Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Before you

Dear Babybuckle,

I'm going to be honest with you. We are not ready for you yet, despite the pleas from your grandmothers to PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, GIVE THEM GRAND BABIES BEFORE THEY DIE or the incessant questions about our reproduction plans from our friends.

It's not that we don't ever want you; I'm sure you'll be all kinds of awesome when God decides to give you to us. You will change our lives dramatically and permanently. And for now? That's not ideal.

Because this is the "before you" time. The time that your mom and dad are sleeping in together every weekend and staying up until 1 and 2 a.m., even on work days. We're going out to 75-cent movies together on a whim on Tuesday nights and eating dinner at 10:30 p.m. every night. We're keeping a very not-kid-friendly house clean, for the most part. We're making home improvements and big life changes together, and we're working 12-hour days at work if we need to. We are paying off student loans and laying in bed playing games on my iPhone late at night. We are teasing each other, laughing until we cry, and learning hard lessons about communication together.

We are building a life together. And that life is so, so good.

This time spent waiting will make the time we have with you even sweeter, because there will be no regrets, no lost moments with one another, and plenty of time for both of us to selfishly enjoy each other and our careers. We will know that this season, the season before you, built our friendship and marriage like nothing else could.

And that makes it completely worth the wait.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dear Taekwondo students

Dear Taekwondo students,

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love you. You are the reason for our livelihood, and most of the reason Jack stays sane at work most days. He wouldn't have stayed with it as long as he has if it wasn't for you. He absolutely adores each and every one of you, and talks my ear off about you every single day. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that - that one's a talker.

Having said that, I have to plead with you, beg with you, this Christmas season. For the love of all that is holy, please don't send him home with entire gallon-sized bags, paper plates, or holiday tins full of delicious goodies.

It's not that they're bad.

THEY'RE AMAZING.

The snickerdoodles, the hand-frosted santa-shaped sugar cookies, the red and white m&ms, and the chocolate-covered pretzels. Oh my cow. It's all. so. good.

But the sheer volume of calories? It's a problem for me.

And Jack has self-control. He can have all of that in our house and enjoy it like a normal adult does, without plunging face-first into the giant pile of cookies, all "NOM NOM NOM GIVE ME MORE COOOKIIIEEEEEE!"

One time, he had an unopened package of chewy Chips Ahoy cookies in our pantry for a good week and a half before he even opened them. I MEAN, WHO DOES THAT?

But me? Well, I'm different.



The chewy Chips Ahoy cookies are lucky if they stay unopened in the grocery store parking lot with me. In fact, that little "not opening his cookies" stunt was how he learned that he would literally have to hide food from me in order to keep it around.

I spend a vast majority of my time thinking about food. And 80% of that time thinking about food is spent thinking about sweets. I don't have that mechanism most people have that makes sweets unappealing after they have too much. I mean, I might, but it comes in the form of nausea after having eaten enough to need a good stomach pumping.

I don't keep sweets out of my house for any snobbish health reasons. I do it because if I don't, I WILL LITERALLY EAT MYSELF TO DEATH ON THEM.

So when that amount of sweets come into my house in the form of gifts? I don't have to tell you that it's a problem. Jack wakes up in the middle of the night to find that I'm not next to him in bed. He stumbles to the kitchen and flips on the light to find me huddled in the corner on the floor, licking the inside of a holiday-themed-tin, covered in chocolate and powdered sugar after having single-handedly inhaled a pound of puppy chow.

It's not a pretty picture, is it?

So please, Taekwondo students, I beg of you. Just give him one cookie. He'll appreciate it just as much as the dozen, I promise. Probably more, since he won't have to buy his wife giant new pants as a result.

Or, okay, maybe give him two cookies. Because after writing this, I'm really craving cookies. Yeah. Give us lots of cookies. Never mind all that stuff I just said. I need cookies NOW NOW NOW!!

On second thought, maybe you should just give him a card.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Modern Mandy

On Modern Family tonight, one of the characters (Cam) was ridiculously trying to help an old man and an old woman hear each other from across the mall. When that wasn't working, he told his partner (Mitchell) to stay with the old man while he chased down the woman, and that they would call each other's phones and let the older couple talk. Mitchell was completely dumbfounded and irritated as Cam ran off and left him with the old man.

"Is this what it's like to live with me?" I asked Jack, laughing. I could totally see myself doing what Cam was doing. He laughed.

"Yeah, that is what it's like to live with you," he replied.

The next scene is 30-something hot Latina Gloria and her 60-something husband Jay looking for her lost car keys. She is frustratedly searching the house as he follows her around.

"Maybe if you had a system for where you leave things," Jay lectures.

"I have a system," Gloria replies. "I put down things, then I remember where I put them."

Jack laughed and looked over at me.

"No, I was wrong. That is what it's like to live with you," he teased. I looked back at him and smirked.

"A young hot wife being lectured by her super-old husband about losing stuff?" I replied. "Yep, I think you're right."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The thoughts in my head tonight

  • Sarah Palin has a reality show? I mean honestly. Does she really want to be taken seriously as a politician? WHILE ON TLC? REALLY?
  • Yes, I will probably end up watching it. Clearly I have no boundaries for bad television. I also love Glee and 19 Kids and Counting.
     
  • Also. I am finished with my Christmas shopping. And by association, so is Jack. Since I bought all of his for him as well. Let's just take a moment to revel in that, shall we? I do not have a Christmas tree yet, and yet I also do not have any Christmas shopping to do. I believe this will be a Merry Christmas indeed. And more importantly, a Merry November 7-30 and December 1-24.
  • Speaking of voting, on voting day, they didn't give me an "I voted" sticker. We waited in line for an hour and we didn't get a sticker. DON'T THEY KNOW THIS IS THE MAIN REASON THAT I VOTE!? Government FAIL.
  • We have drank (drunk? drinked?) about eleventy billion Starbucks Gingerbread Lattes this month. We are very much enjoying the red cup bliss.
  • Last night, we went to a minor league hockey game. We knew it would be cold in there, so we were hoping to take gingerbread lattes in with us (see above). To make sure they didn't have a "no food or drink" policy in the arena, I called them and asked specifically whether I would be able to bring in Starbucks drinks. She said "oh yes, that's definitely fine. You just can't bring in like, 10 pizzas." I had no intention of bringing in 10 pizzas, so we went and bought our Starbucks drinks. And then? When we got to the arena? There was a giant "NO OUSTIDE FOOD OR DRINKS" sign and they made us throw them away. THROW THEM AWAY! So. Eleventy billion minus a half.
  • I did my best to chug my gingerbread latte before I had to throw the rest away. This is not a good idea.
  • The heater in our house is broken.
  • Jack has made me breakfast the last two Sundays. The "made-with-love" variety. The kind that makes the back of your arms all flabby but you don't care because NOM NOM NOM BACON AND LOVE BACON AND LOVE! That boy? He is nice.
  • He is also slightly crazy. In that he is just short of using formulas and mathematical equations to calculate exactly how to finish everything at exactly the same time so everything will be hot at once. I mean, he spent 5 minutes before he even started cooking just strategizing the timing.
  • It has never occurred to me to use math for... anything, really.
  • We bought 30 rolls of toilet paper tonight. Thirty. Along with massive amounts of dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, paper towels (forgive me, Jill, for I have sinned), cream of chicken soup, toothpaste, and many other sale + coupon items. The cashier looked at us like we were a crazy stocking-up-for-the-apocalypse couple.
  • If there is an apocalypse, we are SO READY. At least, in terms of toilet paper and cream of chicken soup.
  • I'm pretty sure our apocalypse toilet paper shopping put us over our grocery budget this month. Because we were saving money by using coupons! Irony.
  • You probably can't eat toilet paper, right? That would be gross. But if anybody has any recipes, please share here!
  • Clearly I have run out of relevant bullet points (like any of them were in the first place). There are technically big things happening for the Hornbuckles, but I don't want to blog them until they're for serious final and done. But there's probably definitely surely hopefully happy news 'a comin.
  • If any of you accuse me of being pregnant, I'm going to smack you.

Let's talk about sex, baby

I got this message from a friend today on Facebook. She has three small children and has evidently freaked herself out a little after having done some statistical research.
Can you do me a favor and write a big long book (or blog post, I am not that picky) about how you managed to wait until marriage to have sex. please include anything your parents did or didn't do and specifically how you made it through high school. Meanwhile, I will quit reading horror stories and listening to my friends. notallsixteenyearoldsarehavingsexright???? AND COLLEGE!!! you went to a big state school and did not have sex! how is this possible?
This made me laugh. Mostly because I don't have any children and am therefore not responsible for worrying about anybody else's moral upbringing. That's got to suck. Good luck with that, by the way.

This is an odd subject for me because: 1) I do not generally blog about sex, for obvious reasons (HI MOM AND DAD!) and

2) I walk a weird line between wanting to encourage my single friends who have chosen to wait for marriage by sharing our story, and really, really trying not to be all "holier than thou" and judgemental with those who have not chosen to wait. Yes, we waited. This earns me no brownie points with God, as Alece so brilliantly blogged recently. I guarantee you that for every time I won that battle I made up for it with about a thousand other sins. So, that's my disclaimer. I don't judge others for not choosing this. I really don't.

Anyway, obviously I am no expert on sex or child-rearing (or anything else for that matter). I can only speak from my experience here. And basically, my experience was... wait for it...

Sex before marriage was never an option for me.

It's not that I wasn't educated about it. I grew up in an incredibly open home where we all felt comfortable talking about anything and everything. But what I learned about sex from my parents was always in the context of marriage. God made sex for marriage. God made sex for marriage. God made sex for marriage. And that's it.

Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

I know of a lot of parents who teach their kids about safe sex over abstinence and reason that they're going to do it anyway and so they might as well be educated to be safe while doing it. I don't think these are bad parents, and I know of a lot of people who go that route, but that's simply not what my parents did.

Because I knew from an early age what the Bible said about marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2), I had made the choice before I ever started dating where that line would be for me. The guys I dated knew this before they ever dated me, and I pretty much only dated guys who either had made that choice themselves or were incredibly respectful of that choice and never pushed it.

Like I said, it just wasn't an option.

My parents obviously supported this decision and did their best to be there for me during my dating relationships. My mom bought me the ring I picked out to wear on my left hand until I replaced it with my wedding ring. Every so often, they asked me the terrible awkward questions that you never want to hear your parents ask you just to keep you in check as you go through high school.

They gave me enough instruction to make good choices, enough support to come to them if I needed it, enough accountability to keep me on the track I wanted to be on despite what I may have been feeling at the time, and enough freedom to let me make my choices on my own. It was a good balance.

But I think what it really comes down to is this:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  (Proverbs 22:6)

Train them to care about what the Bible says early, and then what the Bible says about sex when it's time for that.

Train them to choose the people they date wisely (being "equally yolked" helps, let me tell you)

Train them to be able to confidently talk to the people they date about what they are and are not willing to do physically during that dating relationship.

Let them make their choices, but keep them accountable to their faith.

And then you just have to let go and hope and pray that you get lucky and that, well... they don't.

--

What do you think? Did you wait? Did you not? Do you wish you did? Do you wish you didn't? What are you teaching your kids about sex? Can you answer my friend's question too?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear children of the world

Dear children of the world,

They have been lying to you. About most everything.

First of all, your face won't freeze like that. It's just not possible. I mean, you do probably look dumb making that face and you should likely stop for social reasons. But trust me when I tell you that I have seen my husband make every face in the book and never once has his face frozen that way. I mean, honestly. Once he looked at me, made a strange face, and when I asked him what it was about, he proudly announced that he had never made that particular face before and wanted to share it with me.

So anyway, no. It won't freeze.

And school. Oh man, they are totally screwing you on that deal. Elementary school is a joke. You can skate through that one. And middle school? Unimportant. You should keep your GPA high during high school, but after you get accepted to college you can skip out on the work during your senior year, so really, let's be honest, you only have to apply yourself for three years total.

Also? You will not be held back for failing gym and you will probably not use the calculus or physics you are learning. If you're not going to be an engineer or something similarly smart, you can stop paying attention there too. The most math I do on a daily basis is adding and subtracting up to 90 seconds from a time code, and I work in a semi-technical field.

And that whole texting and driving thing?

Well, that one's pretty sound. Don't do that.

And when you are six and throwing a fit, screaming and yelling and being angry and dramatic and adorable and hilarious, the adults around you will look like this:




And when you scream "STOP LAUGHING AT ME!" they will compose themselves and say "we're not laughing at you! We're laughing at... something else!"

Don't believe them. They were totally laughing at you.

I would have preferred Kristen Wiig

There are a quite a few moral issues that I am annoyingly strict about. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and there are no exceptions.

It is absolutely wrong to steal music, software, or other intellectual property even though it's easy. I don't download music illegally. I just don't.

Everything in the Bible is true. No matter what modern society says about it.

If you're going to make one lasagna, you might as well make two because it's the same amount of work. Freeze it for later or give it away to somebody who needs a pick-me-up. But never make one lasagna.

And you just don't break the rules with coupons.

One manufacturer's coupon per item. One store coupon per item. Read and follow the rules and conditions on the coupon. Never try to slip in a coupon for a different store or mismatched product if you're not supposed to use it. Don't make copies of printable coupons. And never ever try to use manufacturer's coupons after the expiration dates.

These are the golden rules of couponing, and I follow them religiously. In fact, my friend Eric teases me about my goody-two-shoes method of coupoining. But if you don't do it right? You ruin it for everybody else.

Case in point: Target today.

Evidently some bad couponers have shoved a stick up this cashier's... nose. Because she had quite an attitude the moment I brought out my coupons.

I had eight items and 16 coupons - 8 store coupons, and 8 manufacturer's coupons. Following me so far? One store coupon and one manufacturer's coupon for each item I had. Which, for the record, is totally in line with Target's coupon policy.

One of the manufacturer's coupons happened to have come from a catalina in Kroger, and though it said "redeemable at Kroger" on the side, it also said "manufacturer's coupon" and had a double barcode that began with a "5," which meant that if Target were to send this coupon into the manufacturer, they would get the money back just like any other manufacturer coupon they send in.

It's how it works; trust me. I'm not new at this.

The woman took one look at the coupon and rolled her eyes.

"You can't use this," she snapped, eyeing the stack of coupons under it and the many boxes of Prevacid on the belt. "It says you have to use it at Kroger."

"Actually," I replied politely, "it's a manufacturer's coupon. You can use it at Kroger, but the manufacturer will still pay you back for it if you send it from here."

"No. You can't use it here," she rolled her eyes again at me. I paused, a little surprised at how sharp her tone was and much more bothered by that than her not letting me use the coupon.

"Would you mind if we asked a manager about this? I'm certain that this is a manufacturer's coupon," I said, as I pointed to the GIANT LETTERS THAT SAID "MANUFACTURER'S COUPON" THAT WERE TYPED ACROSS THE TOP.

She called the nearest employee over (I am almost convinced that he was not, in fact a manager at all, but just another cashier) and he glanced at it, said "no, it says Kroger on it," and handed it back.

"Okay, that's fine," I replied, taking the coupon. "Just take one of the boxes off and I'll just use this some other time."

More eye-rolling commenced.

"Is she even allowed to get this many?" the snotty cashier asked her 'manager.' "Isn't there, like, a limit or something?"

Um. WHAT? Is there a limit on how many non-sale items I can purchase from your store at once!?


Sorry, ma'am, you have too many grapefruits here. You're going to have to put some of them back.

A full shopping cart? Well that just won't do. You have far too many items to be shopping at this Target.

I know you want to buy shoes for all your kids, sir, but we have a strict three-item policy. You're going to have to choose which kids are going barefoot this school year.

Fortunately, she let me purchase my now seven items. Lucky me.

The rest of the time spent scanning the coupons was full of loud sighs and more eye-rolling (in a store that was very nearly empty at the time, by the way, so I'm not sure what she was in such a hurry about).

When I finally walked out a few minutes later, she had succeeded in making me feel like a terrible burden on this store as well as a liar, and as a result I was pretty sure I didn't need to "bother" them again with my purchasing so many items at once there.


When I got to my car, I opened the bag and counted the boxes of Prevacid once again to make sure that she had included all of them. With the attitude on that one, I wouldn't have been surprised if she had thrown a few boxes in the trash while I wasn't looking.

Eight. There were eight boxes. She forgot to take the one she removed from the receipt out of the bag.

And since I am the kind of person who tries to cheat Target by using bad coupons there, I am obviously the kind of person who flat-out steals stuff she didn't buy. So I peeled out and never looked back.

Just kidding. I took the box back in to face more icy blank stares. Good thing we get rewarded in heaven for that kind of crap, because Target certainly didn't want me back in their store, regardless of what I was doing there.

The ironic thing is, when she handed me the receipt as I was leaving the first time, a catalina printed out.

It was another manufacturer's coupon, much like the one they had refused to scan from Kroger, that says it can be redeemed at Target.

But I have a feeling that a Kroger cashier will be happy to scan that for me when I choose to spend my money at their store instead.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ten keys to happiness

Or, at the very least, ten keys to a 60% or higher decrease in your my stress level.

1) Keep the house clean.

2) Drink gingerbread lattes much and often.

3) Shower and choose the next day's clothes at night.

4) Have a meal plan.

5) Always perform well at work but recognize that you are technically just there for a paycheck and that's okay too because it means weekends with that guy you like so much.

6) Have a husband who does nice things for you.

7) Choose not to watch that horrific Private Practice that everyone is talking about, even though it's still on your DVR.

8) Just give in and let the dog onto the bed with you in he mornings.

9) Quit things that are stressing you out.

10) Go order yourself another gingerbread latte.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Merry something-or-other - CSN giveaway!

Update - And the winner is - Lisa! Congratulations, Lisa. I'll e-mail you your gift certificate!

--

So, I completely forgot that CSN contacted me again while I was in Orlando about doing a giveaway here. (Ridiculous inbox, much?) If you'll recall, they're the company that has 200 stores to choose from with everything from bar furniture to cookware.

But! Now it's just in time for Christmas! So if you'd like a chance to win a $35 promo code to the CSN stores, leave a comment here. Any old comment will do. Extra points if you make me laugh.

Extra entries:

-Tweet about this giveaway
-Tell me why I ride BikeMS.
-Tell me what the two digiscrap stores I sell at are (hint: you'll find that on the blinkies on the sidebar over on the craft blog).
-Tweet something nice to my friend @gitzengirl

That's 5 possible entries. Leave a comment for each one you do. I'll have random.org choose a winner on Saturday, November 13.

That's not how I thought the day would go

When I checked into the hotel last Thursday morning, Jack hadn't arrived yet.

"Checking in today," the hotel worker bee read from his computer screen "and checking out Monday?"

"Yes... wait. Monday?" I repeated, confused. "We should be checking out Sunday."

"Well, it looks like you've paid on Expedia through Monday," he replied.

"Oh no," I said, "I'll bet he accidentally paid for an extra day." That's something I've certainly done before several times. There was nothing we could do about it now.

When Jack got there a few hours later, I informed him of his mistake.

"What do you mean?" he asked. "We're not leaving until Monday."

"What? I thought we were leaving on Sunday," I replied.

"Nope, I told you about it while you were talking to Ellyn on Skype a few weeks ago," he said.

That explains why I don't remember. I guess I should listen more when he talks.

I e-mailed work and let them know that I was skipping out on work yet another day (Owen called me sneaky). Jack didn't have that luxury, since the taekwondo school was open on Monday and he had to be there to teach classes, but we enjoyed our long weekend at Universal Studios and the Disney parks. I missed no opportunity to rub it in Jack's face that I was going to get home on Monday afternoon and have the day to nap and relax while he would have to go straight to work.

And then karma said "OH NO YOU DI'NT" With a z-snap and everything.

So we had to be outside the hotel at 5 a.m. for the airport shuttle, which means we were up at 4. We arrived at the airport to very long bag-check and security lines, but it didn't matter, because we had all kinds of time before our 8:30 flight.

So we sat. And I played with my new iPhone (oh yeah, by the way, I joined the cult. GAAAAG). And an hour later, we got on the plane.

And that's when they told us that there was a mechanical problem. So we sat there for 30 minutes. And then an hour. And then two. And then, finally, they let us get off the plane and try to find new flights.

And we did!

Though New York City!

And while I am not the foremost expert on geography, I am quite confident that the fastest way to Dallas from Orlando is not through New York City.

Exhibit A:





YES, it is my own artwork, and NO, I do not sign autographs.

But we were in pretty good spirits, even after the 5 hour wait and the next 12 hours of travel that had been promised us. Our waiter at the airport Outback Steakhouse was like "Wow! You two have such a great attitude about your ridiculous flight delay!" and we were all "Whatevs! We are awesome flexible people! At least we get to go home tonight now please bring some more barbecue sauce for our delicious chicken fingers nom nom nom!"

When we finally arrived at JFK airport 4 hours later, I realized that Metalia was not, in fact, overreacting about the barefoot in a New York City airport experience. I really, really thought she was when I read that blog entry. And now, I really, really don't.

That airport was ROUGH. Plus? New York City = bedbugs! ACK! Activate crazy-Mandy mechanism. (Suitcases didn't come inside for a few days, and when they did, they went into the bathtub to be steam-cleaned at a later date and carefully moderated for signs of tiny evil eggs hatching until then. All the clothing we were wearing got washed in hot water immediately upon returning home. Jack met with his lawyer to start drawing up certain papers.)

And of course, the flight home was delayed again in New York. So we were stuck there, in the crowded, dirty, smelly hellhole that is JFK airport. WITH A PIGEON IN THERE WITH US I KID YOU NOT IT WAS FLYING AROUND AND NOBODY WAS EVEN SURPRISED. For 20 minutes. Then 30. Then an hour. Then an hour and a half. And with every flight delay announcement, Jack simply burst into wild maniacal laughter like a crazy person. I would have joined him, but I was pretty much completely numb all over except for a giant throbbing headache.

THAT AIRPORT BROKE US. That's what it took, Outback steakhouse waiter. JFK airport for six hours is what it took.

When we finally boarded the plane that was supposed to take us back to Dallas, I fully expected it to break down before we took off. Or crash after we took off. Or just disappear like the plane in LOST. And then I would get pregnant on the island and The Others would steal my baby. Was this Oceanic flight 815? THAT'S FINE. WE'LL BUILD A HUT WHEN WE GET TO THE ISLAND I JUST WANT TO GO TO BED.

But shockingly, it didn't do any of those things. It landed in Dallas 3 hours later, and we dragged ourselves to baggage claim, fully expecting that by now Sawyer had gone through our bags and removed and stored all the stuff he could use as leverage later on the island.

But they were there too! As was our car. And I didn't even leave my keys somewhere else this time.

Progress.

But even with the ability to get into our car, we still got home at one in the morning. Which meant that we had been traveling for 21 straight hours (it only takes 18 hours to drive from Orlando to Dallas, by the way).

I don't think we'll be traveling again for a while. Especially on Delta Airlines.