Sunday, August 31, 2008

Overwhelmed, Under Resourced, In it Alone Today

That is my status on Facebook. Why? Because J is sicker than I've seen him in many a moon. He just asked me for a washrag and spray bottle because his throat hurts so bad. Since Thursday night, J has slept almost every moment he is home. Jason has strep throat. He got the official diagnosis yesterday. The doc gave him an antibiotic prescription (NOT amoxicillin for those of you that know THAT story) and a Tylenol 3 prescription. Yeah. It's that bad. 

Somehow, our house has fallen apart. Every room is filthy - needs dusting, vacuuming, wiping, cleaning. Every room. I was out all day yesterday with the kids, getting groceries and school supplies, and picking up Jazz' computer that arrived from his school. I felt bad for Jazz. He wanted to do something fun, but 'fun' was not on the agenda.

Today, I must get the house clean and entertain the kids and care for a sick husband. Tomorrow, I HAVE to find a way to devote 4-6 hours on just figuring out Jazz' school stuff for the week. To add to my frustrations, not all of the curriculum has arrived, making me feel woooooo in the head. 

Okay. There. I have vented. I have whined. It is 8:00 am and I must get chopping. 

Road Trip Rumblings

There were a few things that got me rumbling on my trip home from Canada.
The biggest one was the 60 minute wait at the border to enter the USA.

Speed limit is.....
Don't think I'm in danger of getting a ticket!!
Braille and Picture Menus Available
That's great, but the sign is not in braille 
and it is in ALL words. 
How is a blind or illiterate person supposed to know that?

Really? I was already doing 15 in a 70 mph zone. 
How much slower did they need me to be going?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Hair Do

What do you think? Do you like it??

Thursday, August 28, 2008

THE Conversation

It just happened. 
Motor Mouth asked how babies come out. 

I told him the doctor takes the baby out of the Mommy's Vajayjay. Motor Mouth pointed to himself and asked to know specifically where it came out. I had to point to myself and show him (clothed). He then asked what happens to the mommy's vajayjay 'after'. I told him it opens for the baby and then goes back to normal.  

And now, he wants some milk and for me to lay down with him so he can go to sleep.

Good night!

Family Fun Night - Ice Cream Theme, Eh?

I was back home in Canada for Family Fun Night. This Family Fun Night was held at the home of Shanus McTier, my brother. Shanus McTier, and our sister, Optimus Prime, poked their heads in, as did my friend from elementary school, Swimmer Girl.  

In high school, there were 5 of us who hung around. One of the 'Barton 5', my dear friend, NAMK, did such an awesome job recapping the evening on her blog, I am going to defer to her. Oh - and the evening was extra special because my new blog friend, Tales From The Fairy Blogmother, was there and we MET for the 1st time!! 

Please go HERE The Mommy Project to see this week's Family Fun Night. 

Thanks NAMK!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday - Banana Bread

This recipe comes from Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Cookbook.

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs 
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Place oven rack in lowest position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9 x 5 x 3 inches. 

Mix sugar and margarine in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans. 

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour,  9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days. 2 loves (24 slices); 85 calories per slice.

1. I did not add nuts this time. I was making it for my Mom's Group and didn't want to risk anyone having a nut allergy.
2. I did not have buttermilk. I substituted 2% milk and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and let stand for a few minutes. You can substitute 1/2 cup plain yogurt instead. I didn't have yogurt.

The reason why I posted this is because at least 2 ladies from the group asked for the recipe. So either they are extremely nice, or they actually liked it!

What's Cooking Wednesday was born out of The Fairy Blogmother's desire to get out of the what's for dinner rut? Playing is easy, on Wednesday post a recipe that has been tried and tested by you and then pop over to link back here, the Home of What's Cooking Wednesday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Walking with Dinosaurs

We went to see 'Walking with Dinosaurs' when Grandma DonnaMomma and Grandpa FlyGuy were here. If you have the opportunity to see this show, I highly recommend it. 
The colors, the textures, the sound effects, the sheer size of dinosaurs was phenomenal. Do you see the man down there? Next to the rock? That should give you perspective on size.
We saw the show in the United Center (where the Chicago Bulls play). 
There were 3 prices ranges and I believe it is worth it to see the show in the 2 higher price ranges - yes, if you spent $75/ticket it would be worth it.
My iPhone makes it look like we were sitting in the nosebleed seats
- not the case. 

Visiting Friends

Our friends S and A were in Chi-Town with their kiddos. It has been over 2 1/2 years since we last saw them - they had never met Paris! Seeing everyone again was wonderful!
The kids had a blast together
While S and J talked
And A and I caught up

Perfect Paper Airplane

I'm supposed to be on the way to Canada so I thought it appropriate to teach you how to make the perfect paper airplane, as taught to me by my brother, The Politician, who is a master at many things.

I share ancient family secret with you now...

Start with 8 1/2 x 11 paper (regular printer/bond paper)
Fold in half, lengthwise
Open. Fold Right corner to center fold.
Repeat for left side
It is important to crease firmly and be exact with your folds
Fold new right corner to center fold
Repeat for left side
Close on center fold (like a book)
Be sure to crease and make folds exact
Fold backward so angled edge perfectly lines up with straight edge
Extremely important to crease hard and fold exact here
Repeat for other side

Writing Workshop - Final Session

Monday was the last writing workshop session. I've really come to enjoy my time with this motley group. This group represents me leaving the comfort zone of our built-in social network of church people. Oh yeah, and I got to seriously get back into writing. 

The good news is I am not losing my merry band of writers. Myself and a few of the others are now part of the monthly writing workshop our instructor is involved in - we critique each other's work.  And, we are part of a writing meetup where we meet at a coffee shop to write, not talk - focused writing time.

I get out of the house, meet with a great group of people, write, and get regular feedback. Life's good!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blog View

This is my view when I blog.

The Bedroom Rules

I am going to be a 'Learning Coach' this fall - a.k.a. homeschooling fool. I am required to log a minimum of 5 hours of teaching time every day, Monday through Friday.  
I'm going to have to let some things go.
A few weeks ago, I saw where Whittaker Woman posted 'The Rules' for her daughters' bedroom. Basically, she let the kids mess up the room all week and then they cleaned it. I thought it was a great idea to keep me a sane and pleasant mommy and for Motor Mouth and Mini Me to have fun without feeling like they live in a showroom. 
Here is my version of the rules.

The Rules
No toys allowed out of your room
Have fun
No food allowed in your room
No complaining when it is time to clean up
Clean room 1x/wk and/or when people come over
Motor Mouth picks up the toys, Mommy does the rest
It doesn't matter if the toys are in the 'right' bins

Motor Mouth did this ALL by himself
No help from anyone
Motor Mouth even made his bed himself!!!
It's not perfect, but no one is coming over and it's almost bed time.
I'm also VERY proud of him - the bed is my job.

Dreams can come true. It can happen to you.

I think the song actually says, "Fairytales can come true. It can happen to you. If you're young at heart."

This week, I posted some pretty depressing stuff. I didn't want my faithful readers to think I am down in the dumps or woe is meing my life - 'cause I'm not. I'm just starting a bit of turn in my blogging towards deeper stuff.

In this post, I was going to say how we are living our dream of loft living and city living. But then I asked J if he felt that way. He said, 'No. My dreams are really big.' 

When J and I were first married, J would tell me his big dreams. I would have sleepless nights and we would have arguments. J was always coming up with these grandiose ideas. I thought he wanted them to happen and I didn't see how we could afford all of his ideas. In this relationship, J dreams and I figure out how to pay for it. 

The beautiful thing about Chicago, is that J has such creative influences. Driving down the street, there is something new and great and wonderful all the time. You walk with a camera and there is an amazing photo op. I was at my friend J Mom of 5's house and so wanted to take a picture of the view from one of her living room windows - it's of a brick wall. That's it! A beautiful, really cool brick wall. This city is so awesome, even I feel inspired - not stopped - by a brick wall.  

Friday, August 22, 2008

I don't think it's contagious

Woke up Friday morning to this
Notice the cousin a little further down?
Had some smaller siblings between the brows
It's bigger than my nose ring
When J kissed me goodbye, I turned to give him my left cheek. I wasn't sure if this massive zit on my face was contagious, it sure seemed to be multiplying and gosh, I sure didn't want to take any chances!!!

Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated

My Mom has this saying, "Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated."

When Mom first began to use this phrase on us kids last year, it was a not-so-subtle hint that she felt her 30 & 40 something year old children were not worshipping her as the mother goddess she is (my words, not hers).  Typically, she would tell us she loves the people where she volunteers because THEY celebrate her, not tolerate her. As a 30-something year old brat, it was 'Whatever, Mom'. 

After our associate pastor, Chip Olin, passed away last year, things really started to change at J's job in Tulsa. I watched as my husband continued to spend precious time away from home to give his very best to the church where he and his family had worshipped for almost 25 years, the place where my husband had poured his heart and soul into for the past 8 years while on staff, the place where my husband worked his tail off to bring his area up to a standard of progressive excellence.

For a year, I told J the church was dying. I said, "Look around. The numbers are dwindling. Get out before they tell the staff they can't make payroll." I told him, "Get out before they start laying off staff.  It's coming. Get out first."  But he loved that place. He wanted to see it turn around and grow and flourish again. J wouldn't leave.

In January, J was laid off. We both knew there was nothing in Tulsa for him. J was courted by several great places, church and non-church. On our interview weekend, we both fell in love with Chicago.  I didn't really want J to work for another church, so part of me was wanting one of the other options in other states. We fell in love with the vision Jaxn has for the people of PCC. We found real people who were willing to live the truth before God and before people. 

My mother says, "Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated."  J is celebrated here. He is appreciated. He is accepted as he is and for who he is and for the talents he brings to the table. Instead of Jason spending energy worrying the senior pastor is pissed at Jason for his hair being too long past his collar, or too short, as in the case of a trendy faux hawk last year, J can focus his energy on making his work the best it can be. 

Every week, in one of their meetings, people go around the table telling one person in particular what they like about him/her. When it was J's turn for affirmation, several people commented on how nice J was during high pressure times when he could have been mean. It's funny, because in Oklahoma, J was told he was too harsh. Maybe that's a Chicago thing. Maybe that's a northerner thing. Whatever it is, it is refreshing to know, as a wife, that my husband is not taking time from our family to cast his pearls before swine. 

I am honestly, whole-heartedly, most sincerely glad P.Bob and Dr. Stew fired J - and so is J. J would never have left that place. We may never have known the freedom and joy to worship our Savior as freely and openly as we feel right now. Most of all, J might still be working in a place where he was tolerated and not celebrated. 

Family Friday - 08/15/08

We had a BLAST at the Chicago Air Show last Friday. It was, by far, the best air show we've been to. The only thing that would have made it perfect was if my dear friend, James, and her M clan were there.

We took Grandpa & Grandma to Rockstar Hotdogs for lunch
We parked on North Ave and walked to the North Avenue Beach. It was a beautiful day and there were a few dozen people headed in the same direction we were. Because it was the first day of the air show, we thought the beach would be over run with people. But it wasn't.
Motor Mouth had a great vantage point
The Blue Angels rocked the show!  
Like any true pilot, Motor Mouth likes to fly DURING the show

We had ice cream
Having the air show on the beach was great! 
When the kids got bored and during the intermission, they played in the water. 
Mini Me & Grandma
The evening closed with a round of Fireworks 
- taken with my iPhone

We Found Her - #2

Motor Mouth woke up the other morning and asked why Mini Me was sleeping on the couch. 
We don't know when she got there or why