Wednesday, July 28, 2010

About To Go Home... Or About To Leave Home?

I'm always torn when it comes time to go home... On the one hand, I miss Maggie and Abigail (oh so badly!) and Maryland, but on the other hand, if home is where the heart is then Alabama is at least halfway home. Khy is getting so big so fast, and while I am so grateful that I'm in a place right now where I can get down to see he and Robin somewhat often, it kills me to miss all those little day to day moments. :(

But anyway...

It's been a great week. :) An incredible week, actually. It's been the perfect mix of downtime and adventure and comfortable old routines and change. I'll do a recap post later, but I just wanted to share some highlights from the trip.

The craziest thing we did all week? Well, besides falling down an escalator with the stroller in the aquarium (long story!)... we dyed our hair! I am still amazed that I actually went through with this. But Robin was going to dye her hair the day before I arrived, and then their water went out, so she had to put it off. The next day we were in Target, and I went ahead and bought my own box of dye. Robin went golden-brown, I went with a copper-reddish brown. We're both brunettes by nature, so it wasn't really a big deviation, but Robin ended up with nice golden highlights and I ended up with nice red undertones. We were terrified that we'd do it wrong and our hair would A) turn green or B) fall out, but we followed the directions to the letter and it went just fine. :) I've been so frustrated with my hair lately, with all the heat and humidity lately, it's become ridiculous, but the dye job seem to have plumped out the strands and restored some body and glossiness.

Khy has gotten SO BIG since I've been here last. He's sitting up and reaching for things he wants - mostly everybody's food, lol - and playing with toys, and generally just being a ton of fun. We went swimming with him one day and he had a ball splashing. :) I can't believe how much he's grown since the last time I got to hold him (below).

He loves his Bumbo seat. :) I took about a million pictures of him playing, and I think he got a little annoyed towards the end.

His mama is gorgeous, as always. :) I love watching his eyes light up whenever she comes in the room - my best friend is an incredible mom, just like I knew she would be. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mary Poppins!

Today at VBS one of the other little girls (probably about 4 years old?) came up and asked if she could sit on my lap. I was sitting on the floor with the other kids, and I told her she could, so she plopped down and studied Abigail (who was playing a few feet away).

"I was up sooo late last night!" she suddenly announced.

"What were you doing up so late?" I asked.

"We went to the movie theatre," she told me. "The movie was sooo funny. But at the end, my brother (who I think is around eight or nine?) cried."

"What did you see?" I asked.

She wrinkled her nose and thought for a few minutes. "I don't remember!" she finally said sadly.

There are only two G or PG movies out this week, so I took a guess. "Did you see Toy Story 3?"

She immediately brightened up. "YES! and it was SO FUNNY!"

"I saw that, too!" I told her. "I thought it was very funny, and I cried at the end just like your brother!"

She thought about this for awhile. "Did Abigail go see it with you?" she asked.

I shook my head. "No, I didn't take Abigail with me."

"Who stayed with Abigail?" she wanted to know.

"Abigail's mommy and daddy stayed with her," I told her.

She looked at me, then at Abigail, then back again."Well, WHO are YOU?" she demanded (interpretation: you're not Abby's mommy?!?!!?).

"I'm Abigail's nanny," I explained. "I come to Abigail's house in the morning when her mommy and daddy go to work. She and I are buddies who spend the day together."

This concept still seemed a little strange to her, so I tried again."I'm like Abigail's babysitter, except I babysit every day."

Suddenly her eyes lit up. "Like Mary Poppins!!!"

Yeah, kid. Like Mary Poppins. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun Stuff

Today Maggie was having friends over, so I helped her fix a special lunch: pasta salad with tons of veggies, oat and chocolate bars, and watermelon spritzer (messy to make but SO GOOD!). When I was done doing that, I went ahead and prepped tonight's dinner, Spicy Moroccan Bread Salad from an old issue of Every Day With Rachel Ray. I sneaked a bite and it is oh so good! :) It's not really spicy, just very earthy with a nice crunch from the celery. Not all of my family likes raisins, so I'm leaving them on the side, but I'll definitely be enjoying them on my portion!

This afternoon I went shopping for the supplies to make lasagna for a friend for co-op who woke up one day last month having suddenly lost the hearing in one ear. This week, my aunt and uncle lost a family member unexpectedly. :( Life is fragile. This sounds a little cruel, but it's really not. Every day is a porcelain vase than could easily be shattered. What a reminder to me to treat every day and every person in my life as the treasure that they are!

In short, the kitchen and I will be spending some quality time together!

Also interesting: last night I was able to do a full workout on my WiiFit without the pain from my hip forcing me to stop - even my yoga routine! I was super excited about this, since I've missed it, and my hip felt great afterwards (I was able to stretch and bend and was completely pain-free!). Then in the middle of the night, I was up for several hours, unable to find a position that didn't cause my hip to protest. I finally was able to go back to sleep, and when I woke up, my hip pain was gone again. So, I'm a little sleepy from the interupted night, but feeling hopeful. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Computer!

As many of you know, I have been in the market for a new computer for awhile. I originally wanted to replace my faithful Dell 15" Inspiron, which I love but have outgrown in terms of memory and storage. I wanted something smaller, with a considerable storage upgrade (I had 30 G's of hard drive space in the Inspiron and wanted at least 160). I looked at netbooks but changed my mind when I found out none of them had CD/DVD drives, since I did a lot of movie-watching and music-playing on my machine. But I didn't love the price or models of any full-size laptops, either, so I was kind of stymied. I had the money to get a new machine, but I didn't like anything, so I quit looking.

Well, right after I quit looking I was given a TV and a DVD player, so I quit watching movies on my computer. A little later, I upgraded to a new Sansa Fuze which had enough memory to hold most, if not all of my music collection, and bought a pair of speakers to sync with it. After a few weeks, I realized I hadn't pulled out my computer to do any DVD-watching or music playing in awhile, and I started to reconsider the idea of a netbook.

I love my Dell, so when I went computer shopping my first stop was the Dell website, and my first consideration was the Dell Mini10. I will say I think it's a great machine for the price ($250) and has great features, but when I went to Best Buy to see one in person, I hated it. I hated the design, I hated the way the keyboard was arranged, the feel of it, etc. The funny part was I didn't want to hate it- I wanted to love it! I kept trying to talk myself into it - it was a great price, I'd adjust, etc - but I knew that that wasn't the computer I wanted.

Then a few days ago I walked into Wal-Mart to see their new netbooks, and the HP Mini210 netbook was there, and I fell totally in love with it. I loved the design, I loved the features (3 USB ports! And a card reader! AND I found an older model that still ran Windows XP, which is what I wanted!). I brought it home, set it up, and voila! I am in love.

It runs like a dream. It's super-fast compared to my old machine, and the idea of having 160 gigs to fill up with good stuff - let's just say I'm loving it! Best of all, I love that when I want to go places, all I have to do is drop it into my purse, not lug around a whole other laptop bag.

I'll still be holding onto my Inspiron, at least for now. It'll be useful for ripping and burning CD's, writing marathons (bigger keyboard), and as a "portable desktop". But I'm pretty thrilled with my new machine! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010


One of Abigail's most often-used words is "again!" When I throw her up in the air and she comes down laughing, the first thing that she says is "Again!" When we go down the slide at the playground, the second her feet touch the ground - "Again!" When the Pooh Bear movie reaches the end... "Again!" :)

One of the blogging fads that began just before New Year's was to pick one word to live by in the coming year. I'm not bashing the concept - I did this two or three years ago on my own, when my one word was "balance." My life had spun crazy out of balance: I was working overnights almost full time, carrying an eighteen credit courseload, and involved in church ministries, extracurriculars, etc. I never saw my family, never came home for dinner, was carrying the equivalent of $100,000 in sleep debt, and was just generally miserable. Having that one-word check helped me make major and minor changes that radically changed my life. When I registered for classes, I looked at the school/work schedule I had created and asked, "Is this balanced? Do I have enough time to sleep, to shower, to rest? Will I make it home for dinner at least more often than not?" When I thought about taking on a new ministry, I thought, "Will this upset my balance of rest and work? Will I have the time to prepare for it?" It was a really long year of learning to say "No" and learning I wasn't superman, but I look back at that year and I think, "If I hadn't gotten myself together that year, I would have been stuck in the rat race forever."

It didn't solve all my life's problems, but it sure did help! I got enough sleep, I had enough time to do homework, and I didn't dread going to work anymore since I was well-rested.

I didn't pick a word to live by this year, but if I had to now, I think I'd choose "Again." This has been the year of trying, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, and getting up and trying again.

This is such a truly freeing concept! There's always such pressure to get it right the first time - "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression." "Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time." - but the truth is, few things in life are a do or die situation. When I met my best friend for the first time, we walked away hating each other. Now, more than ten years later, our friendship is one of the things that keep me going during hard times. I applied three different times for my previous job, and never got called back (I found out later the hiring manager didn't like my handwriting, lol). When they had open interviews I tried again and got the job.

These days, I'm living in the power of "again." When I think I've got a bad habit licked, and then it rears its ugly head and I "blow it," I move on to "again." When I think I've worked through an issue and then it turns out that issue is still affecting me, I start working through it again. When I set goals and I fail - sometimes miserably - "again!"

I'm pretty excited about my year of "again." I am still reaping the benefits of my year of "balance." I know that this year of "again" will have the same sort of impact. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

On And On And On...

And summer just keeps coming! :)

My family went away for a few days this past weekend, leaving me home with the animals. They got a neighbor's daughter to deal with the chickens, because their care involves a lot of lifting and hefting which I'm just not able to do right now, so I only had to take care of the dog, the cat, the five bunnies, and the two goats. I was looking forward to the time alone, especially since Maggie went down a day later so I only had to spend one night alone in the house. :)

I started off the weekend by bringing home a whole stack of movies from the local RedBox unit, so I had a sort of homemade film festival all weekend. I had forgotten how much I love film - how much I love to analyze it, enjoy the storylines, the cinematography, etc - so it was fun to indulge my hobby for a little while.

I also went to the local bookstore to pick up a book I've been wantingto read... I intended to read it in the pool, but our pool was pretty grimy since Allen (the caretaker) had been gone, so I ended up reading it one night before bedtime.

I also ducked into Old Navy hoping to find a nice layering tank (ribbed, high neckline, etc). I bought two of their "perfect tanks" - one in purple, one in white - on a sale, but I've pretty much decided they're not exactly what I'm looking for - the neckline isn't high enough to make it a good layering style, and the material is just a little too sheer for any other use, but they're perfect sleep tanks, so in that sense it was worth it. Oh, well. I'll keep looking around.

I'm also on the hunt for a new swimsuit. Last year, as I was getting out of class one night, I stopped in at the Target up there and found my current swimsuit on clearance. It fit perfectly, was pretty modest and flattering, and I even thought to myself "I should buy two for when this one falls apart." Of course I didn't, and this week the strap broke and I wish I had. I can fix the strap, but it just kind of made me think it's time I started looking for a new one. *sigh* At least now that I have founda flattering style, I know what to look for, which should help expedite the process.

It's been a really cool and mild week, but it looks like this coming week will be right back to normal - HOT! I'm not gonna lie, I'm not looking forward to it, but it also makes me grateful for my truck's AC unit, which continues to work like a refrigerator - thanks again, Rob!

I hope everyone is staying cool and having fun. Happy Fourth!