Friday, March 2, 2012

New Car Fever

It's been two years.  Two years without a car payment in sight.  I remember the elation we felt as we put in that final payment after six years of paying for the minivan we bought while on vacation in Alabama.. (Don't ask, we were idiots.)

When we bought the minivan, we had a 3 year old and a newborn.  We had no idea what 3 children could do to a car.  Stickers, pens, food, melted crayons, etc.  are just part of the program when you have as many kids as we do.

I don't know.  Maybe it's the fact that every surface of the interior of our car is covered by some sort of ancient spill.  Like a history of our family painted into the fabric of our seats. 

Maybe it's the fact that my drivers side window doesn't roll down.  At all. The motor burned out over a year and a half ago and it's expensive.   Try pulling up to a drive through and having to open your door to pay or get the food.  It's so fun.  Pulling forward so that the door opens enough to reach out and grab it, and backing it up when you pull too far forward and you are straining to reach the cashiers outstretched arms and bewildered face.  It's not embarrassing at all.

About 6 months ago, Kayleigh broke the handle off of the rear sliding door on the outside.  Once again, pretty expensive to fix and there are other things we should spend our money on I guess (we are actually just very lazy, but it sounds better to make it sound like we can't afford it).  Now, when I pull up to car pool lane every.single. morning. the teacher who tries to open the back door to let the girls out  reaches to open the door and then immediately looks mystified at the door.  Then, after Taylor opens the door, (heaven forbid it's hard to open that morning for her) watching the adult try to shut our non automatic sliding door from the inside makes me shrink down in my seat.  Taylor compensates for us by shooing away the adult, sighing and saying "I got it" and slamming the door by grabbing the window (as long as it hasn't locked into position, then I have to reach back across the car and grab the handle to shut it).  I would roll down my window and talk to them... but you know how that goes...

I've had a few.. let's call them "incidents" in this car.  Someone backed into the side of my car in a parking lot, I hit a small tree leaving a youth retreat, and a mailbox jumped out of nowhere as I was parking on an occaision.  Body work is for losers.  

I want a new car.  A car that doesn't smell like french fries, crayons, and hopelessness when I open the door.  I don't care about having a car payment, or being in debt again.  My heart wants this.  My head is screaming at me that this car can go for probably at LEAST another 70,000 miles without us even needing to THINK about replacing it.(darn you Mazda for making such reliable cars).  I'm sick of it.

I want a car that I can drive around just for the fun of it.  I don't care if it doesn't have third row seating and the girls all have to sit together.  Let them bicker.  I will just roll down my window and drown out their little arguments with the breeze...

I want a new car, this car.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A teenager stuck in a woman's body.

That's me.  (Yes, Virginia, two posts in one week!).

Aside from the fact that I was a band geek/ 90's hair kind of girl in high school, I really enjoyed being a teenager.  I mean, sure I had to deal with mean girls (but in a hillbilly high school, really they just fought over the one guy with all his teeth- or insert other redneck joke about everyone dating their cousin I guess..., but I digress) but overall my high school years are a blur.

I'm a responsible grown up now, with a mortgage, and three kids.  Somehow though, that hasn't really affected my personality.  I believe God not only called Baxter into youth ministry, but also me.  I had no idea just how well I would fit in with teenagers until we actually started volunteering to hang out with them.  How do I know that I'm really basically still a teenager? Here are some ways you can tell.

* I use pseudo words like "totes" (or totally for you old people out there), and "Fasho"(for sure, or fer shurre, dude for you guys stuck in the 90s).  I hang out with teens so often that these words have slipped in to my everyday vocabulary.

* I can probably quote every line from Napoleon Dynamite or Nacho Libre ("Get that corn outta my face!!!").  Maybe that one comes from just watching those movies too many times, but I quote them with the teens, so I'm counting it.

* I actually count down to teen camp every year.  We use that time as our vacation, people.  We spend 5 days out in the wilderness of Oklahoma with our teens. There are no little drinks with umbrellas, no sandy beaches, just us, the teens and God (and some mosquitos).  Besides being home or anywhere with my girls, it's the best time of the whole year.

* I have to stop myself from fist bumping adults that I have just met. 

* You probably won't ever see me wear anything from Liz Claiborne or Banana Republic.  I wear hoodies, t-shirts, jeans, etc. On second thought,  maybe that just makes me sloppy?  I get dressed up once a year when I force all the teen girls to wear dresses on Easter.

* I get more excited about games and pranks than most adults would admit.  My husband has to turn on every light when he goes into a room in our house for fear that a crazed lunatic (me) will jump out and scare him.  Seriously.  I hide behind doors, couches, in the shower, one time, I even tried to get under the sink.  It's a good time. You guys should try it.  Nothing spices up a marriage more than a near heart attack.

Honestly, I'm not sure if any of those things really makes me a teenager.  I do know, that if I couldn't serve in youth ministry, I don't know where I would fit in or serve.  Most of the time, I feel like I can relate better to a struggling teenager than another adult. Thank God for youth ministry.

Yes, this is me circa 1997.  Drum major.  :)
Me with my teen girls two years ago. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I have thought about blogging so much, but then when I get a spare moment to do so, I can't think of anything significant to write. 

Life is so good.  It's crazy, hectic, our schedules are so full but we are so blessed.  My kids are healthy, my husband is wonderful (though he spends a lot of time at work), and business is taking off like I never imagined it would.  Our family lives by the motto: Prepare for rain.  We have lived in constant hope since Baxter made the decision to go into youth ministry that he would be able to do it full time. Almost 5 years into ministry, that has not been what God has wanted for us.  We have been so blessed by God's choice to allow us to be where we are, at a church that we love, with teens that we really connect with.  We have learned to see through our own frustrations and look at the big picture (and it only took us 4 years or so!).  We are focusing on preparing for whatever God might have in store for us by staying close to Him, and keeping Him the center of our family.

We are slowly but surely making some changes in our home.  I now have a studio space and an office.  We have painted a few of the rooms, and things are actually coming together!  After about three years, our house feels like a home.

It's been a while, so I will leave you with some observations, that hopefully will inspire at least a chuckle or two.

*My husband and I are becoming like my parents.  We have been married so long, that we can communicate with a series of grunts instead of verbally.  That's how you know you have "made it".

* Kayleigh has now reached the age where I can no longer help her with some of  her math homework.  Thank you, right brain and rural public school for getting me to a 5th grade math level.  Heaven help us if something happens to my husband.

* Taylor will be turning 8 years old next month.  The theme for her birthday party?  Rock Star.  I'm totally going to be dressing up too and singing karaoke 80's hair band hits with them. You don't think it will embarrass her, do you? No way.  I'm the cool mom.

*  I'm planning our summer vacation right now.  With the way our schedules are looking, we will probably be vacationing at my parents house down the street (if I can get my Dad to cook for me all week, it might actually be pretty fantastic), or going on an exotic safari to Petsmart...

I will end with a collage of photos (if you are my facebook friend, you can still enjoy them, even if you have seen them before) from this winter. 

I hope to be back soon, but you know how it goes.  Until next time, Prepare for Rain, ya'll!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


By now, if you are friends with me on facebook, you've likely seen the photos from the cruise that I took with my mother and sister. It was amazing! You've also probably learned about the wicked chest cold/ bronchitis that reared it's ugly head the day after I got home.  I don't really remember the last week and a half.  It was pretty miserable.

Anyway, about the cruise.

Spending that time away just to relax, read a book (books), sleep when I wanted, and be totally goofy with my two favorite women on the planet was really, really, good for me.  We stayed up late (like 11:00 people!), slept in late,  and shared funny stories from past and present.  We read books on our balcony, surrounded by ocean air.  We got massages (and sunburns) on the beach at Cozumel.  We people watched (I have to say, this was surprisingly fun!).  We are going to make this trip a yearly thing (maybe not a cruise every year, but just the time to get away together). 

Here's what I have figured out based on cruising twice.

What NOT to do on a cruise:

1.  Yell at the people who are putting you in line.  We saw a group (who were possibly already inebriated) impatiently yelling at the staff because they weren't in the boarding line they wanted.  Somehow, the more they yelled, the faster the other lines went, it was good for us. 

2.  Forget to pack sunscreen.  We could only find sunscreen on shore in Mexico and it was about $20.00 a bottle.  They saw us coming.

3.  Leave your room on the first day or so without a plan (or a map). Are you familiar with the game portal? My sister and I spent about 45 minutes walking (and laughing hysterically) through doors trying to get back to our floor, only to find that each door led somewhere new...Though, our family isn't exactly blessed with a sense of direction.

4.  Watch the road while you are riding in a cab in Mexico.  Your life will flash before your eyes.  It's like a car chase scene from the movie Bourne Identity, only without the dialogue, because you are too scared to say anything and because the driver wouldn't understand you anyway.

5.  If you are bunking with two other people in a tiny room for 4 days, discussing religion, politics, or the Occupy Wall street movement, is probably not a good idea.  Trust.

6.  Look too closely at the other passengers after the third day.  By then, you realize that most of them are sunburned, drunk/hungover, and easily angered.  But hey, if an emergency situation arises, all you have to do is beat them to a life boat.  Piece of cake.

7. Do eat veggies and fiber.  4 days is a long time.  That's all I'm saying. 

I can't wait until our next trip together! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Literary adventures

I can't imagine going through life without a love for literature.  I worry when I see sects of the younger generation with no idea what a great book can do for you.  Here are some great quotes about this subject.

"We read to know that we are not alone."
C.S. Lewis

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading."
William Styron

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul."
Joyce Carol Oates

ahhh.  I just sighed.

So, I thought I would post a few of my recent reads and try and get some feedback about what you like to read.

One Day- David Nicholls
This book follows a couple on the same day over the span of their lives.  I LOVED the premise of this book, loved the way the author wrote it.  I felt empty while reading it, however. I didn't connect wth both main characters and had a hard time living through them..  I would reccomend this book to those who enjoy great style, but a grating, at times infuriating set of events.

The Hunger Games Trilogy-Suzanne Collins
If you have not read these books, go now and get them.  Don't wait for the movie. 

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.
Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.(Synopsis written by The Scholastic Book Company)

The Help-Kathryn Stockett
I haven't seen the movie, but the book is gritty, honest, and captivating.

Little Women (again)-Louisa May Alcott
If you don't know what this book is about, shame on ya. Go read it.

Room-Emma Donoghue
Told from the perspective of a five year old. 

You have lived your WHOLE life in a square room, and you know nothing of the outside world.  Your only companion is your mother.  You don't realize yet, that you are living a nightmare.  When the nightmare supposedly ends, has it really just begun? 

I couldn't put this one down, though it is difficult to read at times.  I reccomend it. :)

I read most of these before I realized there were movies about them (aside from The Help) and I would love to catch a few more books BEFORE they turn into a screenplay and before they are "trendy".

So, what book should I put on my "to read" list?  What's your favorite book?

Monday, August 22, 2011

My First Day of "Freedom"

Ella was a suprise blessing for us.  She came just at the point when her older sisters were just starting to become independent, and give old mom a break.  I had to start the midnight feedings, the diapers, and the constant attention all over again.  Needless to say, it was a busy, yet fulfilling time.  I could see a day in the distant future when all my children would go to school during the day, and my house would be quiet again.

Today, it happened.  The girls all got up at an early hour for school (actually they shot out of bed, eagerly anticipating the time to go), and we started the process of getting them ready.  Kayleigh, who considers herself a pro at this by now can do everything herself and just needed some advice on how to fix her hair, accesorize, etc. She was anxious to get back and see all of her friends that she had missed over the summer, and get to the library to pick out some new books. 

Taylor, was excited to pick out an outfit, with multiple accessories, fix her hair, show off her cute shoes to her friends, and see her teacher.  She was eager to see her friends, too, of course and ready to play with them at recess.

Ella was excited about EVERYTHING.  She couldn't wait to meet new people, carry a backpack, have a locker, carry her own tray at lunch, and play games at recess.  She has been watching her sisters talk, complain, and explain everything about school for years, often feeling left out because being home with Mom leaves little room to be cool, I guess.  Earlier this summer she and I were discussing the prospect of her leaving and I teasingly asked her to skip kindergarten and just stay home.  She loves to make everyone happy, so she agreed.  Last night, as I was tucking her into bed, I reminded her of her promise and asked her what she thought.  She smiled at me, looked into my eyes and said "Mommy, you will be okay without me, won't you?" I told her "yes, of course", but as I dropped her off this morning, and returned to my silent house, I thought of all the time I spent thinking and anticipating this day, and realized that maybe I would, but it will be a lot harder than I thought...

Cherish every moment.  Even the difficult ones.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I promise I won't always wait to update during a solstice change..

My husband and I were talking this weekend and wondering if everyone else's life is this chaotic and maddening. It seems there is never enough time do what should be done. My house is never clean, we order take out with an indecent frequency, and I can't tell you the last time we had a date night. Are these just the years we will look back on and wish we could return to when the girls are all out of the house, or are we rushing through this time in our lives with such a fast pace we won't even remember it? I'm starting to believe that something has to change.

If I were to update you with everything that happened during the summer, it wouldn't seem like much. We had lost teeth, more independence, lots of days at the pool, etc. It was your typical summer. I have enjoyed the few moments I could look around at what I am blessed with. All my daughters will be going into those open school doors this year, and I'm sure not looking back at me who will be taking it harder than I predicted. I thought because I am a little worn out, I would be ready for my last baby to leave the house and go to school, but I don't think it's going to be the case. I will simply miss having someone home to take care of. I want to remember her little voice, how she mispronounces words, and how she still comes and needs a hug when she flings herself off of the back of the couch onto the floor. She still plays with barbies, needs me to help get her dressed, so I still have this for a while.

As for me, you could say that I'm flourishing. I get to work a lot, and I love it. I hope to be full time by next spring. I'm a bit tired these days, but I will use my husband's favorite expression when dealing with a bad situation "it is what it is". I look forward to cooler temperatures and leaving the house and not smacking into a wall of heat. I joined a book club, read two books, and have almost made it there twice. Third times the charm right?

Baxter, as usual, is working too hard, and too much. He has his sense of humor (and my nagging) to keep him afloat. He is feeling better these days with his bimonthly visits to the IV chair. Who would have thought psoriasis would change your life in such a dramatic way. Again, it is what it is.

I hate to sound so down and depressing.  Life is really, really, good.  I thank God for the wonderful life that I am blessed to live.  I love everything that makes me busy.  We laugh every day.  If I had to live like this for the rest of my life, that would be okay with me.  I will bloom where God plants me and prepare for rain while I am in this season.
I usually end my blogs by promising to update soon, but by now I feel your disbelief. I try, I really do.

I will leave you with a collage from summer. :)

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