Friday, February 29, 2008

Welcome to my 100th post: FAQ for Amy

Other FAQ:
FAQ for Jeff, the Stay-at-home Dad

Coming soon:
Blogging FAQ

………………………

If your life was a novel, what would the title be?

Brown-eyed girl

………………………

What is a biggest regret?

I regret not learning how to play tennis until I met my husband. He taught me everything I know and now we battle each other ever time we play. If I had started playing earlier he wouldn’t stand a chance against me.

………………………

Tell me the most embarrassing story from your youth?

I was once crammed in the back seat of my parents 1981 Camaro Z28 with my brother and his friend who I had a huge crush on. I peed in my pants. I don’t remember how old I was, but I can guarantee that I was old enough to go pee pee on the potty.


………………………

Where did you grow up?

On 10 acres somewhere between Escalon and Farmington, California


………………………

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

I love the Smurfs. Smurfette is the luckiest being to ever walk the earth. She has all those boys to do her bidding and no girls to compete with.


………………………

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. This may have something to do with a daughter’s innate belief that her own mother doesn’t have a clue about how to be a good mom. I was convinced that I would be the perfect mother and my daughter would never complain or question me. Sadly Belle has already informed me that I am a terrible mom and she will do a much better job with her kids when she grows up.


………………………

What is your favorite curse word?

#$%%^% &^#^ %$#@%$#@


………………………

How did you meet your husband?

I entered a crowded office, all eyes were on me. To the people in the room I was a person of authority. Putting aside my nervousness, I tried to appear confident and searched the room for someone to connect with. The blue eyed boy approached me, he was enthusiastic, outgoing and just what I needed.
The full story is
here.

………………………

What do you do for a living?

I am an Office Manager for a company with four full time employees (including myself and the owner). I have a background in purchasing and accounting, so those are the tasks I excel at. The rest of my job consists of project management and making sure the coffee pot gets turned off at night.


………………………

Your hubby surprises you with a trip of a lifetime. You leave today. Where would you go?

We are getting on a cruise ship and going to Hawaii. My brothers, their families and several babysitters are coming with.


………………………

If you were stranded on a desert island, who and what would you bring?

Jeff comes with me because I am lost without him. Since he does all the packing, I’ll let him decide what to bring.

………………………

What is your favorite book and favorite author?

My favorite author is Dean Koontz. Favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

………………………

What is your biggest "just for me" luxury?

I would like laser hair removal, botox and a facial, please.

………………………

You have $1000 to spend in any store, which do you choose?

Kenneth Cole


………………………

What is your favorite vacation spot?

I could go to Maui over and over and over again.


………………………

I want to know how you made your hair so pretty in that last post.

I took that picture shortly after my stylist released me out into the world. Let’s just pretend that it always looks like that, mmm-kay

………………………

Who are your favorite actress and actor and what is your favorite movie?

My favorite actor is Tom Hanks, whom I met when I was very young and before he was famous. Currently my favorite actress is Keira Knightley. Armageddon is my favorite movie.

………………………

Do you want any more children?

I would like to experience one more pregnancy. I would be thrilled if that pregnancy resulted in twins. My husband would not be thrilled.

………………………

How do you think life would have been different if you had two BOYS instead of GIRLS?

I’m guessing that our house would be a shambles. I would have to say bye-bye to all the pretty pink dresses and jewelry. I may not get to hunt for ladybugs anymore, but frog hunting, bike riding, and baseball would still be in order.

………………………

Do you care if your kids go out mismatched and bed-headed?

As long as they have a jacket and shoes on they can go out anyway they want. If it weren’t for Jeff the kids would never look presentable.

………………………

What are your biggest fears?

The day I wake up and realize that I am old, my children are grown and there is nothing I can do about it.

………………………

What are your hopes for your kids when they are grown?

I hope they find happiness in every situation, beauty in every location and a love for God that will shine bright for all to see.


Thank you to Dlyn, Kelly, TheVasquez3, The Sports Mama, Amy, Krissy, Maria, Jane the Sane, Victoria, Honeybell, Irene, Melissa, Kellan, ToddlerDaddy, and Rachel for asking these questions.

Other FAQ:
FAQ for Jeff, the Stay-at-home Dad


Please stay tuned for Blogging FAQ

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Number Ninety-Nine

AWARD ACCEPTANCES

Amy Shipp at Our Fun Funky Life! gave me this very stylish award because she loves my hair do and blog. Thank you Amy! This award coordinates beautifully with my fridge.

I would like to pass this award on to The Sports Mama at You Don’t Have to Like Me because she puts the other sports mama’s to shame by wearing high heeled boots on the baseball diamond. Her stylish ways extend beyond her dress and into her blog. Her posts make me laugh, cry, love her and want to live next door to her.

Irene at Our little piece of the World thinks that I am worthy of this award that comes with a challenge. I am to share three writing tips and pass the award onto to three bloggers who are "worthy of recognition and esteem". I am not a natural writer. That anyone would consider my blogging to be worthy of recognition is humbling. But I will play along.

  • Less is more: Capture and keep your reader's attention by staying on subject and eliminating unnecessary words or tangents
  • Use a thesaurus: Varied vocabulary makes your writing more interesting and concise.
  • Just write, then proofread: My best posts are a result of typing with no clear goal. Eventually something wonderful comes out. I then go back and edit out all the unrelated content.
I would like to pass this purple lion award and challenge on to:
Kelly of Ordinary Art because she rocks the words as a blogger and middle school teacher.
LatteMommy because she is 59 perfect posts into her 365 days of blogging.
OhMommy at Classy Chaos because she writes her posts in 30 minutes. I need to know her secrets.

MEME

Kyle at Holiday in Suburbia tagged me for The Six Quirks meme. Have you met Kyle yet? She is a real life friend of Ordinary Art Kelly. Kyle started her blog a couple of weeks ago and is part of my daily reads.

Here are the rules
1) Post the rules on your blog.
2) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
3) Tag at least three people at the end of your post.
4) Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5) Let the fun begin.
  • I think Microsoft Office 2007 rocks and don’t understand why people are still using Office 2003.

  • Off the top of my head I can tell you how many calories are in most foods.

  • I spent the last two weeks convinced that I am pregnant. I am not pregnant, but I am quirky.

  • When my lips are not covered with lipstick or gloss I pick at them.

  • I keep a Kleenex with me all the time for my "damp like a puppy dog" nose.

  • I wrote this entire post in Microsoft Word using HTML so I can show Huckdoll how awesome I am at a hrefing. (see screen shot)
The three people I would like to tag are:
Amanda at Yussman Triplets. She is the only blogger I have met in real life. And by met, I mean that I babysat her 17 years ago.
Rachel at From the Land of Monkeys and Princesses because she needs the distraction.
And LunaNik at Secrets of a Black Heart because she already did this meme and it was hilarious! (Luna, I don't expect you to do the meme again, I just wanted to link to you because your post rocked and I'm still showing off for Huckdoll)

THE 100th POST

Tomorrow is post number 100, which means that tomorrows Fight the Frump article on diet and exercise will be postponed for one week. Tomorrow's 100th post is a very exciting joint venture with my blog friends where I will answer the FAQ that have been submitted. It is not too late to ask a question. Go here to do so.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Why He Needs a Son





For more Wordless Wednesdays go here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fear

We all have fears. We talk about them, avoid them and detour our lives around them. Fears cause anxiety. Anxiety creates stress in our lives and our relationships.

Financial difficulty is a common fear. My financial fears did not start until Jeff landed the perfect sales job with a very advantageous commission structure. Having an abundance of money made me think that I couldn't live without it. We placed so much value on our cars, clothing, belongings and status that I feared losing it all.

Jeff lost his job and a new job did not materialize. Most of you know that we lived off our savings and retirement accounts until they were empty. Most of you know that we went into debt flipping a house.

What I haven’t talked about is welfare. WIC gave my babies free formula, juice and cereal. I used food stamps to feed my family. Washington state provided free health insurance for my children. The birth of my second child did not cost me a dime; the US taxpayers footed the bill. We took advantage of these programs from August 2004 until March 2007.

Why do I tell you all this? Maybe it is to change people’s perception of welfare recipients. Maybe it is to change your perception of me.

Fear inhibits honesty. I was afraid of what you might think of me so I painted a picture of myself and hoped you would not notice that I was telling an incomplete story. I showed you our BMW’s; I talked about our big house; I flaunted my nice things to distract you from some experiences that shaped me. I was ashamed of those experiences, but I am not ashamed of who I am.

I am compassionate, empathetic and nonjudgmental. Life has beaten me up, spit me out and taught me that I could have been a homeless person, an unwed mother, or an insufferable snob. I was fat, skinny, rich, poor, employed, fired and in therapy. I am a Christian who lived in sin. I am a shy extrovert. I am a contradiction.

I still fear what you will think of me after reading this, but take comfort in knowing that your picture of me is complete.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Just Doing My Part

This is a public service post designed to impart real information for internet users who have previously left here empty handed.
100% bounce rate searches courtesy of Google Analytics.

1. How to draw Elmo - First of all, sorry if you viewed my "Stupid Elmo" post first. I am not an artist. These people know what they are doing.

2. Marble up nose or What do you do when your child put corn up her nose - My daughter did this. What you need to do is get off the computer and CALL YOUR DOCTOR. They will want see your child right away.

3. 10 minute mile pace songs - I start off every run with "Ingition" by TobyMac. Also by TobyMac on Portable Sounds - "Boomin'", "I'm For You", "Suddenly", "Feelin' So Fly" and "Made To Love". Other artists and songs are; "WooHoo" from the Starship Troopers Soundtrack, INXS "New Sensation Remix", Red Hot Chili Peppers "Give It Away", Elvis vs Jxl "A Little Less Conversation", Jars of Clay "Work", Switchfoot "Gone", and Blink 182's "Stay Together For The Kids" and "First Date".
All these songs keep me clipping along at the pace you are looking for. Have a good run.

4. Nikki Fontaine - I am very sorry. When I wrote this post, I didn't consider that someone would already have this name. I retract my previous statements. Nikki Fontaine is a perfectly acceptable name held by many upstanding citizens. My bad. Please forgive me.

5. Nicholas Kroon - He's my dad. Can I help you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

How to...

Lose One Pound A Week Without Exercise.

For this week's Fight the Frump, I am going to step back into my former profession and see if my expertise might be of interest to anyone.

A long time ago, I was a personal trainer and nutrition consultant. In my early 20's I gravitated to this job after losing 55 pounds. By educating others on proper lifestyle and eating habits, I learned how to control my own weight and effectively lose weight after I had my babies. For the record, I gained 70 pounds in my first pregnancy and 60 pounds with my second baby. It is accurate to say that in my life time I have loss 185 pounds and kept it off.

Math is our friend

Let's say you want to lose some weight. A loss of one to two pounds a week is considered healthy. To keep our math simple, let's set a goal of one pound a week.

1 pound of fat = 3500 calories
There are 7 days in a week.
3500 / 7 = 500 calories a day deficit needed to lose one pound a week.

You can create a calorie deficit by eating less food, exercising more or both. Today we are going to focus on food intake. I want to focus our attention here because an hour spent sweating at the gym can easily be negated by calorie consumption.

Let's take my once upon a time client for example. She had a difficult time exercising, so she could only ride the bike for 10 minutes 3 days a week. She spent the rest of her hour at the gym lifting weights. There is nothing wrong with this work out routine. According to this calculator she was burning 640 calories during that hour at the gym. Unfortunately she felt the need to reward herself with dinner at McDonald's, which WAS NOT on her meal plan. Her Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Large Fries cost her 1080 calories. I'm sure we can all see the error in her ways.

How many calories should I eat?

I'm sorry, but I must answer this question with a question. How many calories are you eating? Anyone who is serious about losing weight must first calculate their daily intake of calories. This can only be accomplished one way. Write down what you eat and how much you are eating. Use measuring cups. Use a scale if you have one, or use this tool to learn how to eyeball portion sizes.

After you record your food it is time to calculate your calories. I love calorieking.com. It is simple, free and has a very large database including menu items from most restaurants. Once you have your daily food and calorie intake on paper you should be able to find some simple and painless ways to cut 500 calories from your daily intake.

Topic for next week

Weight loss is a lifestyle change that I am passionate about. Here are some other topics I would like to discuss over the next couple of weeks

  • Using protein, fat and fiber to help you feel fuller longer
  • Increasing your metabolism by eating more often
  • How to plan for weight loss plateaus and get through them quickly
  • Exercise that fits with your lifestyle
If you are interested in any of these topics, leave me a comment and I will post about the most popular choice next week.

I'm here to help

If you want me to look at your food journal and see how I can help, send me an email. (seibelblog(at)gmail(dot)com).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mime Reader

My love affair with books started at a young age. My mom gave me her old and tattered volumes of Trixie Belden. I read them all and thirsted for more. I want my children to love books. I try to do the right things now so they will gravitate towards books later. The Reading is Fundamental website has these 10 reading tips for parents of young children.

1. Read aloud to your child every day
2. Create a print rich home environment
3. Model reading and writing
4. Use grocery shopping to encourage reading
5. Cook with your child to develop literacy
6. Explore books together
7. Tell stories together
8. Sing and rhyme with your child
9. Write with your child
10. Visit the library often

Jeff and I do many of the things on this list. We read to the girls at bedtime, we sing and recite nursery rhymes. Jeff takes the girls to the library for story time at least once a week and we have several book cases in our house filled with reading material.

If there were to be an eleventh item on this list it would probably be, "Limit your child's TV time to 30 minutes a day." I'm sure there are parents who manage to do this. I am not one of them.

My daughters ask me to sit with them when they watch TV. I think Noggin provides wonderful programming for preschoolers. I am not a preschooler, so I keep a book handy. When they slip into their TV coma I slowly open my book. I hope that they will not notice me and interrupt my reading.

Bad Mommy! Selfish Mommy! Using TV as a babysitter, you should be ashamed!

But wait! My actions are beneficial to the literacy of my children. The above list says reading in front of my children is good, and now I have a picture to prove it.

Yes, Ariel has a very thick hardbound book on her lap.

Yes, she selected this book herself.

Yes, she is actually in a TV coma.

Yes, occasionally she turns the page without looking away from the TV.

Yes, I am trying not to giggle, because she is "reading" this:
But that’s okay, because I am setting the groundwork. I am helping my daughter realize that reading is a hobby, it is fun and infinitely more interesting than TV. Someday Ariel may grab an age appropriate book and we can read side by side, exploring the wonder of the written word.

That is my dream.


See more Tell Me Thursday participants here.
The picture of Ariel and I was originally posted yesterday for Wordless Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Just like Mommy



For more Wordlesss Wednesday participants, go here.

Tomorrow is Tell Me Thursday. I can hardly wait to post about this photo.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Preparing for 100

I have done some spring cleaning.
On my blog.
Not my house.

Now that my blog is tidy, I have a place to put this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Thank you Sports Mama , you are a great blog friend. I would like to pass this award on to a couple of my friends, Huckdoll and Kelly. Both are fabulous writers who I have gotten to know through their very honest blogs. My life is richer and more interesting now that I know you.

Do you notice what I have done to tidy up? Right there below my header is a set of links. My Blogroll is organized and in one place. Everyone should be on it, but if you're not leave me a comment and I will add you.

The "Awards" link houses the wonderful recognition that I have received. Click on "About" to get the low down on my family. I want to add one more link called "FAQ" or maybe "OAQ" (once asked questions). In order to accomplish this feat, I need your help! (channeling Dora, who the kids are watching in the other room)

Can you do me a big favor? Ask me some questions. What do you want to know about me? What do you already know about me that should be on this page? Ask away. I will answer. I am going to leave this open for a week and reveal my answers for my 100th post.

I have many readers that don't usually comment (according to my stats, 35 of you). I would love it if you would participate in this exercise. Leave your questions in the comments section or email them to seibelblog(at)gmail(dot)com. Anonymous comments will be accepted. As an added bonus, any contributers with blogs will received some linky love from me.

Thanks for helping!! I couldn't have done without you! (Dora again)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hair Fabulous

Have you ever needed a haircut but made excuse after excuse as to why you shouldn't get one?

This woman is a great example.

This poor lady has convinced herself that her hair is stylish enough.
Look at her hair. Will someone please tell her that it is time to shell over the $55.00 and let someone do something about that drab mess of split ends.

Oh, thank God! Finally the honesty of a child comes in handy.

Now let's look at her.

What a difference! Look at the layers! Look at that smile! She is happy, stylish and dare I say... younger looking. Why, oh why did she wait so long to update her look. I hope she has learned her lesson and will take better care of herself in the future.

And let this be a lesson for all of us. Your hair is an important part of your look. If you want to Fight the Frump, you need to dump that clump of hair that is weighing you down.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I've got my cupid, where is yours?

According to Wikipedia Valentines Day is “The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid.”


Do you like my Valentine?
It's for you!

Yes, you!

You take time from your day to look into mine. For that I love you.

I also want to apologize to you. You may notice that I am behind on my blog reading. You may wonder why I am not responding to your comments via email. I have neglected you, and for that I am truly sorry. I won't bore you with the details of my deadlines at work. I will just say, you are important to me and I haven't forgotten about you.

Romantic Plans

This is the first Valentines Day since Jeff and I reversed roles. Now that he is the stay-at-home parent he deserves much love, respect and pampering.

How do you pamper a man?
This is my plan.

First I will go to the specialty beer store and select a rare and tasty beer that will be the benchmark by which he compares all future beers. Next I will rent an action packed movie with great special effects and large explosions. Finally I will buy chocolate. Nothing fancy, probably a very large bag of peanut M&M’s.

After the girls go to sleep we will open the beer and cuddle in our theater room. I won’t complain when he watches his movie at volumes not usually allowed. I will make sure he always has an ample supply of M&M’s and beer. I’m pretty sure he will love it.

What are your Valentines Day plans?

Wordless Wednesday: Out of Hibernation

The sun is out, and so are the neighbors!

Ariel rides her scooter from here to there.

For more Wordless Wednesdays go here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam...

Latte Mommy tagged me for the Marriage Meme. Thank you Latte, it was fun mulling these memories over in my mind.

1. Where/how did you meet?

I posted about this before. The short answer is a Cutco interview. For the full story go here.

2. How long have you known each other?

We met in January of 1994, so 14 years. Gosh, that makes me feel old. Jeff was 18 and I was 20 when we met, so really we are not that old.
Okay, well HE is not old.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?

Our first date was on January 16, 1994, a couple of weeks after we met.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?

We dated for 2 ½ years and got engaged on July 9, 1996.

5. How long was your engagement?

About 9 months. We had to give Jeff a chance to turn 21 before we got married.

6. How long have you been married?

Almost 11 years.

7. What is your anniversary?

We were married on March 1, 1997

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?

I’m guessing 130 or so.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?
My Mom made the cake and it was delicious. I wonder if anyone took a picture of the inside of the cake. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what flavor it was.

10. Where was your wedding?

We got married at Morris Chapel which is on the University of Pacific campus in Stockton, CA. It was the same place my grandparents got married.

11. What did you serve for the meal?

We had a choice between chicken and fish (maybe). It was served with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, scrumptious.

12. How many people were in your bridal party?

My sister-in-law Amy was my matron of honor. My friends Andrea and Melanie and Jeff’s sisters; Jennifer and Julie were the bridesmaids. Jeff’s friend Jesse was the Best Man. Jeff’s brother Jon, brother-in-law Rob and my brothers Tod and Kurt were groomsmen. Our niece, Samantha was our flower girl; she is Rob and Jen’s daughter. Our nephew Cory was the ring bearer, he is Julie’s son.

Oh, you wanted a number! Twelve.

13. Are you still friends with them all?

Considering that most everyone was family – absolutely. The only person we have lost touch with is Melanie.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?

Oh, yes. We both did. There was a very sweet moment when my Matron of Honor handed Jeff and handkerchief that he used to dry my tears before he dried his.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?

Walking down the aisle, exchanging vows, our first kiss, it was all very special.

16. Any funny moments?

After our first kiss we hugged and I buried my head in Jeff’s neck. I accidentally got my bright red lipstick all over his collar. Since it was the side facing our wedding guests, I didn’t want to lift my head until I managed to wipe it all up, which was impossible. So when we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, Jeff had lipstick all over his collar and I was bright red from embarrassment.

17. Any big disasters?

A couple of small things like…
-Jeff arrived late to the rehearsal because he and the best man forgot to pick up their tuxedos.
-Someone stepped on my train with a muddy shoe before the wedding. The wedding planner covered it up with white chalk.
-During his toast, my new Father-in-law couldn't remember my name. He was a little tipsy and everyone thought it was funny, including me.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We went on a cruise to the Virgin Islands, returned to San Francisco for a couple of days and then went to Maui. The week in Maui was part of a company trip that Jeff had won through Cutco, so it was free and many of our wedding guests and some of our wedding party were there also.

19. How long were you gone?

Two weeks.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?

Invite more people. The chapel could only hold 150 people, so there were a lot of people that I couldn't invite.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

I have to ask my husband because I don’t know my right from my left.
He says, “The right side.”

22. What size is your bed?

Queen

23. Greatest strength as a couple?

We are usually on the same page. We enjoy the same things such as; tennis, skiing, basketball, biking, hiking, and camping so we spend a lot of time together.

Just for fun let me ask him.

He says,” That we don’t give up even when things are tough, that we share the same faith and we are 95.25 % on the same page as far as life goals.”

See, we are pretty compatible.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?

I have sabotaged several friendships because I am a terrible roommate. The fact that Jeff hasn’t strangled me yet, is a testament to his love for me. I have also made drastic improvements in my ability to clean up after myself because I want to please him. But sometimes he gets fed up with doing all the house work, while I flit around from one thing to the next with no clear agenda and nothing to show for my efforts.

25. Who literally pays the bills?

That would be me.

26. What is your song?

James Taylor “You’ve got a friend”

27. What did you dance your first dance to?

Same song, since I get to talk about this song again, here are some of the lyrics.

“When you’re down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You’ve got a friend.”

28. Describe your wedding dress.

Off the shoulder raw silk with a beaded bodice and scalloped edges on the train. The pictures from the wedding really don't show the detail and beauty of this dress, so I rummaged through the back of my closet and took pictures of the bodice. I still think this is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen.

Doesn't it look like something Cinderella would wear?

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?

Red, white, and fire and ice roses.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved?

Mine isn’t. I engraved Jeff’s with, “My love, My life.”

Now I am in serious trouble with him, because I had to ask him to remove his ring so I could see the engraving. He knew it from memory.

Hmmm, who to tag.
I don't know if I have ever seen Kellan do a meme, but I would be very interested to hear about the wedding to her Texas cowboy.

I would love to tag some more people, but I have some serious kissing up to do to my husband, so feel free to grab this meme and leave me a comment when you are done.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

123 Book Meme

Quick Update

Hercules' suffering ended this morning. I thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers. God answered them with fabulous weather and wonderful neighbors.

Our friends next door watched the girls so Jeff and I could be with Hercules during his last moments. We came home and took advantage of sunny skies by taking the girls and our other dog, AJ to the park. Later all the neighborhood kids played outside together while the parents chatted. Jeff's buddy who lives down the street decided to take his Dodge Viper for a spin, and Jeff got to go with him. Basically our day was filled with a lot of distractions that helped alleviate the sadness.

On To Blogging

dlyn tagged me for a meme, and it was just the type of thing that I needed today.
Thank you dlyn.

Page 123 meme:
Here are the instructions:
1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people. & post a comment here once you post it to your blog, so I can come see.

I am sitting at my very clean desk (thank you Jeff). All my books have been put away in the bookcase which is a couple feet away. Luckily, I have grouped all my Harry Potter books on the side nearest to me.

In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" page 123 puts us in the middle of chapter seven .

He cleared his throat. "I am here, as I'm sure you know, because of Albus Dumbledore's will."

Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at one another.

"A surprise apparently! You were not aware then that Dumbledore had left you anything?"


Umm, so everyone knows that Dumbledore died, right? If not, I am really sorry, and you are way behind on your reading!

Thanks again for the tag dlyn.

Hey -PB&J in a Bowl, Rachel from The Land of Monkeys and Princesses, Kelly at Ordinary Art, Huckdoll and Maria at Mommy of Four. You are all very interesting people. What book is sitting nearest to you?
Tag you're it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hercules

December 1997
When given a choice between several puppies we picked you. We brought you home and made you our first born. Like any child we spoiled you with toys...and we rejoiced when you learned how to walk down the stairs.
A year later we brought home another puppy.
You gently taught him how to play your favorite games.
That's my good dog.
Do you remember all the camping trips?And the snow?All the fun we had together.
You must have been shocked when we started bringing home babies.
But you took it all in stride.
And you became great friends.You are a prince.
It has been painful for us to watch the cancer destroy your body. Today, you couldn't stand up, so tomorrow we will take you to the vet for the last time. They tell me that it is the right thing to do. They tell me that you will feel no pain.

Tomorrow will be the hardest day I have ever faced. Every fiber of my being wants to keep you here with me, even though so little of you remains.

Take the piece of my heart that is broken from the loss of you. When you get to heaven, say hi to Koda. Tell her that Tod and Amy really miss her. If you run into an old dog named Maggie, ask her about me. She and I go way back. Please don't chase Schatz and Liebe. I know you love cats, but those two are very special to me.

If you get a chance can you check into reincarnation? I would really like for you to come back as a dog, but not just any dog. Could you be a black dog with a white chest? That is what I will be looking for when I go to the pound someday, and I want to be sure that I pick you all over again. Okay buddy?

Good dog.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Run away from the Frump

Do you remember my New Year's resolution? I haven't forgot. I am training for the 5K race that I resolved to run. I expected this training to push me beyond my comfort zone. I expected to developed a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I expected soreness and aching knees. I have not been disappointed.

What I didn't expect was physical improvements so early in my training and increased self confidence. Mrs. Fussypants is kicking off the weekend with her first Fight the Frump, this is a perfect opportunity to talk about my training program.

The Program

The goal is to go from running one mile to four miles in sixteen weeks. Here is how it breaks down:

Weeks 1 & 2: Monday - 1 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 10 minute runs
Week 3: Monday - 1.5 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 12 minute runs
Week 4: Monday - 1.5 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 15 minute runs
Week 5: Monday - 2 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 18 minute runs
Week 6: Monday - 2 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 20 minute runs
Week 7: Monday - 2.5 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 22 minute runs
Week 8: Monday - 2.5 mile run, Wednesday & Friday - 25 minute runs

I think you are all smart enough to figure out the pattern here.

The Benefits

You can run anywhere. The supplies that you need for this activity are already in your closet. A good workout can be achieved in very little time. There are so many reasons why running is a great way to exercise.

I am in week five of my training program. The thought of running four miles without stopping still overwhelms me. Two weeks ago, I didn't think I would be able to run a mile in less than ten minutes. Then I did it. I ran a mile in ten minutes and then continued to run for another half mile. I cannot explain how satisfying that was. I felt terrific. I accomplished something that I thought would be very difficult for me. My success had a tremendous impact on my self-esteem.

You know what else happened? This -

My tushie is tighter. Five weeks to a tighter tushie. Need I say more?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh, Baby

I am aching for a baby. I don't know why my desire to procreate is so strong right now. I haven't held an infant recently. No one I know is pregnant. We have reached the stage with our children where the unpleasant aspects of having a baby are part of the past.

Ariel is potty trained. After changing diapers for four straight years, both my daughters are pantie wearing "big girls". Is it possible to miss diaper changes? Am I so crazy that I would get pregnant just so I can have a little bottom to clean?

Yes, I think I am.

But, no I think I won't.

I'm an intelligent woman. I am good at math. I know that diapers + formula + infant checkups + our normal expenses > my take home pay.

It is a pity that I am so smart. I really want a baby. I want three kids running around my house for the next twenty years and six to nine grandchildren to keep me company in my old age. I want my husband to have a son.

I know you are thinking, "It's okay. You are young. You can have more children later."

But I know what happens. The youngest child turns four and the joy of not having to deal with naps, sleepless nights, teething, and pregnancy overrides the desire to have more children. Parents start realizing that two is a nice even number where you conveniently assign each child to a parent, juggling gymnastics for one and ballet for the other with grace. Families of five are are busy, harried, chaotic and require a mini-van.

I only have one and a half years until Ariel turns four. One and a half years is not long enough to pay off the fifty-five thousand dollar debt that hanging over our heads. In three years both our kids will be in school and Jeff can go back to work. In five years I will be approaching forty and my oldest will be nine. Tick-tock, Tick-tock. Can you hear it?

If I don't have a baby now, it will never happen. So I'll pray. Pray that God will provide a way. Pray that our birth control will fail. Pray that I can have one more child. If these desires are not part of God's plan, I will pray that the next year and a half passes quickly so I can start convincing myself that a family of four is fine.

Wordless Wednesday: Trashy

Six years ago, before kids, my husband and I went to a rocking party.

We had a fabulous time. Sometime after 2 am the cops came in response to a noise complaint so we decided that it was time to go home. We were tired, but determined to make the 90 minute drive home and sleep in our own bed. About half way into our journey, it became impossible to keep our eyes open so we checked into the first motel we could find.

The next morning we woke up, in our party clothes with unwashed faces, bed head and at the trashiest motel I have ever seen. Even though we had been married five years, it felt very much like a walk of shame.

Thank you to Mrs. Fussypants for setting up the League of Extraordinary Wives and Rachel for inviting me. Without you, I would not of had a reason to dig so far back into my photo album and find this jewel.

Go here to see more Wordless Wednesdays that follow the rules by posting pictures without any explanation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sssssssuper Bowl

On Sunday, while you were watching the Super Bowl, I was surrounded by snakes. Our church hosted the biggest party I’ve ever been to. They had bounce houses, crafts, games, food, a reptile show, and an important football game that played on a couple of big screens.

Now back to the snakes. I thought it would be fun for Belle and Ariel to see the reptile show. We arrived late and sat towards the back. The handler had just put away a lizard and was pulling out a Boa Constrictor. Ariel loved the snake and wanted to sit closer to the front. Since Ariel is not very tall and we were at a church event, I didn’t mind her moving up to the second row without me. The people around didn’t mind either. My little two-year old, with a stuffed sheep tucked under her arm, was met by, “Oh, how cute,” and “You can sit here.” This put a smile on my face, until they brought out the cobra.

The handler explained that a cobra is attracted to movement. “So whatever you do, don’t move,” he cautioned.

Um, excuse me, couldn’t he of said that before he put away the slow moving Boa and brought out a very irritated cobra? At ten feet away from my baby, all I could do is not move and pray to God that she didn’t move either. God must have been close enough to hear my prayers, because Ariel sat perfectly still as the cobra was brought within striking distance of her.

Once the cobra was put away, I breathed a sigh of relief and focused on Belle. Her eyes were as big as saucers. “Mommy, what is that sound?” she asked.

“Well Hon, that sounds like a rattlesnake,” I answered as the fear began to rise in me again.

“I don’t like rattlesnakes,” she trembled.

“Neither do I, but it’s important to look at that snake and listen to that sound,” I explained. “If you ever see a snake like that and hear that sound you know to move slowly away from it.”

I spent the rest of the show keeping one eye on my curious two-year old while making sure my four-year old learned everything she needed to know about dangerous reptiles. I am grateful for the education. I saw a cottonmouth for the first time and learned that a snapping turtle can bite off your finger. I also learned that God blessed me with two very different daughters. One who is keenly interested in all creatures and the other who has the sense to know that she SHOULD be afraid of snakes.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fantastic Fridge and Excellent Awards

I am proud to announce that My Fantastic Fridge Award is finished and ready to be awarded to the fantastic blogs that have earned a spot on my fridge. These blogs earned this distinction last month (see this post). Thank you for waiting patiently for this award.


Fantastic Fridge Award

On the Upside,
You Don't Have to Like Me...,
Classy Chaos,
Ordinary Art,
Moosh in Indy,
From the Land of Monkeys and Princesses,
Taken with a Grain of Salt,
Sarah and the Goon Squad,
The Bell Pages,
Latte Mommy,
The Superdad Chronicles and
Cry It Out: Adventures of a stay-at-home dad


Here is the code so you can add this award to your blog:


For those of you wondering how to earn a spot on my fridge, here is how it works. I use Google reader to subscribe to the blogs on my blogroll. When I read a post that really strikes my fancy I tag it for my fridge. Every couple of months I go through my reader and award spots on my fridge based on how many tags each blog received.

How do I pick blogs for my blogroll? Your comment, I follow. If I enjoy myself then I add your blog to my reader. If I have been popping in on your blog, but you are not listed on my blogroll, leave me a comment so I can get you on there.

------------------------------------------------------------

I have one more award to give out. I have been given the award of excellence from Maria at Mommy of Four, OhMommy at Classy Chaos and The Sports Mama at You Don't Have to Like Me. Thank you very much ladies. I appreciate it.

This award comes with rules and they are: By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want-even those that have received it already, but please award at least 10 people.

I would like to pass this award on to

  1. Huckdoll at Hey, I'm Going Crazy, Are you Coming?
  2. Liz at The Lizness
  3. Carrie at The Gremlin Wrangler
  4. Don Mills Diva
  5. Lizzi at Dizzi Lizzi
  6. Amy at The Brat Pack
  7. Girlymom at The Red Door
  8. Lunanik at Secrets of a Black Heart
  9. Kim at Jogging in Circles
  10. Jim at The Busy Dad Blog
Wow, people that was a lot of hyperlinking! My fingers are killing me. It is time to pour myself a glass of wine. Don't forget to Blog Hop tonight.
Are you not a MEMBER OF THE WEEKEND BLOG HOPPERS? Well then you are seriously missing out. Head on over to The Busy Dad Blog and find out all about it.

Cheers!