Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Poem

When I was in 8th grade, we had a guest poet visit my English class and share with us some pointers on writing great poetry. I don't remember much about the man at all, but I do remember he gave us lists of words to help inspire us in our writing. They were organized in sets of four and intended to create pictures in our minds that we could translate into our writing.

I wrote the following poem and volunteered to read it first. My class had much of the same reaction as my 5th grade class when I whistled for them. Jaws dropped to the floor and no one else wanted to volunteer to go next.

Now that I'm about 17 years older, I just have laugh at the 8th grade version of me. As I recall, there were 4 stanzas, and it was published in a book of poetry from kids in our school district. I'll look for the poem in its entirety and post it here if I can find it.

Life is like a teardrop,
blowing in the wind.
With ups and downs pushing you all around
causing cuts and breaks within.

Childhood is forever
with toys here to and fro
as we play hide-and-seek
among the marigolds.

Friday, January 30, 2009


My friend, Cheri, is in the hospital. She had a low blood pressure but high pulse episode and they took her in for observation. The bottom line (as of this post) is they think it is just stress related and haven't found a medical reason for it, yet. Better safe than sorry.

String Bean and I got the e-mail about her hospital stay this morning at 9 am. (She wrote it at 6:00 am after the cardiologist visited with her.) We had a playdate scheduled (with my co-blogger Amy's kids and some other friends), so following the playdate around noon we visited with Cheri. We were her first visitors! I hope she got a lot more this afternoon.

Let this be fair warning to all my friends: If I end up in the hospital for ANY reason, I need visitors!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Awkward Phone Calls

I mentioned earlier this week that I have been trying to find some former teammates of mine from a missions trip I took 17 years ago. Let me recap just one set of phone calls trying to find "Kristen".

Phone call #1:
Me: Hi, is Kristen available?
Him: You have the wrong number. Do you want Kristen ____?
Me: Yes.
Him: Ok. Her phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Me: Thanks!

Phone call #2 using the number that I got from phone call #1:

Me: Hi, is Kristen home?
Him: Not right now can I take a message?
Me: Um...first let me make sure I have the right number. Is Kristen's maiden name ____ and is she from Graham, WA?
Him: No.
Me: Oh. Ok. I have the wrong number then. Sorry!

After searching on the internet and finding yet another possible phone number, I call it and get an answering machine. Since I don't feel like leaving the awkward message. I hang up. Moments later, my phone rings:

Me: Hello?
Him: Yeah, you called me.
Me: Oh, I was looking for Kristen _____.
Him: Oh, this is the phone number for John ______ and __________ (some random guy's name).
Me: Oh, I guess I have the wrong number. I'm looking for a Kristen ____ married to a John ___ which is why I thought it was you.
Him: Oh, there are like 5 John _____s living in this area. Good luck.

I hope I don't have to make any more awkward phone calls tonight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Homeowners Associations

Mr. Bean, String Bean, and I just got home from the annual homeowners association meeting for our condo association. The usual voting for new board members and approving the budget happened. I restrained from asking why us first floor condo owners had to pitch in for paying for new balconies for the second, third and fourth floor condos. But, I think I was the only owner who showed restraint at that meeting.

There were really only two moments of fireworks. Of course, I put my two sense worth in both times since, in my opinion they were both silly. First, a guy got up and spoke about how our building manager is overworked and how great she is. Then the same guy wanted to know why the minutes were not more detailed. He was told that the bylaws (or some official document like that) had it listed in them. Then he insisted that the building manager (who he just said was overworked) find that for him and point it out. I chimed in and said, "Don't we all have copies of the constitution and other association documents in our binders that are required to stay in our units when/if we move out? Why don't you just look it up yourself since our building manager is really busy." Everyone nodded in agreement, especially the building manager. Under his breath, he said, "I can't understand what that stuff says anyway." Interestingly, he used to be a board member.

The other heated moment occurred when I asked how the laundry receipts were going.

First, you should know that our laundry is done on the honor system here. We just pay cash in a locked box for all our laundry needs. We sign in with how many washers and dryers we used. Second, you should know that we have a lot of people who don't bother to either sign in or pay for their laundry. This has been a point of contention for years.

The response was, "Well, same as usual; not everyone is paying. In fact when our contract on the laundry machines is up in two years, we are more than likely going to go to a coin-operated laundry system." This lady immediately got up and started ranting and raving about how she was going to go out and purchase machines and make people pay for laundry when she owns them and how she works hard for her money and she's tired of being the only one to pay. Literally, she was talking over everyone else at the meeting and the poor board members couldn't get a word in edgewise. She demanded the name of the company that our laundry contract was with and all sorts of other nonsense. Every time we thought the discussion was over, she'd yell "You haven't answered my question, yet! Why can't I just go out and purchase laundry machines and run it myself?" I finally jumped in and said, "You can't do that because we are under contract with a company that will not end for two years. When it ends, go to the board and propose running the laundry yourself. Until then, nothing can be done!" After I said that and one of the board members mentioned there was a large penalty for cancelling the contract (and we just raised association fees by 10% so they were not willing to do that), she finally calmed down and the meeting was quickly adjourned.

Geesh. What a way to spend the evening.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Year Down!

Congratulations to Amy on the 6 year anniversary of joining the league of motherhood! Her oldest, Walnut is 6 today. Walnut was born during the 4th quarter of the Superbowl (Bucs vs. Raiders where the Buccaneers won 48-21). He is in kindergarten this year.

Happy Birthday, Walnut!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meet the Parents

Have you seen the Ben Stiller movie, Meet the Parents? The comical things that happen to this poor guy the first time he goes out to see his girlfriend's parents is just amazing. It doesn't help that his future father-in-law is a former CIA agent and definitely knows how to interrogate a guy.

Well, my sister-in-law brought her new boyfriend over to visit tonight. All day yesterday, I was trying to come up with ways to initiate this guy into our family craziness. I was going over all the uncomfortable questions and scenarios that I could come up with in my mind and just never really settled on anything...well, that and I'm not that mean-hearted that I'd actually go through with it anyway.

The bottom line is...we met him. He's normal and not crazy, and really very likable. My sister-in-law thinks very highly of him (as does my father-in-law) so that translates into the very high probability that he is a very good guy that we will learn to love as time goes by.

We'll see what happens! Exciting times!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


17 years ago this summer, I was 13 years old and embarking on a new adventure with Teen Missions International for a summer mission trip to the Ukraine. I met my 30-some teammates in Merritt Island, Florida for training before we jetted off to a small church in need of some construction help. We ranged in age from 13 (I was the youngest) to 19 plus our 5 leaders who went along with us.

Just recently, I found one of my teammates. We created a group on Facebook so we could connect all our old teammates and share memories and photos. A few weeks later, another friend found me. Together for 4 hours last night, we jotted down names of everyone we could think of (with the aid of some photos) and started looking for them.

As of this post, we have found about a third of our team. We've already had several people scan and upload photos from the trip and memories are flooding back to us.

Isn't the Lord good to let us reunite with our brothers and sisters this side of heaven?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pain in the Neck

I was sitting typing an e-mail today and got a horrible pain in my neck and within an hour it was stiff. You know the kind. It hurts to move to the left or the right and you have to move your whole upper torso in order to see things around you.

Well, I was thinking about that saying, "pain in the neck" and gaining new perspective on it as I sit here in pain.

When I say, "you are a pain in the neck!" in frustration, I am now realizing exactly what I am saying: "You are not only causing me physical pain, you are also making it difficult for me to do everyday tasks like pick up my child, glance up at the clock, roll over in bed, or finish a task quickly! Geesh!"

I certainly will think twice before I call someone a pain in the neck again! Now, where did I put the heating pad?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guys and Dolls

I just got home from a Junior High rendition of "Guys and Dolls".

If you don't know the story here it is briefly: A set of gamblers are setting up a big game. Meanwhile, Sarah is trying to save souls at the local mission. Long story short, the gambler falls for the mission girl and vice versa. Guys do crazy things when there is a girl involved.

The musical in general is entertaining and funny and all the things a musical should be. However, the musical made me uneasy. There is a conflict between Sarah and one of the gamblers, Sky, about him being a "sinner" and her being pious. She eventually falls for him and throws her concerns (and morals?) out the window.

The whole musical somewhat makes a joke out of the Christian faith. There are several jokes at the expense of the evangelists in the play. They are really there for comic relief. The pinnacle of this is when all the gamblers show up at the prayer meeting because Sky "won" their souls in a dice game. They all give fictitious testimonies of their conversion to the Lord.

Now, I can laugh at myself just like anyone else. So, I'm walking away from this musical taking a look at myself and seeing myself in some of the characters. I guess it made me think about my own faith, which probably wasn't the original intent. But if any piece of art causes me to take a harder look at myself, it gets a thumbs up from me...even if I do feel a little uneasy about it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On my Brief Karate Career

In honor of my cousin Ginger's "promotion" to her orange belt, I thought I would treat you to a story. It is a true story that took place in a land not very far away in a time not too long ago...

I was working with a girl who was working her way through college one course at a time. We got into a discussion about what credits would likely transfer from our local community college to a state university. We settled on PE credits and I agreed to encourage her by signing up to take with her a class of her choosing. I wanted to back down on that promise when I found out she wanted to do karate.

Before I get into the details of the class, let me tell you about my instructor. First off, he was a young, skinny guy that I imagine had a hard time impressing girls in high school because he was probably off in a corner practicing his kicks. He wasn't bad-looking, or even nerdy-looking, just wimpy-looking. He kinda reminded me of one of those socially awkward video game geeks. The obvious difference is the video game geeks are black belts in their virtual world, and this instructor is the kind of guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley but you realize that after the first (and likely fatal) punch is already thrown. So, we've established that he's kinda weird, but he's a black belt.

What I didn't expect from this guy was an ego that would rival that of Paris Hilton or Nicole Riche. I can understand wanting the respect of your class, but constantly reminding them that you are the instructor, you have a black belt, and you could kick their you-know-what before they even realized a punch was thrown is a bit much and does not exactly command respect. One day, he stood in front of our class and talked about sparring. For those of you who don't know, sparring is a form of fighting where you get points for hitting your opponent. Think the final showdown from the movie Karate Kid. However, we didn't actually hit one another hard, just making contact to earn the point. After explaining it to us lowly white belts (who were treated much like the untouchable caste of the class), he proceeded to tell the entire class (all levels together) that no one under a brown belt had EVER scored a point while sparring with him. Since he was so experienced and had such cat-like reflexes, he was able to block or dodge every kick or punch thrown at him. We were reminded of this great skill and the greatness of this man by his own testimony again and again.

I can't say I enjoyed karate. I purposely wimped out when our instructor asked us to do push ups on our knuckles. He said it was to flatten them out so when you did things like break wood they'd all be even or something, but I was just planning on getting through the semester, not break wood. Besides, I already had my college degree, so if he wanted to fail me in a lousy 1 credit hour community college course--more power to him!

The highlight of the class was the final one for obvious reasons-I didn't have to return. As I recall, my coworker skipped that class because she knew it involved our first experience of sparring. She was scared to death of trying that. Me? That's about the only part of the class I was ever looking forward to. Well, I was looking forward to it until I learned that the person we'd be sparring against was our egotistical instructor and the audience would be the entire class (white belts, yellow belts, orange belts, green belts, purple belts, and brown belts). After all, the other students could not possibly spar with inexperienced white belts. Their reflexes were not as fast and they were more likely to get hurt since we white belts could not control our punches well.

Of course, our instructor got up and gave us the cat-like reflexes speech and the "don't feel bad if you don't score a point because, after all, no one has ever scored a point on me" speech. After putting the fear of the black belt in us all, he asked for volunteers. One particularly eager kid who clearly had a passion for karate, yet started karate when he was in his 30s, got up and sparred with our instructor first. It wasn't horrible. It wasn't a train wreck. He got hit a couple of times (but not violently at all), and he eventually sat down. Nope. He didn't score a point because...well, you know why.

When our instructor called for another volunteer, I figured I'd volunteer to go second because: I wanted to get it over with, and if I made a complete fool of myself I had the hope that no one would remember because I'd gone early, and hopefully someone else would make a bigger flub.


Please note sitting there in the back of the gym was my (at the time) fiance, Mr. Bean. He came to watch me do this karate thing that he'd heard so much about.


So, I get up and sparring begins. I make a halfhearted effort with no real results. Our instructor stops the sparring and encourages me (like he did my classmate) to try a combination of kicks and punches. Then, he made some under his breath snarky comment about it not really doing any good anyway because no one had ever scored a point on him or something to that effect. You can imagine I'm sure.

You know how in the Care Bears cartoons the Care Bears would all get together and say "Care Bears, stare!" and their powers combine and then would transform the situation they were in to make a happy ending? I kinda felt like that. Or maybe like the light of heaven shone down through that gym ceiling and a revelation fell on me. Or maybe it was more of a "I'm gonna knock this guy down a rung if it is the last thing I do!" Whatever it was, it overtook me. I threw a combo. Nothing. I threw another combo. Nothing. Third try: a charm! I punched my instructor with my left hand upside the right temple. Point for the white belt.

Wait! What's that Mr. Instructor? No one under the rank of brown belt has ever scored a point on you when sparring? What was that? I can't hear you!

Oohs, aahs, and spontaneous applause erupted in the gym and the instructor just looked at me dumbfounded. Knowing my work there was done, I bowed out of respect and said, "Am I dismissed?" to which he nodded while picking his jaw up off the floor.

Our heroine exited from the gym with her adoring fan (aka fiance) at her side, head held high and never to adorn a karate outfit again except at the occasional Halloween party. And Mr. Bean? He knew he'd picked the right woman to be at his side should he ever meet a scary guy in a dark alley.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Regardless of who you voted for, you have to admit that today is a historic day. Our nation's first African-American president is taking the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States. I think it is fitting that the inauguration bumped up against Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

If you are anything like me, you've watched many of the festivities on the television, so I will not be recapping those for you. Instead, I am going to make some random observations and thoughts.

  1. Michelle Obama is much taller than Laura Bush. I think she's got her by a foot!
  2. There sure are a lot of celebrities at the inauguration. How on earth did they all get tickets?
  3. President Washington was supposed to be buried in the capitol building. That's a piece of trivia that is news to me!
  4. If you add the net worth of all the dignitaries and celebrities at the inauguration, I bet it totals more than the GNP of some small countries.
  5. Wasn't it cute how former President Bush and Barbara Bush had matching purple scarves on?
  6. I did not really need that mental image of Barak Obama's underwear. Thanks Katie Couric.
  7. I cannot imagine the immense pressure on the Obama girls. But how thrilling, too!
  8. Whoever that lady is who dropped her purse, I can't believe she kept walking even though it was obvious that she knew she dropped it. The man in uniform saved the day by handing it to her!
  9. I wouldn't want my mother-in-law living in my house (or my mother for that matter). It is a good thing the White House is so big!
  10. The overhead camera shots of the crowds are really impressive.
  11. Michelle Obama's outfit for the inauguration is much better than her choice for the victory speech.
  12. I find it interesting that Obama compares himself to Lincoln. Wasn't Lincoln a republican?
  13. Interesting that the vice presidential oath is longer than the presidential oath!
  14. I feel bad for Dick Cheney that he is having to spend the day in the wheelchair due to the strained muscles from moving.
  15. I hope the seats that Biden and Obama were sitting in where heated! Brr!
  16. Only Arethra Franklin can pull off a hat like that and make it look good.
  17. Biden is the first Catholic Vice President.
  18. Yo-Yo Ma is so great. He looked happy the entire time he performed with his group. Isn't it just like John Williams to write music for a historical event as this?!
  19. Bush's term ended at noon. Since Biden was sworn in before noon and Obama wasn't sworn in until 12:05, Biden was president for a brief time there. I think he did a GREAT job! I mean, he didn't get any policies passed, or do much of anything, but he didn't mess up anything either!
  20. I think the Obama family got a kick out of the stools for the girls to stand on during the presidential oath.
  21. I wonder if Obama had a hard time repeating during his marital vows? Of course, this is a much bigger stage, and I would be nervous and not able to pull it off seamlessly myself.
  22. Obama's scripture quote, "It is time to put away childish things" is from I Corinthians 13.
  23. I'm curious as to why there are no cameras on the military men and women overseas watching the inauguration. There are cameras on them during the Superbowl.
  24. I think 150 million is a bit excessive to spend on this ceremony (and all the festivities surrounding it), but that's just me. Don't get me started on the national debt!
  25. Did anyone else hear the whispering during the poem reading and again during the prayer?!
  26. I echo some of my friends' facebook statuses: the benediction was more poetic than the poet.
  27. I really liked how the out-going president got to hear Hail to the Chief for the last time while arriving and the new president got to hear it for the first time after being sworn in.
So, those observations were not all reverent, but they were the thoughts that went through my head!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Simple Joy

As I type, String Bean is sitting on the floor playing with a teddy bear and the plastic zipper covered case that it came in. Now she's move on to my pajamas which are, for some reason, in the living room. Rolling around on the floor enjoying the simple things. (Ah, now the shoes are coming off!)

We should all take a lesson from our kids and take simple joy everyday, not taking what we have for granted but being thankful for what we do have.

Apparently my foot is very interesting now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Esther and Obama

I am in the Beth Moore study of Esther. So far, we have only completed the first lesson which is an introduction to the book of Esther. If you have a moment, check out what my friend Christy has to say about the Esther study. (Oh, and the "dear friend" she refers to is my Mom!) I was surprised to learn, despite having a minor in Bible from Moody Bible Institute, that the book of Esther has no mention of God's name in it at all. *jaw dropping to the floor* Despite that, we can still learn a lot about the character of God through this story. For example, isn't it just like God to choose someone weak through which He can show His strength?

Obviously, Esther was a woman. Back in Old Testament times, that didn't afford her the same opportunities that women get today (like voting and equal pay for starters). People of that time saw women as powerless. Secondly, she was Jewish. In the kingdom of Persia, the Jewish people were outsiders, aliens in the country. She was a foreigner. Although she was probably acclimated to the customs and language of the land, she still was seen as being a non-Persian, a second class citizen. Yet, God used this woman to change the course of history. God can control the outcome of any situation. He holds the hearts of kings in His hand and can turn them wherever he wishes.

We are on the verge of a new ruler here in America. Regardless of how you personally feel about our president and our president-elect and regardless of how you cast your vote, you can rest assured that God is in control of the office of the Presidency and nothing that our new President Obama plans to do or will do will surprise God or thwart His plans. Whenever he wishes, God can go and stir the President's heart to turn this way or that.

Isn't it comforting to know that God is in control of human affairs?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Just in case it ever crosses your mind, the answer is YES: Children do think chinchilla poop is little black licorice candies that would be delicious to eat. I just fished one out of String Bean's mouth.

Current score:
Chinchilla - 1
String Bean - 0

Friday, January 16, 2009

Taking a Break to Eat a Frog

Mandie sent me this link the other day. So today, I'm taking a break from my living room, and I'm cleaning the family room, which really should be condemned. It's way over due for vacuuming, but that requires being able to see the floor. I'm hoping to get all the toys and junk picked up so that I can vacuum while Peanut and Cashew take their naps. Then, tomorrow, I can get back to the living room, where I have made actual progress in my quest for organization.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stay-at-Home Dad

Because Mr. Bean has to work so many nights this week, he got to spend (part of) the day as a stay-at-home dad while I went to work. Once, many moons ago, we discussed having him stay home and me spending the day at work. Then, he got a huge raise and I had a hard time finding work in my field...so we went back to the traditional way of doing things.

Apparently he spent his day taking care of String Bean, working out, playing video games, getting the mail, and avoiding the old ladies of our condo association in the hallway. String Bean learned two new games: touch the ceiling and turn off the lights.

Maybe I'll let him stay home and be Mr. Mom again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Complete Failure

Recently, Mr. Bean, String Bean, and I sat down with an old friend who just moved back to the area. He was sharing about how there was a family argument over food for his wedding. He and his fiance are both vegetarians, but the parents of the bride are meat lovers like yours truly. They suggested meat and potatoes for the wedding food. Said friend and his fiance are trying to pick which battles to fight since the future in-laws have opinons about everything. I suggested they compromise by having "potatoes and meat."

ba-doom-boom (that's a drum beat, you know the kind after a joke?)

*crickets chirping*

Being the meat loving carnivore that I am, I have to say I'm on the in-laws side on this one. Even more so if I get an invitation to this wedding. Give me some red meat and a potato (of any variety) on the side and I'm happier than a fox in a hen house.

So, what does this story have to do with anything? String Bean has always been a light eater. Her favorite food is carbs. If it is mostly carbs and starch, you can guarantee that she'll eat it and ask for more. We can also get this girl to eat just about anything dairy. Giving her ice cream or cheese gets a similar reaction to Ralphie opening his Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning. I've tried and tried to broaden her horizons to the fruit and veggies department. If it is grapes, bananas or corn, she's in heaven. Anything else is "eh."

Now, me being the "more meat the better" type, I assumed, this being the dominant gene, String Bean would also love to get her protein the the most natural way.

Today for lunch String Bean cleaned her plate. What was on it? Couscous and tofu. Huh? Hello...? Oh, and for dinner, she enjoyed snatching broccoli off my plate. Despite my best efforts I think I am raising a vegetarian. I am a complete failure.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mr. Bean on Wii Fit

I have enjoyed the Wii Fit almost exclusively for the entertainment I get from watching others work out. Of course it is a lot of fun to do it myself, but nothing like watching other people.

I personally enjoy the step aerobics. Most people would probably say it isn't too difficult, but I am rhythmically challenged. I do play the bass guitar, but that requires rhythm in your fingers. I am completely unable to coordinate my body to do what I want it to do. I am not what you would call "body smart." In fact, I am "body challenged" if there is such a thing. The step aerobics are great because it is challenging at just the right level for me. Now, the advanced boxing--forget it! I am always stepping forward when I should be stepping backwards, punching with my left when I should punch with my right...Oh, it is exhausting just concentrating to do the Wii Boxing. (Yet, I am compelled to try again and again!)

Perhaps the most fun is the Hula Hoop exercise. I don't do it too often because I'm completely out of shape and it is really difficult to do more than one or two times in a row. That, and you're working out muscles that you don't normally work out!

If you haven't seen someone do the Wii Fit Hula Hoop exercise before, you may want to check out this You Tube video which I think looks a lot like Mr. Bean looks when he Hulas. He is tall and lanky just like the kid in this video.

When you haven't worked out in awhile, your Mii (the alter ego of yourself that you create as your user profile in the Wii games) starts to dose off while in the Mii Plaza (aka waiting room) of Wii Fit. Since I've been fairly regular about working out with the Wii Fit, I enjoy watching everyone else's Wiis dose off. I told Mr. Bean his had fallen asleep and he decided he needed to Wii tonight.

I've seen a lot of strange, large circular motions with the lower half of Mr. Bean's body and long arms flailing (don't get too close!) this evening.

Monday, January 12, 2009

For Our "Advanced" Readers

I was reading a blog post about that suggested we "Make a post for advanced readers." I am shaking my head here not sure why they suggested that I make a post for my "advanced" readers, but here goes:

Hello, "advanced" readers! I hope this type is large enough for you to read. You can always enlarge the type on any webpage you see by going to the menu in your web browser and changing the font.

In Mozilla Firefox, go to "View" and choose "Zoom" then "Zoom In."

In Internet Explorer, go to "page" then chose "text size" and then pick the size you want your text to be.

I hope that was a helpful post for our "advanced" readers. I kinda think it was weird that the website suggested a blog post for advanced readers.

That is what they meant, right?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First Haircut

String Bean, September 2008, Pulaski, TN

Our 14 months old, String Bean needs something done with her hair. She's got a fair amount of baby soft hair that is getting fairly long. If she had been a boy, we would have cut it by now.

I'm trying to figure out when/how to get it cut. I like the fact that it is long because she looks like a girl and has all those cute curly Qs at the bottom of her hair that I'm sure will disappear if we cut it. On the other hand, her hair only looks good for about 2 1/2 minutes a day and that's right after I wet her hair down, comb it, and put a barrette in it. I say 2 1/2 minutes because that's the average amount of time the barrette stays in her hair before she discovers it is there and pulls it (and several locks of hair) out. When her hair looks bad, it looks really bad. If it were my hair I would have cut it long ago.

So, I'm looking for some opinions. When did you get your daughter's hair cut for the first time? What prompted you to do it? What advice do you have for String Bean's hair?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Again

I was not around for the majority of snow this area has seen this winter, so I shouldn't really complain, but we've gotten a huge downfall again. I think we got an inch or two last night and then overnight and all day today it has been snowing equaling another 6ish inches. How is it that the snow plow has not arrived yet to clean up our parking lot?

Since the snow plow hadn't come yet, I went out with a shovel and cleared nice wide paths around our cars and put the excess snow in the middle of the parking lot for the plow to get. Now those people who park next to us better not push all the snow off their cars into our neatly shoveled parking spaces!

How much longer is winter?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thumbs Up for Peanut

I just read an article in Parents magazine (February 2009 issue) about weird things toddlers do. I want to publicly affirm Amy that Peanut putting a green bean up his nose was a completely normal toddler thing to do. The human body is simply amazing and Peanut was just acknowledging that by exploring the innermost parts of is nose with that bean. So, instead of looking at it as a moment of embarrassment for mom and dad or another big doctor bill to pay, write it in Peanut's baby book as the day he discovered that God's creation was amazing.

My favorite quote from this article? "Toddlers tend to do weird things simply because they can." I think those toddler years are going to be fun with String Bean! Apparently I have fascination of nakedness to look forward to? This could get interesting...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Principal's Office

My cousin-in-law, Ginger, writes a blog talking about some of the reality shows out there that you're probably missing. The way she writes about them, it makes you want to see them to catch all the jaw-dropping moments that simply can't be missed.

Just such a show is airing as I type this: The Principal's Office. It is on TruTV (a channel that is not available on Ginger's local cable, or she'd be blogging about this instead of me. That means she's also missing Operation Repo which is a shame, but I digress). It is all about the shenanigans high school-ers try to pull over on their principals. Having been a teacher myself and heard some of the craziest excuses for the reasons kids do what they do, I can fully appreciate what these principals are going through.

What is even more impressive is the way they keep a stern voice and straight face when dealing with absurd situations like the girls who violated their school's cell phone policy. Their reason? "We have tickets to the Maury show today and we were excited about it." Or how about the kid who likened riding his skateboard in the school cafeteria to kids riding their bikes....*chirp, chirp*....Yeah, no one rides their bikes in the cafeteria! Probably my favorite was the girls who got in a fight and while in the principal's office hurled insults like "Gap-toothed trailer trash" at one another and insisted that they would have another fight if necessary. Don't get me started on the kids who get caught on surveillance camera and still lie about it....THIS is our future, America!

Why do I watch reality television? To feel better about myself. I look at these shows and realize I'm pretty normal.

P.S. Ginger is an unemployed editor looking for a job. If you have a lead for her, let her know on her blog!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Loud 'N Clear

I have been contemplating all the evil ways I can use a Loud 'N Clear. They are buy one get one free right now. And guess what?! Only $19.99! (But you gotta call now: 1-800-901-2571)

Here are some of my *evil* thoughts on how to use this product:

  1. Eavesdrop on people in the church foyer to see who is gossiping about whom.
  2. Sit in restaurants and listen to the couple at the table next door who are clearly on their first date.
  3. Stop by the US Senate and see what the other Senators really think of the Burris nomination.
  4. Sit near Blago's office to see what he's up to these days.
  5. Sit outside the HR office of any given company to see what they say behind closed doors (or in whispers) after interviewing various applicants.
  6. Suggest to law enforcement that they invest in these products so they can overhear the bad guys talking to their buddies about their crimes.

If only they made these Loud 'N Clear gadgets with a translation option so I could figure out what the non-English speakers are saying when I walk by. All good things, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good or Great

The opinions below are that of Mandie and not necessarily endorsed by Amy.

Good: Chocolate
Great: Dark Chocolate

Good: Small amounts of snow
Great: Large amounts of snow that close everything down
(Bad: Snow that I have to drive in)

Good: Vacation Time
Great: Vacation Time with a destination that does not include a long drive

Good: Health Insurance
Great: Health Insurance with low deductibles

Good: Free Stuff
Great: Free Stuff you actually need and like

Good: E-mail
Great: Personal snail mail with good news

Good: Weekends
Great: Long Weekends

Do you have anything to add?

Monday, January 5, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering...

After a green bean has spent 3 or 4 days in the nasal cavity of a two-year old, it begins to smell like fish.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sticker Emergency

String Bean has found her passion in life: stickers. One of the reasons we survived our 12 hour (13 hour? Who is counting?) were the stickers my mother-in-law gave us. Oh, how thankful we are for the veterans and other organizations that send sticker address labels and holiday-themed stickers for the holidays.

The last couple of Sundays we attended our church, String Bean has enjoyed sitting in our Adult Bible Fellowship (Sunday School for adults) on our friend Connie's lap. I found out today that Connie, too, has a passion for stickers. They are a match made in heaven. What joy to find someone who loves what you love and you can share your passions with. When String Bean started to get restless, out came the stickers. Would you believe that Connie keeps stickers (hole punched and everything) in her day planner for just such a sticker emergency? All during the ABF today, they put stickers on one another and shared in their joy. Ahh, friendship.

This story really pales in comparison to Amy's story about her own little bean. Be sure to check back for that gem!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tuba in the Toilet

It seems that every time I flush my toilet these days, it sounds like there is a tuba in the bathroom with me blowing its low tone until the tank fills up again. Add to that, the wall shaking and the metal pipe between the toilet and the wall vibrating making a metal clinking sound.

I asked Mr. Bean to look into it, but it seems the PlayStation 2 has taken over his day. I can't complain though because I have a Wii addiction. If it were the Wii Fit, no one would be complaining, but it is this game, Endless Ocean, that has me fixated.

If you are looking for a good tuba solo, stop by our house, flush the master bathroom toilet, sit back and enjoy the sounds! It could be awhile before it gets fixed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Problem with Vacation

Christmas has come and gone. Our long road trip, complete. We are enjoying the last few vacation days Mr. Bean has before going back to the grind. There are a couple problems with vacation, besides the obvious of not having enough of it.

The biggest problem with vacations is getting off schedule. We've been staying up late and sleeping in all morning. It is past noon and I've just now gotten dressed. Sundays are difficult when you get up for church and it is 3 hours before you've gotten up the rest of the week!

Another problem with vacation? It goes by so quickly. It seems like just yesterday when Mr. Bean came home from his last day of work and we high-fived in celebration of a couple weeks off. What do we have to show for it? A few more pounds, some Christmas gear, and that to-do list that remains untouched.

Don't get me wrong. We love the vacation tie, but I guess we need a lesson in time management to make the most of it next time. We will research that topic during our next vacation...yeah, right.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So, This is the New Year

Like most of you, my husband and I rang in the New Year at midnight last night. Then, of course, we slept as late as possible this morning. So, this is the new year. Welcome 2009.

Here are some things I hope to see come to fruition this year:
  1. Mr. Bean getting a raise. So, we got a letter from his place of employment letting us know that there would be no raises this year due to the downturn in the economy and a 232 million loss in the investments of the company. Bummer. I'm hoping for an economic turn-around so that raise comes back. We've got until July, people!
  2. Continued health and wellness for my family. We ended the last 6 weeks of 2008 with String Bean's first illness and her passing it along to me. I hope we remain healthy in 2009 with very little illness and continued growth for String Bean in height, weight, intellect, and awareness of the world around her.
  3. Growth in our church family. Of course, I want to see spiritual growth, but I'd also like to see growth of the 20s, 30s, and 40s age group of our church. We are lacking in the "younger adults" (and by extension "younger families")department and could use some new faces. Mr. Bean and I would like to see more of our peers at our place of worship.
I could probably make a long list of things, but these are the top 3 that I am trusting God for. What are you trusting God for this new year?