Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Boy Moves to a New Town With Optimistic Outlook"

(by FM Static) Boy





I'm sure all 5 of you were sorely disappointed to not have my regular Saturday post yesterday! ;) I had a super busy week & was more exhausted than I have been in a long time ~ and that's saying a lot, considering the amount of times I've used the word "exhausted" in the past year! OK, fine, so I looked it up & I've apparently only typed "exhausted" six times in the past year [not counting today] & "tired" five. But I promise I've said it A LOT!! On top of the exhaustion, there have been a lot of tears shed over the past week ~ by everybody who has stayed in this house (except for my dad, as far as I know!) I'll spare you all the details, but I'll recap a little of it for ya...

As previously mentioned, my kids started school on Monday! This has been the roughest start, but I suppose it could be worse! Cody doesn't think his switch teacher likes him, but I have a feeling he just hasn't allowed her to get to know him yet! He also thinks the bus is too loud, but he admitted tonight that it was better on Friday. You probably already read about Elly's rough evening, but that was the only problem. She is really enjoying middle school!

On Tuesday, I took my dad to the doctor for his staples to be removed. He was released to drive, so I took him home to his house! I'm so glad for him to be well enough to be on his own, but I have to admit that I got teary-eyed as I drove away. I seriously wouldn't have a problem if he just stayed here forever!

Not that this is exciting or anything, but I had what I'll call a 35-year-old woman's rite of passage on Wednesday. Yes, I'm really going to go there, 'cuz I feel it's important. I had my baseline mammogram! Considering my age, what my step-sister is going through, & the fact that I hate cancer, I thought it was best to go ahead & get it done. It honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I'm glad it's done for now!

On Thursday, my mister attended his grandfather's funeral. The last time we saw him, I took this picture of all four "Dean Men" {they all share the same middle name, so that's what I call them}:


Friday, I helped my friend Cassie clean up her apartment. She & Tucker are moving to California, and I'm not one bit happy about it! :( But I know they're following where the Lord is leading them, so I can't go against that! I will miss them! I also went to a crop & stayed out way too late! I always tell myself that I'll go home as soon as I feel tired, but I enjoy visiting with the other ladies! ü

I tried out a new hairdresser on Saturday, and I'm quite happy with her! As much as I loved the lady I have used for the past 5 years or so, the new one is 1/2 the price & 1/2 the time. No, I didn't do anything bold like change my hairstyle, but maybe I will some day...


This afternoon, my mister & I attended a dinner for the MOPS Steering Team. Our church is starting a MOPS group, and I don't even think I've mentioned that I'm going to be a Mentor Mom! I attended MOPS when Cody was a baby & even served on the Steering Team. I really believe in the impact that MOPS can make in the life of a mother of a preschooler, and I look forward to encouraging the women who will be sitting at my table.

I listened to today's song the most because I played it for Lauren, my teen-aged house guest! Yes, I realize she's not a boy ~ but the circumstances of the song fit, & she loves it! Though her outlook isn't quite optimistic, I'm praying that it will be!!

Well, that's it for now! I look forward to a much calmer week ahead!

Amy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"That's Mathematics"

(by Tom Lehrer) That's



I'd like to add another verse to today's song:

Middle school homework
Drives me berserk
Staying up too late
Dividing 165 by 78
Exhausted now today
Trying to keep the ZZZZ's away
That's Mathematics!


OK, I know that's completely random, but seriously!! Baby girl's homework was absolute craziness yesterday! One side of the paper was multiplication, where she had to multiply 2 two-digit numbers with another one- or two-digit number. She has never had to multiply numbers that are quite that high & have several steps. She has also never been taught how to divide a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number, which was on the other side of the worksheet. There were about 40 math problems, which she started working on at about 5:00. She took a break for dinner at maybe 7:00, then Lauren sat down & helped her a little bit. I took over at 8 or 8:30, so Lauren could finish her homework. I finally sent her to bed at 11:00 (two hours past her normal school-night bedtime), because she was beyond exhausted & in tears! She didn't complete the last four math problems on her homework, but she felt like trying again this morning & was able to finish them in less than 10 minutes {& the last one didn't have the correct answer as a choice. This actually happens on a regular basis, but that's a whole other subject!}

I'm seriously not one of "those parents" who complains about homework! I have only contacted a teacher about it one time, and that was over a couple of random problems on her math homework. That time, I asked if I could meet with the teacher for her to show me how she taught long division, because Elly didn't know how to do it. I just figured she had somehow forgotten what the teacher taught, but it turned out that it was on the schedule to be taught the following week! Her teacher apologized for not having looked over the worksheet before sending it home. This time, I don't know what to do about it. Is she too old for me to write a note to the teacher? If I do, is she going to think I'm one of "those parents" & hate me/my child right from the start?

Welcome to middle school! {that was written in sarcastic font, just in case you couldn't tell!}

[Update: As it turns out, baby girl is in Pre-AP Math. Her class was assigned the entire worksheet while other classes only had to do half of it. Her teacher hadn't realized just how much of the subject matter hadn't been covered & said that homework shouldn't typically take that long. Yay!]

Amy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Summer Skin"

(by Death Cab for Cutie) Summer



As much as I hate melanoma, there's just something about a hint of that summer glow. I hate that I like it, but I just DO! I definitely don't want too much sun exposure. I mean, I'm not getting any younger, & I have the laugh lines to prove it! {don't "laugh lines" sound much better than "wrinkles"?!?!} Of course, there's also the whole cancer thing. But just a little bit of sun makes me feel like I look a little more alive! My mister seems to like it, too. Every summer, he makes at least one comment about how my summer skin reminds him of when we were dating ü

Now that school has started, I'll be saying goodbye to what little bit of tan I acquired this year. I guess it's all for the best...

So, what about you? Do you like the sun-kissed look? or do you live by the motto, "Pale is the new tan"?

Amy

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Back to School"

(by Cheap Time) Back



My baby girl started middle school today. Middle school. I seriously can't believe she's in 6th grade already! Just yesterday, I was dropping her off at Kindergarten ~ and somehow today, it's 6 years later!


& here's my little guy on his 1st day of Kindergarten & now in 4th grade:


They are really growing up fast! {Too fast!!}


Amy

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Rock and Roll Music"

(by The Beach Boys) Rock





Summer is coming to an end, & I have mixed feelings about it. It seems like it went by SO fast! I love sleeping in, hanging out with my kids & going to the pool. But I enjoy the routine that tends to come with the school schedule. The first part of the school year is usually quite hectic, and I feel like this one will be a little more so than usual. We'll have a few house guests for the first week, so I think I'll be spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen! My dad has been here since Wednesday and will stay at least until his follow-up visit on Tuesday. {He's doing well, by the way! He gets his staples out at said doctor visit, & we'll see then if he feels up to going home & being on his own.} Also, Wally & Teresa's girls are coming to stay with us tomorrow. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but they're moving to my neighborhood! They close on Friday, but they currently live about an hour away. I think that's an incredibly far distance to drive each morning for school, so the girls are staying with me for the week. One of them will go to Cody's school, and I'll pass by the other's school on the way to Elly's ~ so it works out perfect!

Well, my family is watching The Sandlot, & I don't want to be accused of not paying attention! As for today's song: summer + The Beach Boys = Need I say more?

Amy

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Somewhere Else"

(by Travis) Somewhere



I hope I'm not sending out mixed signals with with contradictory song titles from yesterday & today! It sorta reminds me of Wilson Phillips' first two singles, "Hold On" & "Release Me" ~ it's like, Hold up! What do you really want?!

Anyways, I'm somewhere else today...

You can find me guest blogging about frugal gift ideas for my friend Laura @ Three Cups of Coffee Later!

Updated in July 2011: In case that post were to disappear some day, I decided to paste what I posted that day...


Hi there, Laura’s friends! I have been blogging for two years, but this is the first time I get to be a guest blogger! How fun!! I’m honored to fill in for Laura on a Frugal Friday. I like to think of myself as a frugalista ~ though as a stay-at-home mom whose husband has been either in the ministry or self-employed for a good portion of our marriage, my frugality has been out of necessity!

One area of our budget where we never seem to have enough money is gifts! Between birthday parties, Christmas & other special occasions, there are many gift-giving opportunities throughout the year. I love giving gifts, but my budget has never allowed me to give as I would like. So, I have had to be creative!

Several years ago for Christmas, I bought picture frames from IKEA for about $3 a piece for each of my husband’s cousins. I decorated each one differently, according to each recipient’s style. Some were painted & others were left their natural wood color. I hot-glued little accents to each frame ~ everything from crayons & bottle caps to rick rack & iron-on transfers. Some of the items were found objects, while I paid a little bit of money for others ~ but never more than about $1.

One thing I do quite a bit is shop the clearance section. I know that this is a no-brainer, but I had to post a picture of something that is too cute not to share! Recently, my daughter was invited to a birthday party for an 11-year-old girl. We found a little create-your-own fabric patch kit on clearance for about $2.50…

…and a messenger bag on clearance for about $3.50!

We added 5 or 6 Silly Bandz (from my daugther’s stash)…

..and we had a complete gift for about $6 ~ but worth quite a bit more!

I’m always analyzing items in the store or online to see if there’s an easy way to make them at home. There are a lot of things you can do with candles ~ & what woman {without fragrance allergies} doesn’t LOVE them?! They can be fairly inexpensive, & paired with a really cute stand, tray or plate (that you possibly found on clearance), they can be a great gift for a housewarming, birthday, Christmas or any occasion. One thing I saw recently that added a cute extra touch was a ribbon & bead wrapped around the candle. You could pay a little extra for this, but it would be less expensive to raid your stash & find something that will make it look like you paid a little extra!


These are just a few of my gift ideas, and there are numerous resources online that can really help someone on a budget! I hope this helped to spur your creativity a little bit!


Amy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Still Here"

(by the Williams Brothers) Still



It's my 2nd Blogiversary!! Back when I started this little blog, I wasn't sure how long it would last ~ but I'm still here! If I were more talented, I'd write a poem like my friend Natalie. But you'll just have to settle for a little rambling by me & a random song by some people I've never heard of instead!

I'm not really sure what I'm doing with this here blog. I don't think I really have a "niche" or anything, but it's fun at times! Other times, I feel like I don't really have anything to say ~ so I don't say anything. My mister tells me that in order to have a successful blog, you have to be consistent. & I'm nowhere near consistent! But honestly, I don't know that I'm trying/wanting to be "successful" at this! What does that actually mean? That I have a bunch of readers? I don't know, sometimes I wish I had more. Then the thought of that makes me feel all prideful, and I don't want that!

If having more readers meant that more people were pointed toward Jesus, that would be awesome ~ but I don't know that I say enough about Him to do that. Or if having more readers could somehow raise funds for Ocular Melanoma research {and a cure!}, that would be awesome, too! Other than that, I think a bunch of readers would probably just make me think more of myself ~ and I sure don't need that! Please don't read this & think that I'm sitting here judging people with a lot of followers! That is SO not my point. There are a lot of bloggers out there that are totally reaching a lot of people with the love of Christ, a message of hope, awesome tutorials, answers to questions, inspiration, crafty goodness, etc. I think that's super! I know others are providing a "gathering place" of sorts, and I think that's super, too! I love blogs. I love reading them. I love "meeting" people through them. I feel like I've made some friends through this. I'm just saying that maybe mine isn't intended to be "successful", and I'm OK with that!

Alright, so there are my random ponderings about this little blog of mine! I hope you have a super day!!


Amy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"All Around the World"

(by Lisa Stansfield) All



Been around the world and I, I, I, I can't find my table...

I'm looking for an accent table/cabinet for my mister's bathroom upstairs. I really didn't know it could be so difficult! The problem is that it needs to be a certain size, hold a certain amount of items and be a certain price. Hmph. Easier said than done, I'm realizing! I've been on the hunt since my birthday. I was hoping to have a bathroom re-do post by now, but unfortunately it isn't happening. And I don't know when it will! Dad is coming this afternoon, and I don't plan on doing a bunch of running around while he is here recovering from surgery. {Hence, the reason he will be at my house ~ so I can take care of him!} So, yesterday, I went all over the place looking for a table...

I don't know if you remember the post when Pepper got kicked out of the groomer. {Bear with me, there's a reason for this!} Well, after that experience, I figured it was best to continue taking her to the old place. Since it's like 30 minutes from my house, I've been trying plan it when I could make a whole day out of it. Ya know, take her there when I plan to be & stay in the area, so I don't have to make the drive twice. I know, it's just 30 minutes, but I just hate driving it twice in one day!

Anyways, today I had an appointment on that side of town, so I took my baby puppy to be groomed. After my appointment, I still had about four hours to kill, so I literally went into every store over there that could possibly have the type of table/cabinet that I'm looking for. I finally found one that I liked ~ I just needed to stain the top a little to make it match the mirror better. Once I got it home, it was too deep for the space.

Stink!

I may have to bite the bullet & just shell out some more cash for the silly thing! I don't know, but I reached a point that I'm not sure I had ever reached until today: I got sick of shopping!

Amy

Monday, August 16, 2010

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"

(by BTO) You



My mister had appointments with both his ocular oncologist & the retina specialist the other day. We got some good news & some bad news... The GOOD NEWS is that the tumor has shrunk some more. Dr B seems pleased with the progress, so that's great. As I'm sure I've said somewhere along the way, it will never completely go away. But slow shrinking is good! He double-checked that we're still following up with a medical oncologist & getting regular PET scans & such. He stressed the importance of the scans & said he wants to see Chris is December. I think that may be the longest stretch we've had between visits to see him.

The BAD NEWS is that it looks as if the vision in my mister's affected eye will never get better. This is the first time we've heard a doctor say this. His acuity is now to the point where he's not even fully counting fingers from a few feet away. (As in, off the charts. As in, guessing at fingers. As in, worse than 20/400. As in, he can't even see the chart, even with the pinhole occluder). So, that's a bummer, but I guess there are worse things in life than being half blind. For now, we are doing what we can to save what little peripheral vision he has left. Dr C showed us pictures & explained a bunch of stuff that is now only barely making sense to me after a hundred doctor visits. Basically, his eye pressure is high; and if we can't lower it, there's the danger of bursting what healthy capillaries he has left (those that weren't as severely damaged by radiation) & causing damage to the optic nerve. So, he has a new type of eye drop that will hopefully lower the blood pressure in his eye. (Did you know that they can measure that? I really never knew what they meant about the pressure until this visit). I think the most frustrating part of this particular news is the fact that we have spent so much money trying to save his vision over the past couple of years. About 1/4 of our remaining debt can be attributed to vision-saving expenses. Though that is frustrating, I have no regrets because vision is important for most people ~ especially for a web programmer! Fortunately, he has two monitors a piece (at work & at home), including a couple of huge ones ~ like a 24" iMac & 30" HP. So, those help reduce some of the strain on his good eye. Neither doctor expressed any concern about the cataract I mentioned in the last update, so I guess we don't have to go through another eye surgery quite yet!

Sorry to cut things short today, but I need to put on some makeup & head out to see my dad! He is still in the hospital & will be for at least another day or so. Before I left the house, he called to say it looks like he'll get to go home today!! His pain is under control, but he still wasn't eating well until this morning. He had to accomplish both pain management & the whole eating/digestion process before he could be discharged. His vitals are good, & his incision looks good, so by the time he gets out he should be well on the way to recovery! I appreciate your continued prayers, because he still has a long road ahead of him.

I hope y'all have a wonderful week!

Amy

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Hey There Delilah"

(by Plain White T's) Hey

Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's on Grooveshark



This week I...

...didn't get near enough sleep

...spent 24+ hours at hospitals & doctor offices

...put over 775 miles on my van

...went through 34 toll plazas

...had a reunion of sorts with two beautiful girls young ladies who I hadn't seen in years. In fact, the last time we had a dinner/movie date was over 5 years ago ~ when they graduated from middle school! (I completely forgot to get a picture ~ ugh!)

...saw Charlie St Cloud (with said girls)

...was asked if I had my Student ID

...had way too short of a visit from Terry (one of our friends from England)

...took this funny picture of my mister with [you decide] cat ears/horns/a pretty bow:

{Yes, he really did wear the eye shirt to the eye doctor ~ such a weirdo!}

...went to The Chocolate Bar with these beautiful people:

{they take lovely pictures ~ you should totally check them out at LOVE PIC LOVE}

...got this awesome piece of artwork from Studio JRU:

{"Let all that you do be done in love." ~ 1 Cor 16:14}

...apparently listened to "Hey There Delilah" more than any other song. Though I like it, I'm pretty sure it ended up at the top because my baby girl had control of my iPod quite a bit. On my solo trips to visit my dad, I listened to Dave Ramsey podcasts, which don't quite count as songs!

Amy

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Whip It"

(by Devo) Whip



My goals for this summer were for it to be fit, fun & frugal. One way of doing that was by searching the internet for entertainment venues in the area that offer specials on different days of the week. Last week, we enjoyed what I like to call "Dollar Day"! It started when we picked up Cody's friend Alex & stopped by Sonic Happy Hour on the way home. We got half-priced Limeades & stuff, plus a couple of items off the dollar menu. The kids had been to a local skating rink for a club party at the end of the school year, and this particular skating rink has $1 Skate Night each Wednesday throughout the summer. So, we took the kids for several hours of fun for a total of $6, including the locker that we had to wait 30 minutes for it to become available {but I have an awesome mister who was willing to pull "purse duty" so I could skate a little!}



Elly didn't venture too far from the wall, but she had FUN!


Alex had never been roller skating before, but he did excellent!


Cody totally knows how to skate, but he preferred holding his mama's hand ü


My mister took this picture of his girls...


I think these are the same beautimous skates we wore back in the 80's!




This post was a part of:

Head over there for more thrifty ideas!

Amy

Monday, August 9, 2010

"In the Garden"

(by Brad Paisley) In



Today would have been my Mema A's 100th birthday! {How cool to have a birthday like 8/9/10!!} Sadly, she passed away about 28 years ago, so I guess she is celebrating in heaven! But I will always love her & think of her fondly. For most of the time that I knew her, Mema A lived in New Mexico ~ 12 hours from my hometown of Houston. We saw her once or twice a year; but even though I was young, I have very clear memories of her dog Spot & eating sugar cubes at her house! When my mom moved out, Mema A came & stayed with us for awhile. It was so great to have her living in our home & being there for us after school! She was the smartest woman I've ever known, & I'm not just saying that because she's gone! She really was a genius! My little six-year-old self didn't believe it though, & I would give her spelling tests! I was amazed that she would always get a 100, & I would write "A++" at the top of her tests!!

While she was staying with us, Mema A had a heart attack and ended up passing away. I will never forget the day that Kerry & I got called to the office at school. A nice couple from church was there to take us home, where our parents told us the news that she had died. I took it so hard. I was so upset that I threw up the day of her funeral. I had several dreams that we were mistaken, & she was actually still alive. Oddly, her dog Spot died about three days after she did. I guess he sensed that she didn't need him anymore.

Last year, when we moved into our new house, I was reminded of a little girl who was missing her grandma. The mover was carrying in some pieces of the bedroom set that I inherited from her, & he said that there was some writing on the bed frame. Sure enough, it was the scribbling of a grieving little girl who wrote, "I miss Mema A. ♥ her forever."

I'm sorry to seem so sad today. I don't know if this is all about grieving my grandma, or if some of this stems from the fact that her son [my dad] is having surgery this morning to remove a cancerous kidney. And I'm a little worried. And I'm angry at the fact that stupid cancer is rearing it's ugly head in the life of another man that I love. And I'm mad at the devil who has come to steal, kill & destroy...

Anyways, today's song was Mema A's favorite hymn. {Well, not this version by Brad Paisley, but my dad likes this one!}

"And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known"

Amy

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Feelin' Alive"

(by the Jonas Brothers) Feelin'





Yes, I've done it again. I've posted another JB song! I'm probably coming across as just about he most immature 30-something out there, aren't I? I've made no secret of the fact that I like pop music. Add to that the fact that my kids have the Disney Channel on quite a bit, so this is the type of music I hear. You know how it goes...you start to like the stuff you hear all the time, because you know the words! Anyways, Elly got the Jonas L.A. soundtrack this week, so we've been listening to it in the van. This happens to be the first song, so we've managed to listen to it the most! There you go...

This week hasn't been too incredibly eventful. Cody's friend Alex spent one night, and we went roller skating (more on that later, if there are enough decent pics!) The following night, Cody spent the night with Alex. Elly & I took advantage of that by having a little Girls' Night Out! We're so wild & crazy: we went to her middle school orientation & did some back to school shopping! We also happened upon 60¢ boneless wing night at Buffalo Wild Wings!

We're about to head over to my brother's house again! My uncle from Kentucky just so happened to have his annual summer visit occur during the time when my dad's surgery is scheduled, and my aunt drove in from New Mexico to be here for it. So, we're going to let the kids swim while we visit with each other. I'm sure there'll be time for visiting at the hospital on Monday, but my dad would be excluded (due to the surgery & all!), and so would my mister & my sister-in-law. Christopher will be at work, and Wendy offered to take care of all of the kids while Kerry & I are at the hospital. We would really appreciate your prayers for my dad. His surgery is scheduled for 7:30 in the morning.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Amy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"All You Need Is Love"

(by Dana Fuchs & Jim Sturgess) All



And now for pics from our anniversary & my birthday!! Before our anniversary date, we tried to get our baby girl to take a few good pictures. Unfortunately, they didn't turn out too great! Here's a somewhat awkward one, but it's the best of the bunch!


We were able to go to Benihana for pretty cheap, because we used a birthday coupon! {Of course, I couldn't pass up free birthday dessert!}


I'd say chocolate is totally worth wearing a silly hat!


On Friday night, "my birthday girls" took me to dinner! Unfortunately, sweet Kelli wasn't feeling well, so she was unable to make it :( But here I am with Amy & Kyla:


After dinner, we went back to Amy's & ate a yummy cake that she made!

No, I'm not kissing the candles ~ but you totally have to read what my neighbor said on facebook. It's a little lengthy, but quite funny:

Did you blow the candles out or did you kiss them out? cause, by the picture, you just can't tell...which leads to a whole 'nother question, did it burn? and why did Butch let you do that? I mean seriously, he knows that's not good for you, him or the kids. Who wants a mother with flaming lips...ha...actually on second thought, who doesn't...

On Saturday (my actual birthday), I did a little shopping in the morning. When I got home, my family was waiting with a plate of chocolatey goodness! The kids also sent me sweet birthday emails!

{I ate about half of it for lunch! Then, I figured I should eat something slightly more substantial, so my baby girl made me a grilled cheese!}

In case you don't remember this fact from last year, my nephew shares a birthday with me! On our way up to his party, we stopped by my mom's and had a good visit with her & my step-dad. The kids had a great time at Chase's pool party. Toward the end, my niece gave me a present that she had wrapped with some remnants of Chase's gift wrap! It was so sweet! She had made me a button that said, "Happy Birthday" on it!


I asked Chase if he would mind taking a picture with his favorite birthday aunt, & he replied quite matter-of-factly, "Your my only birthday aunt." True that, Chase. {Such a smart boy!}

{He really does smile. He's just not a fan of cameras!}

Then, as if sharing a birthday with Chase wasn't enough, Sunday morning I discovered that these two beauties in the youth group also share a birthday with me!

How cool is that?! Then on Monday I found out that I also share a birthday with a man at work. I didn't force him to take a picture with me, though! What's crazy is that I had to wait until Chase was born on my 28th birthday to actually know somebody who was born on the same day, and over the course of about a day I found 3 more. Weird!

Well, that's it for our celebrations! At the risk of sounding extremely self-centered, this really is my favorite time of the year! I just love feeling loved! & that's what happens when my sweet friends & family go out of their way to make me feel special ~ even if only for a day or so!

Amy