Saturday, January 31, 2009

200th Post !!!

Wow, my 200th post already! I guess when you're blogging about every little thing your CAT does, it really adds up!!

I've been especially busy this week. We hosted a women's event at our church which was cleverly dubbed "Chuckles & Cheesecake". (cute, huh?) Feel free to rip that idea off -- it's not copyrighted .... yet!

We had such a blast -- with plenty of goodies and even more laughs! I had the honor of serving as the resident comedienne (mainly because that's all our women's ministry budget could afford -- ZERO)! Let me tell you -- I think I could have stood there and sung the ABC's and they would have LAUGHED their delicately coiffed heads off! The crowd was definitely hungry for a chuckle. On a sidenote, I love that in an audience!

In lieu of charging admission, we held a silent auction. Our team put together a great variety of items up for bid, everything from manicures & massage to home decor and make-up.

It was such a gratifying evening, and such an encouragement to me personally in my new ministry in Christian comedy. I've always thrived on making people laugh -- it fills my heart with such joy! And it seems that God is beginning to open doors for me to expand and share this ministry with more and more people.

In fact, I have 2 gigs this coming week (that's what we in the biz call them -- "gigs"). I'm already booked for a few events in March. And yesterday, a lady from a large local church called me and wondered if I was still available on DECEMBER 3. Go figure -- it was still open. But not anymore! Yes, I'm already booked on Dec. 3, so don't ask!

A friend is going to videotape some of my upcoming performances and put together a promotional DVD for me! Another is going to help me build a web page. I'M SO EXCITED!

Please pray for this developing ministry -- that God would guide me and that He might continue to allow me the blessing of serving as His "funny bone in the body of Christ".

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hats Off to Us !

By simply adhering to the mode of "gluing random junk onto any ordinary hat", our kids swept ye annual CRAZY HAT NITE at our church's AWANA group! And no, these one-of-a-kind creations are NOT copyrighted, so copy away!
And if you can't tell from this angle, the base of Natalie's creation was .... one of the record album serving bowls we made for Greg's birthday party. I'm "green" that way and this is proof that I do occasionally recycle!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random Things

If you're part of the Facebook world, you've no doubt seen these random lists posted. Since I have absolutely nothing fascinating to blog about, I thought I'd share MY list of 25 absolutely random things about me:

1. I'm an Ohio girl who had never lived out of state until I married (at age 28).

2. In our 15 years of marriage, we have lived in 5 states. All the glamorous ones: Ohio, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas.

3. I grew up in church and accepted Jesus as my savior at the age of 6. Our family was super involved in our church, with my dad serving as a deacon + music director & my mom playing the piano + teaching Sunday School. Every Sat. our entire family cleaned the church, and I hated it.

4. Before meeting Greg, I had a turbulent dating life and was actually engaged to someone else for a short time.

5. My little sister, Amy, is my best friend in the whole world.... although we pretty much hated each other while growing up. She's 5 years younger than me.

6. I also have 2 big brothers -- one still in Ohio, the other in Houston. Most of our family is still in Ohio.

7. Because my high school was so large & intimidating, I tended to be shy and feel insecure. To this day, I won't go back for reunions, because I'm convinced no one would remember me.

8. I've come out of my shell just a little since then! Credit goes to Greg for playing a key role in re-building my self-image and confidence.

9. Before marriage, I worked as a legal assistant for 10 years. Go figure -- I was always the one planning the Friday pizza party or baby picture contest, just to make life more interesting.

10. I like to laugh. Laughing's my favorite! I find humor in just about everything and have to restrain myself from blurting out all the punch lines swirling in my pea brain.

11. I'm VERY prone to cabin fever.

12. My senior year in high school, I was the State Champion in ..... shorthand. (really!)

13. I always wanted to have 4 kids, just like I grew up with. However, I didn't think we actually would, as we were both .... well ..... less than young to begin with!

14. It bothers me if the t.v. volume level is not on an even number -- I have no idea why. (can you say OCD?)

15. In earlier years, I aspired to be part of the "Go-Go's" girl band -- but would have settled for the Bangles.

16. During my early 20's I saw Prince in concert during his Purple Rain tour.

17. I'm drawn to any kind of creative reality show .... Project Runway's my absolute favorite!

18. Even though I know it's irrational, deep down I want to be everyone's BEST friend. (call me!)

19. I'm beginning to doubt that I'll ever make the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

20. In our first few years of marriage, Greg worked for American Airlines and we got to take many inexpensive trips. New England, South Carolina, San Diego, Orlando, Cancun, Hawaii (Maui) and Paris were among our favorite destinations.

21. I'd love to visit New York City. Can I borrow your can of mace?

22. I never thought of myself as selfish or especially impatient UNTIL I had kids.

23. I'm watching the Miss America pageant while I type this and secretly hope to see their thighs jiggle during the swimsuit competition.

24. I'm a chronic people pleaser and an approval junkie -- is that okay?

25. I'd love to be used of the Lord in Christian Comedy to bless others, and truly hope that ministry takes off and grows. To me, there's no better feeling than hearing laughter in response to my humor!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brutal Realizations by way of a Poodle Skirt

The truth hurts. May I begin by saying "OUCH"?

As I mentioned in my last post, the kids & I threw a big surprise "Fabulous 50's" party for Greg's birthday. Prior to the big shindig, I had been feverishly sewing poodle skirts every time Greg left the house. They turned out so stinkin' cute, friends! Except mine.

Mine just wasn't working out right and not cooperating ..... so I had the brilliant idea of simply taking one of my existing skirts and merely adding the decorations of a poodle & leash. EASY BREEZY! The finished product looked adorable, and I was oh-so pleased at my innovative-ness. I may have even bragged a time or two.

Then it was time ...... all the decorations were up, food table ready, and the guests were expected to start arriving any minute. And oh, sweet adrenaline! I hurried my hiney upstairs to drape myself from head to toe in festive party duds -- and promptly hit a snag. Or should I say "sag"?

That doggone skirt was SKIN tight and had apparently shrunk while hanging in my closet. That's the only explanation I can come up with! And while a "Girl Next Door" might be able to pull off the look of a skin tight skirt, this Lane Bryant poster girl will continue to wear long, flowy skirts as the Good Lord intended. And in compliance with the petition the neighbors circulated last spring when I washed my car in short shorts.

So I was faced with quite a dilemma. My head-to-toe 50's outfit was missing the piece de resistance ..... the cornerstone of the whole outfit. The FOUNDATION, folks! As I stood there, mind reeling, I heard the most horrifying statement: "Mom! The guests are here!"

All I could do at that point was throw on a pair of jeans, give them a roll or two at the hem, and call it good. I'm still grieving for the poodle skirt that would have been ...... and mad at myself for not planning better. I mean really, WHAT KIND OF DUMMY DOESN'T TRY ON THE SKIRT FIRST BEFORE SPENDING HOURS DECORATING IT?!

It was, however, a wake-up call. I can no longer deny that a few or more pounds have found their way to my lower extremity. They like it there and migrate to that destination with the fervor of old folks heading to Florida in the winter. In fact, I don't even think those pounds even need Mapquest nor a GPA system to find my hips. They're on auto-pilot, those buggers!

So, it seems God used a poodle skirt to open my eyes ...... and motivate me to make some changes. Apparently, Hurley's (from LOST) diet plan isn't working for me. And I guess you're supposed to be a "swimmer" to be able to consume 10,000 calories a day like Michael Phelps. Deep down, that feels a bit prejudiced, just because I don't know how to swim.

So I'm determined to try crazy, radical self-discipline, like limiting myself to only 3 candy bars a day. And maybe, just maybe, by Halloween that stinkin' skirt just might fit and I can dress up like a 50's girl. And if the pounds are still around, I'll just hunt for a hat with a gigantic bow on it, and dub myself "Aretha at the Inauguration"!

How about you? Did those holiday Butterballs and fudge catch up to you too? What have you been doing to battle the bulge?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Elvis in the house!

Yesterday was a milestone day in our home. My hubby turned ..... well, I don't know if he'd actually want me to give you a number ...... Let's just say it coordinated well with a "Fabulous 50's party"!! And as you can see from the picture, even Elvis wouldn't miss it!

Courtesy of Martin Luther King, my kids were out of school and could help get the party ready. Check out the cake Alli made to resemble a record album. Not bad for a 12-year-old, huh?

Our guests were great sports and dressed up in their best 50's garb!

Getting ready to blow out the candles & make a wish.

We even made serving bowls out of actual record albums! Isn't that fun?

Our menu was burgers, coneys, chips & popcorn, with root beer floats in the punch bowl.

It was a blast! Happy Birthday, GREG!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So Touching

I saw the picture below on my friend Alicia's blog, Experiencing Each Moment, and just had to share it with you.

Alicia was able to capture this moment shared between her son, bidding farewell to his daddy as he leaves on a Navy deployment. Could it be any more priceless?!

Thank you so much to Dan and all our country's servicemen -- who make sacrifices to protect all that we love and hold dear. And if you feel led, hop on over to Alicia's blog and lift her up with encouraging words while her hubby's away.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Youngest is also a Bully

Yes, it's your lucky day. Back-to-back postings about my kitty cat. And half the bloggosphere just clicked "end".

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? Well, not really a fly -- that would be gross. I mean to observe without being noticed. Spy, if you will. I had that opportunity last week and it wasn't pretty. I saw a whole different & unlovely side of our youngest, Peanut.

From the vantage point of our 2nd story window, I noticed Peanut perched on the top of our backyard privacy fence. She was concentrating very intently on something I couldn't see. Then I saw it ...... the poofy tail of our neighbor's little powder puff dog. They own a darling Pomeranian (interesting fact: "Pomeranian" in German means wimpy, girly dog).

We're fairly certain our Peanut is pregnant again, and just like me, her pregnancy hormones have transformed her into an altogether different creature. She's downright aggressive and moody; just a shadow of her usual lovable, cuddly self.

Well, that surge of Peanut hormones didn't bode well for old "powder puff" next door. The little dog was oblivious as I watched Peanut begin to creep towards it, as if a cougar hunting a wildebeast. I felt like I was watching "Animal Planet: When Wild Animals Attack". Peanut would take a few delicate steps then freeze. Then a few steps. Freeze.

When powder puff turned and noticed her, he froze too. It was a stare down. "WHAT is that crazy cat gonna do?" Then Peanut poofed her fur up as big as she could in an attempt to intimidate. She then began hopping on all fours sideways, advancing towards the poor dog. It was quite a sight! I stared in equal parts horror and fascination.

Powder puff yipped and ran away as Peanut strutted around their patio in victory, sifting her paw through the dog's food dish to rub it in.

Oh yes, she's a bully. I witnessed the whole ugly incident and have grounded her for the weekend. NO Tom & Jerry for you, young lady! And powder puff, we're so sorry. Peanut does, after all, come from the tiger family. Question: Do they make Zoloft for expectant kitties?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Youngest

We keep having problems with our youngest during the night. She's up at all hours bugging us ...... all -- night -- long. And seeing as I've long since passed the newborn days of being accustomed to arising every 2-3 hours, I'm not a very good sport when being awakened repeatedly. Especially when it's for NO good reason.

So therefore, we have banned our youngest to the garage at bed time. I know that sounds harsh, but none of us gets any rest if we don't. Sometimes I worry about her, as the temperature does tend to get chilly overnight. But then I remind myself that she has a warm coat & cozy blanket and should be just fine.

In the morning, she's always eager to come inside when I open the door. Until last week.

I opened the garage door and there was no sign of her. I started calling her name but got no response. I hunted and started wondering, "where is she?!" And then ...... THEN, I caught sight of her -- She had crawled inside our Suburban and spent the night there. Hey, I don't blame her! I'd settle into the "Lazy Boy" car seat myself too if I were her! I quickly grabbed my camera to capture this "bloggable moment" to share with you:

I'll have another Peanut story for you soon!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An Anniversary of Sorts

It was the dreaded call you never want to receive. The one that instantly changes your life forever.

January 13, 1995. I'm not superstitious, but ironically, it was Friday the 13th.

The phone rang early that morning as Greg & I contemplated our fun plans for the day. My sister-in-law was crying on the other end of the line, struggling to deliver the bad news. "Sharon, your dad died last night." I dropped the phone and collapsed in sobs, with waves of grief I'd never experienced paralyzing me.

Our patriarch gone. Taken in his sleep by his first heart attack. He went to sleep and woke up in Heaven. What a way to go!

I miss him. I hate that my kids never got to meet him. BUT I know with all my heart that we'll have eternity together. I fully expect to have two fathers waiting for me in heaven -- my earthly father and my Heavenly father.

During our trip to Ohio, we made sure to stop by the cemetary to pay our respects. Here are the kids with Gram at Grandpa's grave.

Love the people in your life, as you're not promised tomorrow. Live with no regrets, because sometimes you don't get a second chance. I love you, dad.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tough Life Lessons

Do you remember the old intro for ABC's Wide World of Sports, where the ski jumper wipes out at the bottom of the ramp to fully demonstrate the announcer's words: "and the agony of defeat"? Agony, indeed! For years, I was unable to watch that clip without groaning out of empathy.

This week, I had similar reactions in my own life. Feel free to join me in groaning.

Our son was served up not one but two heapin' doses of "learning sportsmanship", while his daddy & I watched from the sideline, with worried looks and our nails bitten down to the quick.

The first lesson came on Friday when he was competing in the school spelling bee. Each class sent two representatives to go head-to-head with the rest of the cream-of-the-crop spellers in the school. It was nerve-wracking for Evan -- AND for us as we sat by helplessly, flashing him a shaky thumbs up whenever he looked our direction. It was a packed house, with the entire school body and camcorder-toting parents craning their necks for a glimpse of their favorite competitor.

The spellers went through a practice round intended to help calm their nerves. It would seem that strategy back-fired where Evan was concerned, as he got the spelling of his practice word wrong. I know that left him rattled. For the record, I don't know many 3rd grade boys who spell the word "canary" on a regular basis. Maybe Tweety Bird. And I personally feel that c-O-n-a-r-y is CLOSE ENOUGH! But then again, I'm a mercy girl.

The real competition then began and the tension in the room thickened. I was curled up under my metal folding chair, rocking in the fetal position when Evan stepped up to the mic. "Lord, help him to not be too scared. Lord, let a word like "cat" come forth out of the judge's mouth." I held my breath, and the word was NOT cat. "Evan, your word is: renovate". "Oh, does he know that word?" Perhaps he absorbed that word through osmosis when I was watching HGTV...... I won't keep you in suspense: He didn't. r-e-n-A-v-a-t-e. So close, but take a seat, kid.

My mommy heart welled up as I knew he was fighting tears as he exited the stage. Eliminated from the spelling bee on his first word. Ouch. It was a slight consolation that literally 3/4 of the spellers got knocked out on their very first word as well.

Evan had another bitter taste of defeat today at his very first "real" basketball game. He loves that game and is happy to spend hours shooting baskets. Today was the day he dreamt of dominating the court. Let's just say it didn't quite work out the way he had envisioned. There were these pesky guys called defenders who kept getting in the way!

And those guys in the stripes with the whistles were brutal! Frankly, I don't think they possess the gift of mercy when calling our team for travelling and double dribbling. Just because they travelled and double dribbled! It's 3rd grade basketball -- not the NBA!

Today's match-up resembled a Harlem globetrotters exhibition game. And we weren't on Meadowlark Lemon's team. But good news: I can spell the term correctly: m-a-s-s-a-c-r-e.

It's tough to learn these life lessons .... and just as tough to watch your kids go through it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

P.G. (Pre-Greg)

All I ever really wanted to be was a wife & mommy. Growing up, my ideal plan for my life looked like this: Marry in my early 20's and start a family by the age of 25. God swiftly vetoed MY plan and made me wait. And I mean really W--A--I--T........

Suffice it to say that before I finally met my husband in my late 20's, I survived a turbulent dating life. And that is the perfect word, turbulent, as defined by Webster: causing unrest, characterized by agitation. Tossed to and fro, unexpected and jarring jolts that left me rattled. Webster invented that word JUST FOR ME, friends, to accurately describe my young love life. They should post a picture of me with my big 80's hair in my best date outfit next to the definition!

I'm so glad that difficult chapter of my life is over. My experiences left me with waning self-esteem, wondering what was wrong with me? I found myself trying to conform and somehow will a square peg to fit nicely into a round hole. Wondering if it was supposed to be that hard. Thinking, is this as good as anyone can expect in a relationship? Are my expectations unrealistic? Am I going to need the assistance of a walker by the time I make it down the aisle?

There was a short season where I was engaged to the wrong guy for me. My desire to be a wife clouded my judgment and I'm sincerely grateful that God spared me that wrong path. He alone gave me the strength to face hard facts and give back the engagement ring. Months later, that former fiance' embraced an alternate lifestyle.

I believe God was preparing my heart all along to fully appreciate and recognize the right one when He allowed our paths to finally cross. When we did meet, the chemistry was instant and there was no looking back. HE was the one God saved just for me. And I'm beyond blessed.

Our friend Sarah took these shots for us -- she rocks! And as a side note, I admit that my "come hither" look in the first frame clearly needs work. In my mind's eye, I was channeling the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. I may have missed the mark. With that expression, I couldn't entice a tiger to take a big juicy steak out of my hand!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Program

Here are our 3 youngest, ready to hit the stage for their Christmas program at church. Look for them next on Broadway!
They're doing a good job putting on a happy face, as they were ALL bummed out about their wardrobe and couldn't WAIT to get home and put on their typical, favored duds!
I love the brotherly protective arm around his little sister.

Monday, January 5, 2009

We're definitely in the minority here

During our recent trip to Ohio, Greg & I wanted to show the kids the "horseshoe" -- the enormous stadium which hosts the home football games for THE Ohio State Buckeyes.

We were pleasantly surprised and rather amazed that the stadium gates were wide open, which we took as an invitation to come on in! I only wished I had planned ahead enough to be wearing my shoulder pads.

Here are the kids spelling out "O-h-i-o" at mid-field. Allison was bummed to have to be the boring old "I", but not everyone can have the glamour and prestige as the letter "O". Am I right?!
If you could actually see their faces, their expressions seem to be openly conveying, "mom, this is lame". But that didn't stop me from capturing this special moment in time, did it? I'd have no fun at all if I heeded such looks from my children!

It's apparent that Buckeye fans are very much in the minority in this neck of the woods (Kansas). I miss being in Columbus on big game days, when you could feel the electric tension in the air.

Our favorite team will be facing those Longhorn guys later tonight in a bowl of some sort...... Yes, I'm a die hard football fan. Mostly for the hot wings and snacks associated with such.

Which reminds me -- I'm going to make a batch of Buckeye candy to share and subsequently taunt our neighbors with, as they have equally dogmatic loyalties to the Texas Longhorns. It's a bit of a friendly, passive-aggressive cul-de-sac smackdown. AND I'm going to really push the envelope and hang our Ohio State football flag on their porch while they're at work.

Because that's what productive, responsible housewives do while you're all at the office. I'm a rebel. I just hope no one calls the cops on me. But if I do land in jail, I'll be wearing my OSU shirt over my convict stripes & hoping the jail has tv coverage of the game! And will attempt to charm the judge with Buckeye candy.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mandatory Overtime

You know when employees are required to work overtime, without being given the option? That's about how I feel right now as a mommy. Without the time and a half.

Please don't misunderstand me. It's been a really great holiday break ....... TRULY ....... all 8 weeks of it (or so it seems). In a nutshell: It's been swell, but enough already! I say "over"; you say "kill". It's beginning to feel like a scene from Groundhog Day around here! Hence the twitching.
This picture accurately captures the energy of my youngest. Just imagine the noise level that accompanies that, um, enthusiasm. I can relate to the Grinch more than I care to admit, thinking to myself, "all the noise, NOISE, NOISE!" I'll take this opportunity to quote my little sis when speaking of Natalie: "She packs a lot of volume for such a little thing!" Yeah. I noticed.

I can vaguely remember the Christmas festivities in the kids' classrooms, which seems like ages ago at this point. It's all a haze now, and I find myself daydreaming, longing for the marvelous, blessed sight of the school bus reappearing. And in the bus driver's right hand she held a sword ..... oh wait, I'm getting confused with the book of Revelation. I won't lie -- I struggle against worshipping the school bus and idolizing all it stands for. I'm an education nut that way.

Oh, I kid. Kinda. Now where are my ear plugs?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

We travelled home from Ohio yesterday and had a truly wonderful time. It was great to revisit our roots in Columbus, and equally great to be back home in Kansas. During our trip, we covered the gammet, doing everything from frolicking on the official Ohio State football field to visiting my dad's grave.

My mom & I got to shop at all my old favorite haunts, and we ate our way across the town at all our favorite restaurants that we don't have in Kansas. Which is a lot, by the way! Can I get a shout out for Bob Evans and Donato's Pizza? I'll miss you! Until next time.....

I'll post pictures soon. But for now, I'm up to my new pearl earrings with dirty laundry -- so I'll write more later after I finish my chores. Like in April.

In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!