Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A startling realization leads to a curious question

Who will fill my Christmas stocking this year??

Friday, September 26, 2008

AWANA go back next week too!!

This year, I decided to be an AWANA leader, which I’ve wanted to do for years but couldn’t commit to until now. I have a group of about eight 3-4th grade girls, and they’re completely sweet and I already adore them. Here are a few things they said Wednesday night that amused me:

Little girl: “How old are you?”
Me: “I’m 22.”
Little girl: “Oh, so you’re not married then.”
Me: “Actually I am… How old are you supposed to be before you can get married?”
Little girl: [Ponders] “I guess 20.”
Me: “Whew! Because I got married when I was 22.”


Girls in group: “Where were you last week?”
Me: “I had to go to a funeral because my grandmother died.”
Girls in group look at me with sad little eyes.
Me: [Inserting teachable Christian moment here] “But the good news is that she had accepted Christ as her savior and so we’ll see her again in heaven someday!”
Girls: Yaaaay!! [Girls begin to celebrate, and one of them gives me a high-five]


Girls, while walking up the outside staircase instead of going inside from the first floor then walking up the inside stairs after game time: “Come on guys! Let’s go up the SECRET stairs!”

…Secret stairs? Because nobody else can see them but us?

Crap Shoot...Friday!

Happy Crap Shoot day! I know it's not Tuesday, but I'm also not a photographer so I'm breaking all kinds of rules today. My friend (and amazing Engagement Photographer), Rachel, got this idea from her friend, another photographer, and I thought it would be a fun post for today.

The picture below is one of my favorite wedding pictures, even though it's kind of blurry and not all that well-lit or composed, because it's the only picture I have of Jack's reaction when I was walking down the aisle (for some reason, everybody focuses on the bride at that point... not sure why - but thank you, Natalie for getting this one!). I also love that my youngest flower girl, Ashlyn, is waving at me so sweetly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'd like mornings better if they started later

This morning, on the way to work:

8:10 – Ready to leave. Just have to get the flowers that Jack got me for our 6-month anniversary. He got me both roses and tulips, so I could have one at home and one at work. I’ve forgotten to bring the tulips to work every single day this week. I will not forget them today. I put my cell phone almost inside the vase (because I don’t forget my cell phone and if it’s close to the flowers I’m bound to remember them this time), and go put my breakfast hot pocket into the microwave.

8:12 – I grab a shorter vase from the cabinet to transfer the tulips into because I’d like to trim them a little… they’re looking a little sad. Meanwhile, the microwave beeps. My hot pocket is done, and I rejoice at the thought of it as I walk to the sink with my tulips.

8:13 – As I remove the tulips from their vase, the petals simultaneously fall off of each and every flower into the sink as if in a cartoon. I’m now holding 8 bare tulip stems.

8:15 – New plan. I’ll take a few of the roses from the rose bouquet and put them in a small vase, then take that to work. I find a small, round, ball-like vase and select some roses for it out of the big vase on the table. I cut the stems to what I think will be the right length for the bowl. Too long. I gather them again and cut a few more inches off. Uh-oh. Now they’re too short. I try to put them in the vase and they shift and fall out for lack of bottom-support.

8:21 – I’m still trying to balance the roses into the vase without them falling out. They look somewhat nice in the bowl, so I decide that will have to be good enough. They’re still quite pretty.

8:23 – I halfway-fill the bowl with water, and carry them out to the car right away so I don’t forget them. I place them gently on the floorboard and go back in to gather my keys, phone, work badge, and breakfast.

8:26 – I can’t find my badge.

8:28 – Finally! I found it! It was on the back bookshelf, where it always is. Wonder how I missed that?

8:30 – I’m finally out the door and into my car, breakfast, keys, cell phone, and badge triumphantly in tow. I pull out of the driveway and get on the road, while the nice lady inside my stereo reads me my book.

8:41 – I just stopped at a stop sign and the ball-shaped vase rolled forward, causing a massive spill. There are now red roses floating in a small lake on my passenger-side floorboard. I try not to have a wreck as I attempt to gather the now strewn-about objects.

8:46 – Finally at a stoplight. I grab the towels that have been sitting in my backseat since my friend Joanna gave them back to me two months ago, congratulating myself for never cleaning my car out, and try to sop up some of the mess and save the flowers. I do the best I can until the light turns green, but it’s probably not worth dying over, so I’ll clean up the rest of the mess when I get to work.

8:48 – I’ve just taken a bite of my sausage, egg, and cheese Hot Pocket when I feel something warm hit my stomach. I look down to find that a cheesy mess has fallen out of the bottom of said Hot Pocket right onto my shirt.

8:49 – I’m dodging traffic as I try to grab another clean towel from the backseat. When I use my sport top water bottle to try to wet the towel, I over-squeeze and spray water all over my pants as well.

8:52 – I’m finally in the parking lot at work, on the ground on the passenger side of the car, sopping up as much water as possible and gathering the wet towels and floor mat into a soggy pile. I balance the soggy towel/rug pile, flowers, vase, trash from breakfast, trash bag from front seat, water bottle, cell phone, keys, and ID badge in my arms and stagger toward the door.

8:53 – I drop the trash into the dumpster, thereby also dropping most every thing else in my hands.

8:54 – I spread the towels and floor mat out on my floor in my office, hoping that they’ll dry quickly and not make my office smell mildewed. The rest of the day is spent rotating between explaining why I have towels and car mats on my floor and thanking people for compliments on the flowers.

Not the worst morning I’ve ever had.

The 6-month mark: Oldlyweds?

All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble. ~Raymond Hull

A dress that zips up the back will bring a husband and wife together. ~James H. Boren

It’s been 6 months since Jack and I got married (which pretty much makes us marriage experts now). Happy semi-anniversary to us! How long is it until you’re not newlyweds anymore?

There was a lot more adjustment necessary for living together than I thought there would be when we first got married. It’s strange (and scary, sometimes!) living with a boy! For a while I didn’t feel at home, and then there was that big problem of where to change my clothes every day? But at this point, it’s much less strange living with each other, and we’re really starting to enjoy it.

We did, however, learn quite a few things about each other in the past 6 months:
  • Jack is a morning person. Mandy is not. Mandy does not appreciate perkiness, light, flirting, or any form of happiness in the morning. Mornings are for grumpiness.
  • The middle of the bed is the most glorious place on earth. It’s much easier to exist in said glorious place when somebody else isn’t also in the bed, pushing you over or complaining loudly about the amount of space he or she (he) has.
  • I’ve written before about Jack’s crazy (OCD!) tendencies. They don’t get less crazy with time. Towels must be folded perfectly and separated by color (and oh, I just found out that we have “too many colors of towels”). Toilet paper must be taken out of the cabinet one “level” at a time. Dishes must be scrubbed spotless before placed in the dishwasher (what’s dishwasher supposed to do, again?) I don’t do any of these things myself.
  • Almost every day, Jack makes our bed and does the dishes from the night before. Almost every night, I cook dinner for him. Almost every weekend, we give the house a good cleaning together. It’s a good system.
  • We’re both learning how to ask for things from each other politely and “fight nice” (Thank you, pre-marital counseling). I figured marriage would be difficult at times (better or worse kind of thing), but I didn’t realize how much effort it took even in the BETTER! It’s a lot of work all the time.
  • I hate doing laundry. I didn’t learn this while I was living with Jack, I just wanted to let everybody know that. Jack does his laundry about once a week, while I do mine when it really really becomes necessary (which is about the time I start to consider innovative ways of using bed sheets, potato sacks, or curtains as work clothing.) Neither of us iron. I am in love with Downy Wrinkle Release. And most of my clean clothes come out of a laundry basket in the middle of my floor instead of a rack in my closet.
  • Jack does not like it when I leave the cabinets or pantry doors open in the kitchen. I do not like it when he leaves the front door unlocked at night.
  • We both get REALLY excited when a new NetFlix movie comes in the mail (we get one at a time) or when there’s a new Bones or NCIS episode we can watch together.
  • Jack does not like it when I wear his socks. However, if I do wear his socks, he tells me to just keep them because I’ve “already stretched them out now.” (Whose feet are bigger? Actually it’s probably pretty close.)
  • Jack goes through spurts of being home-improvement motivated. I love it when motivated-Jack comes to visit! My walls get painted, the windows get washed, the bushes get trimmed, and old wallpaper gets peeled.
  • When motivated-Mandy visits, she just makes a big mess in her office, producing something uber-creative yet useless to Jack.
  • I’m unnaturally cold all the time. Jack likes the fan on at night. You do the math.
  • As unnaturally cold as I am, I still do not enjoy living in a 90-degree house in the summer. As much as Jack also dislikes living in a 90-degree house in the summer, he likes paying for air conditioning even less. Our house is therefore 80 degrees in the summer (yay, compromises). Unless I’m home alone.
  • The other morning, I had just gotten dressed, and Jack instinctively tied the strings on my shirt together in the back without a word. I thought that was cute.
We have enjoyed getting to know each other in the last 6 months (though I didn’t think it was possible to “get to know” him more! We’ve been together more than 5 years!). Marriage has been a nice experience so far, and Jack and I are really enjoying this stage in our lives (the one without kids, in case you’re wondering). So far, so good – I think I’ll keep him for another 6 months.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters.

Last night, when Jack came to bed sometime after 1 a.m., he noticed that I was sleeping in the middle of the bed and didn’t move when he went into the bathroom and turned on the light to brush his teeth. I usually wake up just enough to roll over when he comes to bed.

“That’s odd,” he thought, and began to brush his teeth.

When he had finished, he walked back into the bedroom. I hadn’t moved. He tried to wake me so I would roll over and give him some room, but I wouldn’t wake.

Finally, he just pushed me over to my side of the bed. I remained limp.

Concerned, Jack began to watch my chest for a sign that I was breathing. No rise and fall. He put his hand on my chest, and still felt no rise and fall.

Beginning to panic, Jack put his ear to my mouth, listening for any sign of life at all. After a few agonizing seconds, he finally heard me breathing softly.

It’s been a stressful few weeks at work, and I was tired. I may be a heavy sleeper, but at least I don’t snore!

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frapuccino

Tastes like Fall! Mmmmmm!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Not me" Monday!!

Inspired by MckMama’s very clever blog entry about all the things she absolutely did NOT do, I will follow her instructions and invite you to enjoy “'Not Me' Monday.”

Last Wednesday, I cooked a lovely, healthy dinner for my husband. I did not go to KFC for $2.49 clog-your-arteries-and-make-you-die-an-early-death chicken fried steak dinner, then put in on a nice plate as if to suggest that it was a real meal.

I did not spray Downy Wrinkle Release on the clothes I got out of the dryer this morning (rather than hanging in my closet). In fact, I absolutely do not do that every single morning before work. Folding and ironing your clean clothes before you wear them looks much more professional!

And of COURSE I didn't accidentally-on-purpose throw a peice of fajita steak on my clean kitchen floor tonight for the dog, who isn't allowed to eat people-food.

I definately did not forget to call and check on one of my best friends, who lives in Houston, until about a week after the hurricane hit. That would make me a horrible friend, and you all know I'm not a horrible friend!

I would never try using Round Up to kill the grass in the cracks of our driveway instead of digging them out and treating the empty cracks with the Round Up so they don’t come back. And if I ran out of Round Up, I wouldn’t just give up and go watch football.

I, of course, did not keep my brother’s webcam up in a corner of my screen all day so I could watch their dog sleep. That’s just weird.

I absolutely did not take a 3-hour nap while my husband swept, mopped, and vacuumed our floors yesterday.

I didn’t stay late at work just to start this blog entry. Who would do that?

I am of course not going to spend hours upon hours upon hours watching television this week, season premiere week. I have also not been counting down to this week of new TV!

I absolutely did not laugh until I cried when the dog farted, surprising herself, and looked behind her, wondering what had just made the noise and subsequent smell. That reaction would be entirely too unrefined for someone like me.

And of course, I do not plan on serving leftovers that my mother-in-law cooked this weekend instead of cooking new dinners for my husband this week.

Not me!!!

Ps - What have you not done today?

A facebook ad...


I Am Legend

I didn't like it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blood Diamond

Not bad. Kind of sad. Worth renting. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where were you?

This is going to be one of those 7th grade homework assignments my kids bring home . They'll show me the assignment outline, a little annoyed, and say "I'm supposed to find out where my parents were when 9/11 happened." They'll be a little bored with the project, and they'll want to just get it over with. "Where were you?" they'll ask. Like the projects we brought home about where our parents were when JFK got shot, they won't really care about the answer, because they won't really understand what it meant.

They'll know there was an attack on America that morning. They'll know that some bad men hijacked four planes. They'll know that two of the airplanes were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, and the third plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. They'll know that the passengers on the fourth plane stopped the hijackers, and that plane crashed into a field.

They'll know the facts. But they won't understand the weight of it.

When I walked into history class that morning, I didn't understand the weight of it either. The TV was on and the first plane had already hit the first tower. When Daniel told me what had happened and that they thought it was a terrorist attack, gave him a half smile and a raised eyebrow.

"You're joking, right?"

Terrorist attacks? Yeah, right. This is the kind of thing that happens in movies. Not the kind of thing that happens on CNN. And definately not the kind of thing that happens in America. We lived in a bubble. A safe bubble, and nobody messed with our safe bubble.

But it seemed that they had. As we watched live as the second tower get hit and the towers eventually fall, I must admit that it still didn't seem real. While they talked about how many were trapped or dead, it still never hit me (not fully even until a few years later) what that meant for the people in New York, for the families of the people who died, and for Americans. It was all foreign and so outside my worldview.

But it changed everything.

First, there was the outburst of patriotism. On every drugstore marquee sign there was a "God Bless America," and an extra patriotic song sung at every sporting event.

Next, we did everything in our power to make ourselves feel safer. Never again would we run and hug our dad when he walked through the terminal at the gate. Never again would we walk through the metal detectors with our shoes on. Never again could we take a bottle of water from the car to the airplane.

A few years later, patriotism gave way to discontent. Discontent with our president, discontent with the gas prices that are uncomfortable but bearable because of how we've been blessed, discontent with our government in general. And crazy sprinkler ladies whine about how the government is putting rainbows in our water (oh man, you have to watch this video, it's so funny.)

And here we are. This seems to be the legacy the terrorists have left us. Discontent.

This wasn't were I had intended to go with this post, but it seems to be where I've ended up.

Stop whining. We should be unbelievably thankful with what we have here.

I do not have to ride the shoulder-to-shoulder packed bus for 3 hours every day, trying to get to work (like my friend in China does) so I can make $2,000 a year. I am blessed to be able to pay the $4 a gallon to fuel the car that I own.

I may not like paying more for milk than I used to, but don't have to go without, or buy powdered milk instead, because I have been blessed with a job. And if I couldn't afford it, somebody in my family would buy me that milk.

I may not like the war, but I have the option staying right here, in my comfortable 4-bedroom home, ranting about the decisions the government is making, because others have gone to war so I don't have to. And if I do rant about it, even publicly, I don't have to worry about my government coming and arresting me for that.

I can preoccupy myself with people who use plastic bags at the supermarket instead of "green" totes, instead of worrying about how I'm going to feed my hungry children.

I can believe anything I want to, no matter how stupid it is. I can worship whomever I want and my government will not prohibit it.

I can do anything I want to, and nobody's going to tell me "no." Because I live here.

God bless America. Now let's get back to our bitching.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My husband...

…surprised me at work today by bringing me a caramel frappucino from Starbucks. Then he got distracted when he saw our community puzzle (we like to have a puzzle going on an empty desk in the office for fun and breaks), and he finished most of it in about 15 minutes, because he’s a puzzle Rain Man.

He’s nice to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Audrey Caroline

Okay, I must admit I'm quite the blog stalker. I'm a blocker. I stumbled upon a blog by a beautiful, amazing woman named Angie, who chose to gave birth to her beautiful baby daughter, Audrey, in April, even though they knew the baby girl wouldn't live more than a few hours due to several fatal complications. I read her entire 8+ month story yesterday, and here are some of my favorite quotes from this incredible writer, mother, wife, and woman of God:

"The happiest place on earth isn't on earth at all." (about their visit to Disney World)

"What is our marriage? It's playing cards in bed. It's laughing hysterically at the parts of a movie that nobody else thinks are funny. It's me looking up from my book to see Todd waving at me as he mows the lawn. Its dragging him to one more store looking for the perfect gift. It's burnt dinner (which he would never complain about), clean laundry (which most likely, he did), and staying up until 4 a.m. watching a whole season of 24. It's telling the truth, even when it hurts. It's spending your nights in a hospital room waiting to know if your twin daughters will live or not. It's ordering Chinese food and singing along to eighties music. It is starting at least 10 Bible Studies together and then getting distracted talking about life instead. It's Todd and Angie, and it's good."

And my favorite: “We are not praying because we believe that God will heal our Audrey. We don't know that He will. We are praising Him because He can.”

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rest in Peace, P.C.

Shane (my brother) and Cassandra (his wife) came home from work to find their dog, Pork Chop, who they adopted this week, had died today. Very very sad.

Read Pork Chop's blog here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Happens in Vegas

Exceeded my expectations, which were set quite low. Pretty funny. Also worth renting.

Vantage Point

Pretty interesting. Nice to see something new. Worth renting.