Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Training for the Bridal Show

The girls & I were hanging out recently, watching a program which we enjoy:

I love that show! When I was younger, I dreamed of opening a bridal shop & calling it The Blushing Bride. To me, there was no greater honor or more fulfilling way to make a living than to help brides bring their romantic notions to life on their very special day.
But then I learned about the term "Bridezilla", and also realized that my bridal shop dream would involve working evenings & weekends. Those dreams were accordingly swiftly scrapped.

While watching the brides choose their gowns on "Say Yes to the Dress", I shared a story with the kids about my wedding dress. My little sis (and best friend), Amy, had gotten engaged shortly before me, so we were both in wedding-planning-overdrive. We were up to our eyeballs in all the details, and envisioning our ideal wedding gown ....

During a visit to Amy's, I told her that I had found the gown I wanted. She responded, "me too"! In perfect sync, we both proceeded to flip through our prospective wedding magazines and simultaneously showed each other the very same page, featuring the very same gown!

Since we were getting married within 6 months of each other, we decided to purchase and share the gown. After drafting a joint custody agreement, it was all settled. Amy would wear the dress first (in Nashville), and I would get to keep the dress following my Columbus, Ohio nuptials.
As a side note, on even numbered years, our elegant gown spends the holiday season and President's Day with Amy.
My kids were amused at this story and asked me to go get the dress our of our storage area. What followed was an impromptu fashion show, which was captured on film:

It goes without saying that the man cub's bridal portrait below will be displayed at his wedding reception someday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Swimsuit shopping is on the agenda this morning. THANKFULLY, it's for my 10-year-old & not me. Otherwise, I'd be breaking out in hives just at the mere thought!

Our big plans for the day include setting up our backyard pool this afternoon, then grill out for dinner ..... And don't count me out for a little round of badminton. Ahhh, I'm anticipating a nice, relaxing day. A little slice of Americana.

Of course, this picturesque scene in my mind will likely be shattered the moment my kids are actually out of bed.

As I contemplate our family's day off together, I'm forced to stop & realize WHY we have this day off and WHO we are celebrating.
This is a powerful photo of Alicia's son, bidding farewell to his daddy as he departs on a Navy tour of duty.

For ALL the families who sacrifice to protect our country, to preserve the values we hold dear, THANK YOU. Our soldiers, both past & present, AND their families, are our heroes. We honor YOU today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2 Hours of my Life I'll Never Get Back

Ding Dong. "He's here!"

Enter stage left one decidedly geeky vacuum salesman whose life is devoted to educating our family on its surprisingly filthy inhabitance.

He wasted no time in launching right into all of the cutting edge, space-age attributes of this remarkable vacuum system -- which incidentally was approximately the size of our Honda.

Friends, I've never in my life heard a human being speak SO quickly! He would make an auctioneer pale in comparison. It was all I could do to refrain from giggling and mimicking him .... all the while thinking "Are we being Punk'd? Ashton, come on out!"

He painstakingly demonstrated every wand, attachment and feature with the fervor and conviction of a presidential candidate. "YES, WE CAN!" From the caster wheels made of the same material as bowling balls to the steel drum which would collect our enormous amounts of dead skin .... known as dust to the layperson. Apparently, our existence with merely the aid of our God-forsaken Dust Devil has predestined us to a life in a cesspool of lung-clogging, allergy inducing, life-shortening dirty carpet.

At one point, he theatrically gazed with absolute horror & disgust at a small pile of dust that his sweeper had sucked up from our rug. It was truly comical to see his face. In fact, I jokingly told him, "If you're gonna puke, the restroom is that way"!
Although we were promised that this demonstration would last no longer than 30 minutes, he was still charming our socks off almost 2 hours later. What a treat.
Finally, he lowered the boom and presented the cost. A mere $3,000. Roughly the same price as a Disney vacation. But good news, there were several different payment options: one labeled something like the All-American; one dubbed the Blue Collar; and my personal favorite: the White Trash plan.

We decided to pass. Between you & me, we were only in it for the free $500 gift certificate! But of course, it ended up being practically worthless. When I visited the correlating website to redeem our certificate and peruse our options, I discovered that they charge you a ridiculous amount of money for "shipping and handling". For example, to use the certificate on a necklace, you are charged $80 out of pocket for shipping & handling. Can you say lud-i-crous?

Moral of the story? There's no such thing as a free lunch OR a free $500 gift certificate. Paging PigPen: Wanna move in? Word has it you'd be right at home!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Snickering in Seattle

Funny thing....

My neighbors have been commenting lots lately about my "comedy-career-on-the-side". Apparently, my kids have been keeping them all posted on my goings-on. Sort of like live-in papparazzi.

In casual conversation one neighbor said to me, "Wow! Your kids say you're hitting the road in a few weeks for a comedy gig!" Sheepishly, I responded, "Yeah, I'm looking really forward to it!" Because, after all, I'm nothing if not humble!

Later in that conversation, the neighbor asked, "So when do you fly out?" Confused, I responded, "Oh, we'll drive there. It's not too far". Come to find out, my kids told all the neighbors that I was headed to Seattle. Um, I think the town they meant to say was Salina, as in 90 miles up the road, you know -- in Kansas!

Oh well, today Salina -- tomorrow Seattle!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Star in the Making

Gwen Stefani, eat your heart out. Our little Natalie is rockin' her garage sale sunglasses which we nabbed for 10 cents!
I hope she doesn't want to dye her hair platinum blonde next!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shout Out to All the Moms in da House

WHO KNEW ..... SO much was involved in being a mom, let alone aspiring to be a good mom. Folks, I had NO idea. I often joke that I'm "striving to be a mediocre mom", but my heart's desire is that one day my kids will rise up and call me blessed. They have a good start, as they often say "Bless you!" when I sneeze!

Growing up, my mom was simply always there. The quiet one in the background, letting her kids take center stage. She would take me on special little outings to the mall, where we might even steal away to grab a hot fudge sundae! Every summer, she would painstakingly map out plans for a family vacation -- trips that are among my most vivid childhood memories. Her greatest attribute might very well be her amazing generosity.

A childhood growing up in a Christian home ..... is there any better gift for a child?

I received this e-mail today from a good friend, and wanted to pass it along to all the moms out there:

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooed on.
Chewed on.
Wet on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life SOOOOO much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom ...

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life, and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!