Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bubby's birthday

Today is Bubby's 2nd birthday. Here's a picture of him celebrating with Aunt Chip, whose birthday is also in October (can you guess how old she is?)


And here's my 2-year-old, enjoying his gift from Uncle John this morning. Uncle John always gives the best gifts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's that time again...

Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas this year.



That's right: applesauce for everyone! It's really yummy this year :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sisters

My sister in law made me laugh yesterday. She has discovered self-folding laundry. You see, if she just leaves the basket of clean, un-folded clothes in her bedroom, over time, the clothes magically disappear. She's certain they're folding themselves and putting themselves away. My laundry does this sometimes, too. I only wish it were just a little bit faster, but let's face it, folks, for inanimate objects, this is pretty good.

In an unrelated incident, my sister in law also made me cry yesterday. She made me cry in a good way--in a hug-from-God kind of way. I think part of the reason Chip and I are so close is because neither of us has a natural sister. What a blessing that God has given me two new sisters, my husband's sister, and my brother's wife, to laugh and cry with, to support and be supported by, to listen and grow and learn together. Chip and Buckwheat, I love you. This mommy stuff is hard, and I am so glad to have you by my side.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thes. 5:11

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cigarette Fund

For as long as I can remember, I've thought that since I don't smoke, have never smoked, and don't plan on starting, I should take the money that I would have spent on cigarettes and put it in a cigarette fund to use for vacations, or whatever, really. I saw recently that the brand names are up to over $5 a pack--that's $1825 for one year at a pack a day. More recently, I've thought I should take the money that I don't spend on fancy coffee and put that in my cigarette fund, too. Let's call that $4 each, 4 times a week: $832.

Over the past couple of years, I've fallen out of the habit of packing Hubby's lunch each day. I try, but there are so many other things to do that are more pressing, and unfortunately, because Hubby is an adult, his lunch usually falls to the bottom of my to-do list. And to be fair, there have been times when I have made his lunch, only to be told that he doesn't need one that day. You can see how that experience might weaken my lunch-packing motivation. So, this morning, as I was about to scoop some easy chicken and biscuit casserole into a smaller container for Hubby's lunch, I said to him, "now would be the time to tell me you don't need a lunch, if you don't need one."

He paused, poor guy. How do you respond to that potential mine-field of a wifely question? He decided to answer, "well, I could use a lunch today, but if you don't make one I can just go out." Good answer, don't you think? I said, "oh no, don't do that, because that would cost at least $5," as I scooped. And so, now I will be adding $5 to my cigarette fund every time I make my husband's lunch--I think this will do wonders for my motivation. Let's say, on average, Hubby needs a lunch 4 days a week*. He works around 49 weeks a year, so that's, potentially, $980 per year.

Are you doing the math? That's $3637 each year. That will do nicely for an annual spring break vacation to someplace warm...

*I figure 4 days a week is a fair estimate, because when Hubby was interviewing for this job, they told him it would be 10-15% travel, and 1 day gone a week would be 20% travel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It is so disheartening, at the end of the day, to look around the house and realize all that I haven't gotten done*. Never mind all the things I did do (shower and dress, make my bed, wake the kids, make sure they bathe, find their snow gear, feed them, make sure they wear their snow gear, get them to the bus on time, with backpacks, get groceries, misc items and Bubby's fluoride prescription, attend story time, make lunch, change one set of sheets, play with Bubby, make 8 (count 'em: 8) casseroles to put in the freezer, plus one for dinner, sled with the boys, feed four people, supervise clean-up, help with homework while trying to keep the almost 2 year old from scribbling on papers or pushing older brothers out of their chairs, mediate not less than 10 arguments, read out loud a total of 45 minutes to three children, supervise bedtime routines, complete three loads of laundry, make cookies, wash dishes (by hand), empty dishwasher...oh, and I brushed my own teeth twice and Bubby's twice, too, and I flossed), as I headed into my bedroom last night to finally (finally) lay down my weary head, the computer's on-but-sleeping light peered at me accusingly. That's right. I didn't get to Quicken. *Sigh* I also didn't dust or vacuum or sweep or clean the windows, or the stove or the microwave. Double sigh.

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a waiting room, and not having to police Bubby, so I actually got to peruse a magazine. The cover of the October Woman's Day had a tagline that said something like, "clean your house in just 15 minutes a day." I can use all the advice I can get on streamlining the cleaning process, so right away I turned to the article. Online, the one article is broken up into two, but here's the link to the part I'm talking about.

All right, so basically, the idea here is (and it's shocking in its innovation): once your house is clean, keep it clean and then it won't take so long to clean the next time. I know. Who would have thought of that? So here's what we're supposed to be doing in those 15 minutes:

Step 1: Make the beds.
OK, if I make all the beds in the house, that's going to pretty much take up the whole 15 minutes right there. If I actually change the sheets, we're looking at more like half an hour, but OK, let's assume I'm just making my bed, because no one cares what the kids' beds look like (and they're supposed to be making their own beds, right?).


Step 2: Make sure dirty clothes are all in hampers. Do a quick room-by-room pickup, putting items back in place.
I don't know about you, but dirty clothes aren't really that much of an issue around here, however "putting items back in place" is another story. On a good day (as in, everyone's been gone all day, including me), I'd be able to fit that in. On days like yesterday, that's at least a 4 person, half-hour long process, with additional minutes put in by me after the little darlings are in bed and can no longer mess anything else up.

Step 3: Wipe dirty counters in the bathroom and kitchen.
Step 4: Put away all dishes.
Step 5: Sweep the kitchen floor.

In what universe is it possible to get all that done in just 15 minutes? I think that my mother in law would be able to do it (probably does), but not me (it occurs to me that with a magic "Step 6: everyone in the household cleans up their own messes," this could work).

So disappointing. I really thought that my life was going to be infinitely improved by reading this article. But, it doesn't stop there! There is also a weekly clean sweep: "either set aside a 2- to 3-hour chunk of time, or work in 15-minute increments throughout the week." So now we've almost tripled our 15 minutes a day to include our weekly clean sweep. And that is not all, oh no! Next we have 8 jobs to tackle monthly: "pick a Saturday to do all eight, or add two to each weekly session," followed by a year of "biggies," 12 annual chores, one for each month. Are you doing the math? This is WAY more than 15 minutes a day, in fact, it's shaping up to be almost a full-time job. And did you notice that nowhere in the article did they mention washing the dishes or doing the laundry?

So I'm a little disappointed in the article. It seems a bit like false advertising--it certainly gave me false hope. Nope. Nothing comes for free, and you cannot expect to be able to clean your house in just 15 minutes a day (unless you're Beaver-ly :-). The thing that I hate about housework is that it is literally never-ending, and oh-so-temporary. At no point in my life will I be able to say, "there, now that's done." Oh, I know that some day the children will be up and out, and then maybe I'll be able to do the 15 minute a day routine, too (and maybe the house will even stay clean for longer than 5 minutes), but I will never be finished. Until I'm dead. *Sigh*

P.S. Some of you may be thinking, well Scarlet, if you spent a little less time blogging, you would have more time for cleaning. And that's true, but then how would you all know what's going on around here? And blogging is a little less temporal than cleaning, especially around here.

*I feel a real kin-ship to Sawblock as I type this--I know he knows this feeling, well!

Monday, October 12, 2009

This is so wrong!











12

October 12, NOT 11. Oh, my brain!

Accumulation, Batman Returns, and Contagious

I am SO not ready for today to be the second accumulating snowfall of the winter. Oops. I guess it's still fall. Honestly, folks, it's October 11. There is about 2 inches of white stuff on the ground. My brain tells me that these two things oughta be mutually exclusive. The boys wore snowpants to school today, for goodness sake. Two weeks ago it was 80 degrees. And I love snow, I really do, but I'm just not ready!
. . . . . . . . . .
Batman showed up at our house again on Saturday! I'm telling you, he must reverse-migrate or something. He tried to fool me by wearing a TMNT costume, but I could tell it was him by the cape and the mask. I wish I had had the camera so I could snap a picture to prove it to y'all. He showed up later in the day, too, and it seemed as if he had shrunk. I think my brother mentioned this bat-phenomenon in his blog, but I didn't believe it until I saw it myself. It's true--Batman was less than 3 feet tall the second time I saw him (and so darn cute!). Maybe he diminishes in size when he uses his bat-powers and grows again when he gets some rest.
. . . . . . . .
So our church has a new "motivating vision." I'll just pause so you can digest that a minute.


Our motivating vision is: "Share the joy, live the faith, be the hope." Do you feel motivated now? I kinda do. Yesterday Ruth Ann preached about sharing the joy, and one of the things she said was that Christianity should be contagious. She said that when someone has the flu, there are clear symptoms--you can tell that person has the flu. And she said that the clear symptom of Christ-following is living the joy. That people should see us living in joy, realize that there's something different about us, and want to get some of that. And I agree. It definitely should be that way, but when was the last time you diagnosed someone as a Christian based on their symptoms? To tell the truth, I have met exactly one person in my life in whom I've seen that kind of joy.


I've given some thought to this over the years. You know the song that goes, "they will know we are Christians by our love." I've always thought that song meant it ought to be really obvious who the Christians are because we're showing all this love all the time. But it's not. There are so many loving, generous, kind people in the world, who do not profess Christ. And there are many who claim Christ and are hateful, stingy, greedy, and cruel. I know that I can't be perfect, but it disappoints me that no one call tell that I follow Jesus from the outside. And if I really want to be contagious, if I want people "catch" Christ from me, that special something needs to be crystal clear. It is one of my deepest desires to have someone tell me "there's something different about you. No, in a good way."


Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Indoctrination

Isn't this a cute outfit that Bubby is wearing today? I like it because it's super soft and seems warm and cozy for this drizzly dismal day. I thought Bubby would like it because of the bulldozer on it, but he wasn't so sure he wanted to put it on this morning, so I was trying to encourage him by saying, "do you want to put it on and show [Code-man]?" No, but he did want to show Logo (for some reason Logo is Bubby's favorite brother. Sometimes I wonder if it's because he learned Logo's name first. Or I suppose he could have learned Logo's name first because he likes him better). So we put on the bulldozer outfit, and went to show Logo. Logo loved it, but not because of the bulldozer or the coziness factor. Can you guess why? That's right: because "those are Michigan colors." Grandpa B, congratulations: you have thoroughly indoctrinated our children.

I am listening to Todd Agnew's "Grace Like Rain" right now. I love that song, and it is especially warm and fuzzy to listen to after what seems like days and days of non-stop rain: a very welcome reminder that God loves me and rains grace down on me to wash me clean each day.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see so clearly

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, they're washed away

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, are washed away

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing Your praise
Than when we first begun

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, they're washed away

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, they're washed away

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