Monthly Archives: April 2011

Mine’s Gonna Be the Hottest!

Another interesting conversation at the dinner table today. We had our Easter dinner, just the 5 of us, before Oldest Son went to work at 1. It felt so good to worship together then sit down to a meal together. We always have the best talks around our table. Today we talked about living on less, the green movement and simplifying our lives. {No we are not downsizing our house and riding bikes to work.} The boys have such interesting perspectives on this. They are growing up in a very different world – in so many ways. One could argue that its preached in the schools, plastered in the media and ultimately “tight” {that’s cool to my generation} to be environmentally conscious. Like anything, there will be many who “join the cause” because its the in thing to do. But all that aside, I truly enjoy hearing what they are thinking, what they hear from others and how they see things like this impacting their lives. It was a good conversation.

Middle Son and Youngest Son share a bedroom; we have a three bedroom house. When they were younger, all three boys were in one room. We had three bedrooms, but office and crafts took over one. They were small enough then, they didn’t mind. In fact, you’d be surprised how often they bring up something they did back when they all shared a room. Some of it I knew, some is a surprise:)! I never shared a room {until college} with anyone – I had three older brothers who shared a room while I had my own. Maybe it is my own jealousy of this chance to connect that makes me believe its good to share a room with a sibling. They can fight like cats and dogs, but I also hear deep, uncontrollable belly laughs late at night. 

During the dinner conversation I reassured them that when they are all grown, married and have children of their own we will gather around this same table {probably in this same house} and they will reminisce about their childhood. And one of the the memories that will get them laughing is the talk about what happened in that room after Mom and Dad thought they were sleeping. I thought it was a profound moment.

Until Youngest Son pumped his fist and said, “Mine’s gonna be the hottest!”

Blank stares all around.

“My wife is gonna be the hottest.”

And that’s Youngest Son…

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Filed under Family, Frugal living, Randomness

For the Love of a Dog

This has been a tough week. Facing realities of love and money. We have a Beagle named Gracie. We adopted her from a shelter 8 years ago. She is the first pet for this family and getting her was definitely a learning experience. Hubby and I each had a dog growing up; I actually had several. There was Lady and Fuzz that I remember. Both outside dogs. Lady was something black and white that I only remember from pictures. Fuzz was a huge German Shepherd – and we had him when I was five or six years old. Honestly, I was scared of him. We didn’t have him for a long time. My parents had too much on their plates to manage pets and us kids didn’t really step up. Hubby had a Boston Terrier named Snoopy for most of his growing up years. He has great memories – especially about feeding poor Snoopy things like green onions and peanut butter:)!

Deciding to get a dog took a little while. Its a big decision. There is a lot to consider; pet ownership is a big responsibility. We knew we wanted a medium to small dog and we knew we wanted to get a dog from a shelter. We watched petfinder.com for quite a while. I would see small dogs, but before I could call they were already adopted. Then, on July 5, 2003 I saw the most beautiful girl! And thanks to the 105 degree temps over the weekend, she was still available. So we brought home Gracie. And she changed our lives.

There is nothing like the howl of a happy beagle when you come home from a long day at work. Gracie stands at the top of the steps and lets out a howl of joy when she sees me. She sits at my feet when I’m in the living room, backing up close and plopping herself down. She is my girl. She sleeps under my bed and snores a duet with Hubby. On stormy nights she is on top of the bed, breathing hot dog-breath in my face.

Gracie was in excruciating pain Sunday night. I really had no idea what was going on, but she wouldn’t come up the steps to come in the house and she screamed horribly when we picked her up. We took her to the emergency vet, very scared about what might be going on. Long story short, she has what the vet thinks is a bulging disk. It’s very painful. They are trying non-surgical treatment for now. She is on muscle relaxer and steroid along with being confined to a kennel for 23 hours and 50 minute each day. That’s all the time. The hope is that this will allow her back to heal. If not, she may require surgery. A very expensive surgery. My prayer is that we are not faced with that decision.

I would do nearly anything for Gracie. But, I don’t have unlimited resources. The thought of being faced with making a choice about whether to continue treatment or not is excruciating. I don’t want to have to make that choice. I know there are those who would criticize me for even considering anything other than treatment. And I understand that. She is a part of our family and I want to do what is best for her. Its such a gut wrenching decision. Just thinking of it makes me feel ill.

So for the next 5 weeks we will be keeping Gracie in her kennel and praying. Praying this heals her and she is able to enjoy frapping, snoring under my bed and breathing hot dog-breath on my face during storms.

Your prayers for Gracie are welcome!

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Mission {ALMOST} Accomplished

Today was the day. I set a goal with a deadline of April 20, 2011. Today. I didn’t reach my goal. I worked hard at it and came so close. And now I’m having an exercise in cutting myself some slack.

I started this blog one year ago today. I was pretty slow getting started. Make that very slow. But I’ve certainly picked up in the last few months. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve learned a few things about myself.

  1. I have to be in the mood to write. I have 18 posts in draft form. Ideas I’ve started that I just haven’t been able to finish. For one reason or another the words just don’t come. Other times I can pound out two or three posts in one sitting. There’s just no predicting it.
  2. I like talking about my family. They make me laugh (and cry every now and then). They challenge me and test me and push me to my limits. Often. And I love it!
  3. I like Comments! I love getting an email that there is a new comment on my blog. And so far, people are nice. Maybe that means its just my friends reading my posts:). They wouldn’t be mean to me:).
  4. Writing uses muscles I haven’t used in quite some time. And that’s a good thing! Its fun to do something new.
  5. I’m happier and more balanced when I take time to do something for me. Something like writing. It’s time consuming and takes commitment to blog regularly. But when I take a little time each day to focus on writing, I’m a little happier. And that’s a good thing.

So, what was my goal you ask? When I hit 30 posts in late February I decided it would be neat if I could reach 52 by the one year anniversary of my blog. That would be like writing 1 post per week. Considering I started out doing about two posts per month, that would be a great average. I had to crank out almost a post a day, which isn’t much for some people. It was a lot for me. And if you’ve read many of my posts you know I have a very busy family. I tried to write a couple posts a day on the weekend to balance out those week nights when I had no time.

I came very close, but I didn’t reach my goal. This is my 45 post. And I’m ok with that. Maybe I’ll hit 52 by the end of the month. Ultimately, this is a hobby, something I do for fun. I have enough stress in my life without creating artificial deadlines.

Yay for blogging! Yay for finding my voice! Yay to you for reading what I write! I appreciate you.

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Fav Photos

I have a goal. I hear you are supposed to tell lots of people about your goals to keep you accountable. What better way to do that than blogging my goal! I accepted a challenge on another blog to post my favorite photo I take each week. This should do a couple things; make me be deliberate about taking photos each week, keep me consistent about posting on my photo blog {I’ve been very sporadic with this} and most importantly I think I’ll learn from the others who are linking their photos. Wish me luck!

And you can check them out on my other blog – From My Perspective.

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All that and a White Picket Fence

When we were first married we moved around a lot. Hubby’s company has lots of locations and moving up meant moving around. We lived in four cities in the first six years we were married. And the beginning of the seventh year found us in a new state. Because of all these moves, we chose not to buy a house. We rented apartments, duplexes and houses in each new town. I grew to detest white walls and dreamed of some day buying a house that we could make our home. I redecorated in my mind a thousand times. I couldn’t wait until we could have a house of our own. Isn’t that everyone’s dream; a house wit a white picket fence?”

Nine years ago, we finally took the plunge. We bought our first home. It’s not a big house and its not new by any means. But we’ve spent the last nine years making it our own. We’ve learned so much! We’ve added walls; from the studs up. Framing, sheet rocking, taping, mudding, texturizing, priming and painting. We replaced flooring; pulling up the vinyl that was glued to the underlayment and laying a floating laminate floor. We took out a wall {not the one we put in} moving an outlet and closing an air vent. We tore out a tub surround and replaced it with subway tiles. We painted kitchen cabinets and put in oak stairs. So many projects! We have become quite handy over the years. Doing everything ourselves has saved us a ton of money! I can’t imagine what it would have cost to hire someone to do all the work. Doing it ourselves was thanks in no small part to my Dad. The hands-down-all-time-best handyman I know. We joke that he could build anything with green treated lumber and angle iron. He should have been an engineer. He can design anything in his head and 9 times out of 10 he will build it and it works! He has helped on nearly every project we have done. And those he hasn’t been physically present for, he provided the expertise, encouragement and confidence. It’s been a lot of fun! We’ve done things neither Hubby or I thought we could.

But its also been a lot of work! We spend a lot of time taking care of the house. Besides just the redecorating stuff, there’s the maintenance and upkeep. Mowing the lawn, trimming the trees, painting the garage doors. It goes on and on.  And then in a big rainstorm, you notice a drip. A pretty steady drip. Through the ceiling into the shower.

At 9:30 pm.

On a Thursday.

Ugh! It would be fun to pretend like I didn’t see it. If I was a renter and it wasn’t my house getting damaged by the rain. Actually, if I was a renter I would just call the landlord and it would be his problem. I wouldn’t have to figure out who to call or pay for it when they come. It would be so simple. And then I’d be done. Problem solved. But instead, I dreamed of my own home. Where I could paint the walls and make it my own. So, it’s my own. My own leak in the ceiling.

At 9:30 pm.

On a Thursday.

So into the attic we go. Except I have to empty everything out of my closet before I can get to the attic door. Convenient location if you ask me. Oldest Son was nice enough to go first; he has his grandpa’s engineering genes. And he’s pretty good at fixing things. {Hubby has strange hours at work and so was sleeping at 9:30 pm.} We climbed through the attic, balancing like a surfer on the boards that straddle the ceiling joists. We find the leak. While we’re looking at it and surveying our options, I feel a drop on my back. Another leak. It’s gonna be a long night.

So, in the midst of an uber-busy weekend we will figure out who to call and get our roof fixed. And we will probably drop a wad of money. Is it worth it? To be able to paint my walls and make a place our own?

Ask me after I get the bill…

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Filed under Frugal living, Home Improvement

Freedom of Speech?

It’s been all over the local news. Schools banning certain apparel, like the I ♥ boobies bracelets or t-shirts with the word “queer” on them, only to have the kids take them to court for infringing on their rights. They argue, and often win, that it’s an infringement on their freedom of speech. By wearing a shirt with the word “queer”, whether done tongue in cheek or as a political statement, they are exercising their right to freedom of speech. To limit this is to limit their freedom.

The ACLU defended the student wanting to wear the shirt with “queer” on it supporting his right to freedom of speech. I wonder what would take precedence if another student chose the shirt with the “n” word. Whose rights trump the other. At what point does my freedom of speech cross the line to be racist, or violence provoking? It’s an issue the courts have been dealing with for years.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that high school students are not wearing I ♥ boobies bracelets to support breast cancer research. They are doing it because they can get by with wearing a bracelet with sexual innuendo to school and not get in trouble. Oh, sure, they think breast cancer is a terrible thing. But if you think this is just a show of support, why don’t you ask them to not text for one week to show their support. I’m guessing you wouldn’t have many takers. Everyone knows the reason they are so popular, which is what makes it all the more disgraceful.

But what I see as the real travesty is the undermining of the authority of school officials. We may complain about the Gen Ys having an entitlement complex, but I think society must take the blame. It is actions like this that teach young people that they don’t have to respect the authority of those in charge. Mommy and Daddy will go to bat for them against the mean old school district that is stifling their precious freedom. And the take awy is, “Ha! See, I told you I should be able to wear this shirt.” Maybe even a little, “Take that Mr. Principal” or “Na na na na boo boo!”

I’m curious how these lawsuits came about. Did Suzie or Johnny go home from school and tell Mom or Dad that they had to take their I♥ boobies bracelet off and now feel their civil rights were violated? If I had told my parents that {and this is where I sound old!} I would have been told to respect the school officials and wear the bracelet outside of school. That it’s the administrators job to set standards and enforce them. My parents respected school officials and expected me to do the same. They taught me to be respectful of those in authority. That there are rules and parameters that we must live within…even if we don’t like or agree with them.

I’m all about advocating for oneself. Fighting for change when rules or laws are crossing the line. But aren’t there much bigger things we should be helping our teens fight for? Seems like if they are so eager to fight for rights and defend freedoms there are people at home and abroad who could use that passion.

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Filed under Parenting, School, The State of Affairs

Of Lads and Loin Cloths

There have been a few comments over the years that have given me pause. Those comments where you think, “did I hear that right?” I try, not always successfully, to remember them. One that sticks in my memory came from Oldest Son.

“Mom, where should I keep my loin cloth?”

Hmmm…I don’t know. I don’t know the right answer. I hadn’t thought about it. So why does my son have a loin cloth? Well let me back up a bit.

There you have it; a ribbon shirt and loin cloth.

I have shared that they are all three in Boy Scouts. There are a couple different honorary camping societies in our area; Tribe of Mic-O-Say and Order of the Arrow. I have to admit I know surprisingly little about both, and the parts I do know, I don’t really understand. And the kids think my lack of understanding is somewhere between pretty funny and just stupid depending on the day.

Order of the Arrow (OA) is a national program. Scouts must have participated in a set number of camping nights and are voted in by their peers. They find out if they have been invited in at the OA Tapout Campout. Oldest and Middle Sons were tapped their third year of scouting. Youngest Son was not eligible until this year. So the OA Tapout Campout was this weekend. Middle and Youngest Sons went and had a fabulous time! Youngest Son specialized in hatchet throwing which I know is really going to pay off for him in the future. {Ok, a little sarcasm there, but it was fun to see how excited he was that he could make a hatchet stick in a target at 10 paces. I know there’s gonna be a time when this random skill comes in handy. I just hope it doesn’t involve a college party!} Middle Son spent much of the day Saturday practicing for the ceremony. Apparently its quite elaborate with members playing different roles and lots of ritual. I know very little and haven’t watched the ceremony myself. One of the very few things I don’t immerse myself in to get all the facts. I figure its a guy thing. {Just to be clear, women can get in…just not women like me:)}

So this year was Youngest Son’s turn. He was tapped at the campout and will become a full-fledged member of the Order of the Arrow after completing an

The back view of the ribbon shirt and loin cloth.

induction weekend. This will involve meditation, silence and lots of physical labor and that’s all I know. I’m very proud of all my sons for being voted into this exclusive group I know nearly nothing about. I do know they wear loin cloths for the ceremony. And this year they were allowed to wear ribbon shirts. 

Which takes me back to the random questions. This time is was from Middle Son.

“Mom, can you make me a ribbon shirt?”

I had no idea what this was, but have been thoroughly schooled in loin cloths and ribbon shirts. 

Oh, and we keep our loin cloth on the shelf right next to the underwear….it seemed like the right spot!

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