Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Mommy, do you believe in global warming?"

This was the question asked of me the other day by my ten year old son. "Why, yes, of course I do sweety. Why do you ask?" Turns out that this has been a topic of discussion in his classroom and I guess he brought it up to his dad over the weekend and his dad completely thinks it's mosh and that it's just the governments way of getting more money out of us. Surprised? Not really. Mr. Negative rarely agrees with anyone's thoughts but his own. Not being a pessimist, just realistic.

I am not very familiar with all the Global Warning stuff and certainly need to educate myself more, but the fact that my ten year old brought it up means something to me. I explained to him that that's why I have started recycling. We need to take care of this planet. He started talking about the trees and how the trees give us oxygen and if we keep taking down all the trees we will run out of oxygen and die. What a small but profound statement. That is just a small portion of what is going on. There are the landfills that are full of trash and things that were made that do not recycle themselves and are of no benefit to anyone else.

I never saw the movie with Al Gore - "An Inconvenient Truth" that talked about global warming, but I am going to rent it this weekend. This ties in with my 3rd New Year's Resolution, which is going fairly well, by the way. I just need to get a more convenient systems down that the kids will adhere to as well so that I don't have to keep digging through the garbage.

At work, we have separate trash can liners. I actually didn't even realize this (mainly because I delete certain mass emails that come from the building management office) but the liners at our desk are "clear" for recyclables. The liners in the break rooms are for garbage. So, if you eat at your desk, make sure that you don't throw away your food in the recycle cans. That could be bad. I am going to check into something that will fit in my cabinet to separate recycle from just plain garbage. I bet that there will be lots more recycle than we think.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Day Of Ice

Texas weather is very confusing. There is a saying: "If you don't like the weather today, just wait for tomorrow." That is so true here in Texas. This is the first time in 2009 for icy weather, but not this winter. I am always confused as to why my company chooses to close. The weather is supposed to get worse throughout the day and I feel much better being at home and not having to travel the highways to get home or to work. But there was a day not long ago that the roads were already icy and the offices were open for normal business hours. I stayed home and worked from my computer as much as possible. Today, I was all set to go out the door because it was just raining and the ice wasn't coming until later this afternoon. For some reason, I decided to call the inclement weather line and found out that they had shut the offices for the day.

The kids have school, but if they close I am right here to go get them. I am cleaning here and there and catching up on my DVR recordings. It's nice to be home alone when I'm supposed to be at work. Why is it different than just a normal Saturday? It's like skipping school, but I was told I could stay home.

Skip ahead two days - this is where I am today - at the office. The joke around here is that they switched the day that we should have closed and the day we should have opened late. Tuesday we were told to stay home. The big ice storm didn't hit until that night. Granted, a lot of us would have had a harder time getting home, but at least we could have come in during the morning hours. Wednesday the schools were closed and our offices opened late. The roads were completely covered with ice and I wasn't about to venture out until the sun came out and melted the roads enough that I felt safe. I really needed to come in, though, because people in other parts of the US didn't seem to understand that I don't have access to my files at home and can't just send them any request they may have for the day. I wanted them off my back and out of my email inbox!

Jonathan woke up yesterday and wanted to go play in the "snow". We don't ever really get snow-snow except maybe once a year and that can be very random - like Valentine's Day 2004 or Easter 2006. One just never knows when the snow will fall. So I let my little sweety went outside and started trying to chisel away at whatever he was attracted to at the moment. He was completely fascinated with the frozen weed, the ice from the basketball hoop (all of which is living in my freezer for a little bit. I have to convince him sooner than later that these things need to go, but for now, they are in my freezer.)

Having seen my brother's winter pictures from Amsterdam and having experienced just a small bit of the winter cold there, ours is nothing to compare, but it is Texas and we get ice, not snow, ice. If it's snow, it's got a layer of ice underneath (minus the Valentine's Day of 2004. That was complete snow.) When we were small children, we had wonderful snow, from what I remember. I have pictures to prove it. We could make snow angels and everything. But, I assume due to some global warming, it isn't as wonderful as it used to be. None-the-less, we have had a little time off work and school, but now it's back to business as usual.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Ma'am - Please Step AWAY from the Sausage"

This is my best friend, Missy. I met her just going on five years ago - shortly after my divorce was final. We met online through my boyfriend at the time. He met her in a chat room and thought that we would be great friends. I think he thought he would benefit from this relationship, but he was sadly mistaken. I didn't like her the first night we met, but after talking for a few weeks online, I realized I really liked her a lot. Then, I dumped him and I have been hangin' with her ever since. We have been through SOOO much together. It's odd to think that we have been friend for just five years and at the same time, wow! it's been five years?

Her boyfriend, Brad, and she own a home together in Fort Worth. They are into very different music than I prefer, but they are my friends and I love hanging out with them. Last night they had a CD listening party. The CD was The Flamming Lips. It wasn't just any album. This album came with four CD's that you play on four different stereos in the four corner's of a room simultaneously. They were all started at the same time so that you are hearing the same song, different parts on each stereo, at the same time. Make sense? Anyway, it was really fun. They had about 7 lava lamps in one corner of the room with an oil lamp projector playing on another wall, lights out and this music playing. It was relaxing and interesting to be a part of. No, there were no drugs involved!

Snacks for the evening were chips and dip, Cowboytini's and this sausage loaf that Missy's mom makes and I just cannot keep myself away from. It's ridiculous how much I love this stuff. I mean ridiculous. I almost made myself sick eating off of it all night. I finally had to gain some self-control and just walk away. This is my eating issue. I find something that I just LOVE and can't stop eating it before I make myself sick. It's as though something in my brain says "you will never EVER be able to eat this again so go ahead and eat up." This has always been my problem. Getting healthy is looking like my New Year's Resolution #4.

The kids are with their dad this weekend. It has been very relaxing and VERY cold. Mom and I went to dinner with a friend of mine on Friday night. I worked out at TV on Saturday and Sunday is church. I am trying a new Sunday School class and then continuing my Alpha class on Sunday night. It's been another good weekend.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Too Many Drivers

We have two and almost three drivers in our house. Two years ago, Michael turned 16 and his dad found this "great deal" from a customer. I honestly thought he would check things out better, but I know better now. 1988 Ford Ranger that had been driven by this guys son AND daughter which I should have realized was a completely worn out vehicle. I don't want to make that mistake again.

Michael's truck hasn't worked for a few months now. It hasn't been too bad. His girlfriend has a car and he can always use mine - we work that out. He is turning 18next month and graduating in May. He wants to work full time this summer and desperately needs a car. My feeling is that we (his dad and I) should help him buy a newer car. He wants a Jeep Cheeroke. His dad thinks "we" should buy a car outright. Well, this part of "we" can't afford a car for him and his sister, who will be 16 in April and is expecting a car (I have news for her). I keep assuring him that we will get it worked out, but knowing that I have to deal with his dad doesn't thrill me. In these situations he tends to "know better" and won't listen to me very closely.

So somehow I am going to have to bring up the conversation that a car for Michael should come first and a car for Alyssa comes second. She is an amazing driver and I feel completely confident in getting her license as soon as she is 16. Giving her a car is another issue. She is so confident is scares me. I remember what I was like when I was her age - that scares me even more. I keep hearing that now is a great time to buy a car with all the great deals that are out there. I know taking out a loan for Michael isn't the best idea, but I don't have a better one right now. He can make payments and work all summer and have a slow transition to the adult world. He will still be living with me and that would possibly be his main bill.

And to think, Ben will be driving in one year. OMG what was I thinking?? Ok, I wasn't - it just happened.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It's the day America's honor a great man who started a freedom movement and would be so proud of us now that we have, as a nation, elected Barack Obama - the first black president. How ironic is it that we are inaugurating our first black president the day after we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Growing up in my house was like growing up in the whitest possible environment you could imagine. My father would probably tell you that he isn't prejudice, but I feel differently. Maybe he wouldn't use the "N" but there was, in my memory, an air about him when it came to people of color. We didn't go to church with any black people. We didn't go to school with any - in fact, I think there were three in my jr. high and maybe five in my high school. My children are in the same school district that I was and there is a much more diverse ethnicity in their schools today and for that I am very thankful.

My father most likely came by his prejudices naturally because of where he was raised and by whom he was raised. I believe that he has pretty much overcome all of that, but if one of my children were dating someone of another race, I wonder what he would say. We don't talk right now so I don't know. I have always told my children that I want them to have someone that loves them unconditionally. I don't care if they are brown, yellow, purple or orange, just make sure they treat you well and have a relationship with Christ. That is really most important.

Today is a day we have off work and school. It is a day filled with looking back at where we were, the great life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and where we are today. I have been watching TV all day hoping to learn something about this man that I have not already heard. As I am watching TV, it seems to be more about the inauguration, but then again, I just got up. I am looking forward to a very relaxing day.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Saturday in the life of ME

Let's start with last night. I picked Ben up from his dad's and took him immediately to Trinity High School for his 9th grade All-Region Band rehearsal, came home, checked on mom, waited for Alyssa to get ready to go to her church retreat this weekend (she was 40 minutes late already and we hadn't left the house), came back home, dusted at mom's a little, left to get Ben and found out I was 30 minutes early so Jonathan and I waited in the car at which point I just became too tired to think straight, went home and went to bed.

This morning my alarm went off at 7:00 am. Ben had to be back to the school at 8:00. Luckily, when we were getting dinner from Sonic last night we parked next to his friend's parents who struck up a conversation and asked if we would be interested in trading off. She offered to take this morning. I was happy about that even though I had to get up anyway. I picked the boys up at 11:30, got them some lunch and took them to his friend's house so his dad can take them back at 1:00. The concert was at 4:00 that afternoon.

We come home. Michael takes my car for the evening. I am washing the new sheets that I bought for mom in a bed-in-a-bag set that I found at Wal-Mart and now I am waiting for them to dry. I also bought a curtain rod and two full flat sheets that I am going to make into curtains. Eddie should be home later tonight so that we can hang them up. For the first time in forever, she doesn't have boxes blocking the front window of her room and she feels like the whole neighborhood can see in her room even though she knows they can't. She doesn't even have the blinds open. But I want her to be confortable, so I am hanging curtains. She requested and it's the least I can do.

I am so proud of my kids - so proud I can't stand it some times. They are just the most important thing in my life. They are all so incredible and to think that I had the smallest part in raising them just overwhelms me some times. I am glad I am a mom. It makes me happy.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

New Year's Resolution #3

Recycling. This is not an easy thing for me. I am so used to just throwing things in the trash can and so are my kids. But seeing all the recycling stuff that we throw away every day is making me want to be a better person and help recycle what I can. My brother, Eddie, seems to be an expert at it, so maybe I will just collect stuff and give it to him to sort and put out on Mondays (see I DO know when recycle day is).

I am starting with plastics and paper boxes and will move on to other plastics like plastic bags and stuff. A couple of months ago I got one of those bags from the grocery store that is a replacement for plastic bags, then I got two more. They are now in my car. I just need to remember to take them in the store with me. I have tried for a while not to under load my bags, now I will just not get them that often. I do use them for trashcan liners, so I need them every now and then. I will move up to paper recycling in time - baby steps.

On a side note: my brother, Andy, lives in Amsterdam (as you know if you keep up with my blog) and the interesting thing there is there are NO plastic bags at the grocery store. If you go, you must have one of their reusable bags. It would be so much easier if they would do that here in America. Because the majority of the people there walk or ride their bikes, they also have separate trash cans every couple of blocks for you to place your recyclable trash in. The bags they offer here are only $1. I am not really sure why more people don't use them. I hardly ever see anyone using them. Although, that could be because you can bring your plastic bags back to the store to be recycled, which does help.

I remember about 10 years ago when we lived in Watauga and the whole recycle thing started, we heard rumors like they wouldn't pick up your regular trash if they could see recyclables in the bag (we would use black bags) or that you had to separate everything before they would take it. I don't know how much of that was true but now you just throw it in the recycle bucket and they dump it in the truck.

It can't get much easier. I just need to train the kids and myself to do it.
"SAVE THE PLANET" - Jonathan Nobles.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Hospital Experience

My mom had a pretty major yet common surgery yesterday. On the whole, I don't really care for hospitals and nurses all up in your business, but I have to say, the nurses at HEB Hospital are pretty nice and very understanding about the patient and guests and stuff. We were in the women's center part of the hospital, so it was just more caring all around. My mom is a very private person. It was hard enough to get her to the doctor to get this taken care of. She was a real trooper through the whole thing. That afternoon and the next day were a little trying on all of us, but she is home now and doing much better.

I had Michael in the hospital and I was there for five days. I never want to do that again. That's a huge part of the reason I had the other kids at home. I am not good with people telling me what they think is best for me or my kids. I got real tired of it after a few days. Having my other babies at home was such a calming, wonderful experience for all of us. There wasn't that rush to get to the hospital. Yes, there was pain involved, but honestly, it was all worth it. Do I want to do it again? NO! Never again, but because I was younger then. I don't have the pain tolerance for it in my "old age".

When you have a baby at home, things go at your pace. The midwife will stay as long as you need her. One may ask, what if another client goes into labor? I don't know. That never happened to me. The midwife does have a partner that I assume would probably go to the other person's house, but I was fortunate enough to have them both there all three times. We get to hold the baby immediately. They are never taken away (this could be good AND bad). My other kids were there, running around, in their own home, not at a hospital being confined and hushed. I know not everyone wants to do this, but it certainly is an option.

I can almost guarantee you that my daughter will be at the hospital with an epidural at the first possible chance...and I will be there by her side holding her hand. I remember when I was pregnant with Jonathan and we showed the other kids their own birth videos (yes they exist and no they aren't anywhere on the internet). Alyssa was 5 years old. She asked me if there was another way to get a baby. I told her there was adoption. She went around for a while saying, "I'm gonna dopt a baby!" It dawned on me that I needed to tell her there were hospitals with pain medicine, too!
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Baby Turns 10 Today

Today was Jonathan's 10th Birthday. Today was also the day my mom had major surgery, so it was a little complicated getting everyone taken care of, but it got done! The picture above is the four boys in a tree in our front yard. There is, from left to right, Chris, Jonathan, Jason and Spencer. These are what Jonathan refers to as his only friends. I always tell him it's better to have a few really good friends than a lot of not so good friends.

I picked him up early from Extended Day, came home and we got ready for his friends to arrive. They all got here about 5:00 and played for a bit and then we headed to CiCi's for some pizza. I had gotten tickets to an advanced screening of "Hotel for Dogs" from work but it was specific - January 14, 7:30 at the Cinemark on 635. I go by it every day on my way in to the office so I knew where it was. The trick was making sure his friend's parents were ok with going on a school night and me driving them to Dallas.

In case anyone is wondering, a group of four 10 year old boys really isn't that much different than a group of 10 year old girls. I swear the conversation in the restaurant was so loud. They were lauging and talking the whole time - all the way to the movies. I called my friend, Suzanne, who was meeting us at the theater and she made a comment on how loud it was in the car. I am kinda used to it - kinda.

The movie was really cute and a little sad in parts. We all had a really good time and I think the boys were happy to go. I just can't believe my little baby is already 10, but then again, I'm glad. I am happy that they are all getting older and more independent. I loved them as baby, but each stage seems to get better.

Apparently this is cool!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I am completely obsessed with what I drink right now. For some reason, I always feel the need to have SOMETHING to drink next to me at all times. If I don't, I suddenly get thirsty. Now that I don't have my huge Diet Coke next to me all day, I have to come up with alternate options. I have found several nice things at work that are free and available at all times. We have a Flavia Coffee Machine (see picture above). If you have never experienced this, it is really amazing. You just pick out out what you want to drink. There are several different coffees and about four teas. You just pick a pouch, tell the machine what you are making, open the door, insert the pouch, close the door, put the specific cup on the tray and wait. The machine makes the drink and you are set.

I have tried the green tea and the Raspberry tea - which is great hot and cold. They have several different types of water down in the Deli shop, but, in my opinion, they are too expensive to get all the time. If I had a refrigerator at my desk, I would drink cold water in a bottle. I have a great bottle at home that I only remember to get as I am laying in bed at night about to fall asleep. We have a great water filter machine here, too, and it comes out cold. I will get the bottle - soon! My hope is to continue to fee better and loose weight in the process. Thankfully, I don't have to try to hard to get my kids to jump on the band-wagon because they pretty much are doing it anyway.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Update on Last Post

So, I went to the doctor. She didn't really have an answer for me except that she wanted to do a blood test for Lupus (yeah right), low iron (I know that's not it) and possibly arthritis. I know it's not low iron because I have that checked when I go to give blood, which I did about 3 weeks ago. Everything was fine. I don't know about the arthritis thing, but I went for the blood work anyway. I haven't gotten the results back yet.

Self-medicating and diagnosing myself, I decided to go full-on and cut back on the Diet Coke. Friday was the beginning with nothing after the doctor, probably since lunch actually. Since Saturday, I have only have one 12 oz. can in the morning - much like people have their morning coffee. I have had water or Gatorade or tea but no Diet Coke. For the first time in MONTHS I woke up without a headache and had no body aches pretty much most of the day.

This morning I tried the SOBE Life Water - Passion Fruit. It was pretty good - better than just plain water. They sell Vitamin Water downstairs in the deli shop, but I am going to check on the Life Water too. I made some Green Tea from the breakroom coffemaker here at work. It's pretty good, too - and it's FREE!

I now have to make an impact on my kids. Honestly, they drink more water than soda, mainly because I have chosen not to have anything but Diet Coke at the house. I used to keep Dr. Pepper now and then, but I noticed that it was gone way too quickly, so I quit supplying it. Plus, I would find half a can lying around after days because "whoever" didn't want to finish it. It was a waste of money. Friday, when I was telling a friend on the phone about cutting back on DC, Alyssa says "Yeah, right. Good luck with that." I was happy to announce to her that I had two all weekend. I think she was impressed.

So to all those people who told me for years and years how bad Diet Coke was for me, I am finally convinced. Sobe Life Water is my new thing. I hope it's not too expensive to keep in stock. I have invested in Coca-Cola for long enough. It's on to something else.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

NewYear's Resolution #2

I am a Diet Coke addict. There, I admit it. I wake up every morning and instead of going for coffee like most people, I get a can of Diet Coke out of my refrigerator and gulp away. If there isn't one, I will either get in my car and drive to Sonic, or be pissy until I get ready and can go somewhere to get one.

It doesn't matter to me about the reports of what the sweeter will do to my brain or that there could be rat feces on the top or any of that. I drink them every morning of my life. There have been a few times in my life where I willing stopped drinking them. The first time was when I found out I was pregnant with Michael. I stopped for the whole pregnancy. I hate Sprite to this day (unless there is some vodka or gin in there - then I'm happy). All of the other pregnancies I drank it with no guilt whatsoever.

The second time I stopped was when I was on a weight loss kick. I would have just the one in the morning and then drink a gallon of water the rest of the day. I don't know if it helped, but I did loose a lot of weight and I felt better. It's not that I mind water, because I don't. I actually like it, especially when it's hot outside and the water is super cold. I have to drink it cold - REALLY cold.

I am going to the doctor today. I have had a headache off and on for a few weeks. I think it may be inpart to all the Diet Coke I have been consuming. It has been an extrodinary amount. I don't know why it's been more, but it has been. When I went to give blood a couple of weeks ago, my blood pressure was up and I think it had to do with the amount of DC I was drinking. I know it's not good for me. I honestly know, too, that I can stop. I just need to make the choice in my head. I haven't been feeling really well for a while so this is where I am going to start. My second New Year's Resolution is to cut WAY back on the Diet Cokes. I think one a day would be sufficient. Just something to help me wake up.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Advanced Classes Quandry

As you know, I have four kids. I homeschooled the older three until Michael was in 5th grade, Alyssa was in 3rd grade and Ben was in 2nd grade. We had moved to a good school district, Jonathan was 2 and completely into everything and it was just too hard to work and focus on school. I felt that I had given them a good start and I still do. By the time Michael was in junior high, we were going through the divorce. Michael had been put in pre-AP Math and pre-AP English in junior high based on his TAKS test from 6th grade. Emotionally he wasn't coping well and with the extra pressure, his dad opted to pull him out of one of the classes. He never took another pre-AP class and has done just fine.

Alyssa and Ben, however, have been in pre-AP classes all through junior high and Alyssa in high school. Ben is in the National Junior Honor Society. Alyssa has applied for the International Baccalaureate program next year. There is a little pressure, but they seem to be handling it and understand the importance of the opportunities this will bring them.

Now, Jonathan was invited to be in the STEPS class the third semester of 3rd grade. I was actually surprised and called the counselor at the school to ask a few questions. The reason I was surprised is because, at that point, he was struggling with reading and spelling. She explained to me that the class is for gifted and talented kids. These kids are ones who think "outside the box" which is totally how Jonathan is. He can take a pile of Legos and make the craziest things out of it. He doesn't view life like the rest of us. The gifted and talented program has very little to do with reading and spelling and more about less general thinking. Does that make sense?

He was put in PEAKS in fourth grade(this year)and he hates it. I don't know what to do. I had talked to my brother, Andy, about this last year when the initial invitation came up. He has a friend, Patty, who has two boys about the ages of Ben and Jonathan. One (or maybe both) of them had been asked to be in the same class and she knew him better than to let him be in the class. I, on the other hand, felt like it was an opportunity that we should not let pass. I am now saying - I think I was probably wrong.

He wasn't really happy last year and I wasn't going to put him in again this year. The school counselor talked me into keeping him in the class. This year is different. The classes count toward their Reading grade. The class is a great class, but I'm not sure Jonathan is up for it. He is pulling the "I'm sick" thing, he says his teacher "hates him" and tells him to "get his life straight", which I only half believe. I did email the teacher to discuss the matter. That was over a month ago. I still have not heard from her. I know for sure that he will not be in the class next year. The end of the 3rd semester is over this week, so I am going to call the school and have her pulled from the class for the final semester. I just don't want him to think he can get by and not have to try and work hard. He is doing much better in his reading and spelling.

He is such a happy boy and I just love his free spirit. I mean, look at him in that picture! He is so cute and funny and happy. I don't want to bring that spirit down.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years Resolution....#1??

I unknowingly have resolved to get rid of stuff. I have a lot of stuff. I blogged about it...probably the last blog. It's my kids fault. No, it's probably my parents fault. Well, sort of both. I come from parents who came from parents from the depression. My dad's family was very poor growing up, his mom died way before her time. My mom's mom saved EVERYTHING. I mean, she bought Viva papertowels and would use them, rinse them out and lay them out on the counter to dry and use again. When we cleaned out her house, we found a lot of treasures and probably threw away valuable things, but there was so much stuff. My mom didn't save any clothing - honestly not much of anything from our childhood.

The result of this has been that I have saved a lot of stuff from my four children. Michael being the first child probably has more than anyone, but there are things like clothes that they wore (just certain outfits) and cards, notes written to them from relatives, papers that they made...I have boxes and boxes of this stuff. I have even gone through this stuff before, several times over the last 15ish years. I just managed to go through it again this past weekend. I do better each time, getting rid of silly things like every single Casa Mana children's program of every single show we ever went to times three children, plus tickets. Who wants that? It was something silly I thought they would want to see later. They don't.

I do have a box or two for each child that they will have the opportunity to go through in time. I will let them make the decision as to what they want to keep and what they don't. Ok, honestly, I will have to keept anything they want to toss and I really want to keep but they will take away the majority of my "stuff"! All of this stuff is in the garage at the moment. I want to eventually get it all upstairs in their closets. We will see what happens.
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