Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's Lent got to do with it?

So, growing up, Lent had absolutely no meaning to me whatsoever. None. We were not a church going say the least. My knowledge of church activities was limited to being made to go to Mass Sunday mornings after an occasional Saturday night sleep over at a friends house. Though, I cannot remember ever sitting through a whole fact, I DO remember being scolded by a man who must have been as old as creation itself for being too loud goofing off in the lobby of St. Sebastian's. I'm sure in reality, the man was not that old and probably a kind man...but my lack of respect for elders and such has left my mind to fashion him into an ogre of sorts. Churches were also good for things like weddings and funerals....though, I didn't go to a wedding until I was a teenager and no one in my family had a funeral service in a church that I can think of.

All that to say, as a Christ Follower for a few years now, it's easy for me to forget about Lent and the significance it can have to my walk with Christ. Lent is the 40 day period (not including Sundays) preceding Jesus' death and resurrection. It is a time for fasting and praying meant to remind us of Jesus' 40 days in the desert. I'm not quite sure why some denominations choose to emphasize Lent more than others...suffice it to say that any church (I hope) would honor the notion of sacrificing something to remind us of our Lord. Or take it a step further, ADD something that draws one closer to Christ.

What to sacrifice? What to add? Am I supposed to FEEL like Jesus did in the desert? Therefore sacrifice something extraordinary that will cause great discomfort? I tend to lean more towards sacrificing something that I will miss, but that when I miss it will cause me to pause and thank Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice...."He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when he offered himself." - Hebrews 7:27 Let's face it, nothing I could give up could compare to what Jesus, yes, I could give up coffee for Lent but right around 4:00 when the caffeine headache settles in, I can't guarantee that my thoughts will be very Christ-like.

So, I decided to forgo sweet/unhealthy night time snacks. This serves me well in many areas...I don't need and dare I say no one needs all that sugar and/or fat sloshing around settling in to all available crevices all night long. Also, I happened to have ordered a bridesmaids dress one size too small... Though, it's almost a ritual to go into the kitchen and get something to munch every evening. I will miss it and I will remember why I'm grabbing some veggies instead of chocolate..."Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:57

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift." - 2 Corinthians 9:15
"I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh praise the greatness of our God!" - Deuteronomy 32:3

What are you doing for the next 40 days?

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Weekly Wrap Up

What in the world have I been doing that would prevent me from spouting knowledge all over the blogging community? It's not like I don't have things that I'd like to blog about. Things like the mom of octuplets (might be a tad too controversial) or the woman who claimed that the economic crisis caused her and her son to be homeless, forcing them to live in her vehicle (except that she had been fired from her job 2 years ago and her son is 37??) How about some light hearted fare? Say, progress on things rattling around in this ol' heart or Courtney's latin heritage?? Here's a rundown of what has been keeping me away from clicking away....

Joe's elementary school had it's 100th day celebration and students and families were asked to make a project using 100 items of......whatever.
Joe counted and gathered all 100 rocks and colored and stickered the poster.
Valentine's Day was soon upon us. We celebrated with cards and fun heart shaped foods...

Diz~ Does my food creativity cause your heart to flutter? Nothing says love like heart shaped pancakes and strawberries, pink Cool Whip and diced ham??? The kids need the protein....

Jay and I celebrated
Love Day by putting the kids to bed, having a glass of wine and........wait for it.....watching all of the dvr'ed episodes of The Bachelor! Perfect!

Once the glow of reality T.V. heart break and rejection wore off, it was onto planning a wedding shower for my beautiful friend Hannahbear, who does not need 25 eligible bachelor's vying for her love!
When there are shower invitations to be created and mailed, there is no time for blogging!
What else has been going on? Well...
*I helped Joe's classroom make Valentine mailboxes, then came back the next day for the Vday party.
*I ruined a basket of laundry....which fits in perfectly with my conspiracy theory that washing machines and mailmen are out to get me.
*Took Trey to his 9 month well visit...all's well.
*Fulfilled my duty as a copy volunteer at Joe's school.
*We had our weekly T.V. watching time on Tuesday night. Amazing Race and American Idol are dishes best served with friends!
*Mid-week connection at church Wednesday.
*Nursing my horrifically sore body back to normal in between ridiculously hard work outs.
*Trying to make progress in this heart.
*Broke Joe's heart by telling him we couldn't go to the Entertainment Night at his school because he was too is his sister, Bella.
*Today, we're wading our way through a sea of Benadryl and tissues.

Aside from that.....not a whole lot. How about you?

One last thing.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARRIE AND LENA!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Flashback Friday: Dog Gone Days!

As the temperature rises, the snow melts and everything outside gets muddy, I breathe a sigh of relief. The other day we were walking around our neighborhood, and we passed a woman walking her cute, little dog. Jay and I exchanged knowing glances over the children's oblivious heads and kept on walking.

Once upon a lifetime ago, we had two big dogs. Big Momma and Dr. Knowledge....And at the beginning of every spring, when the mud is ankle deep and the rain seems to never stop, the chore of wiping mud off of paws and tails and wet fur, and swiffering muddy footprints of the dog that slipped by the security check point was enough to cause serious heartburn.

Don't get me wrong, we loved our dogs! Let me bask for a few moments in good memories.....

For Big Momma...let's see
-She was ALWAYS very gentle with people.
-She would try to protect the little girl across the street by running to her and sitting on her feet.
-On one occasion, a woman was sharing her heart with us and was crying, very upset. So Big Momma came over to her, sat on the floor next to her, leaned against her legs, then put her paw on top of the woman's hand!
- Big Momma always "sang" along with the fire sirens...and Uncle Rick when he would howl at her.
-Her size was a good deterrent for Jehovah's witnesses.
-She wanted to be a lap dog.....she weighed 80 lbs.

For Dr. Knowledge.....
-He was very playful (much to Big Momma's chagrin)
-He taught himself how to turn on the water in the bathtub to get himself a drink. (Unfortunately, he never learned how to turn the water off. More than once we were woken up in the middle of the night wondering who was taking a bath.)
-Almost every time Dr. was sleeping he would "talk" in his sleep and chase some unseen phantom.

Here's few things that made them less than endearing....
-Big Momma peed in the house ALL THE TIME. And not in the middle of the room where it could be easily cleaned, but ALWAYS near a piece of hard to move furniture. Mainly, it was near the fridge....and yes, it went under the vinyl and soaked right in to the subfloor. Pleasant, huh?
-Dr. Knowledge would poop in the house out of spite.
-Big Momma would try to attack all animals, skateboards, plastic bags and breeze blown leaves within a 5 mile radius of our house.
-They would conspire against us. We had an electric fence installed, but we could only afford one collar. For awhile, the dogs didn't know who was wearing the "correct" collar, so both would stay in the yard. Then they wised up...they would feign innocence and trot soon as our backs were turned, an angry neighbor would be knocking on our door complaining about Big Momma using her dog as a chew toy. (I say that particular dog had it coming)
- Big Momma would steal food off of the kitchen counter.....think birthday cake, an entire box of unopened chocolate, bricks of cheese....
- The amount of shed fur was UNBELIEVABLE! I swear I would swiffer or vacuum twice a day and still find fur! Grrrr....

We could take all of this in stride until we brought Bella home from the hospital. Joe had just turned two and for many reasons Jay had to be out and about a lot. Between coaching volleyball and Young Life stuff, I was home alone with a big crew of non-bathroom users! I also feel like I may have had a bit of postpartum depression. I was exhausted beyond belief, I would cry easily and little things would put me through the roof. I can remember just getting everyone settled in for a nap, myself included, and my head hit the the pillow...the dogs started to bark. I actually thought that if I went downstairs and kicked them really hard, they would stop. Take note, I did NOT hurt the dogs! But the bottom line was that either Jay would have to be home to care for the dogs 24/7 or I would lose it big time. So after a lot of prayer and crying, we decided to surrender the dogs to a shelter. It was really heartbreaking. I felt extremely guilty and like a failure as a pet owner.

As it turns out Big Momma had a rare dog disease that was causing her to pee all the time and she had to go to the farm that you're not allowed to visit. Dr. was quickly adopted by another family! And, after a couple of weeks, when all the fur had been cleaned up and I had gotten a little more sleep (can I get an amen!) we were convinced that we had made the right decision.

So, while we remember the sweet memories of those dogs, I'm happy that the only footprints that I'll have to clean up are from the bipedal variety and they listen when I say "Sit!" (most of the time)
Big Momma was trying to make us rich by digging for gold.....

Dr. was very loyal to and protective of Joe....
Where am I supposed to sleep?
Seriously? And yes, my hair is that short...let's move on.
Could he not have laid 2 feet to the left?
Yes, my hair was that blond......Merry Christmas, let's move on.

Joe was very loyal to and protective of Dr. Knowledge

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sometimes, the tooth hurts!

Allow me to formally introduce all of the blogging community to our sweet baby. Trey Douglas was born May 12, 2008.
(if I may interject here, and since I'm typing I say go ahead, his due date was May 5th and since his sister arrived early, every doctor I saw told me to be prepared for this one to come early too. They even said have your bag packed and the babysitter on speed dial. Jay went to the Survivor auditions and had to back out because on the off chance that he would be chosen to get to the next level he would have been out of town in April and that was cutting it too close to baby day. I should blame the medical community for being short one million dollars. Harumph, I say!!!)

We arrived at the hospital for an induction on Mother's Day (awww so sweet!) a mere 12 hours later, Trey got his first look at the world around him.

He has been a perfect baby since, so I hardly ever hold his slow delivery against him. I'll hold onto that nugget for later use.....

All of my children started teething at 4 months. 4 months! This made for creative nursing techniques, to say the least. Trey has been no exception, like clockwork his bottom teeth popped out right on track with his sibs. Then a few weeks later, the 2 top teeth started to the same time the other 2 top teeth started peeking! The poor baby's gums were so swollen and red. This was all happening over Christmas, too. Could he not have waited until AFTER our family brunch at the Country Club? We are now majority owners of Orajel and Tylenol.

Well, this morning I looked in mouth because he's been a bit cranky danky to say the least. And sure enough, 4 more teeth are pushing through! How many 9 month olds have 10 teeth????

He's handling the whole thing pretty well.....he still does "soooo big!" and his new maniacal laugh ( which most of the time he's looking at nothing and no one...just laughing. Hmmmmm?) The worst time of day is 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.....however, if the worst thing I have to deal with today is a fussy baby for 2 hours, I'll take it.

(He was channeling Gene Simmons at the time this photo was captured)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Take 2 aspirins, shampoo, and boiling water....

So, either I'm ill, finally get a chance to shower, or conducting a home birth. Maybe all three....or maybe I'm trying to get the pit stains out of the hubby's plain white t's.

The plain white t's have it....(the article of clothing, not the band)

My friend, Courtney, painstakingly cut articles out of her seemingly endless supply of magazines to try to aid in my quest for cleanliness.....Diz read to me from her magazine. Martha Stewart has taught me well.

And I learned (drum roll, please!)....we'll go ahead and buy some new t-shirts. The bottom line is that the stains are baked in. Deodorant cake anyone? Since I cannot clean these shirts, I will try to be preventative with the next round. Apparently soaking the stains in crushed aspirin and water will help dissolve the grease, or rubbing the stain with shampoo. Also, pre-soaking in a tub of boiling water with some oxygenated bleach will help, too.

Will I really do these things to prevent underarm stains? Only time will tell. Thanks for the suggestions!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Airing of dirty laundry

I need some advice here, people. My problem is my husbands white undershirts! No matter how I wash, pre-soak, pour straight bleach on....I cannot get the armpits of said t-shirts clean! Mind you, my hubby does not sweat excessively and uses deoderant appropriately. Sorry to divulge dirty laundry, dear....but the armpits of his t-shirts are literally stiff and yellowed! Anyone else? Or am I a laundry freak, unable to properly clean clothes?

I recently started to make my own laundry detergent (I'll put the recipe at the end, Diz)....I cannot blame my issues on homemade products as this has been a thorn in my side for years. And I realize once the stains are set in, they will not come, we'll just buy MORE new t-shirts.

How can I stop this before it starts? I'll tell ya, if this is my biggest worry in life....I'm okay with that, but this has been bugging me for a long time.

I was going to post pictures, but I thought that might be pushing the envelope a little too far. Maybe, if I find a solution, I'll show a before and after pic.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax powder

Grate soap and put in saucepan
add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts
add washing soda and borax, stir until dissolved
remove from heat
pour 4 cups HOT water into a bucket
add soap mixture, stir
add 1 gallon + 6 cups water, stir
let soap sit for about 24 hours to gel

*a few notes....I found the bar soap and Borax immediately in the laundry aisle of Giant Eagle. No store near me carried Arm&Hammer Washing Soda (if I asked, GE could order it for me), but we ordered 2 boxes on Ebay. Even after it sits for a day, it is not totally gelled. It's more like a soup with foam on top. I stir it everytime I use it. It is a low sudsing formula, and safe for HE models. Use 1/2 cup for a full load
*one batch equals 2 gallons and you can add 1 ounce of essential oil to scent.
*it smells very strongly of soap, but has no longering smell after the dryer...nothing, not a scent! I added grapefruit oil to my most recent batch. It smells wonderfull in the bucket and on wet clothes, but is gone after the dryer. So, I'll add more to the mix next time.
*yes, it really cleans the clothes (I still use a stain fighter on spots, but I did that with store bought detergent, too) and Jay did the math (thanks, Honey!)...the huge container from Sam's broke down to about $.14/load, this is about $.01/load. Not bad, huh?