He returned 45 minutes later bearing a paper container of nachos, the kind that are slathered in processed cheese and sliced jalapenos. And may I just add that after a few weeks of not eating much fat, these are currently not sitting well with me. And that's all I have to say about that.

The fireworks show started, and Savannah was delighted. She cuddled next to me for the first few moments, exclaiming, "I scared!" But she became braver and was soon standing, arms outstretched, trying to catch the drops of light as they fell toward the earth.

Synchronized patriotic music played along with the fireworks. When "God Bless America" started, I teared up. When "I'm proud to be an American" played, I cried and sang along as loudly as I could. I didn't expect to get emotional; it just happened.

It was a great day. We live in a great country. I know I am guilty of not recognizing it on a daily basis, but we have amazing freedom here. I love this holiday because it's a reminder to slow down and be thankful for all that God has bestowed upon us.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Comfort Zone

This past Wednesday night, Jim Caviezel was the guest speaker at our church. The place was absolutely packed out...there wasn't an empty seat in the house. Obviously, the main draw for most of the people that came but who don't normally attend was the fact that he is a movie star, which in itself is enough to bring people out in droves.

I was excited to hear him speak; I figured that he would spend some time talking about what it was like to star in The Passion of the Christ, and maybe talk briefly about how his faith has had an impact on his career.

I was wrong.

The boy can preach.

He isn't what I would call the most natural speaker in the world. He was soft-spoken. He didn't rush his thoughts, and there were plenty of long pauses between his words. But it wasn't the fact that he is an easy-on-the-eyes Hollywood star that was electrifying. The Holy Spirit was there, and it was powerful.

I would love to be able to summarize everything he said, but honestly, only one thing stands out to me. After I heard him say this, my mind latched onto it and hasn't let it go.

He said, "Just because God gives you something, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy."

That hit me like a giant white-capped wave. One of those moments that sort of stuns you with its simultaneous simplicity and depth.

He was speaking this in reference to playing the part of Jesus in The Passion. He went through quite a bit while actually filming it, and then in the aftermath, his career took a definite hit. He struggled through it, wanting to quit so many times, but knowing that there was Someone bigger than any of them at work, and knowing that he was fulfilling what he was born to do.

And so since Wednesday night, I have been pondering this. Just because God gives you something, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

For a long time, I had this idea in the back of my head. Something along the lines that if God called me to do something, whether it be something as simple as sharing my faith or something that really stretched me and called me completely out of my comfort zone, He would then pave the way, making it free from any bumps or barriers or general uncomfortableness. Surely He would not call me to do something that would rip away any security that I might feel. And if I were to actually obey Him and follow through on it, surely there would be only serenity and composure and complete poise on my part. There would be no floundering, no second-guessing, no wondering if it went as planned, no questioning whether it was well-received or if I came across like I knew what I was doing. Because if God was in it, well, then, would I not be transformed into someone who knows exactly what to say and do?

If only.

There are so many times that I am in situations that I know God wants me in. And it's uncomfortable. I say silly things. I am not fluid and graceful. I go home and replay in my head what just happened, and pick apart what I could have done better. And yet, I know He wants me there. He has chosen me for this, He has given it to me. But it doesn't mean it is easy.

For me, I know that pride plays a part. I don't want anyone to see my imperfections. What if they wonder why I'm in this position? What if they hear me say something completely off-the-wall? What if I miss a note? What if I don't know the answer?

But God chooses us, in spite of ourselves. He chooses us so that when things are accomplished, it is only because of Him, and so that it will be for His glory. Once I get past myself and realize that really, my comfort level in the situation isn't even a factor, then He will be exalted.

But that's hard to get past sometimes. Because I like to be comfortable. I don't like going into anything unless I am assured of the outcome. And I wonder how many times I've missed out on something in my life that I didn't want to pursue...because it wasn't simple or painless or convenient.

I do believe that He will give us peace through it. But having His peace and staying in your comfort zone are not the same thing. Sometimes He calls us out of that comfort zone first, and then He gives us that peace. Not the other way around, although wouldn't that be nice? And then He nudges us out into that place where we really have no clue what we're doing.

I have had these thought floating around in my brain for the past few days. I was having trouble formulating what I wanted to say; the pieces were there but they weren't quite fitting together. Then I read this post at La Vida Dulce. Kellie expressed it so beautifully and eloquently, and it was basically everything that had been spinning inside of me. If you get a chance, pop on over and see what she has to say.

So I am attempting to re-examine my life. To see if there are areas that I have barricaded and said, "Off-limits!" to God. To say, "I don't see how I'm gonna do this...but You can make it happen."

Because it's really not about me at all.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A rather desultory post

I finally did it. I scheduled an appointment with my hairdresser, and went Monday afternoon. Why is it that getting a haircut can be so scary? It's just hair. It will grow back. But's pretty important stuff.

Also, I want my husband to be happy and like it, and I'm never sure what he's going to think after I chop my hair. Although in the end, I think it's ultimately more important for me to be happy with it, because if I'm happy, it obviously makes me a more pleasant person all the way around. Which in turn is only good for him.


Here it is.

So, I think I like it. I also think I could have asked her to do a few things differently, but I'll know for next time. I am still getting the hang of styling it (hence, the wayward strands you see here and there) and I have so much darn curl in my hair that it takes a long time to get it all out. I have a feeling I'm going to be letting it go curly quite a bit.

And what's even better, because I went to my regular hairdresser, I did not have to use any of the gift certificate on this. So that means I have the full amount left to pamper myself sometime soon, hopefully next week. First massage of my life, here I come!

Ok. Moving on...

I have been really blessed this past month, and have won 4 different contests hosted by various bloggers. I mentioned in an earlier post the book from Linda and the necklace from Carolina Mama by Lisa Leonard Designs (which is beautiful, by the way). More recently, I received a Target gift card from The Roost (thank you so much!) and 3 books are on the way from Jessie, which I am so excited about because, well, new books!

So, obviously, I am hugely grateful and have had so much fun with it all, but I am also starting to feel the need to pass along a little bloggy love myself. My 100th post is coming up in the very near future, and I thought about doing the traditional "100 things about me" post. However, there is a very big problem with that; it would require untold hours for me to sit and think and come up with something readable that would not drive you away within the first spellbinding minute or two. And I do not have untold hours.

So instead, I think I'm going to do a little giveaway of my own. Mind you, it's nothing big, so don't get too excited. It's just a little way to say thanks for taking the time to drop by my little corner of the blogosphere and making me feel at home. I am not sure what day this will be, because I am neither organized nor regular in my posting schedule like some of you are, and so I really have no clue on which day the 100th post might fall. But soon. So stay tuned.

And that, my friends, is all the randomness I have for today.