Thursday, December 21, 2006

All that glitters...

My mama and I went on a marathon shopping session yesterday. So marathon that my feet - that were clad in perfectly serviceable sneakers all day - are killing me to the point I hobbled around like an old granma this morning when I got up. Ow.

But I did manage to get my shopping done. I have Christmas for everyone except my evil step-grandmother, and frankly, I just could not find anything tacky enough to give her. I know I know - that makes me sound like such a horrible person. But really - her taste is....just so out there. She likes glittery. Not cute glittery either. Tacky, oh my what were they thinking when they made THAT glittery. And oddly enough, even after spending 3 hours in a craft mall, I could not find anything THAT glittery. Maybe there's something at Kmart.....

I still need to do some crafty type stuff to finish up presents. I have to make the kids' cd wallets, and I'm so looking forward to doing the ones for my best friend's daughters. I don't *have* any girls, so D's girls are as close as I get. I can't wait to glue maribou trim and little pink sunglasses and write names in pink fabric paint!

Yeah - I'm a dork. But when you don't have daughters of your own, that sort of thing sounds FUN!

I also need to paint the hubby's box. Since we decided to not buy Christmas for each other - because we're getting a HOUSE and new bedroom furniture - that matches! - we didn't see the point on trying to find time to buy for each other. So I saw this great idea for a praise box on someone's blog. I don't remember who - Owlhaven, Pastormac - someone. You just write down on pieces of paper something you admire, like, love, etc about the person you are giving the box to. I'm so very proud of how hard he has worked on the house project, so I thought this would be the perfect inexpensive gift for him. He can spend the rest of the year getting a pick me up every time he gets discouraged. I'm going to get the boys to write things too.

I was going to get my folks to do it to - but he and Daddy had some kind of disagreement regarding the electrical work in the house, so I'm thinking maybe I'll skip that this year.

I still have to work today and tomorrow, so I'm not sure *when* I'll get to do my painting. Maybe he'll work late tonight & I can work on it before he gets home.

HA! I never thought I'd *want* him to work late the week before Christmas!

After hearing the good news about my mom-in-law being in remission, we found out earlier this week that my hubby's great uncle, who is godfather to our sons, has been diagnosed with leukemia. So anyone that was praying for my mom-in-law, could you add Cooper to your list? He's such a wonderful man - I can't imagine life without him.

I should quit rambling now - and go pick up my gifts from my hockey buds. I had to miss lunch with them yesterday to go pick up the boys, then shop w/ my mom. Woohoo! Presents!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Down the stretch

So - are YOU ready for Christmas?

Naw - me neither. I did get cd wallets for the guys in the family done last night. So easy and cheap! I found these perfectly adequate cd wallets at WalMart for $1.97 each, I then wrote names on them with fabric paint - took me all of 5 minutes to do 4 of them. I've about decided to go back and get more for my hockey buds - I wanted to make them all earrings or bracelets, but we're supposed to have our Christmas lunch tomorrow and I put it off forever what to get them don't have enough time!!! I'm putting gift cards in them for the guys, so maybe I'll find a cute little something to put in them for my girls too. I've got to run to Hobby Lobby today to get a gift card for my sis-in-law, so maybe I can find some little cute something for them too. Mom's taken care of, mom-in-law is taken care of. Since we decided with all the house stuff we just don't have time to do the normal shopping for the most perfectest gift ever this year - everyone is getting gift cards. They'll just have to understand. Really. Or if they don't, I guess they can hate me. Either way. I'll live. At this point, I. Just. Don't. Care.

I realized last night that I packed my bundt pan back in October when I thought I'd be moved by Christmas. This would be no big deal except that I have to make grandmother's fresh apple cake and I can't do that without a bundt pan!!!! Yeah - I'm in a panic. I've got to find a bundt pan.

Score. One of my hockey buds has one I can borrow. Friends. What would we do without them?

I still need to take the boys shopping for their dad, as well as take E shopping for his brother. And of course, my big day shopping with my mom. Although - she taunted me last night that she is going to KK's (the bestest ever craft mall here in town) today. WITHOUT ME!

That's just wrong.

Our family bible study is going so well. We weren't able to do it one night because Monty was out with a customer, and E - my teenager! - told me he was disappointed, because, you know, he kinda looks forward to that every day.


Moments like that give me hope. And believe me. When you have a 13 yr old - you need all the hope you can get!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Some Friday Rambling...

Oh man! It's the Bloggy Christmas Tour of Homes! As I just told Jules, I'm not getting shit done today now.... Go! Check it out! Especially if you want to feel woefully inadequate in your home decorating skills. Or just to steal ideas. Either works.

Speaking of homes, I realized the other day that the desk I had planned to put in the desk nook in the new house won't fit. I am bereft. I had such plans for that desk....My cookbooks on the first shelf, doodads on the second, my laptop on the desk part, I'd be able to do my stuff there instead of trying to navigate Monty's disaster area desk...*sigh* My tin collection and enamelled water pitchers were going to go on the top....Hmph. Darn dinky desk nook. So now I have to find another desk. I wonder if my desk from high school is still over at mom's? Of course, it's bright YELLOW, so it would have to be re-painted, but that's no big deal.

Oooo! Someone brought cookies! Breakfast!

I guess I'll put Monty's desk in the "red room" (because it will have a red wall, and since it's not going to be a living room, or a dining room and I don't know WHAT we're going to do with that room, Red Room will have to do.). With the piano. And my dining table. And my beautiful inlaid veneer chest of drawers. And Monty's *current* desk. Hmm....maybe I'll call it the "furniture I dont' know what to do with right now" room....

I'm still trying to figure out where to put furniture in the front room. It's particularly difficult because Monty is taking the spot I WAS going to use for my sectional for his flippin wood burning stove. Hmph. So now I have to rearrange in my head where to put stuff in the living room. (Living room, front room - maybe I'll just call that room the "glazed" room - since the wall color will be "glazed pears." Think that would work?)

Last night, while I discussing having to go to a hundred places to pick out 6 squares of vinyl tile for the boys bathroom, I mentioned how much I like the tile we have in their bathroom now. And Monty says, "have you checked to see how many we have left over in their towel cabinet? Maybe we have enough."

SCORE! We have 5 tiles left over from when we did the boys bathroom 11 years ago. I'm thinking that might just work - it's a small space, we may not need 6....Woohoo! More time for other stuff Saturday!

Like, you know Christmas shopping. Because I haven't done any. Like - at all. And Christmas is 10 days away. Less if you figure in the fact that we'll most likely have our Christmas next weekend when all the parental units are in town.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Our Own Christmas Miracle

Back in September, we discovered that my mother-in-law had Stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Yesterday, after 4 months of chemo and antibody therapy, we found out she is in remission.

We are thrilled beyond measure. To go from tumors in 4 different places to total remission - it can't be anything but a miracle! She has dealt with losing her hair, and feeling tired and weak, but it has all been worth it. She & Richard are coming down for Christmas, and while it will make my life infinitely more chaotic, we'll deal, because she'll still be here. And now we don't have to worry that it's her last Christmas or any of that junk. God is so good to us.

We have started having nightly Bible study at our house. We just finished Ephesians, and started Matthew last night. I am just having all of us ready several verses, then have the boys talk about what they have learned, or what they can take from what they've just read. I'd love to say that it's turned everything around, but we've only been doing it a week or so. I was so worried about the boys not know much about our faith, so this helps. Everyone has their own Bibles, we all do our reading, and I think it will help us stay close. As the boys turn into teenagers, I want to do everything I can to keep some part of their lives turned to the family.

The house - oy veh. We now have the house on its foundation. Of course, we discovered that the guys doing the basement placed the opening for the stairs 12 inches off from where it was *supposed* to be - therefore the extra support underneath for the house footing was in the wrong place. When M called the basement dude, he told him "oh - that's not bad. "

Excuse me? When I have to worry about my house falling into my basement, that is *too* bad!

So now we have to put extra support beams in the basement so it doesn't fall in. M was complaining last night that we have to go yet MORE lumber after framing in the garage doors (as that will be my new master suite) and framing in the basement, and building the well house. I just told him to be glad we can afford to buy lumber. The poor thing - he's getting so burnt out on all this work on the house....but we are so close now! The electricity should get hooked up this week, the plumbing and water should be done this week, the septic system should be done this week. We can start cleaning the inside as soon as I have some electricity to VACUUM! And water to clean surfaces with. As soon as the septic is done, we can get the porches poured. As soon as THOSE are done, we can re-brick.

I mean - it's almost done! As of the 21st, we can repair sheetrock cracks and finish painting! Then we can MOVE!!

Oh hell. And I'm not even *close* to being done packing......

Must. Not. Panic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why I Love Rocks In My Dryer

Several months ago, my husband sent me a link to a site called Hillbilly Housewife (which apparently is no longer at the link I had bookmarked, darnit). I'm pretty sure it had something to do with cheap inexpensive meals, because my darlin hubby is nothing if not cheap thrifty. That site led me to Boomama , which cracked me UP. One day, while checking Boomama, I clicked on the link for the Tour Of Homes, which led me to Rocks in my Dryer. And y'all - it changed my life.

No. Really. I know - it sounds so dramatic, but if it weren't for Rocks in my Dryer and the oh-so-fabulous Works for Me Wednesday, I wouldn't be frying my hamburger before I freeze it. Or planning my menu for the week. Or using my crockpot on a regular basis. Or using Bloglines. Or using Firefox. Or reading a chapter of the Bible each day via It changed my LIFE.

My house is cleaner. My attitude is better. We're eating better, and life is seriously less stressful, due to just little changes that I discovered on WFMW. The wonderful folks who post their tips made my life so much easier. My husband keeps asking what happened to his wife. Not that he's not tickled pink by the changes - he is. He just has a hard time believing that it all came about because of the internet. But it did!

I am so incredibly grateful for that one little email he sent me. It makes me smile that God knew that it would lead me to those blogs, and all the other wonderful blogs that I've discovered through them. I try to be a better mother now. Not that I didn't try before, but I feel less like a failure now. Reading the blogs of other moms that are struggling day by day, and yet still finding the one wonderful moment out of 50 oh-my-hell-why-the-heck-did-I-ever-think-I-wanted-ONE-child-much-less-TWO! moments....

It gives me hope. And smiles. And even though I'm a lurker, and rarely if ever comment, I hope that maybe some of those ladies might someday see this post, and know that they changed my life, as part of God's plan. And I hope they realize just how valuable their posts, which I'm sure they think are silly or pointless, inspire a lot of us every day to keep trying and not give up and to remember to laugh.

Because they make *me* laugh every single day. Or make me think. So thank you ladies. (And Kevin. ) Y'all made my life better. You truly are God's blessings.

Monday, November 20, 2006

If you can't change one thing, then change another

Apparently the great delay in our move has bothered me so much that I decided that if I can't move, then I'll just change something else by golly...

So I cut 6 inches off my hair.

My hair grows pretty quickly, but I've had it below my shoulders or longer for...well...forever. I'm pretty sure the last time it was even close to this short was back in high school or shortly thereafter. Proof of this was when I walked in with my new do, and my 13 yr old said "that's kinda....creepy looking Mom." Gee. Thanks. My youngest said it was weird. But they've never seen me with short hair, so I'm sure it does seem weird to them. Luckily, everyone else who have seen it like it just fine. One lady even said it looked SASSY (which, of course, was just what I was going for. After all - when you're 41 and tired of having the same do you wore in high school - sassy is the way to go! No sense in looking old & tired when you can prove that even while old - you are still hip cool "with it," you know?)

And y'all - it takes me all of 5 minutes to dry it. FIVE MINUTES!!! This is seriously saving me time in the mornings.

As for the move, they finish the basement this week, and they are scheduled to set the house on it's foundation next week. I am so ready. I try to tell myself to be patient - even with the house being set next week, we still have to frame in where the garage doors were, put in the windows for that room, put in the new HVAC system, get the septic system installed and hooked up, pour the porch and back patio and *then* - rebrick it. That doesn't include fixing the sheet rock on the inside, repainting, putting tile down in the kitchen & utility room, and replacing the patio door.

And THEN we can move!

Yeah. It's gonna happen. Finally.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Great Cookie Bake

When my boys were small, I wanted to start a Christmas tradition that was all our own. Since I had such fond memories of cooking with my mom as a kid, I thought that making Christmas cookies would be fun. So - every year, we have the Great Cookie Bake.

Of course, when we started this tradition, Mama & I would make the cookie dough from scratch. But as the boys got older, and our life got busier, we found that you can get just as yummy cookies in other, easier ways.

My *first* choice was always the cookie dough we have to buy from our kids during those school fundraisers. I figure if I have to buy any, then by golly, I'm buying something I can USE! So always consider the sugar cookie dough bucket, and the day before you bake cookies, just put it in the fridge, and voila - it's all ready to go the next day. No muss, no fuss.

This year we don't have any cookie dough, because apparently small towns don't do 4 fund raisers like they do in the big city ;-). So we're keeping an eye out for the Pillsbury cookie dough to go on sale (and use a coupon for it), and that should do us. For last minute cookie bakes, don't hesitate to buy the pre-mixed packages either. We tried that one year, and the cookies were great! Just mix it up, chill a bit, then roll 'er out and you're good to go! I dig out all of my cookie cutters and we have ourselves a grand ole time. E & J still seem to enjoy decorating the cookies last year - we'll see if they're up to it this year.

Any and all of these options work great for us!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Counting our Blessings....

Reading this post this morning made me think I needed to do my own list of what I'm thankful for. And I *really* need to do it because I realized this morning that the earliest I can move will probably be during Christmas BREAK!!!! and that just bums me out. *sigh*

1. I'm thankful for the health of my children, my husband and myself.

2. I'm thankful that my mom-in-law is having so few negative side effects from her chemo. She's mainly just tired. And there's that whole losing her hair thing. And did you know that they don't *just* lose the hair on their head? Oh no. They lose it *EVERYWHERE* - yes - there too. Why my mom-in-law decided to share this with me, I'll never know, but as bad as it was for me, I think it's traumatized my poor hubby for life.)

3. I'm thankful for my job - which I truly do love as frustrated as I've been with it lately.

4. I'm grateful for my friends, who make me laugh on a daily basis.

5. I'm thankful that my beloved Cotton Kings pulled out two home wins this weekend!

6. I'm thankful that we can afford to get someone to finish out the basement work on our house, because the hubby simply doesn't have the time. And once the basement is done we can set the house!!!

7. I'm thankful that I found the perfect tile for the kitchen last Friday and it's HALF the price of the original tile I wanted to buy!

8. I'm thankful for Ropesville schools - last week when J was sick, as I picked him up, he asked if he would be able to go back to school that day. Because, you know, "school is pretty fun here." After 3 years of him absolutely detesting school at Hardwick, this truly is a blessing from God.

9. I'm thankful that I can go to God when I get down and let go - and he *always* takes care of us. (See item number 6 above).

10. Now I'm thankful for this being number 10! I need to be more thankful for stuff!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

I'm gonna be brave and post something that makes my life easier. If you haven't made of habit of checking Shannon's Works for Me Wednesday, for pete's sake, what are you waiting for?? I LIVE for WFMW!!!

My kids love homemade pizza. My husband loves homemade pizza. I love the price of homemade pizza. And with both of us working, I tend to buy the package of pizza dough mix that you just add water, let it rise 5 minutes then roll it out on your pan. The instructions say you just "press the dough out with your fingers."

Uh huh. Unless you're *me* and you spend 30 minutes getting you hands covered in sticky dough and it looks like the most uneven splat of dough you've ever seen with it paper thin on one end and 3 inches thick on the other. Using a rolling pin doesn't work because my rolling pin is too big for my pizza pan. So instead of doing that, I just pull out my handy dandy jelly glass (you know - the glasses that you buy jelly in, then you soak off the label and voila! Free glass the perfect size for iced tea!), flour it, and use it to roll out the dough. It's quick, easy, and when I'm done, I just rinse it off, pop it in the dishwasher and that's the end of my cleanup.

Works for me!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Living in contentment

I saw this over on BooMama's blog this morning:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

It was on her daily Biblepromise quote sidebar thingy. And it just made me catch my breath. Because that's how I try to live my life. To be content with what I have now, and not spend my life longing for the 3 story mansion, or the Lexus SUV, or diamonds aplenty, or perfect kids, or the husband who always remembers to bring flowers for every little occasion.

Because I've know people who have that, and you know what? They're not all that happy.

And for all my trials with the house and work lately, at the center of it all, I'm happy. I'm happy that we will eventually be in this other home that housed my grandparents for 40-someodd years. I'm happy that my kids are healthy, and doing well in school, and that they're happy with their new school. I'm happy with my husband the majority of the time (after all - it *is* deer season), and I feel loved by so many - family and friends. Life is good. And it is beyond cool to find a Bible verse that describes *me* so perfectly - what I'd like to be.

Because as you know - I love it when God sends us those odd coincidences.

Making Progress, and Kid Pride

It's been forever since I blogged here (I tend to blog more regularly over on that evil Myspace ), but I thought it would be nice to have something here just in case anyone pops in. Besides that, I've almost convinced myself to post something on WFMW tomorrow. Might as well have an update for anyone who happens to be like me - you know - reads the tip, then browses through the blog to see if it should be added to their bloglines. (Surely I'm not the only one who does that?)

Anyhoo - first up - I must brag on my kids. They had their first academic UIL competition yesterday, and they did so well! J placed 2nd in Ready Writing, and E placed 1st in Math, Science & Spelling! I'm one proud mama today. It's just one more example of how wonderful Ropes has been for my kiddos. Today they will go into school with a little more confidence. And that just makes me smile.

The house project is coming along slowly. Ssssllllloooooowwwwlllllyyyy. I don't know *why* I thought we'd be different. I'd always heard that these types of projects take 3 times longer than you think. I should have believed them. Currently, the basement has been dug, the basement walls poured, cleaned off, and the floor should (*should*) be poured this week. Hubby intends to order the ceiling joists for the basement today, and we're hoping (*hoping,* praying) that we'll get the ceiling done next week. And maybe by then he will have decided how to do the floor in what was the garage, but will eventually be our master suite. He can't decide - cement floors, or wood decking. But he has to decide before the house is set. (Did I mention that once the ceiling of the basement is done, we can SET THE HOUSE?????)

The other night, I re-drew the floor plan for the master bath because apparently the toilet has to be in the corner we were going to use for the tub/shower. Now I have to figure out what to do with the vanity. Apparently stock vanities only go up to 60". Double sink vanities that size have minimal counter space, and I need counter space! I'm a chick - I must have a place for my crap stuff. Husbands don't always understand the need for crap stuff space. I almost had him convinced that we didn't need double sinks, but then last night I was watching House Hunters and saw this bathroom, with a corner tub, that had two vanities - one on each side of the tub. Now there's an idea!!!

I've also picked out the tile for the kitchen (Grandma had carpet, and I am so not a kitchen carpet kinda gal), which actually is almost exactly the same color and pattern as the counter tops. Which boggles my mind, as those counter tops were put in back in 1964. Now I just have to decide on paint colors. I decided on a creamy white for the paneling, but decided against sage for the walls above it since Monty's office will be that color. The boys are deciding on colors for their rooms as well. Grandma always had white walls, but I'm in the mood for some color!!

I'm still packing a little at a time, but until we get the house set, I have boxes everywhere. I'll be ready to get those out of the house as well. Our current hope is to be moved by Christmas. (Actually - I hope to be moving Thanksgiving weekend, but Christmas is probably more realistic. *sigh*) I just can't wait to not only be out of the house we've outgrown, but also to be out in the country. It's so peaceful out there. I had to go out to water the two willows we planted a couple of weeks ago, and you could hear the birds chirping....and the quiet. It's so very quiet. All I could do is thank the good Lord for leading us to this place - and long for the day when I can go out on my front porch (you know - the one that will run the entire length of my house!?) or my back patio and

That's not too much to want, is it?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Day by Day...


Life is hectic. Ok - it's not like this is news to anyone out there. But to be perfectly honest, until here lately, my life was pretty stress free. I had a well-trained office staff that kept things running smoothly, kids going to school close enough they could just ride a bus home, only had activities 3 times a week, and a home that while small, was still well maintained enough that I didn't have to do too much beyond the average cleaning and laundry once a week.

Oh have times changed.

Now I have one new staff member that I'm trying to train, another staff member who is having complications from surgery at the end of August (and bless her heart, she has only been able to work maybe 6 days this month), and of course, this is our busiest time of year. My kids are going to school 25 minutes away from our home currently, which means I have to take off work to go pick them up every day when my husband isn't able to (which is every day lately). We are in the process of getting a house moved to 15 acres we just bought and we have a ton of stuff we need to do to both the new property and house, as well as to the one we are currently in now to get it ready to sell.

Whew! Add to that the kid's activities (E is in football, both are in band), and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer and starting chemo last week, you've got the makings for a world of stress.

But - except for the odd "Oh. My. Hell." moments - it hasn't been that bad. When I'm stressed about taking off from work to go pick up my kids, I think "At least I'm blessed with a job where my boss doesn't mind me doing that - especially if I take my laptop home and make up the time after the kids go to bed so I don't have to burn vacation hours." When I'm stressed because my husband is gone all the time either working his business or working on the new house, I think "At least he is being blessed with work - to pay off the huge loan we took out for this project. And thank goodness he is able to do all of these things on the house so we don't have to spend extra money having someone else do them."

It just all seems to be working out. Other than one week being at work by myself, I've had at least one other office person here with me, which keeps me from being overwhelmed with work. My mom-in-law has had virtually no side effects from her first round of chemo. I have enough vacation time saved up to cover the hours I don't make up working at home. And I get to spend extra time with my kids in the afternoons that I normally don't have. Plus I get to go to all of E's football games, and hear them practice their new instruments (ok - so that's not always a plus - who knew that a trombone sounds like someone passing gas and that clarinets can make the most god-awful noise known to MAN?) as they learn.

Take last Tuesday for instance - after picking up the boys and running over to the local convience store to get a snack (ok - the *only* store in town - that makes it convient, right?), we headed over to "the farm" as the hubby likes to call it - to check if they had started digging on the basement.

They had - they had dug one trench and left. I guess that qualifies as starting though, right? The well guy had also come out and finished up, so now we have water! As we started to leave, I turned onto our main road and stopped dead. I couldn't go anywhere because there was a house coming at me! MY house! We had heard the day before that they had finally gotten it up on beams, but we had no idea they were going to move it Tuesday. So by the weirdest of coincidences, I got to see them move my house onto our property - which I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't had to take off from work to pick up the boys because Monty had to work to get that huge project under control.

See? Odd blessings all connected!

So now our house is parked in what will someday be our driveway, and according to Monty, they have dug all four basement walls now, so he'll build some forms tomorrow and hopefully - they pour those walls Monday. Let 'em cure a couple of days, then dig it out and pour the floor - then it's just putting the top on, call the foundation guy out to set the footings, then they can set the house! Woohoo!

Life is good. Stressful, but good. And we are blessed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hangin in there

At long last - an update! Sorry folks (hahahaha - I think maybe three people might have seen this blog - I ought to get one of those sitemeters installed, huh?), but work is a nuthouse right now, I'm training the new chick, and my other office girl has been out sick alot, plus I'm having to take off at 3 pm every day to go pick up the kids. (The hubby has a project out of town, and since he's making the moola to pay for this house project, he doesn't need to take off work!). Someday things will return to normal. I hope.

Anyhoo - we found out yesterday that the house is now up on beams!! Woohoo!! Step number 453 is now complete. Next is step 454 - the diggin' of the basement, which is to commence today. Now that it's stopped raining and dried out a bit. Y'all continue to pray that it doesn't rain in Ropes for the next two weeks (oh pfft - it's not gonna hurt the farmers - they've all got cotton in the fields out there and they need it hot & dry right now too!), and maybe we'll get this thing done after all & I won't be moving during Thanksgiving!

E got to hear his name over the loudspeaker during his last game ("Making the tacke was number 55, E D") Of course, I was SUCH a mom - practically giddy with pride and delight and "didja hear that? They said his NAME!" Geez - I'm such a goof. But it *was* pretty cool. He thought so too. Bless his heart - it's tough being 3rd string in 6-man football. But he's trying, and he's still having fun, and I guess that's what matters. Now if he'd just quit being such a bully to his brother!

Mom-in-law had her first chemo last Friday, and so far hasn't had any ill effects. She's actually felt pretty good. Y'all keep praying for her if you could.

Last night the hub and I discovered that *someone* had been looking at x-rated sites on our laptop. We knew it wasn't *us* - so that left our eldest. He and his little friend from Lubbock were on the laptop Saturday afternoon while I was working in the yard, so I'm guessing that's when they were "exploring." Tonight after schoool we are going to have a little talk about what is appropriate, and what is not. Just looking at the history list - that stuff looked gross. I'm no prude, but man. You try so hard to teach them right from wrong, but then they go off in another direction. :-\ If any of y'all have any good advice on how to convince a 13 yr old to not try and surf porn on the net, I'd love to hear it (and yes - we set up passwords on the laptop last night - we have one the desktop - just didn't think of the laptop, because it's always in the living room and it never occurred to me that he'd be that brazen. Boys.) For the moment, he's going to be completely grounded from either computer for a month (unless it's school related) and when he *does* get to use it, it will only be with either me or his dad sitting next to him. He seriously broke a trust, in my opinion - he'll have to earn back the right to use the computer unattended.

At least when I was doing my Bible reading last night (which was about the same time my husband discovered that someone had been looking at that stuff), I was reading Leviticus, and found some scripture I can use to help make my point about defiling yourself, etc. Once again, God provides, eh?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reaching out....

I just noticed that Julie posted a comment on my 9/11 story. When I went to check out her blog (because I'm just nosy that way - besides! She noticed me! It's only polite to return the favor), I found this post about getting closer to God. Isn't it wild how when you're searching for something, God finds a way to lead you to just what you need? Here I am, searching for someway to feel God in my life again, and here is a post on how to do that - to draw closer to Him. Just what I needed.

I love it when little things like that happen.

Today my mother-in-law gets her catheter thingy put in so she can start her chemo on Friday. The Hubs and I hate that neither of us can be up there with her today - both of us because of work. But he's trying to get enough done at his current project so he can take off on Friday to be there for the chemo treatment. If anyone is reading, please pray for her to stay strong, and for the procedure today to be as pain-free and without complications as possible.

And I wore that pantsuit yesterday. Even the boots. Only this time, I had a little USA flag pin on the lapel. My feet were killing me by the end of the day, but I just told myself that my sore feet were nothing compared to what the families of the 9/11 victims were dealing with.

To completely change the subject - one of my hockey friends just informed me that the New York Islanders signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67 million contract. 15 years. What are those people thinking???? I know goalies have longer careers than the average hockey player, but still - 15 YEARS? It just boggles the mind.

We had another inch of rain yesterday, so the house project continues to move oh so slowly along. Boy - when the Lubbock mayor asked the citizens to pray for rain, did the Lord ever come through. Wonder if I can get them to pray for an end to it for a month or so??? I'd really really like to get moved before hockey season starts. Or gas goes back up. Ropes continues to be a blessing to my kids - J is getting the best grades ever, and E is starting to make friends. He really enjoyed playing in his first football game last Thursday. They would probably be able to have more after-school interaction with their friends there if we didn't live in Lubbock still - that's a long way to drive for a playdate, eh? Soon - just a few more weeks. I continue to pack boxes, and am convinced that I have yet to make a real dent in the contents of the house.

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 08, 2006

September 11 - what I remember

It's weird what you remember about events. I remember most clearly what I was wearing. It was my favorite pantsuit - when I put it on that morning, I remember admiring how well it fit me, and how it managed to make me look slimmer than I was. It was black, with coral trim on the lapels and coral buttons down the front. And I wore my black boots, the ones with the super high heels, because the pants were a little long for my little 5'3" legs, and the boots made the whole outfit perfect.

How oddly appropriate that I wore black that day.

I was sitting in my office - on my computer, checking my message board and planning my day. One of my students came into my office and began the shattering of what I thought I knew about the world.

"Mysti - do we still have that TV?"

"Sure - it's in the file room - why?"

"A plane just flew into the World Trade Center"

"No s***? How'd they not see that?"

At that time - when he said plane - I thought a little prop plane. Because surely it was some inexperienced pilot that ran into the World Trade Center. And I had no idea what the day would bring - what kind of horror would be visited upon us as a nation that day. It was just a little ole plane, right? I figured maybe a few offices worth of damage. Tragic to be sure, but there was no way I could know what was coming. It was probably just a little prop plane. I mean hell - it never ever occured to me that it could have been an airliner. Those pilots know what they're doing, right?

Did they ever. >:<

So we went to the back, turned on the TV and saw the billowing smoke. We marvelled over how someone could have missed seeing the building, then I went back to my desk and send an ICQ message to someone - Rog, Jen, I don't know. Someone. About the plane. Then I went back to check on the news coverage. And found Todd standing there staring at the TV in shock. Because another plane had hit the other tower. And as we stared at each other in dismay, we realized that maybe the first plane wasn't an accident. And maybe it wasn't a prop plane either. About that time, I pulled the TV out into the main office area. By now everyone knew what was going on. And we watched in horror at the billowing smoke, and heard Matt Lauer talk about people jumping, and the flames, and how the fire department was responding. Never dreaming what was coming.

And then the tower fell. And we watched in horror. Not knowing how many people were still inside the buildings. Amazed at how the tower fell straight down. Exclaiming to each other "Oh my God...oh my God." Then it hit me. Not only all the people in the buildings. But the paramedics. The firefighters. The policemen. And I bent over - in anguish, nauseated, physically nauseated at the loss of life, trying to control my tears, pacing back and forth between my office and the TV - unable to tear myself away, but hardly bearing to watch. Other faculty and students came out of their offices - as we watched replay after replay of thousands of people dying. Unable to not watch. And as we were watching another replay, Gopal (one of our professors) said something that made my heart stop.

"Is that the first tower? Are you sure?"

"It's the replay - they keep showing it over and over and...."

"No - look - there's not another tower there - the second tower just fell!"

"Oh God. Not that one too."

Yes. That one too. And the horror ...well it refreshed itself. Seeing one tower full of people fall was bad enough - but BOTH of them? It was almost too much to bear.

And through all of that - we never thought it was anything more than a couple of crazies. We knew it was on purpose - all you had to do was see the footage of the second plane flying into it's tower and there was no doubt it wasn't an accident. But a well coordinated attack on our country? Like the rest - it just never occurred to me. That day was full of assumptions I made based on the world I thought I knew. Not that I hadn't heard of Bin Laden. I actually had. A couple of years before I read a Reader's Digest article that was an interview with former president Clinton. Someone asked him what was the biggest threat to the US, and he replied "Osama Bin Laden." And elaborated. So I had heard of him. I had read about him. I knew he was a fanatic. But it just never occurred to me that he'd plan THIS.

And then someone on the news said that a plane had flown into the Pentagon.

And I said outloud, "That's it. Oh my God, we're at war."

And we were. And I finally learned what the phrase "and her blood chilled" felt like. It wasn't a fun feeling. I thought of my husband, my kids...where they were, what they were doing, were they safe? Would they stay safe? Were planes about to come raining down all over the country? I know I'm in Podunk, TX, but Pantex is just a couple of hours up the interstate....all these thoughts raced through my head, as I watched everyone run, listened to the folks on TV say what all of us were thinking, saw the people with the gray faces and the shock on their faces... and I continued to pace. I could hardly sit down. I'd sit at my computer, post another message on my hockey board, then it was back to the TV. I'd try to work, but I couldn't. How could I concentrate on accounts when the world was falling apart around me? When we were under attack!?

I remember the TV saying that all planes had been grounded. And hearing about the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. And I watched TV. And paced - in my high heeled boots. In my favorite black pantsuit. And all I wanted to do was go pick up my children and hug them and take them home. Where they'd be with me and safe. And when 5 o'clock finally got here, I left work - and went to pick up my children. And nearly ran into the after-school program and hugged them. I realized that while they knew something had happened today, they didn't seem to realize just how drastically our world had changed. When we got home, we sent them off to watch movies in another room, and Monty and I watched TV some more. Heard the story of someone who had ridden the debris down and survived - then the retraction when it was proven wrong. Hoped they'd find survivors - and felt the overwhelming sorrow when everyone started to realize that there just weren't many. Watched them try to dig through the debris to find survivors - and watched them run when someone thought there might be a shift of the wreckage - or another building came down.

And listened. You could still hear them. It's a sound that I'd never heard before 9/11. And when I hear it now, it still sends chills down my spine. Granted, I only hear it when watching Rescue Me, but the sound of the alarms - the ones that the firefighters wear that only go off when they're motionless......hundreds of them.....once I knew what they were, what the sound was, and why they were much Lord? How much can we all bear? Those were the thoughts in my head.

I stayed up too late watching the cable news channels. Trying to accept?adjust? to what I was seeing. And got up the next morning, and turned the TV back on. Went to work, and had the TV on...hoping that they'd find more survivors. And in the ears adjusted to the fact that there were no more planes in the air.

Several days later, I sat in my office and heard fighter jets go over our campus. (We had an airforce base just outside of town most of my life - Reese is closed as a military base now, but I know the sound of a fighter when I hear one) Never before had that sound scared me. It did that day. And to this day - when hear a low flying jet, I tense up. I've flown once since that day. I didn't like it much. But I did it. Because no stinkin terrorists were going to stop me from living my life as I see fit.

But I don't wear that pantsuit very often. I still have it. But every time I put it on, it doesn't seem to fit anymore. And not just because I've gained a few pounds in the last 5 years. Rather - the person that wore that pantsuit on the morning of 9/11/01 isn't the same one that tries it on now. But I still have it. And the boots. And everytime I look at them, I remember. Because this Redneck Texan will never forget that day. And how it changed everything.

Rocks In My Dryer
is hosting an I Remember 9/11 day at their site. While I've yet to figure out how to add the graphic, please drop by and share YOUR memories of that day. So no one forgets those who died that day. Just for going into the office, or getting on a plane.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Stage IV

That's what stage my mom-in-law's cancer is in. Her official diagnosis is Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She gets a stent next Tuesday, then starts her chemo.

Did you know the abbreviation for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is NHL. Just like my favorite sport. Life is weird. And this whole thing has me slightly freaked, so forgive me if I seem sporadic for awhile. I'm really trying to concentrate for work, but I knew if I didn't get this down, it would just run through my head over and over and I'd never be able to get on with it.

It? Why the business of life, of course. Of cupporting my husband, and being a positive influence for him while he deals with his mama having cancer. Maybe this is why I've felt the need to work on my faith lately. Because God knew this was coming, and knew I'd need Him - as usual. And my hubby will need Him as well. It's hard, as we're 4 hours away from my mom-in-law, and 2 hours away from where she'll get treatment, and I work full time, and the boys are in school...but we'll find someway to make sure she is taken care of.

Tonight is E's first football game. I was really really looking forward to it before we got the news about MIL. Now I'm just really looking forward to it. I enjoy football - and this will probably be the first community activity I've gone to in Ropes, our soon to be new home. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to meet some of our neighbors, maybe see my cousin's wife, and taking plenty of pictures of E's first game. Hopefully he'll get some playing time. And hopefully - it'll help ground us all - since right now I feel like everything just shifted under us.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Finding my way back....

One of the things I've enjoyed most since discovering White Trash Mom
and Rocks In My Dryer, is reading the words of women who are moms (like me) and strong in their faith (not so much like me). I feel like my faith is strong, but I've drifted away. I love God - but I don't glorify him in my daily life like I feel I should. And reading the words of the women who participate in What Works for Me Wednesday on a regular basis, I feel...well - like I'm really missing something in my life. And it sorta inspires me to try to find my way back to that. To once again read my Bible every day. To actually study God's word and find ways to apply it to my life - and my family. And it makes me think. Boy does it ever! Try reading the Mom's for Modesty stuff - if that doesn't really get you thinking, nothing will. I have boys and it made me really think twice - about whether to allow them to wear tshirts with smart alec sayings on them, how I should teach them to react when they see a girl dressed immodestly, stuff that frankly, I hadn't really thought about. Is it any wonder that my boys have a problem being respectful when I let them wear - and buy them - tshirts with smarta** comments? Duh. No wonder, eh?

So I'm going to try more. To think more about what I teach my boys. To think more how I live my life on a daily basis. To see if I can glorify God as I go about my daily living. Or at least do better than I've been doing. And see if it changes me from the person I think I am - and how I'll deal with that.

Can't hurt, right? And it's got to help my boys in the long run. And that's what it's really all about - raising my boys right. And heaven knows God has shown himself to be there for me whenever I've needed him. When we were at our wits end trying to figure out where we were going to find brick, what did I do? I let go and let God. And he not only led us to a place that treated us as human beings - but also provided that the brick we picked out for the house be in stock! Do you know how rare that is now with the entire nation in the midst of a building boom? Trust me. VERY rare. See? God provides. And if he can be there for me, I should try harder to be there for him.

So that's my plan. Which is all well and good sitting here at my computer at lunch. We'll see how it holds up when I have to listen to my 11 yr old and 13 yr old fight about who'd turn it is to pick a show. (Wait a minute - E doesn't get to watch TV tonight after the remote fight last night...heh heh heh. Mama gets to watch tennis! Woohoo!) Y'all pray for me, ya hear?

And go check out WFMW - I've started planning my lunch hours on Wednesday around going through those links. I always find something I can use!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Raindrops keep fallin on my head...

Ok - so *today* they have finally stopped. After raining 4 1/2 inches this fine Labor Day weekend. I cannot even imagine how saturated our land must be. No way to get any work done on that this week. Our only hope is that it dries out this week and maybe we can get the basement done next week. *sigh* I'm thinking my hope of moving the last week of September is a little optimistic.

J brought home his trumpet this weekend. He looks so cute trying to play it. I tried to be all supportive, even though every time he blows into it, it sounds like nothing more than his dad passing gas. I'm sure eventually it will sound like wonderful musical notes. Maybe. I even had him play it for his grandparents, who are in town this week. We all made a fuss, and then E, my eldest, proceeded to turn into the pesterwart from hell. Sibling rivalry indeed. Bet E brings his clarinet home tonight.....

Today J turns 11. I can barely believe that I'm old enough for an 11 yr old, much less my 13 yr old. How'd *that* happen? He wants nothing more than home made pizza for supper tonight. So I guess that's what we're having - I'll have to stop on the way home and pick up a cake. (Hey! I work full time! Besides that - I'm not the best baker in the world. Trust me - he'll enjoy a WalMart cake much more than anything *I'd* make. Actually - I think he was hoping for a cookie cake.....even better!)

Pray that I make it through another week at work - my receptionist is supposed to come back tomorrow, and my other staff person will start late next week. So there is an end in sight to being here by myself. Hey - maybe I'll actually get caught up before Christmas!

And I think that's all the rambling I have!

Friday, September 01, 2006

And so it begins....

Ok - we're not really moving to Hicksville, TX. It's Ropesville, Tx, thank you very much, and we really *are* excited about it. My husband has always wanted to live in the country, and I've always wanted my boys to go to school in a small town, so that's what we're gonna do! I've already seen how it's affecting my boys, even though we haven't moved out there yet. (We're moving my grandparent's home to some land we bought, and well - THAT is a whole nother blog by itself) I've seen my eldest start to regain some of the confidence he lost being bullied at his school here in town, and my youngest actually doesn't hate school with the blind passion he's exhibited for the last 4 years. That in itself is a blessing.

I'm also looking forward to being a part of a smaller community. Of course, it may take a while before the locals really accept us "big city types." I'm hoping that having family out there already will help some. And it turns out that a girl I went to high school with, has also moved *her* family out there. Our oldest children were actually in the same daycare when they were little. How's *that* for a weird coincidence? So maybe that will help. Once we get moved, we'll be able to visit the churches (hey - this is west Texas - EVERY town of 500 has at least 3 churches - Baptist, Methodist & Catholic. Although I hear tell Ropes actually has 4 - but only because they're down to one Church of Christ church now.) and hopefully get back to going regularly. I've really missed that.

I grew up going to church - every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night. And it just feels weird when we aren't going. Oh - it's *easier* - without a doubt. But weird. And I worry about the boys not having that foundation. We found a church we really liked in Lubbock - but it was across town - and while 20 minutes may not seem like a long drive to you REALLY big city types, it was such a major ordeal to get everyone up and ready and over there in time for church...

Who am I kidding? We got lazy. There' s no excuse. We should be going and we're not. I can say it's a long drive, or that I'm not up to getting the boys up and ready and over there by myself during hunting season or whatever. It's still just me taking the easy way out. It's so easy to get caught up in secular life in town - I'm hoping being out in the country will help us *all* to get closer to God. Focus less outside our family and more on it. We can hope.

Wow - this is turning out to be alot longer than I planned. Not that anyone knows it's here - but if anyone happens across my little corner of the net, hi! Welcome! And for pete's sake - comment so I feel loved and noticed ;-)!