Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Libraries Still Exist??

Last night at bible study, we learned some shocking news.  One of our ladies didn't realized that you really could check books out of the public library for free. Crazy, right?

It all happened while we were discussing a book that one of us had read.  M, our tech savvy, youngest member of the group who reads the Bible off her i-pad, piped up that the book was only $8.78 at Costco right now.  I replied that since I'm notoriously cheap, I'd rather check it out from the library, where' it's free.  The rest of the conversation went something like this:

M:  Shut up!  The library is still around?!

me:  Uh ...   yes.

M:  And it's free?!?!

me:  Uh ...     yes.  You've basically already paid for their services with your taxes.  It free as long as you return or renew the books on time.  They even have audio books, dvds and books for your e-reader.

M:  Shut up!  I've seen them on tv and stuff, but I didn't realize they were still around!

KK:  You can even check out more than one book at a time.

M:  Shut up!  So it's like Netflix, only free?  What??

We spent the next several minutes laughing hysterically and explaining the intricacies of the library system to her.  She was amazed that you could reserve a book online and that they'd have it waiting for you once it was ready.  We heard the phrase "Shut up!" (used in the Stacy & Clinton tense) numerous times.  One of us almost convinced her that there was a $5 monthly fee that she could collect and pay on her behalf, but we didn't let her fall for it. 

I love these ladies and I love that we can laugh together, cry together, say ridiculous things together, share our prayers together and most importantly grow in our faith together.  So much fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Extravaganza Pics

Here are a few pics we took during our various Easter excursions:

With her princess crown, so graciously provided by the face painter lady.  Mommy vetoed the lipstick and eye-shadow in the original design.
Buddy, just waiting for egg time at Phillip's Farm.

Run, little man, run!

More running.

"Mommy, I promise, the butterfly went that way!  Why can't I follow?"

 Loading up for egg time!


 "Mommy, there's nothing in here!"


 "See!  I ate it!"

 Always the little mommy at her preschool egg hunt.

 She got to be the door holder that day.

 I asked him to pose for a picture.  He froze in this position for a good 45 seconds waiting for me to take it.

 Buddy with our ever-helpful friend, Miss K!  Love that girl!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Great Food Lion Ice Cream Show Down

I had one of those mommy moments today.  The kind you know are coming, but really don't want to face.  My daughter tested my will power in public. 

She's done it before, but it's been quite a while.  She and Buddy are usually very well behaved when we're out and about.  So much so, that sometimes I pretend I have perfect children.

It all started when Curly started talking about ice cream on the way home from my parents' house.  We'd been there for a brief visit, and she and Buddy had been really sweet and pretty well behaved.  We had to stop at Food Lion to pick up a couple of odds and ends.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, Curly asked where the ice cream truck was.  I told her it wasn't there, but they had ice cream inside.  She asked if we could buy some, and I said sure, since they had been so sweet this morning. 

We got in the store and they both immediately ran for the dreaded "mini carts." You know, the miniature version of the real cart that some stores have for children.  When I only have one child with me, the "mini-cart" is managable. With both of them with me, the mini-carts become tiny missiles, endangering any ankle that might dare get in their path, as my children run crazily up the aisles with me shouting their names in vain behind them. 

We'd had a very uneventful run through the aisles by the time we got to the ice cream.   Curly had asked me where the ice cream was approximately 4,327 times.  Buddy hadn't assaulted anyone with his mini-cart.  It was at this moment that they both decided make a b-line for a display of wind chimes.  (Smart idea Food Lion, place a display of wind chimes exactly at toddler/preschooler height level.  Colossal FAIL!) 

As I calmly called them both back, I told Curly that if she needed to come pick out her ice cream.

No response, except the loud banging of every wind chime they had hanging there.

I said the same thing again.

Same response.

Then I stepped it up to no ice cream if they both didn't come back right this minute.

Same loud banging.

I finally marched myself over, grabbed them both by the arm and placed them back in the main aisle, skipping the ice cream completely, and scolding them for wondering off and disobeying mommy.  Buddy was unphased.  Suddenly, Curly realized we were headed for the check out, but without ice cream.

She gasped.  "Mommy!!  WE FORGOT THE ICE CREAM!"  I calmly explained that she'd made her choice not to listen to mommy so no ice cream. This is when the meltdown started.

She immediately turned on the waterworks, whining loudly, "But Mommy, you said we could get some ice cream!!"  I explained about her choice again.  She continued to scream and cry, very loudly.  I then told her that if she didn't stop her fit, I'd call the Easter Bunny and tell him not to come. 

Yes.  I went there.

She let out a loud "Nooooooo!!"  By this time every eyeball in a 30 ft radius was staring in our direction.  One of those moments you want to dive under the nearest display.  I quietly told her to stop screaming and crying.  This time, she obliged.  She let out a few loud sniffs, but we made it to the check out and back to the van (in the rain) without further incident. 

It was one of those moments I just wanted to go back and grab the ice cream, just so she'd quit screaming and people would quit boring holes in my back with their eyes and thinking "what a horrible mom."  But then it would set a precident.  Curly would think "All I have to do is throw a fit, and then I'll get my way!"  Her "monkey-see, monkey-do" brother would get the same idea.  We can't have that or life would be intolerable with my kids! 

So I had that moment.  I threatened to cancel the Easter Bunny.  I was that mom.  Hopefully, in the long run, it will do her good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Doll Named Nekkid

Curly doesn't like to name her dolls much.  She's has lots, and only a few get actual names.  Most of them are just called what they are.  She has a My Little Pony baby unicorn that came with the name Sweetie Bell.  It even speaks and calls itself Sweetie Bell.  Curly still insists on calling it Unicorn.  She does have a Target rip-off American Girl doll she named Sally and a large doll that my Granny made for me when I was little that we call Rose, because I named her that when I was a child.  The rest of her dolls are just called Baby or Dolly or whatever brand name they came with.

Today, she came up with a new name for one of her dolls. 


Not Naked, with a long A sound, but Nekkid, pronounced just like it looks.  It's a Barbie doll in a bikini that she got for her birthday last month.  She had been watching Toy Story 3 with her brother, and abruptly stopped watching it to go have a tea party with her dolls.  She spread out napkins for her Princess Barbie doll, her Disney Princess Ariel doll, one of her baby dolls, and her bikini-clad Barbie.  She came running back in to the kitchen and told me to come join her tea party.  I walked in the room and she said, "Mommy, you sit next to Nekkid."  "Who?"  I replied.  "My doll, Nekkid."  "Why is she named Nekkid?"  I asked.  "She just is," was the reply. 

So apparently, we now have a new doll resident in our house named Nekkid.  I just can't wait until she's playing with friends and says, "Mommy, where's Nekkid?" or "I wanna play with Nekkid" or "I want Nekkid."  Oh, goods times!

Stinky Threat Level Yellow

Most of you know that on Saturday, April 16th, our area was hit with some extremely violent tornadoes.  Apparently 62 of them touched down across the state, killing at least 23 people.  For us, Saturday started out pretty normal.  We attended one of our five Easter Egg Extravaganzas, then came home to give Buddy a nap.  I had just laid down to catch some z's myself when Handsome came upstairs and abruptly woke me saying he needed me downstairs immediately. 

In a sleepy stupor, I stumbled downstairs, where Handsome had the tv on.  The radar images showed indications of a funnel cloud about 7 miles away from our house (directly over the office of our family business), and headed in our general direction.  I didn't need anymore waking up after seeing that image. Handsome, being the manly man that he is, went outside to check out what was going on.  Buddy happened to wake up at this moment.  After getting him downstairs and gathering Curly up from her toys, I immediately started cleaning out the only relatively safe place in our house during a tornado. 

Five years ago, when we built this house, we were in "luv" with the open floor plan concept.  We thought, "Hey, we're expecting our first baby.  It will be easy to keep track of them if downstairs is basically one open room!"  Apparently, the designers of this concept don't think about weather safety when working on these plans.  The bathroom is in the worst possible place for a tornado.  In the front, with a window, sticking out on it's own.  There is literally only one place in our house on the first floor that doesn't have windows or an outside wall, and that place is the teeny, tiny closet under the stairs.

We affectionately call this place in our home The Stinky Closet.  It happens to be the place where I store the downstairs diaper pail and diaper genie.  So at any given point in time, the closet smells like dirty diapers.  The severity of the smell depends on how desperately the trash needs to be taken out.  On most days, I'd say we hover at stinky threat level orange, but thankfully, on Saturday morning, I'd emptied the cans and put a new air freshener in there, so we were at a stinky threat level yellow. 

So as I am desperately heaving diaper pails, extra baby wipes, boots and other random things out of the closet, the power goes out.  By this time Handsome has come back in the house and informed us that the sky is looking really scary.  I throw some shoes on my kids and position us next to the stinky closet, so we can jump in with a moment's notice.  Handsome had turned on our battery powered radio.  They were still playing country music, oddly enough, as if nothing was going on, but about every other minute, a very scared sounding DJ would break in and update us on what was going on. 

So we waited. 

The rain got harder, the wind was blowing pretty strong. 

We waited some more. 

We never heard anything like a train coming.  Things never got eerily still.  It just all of the sudden stopped raining and the sun came out.  After about 30 minutes of waiting and listening to the radio, we figured we were in the clear.  Naturally, Handsome goes back outside.  After another 15 minutes, I feel safe enough to stick my head out there.  It was wet but nice outside.  The kids ventured out with me, where we chatted with a neighbor about the gossip that was already flying about what areas were hit and where the storm was headed.  There was absolutely zero damage in our neighborhood. 

Handsome decided he needed to go check on the office.  Right before he left, a received a call that no one could reach one of our friends, who's home is in the area that was being reported as hardest hit so far.  Handsome headed out to check the office and check on our friends. 

During our experience, my sister, her husband and three little boys where huddled in their "under the stairs" closet (there's is much bigger and non-stinky).  They heard the train sound.  Their entire house shook.  The tornado rammed right through their town, and seemed to "jump" over their neighborhood and more on to elsewhere.  I thoroughly believe the hand of God was covering them and their house.  They had no damage.  Not a single tree down in their heavily wooded back yard.  All around their neighborhood, trees were down, roads were impassable, roofs were blown off homes.  Their area was spared.  God is good!

Handsome checked out the office, which was fine.  He found our friends, who were safe, but without power.  They had no idea that there was massive damage near their neighborhood.  During this time the power was restored to our home, so they came on over with their five year old and baby in tow.  We ate pizza and had a giant slumber party at our house, since their power wasn't expected to be restored for several days. 

The news got worse and worse.  Lots of people lost everything.  Sanford, an area very close to our hearts, was practically blown off the map.  The first apartment that Handsome and I ever shared together was leveled in Fayetteville.  Areas of Raleigh were really bad.  It made you feel very helpless. 

This was our first apartment in Fayetteville

Damage in Sanford

On Monday night, my neighborhood ladies bible study had a fantastic idea.  We ventured out as a group to help a total stranger with storm clean up.  The woman we found was a single mom who lived about 5 miles away, with no equipment to even attempt to clean up the several trees that were down on her property. Armed with hacksaws, trimmers, gloves and rakes, our group of about eight ladies got to work.  Within two hours, we had cleared her property and half of what needed to be done on her next door neighbors property. 

While we were there, a few people saw what we were doing and decided to help out.  A sweet young married couple showed up about half way in.  A guy with a chainsaw stopped as he was driving by to help us cut the large stumps.  A man who had come by her house earlier looking to get paid for removing the trees stopped by to give an estimate, saw what we were doing and decided to help out for free with his chain saw.  Another neighbor on his way home from the gym stopped just to lend another pair of hands.  It was great!  We were also able to talk with these folks a little bit about why we were there, and invite them to church with us. 

It was a great experience.  The whole area smelled like freshly cut wood, people were everywhere, raking, sawing, cutting limbs.  It was a real community effort.  A couple of the ladies went back today with their husbands to finish up the second property that we couldn't get to because it got dark.  It really was a blessing to feel like we could help out in some way.  We prayed for the home owner and we were able to share a bit of Christ's love through what we did.  I came home feeling sore, but truly happy.  (Of course, the Krispy Kreme donuts we ate after we were done didn't diminish that happy feeling!)


Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Egg Extravaganza

My kids are spoiled. 


They are. 

By the time Easter arrives, they will have attended 4 (possibly 5) Easter Egg Hunts.  I'm not kidding.  I never attended that many Easter Egg Hunts in one year when I was a kid!  One, maybe two, max, but never 4!

My memories of Easter Egg Hunts involve lots of craziness as a stampede of kids, dressed in their Easter finest, would run screaming and trampling each other through a large area scattered with plastic "eggs" filled with melted Hershey's Kisses and hot, squishy Starbursts.  No one came out uninjured or clean.  I remember one year, a brave family in our community hosted an egg hunt for the children of our church on their ranch outside of town, just after the Easter Sunday service.  They never did it again. While those egg hunts were fun, it was truly nuts.  I can see why parents wouldn't want to go to more than one.

Apparently, people have gotten a lot smarter since the 80's.  They section off the hunts so the little kids don't get run over by a stampede and actually have the opportunity to find an egg or two.  They fill the eggs with stuff like stickers, plastic bugs and erasers, eliminating some of the sugar high and sugar coma that result from these events.  Some eggs even come PRE-FILLED, saving hours of trying to stuff prizes into the annoyingly thin plasic eggs that never, ever close right, no matter which way you try to shove them together. 

The Easter craziness around here kicked off yesterday, when the Mommies Group (+ one stay-at-home dad) met at my friend's family farm for our Easter playdate.  It was awesome.  The corn maze that they run is currently closed and they are prepping to open their strawberry patch next week, so we had the run of the place.  Access to the giant slide, the swinging tube, the corn box and the hay stacks: all to ourselves.  These mommies (+ the dad) are some of my closest friends.  The kids all know each other well and love hanging out with each other.  It was a blast! 

The second one took place today at Curly's preschool, just for her class.  It was one well-run event, complete with a catered lunch from Chick-Fil-A. 

The third will take place at our church tomorrow.  It's usually a fabulous, fun outreach event, but it supposed to pour rain all day long tomorrow, so they are going to try to host it inside.  Sounds like insanity to me.  I'm hoping that I make it out alive. 

The fourth will take place next Friday, when my super-cool-Krispy-Kreme-bringing friend will host a flashlight Easter Egg hunt at her house.  Like us, she has a postage stamp sized backyard.   Last year she had an egg hunt for her son's birthday, which was kinda brief since there wasn't anywhere good to hide the eggs.  We thought it'd be WAY more fun at night with flashlights.  We aren't stuffing any of the eggs.  We're just going to count them up at the end, and give out an extra prize to the kid who got the most eggs. 

The possible 5th one may take place at my parent's house.  In year's past, we've done a small one in their great little back yard (plenty of hiding places!).  We'll probably do an impromptu one again this year. 

I'll try to post pics of the Easter insanity once it's all over.

The one great thing about all these egg hunts is that at each one, someone will share with the kids the reason why we celebrate Easter.  While the eggs and stuff are fun, the more important thing to remember is Christ's sacrifice for us, the miracle of His resurrection, and how He bridged the gap created by our sins between us and God.  As a Christian and as a parent, I want my children to hear this message in every place they can.  More importantly I want them to see it in me, clearly and in the reality of our every day life.  I pray that I can show them, not only through telling them but by example, of the love that Christ has for us. 

***Just a plug for my friend's farm:


They have THE BEST STRAWBERRIES in the Triangle!  They are like our second family, and the place is SO much fun!  Please check them out this year!  They even do strawberry themed birthday parties!!

And off we go...

OK, so everyone I know has a blog.  Some are adorable, some are basic, some are informative, some are incredibly moving, some are hysterical.  I figure, hey, might as well give it a shot!  So here's the basics on us:

We're a small family, just getting by with a little love and A LOT of prayer.  I'm planning to use aliases just for privacy's sake.  Those of you who know us will know EXACTLY who were talking about!  My husband, who I'll call Handsome, and I have been married for almost 11 years now.  We have two small children.  Our oldest, who I'll call Curly, is an adorable four year old girl who keeps us on our toes.  Our youngest, who I'll call Buddy, is all boy, climbing everything in site. 

(My two monkeys with Curly's BFF that might as well be part of our family)

We are currently in a time of some crazy transition, some of which I can share at the moment, some of which I'm not ready to make public.  Just know that we are certain that God is in control of it all, we're just muddling through, trying to take comfort in His perfect plans.