Saturday, March 29, 2014

Randomness with Liz

Once upon a time I kept up a regular stream of thoughts and stories here on the ol' blog.  It was sort of a daily life journal for my family's activities.  I would still like to do that.  I miss it a lot.  But as the kids have gotten older and life has gotten busier, I end up dropping a lot of that daily stuff onto Facebook.  I keep telling myself that I'm going to start archiving all those links I share on Facebook & make one big weekend post here.  But then I'm not really sure if anyone ever actually reads this blog anymore, so maybe no one would see it.

So apparently my blog has become a place for me to drop random thoughts now & then and hope that you somehow keep up (or care) about my random thoughts.

So here we go....take a seat, grab a glass of tea (or water, or whatever you prefer) and get cozy.  Let's peer into my brain for a moment, shall we?

1.  Social Dancing
All three of my kids have attended Social Dance class.  It's a local thing for 7th graders where they learn some classic dances, interact with other 7th graders in an attempt to build some social graces & manners into them, and are required to act (and dress!) like ladies and gentlemen.  At the end of the year, there is a big party where all the parents are invited to attend and watch what the kids have worked on learning all year.  At the end of the night, moms & sons and dads & daughters dance together.  It is super sweet!

Savannah did it in '08-'09.

Samuel did it last year.

 So this year, it was Sarah's turn.

 None of the kids were particularly THRILLED about attending, but in the end, they all felt like it wasn't THE WORST THING EVER.

2.  Tonight when I pulled into the driveway after going to the grocery store, I noticed that all the lights in the house were still on.  It was late (nearly 11:00) but being the weekend, I didn't think much of all the lights being on.  I just assumed that Larry and the kids were up watching TV or something.  However, as I stepped out of my van, I heard a rhythmic noise that I would recognize anywhere -- Larry's snore!  Our bedroom window, and the head of our bed, is right against the front wall of the house, so I knew that meant that he had gone to bed.  It cracked me up that I could hear it all the way out in the yard, though!!  God bless any poor soul who has to share a hotel room with Larry on a church trip & hear that!  Ha ha!!

3.  Speaking of churches---our family is about to embark on an adventure!

The kids regularly ask us about other Christian churches---other denominations within the faith.  "What does that church believe?" or "How are they different from us?"  Sometimes it's hard to put into words exactly what is different.  Other times it's simple to explain, but would really make more sense to see it in person.  So that's just what we are going to do!

Starting in April, we are going to take the kids to visit another denomination once a month.  We are NOT church shopping or looking for a new place to worship.  We are just showing the kids what other churches "look like" they "do church".  We would love for them to see how this church worships or how that church's pastor this church is way more/less formal than that one is super conservative/charismatic.  It will be a cool learning experience for them and a 'safe' way for them to see what else is out there.  We can spend the day talking about things, answering questions, and just helping them understand what how other churches operate.  This weekend we are going to sit down & map out what churches we'd like to visit!

4.  When we moved into our house, the kitchen looked like this.  Certainly nothing fancy, but the house was OURS so it made me happy.

We painted the cabinets red, hung red & white checked curtains and settled in.  For nearly 10 years now, we've lived with a teeny kitchen & little storage space.  I bought this baker's rack from Target right after we moved in & set it up with all this stuff on it.

It is super full, but it serves as a little extra storage space.  Over the years, it has become more & more packed full of stuff.  My dad, who is quite a handyman, is now building me a replacement cabinet (to match all the other cabinets in the kitchen) for my baker's rack.  It will be super exciting to get a closed in cabinet with doors (!!!) to hide all this stuff.  The baker's rack has served its purpose & held up well, but it's almost time to say farewell to the baker's rack!!  Yay!!!

By the way, the kitchen now looks like this.  How's that for a before & after change?  (This pic is actually several years old, but it still looks the same.)

5.  This week, my 20 year reunion was announced on Facebook.  I've spent about 24 hours mulling it over before deciding with certainty that I would not be attending.  I know, there are those out there who will say I'm crazy but honestly, I just don't care.  ha ha!  Seriously... awkwardly attempting small talk while watching people drink to the tune of $80 for a couple of hours does not sound the least bit fun to me.  I'm in touch with everyone I went to HS with that I care about, so I'll just keep up that little reunion and skip the fancy party.

6.  My sweet boy child turns 14 today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can hardly believe that the 9 lb baby boy I delivered in 2000 is into his 2nd year of being a teenager!  Gosh I love that kid!  Happy Birthday Samuel!

I guess that's about it for this week's randomness.  Hope you enjoyed it!  God bless!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boing, boing, boing

That title is the sound of me bouncing from one thing to another.  My brain is busy tonight.  Lots of thoughts.  This is going to be all over the place.  Don't say I didn't warn ya.

*I just discovered an old Miley Cyrus song on youtube called When I Look at You.  It's actually pretty good.  I think it came out at about the same time she released The Climb, which I also enjoyed.  Why did Miley have to go & turn into a skank?  Granted, I really like her funky blonde short hair, not many women can pull that off, but geez.  She used to be a role model for my daughters.  Now, well...not so much.  Ugh.

*If you don't already follow her blog, go visit Allyson and be prepared to be blessed.  Allyson is the friend of a friend who has become my own friend.  (Did you follow that?)  She was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago and has recently moved into Hospice care.  She is still blogging about this awkward, hard season of life when she realizes that she's facing death, but she is still living and watching the world change around her.  She is powerful and poetic and brutally, gut-wrenchingly honest.  Gosh I love her.

*I am re-reading THIS book that I read last year at this time.  I am Protestant so while I don't officially celebrate Lent, I have discovered in recent years that I really like to use this time to focus my heart on Christ.  While I can focus on Him year-round, there is a special definition to this space in time that creates a bit of a boundary to the rest of my life, a time to quietly sit at the foot of the Cross each day and ruminate what He did for me.  I don't feel like I have to give something up for Lent each year (although I'm not opposed to that), but rather I add something to my life during this time.  For me, that means a book that helps me really focus.  There are daily readings that walk you through the 40 days leading up to Easter.

*Have I mentioned that I started collecting Coke rewards last summer?  Several friends save them for me and when I drink a coke, I save the bottle cap.  Over the past year, I've gotten numerous coupons for free Cokes and powerades, a free subscription to Redbook and about 100 free prints from Shutterfly.  If you don't collect the points, save them for me!  Email me if you have some to share!

*I saw this next picture on Facebook this week.  I loved it so much I made it my cover picture.  I think we all need to get it tattooed across our foreheads.  Or on our forearms.  Or written in sharpie on our hand.  Something big like that.

*Tonight I made up a recipe that was really good.  I made a cheesy BBQ meatloaf.  Meat, some BBQ sauce, some chunks of cheese, some bread was a hit!  Once in a while, mama scores!

*Have you heard about oil pulling?  I have NO IDEA why it's calling "pulling" because no one is pulling anything.  When I think "pulling", I think pulling hair, pulling your leg....but's called oil pulling.  Basically you take 1 tsp- 1 TBSP of vegetable-based oil (coconut, sesame or sunflower seem to be the main ones that are used) and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes each morning.  There is a whole list of health benefits.  I had some cheapo refined coconut oil that I tried it with this week.  Let me tell ya, that stuff is NASTY.  It tasted like well....about what you'd expect a mouthful of plain Crisco to taste like!  I couldn't stick with it.  Too gross.  But everyone told me to go find organic, UNrefined coconut oil because it would make all the difference.  We'll see.  It does SMELL better.

*Spring Break is nearly over.  I may cry on Monday morning when the alarm goes off.

*I took a "Who is your celebrity boyfriend?" quiz this week.  We all know how accurate and life-changing those quizzes are.  This one got it right sort of.  For years, my celebrity crush was on Will Smith.  Larry would call me into the living room when he was coming on TV.  I've since moved on to other cute celebrities, but this quiz pegged my celebrity boyfriend as Will Smith.  ha ha!!

*I read THIS earlier this week.  Truly wonderful post for all the young mamas out there.  I wish I had read it back in those years when I had an infant in my arms, a toddler attached to my leg and a preschooler following behind me.

*If you don't follow any other links I posted in this blog tonight, visit THIS ONE.  It's beautiful.  Warning: you may need Kleenex toward the end.  So sweet.  The beauty and strength of friendship forged between women is pretty huge.

*We visited another college with Savannah on Monday.  I was amazed (and shocked) by what they felt like an adequate financial aid package would include.  Isn't college supposed to be about getting an EDUCATION?  So you would want to encourage & support kids who come in with REALLY good grades, right?  Pretty much every other college she's applied to has given her SOMETHING for her grades & SAT scores.  Not this one!  They said "Here's the cost of everything.   You were approved for $XXX in pell grants.  If you then take out 2 loans and mom & dad pitch in SEVERAL thousand per semester, you can come here." thanks.  Savannah turned in an application for a BIG scholarship while we were there.  If she gets that scholarship, it will be almost like getting a full ride and it will be do-able.  If not, she will stay here local in the Fall & go to the junior college (who already offered her a full ride.)

*It's 2:43 AM.  I am still wide awake.  I guess I will go lie down and see if I can get my eyeballs to close.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today I cleaned my son's room.

Usually, I just shut the door and walk away.  I feel like it's HIS mess to clean up.  He gets grounded a lot.  We've taken away privileges.  When he was younger, we spanked him.  I've sort of come to the conclusion that this is a "pick your battles" sort of thing.  It's easier to shut the door and let it go than to constantly be at odds over a messy room.  It could be worse.  He could be using drugs.  Or running the streets getting into trouble.  Or sneaking out of the house at night.  Or abusing animals.  Or a million other things.  Perspective is a healthy thing when you're raising kids.  Right?

But every now and then, my sweet boy child goes to a summer camp or away for a visit with his cousin and I attack the mess that is his bedroom.  His room is kind of a wreck.  I only took this 1 "before" picture today and it only shows what it looked like under his bed.  But I think you can get the general idea from this one picture.

Umm...yeah.  It was all that bad. 

I know.

But here's the thing.  When I tackle his bedroom it's sort of like a treasure hunt.  Today, I found out that there is carpet in his closet floor!  Who knew?!

Seriously, though..check out all the cool stuff I discovered as I cleaned!

First of all, if we ever have an adhesive emergency, I know where to look!

And if anyone in the house needs scissors, pens, pencils, markers or colored pencils, Sam is THE MAN!

If one of us should have an illness, we can stop by the pharmacy... or save money by visiting Sam's room to pick up some vitamin C.  What a sweet boy to help us with the budget!

And while we recover from the illness, there is plenty of reading material to keep us busy.

In case of a regional hygiene crisis, we can visit Sam's room to pick up a razor, comb, deodorant or shower gel.  He has plenty.

Have I mentioned that Samuel is getting his braces taken off next week?  (This is orthodontic wax.)

Should we decide to visit the pumpkin patch again next Fall, we already have a game board for the corn maze.  You know, from our last visit there (in 2012.)  Sam takes that Boy Scout motto to heart about being prepared.

It's good to see that my 14 year old son is well-rounded.

No matter how messy he is, this crazy boy of mine is still a cool kid.  After all, how many other teenaged (white) boys do you know who have a poster like this on their bedroom wall?

And I'm sure he must've been holding onto all these outgrown clothes with the intention of donating them to his younger cousin who can enjoy them.  After all, why else would they all have been wadded up under his bed, in his dresser drawers, at the bottom of his closet and behind his TV?

And last but not least....when you have a boy, sometimes it's best to just let things (dishes) go & buy new.  I don't even know what this was!

Of course, the 9 month old Mountain Dew in his backpack from last year, along with the crushed (and spilled) bag of pretzels that accompanied it, were a nice treat to find as well.  I'm sort of amazed that we have not had rats or ants in his room!

Thank heaven for little boys.