Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A lesson in gravity

Night before last, my friend, Tracey, called to see if we'd like to head up to the snow in our local mountains. The Princes loves the snow, so we made plans to head up about noon on Monday.

We caravaned with some other friends. As we made our way up the mountain, it was clear that there were lots of other people with the same idea. My friend and I smelled something burning as we drove, but her car didn't indicate a problem, so we kept on going. The Prince kept saying "I have a bad feeling about this," when he saw how many cars were heading up.

These are the cars lined up along the road.

When we got up to the area where the kids could sled, I had second thoughts. It was really crowded. I figured since we'd driven for awhile to get there we could just play it by ear.

"T" and The Prince set off and quickly put a lot of distance between us and them. They were motivated to use those snow discs.

It was a beautiful day. And I wore the WRONG shoes. Cowboy boots, to be exact. I kept slipping and sliding, and I fell farther and farther behind. The boys headed straight for an area with a very steep slope.

This is the slope.

And this? The Prince on a backboard, waiting to be loaded into the ambulance. On his first try down that hill (which I would have told him NOT to go down had I been close enough to tell him), The Prince hit a bush and went airborne. I was thinking, "He's dead." I honestly thought that. I couldn't move very fast, but a very nice man grabbed my arm and got me over to where the Prince was lying on the ground, face down. Some other strangers were asking him questions about his legs and arms and neck, and my friends (who all wore much more practical shoes for the snow) were all around him. He said his neck hurt. And then I saw the blood on the snow. The left side of his face is badly scraped, and he cut his lower lip.

I finally decided to call 9-1-1 because I was worried about his neck, and didn't want to make him walk across the slippery snow to get back to the car and go to the hospital. I had to get to a snack booth because none of our cell phones had reception up in the mountains.

I will never forget how calm Cherie was in talking to me and The Prince (and tending his wounds), and how Tracey waited for hours in the parking lot of the hospital in case we were discharged quickly and she could get us home, or how Sandy and Kellee offered their snow boots so that he wouldn't slip on the snow (when were thinking we were going to walk him to the car), and how Josiah and Tyler helped carry the backboard with the paramedics. All the kids and parents were so concerned about The Prince, and they never even got to enjoy the snow yesterday, and no one complained at all.

The Prince is feeling very self-conscious about his face. I looked at him from the time of the accident until we were discharged, but he won't let me see his face now. He is wearing his father's welding mask around the house. I'm not kidding.

I feel blessed that he wasn't badly hurt (in the scheme of things), and that so many people, strangers and friends alike, were there to help.

And that burning smell on the way up? It was the brakes on Sandy's van. They were smoking on the way down the hill, and a wonderful stranger honked and yelled and got Sandy to pull over so he could tell her! They had to sit for awhile before they could head down again, but had to pull over a second time! I'm telling ya, the day was kinda cursed.

So, rather than a warm, fuzzy Christmas post, this is what you get. Sorry 'bout that. But, I will be back with Christmas pictures soon.

FYI, I got The Prince's permission to take his picture, and to post it here. I told him he'd want to show the pictures around someday...a long time from now.

Blessings to you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Did y'all have a Merry Christmas?

We did. It was very nice. Pictures to come, but right now, I have to give a shout out to Lou. She is having a giveaway on her blog, one which I am entering. She is giving away $150 worth of scrapbooking supplies from Cosmo Cricket. I have to say, I cannot get enough of scrapbooking supplies. They are too much fun. In fact, I have probably collected enough stuff to last me awhile. Now, I've gotta get scrapbooking!

I'll be back soon with Christmas pics.

Blessings to you!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm done, are you?

I'm starting a trend: Every one of my post titles will be a question. What a gimmick! I'll become like Pioneer Woman, with readers coming out of my ears! I'll get to go on a talk show...to talk about my incredibly clever post titles. Then, I'll make up my own calendar to be sold for charity. Then, my husband will become a very hot cowboy. Yeah, yeah, I know, ain't gonna happen. I like my hubby just the way he is, and he did wear cowboy boots to our wedding.

Anyway, I just realized that apart from a very few stocking stuffers, I am done Christmas shopping. How cool is that? The kids started a tradition a few years ago of wrapping each other's stocking stuffers, so I don't have to do any of it! That leaves me with the parents, my niece and my brother to wrap for. I love it! I kept things simpler this year, so there isn't that much to do, but it's even better than I planned.

In other news, we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific today.

My friend "L" got attacked by the birds as soon as she walked into the Lorikeet Habitat. She has nectar in a little cup that they just lap up. And that little cup? Three blinkin' dollars!!! Just ridiculous, but it works great if you want to be in a scene from "The Birds."

Do I look nervous? I have a long history of being pooped on by birds (starting at the age of 2; I'm not kidding) so these guys had me a little intimidated...and hoping I wouldn't have to figure out how to get bird poop out of my hair later on.

Here's The Prince and his buddy, "T." They're harrassing the sea anemones and starfish.

And here's The Princess and Cousin "B" doing the same, though I think they were tickling rather than harrassing. It's a girl thing.

And this, my friends, is what I call "Success!" This darling otter was moving so fast most of the time that I couldn't get a good picture of him. The flash made an unattractive bright spot on the pictures, so I had to get in close to the very dirty, smudgy glass. FINALLY, he paused to look at us weird humans, and I got him!!! Isn't he the cutest?!

Once agan, I have written the most non-cohesive post I could muster. This time, no alcohol involved, so I have no idea why this is so.

Hope you have a blessed weekend!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow in Southern California

Well, the forecast says rain, but I'm seeing snow, are you?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Now, if you've ever seen the movie "A Christmas Story," you will not pronounce that title in the typical American way...think Italian..."Fra-geel-aa!"

One of the big differences in the upbringing of The Gearhead & I is that my family celebrates all the holidays (in a secular way, for the most part, but they rock the gifts and the dinners, etc.). When the Gearhead's fraternal grandmother died, so did all the family get-togethers. Seriously. This was all before my time, but I have never been to a non-funeral family gathering with The Gearhead's entire family. So, The Gearhead's view of holidays is quite, what I feel to be, watered down.

Case in point: Valentine's Day. Direct quote from The Gearhead: "It's a Hallmark holiday." Thus, no celebration (at least after we got married).

Case in point: My birthday. Until a few years ago, no gift. My family did all the planning and gift-giving. Otherwise? No birthday. That has improved, I have to say.

Case in point: Christmas. If I didn't get gifts for our kids, for his family, for my family, there wouldn't be any gift-giving. He'd just rather let it go on by, without a big fuss.
After 17, almost 18, years of marriage, I'm kinda getting used to it. There are times when I get really upset about it, but for the most part, I deal.

So, the other night, The Gearhead decided to watch "A Christmas Story." We own it. I was sitting in this very spot before the computer, listening to him guffaw throughout. The man rarely watches a movie, and even more rarely will he watch the same movie more than once, so this was a big deal. When the movie was over, he said, "There, now I've had Christmas. If nothing else happens for Christmas, I'm happy." WHAAAA???!!!!! Have y'all seen "A Christmas Story?" I just can't imagine it completing anyone's Christmas dreams. But, that's just me, I guess. He did mention that he'd seen on the internet that you could actually buy one of those fishnet stocking lamps and have it delivered in a big wooden box, just like in the movie. Here's a link to the scene, if you haven't seen it before: "Fishnet Stocking Lamp."

The Gearhead's birthday was this weekend. He is really hard to buy for, so I usually just tell him to get something he wants. He does that anyway, all year long, so it's just kinda blah. I was at a music store, and they had these for sale:

Oh yeah, baby. I bought one. That's what he got for his birthday. It got quite the chuckle out of him.

Happy Birthday, Biscuit!!!! :)

FYI: The cohesiveness of this post is questionable. Therefore, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to be honest. I had a drink tonight when my dear ol' dad began telling my husband's friend one of his war stories - loudly - ad nauseum. So, if this post doesn't make complete sense, let's just chalk it up to that, 'k? Thanx.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Praying for Obama

Just realized it's Tuesday!

Lord, I pray for President-elect Obama. I ask, Lord, for Your influence in his life, for him to truly turn his heart towards You, to seek YOUR will for our country. Thank you for being all knowing, and all powerful. In Jesus' Name.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

I knew it! I get the guy! :) Yippee!!! Oh yeah, I'm married with children already. Oh, well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Praying for the President-elect

Daja had this idea straight from God, and I decided to join with her in praying for our President-elect.

So, I'll join Daja in praying that a strong, Godly black man comes along side him to guide him. My own prayer is that he reconsiders reinstating UNFPA. I don't understand why we should fund abortions in America, much less in China (for instance), where abortions are forced on mothers who have already had a child.

As Daja said, feel free to use the picture above, and join us in praying fervently for President-elect Obama.


Monday, November 17, 2008

I can't believe it's Monday already. The weekends don't have that much kick when you are a stay-at-home mom. That is my title now, since I work so infrequently that I can't really count it. I've wanted this since before my kids were born, but this is the first time it's happened, and not because we were planning it, per se. And thus, the financial problems. Oh, well.

I am trying to get the grocery bill down, and it sure is helps that gasoline is $2.39 today, versus over $4.00 a few weeks ago. I joined The Grocery Game recently. I had used it years ago, and cut our grocery bill to about $40 per week. I stopped because we had no more room for the stockpile!!! I use it differently now, but it is helping a little bit.

The Prince and I are heading to Disneyland on Wednesday, because it's The Happiest Place on Earth, and that's where I need to be! We bought the tickets a long time ago, and they are expiring soon. I get to go twice, this time with The Prince, then with The Princess in a couple weeks. We had to buy four tickets, but The Gearhead doesn't like Disneyland (sick puppy that he is).

Blessings to you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The one where I lose my mind

Are ya sick to death of the word "Texas" yet? I AM! So, I'm going to think about it tomorrow, 'k?

Pictures, that's what I need!

The kids have been participating in a public speaking class with our homeschool co-op. They were not happy about it, but The Gearhead and I insisted. This is how the table looked at my friend's house, whose kids were partnered with mine for the second assignment, which was a debate.

"D" and The Princess were working for 8 hour stretches at times to learn all they could about the topic of the debate. They had to learn both sides, and be able to argue both. "D's" mom and I probably put as much work into it as the kids did. We felt quite overwhelmed at times, but figured everyone else felt the same way. We found out that they certainly did. The kids did great (especially these two).


This is our piano. Well, truth be told, it's my in-laws piano. It was given to my husband's grandmother when she was a teenager, and the tuner told us it was about 90 years old. It hadn't been tuned in years, and since The Prince is taking piano lessons, we decided to get it over to our house and get it tuned. See that lovely pile that the tuner (Vick) is pointing to? That, my friends is a mouse's nest. There were droppings inside the piano all over the place. Additionally, there were little paper parts that were completely gone from mice having eaten them. So, our tuning project went from about $150, to a whopping $300. Luckily, the in-laws paid. I love in-laws.

Vick was at our house for about 3-1/2 hours. I had never seen all the inner workings of a piano, so it was quite fascinating. Did you know that when they do the actual tuning, it's so repetitive and soothing that people fall asleep? Both The Prince and my mother-in-law fell asleep while he was tuning! The Princess and I weren't here, or I would have gotten pictures.

The Prince was overjoyed that he finally got to play a real piano at home. The keyboard just wasn't the same, so it's been relegated to church for Sundays only, since he can't very well cart a piano to church.

Man, are you as bored as I am, now?

The Princess and I are headed out to see my niece sing at an opera recital.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm a real blogger! I have a troll!! And, THE GEARHEAD SPEAKS!!! Oh yes, he does.

If you look in the comments from the last blog post, you will see this, a comment by "Anonymous":

Why Texas?? I am sick of Cali people coming here, this is a very conservative state, the last thing we need is Californians driving up home values here.

Don't mess with Texas, stay in your land of high taxes, state income taxes and gay marriage.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term "troll" in the Internet world, a troll is one who posts inflammatory comments anonymously, as this person did. I chose to publish it, because it goes to show how narrow-minded and judgmental people can be, and I want to warn those of you who are just starting blogs (Hi Cherie!) that they are out there. You NEVER have to post anonymously, as some would have you believe. All you have to do is make a profile with Blogger, which doesn't have to have a blog attached. Also, I do have one friend who posts as "anonymous," and then signs her name in the comment, so I know it's her. This person did not do that.

I am going to answer said "Anonymous" aka "Coward," this time. But this is the last time:

Why Texas, you ask. Well, there is a laundry list of reasons. We have friends there, and we've visited a number of times in the past few years, and love it. We are very conservative, and are fish out of water here in our home state, despite living in one of the most conservative areas of the state. We plan on becoming Texans in every way if we move there. We are not white collar snobs (though not all white collar folks are snobs, in my experience). I'm not sure how moving there will drive up home values, but if you own a home there, and your home values go up, isn't that a good thing?

We voted "Yes" on Proposition 8. And it passed. Gay marriage is not legal here as of November 4, and I don't understand how our moving there has anything to do with that.

Oh, and for your information, Texas property taxes are higher than ours; so much higher than ours, they more than make up for our state tax. Your sales tax? THE SAME AS OURS (for now). Do your research, Mr. or Ms. Troll, before posting such uninformed garbage.

Blessings to you, Troll/Coward. You need all you can get.


The Gearhead speaks, y'all!!! He read the troll's comment, and had to jump in. Here ya go. Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions of said Gearhead do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of this blogger, but they come pretty darn close.

Gearhead here. I walk into my family room to be informed by my better half that her blog received it's first troll comment. Great! I can't pass up this opportunity, either.

I have been told by more than one native-born Texan that I will fit in Texas better than they do, and my family is very welcome . I can't wait to meet one of you in some Texas diner. You will not know me, but your fat, lazy, disrespectful carcass will be easy for me to pick out of a room full of the friendly, polite folks that most Texans are. The time will come when I'll over hear some self righteous local whining about something stupid, and I will be reminded of you and this here blog, and chuckle.

Take comfort in knowing that I pray to God that I follow His will in all areas of my life including how I vote. So here it is TROLL:

#1) If your concern is that we're not conservative enough for you, relax. Texas will become more RED if we show up. I have never been stupid enough to vote to tax ourselves on anything.

#2) If you are afraid you won't be able to buy a house, don't despair. If your Grandma hasn't kicked you out of her trailer yet, she probably won't just because we move there. (hahaha Trailer Troll)

#3) Gay marriage a problem for Christian families in Texas, too? You bet. I'm glad the citizens of the Texas state capital city didn't vote on our Prop 8. That would bring new meaning to the term "Cowboy Wedding."

All that said, I understand that a lot of Californians seem to bring too much pretentiousness with them. Trust me when I say, if I encounter a good example of this, I will introduce myself to them as "100% former Californian," and "Don't Mess with Texas." Also, understand it will take every strand of restraint I have to keep from slapping the cheap, knockoff, O.C. swap meet cologne off their poser, metro-sexual selves.

God, guts, and guns built this country! Got the guts to put your name on what you say? E-mail me, pal, we might be neighbors soon! ;) Greasy@dslextreme.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kinda fun meme

I love The Simple Life at Home - the blog and the reality, I 'spose.

Anyway, I decided to do this meme:

Bold the things you’ve done and will admit to:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I wish, fyi)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (well drawn, more like, but I bolded it anyway)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Johnny Depp, y'all - when he was about 18 or 19, and Sean Penn, and others who I can't think of. I live in So Cal, after all.)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (two!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sure wish I could bold the Paris ones. That's a dream I have; to go to Paris and see where my ancestors are from. Dijon, France - isn't that cool?

Anyway, if anyone wants to play, have at it, and be sure to leave me a comment so I can come see!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Revisiting Texas

I've spent the past few hours looking at property in Texas again. This may be the only way out of our financial problems. When we were talking about it at the beginning of the year, I have to say I was excited. I've never moved farther than five miles from my childhood home, so it seemed like an adventure. When the Gearhead finally said it wasn't going to happen, I tried to look at the bright side. I tried to relax in traffic, to enjoy the weather, to be thankful that I am here for my elderly parents.

Now? I'm not so excited. I did a great job of psyching myself into accepting our circumstances here. The reasons to move now are more concrete, like "If we stay here, we're just going to fall into more and more debt." I could go out and get a full-time job, but we've lived that fantasy before, and don't want to go back. I couldn't make enough to make all the stress and trouble worthwhile anyway.

Updates to come, I'm sure.


This is Breahna. Isn't she pretty?! She's my husband's cousin's daughter. She calls me "Aunt Claire," and has since she was little. She calls The Princess her other half. I'd have her living here if I could. I love this kid.

And here is La Princess. Yup, same dress. They were amazed that despite the fact they are shaped differently, they could both wear the same dresses.

This picture cracked me up. They thought this was a hoochie mama dress, so The Princess did a little dance to emphasize that fact.

They cannot resist the MySpace look. So goofy.

Have a good one, y'all. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I've been in a bit of a funk. Finances are super tight since my work nearly dried up. The Gearhead hasn't gotten as much side work as we would like, but is expecting a few checks soon. Our bills are paid, but I've had to charge groceries. We had done Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and I believe his philosophy (Biblically-based) is right on. However, when you don't have enough money to make ends meet, you can't very well pay off debt. I had sworn off credit cards, until there was no money for groceries.

All this to say, I have got to learn to stop worrying. God commands us to not be anxious, yet I am the anxiety queen.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard you hearts and your mind sin Christ Jesus." Phillippians 4: 4-7

Do I rejoice in the Lord always? Nope. Do I exhibit a gentle spirit, especially in stressful situations? Nope. I am so not everything that God has called me to be, and yet He gently guides me towards His heart.

It doesn't say that our prayers will be answered by God solving all our problems. It appears to me that merely praying and thanking and letting our "requests be made known to God" is what brings peace.

He grows us during trying times. Someone said recently, "Heaven would not seem as wonderful if our lives here were pain-free." I am not a citizen of this world, but of heaven. We should keep our minds on that, and realize that the trials here bring refinement.

The bottom line for me today is this: I worried, and fretted, and didn't sleep, and got angry. And then, I did some accounting for my notary business. I am not good at accounting, and only do it about twice a year. One company didn't pay me all year, to the tune of hundreds of dollars. It was a clerical error in their office. I am expecting that rather large check in the next few days, which will mean I don't have to charge groceries next week. The Gearhead is also expecting a couple payments, so maybe that will take us through the next month.

This is always how it goes. I have continued this same pattern for years. God is so patient with me. I am posting about this so that hopefully I will remember next time that He will not leave me or forsake me. We have never gone hungry (though a little less food would probably do me good). We have never missed a house payment, or even paid one late. We have decent clothes to wear. We drive old cars, but they get us where we need to go. And we have way more cars than drivers in this house. We are so spoiled in America!

I've been reading Pioneer Woman's blog this past week. Her husband and daughters were in the Dominican Republic with Compassion International. Please go there and look at the pictures they've been sending, and the ones her daughter took. I am ashamed to have complained about my situation.

Blessings to you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Come on everybody, here we gooooooo!!!!!!

This post actually should have come before the last one, chronologically speaking.

Ten points to whoever knows why I titled this post the way I did. It does have to do with Peter Pan, but I need more specificity than that.

The Princess was in yet another play, Peter Pan, a month or so ago. I think this was my favorite that she's done so far, besides Seussical. She was one of Tiger Lily's indians. Check out these pictures:

This the pristine dressing table, before everyone tore it up. These girls don't spent a lot of time cleaning up until after the show.

The girls all take turns doing each other's hair. The Princess has very thick, very curly hair, so she usually straightens it to make it more stylable.

This is Issa. She is a doll. She and her brother have been in many shows with The Princess. In fact, Issa's brother was her dance partner in A Christmas Carol last year (That' s him in the top hat, if you click on "A Christmas Carol")

This is Tiger Lily, aka Sarah. She's a kick. The kid is really talented, and she and The Princess really bonded on this show.

La Princess. Or, Ugga Wugga Princess, in this case.

You might be wondering what's up with The Prince. He was recently asked to play keyboard at The Junior High service at our church. He has really been loving it. He was upset this past Sunday because they had a guest there to lead worship. The Prince said to me "Mom, playing is how I worship! I don't sing!" He truly felt gipped!

This is Annie and Tudor. They are acting out a bible verse to help the kids memorize it.

Here's the Prince getting ready to play.

Here, some of the kids are doing hand motions to a praise song.

We got to babysit a sweet little guy last weekend. His name is Jon, and he loves Michael, and vice versa. We did our usual babysitting trip to the park.

Jon wasn't too sure about that slide, but he'll go anywhere The Prince is going.

Jon had a book about Jonah and the Whale, which is apparently his favorite. I think we read it twenty times while he was here!

I hope your week is going well, and that you feel God's presence in your comings and goings!

Be blessed!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When Dreams Come True...

When I was a little girl, I loved to dance. I took tap and ballet classes at the Parks & Rec. from the time I was about three. Not to toot my own horn, but the teachers always put me in the front row so the other girls could watch me. I have a talent for memorizing dance routines, I guess. :) So, yes I tooted my own horn. Sue me.

I took ballet with a very serious teacher until I was about 12. Then, I switched to tap for awhile. The last dance class I took at age 16 was tap. After that, I got into English (dressage) horseback-riding, and that took center stage (or center arena - whatev) for several years. During that same time, I was on the drill team at my high school. We were not a "military" style drill team, but a dance style. We had awesome choreography, and it kept me dancing for those four years.

A few years ago, The Princess was taking class at a local studio, and we both signed up for tap. The class had three different levels of tap students, and I was in the middle! Imagine, at 40 years old (and the oldest one in the class by about 20 years), and having not taken class since I was 16, I wasn't even the worst in the class! Unfortunately, the teacher was flaky, and he missed so many classes that we just quit.

The Princess has also taken dance since she was about 3 or 4 (can't remember which). She, too, started out at Parks & Rec. I remember she wouldn't dance at first. She just stood next to me with her little elbows digging into my leg, watching the other little girls carefully. She finally got up there to dance, and loved it.

When she was about 8, she took ballet with a wonderful teacher who lived just a few blocks from us, and taught from her converted back-house. The Princess did really well with that teacher, and stayed with her for about three years, until she got divorced and moved away. :(

The Princess decided to take a break from ballet. She started Jazz at another studio, and finally did start taking ballet again. The ballet teachers were a couple, he from Russian, she from Mexico, both of whom danced professionally. They really challenged The Princess, and she loved and hated it at the same time. Ballet is, after all, a discipline.

Then, she started taking class at yet a different studio. She was able to take Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, Acting, Voice and Creative Writing. She really didn't want to take ballet, but then realized that ballet is the basis for all other dance, and decided it was time to start again. The girl obviously has a love of performance, and I saw her grow so much during this time. However, it came to the point where she wasn't being challenged enough, her favorite ballet teacher quit, and the studio wasn't offering more advanced classes. A few weeks ago, we moved on to yet another studio. This time, my mom and dad offered to pitch in most of her tuition, which was the only way The Princess could have attended. Grandparents ROCK!

I haven't mentioned that she has decided to try to dance professionally. It's a huge commitment, and she knows it's a tough business, but she has to try. That's how dreams are, I think...a little on the crazy side.

And so, one of her dreams came true today. She has wanted to dance "en pointe" for years. She's talked about it, dreamed about it, hoped for it, and despaired that it would never happen. There were no pointe classes at her last studio, so the option wasn't even available...until now.


She must have tried on four pairs before the best fit was found. The lady helping us said "They will not be comfortable." There is a specific fit you want, though. And, she was wearing padded toe covers, which are hardly any padding at all, if you ask me.

They have a mini-dance floor, so you can try out the shoes.

And up she goes!

It was fun watching all this. The lady at the dance store (whose name I didn't get, darn it) was very knowedgable, and wanted to be sure The Princess's first toe shoes were just right.

Ta da!!! She isn't shaped like your traditional ballerina, but she can dance like nobody's business.

Regarding the "costume" changes: this kid knows that Mama's gonna take pictures, so she wore the skirt, and changed into knit ballet shorts while we were there, for a more balletic look, I 'spose.

Truth be told, this is kind of a dream come true for me, too. I was weeks away from going en pointe when I was about 12, but I flaked out. I just knew it was going to hurt, and it just wasn't worth it to me. I really regret that decision. And frankly, my feet are ugly anyway, despite not going en pointe.

And so, when the Princess sat there having her pointe shoes fitted, then got up and actually raised up onto her toes, I got a little teary-eyed. She is so much more goal-oriented than I ever was, and it makes me really proud.

Blessings to you!

I have another post hot on the heels of this one, so check back soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

I may have mentioned before that my housekeeping skills are less than stellar. For some unknown reason, my mom and dad never required me to do chores. In fact, my room was such a disaster area that they would just close the door.

Similarly, I was never taught to cook. When The Gearhead and I got married, it was a big joke among my friends that he'd be doing all the cooking, since I didn't even know how to boil water. I even got a little plaque at one of my showers that someone had made that said "Gearhead's Kitchen." Except, it said his real name. :-) He proudly mounted that sucker in plain view in our apartment's kitchen. It was a little demoralizing.

Eventually, I did learn to cook. And now? The Gearhead says I'm a good cook, and my mom says I'm a better cook than she ever was. I beg to differ, but I do know my way around the kitchen now.

So, a few weeks ago, I found a really awesome book called The G.I. (Glycemic Index) Diet by Rick Gallop, via my bloggy friend, Mel. She has had some success in the past with the diet (which is really just a healthy way of eating), and I really needed to get back to my weight loss efforts. Then, I got Living the G.I. Diet, also by Rick Gallop. Half of that book is a cookbook. I've been cooking up a storm since then, and everything so far has been really good. The Princess and the Gearhead have been eating everything I make. The Prince is so darn picky, so I never count on him to try new stuff. My friend, Cherie, has joined me in doing the diet. She had the fantastic idea to cook up some of snacks and trade half of them so we can try more things and have more variety.

I'm getting away from my original intent for this post.

So, last night, I cooked up two batches of soup: Navy Bean and Southwest Chicken and Bean. The Navy Bean isn't my favorite, but it's very filling. Again, per Cherie's advice, I let the soup cool a bit, then separated it into serving size freezer bags, and put them in to freeze. The Princess had the Southwest Chicken & Bean Soup before heading to the theater tonight, and LOVED it.

A little while ago, I decided to have some Navy Bean Soup. Only problem? I had put the bags on a steel wire shelf in the freezer, and the soup had frozen around the wire. The soup bag The Princess had was lying on top, so it wasn't affected, but the other seven bags were frozen solid onto the shelf. I had to laugh. It's so like me to not think ahead on stuff like that!

The Gearhead went to work, trying to pry the bags off the shelf.

That was not a fun job. It was as if they had become one with the shelf. I tried using a butter knife, but that was obviously not going to cut it (hehe I made a pun).

He finally had to take the shelf out of the refrigerator. I kept giggling my silly head off. He just shook his head. And sighed. And wondered how in the world I get along in life.

It finally came down to running warm water on the soup until it de-thawed enough to pry it off.

The soup is esconced in the freezer again. This time, I placed it in a metal pan, so it won't adhere to the inside of the freezer.

And that's how it's going here!!! How are you?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bad, bad blogger, Part Deux

Why oh why, can't I just post lately? I spend a lot of time on the computer, looking at other people's blogs, but can't seem to get myself to come here and post. I got a talkin' to today from Daja. She looks really nice, but she can sure guilt a person into doing her bidding!!! Just kiddin', Daja dahling.

Anyway, all is well here. Well, all is okay here. Times are tough all around, and we're feeling the pinch. The Gearhead is working like a dog to keep our heads above water. I haven't had a call for work in almost two weeks...yeah, it's that bad. But, God is good, and we have food to eat, and a place to live. Can't really complain, ya know?

Okay, I'll be back soon...I hope. I know I've made myself a liar more than once here, and I KNOW y'all are checking here DAILY, because my life is just.that.interesting. I'm sure I have pictures I haven't shared here, like our last couple trips to the beach (oh, so darn much fun), and to the County Fair (hot and expensive), and of my doggie's foot injury. My camera is all the way on the other side of my expansive (giggle, giggle) house, and I'm just too lazy to go get it. I'll post pics later. Maybe. If I feel like it.

Blessings to all,

Friday, August 22, 2008

If I'm a party girl...

...then why the heck am I home, on the computer, wondering why I have no recent emails (like in the past few hours), on a Friday night?! I did have a Mike's Lemonade tonight, so does that count as having a party (or being a party)? *sigh*

I don't need answers to those questions, by the way, because the answers are painfully clear.

The sad thing? I'll be checking here tomorrow morning to see if anyone as pitiful as me was looking at blogs on a Friday night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm where the fun happens

The Gearhead is on the rampage around here. He's working his full-time*much-hated* job, plus side work to keep our heads above water financially, and he's dealing with the pain of a hernia. All this adds up to a very grumpy, crabby, husband and Daddy.

I, unfortunately, am not the most disciplined person. This, of course, adds to my husband's angst. My house is usually a mess, my kids' rooms are a mess, and my life is generally unorganized. And truth be told, I like it that way. Well, except for the messy house thing; it would be nice to have a maid, but that's sure not in the cards, and I'm too busy living to clean like a demon. I'm kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. This irritates the Gearhead to no end. He calls me "Party Girl." He means it in a good and a bad way, I'm sure.

I've noticed that when I try to leave a room to go to another to read or just get some peace and quiet, the entire family follows me. I'll leave again, only to be followed AGAIN. Drives me crazy. I asked my son the other day why they all follow me. His response? "Mom, you're where the fun happens."

And there you have it. The Gearhead is right: I'm a party girl. I probably should have been the fun aunt instead of the mom, but I am what I am. My kids are growing up as undisciplined as I am in some ways, but I love the people they are growing into.

In other news, The Prince got asked to play keyboard on the worship team for Junior High at our church. The Princess is looking into taking ballet at a "serious" studio very soon. She is highly motivated to dance, and wants to do it professionally, eventually.

So, that's life here right now. Kinda crazy. I don't feel like we've had much of a summer break, and now we're gearing up to start school again! I am selling curriculum at a used curriculum sale this weekend, but my table will be more like never-used curriculum. Lots of homeschool moms buy stuff that they never even get to. And that's me. I don't think we'll be using abc workbooks at this point, so down the road they go.

Be blessed, and if your kids haven't yet started school again, enjoy them! :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He's home from camp

Oh, my.

The dog was pretty happy to see him. So was I.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm a bad, bad blogger

If anyone even checks here anymore, I apologize for being gone so long. We've had the busiest summer I can recall. The Princess especially has kept me on my toes with rehearsals, and classes, and social life. I can understand why some parents are happy when their kids can drive.

Okay, onto the pictures. I promised Bossy I'd post some of Seussical, so here goes. The performances took place on three weekends, after about six weeks of heavy-duty rehearsal.

That's the Glamazon (my other nickname for The Princess) on the left, with the blue beret. She was the tallest cadet, so not hard to see. The boy on the far left played JoJo. A boy or a girl can play the part. He was fantastic.

Here's the Glamazon in her Who costume, minus the shoes.

Here she is again with her friend, "D." (What's with the shoe deficit?! I just noticed this...)

And here are she and "D" as Hunches. I couldn't figure out what the heck a Hunch was, but if you see the show, it will become clear, sort of. (Ack, this time the other one doesn't have shoes!)

There were many tears from the cast at the cast party. The whole group really bonded during the grueling rehearsal schedule, and many of them probably won't meet up again. *sigh*

La Princess is off to a movie with friends today. I'm supposed to be cleaning, but ya know what? Almost anything sounds better than cleaning, so not much has gotten done.


The Prince is off at camp this week, and I am really missing him. His camp experience last year was less than stellar (there was a bully involved), so I'm a little nervous this year. However, he has grown so much, and gotten so strong, that the bullies better watch out.


Um, I never posted pics of my Texas trip. Well, I'm not going to. It's all "Here's me scrapbooking. Here's Nat scrapbooking. Here's the CM consultant, um, scrapbooking. Here are our roommates...scrapbooking. Oh, and here's us eating, in between - you guessed it - scrapbooking." Blah, blah, blah. So, never mind on that.

In current scrapbooking news, I feel like an absolute junkie. I can't drive by a Michael's or a JoAnn's without stopping and seeing what's new. The coupons I get every couple weeks never go to waste. Never. I dream about lay-outs. I finally decided that I'm going to set up a table here in our family room so that I can scrapbook whenever I want instead of waiting for events to go to.

Do you know what the Gearhead said? He said, "Now you know what it's like to have a hobby." He's so right. I kind of get how he obsesses about cars and engines and parts, etc. It's all becoming clear.


Tea. We do tea a lot. My mom loves to take me and the granddaughters to tea. So, here we are, sipping away. (Please note the pinkies.) The tea room had hats to wear, so we tried on about 20 different ones each.

Here we are. My mom only has three grandkids, and two are girls (obviously).

This is me. Yeah, I know. Everyone thinks it's The Princess when they first see it! She took the picture, and told me to take my glasses off. So, now I'm looking at getting contacts. I actually LIKE this picture!

And here's my darling niece. She can hardly do a picture with a straight face. She's very funny.

I'm thinkin' this post has gotten mega-long, and there is way too much to catch up on, so I'll just start over. Hi, my name is Claire, and I'm a bad, bad blogger. But, I'll try harder! I swear!

May you be richly blessed today and always!