< Upheaval: July 2005

Saturday, July 30, 2005

You are invited!

Fact #1: I know how to party. Really!

This weekend, I have two baby showers. One is from my extremely large extended family (the family is large, not necessarily each individual person), and one is from my friends.

Fact #2: Now, bloggers, you ARE my virtual friends. We spend time together on a daily basis, and you know intimate things about me (please reference Gas and Sparkle below).

Because of these two facts, I am throwing myself a virtual baby shower, and you are all invited!

Post links to pictures of things you would buy the baby (or me) with all of your virtual money. I will then respond by posting all of my coolest virtual gifts, then thank you profusely with a virtual gift basket, like they do at the Academy Awards.

I have virtually registered at Hummer.com and expensive-stuff.com, but feel free to shop around.

PS: The more you say the word "virtual" out loud, the weirder it sounds!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Money matters

*** Update: Daniel contacted our car insurance guy, and after some research, the guy discovered that we have been overpaying for several years. Therefore, we have several hundred dollars credit, and we don't have to pay car insurance until after December! Even then, our rate will be $20 cheaper than before. :)

When I decided to quit my job, Daniel and I had to revamp our budget. We have cut back our cell phone plans, our cable at home, our landline phone plan, and our auto insurance. Today, Daniel went to Austin to try to get us a different car so our notes wouldn't be as high.

We have had many discussions about how we are going to make it on one income. Since Daniel is the money man, most of the stress falls on him. I have steadily maintained that since this is what God wants me to do (stay home and go back to college), He will provide for us. That is easy for me to SAY, but maybe my heart hasn't believed it all the way. Daniel said, "God just isn't going to give us money." But I have said, "Yes, He will!"

This is how God gave us money this week. :)

1) I found a dollar in my Bible. Now, I seriously don't keep money there. Daniel and I cracked up when we found that.

2) I found an insurance policy that will cover Baby and I. It was going to be $485 to add us to Daniel's work policy and I have found two other policies that were about $330 a month. But since I am going to be a student again, for $125 a month, I can get basic health insurance for us both. This is a blessing because we were considering dropping health insurance on me for a year, and just finding something for the baby.

3) Daniel bought a car today for $7,000 under the sticker price. They gave us more than we thought they would on our trade. Our car note is going to drop about $125, not to mention insurance and gas money.

4) A bridesmaid dress that I have to wear in March is on sale from $150 to $99. But wait! When the bride called to reserve them, they said the dress was clearanced for $49! Whoever got out that cheap being a bridesmaid???

I want to write this down because it is so easy to get lost in the daily routine and not remember how God has blessed us. I will keep you posted! I am sure He has only just begun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Don't take no wooden nickels

Actually, that should read "Don't make no wooden nipples."

Yes, according to our ever-helpful parenting class, pacifiers are okay, as long as they aren't homemade. So Daniel is going to have to halt the whittling project he has been working on for the past few months.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Two new friends

Demetrius and Kathleen.

These are the people who called me today, disturbing my naptime.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't HATE Demetrius or Kathleen. In fact, I know that Jesus loves these people as much as He loves me, regardless of their chosen profession, so I try to extend the same grace. Sort of.

Neither one of them wanted to talk to me, they were more interested in Daniel (or Donnelle, as Demetrius put it. A job requirement for telemarketers is that they lack the ability to pronounce even the most common names in America). Well, Daniel and Donnelle are sleeping. They worked last night, serving and protecting our community from danger.

"Is there a better time I can call?" each one asked. (Their scripts were surprisingly similar, even though they were from different companies: Chase and Bank of America.)

No. I don't think so.

I think the best time to call is right now, during my nap. Another alternative though, would be dinnertime. Then, next best, bathtime, causing me to run from the bathroom naked, dripping water on the carpet and giving my neighbors an unwanted show through the front windows.

Okay, so I didn't really say that.

I asked to be "removed from their list," prompting twin unstoppable barages of prepared script that informed me that by doing this, I would miss future opportunities with this company. In the same breath, I was assured that it would take no longer than thirty days from this exact date to be removed from the list.


Do you see the grace? Do you feel the love oozing from my pores?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gas and Sparkle

I was very disappointed in the lame participation of blogger community last week, so I boycotted (very maturely) and refused to post. I hope you all suffered greatly.

Because of that, now I feel the need to post something. Also, one of my ghost-readers emailed me requesting a new post. So let me just let you know how it is...

I have a severe pain in my left side. I cannot walk upright, rather, I look like a hunchy old lady. It does not help that I am constantly grimacing in pain. I am not sure what this pain is all about, but I think it can be traced back to Mexican food on Saturday night. When the pain flares up, which happens every few minutes, I gasp and my eyes bug out of my head. The eye bugging is like non-verbal cussing. But that is a secret for only you and me.

In this state, I went to Walmart. I had to pick up a few essentials, and a lot of other stuff, so that my total was almost $100. One of the essentials was paper towels. I would like to let you know that I love paper towels. Particularly, Kleenex Viva or Bounty. These paper towels are great! They are soft, and you can tear them into different sizes, and you can rinse and reuse, if you really want to. I love these kinds of paper towels.

I do not love Sparkle paper towels, which are rough and cheap and scrapey. But those are the kind I bought. I bypassed the eight-roll package of bathtowel Bounty and got the big package of sandbox Sparkle. This is because I am shortly going to be without a paycheck and I am trying to be a good steward of our money.

So, if you come to my house, please don't comment on our paper towels. It is obviously a sore spot with me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What is a curd, anyway?

My neighbors-across-the-street returned yesterday from a nine day trip to Wisconsin. Why Wisconsin? you ask. Well, because that is where they are originally from. Yes, people are occasionally (by accident probably) born in Wisconsin.

Anyway, they return a couple of times a year to visit family, who, mistakenly, no doubt, remain in Wisconsin.

So Laura came over tonight and I gave her some peaches I had picked at the peach orchard this morning. She reciprocated by giving me some cheese curds. Um, I refuse to use the word "curd," which unfortunately has yucky rhyming connotations, so now I am calling them Wisconsin Cheese Noodles. They are really just regular cheese, but broken into chunks and kind of melted, then refrigerated again so that they are smooth river stones of dairy product.

Hungry yet?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Macbeth Factor

I loathe movies. Watching movies is something that I will do, ONLY with my husband, because he loves them. And ONLY occasionally.

My criteria for a movie that I will sit through is that it:

a) must be shorter than two hours, because, who has time for movies, anyway???
b) must be engaging within the first couple of minutes
c) must have an actor or actress that I have heard of (I am not a fan of being a movie guinea pig)

We watched "Hostage" the other night with Bruce Willis.

This movie passed all of my initial criteria. We actually finished the movie, and Daniel said something like "Hey! That was pretty good. Maybe we can buy it."

I didn't tell him this, but we will probably not ever own this movie. It has a characteristic that I find disturbing in films, and I call it the Macbeth Factor.

The Macbeth Factor refers to Shakespeare's use and abuse of the tragedy theme, in which EVERYONE DIES, with the exception of two or three characters. Now, don't get me wrong. I have read and enjoyed (?) many of Shakespeare's plays, but since I already have depressive tendencies, I don't need literature to push me in that direction.

This movie fits well the description of a tragedy, since the frequent bloodbaths make you want to shower when the movie is finally over. However, there are other variations of this "overkill" theme. For instance, when a main character dies unexpectedly, invoking a feeling of sadness about a MOVIE. Or when you begin to question the writers' association with reality, since never before have THAT MANY PEOPLE died in any real worldly event.

An ideal movie for me would have a happy ending, and no deaths, except maybe bad guys, if the death wasn't violent and was just suggested, not actually acted out.

Also, some famous actors need to be in there too.

And also, keep it short and sweet, guys. I got stuff to do.

The lameness of memes

They ARE lame. And only two comments ALL DAY. What a waste.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Someone tagged meme!

What I was doing 10 years ago:

Ten years ago it was the summer before my senior year of high school. I was 16, checking groceries, and chomping at the bit to get out of the house for good!

What I was doing 5 years ago:

Five years ago, I had just finished (my first round of) college. I was dispatching at the police department. I knew Daniel but was not dating him yet. I was living with my favorite roommate ever, working nights, and generally enjoying the last of my days as a carefree and irresponsible student. (This is before I realized that I could just attend college forever, and continue to be carefree and irresponsible.)

What I was doing 1 year ago:

One year ago, I was twenty-five. We were getting ready to go to England to visit Daniel’s brother. It was our first summer in our house, and we were working hard on re-doing the yard which was destroyed in a storm in June.

What I was doing yesterday:

Yesterday was Sunday, which I love! We got up and went to early church in our brand new church building. We came home and did a few chores, then Daniel and I shared leftovers from a yummy Italian restaurant, shared the newspaper, then shared a nap.

5 snacks I enjoy:

1) Moolenium Crunch ice cream by Blue Bell
2) Strawberries and Homemade Vanilla ice cream by Blue Bell
3) Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream by Blue Bell
4) Tin Roof ice cream by Blue Bell
5) The Great Divide ice cream by Blue Bell

5 songs I know all the words to:

1) This Mystery by Nichole Nordeman
2) Amarillo by Morning by George Strait
3) Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf from one of my kid cds
4) It’s a Brand New Day from the genital herpes commercial (really, there are only five words, and it is so easy to sing along with!)
5) Get it Poppin’ by Fat Joe and Nelly (I realize this song is probably nasty, but by "all the words," I mean that I sing the chorus when it comes on)

5 Things I would do with $100 million:

1) Buy the tenth season of Friends
2) Buy Daniel a boat
3) Buy Daniel a lake for his boat
4) Buy myself a house beside Daniel’s lake
5) Do all that goody-goody stuff like share with my family and friends and give to charities.

5 locations I would like to run away to:

Run? Who wants to run? I guess if I had to run it would be:
1) to my neighbor Laura’s house
2) to my neighbor Mr. Bill’s house
3) to my neighbor Ann’s house
4) to my neighbor Mr. Stransky’s house and
5) FINALLY, as a last resort, I would run two houses up to the crazy suicidal man’s house.
Other than that, I guess I would just sit here at my own house. Stupid question...

5 bad habits I have:

1) being sarcastic
2) being emotionally unstable
3) eating ice cream obsessively
4) sometimes saying words that have no place in a lady’s vocabulary
5) thinking I won’t like something (Vietnamese food) before I try it and then realize that it is just a weird combination of stuff I already know (white rice and peanut butter)

5 things I like doing:

1) being in the water on a sunny day
2) playing on the computer
3) listening to Daniel’s stories
4) reading
5) taking pictures

5 things I would never wear:

1) high heeled tennis shoes with fishnet hose
2) super short shorts with heels, unless I ever looked like Jessica
3) rings on every finger
4) a tee shirt that says “I’m with stupid” or
5) a tube top – EW!

5 TV shows I like:

1) Friends
2) Desperate Housewives
3) The Joe Schmo Show (Daniel and I watched the entire first season in a marathon one Sunday!)
5) Gray’s Anatomy.

5 Biggest joys of the moment:

1) seeing Dillon slide from one side of my belly to the other
2) having freshly vacuumed carpet in my house
3) seeing my husband come in the house in the morning, looking so handsome in his uniform
4) eating whatever I want without feeling guilty
5) having three ripe mangoes on the counter just waiting for me!

5 Favorite toys:

1) DVR cable box
2) my SLR camera
3) our new computer
4) Sirius satellite radio in my car and
5) my air conditioner. Yes, that counts!

5 people that I am tagging:

1) Jenn (mostly because she hasn't had a new post in for-evah!)
2) Michelle (because she needs to post too, especially THE PICTURE)
3) Melinda (because she is too political)
4) “Ben” (because he has shared way TMI about his weekend with Sydney...)
5) no one else because everyone else has been tagged. EVERYONE ELSE! I PROMISE!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Horny tomato, Batman!

We got this from our neighbor. None of our tomatoes are as interesting.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

For the record

That bottle is looking ominously close to the number 40 up there.

I am not that far along. Apparently, the site that does that ticker uses 5-day weeks. So, in case you are wondering, I am not 34 weeks along. I am only 32. Please don't rush me!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Maturity is in the eye of the beholder

Recently, I have become a student again. Once a week, for a couple of hours, I sit in a classroom, and learn how to be a parent. Or, that is what I thought we would learn about. Really, these classes are about everything from pregnancy, to labor, to birth and breastfeeding. I haven't learned any parenting skills yet.

What I have learned is that, no matter how old you are, watching videos of women in labor can bring you back to your seventh grade science class where you are watching "The Miracle of Birth" about a very hairy woman in the nineteen seventies. Many of the students, all first time parents, giggle behind their hands when they talk about "bowel movements" or show different laboring positions. Much like we all did in the seventh grade.

It is very validating to not feel like the most immature out of the bunch. I can handle a frank discussion about enemas. I can watch a woman grunt for long periods of time without exploding into laughter.

My husband, however, cannot. So when it comes time for you to take a parenting class, I will loan him to you. He makes everyone else seem like, at least, a senior in high school.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What about me(me)?

I am an educated person and I can see through the ploy. Everyone on my blogroll got together behind my back, and decided to use the newly made-up-word "meme" on their blog so that I would doubt my intelligence and wonder where this word came from.

Well, I call your bluff.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Book review

So, I finished this book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and I wanted to post a quick review. This book has been around for a while, and I am pretty late reading it. In all honesty, most Christian fiction comes off as a little hokey to me, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't really like this book that much.

Well, that goes to show you that God speaks whether you are listening or not.

I will not purchase this book and re-read it annually. I will not discuss passages with friends as though they have become my life's mantra. I will not memorize sections and quote them in conversation. Don't we have another book for that?

But, this book is very convicting. It is convicting because, from day to day, I forget how much God loves me. I forget that He will come after me if I wander. He is a vigilant shepherd, and I am one of his flock.

It is convicting because I don't listen for his voice. I ask, then quickly forget to wait patiently for His response. I get busy trying to fix things on my own, doubtless making a huge mess of what was a simple problem to begin with.

It is convicting because I am not worthy. I have done absolutely nothing to deserve this love, but it is still there for me, every day. No matter what. Even if I ignore Him. Even if I get so busy that He doesn't cross my mind. He loves me.

It is convicting because my heart is hard. Because God loves me, I should love others. And I don't.

I don't think this book changed my life in a drastic way. But even one small degree of change in the course of a traveling ship takes you to an entirely different destination.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Have you ever...

...had a bad taste in your mouth from something you ate or drank, like a cookie, or sweet tea, and instead of going to brush your teeth, or putting a piece of gum in your mouth, you walk into the kitchen and find something to eat so that, for a few seconds, your mouth won't taste bad. But then, after the food has been chewed and swallowed, the bad taste is right back in your mouth and you are right back at the beginning of this post?

Friday, July 08, 2005

31 Weeks

Here is the Big Buddha Belly. We are so close, yet soooo far away...

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And, as requested, here is a crazy bird's eye view of what I see when I try to look at my toes.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Substitute photo

We tried to do some pregnancy pictures, but I am having low self-esteem. Here is one of Daniel and I last summer in front of Big Ben in London. Daniel's brother is in the military and is stationed there - please remember them in your prayers.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Night blogger

I have always (okay, for a few months) thought of myself as a daytime blogger:

Early morning, before school started.

At 10 am, when the kids went to the playground and I had eight-and-a-half-minutes of spare time before someone had to go potty.

The kids' naptime, if I felt the urge to post something.

Then, perhaps, right after school and before Daniel woke up to go to work.

Now, things are different. It is summertime. I read blogs and post comments all day long, but now I really like posting at night. That way, when I wake up in the morning, I have something to read. Surely one of the night owls or one of the people across the ocean have posted a comment! The "you've got mail" of Blogger.

Sometimes, I will even come in here and check my blog before I have my morning potty break. That is a BIG deal. I have a nineteen-pound hunk of extra flesh standing on my bladder, yet I come dancing in here to sit in the roly chair and see who loves me. You guys are changing my routine and stretching my bladder to inconceivable sizes.

Thank you!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Go ahead, make my day...

Multiple deaths. Unexplained deaths. Unstoppable deaths.

Crispy, brown, withered blades of grass that crunch underfoot like potato chips. Stooped and mourning hydrangeas. Wilted geraniums bend down and touch the sides of their hot, dry pots. Tomatoes, stunted in growth by the sudden death of their vine, turn raisin-ish in the sun. The only relief for the redtip bushes is the flood of urine that Bo releases sporadically throughout the day. He can't keep up. He can't quench everyone's thirst, though he tries. The only bright flowers that decorate my home are the silk stalks from Hobby Lobby that hang in a basket on my front door.

The rest of the yard is a wasteland. Look! There goes a tumbleweed! And a small dust storm. Can you hear the saloon music?

This is the state of my lawn. Please give us some rain.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A lesson from the teacher

Basic warning

If you are parents, or thinking of becoming parents, PLEASE educate yourselves about innoculations and the risks that they pose. Also, sometimes it is not enough to ask your doctor. Medical personnel are probably very reluctant to say anything negative about vaccinations because they can be so helpful to our little ones.

Quick and dirty background

Previously, a mercury-based preservative was used in most routine vaccines. In 1999, the amount of Thimerosal was reduced, but not all shots are mercury-free. There has been suggested correlation between childhood immunizations and the onset of autism based on the levels of mercury that children with autism have.

Bottom line

No one knows what causes autism, but there are a few key facts that should be considered:

1. We are in the midst of an autism epidemic. One out of 166 children is autistic. 4 out of 5 autistic kids are boys.

2. The Amish (who routinely do not have their children vaccinated) have extremely low rates of autism, perhaps as low as 5 - 10 children in the whole Amish culture today.

3. Homeschooled children (who also do not have their children vaccinated as often as public school attenders) also have low levels of autism.

4. There is no cure for autism! Shouldn't we be looking for a prevention?


Sorry for the boring post. This is something that I am passionate about. Not neccessarily avoiding childhood vaccinations (because, fundamentally, vaccinations are a good thing), but being educated about them.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


I am sorry to say that Daniel did not make his 12:17 deadline today. He has sweetly asked for an extension, pleading distraction with the purchase of a new computer that has kept him intense and speechless for over 24 hours.

Of course, I am graciously giving him five more days (since he will be working). With the way my brain has been working lately, I'm sure that I will have to cash in on this favor later...

Have a great fourth!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Brutal honesty

I hate Vacation Bible School. I have helped with it before, and (reluctantly) I did it again this year. I do not have children in the program. I am exhausted from my daily routine anyway. It takes four hours away from time with my husband every night. There are so many reasons why this was the bane of my existance this week.

Starting Sunday, I prayed for these kids. They were rowdy, undisciplined, and disrespectful. I expect much more out of our church kids. My students at a public school are younger AND better behaved than this bunch.

Starting Monday, I prayed for my own attitude. It was pretty rotten. Daniel has even said that I complained EXCESSIVELY this week.

Tuesday was a little better. Wednesday, I bonded with this completely unruly child after three days of not being able to tolerate him. That was eye-opening because I had pretty much given up and was counting the days until VBS was over.

Last night was the final night. I donned my toga and headed to the Jerusalem Marketplace. I was a couple of minutes late. I am usually very prompt, but I cared so little about this VBS that I was actually late. I am not in the pictures with the other leaders because I didn't get there on time.

About halfway through the evening, I had an opportunity to visit with a fellow helper. She was having a hard time with VBS too, and was glad that it was almost over. Now, to even engage in this conversation, my bad attitude must have been written all over my face. She asked me if I was tired and ready to go.

She ended up being very encouraging and insightful. Her son was in my group, and she told me how much he was loving it. She had been assigned VBS duty, and not even asked if she would mind, but she still had a good attitude. We ended up exchanging information so that we could get together at a later date and visit.

At the end of the night, the kids and I hugged each other and I told them that I was glad they came. And I meant it.

It amazes me that God could use me at all this week. Of our whole group, I was the spoiled, bratty, whiney, wretched, UGLY child, and He still used me. He still blessed the children through me. He blessed ME through my new friend. He taught me, and I was not even open to learning.

It shames me to even write this post. I am not one to bare my soul, but this week I learned that to be blessed, you sometimes need to be broken.