Saturday, March 21, 2009

Christian Fast Food

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. -- 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Last night, Hubs and I went to our church couples movie night. We had 45 couples show up for the viewing of the movie, Fireproof. I admit that neither one of us really knew what to expect. Hubs joked that it was going to be a movie about how to be a good, submissive wife.

That's not what it was about.

Hubs and I have been married for 12 years. We've been dragging around together for 15. We knew that neither one of us were going anywhere from the very, very beginning. It's no secret that Hubs and I have a love for Christ and raise K- in a Christian home.

I'm truly blessed with my husband. We both think that our marriage is fairly unique in regard to the average marriage, but we aren't perfect. After watching the movie, we walk away with a better appreciation of each other and our union, but knowing that we need to move out of the assumption that each other knows that we appreciate each other.

Kirk Cameron began trying half-heartedly. He began to turn the corner when he brought his wife Chick-fil-a, Christian fast food. :) Though neither one of us eat Chick-fil-a, we could both benefit from some Christian fast food of The Love Dare-- the fast food of showing each other how much we mean to each other. We both vowed to put more effort into that. It's not that we don't know that we love each other, but we certainly need to show that in an outward way more often.

The Love Dare is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Each of my daily posts for the next 40 days will end with the chapter title and verse. This is a way that I can focus on the daily dare, and remind myself of it as I read through the archives.

The Love Dare: Day 1 -- Love is Patient. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -- Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let's Give Him Some Praise!

I hooked up with Kelly's blog a couple of months ago when her precious daughter Harper was born very ill. Yesterday, she was sharing her praise and challenged us to do the same. (Not an all inclusive list, but a good start.)

1. Hubs, though he has battled undiagnosed digestive problems for 6 1/2 years and has seen 11 physicians, trudges on daily, makes it happens and is a wonderful provider for our family.
2. My sweet K-, without whom I would not know what a mommy would do. She makes me the mommy that I am. Lately, she has been such a shadow that she has literally been right at my cheeks (posterior) and I've had to remember to watch when I whip around so that I don't plow her over. Gosh, I'm so glad that she is ours!
3. Though we have had car crub this week, Janeen reminds me to be thankful that Hubs is willing and able to tackle those problems on his own. On Sunday, he manufactured his own pins and bushings for his car door. On Tuesday, he knew what was wrong with his car and instead of having to tow it, he beat it to submission, drove it to his mom and dads and was able to fix it.
4. Hubs has a job. I have a job. Both of our employers are being more conservative on spending and whatnot. Though it means no raises for us, I'm glad that they are being mindful.
5. We have a home. I recently found out that a few family members are in foreclosure. One, in particular, surprises me. I pray for all of them and the children that are involved.
6. We have utilities. Too often, I've known folks to go without electricity, gas and/or water for months on end. Sure, they've had to "make do," but it's easier not to have to haul water, burn candles and bundle up in blankets to keep warm.
7. Our wonderful plumber will be coming this Saturday to replace our outdoor faucets. I'm thankful that we have a little city lot that gives us room to run and play, plant beautiful flowers and vegetables and soon the ability to water them without dragging 40 feet of hose over the fence!
8. I'm thankful for family. Hubs' mom picks K- up twice a week from school. She feeds her, entertains her and even takes her swimming on Wednesdays. They allow us to take over their garage (we don't have one) when a car repair needs done. My mom fed me a wonderful meal of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on Tuesday. If she makes a meal that she knows that I like, but don't make, she'll save me some. My brother fixes my tires and even dropped the spare off at my house the other day. My sister hosts family gatherings at The Pond House, such as our upcoming Easter Egg Hunt, as well as swimming, stone soup and snow parties. My older brother helps Hubs to fix our Tercel when it is something beyond Hubs' ability. My sister and brother-in-law graciously open their home to us at least once a year so that we may visit with them in Chicago and not have to stay in a hotel. They feed and entertain us, and appreciate when our child doesn't share the stomach flu with them.
9. I'm thankful for our church family. We have a date night tonight to see the movie Fireproof. We're going with friends and at the bargain price of $12.00/couple, we're able to see a movie, have dessert, get a book to read as a couple and have childcare included. We've been under the leadership of a new pastor for a year and a half and the transition hasn't always been smooth. It seems as though the rocky road has settled down, folks are giving Pastor Matthew a chance, he's feeling more comfortable and everyone is pulling together more again. That makes a heart smile!
10. The sunshine. The glorious sunshine! I was able to put laundry out on the line for the first time yesterday and put that wonderful sunshine to work. Our sheets and laundry smell so good! K- has been out this week playing. She has had so much fun!
11. I'm thankful for all of you who drop in, read my ramblings and choose to come back anyway. Thank you so much for your friendship! I think and pray for so many of you in my day. I think of you, your children, the goings-on in your life and am so thankful that you've shared that with all of us. We're in the trenches together, my friends!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ramblin' Thursday

Rambling seems to be my Thursday theme. As I was preparing my ramble, it occurred to me that I have yet to give you the full pet low-down. This is Smudge, our 10 1/2 year old Maine Coon cat. (She wasn't completely cooperative for the photo or I would have gotten the big green eyes.) Smudge was a park dump. She was following visitors back and forth to the visitor center, meowing and just wanting someone to take her home. After a few visitors reported having seen a hawk scoop her up and drop her back down, Hubs decided that she needed to come live with us.

She was a mess. The front of her face was ripped off. She had ulcers in her mouth. Her one eye was swollen shut. She had fleas, ticks and burrs in her fur. She was a wee widget of a thing. (Hence the name.) We think that she was a park dump because she couldn't be sold. She wasn't of show quality (it's a theory, anyhow since Maine Coon cats are kind of expensive.) She has a curled end tail (a malformation of the tail bones), so she doesn't have a long wiggly cat tail. She wags it more like a dog. Her eyes aren't clear green. They are mottled with some hazel, and I'm sure that wouldn't run well on the show circuit. She was probably the runt. At any rate, she came to live with us. After I'm sure what amount to as thousands in vet bills, she is well and a happy, pissy cat. She does have a urinary bit that requires us to purchase prescription cat food (Royal Canin Urinary SO) at the whopping price of $45.00/bag every few months. It did stop the bladder infections and the peeing around the house. That is a good thing.

Girlfriend is a big cat. She's about 12 pounds or so. She's not fat, she's just a beefy cat. That's her build.
Then there is Spike, our Green Iguana. He is probably 8 or 9 years old. He was able to spend some quality time outside on Sunday. He was a happy camper. Oh, he has longed for the outside air and sun. Just look at him with his lunch plastered on his face. (The girls were feeding him cherry tomatoes.) He just couldn't be happier. In fact, if you look closely, I'm sure that there is an iguana smile in there somewhere.

Spike was part of a rainforest exhibit that was at Hubs' previous park district. After the exhibit, Spike needed to find a new home. Hubs went to take him to an iguana rescue, and he said that it was absolutely disgusting. He said that iguanas were piled into cages, the house had paths to walk through and he wouldn't leave him behind. So, now he is with us. We ditched his original name of "Iggy." "Spike" was what Hubs would agree to. Believe me, I tried something more exotic.

Spike has his own interesting stories. We thought that Spike was a girl. That is, until he hit maturity. He gets so snippy sometimes. I used to handle him, but I don't anymore. (They can lay into a woman that is in the throes of PMS and whatnot.) We did have him on tranquilizer injections, but it took two of us to give them to him. We just let him work his frustrations out now.

When Spike came to us, he had a bump on his tail. We thought nothing of it. Later, we found out that it was an infection. It takes a very long time for a reptile to develop an infection and a very long time to rid the infection. We had to have part of his tail amputated. In fact, why do I think we had to do that twice? At any rate, we finally got rid of the infection, but it took one sweet forever. Then a few years ago, right before vacation, a neighborhood cat left to run free outside (a major pet peeve as I keep my critters in my own yard and this cat acts like it lives here, peeing in my gravel driveway, pooping in my flower beds and basically living under the butterfly bush all summer long), had a stare down contest with the iguana, freaked him out and he dropped his tail. It wasn't a clean drop and Hubs had to help the shedding process along. He said it was disgusting. Thankfully, Hubs was able to handle that the night before we left, but ewwww! On other rambling news, Hubs decided to try to make his Tercel look like a Jeep on Sunday. Kidding, of course! Seriously, the hinge in the door was begging to differ. I could no longer open and close the door, so my driving it wasn't an option. Climbing over the passenger seat and the stick shift was just not comfy-- if you know what I mean. You would have to lift the door to open or close it. It was tricky enough on the outside, but on the inside you had to lift on the metal. That hurt my girlie handies! Hubs uses my truck to haul our little aluminum row boat to go fishing. I told him that I refused to drive the Tercel until it was fixed, which meant no boating. I had to issue the same refusal last year this time when the Tercel was convulsing the first 15 minutes or so you drove it. All it needed was some type of relay replaced. Hubs was being lazy. He got over that quickly when he knew laziness meant no boat.

It's been sunny. He fixed it. But look how klassy we were on Sunday afternoon:
The door is back on, the door interior is reattached and Hubs' car no longer looks like the dump mobile. You can actually close the door with an interior handle! Now, I will be fine with driving it on boating days. Jamie, the borough would have been called. Rachael and Janeen, the housing community enforcer people would have probably been called. Again, klassy, but it is fixed!

He decided to go on Monday to get new tires for the Tercel because you could see the steel belts popping out of his tires. WHAT?! He really needs to take better care of that car. We cannot buy another one for at least a few years.

Then, Hubs called me Tuesday morning to tell me that he went "smoking into work." "What?" Apparently, one of his brake calipers stuck and the brake pad locked in place. He ended up having to beat on the caliper with a hammer to get it to let loose and left work early so that he could take his wheel off and clean the brakes and caliper all off. Apparently, rust had built up (gee, how could that have happened with our incredibly crappy winter?!) Thankfully, he was able to fix it.

Then there is my RAV. I think it likes looking like this. I think that it just thinks that it gets better gas mileage without that pesky extra tire hanging off the back. And yes, if you missed it, I picked up ANOTHER screw and a bonus shard of metal. (My brother accidentally found it when repairing the screw hole.) The screw was in there for a while. The head was worn down to the tread. I think that I've been picking this crap up in the parking lot at work. They had us switch parking lots-- both of which are gravel-- but the new lot is adjacent to a lot for a restaurant which is basically a bar and patrons are littering the parking lot with a variety of things. (I've officially switched back to parking in our old employee lot.) Beautiful. Just beautiful. But, now I have a tire with two patches. It will serve as a spare only. I nervously drove around for several days -- very carefully -- while my tire was sitting for my brother to fix at the good ole Goodyear Tire Center. A shout out to Goodyear-- thanks for the family discount! :)

We've opted not to put the tire cover back on, because apparently the elastic has lost elasticity already and the cover wants to come off. Oh don't worry. Toyota will be replacing it. (We have an extended warranty, but they would have anyhow.) I'll deal with that when I have the oil changed here soon.

We went last night to the local park to watch the reptile and amphibian migration. Though it was far too cold for the salamanders to cruise across (we checked the vernal pool and didn't see them there, either) but, we did get to hear and see Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs. Apparently, Wood Frogs only sing for about a week a year, so my husband said that it was quite a treat to hear. K- got to bed late tonight, but she can go to school tomorrow and tell Mrs. K- that she saw a frog with the letter of the week on it's back-- there was an X on the Spring Peeper!

So, that shall end my rambiliciousness. Anything rambly in your life?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Free Kid's Programs

For the last year and a half, K- and I have attended the Lowe's Build and Grow Building Clinics. We have made tons of projects and enjoyed them all. I plug Lowe's today for giving such a neat opportunity to kids. We have built numerous cars, games, holiday items, bird feeders-- all kinds of cool stuff. It's great to be able to go in with K- and build something together that we can actually use. And! They get an apron to put a project patch on for each project that they complete. (Home Depot has a similar program.) Here's K-'s apron:
This week's project-- A Tabletop Basketball Game.

Even before the economy tanked, we took advantage of free programs offered for kids. K- started in her first library program at 12 months. We've done a ton of park sponsored programs, as well. Our local park district has their annual Fall Family gathering, which is a big party for the community with hayrides, music, movies, food and hands-on exhibits-- all of which are free. Among other things, my husband's park district offers Pioneers Park and an annual Fishing Derby for kids. Pioneers Park is a great learning experience with free and minimal cost items available for sale. The Fishing Derby, which Hubs is in charge of, is a great way to encourage children to get out and spend time together with a big person catching fish and getting prizes. While we haven't been to the Kinderealm park program since the fall (the visitor center is temporarily closed and it has moved to a different park, we don't do Little Gym anymore and aren't around the corner and we had major crappy weather for a while.), we intend to go back soon. We've even gone to parties at Toys R Us (Geoffrey's birthday is in September and they do a Trick or Treat at Halloween.) They were celebrating Barbie's 50th birthday this past weekend where K- got a fun crown to make and decorate, as well as a coloring page. We may also do a few Vacation Bible Schools this summer. We have one, so she'll be attending there. K- loves being with kids, she's a churched kid so she knows the VBS ropes and will probably love doing a few differently themed programs than just ours.

So, that's what works for us. How about you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Taking pictures in a gallery

We don't want you to think that we are cranky, but we can't allow you to take pictures of items in the gallery. The reason? Some folks come in, take photos of work that artists have made, send the photos off to knock off and that takes the artist under. Don't believe me? Allow me to let you know that there are several artists that I know that this very thing has happened to. A few bad apples spoil the bunch, you know.

A gentleman by the name of Randy Marks (thanks Cj for the jog of memory) made absolutely gorgeous paper lamps in his studio in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Target swooped in, knocked them off and put him out of business. The paper lamps in the fun shapes? That was his idea. That was his baby. I have no idea what he is doing now.

There were folks from Hudson, Ohio with the company named Cassiopeia. They sold something called Book Hooks. The idea was stolen, made overseas where copyrights aren't respected and brought back and sold here. I did a search and don't see anything about their product. So sad.

There is an artist from Providence, Rhode Island-- happily still working-- by the name of Vilman. Vilman had a partner and their studio name was Vilman + Klinger. Some beautiful boxes with pewter accents were at Target. I flipped them over. They weren't Vilman + Klinger. My heart broke.

It happens so often. It happens to people I know. It has happened to friends.

So, when you go into an art gallery, keep your camera tucked away. We can't allow photos, because we are trying to protect the artists. That is what we are there for. That is one of the reasons that they pay us to represent them. Understand that we hate to hear, "Well, I'm taking a picture so that I can go home and make it." (I heard this the other day, after politely confronting a customer about taking photos with her cell.) If that is the case, take a mental photo. We're happy that you've come to us for inspiration, but we're still watching out for the folks that employ us for that reason.

Edited to add: I realized that I hadn't included the fact that so many folks treat a gallery as a museum where items can be touched. That's okay, as long as you use gentle handies! But, there is a museum vs. retail establishment line, where the items at a museum are not for sale and photographable (A word? Eeek!) and the items at a gallery are a bit more protected and certainly for sale. Obviously, much advertising goes on in the great world of retail, but galleries are a bit more conservative. That may also help with the whole "no photos in the gallery" thing. We aren't mean people! We're just trying to protect our friends!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Fever Monday

I just love these little guys. They are hummingbird moths and the butterfly bushes were just LOADED with them this past year. It was the first time that I had seen so many in one place. Previously, I had only seen two others -- by themselves.
Aren't they fun?! :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Feel All Googly

Okay, I've had some odd google searches come up this month, so I figured that I would share them. Today's search leaves me shaking my head. Check out number one. Ick.

1. "How to dissect cheese in a[n] ingrown toenail." -- Okay, I'm thinking that isn't cheese in there. My guess would be that it is infection. Why did I come up on this search? I don't dissect things, let alone my toes! I did list my reason for wearing Birkenstocks was because I had ingrown nail issues in the past, but ewwww!
2. "Glad Dan's back off the wagon." -- I've gotten this search 4 or so times. I don't know who Dan is, but I think that being ON the wagon is the preferred way, yes? In a previous post, I said that I had fallen off the [line drying] wagon, but I was back on. I hope Dan is okay.
3. "PMS irrational." -- Yes, that can be me. Just ask Hubs.
4. "I really want to keep him in a 5 point harness as long as possible." -- I've gotten a lot of searches regarding car seats. I had written one in WFMW about K-'s booster. I even had a search about dogs, harness' and boosters for them. Hmm.
5. "Elmers go paint stinks." -- Yes it does, and so does my house since as I'm writing this, I have a crock pot of broccoli soup cooking.
6. "Homemade 'toilet cleaning gel' " -- I did a Bzz Agent review and I mentioned Lysol toilet cleaning gel. Those are some way industrious people to want to make their own toilet cleaning gel. I'm wondering, do they have the little flower plunger thingy or are they using something else?
7. "Cookie recipes from pioneer times." -- I don't have any of those, but if they are good pass them along!
8. "Therapeutic listening for toddler on ebay." -- I'm stumped on this one. Perhaps I need therapeutic listening.
9. "Pudding skin." -- I did a post on Jello Pudding Singles and about how we laughed at the Pudding Skin Singles Seinfeld. I've gotten a lot of people searching and picking me up on this. Either they think it is funny or they want to make pudding skin singles themselves.
10. "Bailey leaf, soup." -- Either they really intended to pick me up and make my Chicken Corn Chowder, or they want to make soup with BAY leaves. I think that many people really think that they are called Bailey Leaves.
11. "Has a shower nower so leaves mes bes." -- My guess is that English isn't the first language. I also have no idea what they wanted. Hopefully they found it.
12. "How do we know that a 40 pound 5 point harness won't hold more that 40 pounds." -- Another car seat question, but one I feel should be addressed. Please don't save money by keeping a child that is too big in a small car seat. You think that you are going well by the child, but it is rated for that specific weight for a reason. Feel free to contact the Safe Kids Coalition to find out more detailed information. This is definitely not something to save money on.
13. "Whats the big deal about polly pocket[?]" -- I'm guessing that someone without little girls asked this. Polly Pockets and all of their rubbery accessories are great fun. My daughter has always been fascinated by "tiny things" and Pollys do for her what Hot Wheels do for most boys. (Though, she does have an impressive collection of Hot Wheels, too. Thanks Grandpa.)
14. "Broom hair cut." -- I never knew anyone else gave their broom a hair cut except for me.
15. "How do I keep my shower caddy from sliding down the arm[?]" -- Though they didn't get their answer here, I can tell you that we fix everything with cable ties and duct tape. Either one should work. :)