Friday, March 28, 2008

Fun Fact Friday: I'm a maniac

Well, it happened. I have turned in to that crazy mother. We all know the one. The mom sitting in the stands, um scratch that, the mom standing in the stands, screaming her head off, and waving her arms like crazy. Yep, that was me. I really don't know what happens. One minute I'm this normal person sitting in the stands and the next, I'm a cheerleader on steroids. Believe me, this is no pretty picture, but it's unstoppable.

Last night was the start of a Pre-Season Double Elimination T-Ball Tournament. Did you hear that people? A pre-season tournament....for T-Ball? Quite frankly, I thought the concept was a bit over the top.....especially since the parents (or any visitor) had to pay $1 to watch!! Are you kidding me, people? Anyway, all that changed when the game started.

Bryce has played T-Ball for the last two years. Technically, I think his first year he played he was really too young. But, what I'm saying is that he has two years on most of his team mates, although there are a few others who have played before as well. This particular association if very serious about their sports, and they play the better players up front unlike the last two years when every kid took a turn in every position. I did not know all this going in to it. When I signed up, I was not banking on a pre-season, double elimination tournament. But, with all that being said, Bryce was the lead off batter and he was up front when fielding, so that he could get the ball and get runners out.

The first inning, we took a beating. Our opponents scored 7 runs to our 1 (which was Bryce). But the second inning, they only scored two runs and we came back and scored 8. So, we were tied. My heart was absolutely racing. Coach put a runner on second and put Bryce up to bat. (apparently, that is the international rulebook way of handling a tie.....who knew there was an international rulebook) I had a quick word of prayer and he got a hit. Then, the team mate after Bryce got a hit, and our runner scored and so did Bryce. Whew.....sigh of relief. But, just let me describe the chaos that was the front row of the bleachers when Bryce was turing 3rd and heading for home. I think every last one of us was on our feet. GDaddy, Aunt Shelley, my mom, Bayley, me & Brad. I was holding Sara Kate (who was asleep) and waving my hands and was truly hilarious. But, it wasn't just me. Oh, no ma'am, my mama was every bit as bad as I was. She was standing up, and had gotten right up to the fence to hoop & holler. We're real classy!!

And, if you thought that was bad. You should have seen us when our oppenents were out there having there last chance. The coach put Bryce right out front and instructed him, that if the batter hit the ball, to get it and run to 1st. According to the international rule book, there is an automatic two outs, so all we needed was one out. Well, sure enough the batter hit the ball......right to Bryce. He got it, and hustled all the way to first base, and got the runner out. Our coach was so excited that he ran over to Bryce and hoisted him in the air. By this time, my nerves were shot!!

The fact is, I turn in to a maniac when it comes to cheering for my kids. Now, I'm not one of these crazy T-ball folks that argues with the ref or is ugly or rude. That would not be fun at all. No, I'm just an over zealous cheerleader. And, really its not just for my kids. Unfortuantely, I'm like that with all of them. I'm telling you, it's the in-grained cheerleader coming out in me.

But, you know, I make no apologies. Our kids need a little cheering every so often. And, almost without fail, I think about how God must cheer for us when we do something great for His glory. It makes me want to be pleasing to Him when I see how much joy I get out of seeing my kids work hard and do something good. I want to give God a reason to cheer!!

That's it for Fun Fact Friday. I'm loud & I'm proud. What can I say?? We play game 2 of the tournament Saturday.....heaven help me. If you hear something around 1:00 or so, it's probably me. I'm leaving you with a few pictures from the game. Enjoy!

Bryce warming up before the game. He's the one about to throw. Check out his wind up.

Bryce at one of his at-bats. Sorry it's fuzzy, there's just no good way to take a picture from the stands. I think he was getting ready to swing here.

Bryce after getting the game winning out. He was totally pumped!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Little bit of Everything....all about nothing

That title couldn't be more true. Ya'll know how I always aim for honesty here. You are in for one exciting read folks. Um, okay that was total hyperbole, but I just wanted to be able to use the word hyperbole so I'm happy. I'm sure ya'll are too, right?

As my church buddies know, I unfortunately came down with the flu on Friday night. I was sick all day Saturday and Sunday. I missed church on Easter Sunday; which if my body aches weren't so bad, I would say was the worst part. But, seriously, I've never ached like that in my life....and don't wish to ever again. You know, now that I think about it, the worst part was the time and energy I spent trying to coordinate our outfits so we could get a new family picture for the blog. UUGGH. Oh well, you may just see us in a repeat Sunday, so we can finally get a more recent shot of all of us. I've never been a flu shot kind of girl, but next year, I might think twice. Anyhow, other than my regular allergy issues I'm all better now.

Let's see. Bryce received a red stripe for his white belt in karate tonight. Apparently, he will earn two more stripes on his belt before he is eligible for his orange belt. Again, can I just say that we are so pleased. I would highly recommend this to anyone. Except, I would say that I might wait a little longer. If you wait until your kids are 12 or so, you could take lessons with them and be in the same class. I'm kinda wishing we would've done that. Oh well, maybe I'll learn something through osmosis.
He has also begun T-Ball. And now that I've finally laid eyes on my digital camera again, you might just see some shots of his practices. He has played the last two years and has really liked it. He has done well in practice and I have visions of me making a fool of myself in the stands somewhere in the near future. Stay tuned, if you're lucky Brad will capture that on film.

Tomorrow, I will be registering Bryce for Kindergarten. HOLY COW! His Pre-K teacher assures me that he is very ready. She had a lot of nice things to say about him at our parent-teacher conference. It's me I'm worried about.

Sara Kate is doing It was her lovely little self that gave me the flu. She came down with it last Monday night, and bless her heart it really knocked her out for a day or two, but then she felt fine, just had a fever for several more days. She seems to be great now.
Her little personality just spews out of her constantly. I thought I'd show you a few pictures of what I mean. Here she is enjoying her favorite breakfast.....toast with jelly. Do you see why her shirt is missing?

Here she is with my Bare Escentuals eye shadow all over her cheeks....uh, and WHITE shirt. Someone please tell me why she would have to go for the expensive, dark stuff. Why couldn't she pull out the cheap-o light pink stuff to play with. It must be one of those in-grained instinct kind of things. Oh well. I suppose it could've been a lot worse.

And, on the family front, we went on our first hike of the season a few weeks ago. It was on a Sunday afternoon when it was fairly warm out. We got to take Gigi with us, which of course, made the kids very happy. We are fortunate to have a couple of different trails fairly close. Here, we are at "the pocket" in Walker County. Everybody had a blast......especially Gigi, turns out she loves to hike. This trail was only about 2.5 miles or so, although at least half of it was up hill. Sara Kate bummed a ride on daddy's shoulder's for most of the way up, while I kept Gigi from barreling through anything in her way to sniff anything she hadn't gotten to yet.

On the way down, Brad & I switched. He got the over zealous Gigi, and I got Sara Kate. I had to carry her on the steep parts, but she held her own on the flatter areas. I must say, I kept uttering prayers of survival under my breath. I could just see us getting tangled in the dog's leash and toppling down the mountain. Alas, the Lord doth provide and we made it safe & sound. Boy, those kids love a good hike!!

Well, I stayed true to my word.....a little bit of everything, all about nothing. Hope you enjoyed it. I've got a couple of other posts brewing......stay tuned!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fun Fact Friday

In my heart and mind, there is absolutely nothing fun about today's fact. Today is the day that we remember our sweet Saviour's sacrifice for us. Today is the day, many years ago, that he was beaten, scorned, spat on, tortured, and finally crucified....for us. Today is the day that he had to watch his earthly mother agonize over his death. Today is the day that our God & King had to watch his only son be killed....for us. Today is the day, it was finished and Satan thought he had the victory.

No, there is nothing fun about today's fact. Nothing at all.....but it is something else. It is freeing. It is full of hope. It is full of promise. It is full of Love like no other. And, it really is FACT. Christ died today to make us new, to cleanse us, and to save us. Christ died today so that we could spend eternity with him in Heaven.

Let's all walk in HIS victory today. Let's all remember and be grateful for the hope and promise that is ours. Don't let Satan convince you this weekend that you are defeated, NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE. He was wrong many years ago, and he still is. The Victory is ours, thanks to the cross.

Bask in and enjoy your Resurrection Morning.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Culinary Creations...that I didn't create

Now, don't everybody laugh at once. I'm no Rachel Ray or Paula Deen, but I'm always ready for a throw down!! (If you don't watch the Food Network, that one will not make sense) All joking aside, I like cooking. Notice I used the word LIKE because that is most accurate, I like it, but I don't LOVE it. And, under certain circumstances I could down right despise it......BUT if the kids are content and busy and I'm not under any time constraints or pressure, I would call my kitchen and her contents my friends.

There are a few things that I (in my humble opinion) do well. My best friend, Tammy has always said that I do soups well, and I would agree with that (at least of the 2 or 3 that I make). I particularly like my roasts, and I do mashed potatoes the way God intended. I actually mash real potatoes.....just like my mama does. And, I can put a spoon full of gravy on top that'll make you slap your mama (although I wouldn't if I were you). But I, like everyone, have my limitations. I'm no fancy person. I'm a southerner, so I do country style foods well, but if it's five star fancy you're looking for then you might want to eat elsewhere. And don't get me wrong, I'm all about going out and having a fancy dinner that costs way too much. And although the portions may be small, they're usually tasty and everyone needs an occasion to get all 'gussied' up.

Anyway, with all that being said (unnecessary though it may have been) I had this idea last night while I was cooking supper to share with the world out there my 'go to' meals. The idea came about because what I was cooking for supper last night is SO easy, and it is pretty tasty as well.....and best of all, it's "Mexican with a VEGETABLE", so who can beat that. And, I thought to myself, the world needs to know this. Anyway, Tammy's mom, Gail brought this meal to us when we moved in last April, and I've been making it ever since. So, you have her to thank!

Chicken & Spinach Tacos served with Black Beans.

Theres not really a recipe, but I'll tell you what to do: You get the Tyson ready to eat grilled chicken (I use two packages) and you saute them with some frozen spinach in Olive Oil. I just eyeball how much spinach, and then I put whatever I didn't use back in the freezer. You could also add mushrooms into the pan if you like them. While that is sauteing, you open a can of black beans and stick them on the stove to warm. When everything is warm, you fill a tortilla with the mixture and slap your favorite toppings on it. I always use cheese and sour cream, because I'm God fearin' and I think that makes Him happy!! (I kid) Again, serve it with black beans and you've got yourself a meal. Sometimes, when I ignore the fact that my hips are the size of Texas I also serve it with cheese dip and tortilla chips. And, in case you're wondering, my kids love this meal. Bryce especially loves it.

Okay, next up: Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches

This is the meal that I usually take if I'm cooking for someone. Practically everyone who reads this blog will have had this meal, because I'm a creature of habit and I can do it in my sleep by now. Not to mention, it also seems to be pretty well received, and again, the important thing here is that it is easy. Here's what you do:

You get a shoulder roast from the store. I guess other roast cuts would work too, but they usually don't shred as well or as easily. Anyway, you put your shoulder roast in the crock pot. and, for every pound of meat you put 1 cup of water and 1 package of Good Season's Dry Italian Dressing mix. Then you let it cook all day (if you have less time cook it on high). Again, this is a great recipe if you want to put it on in the morning and come home to a finished meal. When it is done, it will just shred or fall apart very easily when you stick a fork in it. You put the meat on a hoagie bun with some provolone cheese and dress it however you like. It makes a sort of au jois dipping sauce. If you happen to be a dipper, there's a bonus for you. A lot of people will do horseradish and/or spicy mustard. Most of the time, when I make it for someone, I slice green peppers and red onions (they can be sauteed)....but I don't like either and I just eat it with meat and cheese, 'cause I'm a no-fuss kind of girl. I usually serve it with pasta salad, because it's easy (do you see a pattern here) and I can't think of anything else.

Now, wasn't I nice to enlighten you with these fabulous little meals? The only way to make it better would be to actually cook it and deliver it...but I'm not that nice. Feel free to return the favor. You can comment or email me if you have a super easy, tasty meal!!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Fun Fact Friday

The Fun Fact for the day is that Brad & I are going to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert tonight. It was completely unplanned and last minute, and I am so excited. It has been several years since we've even been to a concert at all....something I used to do very frequently in my younger days.
The funny part of the story is that this all came about because my best friend Tammy made a deal with Sara Kate. Sara Kate was promised last Saturday that she could spend the night with them tonight if she had no 'potty accidents' this week. Trust me, Sara Kate reminded me this morning of her success. And the rest is history. So, a big THANK YOU goes out to Eric & Tammy for giving us a kid-free evening on just the right night. Brad got on line and secured tickets this morning, and we're off to the show.
That my friends, is a fact that's fun. Oh, yes ma'am, fun indeed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Book Meme

The Rules...
1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Tag at least 3-5 people.

My good bloggin' buddy, Jess tagged me for a book meme. I always think these things are kind of interesting. Sadly, I think it appeals to the Nosy Nosella that abides deep within; but I'd also like to think (more positively) that I like to broaden my horizons and get good recommendations for future reads. And by future, I mean, maybe in the year 2020 I can actually start AND FINISH (there's the rub) a book. In fact, I haven't finished the very book that I plan to extract the excerpt. But, it's a very good read.....very thought provoking, very convicting, and oddly very promising. I'm going to go ahead and share the excerpt, but then read on, I want to share how I feel like this little meme might just be the encouragement I needed.

The 5th sentence on page 123 from "Raising your Child to Love God." by Andrew Murray reads:

" Where the believing parent seeks not only to form the habits of obedience, but also in prayer and faith to mold and guide and strengthen the will of the child in the ways of the Lord, he may count upon the workings of God's Holy Spirit to do what God alone can do." {Emphasis mine}

Wow, now that sentence packs a powerfully uplifting punch!! As I mentioned before, we've been struggling in the parenting department. I won't go into the details because it's just the normal stuff. But can I just say that I needed the encouragement. Basically, Mr. Murray says that if we are trying to raise our children to know and love the Lord and if we pray in faith for this to happen, the Holy Spirit comes in and takes over......What a relief! So, I'm particularly thankful for this opportunity and for the promise that I now know that I can claim.

I highly recommend this book. It is not for the faint at heart, but for that matter, neither is parenting. It was written by a South African, Andrew Murray (1828-1917) who was a pastor and missionary there after receiving his education from Scottland and Holland. So, the language is a little more difficult. In fact, the language may be a tad dated, but the content is timeless. At the end of each chapter he offers a prayer of consecration. These are worth posting somewhere and praying over your children often. It just so happens that the Prayer of Consecration is also on Page 123. Let me just share it with you.....if you don't want to take the time to read it, feel free to click away, but it's good stuff.

"Holy Lord, with fear and trembling I bow before you in light of the work to which you have called me- that of raising my child to love you. I know that I lack the necessary wisdom, so I come to you who promised to give it liberally and without judgement.
Lord, help me to understand fully the wonderful nature of the immortal spirit that you have placed in my care, with all its power of mind and emotion and will. Give me wisdom that I may know the way in which the child should go, even the way of your footsteps. May he learn from me that there is no other way well pleasing to you and thus no other way that can give true pleasure. Help me guide and influence his will in such a way that he will yield himself first to my will and then to yours, to choose only and always your way.
And strength my faith, Lord to hold onto the blessed assurance that a godly training in the fear of the Lord and under the rule of the Holy Spirit cannot fail. Your promise is sure; your power is infinite; you will bless the seed of your servant.
Now, my friends......."that'll preach"..............I'm just sayin'
Well, I'm encouraged, sure hope you are...
If you like these kind of things, consider yourself tagged. I'm sure glad I did it. By the way, I'm sure it was no coincidence that I chose this book for the assignment. Out of several that I could have chosen, I chose this one....and followed the instructions to the 5th sentence on page 123. HOLY SMOKE!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fun Fact Friday

Hey out there!!

I've been waiting for a full week to bring my little fact to you today. It was all I could do not to post it sooner, because, by my estimation I have us some information that is both factual and fun. In fact, if we were to compare the two, we would be hard pressed to decide which attribute or requirement were more true. It is very factual, but holy cow, I could have myself a lot of fun with this one.

I stumbled on this tid-bit last week while reading Big Mama's Fashion Friday post; which, by the way, I think is very fun. Anyhow, she introduced me to a company that has darling jewelry (and other things) at fabulous prices. And, when I say fabulous, I truly mean fabulous. It seems to me, that these prices are better than the prices at Jewelry and Handbag Warehouse. The only thing that would make me think otherwise would be that we'll have to pay shipping on our orders, but even that's not bad considering the J & H Warehouse is a good 45 minutes from where I live and gas and taxes would probably be comparable to shipping anyhow.

So, check out Sam Moon. I mean look at this, and this, and this. Is that fabulous or what?

Now, most of ya'll who know me, know that I'm not a huge accessory person. I've always wanted to be, and I like the way accessories really finish off an outfit. But, I've either been to cheap to buy the stuff, or in too much of a hurry while dressing to find everything and put it on. But, with prices like Sam Moon offers, I could eliminate at least one deterrent. I'll just have to find a new love for my alarm clock to remedy the other.

I haven't ordered anything yet, but I've got my eyes on some things, and I want to kind of look at the stuff in my closet to order the fewest things to match the most clothes (I'm cheap, cheap, cheap). And, can I also mention that I think some of these pieces would make great, inexpensive gifts. I know, I would have a smile on my face if someone were to give me something from there. (Brad are you listening? -- ) Oh, how I kid!!

Hope you have fun with it! Happy Friday everybody!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Works For Me Wedneday: Backwards edition

Every week, Shannon at Rocksinmydryer hosts Works for Me Wednesday. Usually, you post a tip on your blog of something that "works for you". It can be about literally anything. Every so often, she hosts the backwards edition, where you post a question instead of advice. Either way, the regular or backward edition, there is a lot of good information out there (if you have the time to read them). I usually just skim the titles and only read the ones of major interest. Check them out if you'd like.

Anyway, with that being said. I actually do have a question for all the readers out there. Brace yourself, this is on parenting.

My Question Is: What tips might ya'll have dealing with a spirit of selfishness in your children? My 5 year old son is struggling with this issue right now.....and before you all tell me that that's just him being a kid, I realize that. I know all kids deal with selfishness to some extent or another, and I don't think my little man is any worse than the rest. But, I want more. I don't want to explain it away, I want to proactively address it.

Here's what we've done so far:

We've participated in operation Christmas Child last Christmas to help introduce the concept of global need; and just recently, we've decided to sponsor a child from Uganda through Compassion International. So far, neither has really helped. And, quite frankly, sometimes I wonder if it has hindered his progress because now he thinks that I'm going to give his toys away to the other children (I've explained to him that that is not the case).

We've tried the concept of earning money to buy the things he wants, thinking that earning will make him more appreciative of what he does have (to combat him always thinking he needs more).

We've tried talking to him about it during our devotion time, and explaining that having an attitude of selfishness is wrong and will also make it difficult for him to get and keep friends.

We've prayed (and obviously still are).

These things may work eventually, but so far, we can't tell that we're getting through to him. And, I'm looking for practical activities that we can do with him to help him understand. Any ideas???

And, please understand, I'm not here posting to be complaining, whining, or griping about my kids. Every child struggles with something. I just see a character trait in which he needs a little help, and I'm looking for ways I can help him. He actually is a pretty good kid and we're very proud of him.
I'm all ears....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Accomplishments & Conversations......

I have a couple of fun things about the kids to share with you.

First up, I'm happy to pass along that Bryce earned his white belt in Karate last week. I think I mentioned that Bryce received Karate lessons for Christmas as a way to work on traits of self discipline and self control. We have been extremely pleased with our decision. Bryce really does love it. And, not only is it designed to "foster humility, discipline, a generous attitude, and integrity", it seems to also be teaching Bryce the concept of earning what you want. You must earn each belt, and you can only test for a new belt at the invitation of the instructor. So, it is totally at the instructor's discretion, and even then, the student must prove his ability in order to receive the belt. I must admit, it was hard watching Bryce go to class when he was the only kid in class without a belt. Not only was it hard for me, but it was hard for Bryce too. There were several times that he went home asking when he would get a belt or telling me how badly he wanted one. However, the wait made the reward all the more sweeter.(Something I'm trying to remember with our adoption) And, hopefully, Bryce will realize that he has to work for what he wants, and perseverance does eventually pay off.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't know that Bryce actually thinks through or realizes all of the "behind the scene lessons" that I hope this little venture is instilling - after all, he's only 5; but I am hopeful and prayerful that he will one day, and in the meantime, we do all in our power to talk about it to help him along.

Above Bryce is testing for his belt.

Each time a child earns a new belt, all the kids clap a rhythm pattern while the instructor ties the new belt on. That's about it as far as ceremony, but you should have seen the smile on Bryce's face.

Here is Bryce with his best buddy, Mason. After class, we went out to eat with Mason and his sister, Malley and their mom (my friend) Tamara. As you can see from the picture, Bryce takes his Karate seriously. His arms are in a particular karate stance (although I don't know which one). Bryce will earn stripes on his white belt and then he will work towards his orange belt.

And while I'm bragging on my little man, I'll go ahead and add that Bryce got a 'good report' among his take home papers from school today. As far as I know, he's never been 'in trouble', but this is the first compliment we've gotten too. The note said, "Bryce encourages and helps the other children. He is a great helper." So, that just does a mother good. Especially, when we've been working so hard and praying about some other issues. While I'm at it, if any of you moms out there have any particular tools or tricks that deal with selfishness, I'd love to hear it in the comments. But, for today, I'm concentrating on the many good traits.....and he certainly has them. Perseverance and helpfullness.....I'll take it!! Sometimes I wonder if the Lord gives these little glimpses to help us as parents persevere.......maybe I'm learning some good qualities too.

Well, the title was accomplishments and conversations. Obviously, the first one is covered, so let me tell you about a little conversation I had with my daughter on the way home from church Sunday. This conversation was completely out-of-the blue. I have no idea what brought this conversation about, but listen in:

SK: (In her most pitiful voice) Mom, do you still love me?

Me: Of course I love you Sara Kate, I will always love you.

SK: WEEELLLL, you have to follow the woolz.

Me: Follow the rules? What rules?

SK: If you love me, you can't spank me anymore...

Me: Sara Kate, I think the rule is, I spank you BECAUSE I love you.

Suddenly, Sara Kate lost interest in our conversation.......

Kids are hilarious......and parenting is not for the faint at heart!

Until next time....