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Thursday, January 31, 2008

My inner snob

One thing I haven't written about very much here is my "crunchy" side- the side of me that loves all things natural and organic and wants to do my part to be responsible with our resources.

Ever since Jen posted about The Story of Stuff, I have been thinking about the changes I have made and the changes I want to make in my stuff.

Then, I was challenged today by Megan's post Another Way, in which she resolves to buy used clothing for her children instead of new.

I won't even tell you the amount of money I just spent on clothes for Chloe minutes before reading her post! I have always appreciated when people hand clothes down to me for the kids. But I have never once gone to a store to buy clothes that weren't new. And here is where the snob in me comes out- if there were a really cute consignment boutique or something around here, I could totally see myself shopping there. But not a Goodwill or thrift store. I don't even want to go in one!

Another place my inner snob shows herself?

My haircare products.

I have been wanting to make the switch to shampoo bars in order to save on the packaging. But I have been too scared of having bad hair. I have already made the switch to a natural deodorant from Lush that has no packaging, but ignore all the shampoo bars when I shop there. If I don't see them, they don't exist and I don't have to make the change right?

But just check out the amount of plastic bottles I have out (not counting any hiding in cabinets!)

My shower:
bottles 001

Kids' Bath:

My bath (even though I love Lush bath bombs and bubble bars, I still keep these around):
bottles 002

That's a lot of packaging, ya'll.

So, I sucked it up and went shopping. I know that there are people who use vinegar and baking soda and things like that to wash their hair, but I hate the smell of vinegar. Unless it is a good balsamic and I'm dipping some hot, crusty bread in it. I however, am neither crusty nor hot (although I am working on losing weight and being hot)! And that snob in me protests that if I don't use expensive packaged hair products that you can only buy from a salon, then my hair will most assuredly be crusty. So I bribed myself with some new bath bombs and got two shampoo bars while I was at Lush. I ordered a Godiva bar and an Ultimate Shine bar (If you order two shampoo bars, they give you a free tin to store them in).

Coming soon: The Big Shampoo Bar Test. We'll see how those solid shampoos compare to my favorite Redken All Soft.

If you have time, head over to Jen's place to read about her story of stuff and watch the video.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The power of the will

I made some chocolate chip cookies for the family last night. The kind that you actually mix together in a bowl, not the kind you take out of the package.

And I was really, really tempted to grab a spoon and sit down in front of a movie and eat the cookie dough right out of the bowl.

But I fought the temptation, and I was victorious.

I ate it with my fingers, standing up in the kitchen instead.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival!

*************Comments are now closed. The winner will be announced just as soon as Random.org picks you.**************

I know I'm putting this post up early, but any minute now I'm going to sneeze so hard that my eyeballs pop out, and then I'll really need a nap. So welcome to my giveaway!

Today I am giving away this Starbucks mug, filled with a LUSH bath bomb and a $25 Starbucks gift certificate! All of my favorite things. To enter to win, leave a comment and tell me:

If you had to choose between a nice, relaxing bath with no interruptions, or a nice hot cup of coffee (or tea) with no interruptions, which would you choose?

This contest will close and the winner will be announced on Feb 1st, and is open to residents of the US or Canada only.

And don't forget to come back on Monday, February 11 for The Big Bloggy Move. There will be more prizes!!!

Check out the other giveaways!

The Big Bloggy Move!

big bloggy move2

Don't forget to be here on Monday, February 11th! You can showcase your new or redesigned blog, or visit new blogs for the chance to win prizes.

Sign the Mr. Linky on Monday if one of these is true:
a) You started your blog no earlier than December 2007
b) You moved to a new blogging platform or started self-hosting no earlier than December 2007
c) You completely redesigned your blog no earlier than December 2007

You are welcome to offer prizes to your visitors, but that is up to you. Megan and I will be!

Get your move on!

Copy this code to get the button and spread the word:
<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, January 26, 2008

Isaac (part 19)

The benefit of being a man is that you get to have a really bad memory. Isaac barely remembers conversations we had yesterday, while I remember every embarassing incident in my whole life in such minute detail that I get embarrassed all over again when I remember it.

Although, since having kids I can no longer remember what I went to the grocery store to buy, or why I opened the refrigerator door.

But it's a good bet that chocolate answers both those questions.

If I ask Isaac today why he broke up with me 10 years ago, he really doesn't remember. It had something to do with me graduating.

And really, that's about as much as I understood when he broke up with me.

It was sudden, and oh-so-unexpected. It was March or April of my senior year. I had agreed to be part of an intern program with my college pastor after graduating, and was starting a new Christian fellowship at a university in Orange County. I also decided to get my Master's Degree while I was there, since we really needed a student to participate in starting the group. Isaac had one more year of school, then had to go to Rhode Island for training, and after that we didn't know where he'd be.

And somehow in his mind this translated to us taking separate paths in life.

It was absolutely shocking to me. We had known since before we started dating that we wouldn't be getting married any time soon, and that he would be going into the Navy right after graduation. I was only moving 50 miles away from him. Granted, in Southern California traffic that is more like 200 miles, but still, I couldn't wrap my brain around the concept that the person I thought I was going to marry had changed his mind.

And until that day I never understood that a broken heart isn't a figurative description, that your chest can actually hurt, you can feel like you can't breathe, that you are drowning in a sea of pain and don't know how to get out. For months I would beg God to just let me get over Isaac, because no other guy I met or knew or who asked me out after that compared to him.

About four or five months after we had broken up, Isaac asked me to go to dinner with him so we could talk. We still attended the same church, so we'd seen each other fairly regularly.

He wanted to get back together.

And I told him no.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You might want to take notes on my technique

In surfing the blogosphere I have at times come across those mothers...you might even be one.

They are the mothers who post pictures of their three-year-olds learning how to iron, or already ironing proficiently, happy to contribute to the well-run household. They have from 1-3:00 on Tuesdays set aside for ironing each week.

Well, the other day (oh, ok, it was back in December before Isaac came back from deployment), I pulled out the iron and ironing board and Chloe walked up, and looked at me and said, "Mommy, what is that?"

"It's an iron and an ironing board."

"Oh. What do you do with it?"

And just a few minutes later, Luke walked up and said, "Mommy, what is that?"

And so it is my solemn goal that sometime in the next two years Audrey will see an iron and an ironing board, and will walk up and say, "Mommy, what is that?"

Because I'm going to try really hard not to get it out again until then.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It only seems organized because it's in list form

A few things to catch up:

1. The chocolate was gone by Monday night. Let's not speak of it ever again.
2. My sister had a slight cold when she got on her plane on Thursday. By Friday night she had bronchitis.
3. It's after 2pm and I'm still in my pajamas.
4. I don't plan to rectify this until just before Isaac comes home from work.
5. So far none of us are sick. Yet.
6. The only productive thing I've done today is to buy this clock from Pottery Barn Kids.
7. I told myself that it's a homeschool expense since it will help teach time.
8. I really did buy some real homeschool stuff, too. I bought the Math-U-See primer program for Chloe. She has been driving me crazy lately with, "Mommy, what's 9+1? 5+3? 63+102?" She was watching the promotional dvd with me and suddenly could answer for herself what 9+1 was, even though she didn't understand it at all the 217 times I tried to explain it to her.
9. I think I will post the next installment in the story of me tomorrow. It might just be the last one. Of course, when I started writing, I thought it would be three posts long and not eleventy-three, so I could also have twelve more parts to go.
10. I just bought Chloe some new clothes, and they're all falling off her. She is so skinny that she needs a 6 in the waist but a 7 for length. Any ideas on cute brands that have skinny sizes?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No more full feeds...

I apologize to those of you who subscribe in a feeder and and no longer are able to view full posts! I hope you'll decide to click through and keep on reading. But I am getting linked to way too many spam blogs lately.

Is it called splogging when they do that? I'm not sure.

I don't know if it's because I have been posting often or what, but I know I appreciate it when I can read the full feed, and I hate to change that, but if the spammers are going to use my posts, at least I can make them work for it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pray for strength

My sister is in town for the long weekend, so I'm going to take a few days away from the blog.

When you read this, you can pray for me, though.

She brought a 70-piece box of Godiva with her.

If you don't hear from me by early next week, you'll know that my strength failed me and I'm in a sugar coma.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I ask out of curiosity...

If you inherited some money, a nice chunk of it, and you had no monetary responsibilities, what would you do with it?

We did inherit some recently, and since we do have responsibilities, we are paying off our debt. Most of it is student loans, but there's some credit card debt. It will be the first time in seven years of marriage that we aren't living under a cloud of college debt.

If we didn't have that, then I'd probably want to set the money aside for possibly adopting a child from another country in a couple years.

But if I'm just dreaming?

Well, I'd pay to have "the girls" lifted back to where God originally placed them. Because they are on a slippery slope downwards, my friends.

And I might just toss a little tummy tuck in there, too, to finally get rid of that persistent little pooch.

So now I've exposed my inner shallowness...what would you do?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol

I hadn't planned on blogging about American Idol, but the first contestant, the SAHM?

How CUTE is her hair???

And why can't I get my bangs to look like that?

And while we're talking about things I can't do, why do I look like a clown when I put on heavy eye makeup, yet she looks hot?

And she can sing.

This is kind of hard to see her hair and face, but it gives you an idea!

WW- Safe in daddy's arms



Visit 5 minutes for mom for more Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

There sits a Starbucks...

I'd say this is heaven, not the end of the universe!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I know why the caged bird sings

And it's because after 6 months all alone in a nice, roomy, king-sized cage, some boy bird moved in and spread his wings and snuggled up and pinned the bird to the very edge of the bed cage and then proceeded to fall asleep within 15 nanoseconds (how does he do that, how, HOW?) while the girl bird was stuck there, wide awake and trying to tug her leg wing out from under him while various itches cropped up all over her body and the urge to move overwhelmed all other thought processes and I NEED TO BE FREE TO ROLL OVER AT NIGHT PEOPLE!!!

This post was brought to you by a sleepless night and three cups of coffee...so far.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My weekend with Brad and Angelina

Recently our family had a near life-altering experience in New Orleans.

And I'm not talking about eating fresh hot beignets from Cafe Du Monde.

Although that is enough to make you believe in God, as something as good as deep-fried dough smothered in powdered sugar could only have been created by a good, loving God.

And only a source of pure evil could have made it so fattening. It had to be the devil who made me eat so many.

No, it wasn't the beignets. We were on the street in New Orleans when we came across this:


And from the way that he turned to us and said, "Hey guys. How ya' doin'?" I knew that it was only the presence of Angelina and the children that kept him from throwing himself at my feet and declaring his undying love.

Which is good, since I would have turned him down, since he was not stepping in between Angelina and the paparazzi the way Isaac did for me.


Of course, they weren't the only sights we saw there.



But of all the sights we saw, these were my favorites:

Isaac Luke

Isaac Kids

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scenes from New Orleans

We've been spending a lot of time in New Orleans since Isaac came back from deployment. I've been practicing my photography and photoshop skills. Here are a few of my favorites.

The doors of Preservation Hall, famous for its jazz.

One of my favorite street performers.

A tomb in St Louis Cemetary #1.

St Louis Cemetary #1. I've never seen the movie before, but I'm told this tomb was in Easy Rider, and because of that movie, Catholic cemetaries no longer allow filming in New Orleans.

Breakfast at Brennan's, the creators of Banans Foster. Some day this boy will get married and when his wife asks him to cook, he'll say, "All I know how to cook is Bananas Foster."

And she will praise the Lord.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cambodia (part 18)

Have you ever seen the movie The Saint with Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue? Near the end, she is running from the Russian Mafia, sprinting towards the American Embassy yelling, "I'm an American! I'm an American!" and falls into the strong arms of a tough Marine, safe behind the closed gates of the protective American Embassy.


For us?

Not so much.

P was able to reach the US Embassy. They told us that they were evacuating Cambodia and advised us to leave Cambodia if possible. However, they would not be able to help us.

Thank you and have a nice day.

With 40 people in one house things got pretty close. We had to ration food and drink, as we didn't know how long we'd be stuck. The biggest concern was whether we'd run out of fresh water. We all got sick, mostly the expected third-world travel-related stomach complaints, but when you put 40 people with travel-related stomach complaints into a house with two bathrooms, things can get, well, icky.

Sleeping space was also an issue. The first night a friend and I slept on a bare box spring. After that first night enough blankets were found for everyone. At some point after the first day a brave soul had taken a trip back to our house. One of the men on the team had heart medication that he couldn't do without, and I think they picked up some extra supplies then also.

I spent a lot of my time with P's daughters, playing with them and watching Veggie Tales. We were there for three or four days, and at one point we knew we had to get out of the country but there was no one to help us. There were so many of us that we were divided into smaller groups. We didn't really know how we were going to get out, but the plan was to get to Los Angeles however possible, and then we would contact my college pastor there to regroup.

And each one of P's little girls got to pick one of us to be her escort and protector. I had a little girl named Hannah, and the responsibility of that was enormous.

Finally, it turned out that the Red Cross sent in two planes to evacuate people to Thailand. There weren't going to be any others. The airport had been damaged so there were no commercial flights. No one got priority and we had to buy our tickets. Thankfully, we'd all come armed with cash for our food and utility expenses as well as money for gifts and souvenirs. Since we'd barely been there a week, and most of that was spent in hiding, we had plenty of money.

The Red Cross, or whoever handled the ticket sales, didn't allow us to purchase tickets as a group. Our team leader had to hand over one passport at a time, while we all stayed at P's house and prayed that no one would be left behind.

Miraculously, no one was. Out of the thousands of foreigners wanting to evacuate, our whole team was able to get on one plane.

We went to Bangkok, where P was able to reunite with her husband and girls. We were met by teams of people to debrief us and check us for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

There, we were able to call our family and let them know we were safe. I called my parents, and then Isaac. He told me that he loved me for the first time. And didn't say it again for another three years.

After a couple days in Bangkok, Thailand, we finally flew home. We all flew into Los Angeles. There we were greeted by friends, family...and the media. Being the only person on the team from California, the media there were looking for me.

I was reuniting with my family when suddenly a harsh light was glaring straight into my eyes. It didn't register with me what it was, and I put my hand up to shield my face. Without a word, Isaac walked over to the camera that was being shoved into my face, stepped into its path, and turned his back on it. He simply stood between me and it, arms folded and legs braced apart.

To this day that one action still represents to me all that a man should be.

Plus, it was really, really sexy.

And then about eight months later he broke up with me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick! I need help!

I'm going to enter Audrey in a Beautiful Baby contest.

Don't hate. The prize is $125,000 for college.

I worked on these two pictures today. Which would you choose, or should I take some more? I have to enter by tomorrow evening.

***edited to add a closer up version of the first picture.

Thanks, ya'll.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cambodia (part 17)

We continued on with our tour for a few more minutes, until someone came up and spoke to our tour guide. He quickly left us, and P, an American who lived and worked in Cambodia full-time, told us that fighting had broken out in the city and we needed to leave immediately.

We all piled into the cars and headed to her house. Along the way we noticed the increase in soldiers on the streets. We even passed tanks on street corners, with obviously well-armed men on top.

We got to P's house and were waiting to hear what we would do next, when suddenly fighting broke out just down the block from us. We all had to run into her house to take cover.

We didn't leave again for days.

There were about 40 people in her one house. My team, a few Cambodian girls who had been hired to cook and help out, P, and her young daughters. Her husband was in the States, so she was handling everything by herself.

Now that I'm a mom, I can't imagine the fear she must have had, taking care of 30 college students and her daughters all by herself in the midst of war.

We soon learned that a faction of the government, a man named Hun Sen, had accused Prince Ranariddh of conspiring with the Khmer Rouge, a political group that had killed thousands in genocide. He was taking over and the Prince was out.

Oh, and across the street from us? Large radio/tv tower. For someone in the government. The fighting was so close because someone wanted that tower destroyed.

A few other girls and I tried to entertain P's daughters. They were the sweetest things, and easily distracted by the video camera we showed them. We played games with them, while around us people were panicking, praying or singing.

At one point the fighting came too close. The little girls and my friends R, N, and I were barricaded into a space underneath the stairs for their protection.

Can you imagine having to lock your children away, and not being able to be with them?

While you wondered if your house was about to be blown up with you in it?

WW- Yummy Kids

Monday, January 7, 2008

I don't know who I stole this from

But I am a big, fat copycat.

Mama TaderDoodles tagged me for a memories of 2007 post. However, that would require deep thought and much contemplation, and as I've just returned from a long weekend alone with my hubby (no kids!!!), I am exhausted.

I'll just let you read into that whatever you will.

Anyway, on someone's blog, and at this point I have no idea whose, I saw a post where you write the first sentence of the first post from each month. So that will be my year-in-review.

That's right, if you're looking for deep insights, lessons learned and lofty aspirations, you've come to the wrong blog.

Lazy cut-and-pasting?

Read on, my friend.


I've had a few questions about why I had a baby attached to me for five hours straight on Christmas Eve.


It is a sad fact of my life today that if I am not at home (and I usually am) then I am at Target.


Dora-Let my people go!


It seems my life has become one big paper trail.


We had some terrible, terrible news today.


So today Isaac was watching "Future Weapons" on the Discovery Channel.


I can't even begin to tell you all how much you have encouraged me over the past weeks as my husband has been deployed.


Today we are potty training Luke.


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


We had a day full of errands and are almost ready to go tomorrow.


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


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

If you decide to do the same, leave a comment and I'll come see! And if I stole this from you, please don't hate me.

But wait, there's another giveaway!

If you are willing to spend just a little money for your blog, then this is the giveaway for you!

Girly Blog Designz has offered to give away a $25 credit towards ANY purchase! This means you can purchase a custom WordPress design package for only $50 instead of $75. Or a completely custom header for only $10! Check out all her options here.

But this offer is for just one of you! So check her out and leave a comment on this post if you are interested! I will close comments on Friday night and announce the winner on Saturday!

Giveaway Winners!!!

The winner of a Platinum Package by Blue Yonder Design is not-so-deep Denise!

The winner of a Gold Package by RS Designs is Tiffany at Snapshots of Life!

The winner of a custom header by Simply Southern is ChristiS at Blah Blah Blog!

Thanks everyone for entering! Don't forget that Blue Yonder Design and RS Designs are BOTH offering $10 discounts if you place an order with them soon and mention this giveaway! Megan has the winner for Jennisa's Bloggie Designs up at her blog. Jennisa's designs are only $25!

Also, don't forget to come back on Feb 11th for The Big Bloggy Move! You can debut your blog or visit some new blogs for the chance to win prizes! My new design is already in the works, and it is sooo cute! Karen at Swank Web Style is doing a great job on it, and also did my current blog design!

Congratulations, ya'll!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Win a Big Bloggy Makeover!

We have two THREE FOUR different contests for you today! Megan is giving away a free, custom Blogger design by Jennisa's Bloggie Designs! Here, I am giving away TWO custom design packages, one by Blue Yonder Design and one by RS Designs! Also, scroll down to the next post to enter to win a custom WordPress header by Simply Southern.

To enter the giveaways for Blue Yonder or RS Designs, just leave a comment on this post. And make sure you visit Megan and enter her giveaway for a free Blogger design! The winners will be announced on Monday, January 7th, so be sure to check back and see if you've won.

Here are the details:

Blue Yonder Design is offering one free Platinum Package! And for those of you who don't win, she is also offering a $10 discount! Just mention The Big Bloggy Move or After a cup of coffee...or two to receive your discount. See examples of Jen's great designs here. Plus, Jen has offered to help you move your blog to a new platform if you are moving!

RS Designs is offering a free Gold package. Revka is also offering $10 off your order of $20 or more for those who don't win! Check out some of Revka's great work here.

And don't forget about The Big Bloggy Move! On February 11th be here to sign the Mr Linky and debut your new blog. Or check out all the new blogs for a chance to win prizes. For all the details and to grab the code for the button, click here. Spread the word!

big bloggy move2

Good luck, ya'll! And get your move on!

Win a Bloggy Header!

Want to have a custom look for your blog, but don't want to worry about any fees?

Betty of Simply Southern has offered to create a custom header from one of your photos, or she has a large supply of nature photos (or you can probably find nice ones on istockphoto.com or even flickr). She will add any text you want and she can install it for you or if you know how you can do it yourself. There are no WordPress fees associated with this, so it is absolutely free! Check out her blog for an example.

Leave a comment on this post to enter for a custom header!