daily specials

Family Friendly Blogroll []
nutritional info

life door prize

thinkingbloggerpf8

rgb1

BloggerReflectionAward

bloggerprincessaward

nice_award

 Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe with Bloglines

Design by Karen-Swank Web Style
Edits by Me
Coffee image from istockphoto

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Free Custom Blog Designs on Jan 1st!

Don't forget, on Tuesday, January 1st Megan and I will both be giving away free custom blog designs!

FREE!

The giveaway will close on the 6th with the winners announced on the 7th.

We're leading up to The Big Bloggy Move on February 11th! If you are starting a new blog, moving to a new host, self-hosting, or redesigning your blog, then join The Big Bloggy Move! I'll put up a Mr Linky so that everyone who has a new or redesigned blog (as of December, so everyone who got one for Christmas can join) can sign up and debut their blogs. Megan and I will both be hosting prizes, and anyone else who is interested can host prizes also. It's a great way to spread the word about your new blog as well as find some new blogs and have a chance to win something.

Spread the word!

big bloggy move2


Copy this code to grab the button:
<a href="http://afteracupofcoffee.blogspot.com/2007/12/big-bloggy-move_19.html" title="big bloggy move2 by christyofwoc, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2158/2122309820_c0ed6222a1_m.jpg" width="171" height="240" alt="big bloggy move2" /></a>

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cambodia (part 16)

Our arrival in Cambodia was fairly shocking. It was 1997 (was that really 10 years ago?), so it was pre 9/11 and tight airport security.

Soldiers walking around the airport carrying large automatic weapons was a strange sight. I was told they were ak-47's. There were also soldiers posted on several streetcorners, and guarding a few compounds.

My fear was gone by this point, and the soldiers added to the feeling of adventure. We all crammed into a few tiny vans, and immediately thanked the person who had invented deodorant.

It was really hot, and we were really crammed. And a few people's deodorant had unfortunately failed them.

The streets were terrible, unpaved and potted so badly that we would bounce up and hit our heads on the top of the van. Plus, the drivers seemed a bit crazy. They relied more on their horns than on any laws we could figure out. And we all were shocked at the motorcycles and mopeds zipping around carrying entire families, loads of chickens, even baskets upon baskets of fresh bread.

And one of the American workers who lived in Cambodia zoomed by on the back of one that was used as a taxi.

And she was riding sidesaddle.

Holding onto nothing with her hands calmly folded in her lap.

Two years later, I would find myself in the same position, sitting two or three people on a moped, hoping the driver didn't hit a pothole and bounce me right off the back. But at that point we had so many people on the team that we traveled in vans and SUV's.

The first few days of our trip were set aside for sightseeing. We visited outdoor markets, where women squatted on tables and hacked the heads off chickens to give you fresh meat.

And they sold some sort of cockroach-looking bugs in large baskets as snacks.

About three or four days into the trip we took a tour of the Royal Palace. The wealth of it was staggering after the poverty outside the gates.

The rainy season was beginning, and being from California, I hadn't ever experienced the huge thunderstorms that could happen in Cambodia. Even inside the palace and the temples we could feel the thunder shaking the walls.

And then, one of the older men who was with the team turned to his wife and murmured in her ear, "I was in Vietnam. And that wasn't thunder." I looked around, but I was the only person who had heard them, and we all continued with the tour, until we were greeted by a strange sight.

A group of Japanese business men, all in their staid black suits were leaving the temple. But they didn't stop to put their shoes on.

They ran barefoot for the exit.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cambodia (part 15)

The summer after our junior year of college was busy for Isaac and I. He spent four weeks on a ship with the Navy, and shortly after he returned I was heading to Cambodia to teach English with a team of 30 college students and a few adults.

I had met everyone on the team at an orientation. Most of them were from Oklahoma, and I think there were only two of us who didn't know anyone else on the team. I was the youngest person on the team at 19.

I had some strange dreams before leaving. In one, I was hiding behind a broken wall of some sort with some children. War raged all around us, and I was trying to protect the kids and get them away from the fighting.

Despite the dream, I wasn't scared. I was so excited.

Until I got to the airport.

A bunch of people came out to the airport to see me off, but the trip that I had been excited about for months was suddenly terrifying to me.

If someone had pulled me aside and said, "You know, you don't have to go if you don't want to," I probably would have gotten in my car and gone home, despite the two thousand dollars I had raised to go.

Instead my BSU director pulled me aside and said that he thought that God was allowing me to feel the fear at that time for a reason. That later, I would be able to be calm and clear-headed when it was necessary.

It wasn't all that reassuring at the time, but he let me cry on his shoulder, which helped some.

But he turned out to be right.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Shh...it's a secret...

***UPDATED***

THe giveaways are now open! Click here and here to enter.


This is not the giveaway post!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas, Ya'll

A miraculous event

Today I come to you to bear witness to a miraculous event.

One unsurpassed by any other in the After a cup of coffee...or two household.

I was standing in my closet when a voice came as from on high.

And it was the voice of my husband.

And he spake unto me, and he said, "Hey, Babe? Would you want to go through my clothes and throw away anything you think I shouldn't keep?"

And I asked of him, "Even the clothes you've saved since high school and I've never seen you wear?"

And he answered unto me, "Yeah, even those."

And the angels rejoiced, and I raised my arms and shouted, "Yes! Yes!"

And I say, that our God is good, and if it can happen to me, then it can happen to you.

Can I get an amen?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

He's Home!!!!!!

Thanks everyone, for your encouragement. Be back in a few days!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

9:30pm

The power is flickering, people.

I just got out of the shower and I have wet, frizzy hair and no makeup on and the power is flickering.

If it goes completely out and I have to do my makeup in the dark and greet my husband with frizzy hair, I will just tell that plane to turn around.

They can come back tomorrow when I look fabulous.

8pm

It's 8pm and Isaac's flight has been delayed so I have several hours to kill.

I'm so nervous excited that I'm ready to throw up.

And I think time is moving backwards right now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Isaac (part 14)

With the ballroom dancing class, BSU activities, and just hanging out, something had to change between Isaac and I by the spring semester of my junior year.

It was time to fish or cut bait, as romantic as that sounds.

Believe it or not, we decided to stop spending so much time together.

Neither one of us ended up liking that option very much, though. We liked each other too much by that time.

Actually, we had gone way beyond liking, so we took the idea of dating very seriously. We knew that we were headed for marriage. Since Isaac was ROTC, I had to really consider whether I could marry someone who was in the Navy and had to deploy.

I decided he was worth it.

We also realized that the earliest we could get married was about two years. He was on a five-year program, thanks to a few changes of his major and an unfortunate semester of rebellion that resulted in a few failed classes.

So we laid out some ground rules to guard both our hearts and our bodies.

One of those rules was that we wouldn't tell each other that we loved each other.

And we didn't say it.

At least not until I almost died.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Big Bloggy Move

We here at the After a Cup of Coffee...or Two cafe are moving.

Truthfully, I'm tired of Blogger's new comment policy.

And I know Megan, over at SortaCrunchy is, too.

Anyone else tired of Blogger? Or just ready to move to a new host? Or just ready to redesign your blog? Ready to start a blog for the first time?

Then you'll want to check back here or at SortaCrunchy on Wednesday, December 19th for details on The Big Bloggy Move.

Get your move on, ya'll.

And spread the word.

big bloggy move


Get a sidebar button-Copy and paste this code:

<a href="http://afteracupofcoffee.blogspot.com/2007/12/big-bloggy-move.html" title="big bloggy move by christyofwoc, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2217/2110005054_9a59bfd5bc_m.jpg" width="171" height="240" alt="big bloggy move" /></a>

*image courtesy of istockphoto.com

Isaac (part 13)

My junior year, I used to have friends from BSU over every Thursday night to watch Friends and ER.

Back when ER was still good.

But Isaac and I went to the Navy Ball with his roommate Dude, and Dude's girlfriend Joy. And we had fun.

And JT reacted to that.

He was still my next-door-neighbor and he caused me so many problems that my friends and I started going to Isaac's apartment every Thursday night. And Isaac and I found ourselves spending time together.

We went to the grocery store to buy ice cream and soda for all the people who came over on Thursdays.

He drove with me through LA to find a guitar shop that sold a certain kind of string.

And one day when Dude and Joy mentioned that they were taking a ballroom dance class the next semester, I said that it sounded like so much fun, and I wished that I could take it, too.

And everyone turned and looked at Isaac expectantly.

And I was completely embarassed in front of him for a second time.

But he still said he'd take it with me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A welcome home contest ***Updated***

AND THE WINNER IS...(if you are my husband, stop reading now!)

We have multiple winners!

First, lifeasamama for "All I want for Christmas is my daddy." This is the one that we're putting on base.

Then, I decided to award a second place giftcard (smaller amount)to Emily because I love her handprint idea! We're going to add handprints to our sign.

Finally, for third place, I loved seven's coffee-themed idea, and I'm going to use it on my blog for an announcement when he gets back.

If the three of you could email me your addresses, I'll get these cards out to you within a few days and you should have them before Christmas.

For an honorable mention, I also loved Jean 1's "Santa Baby, hurry down the tarmac to me" but Isaac is getting off a bus and "hurry off the bus to me" just didn't have the same ring!

Thanks for playing!
*******************
I need help! And I will reward you for helping me.

Not all of you. Just one of you.

One of you will receive a shiny new $25 Starbucks giftcard for helping me.

It'll help keep you warm as you Christmas shop.

Or you can be lazy and regift it and then there's one less person you have to shop for.

I'm all about helping you get through the Christmas season.

All you have to do is come up with a slogan for our welcome home banner for Isaac.

Because I think "Welcome Home Daddy" might get lost amongst the other 200 welcome home daddy signs.

And my creativity seems to be buried under all the laundry I need to do, or with all the weeds I need to pull, or maybe it's in one of the boxes I need to unpack all before Isaac comes home.

(In LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!)

I will announce the winner on Dec. 12th, or if I can't decide, I will post a poll let you vote.

Good luck, ya'll! And thanks for your help.

Isaac (part 12)

When I first met Isaac, I thought he had no personality.

I did think he was cute, though.

Over the next two years I discovered that he did, indeed have a personality, although he was quite shy.

But get some caffeine and sugar into that boy, and he was pretty fun.

My junior year of college I was committed to learning about God and developing my relationship with Him. I was dealing with the fallout of ending my two-year relationship with JT and was determined not to get involved with another guy.

I was in a Bible study about missions, having become interested in possibly being a summer missionary. I was also on a ministry team, which were teams of students who led Bible studies and worked with other students.

And Isaac was in both with me. He had been to an Eastern European country the summer before. And being around him made me realize that he was pretty good guy. He cared less for appearances and more for the truth, which said a lot to me at the time. And his mom had recently moved into the state, and he was working on trying to build a relationship with her, since she had been an alcoholic most of his life, which also said a lot about his character.

And one night at dinner with a friend, I casually mentioned that I thought he was a pretty good guy.

The Navy Ball is in November every year, and Isaac was ROTC in college. He needed a date, and decided he'd ask a friend from BSU.

Out of the girls he knew there, he had been spending the most time with me since we were both in some of the same activities. Plus, I was also friends with one of his roommates and had spent some time at their apartment in my effort to stay far, far away from mine.

So he asked me.

And that night was the first night I was afraid that JT would actually physically hurt me.

But I said yes because, really, I didn't need an excuse to go shopping and buy a new dress and do my make-up and have some fun.

I still love that aspect of the Navy Ball, 10 years later.

But the gossip started flying around us.

Did he like me? Was that why he'd asked me? Did I like him? Was it a date? Was it just friends?

The friend to whom I'd mentioned that Isaac was pretty cool, mentioned to one other girl that she thought maybe I liked Isaac. And it got around.

And one night I got a call from Isaac. He wanted to clarify that we were just friends. There was nothing more on his part. And I said that while I did think he was a great guy, I had no interest in dating anyone, so that was fine by me.

And I tried to play it off like I wasn't completely, utterly embarassed.

*Thanks to Leah for asking me about my husband in my Q&A!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If you give a girl a computer

If you get a wireless internet connection, your husband will want you to make it secure.

When you finally get around to it, it will probably be midnight.

You'll want some hot chocolate to give you strength.

With all your chocolate induced strength, you'll probably visit the Microsoft page.

If you read the Microsoft page at midnight you will get very confused.

You'll want some more hot chocolate to make you feel better.

After you've made more hot chocolate you'll visit many more web pages.

After visiting many more web pages, you'll remember that your new modem has a user's manual.

You'll read the user's manual.

You'll probably want some more hot chocolate to go with it.

The user's manual will direct you to the online settings.

You'll go online to change your settings and accidentally lock yourself out of your own network.

You'll try to change your settings only to realize that they're online, and you have locked yourself out of your network.

You'll probably curse and cry and get some more hot chocolate.

You might try to use someone else's unsecured network.

Then you'll use the reset button on the modem.

You'll probably lock yourself out of your network and have to reset the modem two or three more times.

And chances are, if you make your wireless network secure, you're going to need some hot chocolate so you can blog about it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The End (part 11)

The biggest factor that led to the final break-up with JT was other girls.

But not all those other girls that he broke up with me for, or compared me to.

No, it was the Christian girls that I finally got to know. My sophomore year I asserted some independence (finally!) and stopped going to church in Hollywood, and continued going with some of the girls I had become friends with over the summer.

Really getting to know other Christian girls was instrumental in changing me and helping me to see that there was more to being a Christian than believing that there was a God, or just wanting to go to heaven.

They actually had a relationship with God. They read their Bibles and prayed regularly, and looked for ways to apply what they read to their lives. And they included me in their lives, whether it was going out to dinner or taking a roadtrip to a Christian conference.

And there were some things that they believed the Bible said were wrong. Things that JT had told me weren't wrong.

But I learned. And I read. And I believed.

And in the summer after my sophomore year I was at a conference and I realized.

My relationship with JT was not godly. And I wanted to be a godly person.

And so, for the first time, I broke up with him.

But me breaking up with him wasn't quite the end of things.

I thought it was great that we could remain friends, especially since I had been stupid enough to allow my roommate and her boyfriend to talk me into living next door to him.

We still spent quite a bit of time together, and what I didn't realize was that he just expected us to get back together. He really thought that we were going to get married after we graduated, and just thought of all those other girls as little adventures along the way. He had never noticed that while he had talked about marriage over the years, I hadn't.

And when he finally realized that it wasn't happening, then things got ugly.

His moods swung wildly. There were rages where he would curse and yell and slam doors and I'd be afraid he would actually hurt me. There were times he'd become suicidally depressed and be on his knees sobbing in front of me.

He even asked me to go to couples therapy with him.

Even though we were no longer a couple.

I lost weight because I would avoid my apartment, skipping meals and staying away for as long as I could.

And the thing that made him realize that we were really over wasn't me breaking up with him or kicking him out of my apartment, or any of those inconsequential things.

It was Isaac.

*This is part 11 in a series. Wow, I never meant it to get that long! It was about how I became a Christian. Now it has morphed into how I met my husband. I guess this could be part two of how I met him. Read my first impression of him here.

The realization (part 10)

My freshman year wasn't just the year I started dating JT, got broken up with by him, and then got back together with him.

It was also the year I became a Christian.

I just didn't know it at the time.

You might remember that I mentioned about 837 posts ago that I was a very literal child and prayed every night because my mommy told me to?

Well, sometime during spring that year I had a realization-

You only ask Jesus to be your Savior one time. You don't need to ask him every night.

And I thought God would probably enjoy it if I prayed something different, that really related to my life, and if I actually talked to Him, and didn't just recite the same words I had prayed over and over for at least 15 years.

I didn't really tell anyone about my realization because I was kind of embarassed that I hadn't really understood prayer for all those years. Plus since JT always wanted to leave the Baptist Student Union (BSU) meetings right after they were done, I wasn't really close to any other Chrstians but him.

But he went home for the summer. And since I lived fairly close to USC, I got to spend some time with people in BSU other than JT. It turned out that they went to church near my parents' house, and I started going with them. I had been going to church with JT during the school year.

We went to church in Hollywood.

Have I mentioned that he may have been a bit concerned with appearances?

And that maybe the appearance of being a good Christian boy was more important than actually being a good Christian boy?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Souptacular!

It's A Soup-Tacular!


This is one of my favorite soups to make in winter! The colors make it very pretty which doesn't matter so much to my husband, he just likes the way it tastes.

White Bean Soup with Carrots

2 C dried white beans
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 C vegetable stock
2 large carrots, sliced
1 T fresh sage (1/2 t dried)
1/8 t each salt and pepper

Boil beans 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow to soak for 1 hour or overnight. Drain and Rinse.

In 4qt pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and 2 T stock and sauté until onion is soft but not brown. Add carrots and sage and sauté 2 min more. Add beans and rest of stock and bring to a boil. Simmer partially covered 1 ½ hours or until beans are tender. For a thick soup, transfer 1 ½ C beans and veggies and ½ C liquid to food processor and puree until smooth. Return to soup and stir.

*You could also use chicken stock and add chicken if you want a soup with more protein!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The break-up(s) (part 9)

I don't remember what came first, the break-ups or the helpful comments on my appearance.

But I do know the first break-up was sometime during the spring semester of my freshman year.

It was my first broken heart, but I can't really remember why JT broke up with me. I remember there were lots of assurances that he really did love me.

And I don't remember why or when we got back together, but we did.

It was the start of a pattern. The outside world could never tell if we were broken up or together, and really, I don't think anyone knew how often he broke up with me. Off the top of my head I can remember four times over the course of my freshman and sophomore year. I know one time it was because he was going up north for an away game, and well, there was this other girl going to be there and he just needed to be free for nature to take its course.

Only nature didn't take its course, and we got back together at some point.

When we weren't broken up he liked to talk about getting married after we graduated. And he thought I was totally beautiful. Except, was I gaining the freshman 15? I wouldn't do that, would I? And there's this girl in one of his classes, she got all tanned over the weekend and was wearing a shirt that showed her stomach...maybe I was a little too pale, and I should start tanning? And this other girl in his class, she was really aggressive in the way she flirted with him, and maybe I should be more aggressive.

Yeah, can someone tell me why I didn't run screaming in the opposite direction? Because looking back, I don't know how I put up with it for so long, or why I let it make me insecure.

But I did.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The beginning of change (part 8)

By Christmas my freshman year, JT and I were an O-fficial couple.

I figured he hadn't really cheated on me at Thanksgiving, because we hadn't ever decided that we were an exclusive item or anything.

He bought me a Bible for my Christmas present. And I actually read it sometimes.

And we went to BSU (Baptist Student Union) meetings every week during Spring semester. He always wanted to leave right after, so I didn't get to know the other people there very well, but over time I did meet a lot of them.

I remember one night as we were headed out the door, someone stopped me and said, "Hey, Christy. Have you met Isaac?"

There was a guy leaning against the wall, his hat pulled low over his face.

He didn't really say anything. He kind of smiled a little at me.

I thought, "He's cute. Too bad he has no personality."

And then JT and I walked out the door together.


*Read parts one through seven here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

If I'm not back soon, call Animal Control

Or David Arquette.

Or Jeff Daniels.

Because I need to go up into the attic, and I know with absolute certainty that there is some sort of freaky, giant, woman-eating spider that is going to get me.

And I don't know how to turn the light on up there.

Because we all know that turning the lights on keeps the bad things away.

Just like keeping your arms and legs on the bed and under the covers keeps the monsters that live under your bed from being able to get you.

And yes, I do realize that I'm 30 years old, and not, you know, 8, but I've been sleeping next to a pile of laundry instead of a man for the past five and a half months, so I am understandably twitchy about things that go bump in the night.

And things that build webs in the attic.

However, the man who belongs in my bed will not be back for another two weeks, and my children can not wait that long to decorate for Christmas. We absolutely must decorate thisverysecondrightnowpleasepleaseplease.

And so I am heroically making this sacrifice for my children.

I'm goin' up.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Divine Intervention (part seven)

When I went to college, I was ready for a little partying. My parents were very cruel strict wise and didn't allow us to go to parties in high school.

So once I was beyond their control, I went to Tijuana with a cousin and went bar-hopping. JT had become my standard for morality, having a Bible and knowing how to use it and all.

And he thought it sounded like fun.

I also started checking out the Greek system. I knew my parents couldn't afford for me to join a sorority, but a friend in my dorm did, and once she was in, we started making plans for me to go to a huge party with her.

But as I was walking down the hall to have her check out my wardrobe choice for the party that night, another friend was coming the opposite direction.

Pale, wrapped in a blanket, shivering, and so out of it that she didn't even notice me as she passed by and I called her name.

We ended up having to call emergency services and she and I rode in the back of a police car to the closest emergency room in the middle of the night somewhere in South Central Los Angeles.

You know, where the Rodney King Riots were.

Still, I think I was safer there than I would have been at that party.

And I have no doubt that God intervened to stop me from going down that bright, happy party path.


*This is part seven in a series. The rest is here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some bloggity business

I'm changing some categories and titles around to make reading easier, so I apologize if you subscribe in a feedreader and you get a bunch of new posts!

Thank you to everyone who has commented or emailed to say that you are enjoying my series on how I became a Christian. I never intended to stretch it out this long, but I am enjoying looking back at how God worked.

For those of you who miss the lighthearted public humiliation that I usually write about, here is a repost that came before a lot of you started reading.

2am Wake-Up Calls

I'm not a big fan of 2am wake up calls. I really like my sleep.

So I was a bit put out when I woke up at 2:15 hearing Luke calling me.

And I wasn't feeling the love when I stubbed my toe on the laundry basket on my way to his room.

If it hadn't been past 2am, it would have been cute when he said, "My sock fell down!" and held up his sock for me to put back on.

So I sat down in the chair to put his sock back on, because me and balance at 2am? Not friends.

(See the aforementioned stubbed toe)

And then Luke gently stroked my hair and said, "Nice hair, Mommy." And even at 2am that melted my heart.

And then I went back to my room and walked face-first into my bedroom door.

Wordless Wednesday- One Year Old


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And so it begins (part six)

I went to Sunday School when I was young. Sometime around fifth or sixth grade I stopped.

There was a little fat boy who had a crush on me.

His parents taught the class, and they thought it was cute.

I however, did not. He always sat by me, which is like, so totally the end of the world. So I stopped going to church.

Obviously I had all my priorities straight.

But when JT invited me to go to a welcome party for the Baptist Student Union, I said yes. I considered myself a Christian. I had been to Sunday School.

And after that mall experience with JC, a good Christian boy (read: non-criminal) seemed like just the guy I needed.

Plus, he was the guy every girl in the dorm wanted, so I wasn't about to turn down time with him.

Soon we were unofficially together. We did everything together. He was the son of missionaries, and I thought he was so spiritual. I mean, he owned a Bible and even knew how to read it.

And when he came back from Thanksgiving break, he told me he had made out with an old friend of his.

But it made him realize that I was the only girl he wanted in his life, and he was in love with me.

And I believed him.


*This is part six. Read the rest here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The worst date. Ever. (part 5)

I'm pretty sure the phone woke me up.

It was probably only 11am or so, what else would a good college student be doing at that time of day?

I still can't believe I didn't flunk out of my entire freshman year. There were seriously classes that I ditched for months at a time.

To this day I have nightmares about going to class only to realize that the final is that day and I've skipped every single class and have no idea how to answer any of the questions.

It was JC on the phone, and he was going to the mall and wanted me to come.

He had a car, and I had been forced by my parents to leave my car at home for my freshman year.

Ah, the cruelty of parents.

I should probably thank them.

So we went to the mall and when I mentioned wanting to buy something (probably a pair of jeans since I have been on a lifelong quest to find the perfet pair) he made a comment about him not having enough time to shop if I needed to get something too.

And it got worse.

Heading towards checkout, he asked me to hold something for him.

Something that he had not paid for.

His great plan was to pay for a backpack and have me sneak out some clothes for him.

I waited outside instead, and needless to say, that was the last time I went anywhere with him.

But there was still JT.

And, oh, if I had known then how the whims of that boy would rule the next two and a half years of my life, I would not have sat next to him in class.


*This is part 5. To read parts one through four, click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I need opinions on a very serious matter

One of utmost importance.

What to wear when I see Isaac for the first time in six months.

I've lost weight since he's been gone, but I like myself at a size 12- feel really skinny at a size 10- and am currently a size 16. There's a chance I'll be a 14 when he gets back, but I'm not counting on it.

Although I will be a 10 or 12 next year for the Seabee Ball, and then I'll be rockin the heels and formal dress, lemmetellya.

Unless we get surprised with another post-deployment baby.

In which case the only thing I'll be rockin is my poor knocked-up self while I vomit into a toilet.

But until then I have a few more curves than I want, and it's a thin line between looking nice and, Hey ya'll, come check out my boobs!

Anyway.

Here are some options:

black dressred dress

I like the idea of a dress, but who knows what the weather will be like? Plus I'll have all three kids with me, and it is a military flight, so we may get stuck for a few hours waiting, and I don't want to know how many times I'll have to bend over or pick up a child. So it doesn't seem very practical.

sweater coatwrap top

These are both options I could wear with dark jeans and my black boots. I like the style of the wrap shirt, but I'm not loving the pattern, though.

Any opinions? Anyone seen a fabulous outfit while you've been out shopping lately?

Friday, November 23, 2007

All the right reasons (part four)

People in my high school were aghast at the idea of me skipping my senior year.


But really, I had been to three proms already, and what fun are ditch day and other assorted activities when you don't like your friends?


I headed off to college without a single doubt.


Until I got there.


And then I was terrified.


I didn't know a single person, I couldn't find my way across campus, and what the heck was I doing going away to college when I was only 16 years old???


But I went to the dorm meet and greet and got invited to play volleyball. And there I met a boy that we'll call JC. And a boy that we'll call JT. Apparently I had met them both at the orientation during summer, but in the fog of terror and overwhelmedness in which I had gone through that weekend, I had only vague memories of cute college boys.


But now I was actually at college, and living in a dorm with cute college boys, and suddenly college was fun and not scary.


And obviously, I was there for all the right reasons.


You know, boys and fun.


But soon I turned 17 and I matured and added another reason to be at college.


Football.


*For parts one through three, click here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mommy, may I? (part three)

In one of the boxes full of college recruiting materials, I found the flier for the USC Resident Honors Program.

Complete your senior year of high school and your freshman year of college at the same time!

Your classes earn you double credit!

Scholarships automatically awarded for those accepted!

And I had missed the application deadline.

Being the mature, ready for college 16-year-old that I was, I had my mommy call the head of the program to ask if they accepted late applications.

"What are her SAT scores?" "Why yes, we will be happy to accept her late application."

And so it was that I was accepted to USC, and I decided to leave all my friends and high school behind.

That summer my mom and I went off to the new student orientation weekend, and before long I was 16, living in a dorm, 50 miles away from my parents.

Which in LA is really like 200 miles.

Hmmm.

*This is part three of how I became a Christian. Read parts one and two.

Monday, November 19, 2007

They say it's your birthday

What's that?

It's not your birthday?

Well it is mine!

I'm turning 30 today.

And I'm just desperate enough for attention to announce it to anyone who happens to stop by my site.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

Bloggity blog

These Q&A questions made me laugh!


1. Who is your pretend bloggy BFF?

Ree, from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman! Because she makes ranch life seem so romantic, and I'm sure if we were BFF's she would invite us to go stay at her ranch and teach me how to take wonderful pictures of cows. And I'd finally know, why, WHY did Marlboro Man wait so long to call her?


2. Which blogger would you most like to go shopping with?

Melanie, from Big Mama. Because she has somehow retained all this fashion knowledge even in the midst of motherhood, and when you are shopping you really need that person who will encourage you to buy the expensive designer jeans because they look so much better than the cheap Wal-Mart ones you are currently wearing. And because she shares my feelings about Wal-Mart- that I always feel like I need a shower and a gallon of Purel after being in one.


3. Which blogger would you most like to have a cup of coffee with?

Kate, from Small Scribbles. She seems like such a fun, relaxed mom. All her kids seem so talented and because she's the only homeschooler I've ever heard of who doesn't get up at the crack of dawn and start school at O'dark thirty, but instead they wander around in their pajamas for a while and do chores and cook healthy food, and start school around 11 or 12. I can homeschool like that!



If you want to answer these questions on your blog, leave me a comment so I can read your responses!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The thing I didn't do

*Thanks to Jen, who asked about my scrapbooking in my Q&A!

When my husband deployed for six months, I had all kinds of ideas about how I was going to fill up my time.

After all, I don't have a whole lot to do after the kids go to bed.

*Ahem*

So my plan was to catch up on scrapbooking. With moving from Japan to Maryland to California to Maryland to Mississippi with a deployment to Afghanistan, an eye surgery, a baby, a broken ankle, and buying our first house all in the last two years, I had understandably fallen a bit behind.

I think Luke has about 4 pages.

And he just turned three.

Oh, ok, I'm exaggerating. I'm sure he has at least 6.

So I was going to use my evenings to catch up AND I was going to learn digital scrapbooking in Photoshop Elements. I love paper scrapbooking, but I can see the benefit of being able to make one layout and just changing the colors digitally for the different kids.

So do you want to see what I've done in the last 5 months?

family
This isn't a page, it's wooden letters on my mantle, in case you're wondering.

audreyleftaudreyright

This is the only layout I've done.

I've done it here:
scrapspace
Not exactly the most inspiring space, but I just haven't had time to organize it better or spruce it up.

Which is probably part of the reason I haven't done much scrapping!

Both of those projects used various papers by Basic Grey, which is my all-time favorite paper line. I always go to them first when I want patterns. My other favorite is Bazzill cardstock. It's rare that I do anything without some Bazzill paper somewhere. I also love rub-ons of all types and one of these days I'm going to get myself a Cricut machine.

But first I have to start scrapping again before I spend money like that.

I make an effort not to spend hundreds of dollars on things that just sit around.

Unless I buy it with a Michaels coupon.

Because then it's a bargain.

Even if it just sits around.

At least I can look at it and feel all righteous about the money I saved on it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An unexpected direction (part two)

My junior year of high school found me 16 and unhappy.

I had a boyfriend I didn't really want, but who was madly in love with me.

I had friends I didn't really like, but didn't know how to change the situation without causing the kind of back-stabbing, rumor-mongering war that only adolescent girls are capable of.

Well, adolescent girls and some of my grown relatives, but that's a post that will never get written. Because this web, it is world wide.

I had scored well on my PSAT's and the early SAT that I had taken for practice, and so I had two full boxes of fliers and recruitment info from various colleges in the garage.

And one day, it occured to me, "Didn't USC have some sort of early entry program..."

I figured I had thrown that flier away. I mean, who in their right mind would skip their senior year of high school? Isn't that the year that we all work toward and dream about? Senior prom? Ditch day? Getting to park in the school parking lot instead of fighting for a space on the road?

Could I really give that all up and start college at 16 years old?

Should I?

Would it matter if I couldn't find that stinking flier among the rest of the junk that I shoved into the boxes?


*This is part two of how I became a Christian. Read part 1 here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Literally Speaking (Q&A 1)

My mom tells me that I was a very literal child.

In preschool we were told that we weren't allowed to go play until we had finished our lunch. I can remember sitting there watching the other kids run and play while I tried to finish my food.

When I asked my mom to please not give me so much food she rushed down to the school to complain about their rule only to be told that I didn't have to eat all my food, I just had to be done eating.

Obviously, not only was I literal, I was also naturally obedient.

At some point when I was very little my mom taught me to pray every night before bed.

She told me that I should ask Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me for my sins and be my Savior.

And thank him for our food.

And so I did.

In those exact words, every night of my life up until my freshman year of college...


*thanks to Leah for asking me how I became a Christian in my recent Q&A post. I'll be back soon to add another part to the story!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pity Me

For I fell behind on the laundry.


This is just the clean stuff to be put away.

I still have more I need to wash.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm feeling it in my very bones

I was all set to start a series from some of the questions ya'll asked for my bloggy Q&A. I've been pondering it, and had a vision for what I wanted to say.

And then I received a letter from that satellite company that is league with the devil.

And then I spent hours on the phone with them, and am waiting for a call back to spend some more hours on the phone with them.

And I have reached the point with them of threatening to go to the FCC and media outlets.

Not that I want to go to the media, and probably won't truth be told, because it's just too much work.

But I could.

And I think they would listen.

And now the only thing I am pondering is my deep and abiding bitterness towards this company.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll start answering questions, so if you have any more, email or post them!

I Love You More- A Review


When I was contacted to receive a free copy of the new book "I Love You More" for review, I immediately jumped at the chance.

After two hours of googling and following links on the chance that it was a psycho stalker just trying to get my address.

I was really suprised by the book. We already have several books about love, one with the same name. But my kids adored this book.

I think most of the reason is that it is two stories in one. The book has no front or back, but flips over and the two stories meet in the middle. My daughter loves the side from the mom's perspective, "I love you prettier than the prettiest flower ever found." My son loves the little boy's perspective, "I love you taller than the tallest giraffe ever grown."

And all week I have been treated to the poetic stylings of "Mommy I love you bigger than the biggest toad." And "Mommy, I love you tinier than the tiniest ant."

They try.

If you want to check it out, you can visit the author's website

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'll let you figure it out

Luke, tonight at bedtime:

Mommy, my peanut isn't pointing down.

Monday, November 5, 2007

And so I turn to you

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately.

It's not writer's block exactly.

More like mind-numbing exhaustion.

It's hard to compose a blog post in your head while you're doing dishes if you're so tired that you're falling asleep standing up.

And so I turn to that last refuge of blocked bloggers in search of bloggy fodder.

The bloggy Q&A.

Ask me a question.

Any question, about homeschooling, Navy life, life in Japan, mild or bold coffee...anything!

And I will try to get a little more sleep so that when I look back on the day's events, I can think of more than, "Well, I obviously got dressed at some point, but I'm not sure what I did besides that."

Post it in the comments or email it to me at afteracupofcoffee(at)gmail(dot)com.

Maybe next week I'll be able to post more than, "Me tired. Need coffee."

Friday, November 2, 2007

We're done with Halloween

And no, I don't mean for the year.


I mean period.

It's hard enough corralling two kids and a baby in a stroller without my husband to help, but add in tons of sugar? Insanity.

We went trick-or-treating with several other families. About six houses into it, a teenage boy in a very spooky mask leaned down into Chloe and Luke's faces and growled and boo'd at them.

I mean, it seriously would have been enough to make even me scream.

It scared them so much that they both ran crying back to me at the end of the driveway! Luke was ok after several minutes, but Chloe just kept getting more and more scared.

She refused to go to any more doors and was huddled by my side.

Huddled.

And any time anyone in a remotely scary costume came near, she started whimpering and hiding behing the stroller. After a few minutes of this, she was in a ball crying and begging to go home. She was so scared that she couldn't even get up to walk back to the car.

Luke, of course, then had a tantrum that we were stopping early and had to go home, and I had to chase him down the street.

Good times.

After all that drama I then had a horde of teenagers with absolutely no costumes come to my door to get candy, and steal the "good stuff" from the one child with them who was young enough to actually be trick-or-treating.

The whole night frustrated me so much (actually is still frustrating me, since Chloe is still asking me several times a day Why, Mommy? WHY would that big boy want to scare me? Why? WHY?) that we are just done. Next year we're going to Chuck E Cheese.

They'll still get to dress up, though. Because the excess sugar and the nightmares I can do without.

But this?


I wouldn't miss for anything.

The winners are...

For the frame...windycindy...but I don't see an email anywhere on your link! Contact me with your address.

For the Starbucks...Gibee! I sent you an email already.

Congratulations to both of you!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Fall, Ya'll

****Comments are now closed****

The winners will be posted this evening!

And no, I didn't die of embarassment, as someone asked. But the sleep deprivation in this house has reached critical levels, and stringing together coherent sentences has become very hard and so I haven't posted much lately.


So instead of trying to come up with something to post about, I'm just going to give away some free stuff.


First, I am giving away a $10 Starbucks giftcard! Just think of all the caffeine that could buy...well, ok, it's not much, but still.

It's coffee.

And it's free.

I am also giving away a cute little photo frame. And I mean little! I think the picture it holds is about 1.5 inches. Here is what mine looks like, with my kids' Christmas photo from last year:



Only you get your own all wrapped up in bubble wrap and without my kids in it.

Just in case you wondered.

Anyway, leave a comment saying which prize you'd like to win and then head over to Bloggy Giveaways for more great prizes! And remember to leave me a link to your blog or your email address if you want to actually receive your prize. And this giveaway is only open to addresses in the US or Canada (that's to give you a chance to win, Ange!).

Happy fall, ya'll.

I'm going to take a nap now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We take a break from our regularly scheduled caffeinated ramblings...

To bring you complete and utter mortification.

Today my cable company came out to see if they could re-hook my cable, which was partially disconnected by that unnamed large satelite tv provider henceforth known as the devil (and I signed a 2-year contract with the devil, ya'll).

The cable company said that they don't go into the attic or anything, but that their guy would check the cable box and see if they could just re-hook it there, otherwise the devil would have to do it.

So this afternoon a youngish, not unattractive man (Isaac if you're reading this, the only reason I mention that is because it makes my mortification that much worse. If you were a woman you'd understand this) so, a youngish, not unattractive man shows up at my door and looks at the cables and decides to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Literally.

He went up into the attic to see what he could see.

And what he saw were two foundational garments hanging on the doorknob that he had to unlock and open to get to the attic access through our laundry room.

And ya'll.

Ya'll.

I don't have small, discreet foundational garments.

So I did what any modest girl would do and pretended that it didn't happen, that they didn't exist and that he didn't see anything.

And then he went into my bedroom to check the outlets there.

My bedroom.

By now most of you know about my laundry habits while my husband is deployed.

So, needless to say, there were more foundational garments lying on the bed in all their not-small glory.

The bed which he had to get behind to reach the cable outlet.

I won't even mention the boudoir pictures on the wall that I had taken for my husband two years ago when he was in Afghanistan and I was skinny.

The ones of me in my foundational garments and little else.

The ones I would hide if I knew someone was going into my bedroom.

I really just might die of the mortification.

I just have to say

The past few days I have spent hours on the phone with [unnamed large satellite tv provider].

I signed up for them about a month ago as part of a new bundle offer in my area. So many lines and cables were destroyed in Katrina that all the utility bills here are shockingly high.

So I thought I'd save some money.

Even though I didn't really like [unnamed large satellite tv provider].

And now? A month later? After wasting hours and hours of my time, charging me $135 for my "free" service, and then not providing me with any networks except CBS? (And I love me some CSI, but lemmetellya there is no way I'm living without ABC and Pushing Daisies. And FOX and 24? If I have to miss it I will go into serious withdrawals and the resulting eye twitching will just be a hazard to everyone.).

I am canceling [unnamed large satellite tv provider].

They are dead to me.

Or at least they will be 7-10 business days after their billing dispute department receives my letter asking them to cancel the early cancellation fee that no one told me about.

After that?

Dead to me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The birds and the bees and the lions and the crocodiles and the camels...

Today on the way to Michaels:

Chloe: Mom can we buy some pumpkins and Halloween decorations at Michaels?
Me: No, I think we're going to wait and just decorate for Christmas.
Chloe: Did God make pumpkins?
Me: (still feeling like a confident, knowledgeable mom) Yep! God made everything.
Luke: Did God make animals?
Me: Yes.
Luke: Did God make lions?
Chloe: How did God make people?
Me: Yes, He hade lions. And He made Adam out of dirt and He made Eve from Adam's rib.
Luke: Did God make Nile crocodiles?
Chloe: Did God make me?
Me: (getting just a little frazzled at this point by the questions all being asked at the same time while I am trapped in the car on the way to Michales) Yes, God made you and crocodiles.
Chloe: How did God make me?
Luke: Did God make camels?
Me: Yes He made camels and He made you as a baby in my tummy.
Luke: Did God make giraffes?
Chloe: How did He make me in your tummy?
Me: (getting a little frantic for a distraction at this point) Yes He made giraffes, and He took a little part of daddy and a little part of mommy and they grew into a baby in my tummy.
Luke: Did God make elephants?
Chloe: But HOW did I get in your tummy?
Me: (desperately) What kind of pumpkin should we get at Michaels?

An hour later, back in the car...

Luke: Did God make birds?
Chloe: When can we make our wreath? Where are we going to put our pumpkin? Are we going to put a face on our pumpkin? Can I help you make the wreath?
Luke: Did God make pumas?

At least one of them got distracted...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Did you notice?

Do you see it?

My countdown at the top of the page?

59 days.

Less than two months.

Maybe I should start actually putting away my laundry...

It may take the next two months.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My friend, the tv

I finished watching the entire Alias series on dvd several weeks ago, so I was relieved when the new season premieres started.

What else does a girl with a deployed husband and three kids have to do at night?

Ok, so dishes, laundry, vacuuming and unpacking all come to mind, but let's be honest.

Not gonna happen once the kids are finally in bed and quiet.

So I dvr'd a new series or eight and have been working my way through them. I'd watch them on actual tv, but this whole Central Time thing really throws me off.

Plus, I really like how fast the fast forward is when the commercials are dvr'd.

Anyway, I had high hopes that Bionic Woman would fill the Alias-shaped hole in my life, but Jamie Sommers just doesn't have the rockin pink hair and fantabulous clothes the way Sidney Bristow does. She does kick some serious booty, though, so I'm not giving up yet.

So I turned to Big Shots in the hopes that a series with Michael Vartan would fulfill me. While I was glad he seemed to be the only halfway decent character, I haven't gotten around to watching the second episode yet, and don't really feel drawn to.

And then came Pushing Daisies.

It is cute, quirky, original and I loved it.

And couldn't wait to watch the second episode.

And with clothes like these, how could you resist?
110305_D_2035 110305_D_0085

pd5pd1

And while that last one lacks appropriate, er, foundational garments, I tried in vain to find a good picture of the dress with red flowers that Chuck wore in last week's episode "Dummy" and couldn't, so the um, unsupported dress with red flowers had to do.

And Olive's rendition of "Hopelessly Devoted" had me laughing out loud.



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Her glass isn't only half-full, it overflows

Chloe about cheerleading practice today:

We ran and I was the very first one in! Welllllll. Actually, A was the very VERY first one, but I was the second very first one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The meme that almost wasn't

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away...also known as 6 months ago when I still lived in Maryland, Bethany tagged me for Theme Songs: The Meme.

And I didn't do it.

However, four full days of driving gave me time to listen to all the songs on my ipod.

Multiple times.

The first day was great. The nappers napped peacefully, all the kids watched tv, no one fought, and mommy got to relax and listen to my own music and I lifted my voice and was praising the Lord in song, ya'll.

The other three days of driving I lifted my voice for slightly less holy reasons.

Anyway, all that time made me think of the meme, so here goes!

1. If you could pick your own theme song, what would it be?

Lead of Love by Caedmon's Call

Looking back at the road so far
The journey's left its share of scars
Mostly from leaving the narrow and straight
Looking back it is clear to me
That a man is more than the sum of his deeds
And how you make good of this mess I've made
Is a profound mystery
Looking back you knowYou had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky now I see why
Had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love
Looking back I can finally see
How failures bring humility(I'd rather have wisdom and pain)
Brings me to my knees(Than be a comfortable old fool)
Helps me see my need for thee
Looking back you knowYou had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky now I see why
Had to walk the rocks
to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love

2. Now be honest…if others had to pick a song that described you, what would they choose?

I have no idea!!! Anyone have any thoughts for me?

3. What song would be/was the first dance at your wedding?

I'll Give by Smalltown Poets

Yesterday I lived for me
And I was so alone as I could be
Then I saw You and how You give Yourself away
And I want to live for You today
(chorus)I'll give; I'll hold nothing
I'll give and I'll hold nothing back
My love is a lot like me
Wanting nothing less than everything
But I know You're the only love that's true
And only giving makes makes me close to You
(chorus)I'll give; I'll hold nothing
I'll give and I'll hold nothing back
My hands are open, so take what You see
And I'll keep nothing, hold nothing back from me
(chorus)I'll give; I'll hold nothing
I'll give and I'll hold nothing back

And yes, in that song they are singing to God and not a person, but it's also the attitude we try to bring to our marriage.

4. What song gets stuck in your head most often?
Unfortunately for the last few years it has been the theme song to Dora the Explorer. It's painful.

5. What song would you want played at your funeral?

That's a hard one. I have a hard time choosing from It Is Well With My Soul, Better is One Day and Be Thou My Vision. I guess I'd let my husband pick since I wouldn't really care at that point. If my husband died I'd play That's What Soldiers Do by Monk and Neagle at his funeral.

Come and walk with me, my son
I need to share my heart
Tomorrow when the morning comes

I’m headed off to war
Take care of your mother
And your little brother, too
I’m praying that I’ll be home soon
So I can be with you
I know you’re only 10 years old
I know that you’re afraid

But I need you to be brave for me
And for the family
I know it’s hard to see me cry
But put your mind at ease
God is watching over us
So we can be at peace
With all my heart
I can’t wait to tuck you in
And sing a song to you
Son, stand strong
Love is the reason I would give myself for you
‘Cause that’s what soldiers do
Remember what I taught you now
About how to be a man
Talk with God throughout the day
He will help you stand
With faith to see, hope to believe
And love for everyone
Know that I’m so proud of you
And I will always love you, son
With all my heart
I want to take you to our favorite place
And catch a fish or two
Son, stand strong
Love is the reason I would give myself for you
‘Cause that’s what soldiers do
And as I go, I want you to know if I
Don’t make it home
You are gonna be alright
I’m telling you, son,

You’re gonna touch the sky
Don’t lose hope, just lift your eyes
We’ll be together again some day
So with all my heart
Hold on to Jesus, son
And He will lead you through
Son, stand strong
You may never go to war
But you’re a soldier, too
And when you have a son like you
Teach him to fight for what is true
‘Cause that’s what soldiers do

I won't tag anyone to do this, but if you decide to, leave me a comment so I can come check out your choices!

Blog Therapy

This post by DeeDee at It Coulda Been Worse cracked me up today. Plus, she expresses so well my feelings on blogging: it forces me to find humor in situations and days where it seems to be sadly lacking.

Also, my four year old is dancing around in her undies and a silk scarf and nothing else, being alternately a mermaid and a cat.

We just might be soul sisters, DeeDee and I.

Not that I've ever met her, or even, you know, commented on her blog.

But still.

There's definitely a connection.

Monday, October 8, 2007

We're home

We visited Joy. We arrived home yesterday. I will post pictures sometime after I clean all the Chick-fil-a containers and dvd's out of van.

Maybe sometime in early 2008.

But first, I will say this-

There is a sad lack of Starbucks between Mississippi and North Carolina.

Now, I'm off to relax and catch up on the new shows that I dvr'd while I was gone. Anyone watch Pushing Daisies? I'm about to!

Monday, October 1, 2007

It might not happen after all...

We had a day full of errands and are almost ready to go tomorrow. The clothes are set aside but not packed, new movies were bought, but I still need to set up the portable dvd in the car.

And then, just before bed...

The stinkiest, leakiest, loudest diaper ever.

On Audrey.

Just to clarify.

And half an hour later?

Another one.

And it just has that smell...that icky, I've got a stomach bug smell.

But she doesn't have a fever, so we'll see what the night brings!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

If I haven't lost my mind already, then I probably will this week

I'm lonely.

Well, I just put that right out there, didn't I?

School started and people got busy and suddenly I have literally gone weeks without a face-to-face real conversation with someone.

Oh, I've been to Bible Study and church and cheer practice and talked to people, but an honest-to-goodness conversation?

Weeks.

So I decided that on Tuesday I'll load up my crew and drive 8 hours to visit my friend Joy, whose husband is also deployed.

Or so I thought.

I don't know quite how I did it, but the brain cells? They are failing me.

It doesn't take 8 hours to drive from Mississippi to North Carolina.

It takes 14.

And I'm still going to attempt it.

And I mean attempt, because I'm a practical person and I know that I may make it to Alabama or Georgia, stay in a hotel for the night, and turn around and head home the very next day.

But if I make it, we'll have seven kids and zero husbands, and the refreshment of as much time as I want with a Christian sister who has known me since before my husband and I started dating.

And that is definitely worth the effort.

So if you don't hear from me for a few days, then I'm probably in North Carolina.

Hopefully with all three of my kids in tow, and still in possession of my sanity.

And if anyone knows where the Starbucks are located along the way? Share!

I have a feeling I'll need the caffeine!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WW- Get on the bus


Back up, back up, back up

If your computer has ever completely crashed and you lost everything (and I have TWICE) then you know the importance of backing up! 5 minutes for mom is giving away three portable hard drives, the perfect thing to back up all your pictures and files. Head on over and check it out!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Note to self- part three

Next time the kids have a razzberry contest in the backseat of the van?

Make sure they've finished their chocolate ice cream first.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A soul-deep need

Bloggers everywhere seem to be talking about it lately, and I have been feeling an aching void inside that needed filling up.

Boomama, Bigmama and LilyLakeMom have caused to me to face the emptiness inside.

I needed to go to Target.

So today we all piled in the van and drove over an hour and across state lines to shop at Target.

But we stopped at Panera Bread for a snack on the way in.

I'm dieting, so I had french onion soup and avoided the croutons on top.

But I may have finished Luke's cinnamon crunch bagel.

And Chloe's cobblestone muffin.

But those don't count since I didn't actually order them.

Really.

We had a great time at Target and many absolutely necessary things were bought. Like Method eucalyptus mint cleaner and vanilla apple air freshener. And clips for Audrey's hair. And wild blueberry honey.

Obviously, things we couldn't live without and desperately needed to cross state lines for.

Before starting the long drive home, we stopped at the Starbucks counter. I got a pumpkin cream cheese muffin because I am dieting. You need veggies and everyone knows that dairy makes you skinny. It's in all those commercials.

I might have "forgotten" to ask for nonfat milk in the cinnamon dolce latte that I needed to keep me awake for the long ride home. But since we've already established that milk makes you skinny, I'm sure it was fine.

But I have no comment on the coconut macaroons that jumped into my cart.

Really.

They did.

I have Biblical evidence that these things happen. Exodus 32:22-24. The golden calf just jumps right out of the fire. Aaron had nothing to do with it.

Just as I had nothing to do with those macaroons.

Except for eating one or two five.

But it's ok.

Milk makes you skinny.

And I had a really big latte.

So, as you can see, a very satisfying trip to Target.

And I am feeling replete complete once more.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Uh-oh, what did they do?

Words to strike fear in the heart of any homeowner:


Mommy, we've been painting the walls black!


Thank God they were just pretending.


And that they were using feather dusters for paint brushes.


I don't think my walls have been so clean since I had to vacuum them!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Really not a baby anymore

Today I had the startling revelation that Chloe is really not a baby anymore.

Now I know that at almost 5 years old, this should have occurred to me by now.

But today I received a visual reminder.

She rolled her eyes at me.

I guess in some corner of me, there was this hope that if we homeschooled, we'd be able to skip past that attitude stuff altogether.

Yeah.

Not so much.

Which is silly really, since I have heard somewhere (like, oh, The Bible) that we've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

But at least later we were able to return to joy in innocent things like apple boats. Apple slices with mini-marshmallow men, pretzel stick oars, and almond butter glue (so much yummier than peanut butter).

I'm sure one day they'll be way too babyish to get excited over.

But for today she's still young enough.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monk and Neagle Tomorrow!

You may remember that I won a Monk and Neagle cd back in July.

And it is amazing.

And you can buy it tomorrow.

Just in case you've somehow missed hearing them, you can still hear a preview here.

Beautiful You is still my favorite song, although What Soldiers Do runs a pretty close second. And makes me think of my husband and get all teary.

Who has yet to hear Monk and Neagle, now that I think about it.

I'm supposed to mail him his guitar (ok, maybe I was supposed to have mailed it like two months ago, but c'mon! It's a really big box and he's not here to watch the kids while I go and mail really big boxes!) so maybe I should include my copy for him.

Don't forget!

monk & neagle banner

At least he's honest

Luke: Mommy, I need to go potty.
Me: Really? Or do you just want candy?
Luke: I just want candy.

sigh

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Over the hump

Three months.

We are half-way through deployment today, and getting ready to go to the big Over-The-Hump party.

I can't believe it's been three months.

A lifetime and a blink of the eye at the same time.

Chloe has learned to read.

Audrey has learned to sit up, crawl, wave and says several words. She doesn't look anything like the baby you left.

Luke puts his own shoes on, buckles himself into his carseat and says, "No! I not a baby!" when I call him that.

Walls are painted and pictures are hung in the first house we've owned.

How in the world have we done it? How have we managed without you for three months?

Three more.

A lifetime.

Hopefully a blink of the eye.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Navy Life

Navy life as a 23-year-old with no children: Flying off to Mazatlan for the weekend because the ship is docking for a few days. Greeting your husband at the dock wearing beautiful, flowing skirt, him in his crisp, white uniform, reminiscent of Top Gun.

Navy life as an almost-30-year-old with three kids: Getting all the kids into the car at night in the rain by yourself to go to the store to buy a plunger because you either don't have one or you still haven't unpacked it after four months. Getting home and realizing that you have no idea how to plunge a toilet.

I'm livin' the dream, people.

Livin' the dream.

Virtual Me

So I've lost a total of about 15 pounds since my husband left.

Well, the total is probably more like 25 if you count all the weight I've re-gained and then re-lost.

Several times.

But I am at a new low, at least since way before I got pregnant with Audrey, and since I am yet again awake and trying to cough up a lung at a horrible hour (is there any good hour to expel a major organ?), I thought I'd update you all on my weight loss.

So, anyway, me in June is on the left, and me currently is on the right. It looks so dramatic on screen, but I actually haven't even gone down a size yet!

Virtual Me JuneVirtual Me Sept

You know what it is? The website automatically distributes the weight over your whole boday, but I am here to tell you that that is NOT how it works.

It would be nice if I lost from my stomach.

I, however, lost from my forearms.

I have very svelte wrists.

My fingers are positively thin, and my wedding ring spins circles on my finger again.

My stomach still looks pregnant.

And that is just not fair.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The power of prayer

Dear Kate,

You prayed for me the other day, and I wanted you to know what a difference it made.

I don't know what you prayed- just that I popped into your mind and so you took the time to pray for me, instead of writing it off as a passing thought.

We've all been fighting colds here, and I've been functioning on very little sleep. By the weekend my patience was shot. Saturday night I yelled at my kids louder than I ever have before and actually had to leave the room and give myself a time-out to recover.

Sunday wasn't shaping up to be much better.

But then, it was.

Sunday evening we played. And laughed.

And as bedtime crept closer, I didn't eye the clock and rush them to their rooms so that I could get a break.

Instead we rolled on the floor and laughed and wrestled and read books and sang songs.

And I enjoyed my children for the first time in days.

So thank you, for taking the time to pray for someone you've never met before.

It made all the difference.

Tackle It Tuesday- Laundry Room

I don't have a before picture of my laundry room- My dad helped me with it when he was here visiting, and he got started without me. But before, it had white walls and one wire shelf above the washer and dryer. We painted and installed a new cabinet system. The board that you see under the cabinet will be a corkboard for messages and stuff. I have a roll of cork to cover it with, but me and scissors and straight lines aren't a happenin' trio, so I am waiting until I find my quilting supplies to cut the cork.

At some point, I'll put some cute baskets up on top of the cabinets, and some sort of key holder and maybe mail sorter on the right-hand wall, but that is a tackle for another day!

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom to see what others are tackling!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you look at my time stamp and wonder why I am awake at roughly O'dark thirty, I will tell you.

Involuntarily.

I went o bed hours and hours ago. For the first time in weeks-possibly months-the kids actually fell asleep at a decent hour and I got in bed early.

And then I started coughing.

And then I tried to forcefully expel a lung from my body.

I've had a cold for about 2 weeks now, and apparently my body has decided that it would rather function with only one lung than continue to exist in this phlegmy state.

And so here I am am, awake. So why not blog? My coughing won't bother you.

In the last several weeks, a few of you have been kind enough to pass some bloggy awards my way! I'm still catching up reading posts from my break, but I wanted to say thank you to:

First, Megan at SortaCrunchy bestowed upon me the "Bloggin' Princess" award. Head on over and tell her congratulations, because she also recently had a sweet baby girl!

Next, Dana at Principled Discovery has passed to me the the "Rockin' Girl Blogger" award.

Finally, both Val at Purple Valley and Michelle at Raising Little Women have gifted me with the "Nice Matters" award.

So I haven't coughed up a lung. Three or four pounds of phlegm and the lining of my throat are gone, though.

Hope you weren't eating or enjoying your morning coffee or anything.

'Night all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Today

So my break is over and here is some of the excitement of our day today...

(baby crying)
ME: Luke, did you hurt Audrey?
LUKE: Yeah.
ME: Was it on purpose or by accident?
LUKE: By my elephant.

If that doesn't scream "on purpose" I don't know what does!

*****

We went to the bookstore after dinner, where Chloe and Luke were scared silly by a girl in a Curious George costume, but Audrey was utterly entranced.

Would you believe I walked right past their cafe with nary a snack or coffee cup in my hands?

Really.

We went out the door carrying our books (you didn't think we'd escape without purchasing anything, now did you?) and noticed some smoke coming from the trash can.

Suddenly Luke yelled, "FIRE!"

And there was. The trash can was on fire.

And everyone sitting at the little cafe tables outside looked over and commented on it.

They ooh'ed and aah'ed and laughed.

And sat there.

Apparently it is more work to take your coffee cup back inside to alert the staff to their impending crispyness, than it is to do the same with three children, because I was the only one to go back inside and tell anyone about the blaze.

Good thing I resisted the pull of the coffee and snacks, eh?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A break from my break

I'm taking a break from my blogging break to let you all know that you need to check out the giveaways at 5 minutes for mom! They are giving away a $100 gift certificate to Land's End and a brand new HP Photosmart A626 Photo Printer! Go leave a comment and enter to win.

Since I'm here anyway, I have to tell you what happened yesterday. We were getting in the van and Chloe and Luke both went around to the passenger side to get in. I was putting Audrey in her car seat on the driver's side and went to put the diaper bag down on the floor of the van, and almost set it on...a black widow in a web!

Thank God Chloe and Luke went to the other side because it was right where they put their hands to climb in.

And it was mean! It went right into attack mode when we tried to kill it.

Needless to say, I've been a little twitchy while driving since then!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Burned Out

Lately I've had so much trouble thinking of anything to blog that is more interesting than "grrr...argh...frustrating kids...must wash more dishes..." and I've realized that I am burned out. I'm tired and I feel like I spend 70% of my day yelling at or in some way disciplining my kids, 25% cleaning and 5% sleeping.

And I don't want to be *that* mom, who resents her kids and complains about them all the time.

My dad is coming in two days and is going to spend an entire week. He's going to help with some household projects and the kids love playing with him, and I am going to get out a bit. I'm going to leisurely browse Lifeway and find a new book to use for my quiet times, since lately I seem to just be reading the Word blindly with almost no comprehension, much less any application to my life. We're also going to do some fun trips as a family, and it will be so nice to have someone help with buckling three kids into carseats in 100 degree weather!

I may even get the last of the boxes in my bedroom unpacked and have a yard sale so I can finally park in my garage.

I'm going to take a break from the blog for the next week or so, and hopefully I'll come back refreshed and finding joy in my life again!

Have a great week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday- Chloe's Room

Something had to change. Luke has been terrible at bedtime since Isaac left. He's up for about 2 hours every night after bedtime yelling and screaming for different things- drinks of water, using the toilet (which he refuses to do during the day), needing a different blanket or pillow...the list goes on.

So Audrey has been sleeping in my room since she couldn't share with him, and I wake up at every little noise she makes.

I was exhausted and frustrated with my kids. So I decided to move Audrey's crib into Chloe's room and totally rearrange the furniture there. By myself.

Halfway through, I thought, "What in the world was I thinking?"



I took a break for a few days, but finally sucked it up and finished moving things, and here is how it turned out-



So now Audrey and Chloe are sharing a room, and Luke is still up 12 times a night, but at least I'm getting a little more sleep!

To see more tackles, visit 5 Mintues For Mom

Monday, August 20, 2007

A blank canvas, a wide open space

Ok, seriously. I have nothing to write about. I have been wracking my brain trying to think of something funny, but my days lately, well, they haven't been exciting.

The most thought-provoking thing in my life right now is what sort of bed to buy Luke. And I am really struggling over this. The movers lost pieces of his toddler bed and he has been sleeping on his mattress on the ground since we moved! And I just can't decide- should we get him a regular twin like Chloe's? If we have more kids or adopt this would give us the most space.

Or we could get a full-size bed, which we already have a mattress for in the garage. Then it could serve as a guest bed when family comes and Luke could sleep in Chloe's room.

And I won't even get started on the various bunk beds.

It's riveting stuff, I know.

In other news, our personal financial information has been stolen for the third time! Tomorrow I have to place a fraud alert and order copies of our credit reports. Again!

Oh, my dad is coming to visit for a week, and we are going to paint one wall in my living room, and paint and install cabinets in my laundry room. Is anyone out there good at decorating and painting? Because I really need some advice. There are all sorts of funky niches and cutouts in my house and I just can't decide which walls to paint and which to leave white. But I did decide on a color- the one on the very right.

Maybe tomorrow I'll take some pictures of my walls and see what ya'll think I should do with them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Note to self- part two

Next time you pull Audrey out of the carseat and grab a handful of poop from the leaky diaper, don't forget to go back out to the car to get the carseat and wash it.

When the heat index is 113-115.

Your nose will thank you when you get back in the van.

Two days later.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Note to self

When hardboiling eggs over very high heat, it is helpful to have water in the pan.

There is much less popping and exploding.

Not to mention the smell.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I thought about making this my new tagline...

But I thought I might get some bad google searches...



t shirt

Monday, August 6, 2007

Going back to diapers!

So I've given up on the potty training. It was so easy for him to get the whole routine down, and he has great control- if he uses it! But he either doesn't care that he has accidents or he just can't interpret his body's signals.

On Saturday Luke still had never told me he needed to go. When he did have accidents, he just stood there and watched himself pee and said "uh-oh." Since I'd have to put him in a pull-up for church and small group on Sunday I decided to just give it up.

Then, 10 minutes after I put him to bed on Saturday night I heard him yell, "Uh oh, Mommy! I go potty in my pull up! I need to go potty in the toilet!"

BREAKTHROUGH!!! Right?

No.

We skipped church and small group to take advantage of our breakthrough, but not only did he not initiate going all day Sunday, he also became really resistant to going when I prompted him to.

At least, until bedtime.

Then he was all about getting out of bed to use the toilet.

The little stinker.

So right now he is in his last pull up and he doesn't care. He hasn't asked about the toilet at all. He's patted himself and told me he was dry a few times. But he wasn't. He just can't feel the wetness in the pull up.

*sigh*

I'd really like him out of diapers so that he can go into a gymnastics or "Little Tiger" karate class by himself when he is 3. I feel like he is missing out on so much being the middle child. But I just don't have it in me to force him to go potty every half hour or so for an undetermined amount of time, you know?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

They can't fool me!

You know you have watched too many episodes of Alias when you wake up to the sound of your child yelling and screaming that he's ready to wake up, and you tell yourself that it is really just the evil plot of your nemesis to drive you crazy with sleep deprivation and you block it out and pull the covers over your head.

And you really believe it for a while.