Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

My cousin forwarded this video to me and I thought I'd share it with you all. It made me laugh. Enjoy!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Traditions

We're entering a season that is full of various traditions. Each family has their own special way of bringing in the season, different things they do to mark this blessed time of year. As the boys are growing up and getting older, Chad and I are beginning to find ourselves anxious to pass on traditions from our childhoods to our children, as well as discover and make new traditions all our own.

Today is just such a day. We feel the boys are of a certain age where we can now share with them a timeless classic of holiday fun - Home Alone. Chad has gone out to pick up supper and buy the movie and tonight we will be having an old-fashioned family movie night. I am SO excited. The boys are going to love this movie. They are, after all, boys. And what boy doesn't like watching people fall down, get hit in the face with a paint can and have their hand burned on a door knob? It's going to be a night full of laughter and fun. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

For What It's Worth

My son is obsessed with money. Seriously. I'm starting to get concerned and wondering if somehow I've failed in teaching him the really important things of life. Everywhere we go he wants to know how much everything costs, how much money I have and why he can't have more money. It's starting to drive me crazy! This is often how the day goes.

"Mom, how much money do you have?"

"Never mind, Benen."

"You have more than a hundred, don't you?"

"Benen, let it go."

"How much money is this?" (Holding up a quarter)

"It's twenty-five cents."

"Wow! That's a lot! What can I buy with this."

"Not much."

"But what?"

"I don't know, maybe a few candies."

"Can I go buy some candies?"

"No."

"Why not? I have the money."

"Benen, we are not going to buy candy right now!"

"Can we go after Kolten's in bed for his nap?"

"No! I can't leave Kolten alone by himself, and furthermore, I am NOT taking you to buy candy! You don't need candy, it's not good for you and you get plenty of treats a day! Be thankful for what you get. Don't ask me again."

"But mom, maybe we could just-"

"BENEN! ENOUGH! I said not another word!"

A little bit later...

"Mom, you know that money I gave you?"

"Yes."

"Can I have it back?"

"Yes."

"No, I mean that money I gave you for a Christmas present." (A few coins)

"Yes, Benen, I know what money you're talking about."

"Can I have it back?"

"I already said yes, you can have your piggy bank back."

"No, I don't want the piggy bank, just the money. Can I have it?"

"Benen! I have already said 'yes'! Just go and get the money!"

"Okay."

A little later again...

"Mom, is that your wallet."

"Yes."

"What are you doing with it?"

"I was ordering something online." (Christmas stuff)

"Can I look through your wallet?"

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because it's mine and you don't need to look in it."

"But I just wanna see how much money you got."

"Benen, the answer is no."

"But mom-"

"Benen! When I say 'no' I mean NO! Do not ask again or I will send you to your room. No is NO!"

A little later still...

"Benen! What are you doing?!"

"I'm just lookin' in your wallet."

"I told you not to!"

"Well mom, how come you have this one dollar?"

"Because my Grandpa gave me that dollar bill a long time ago. Now shut my wallet."

"How come I don't have any money that someone gave me a long time ago?"

"Benen, just close my wallet and give it to me!"

"It's not fair."

********************

That's a typical day for me. There are times I just wanna scream and tear my hair out. Honestly, I'm so sick of talking about money. I've heard that a lot of marriages suffer because of "money issues" but I've never experienced anything like this!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Handsome Ring Bearer

As promised, here is a picture of Benen as a ring bearer. I still haven't found the chord for my camera, so I had my friend email me the one she had. Now, tell me, isn't he just the cutest thing?





Now, imagine having to look in those eyes and see pain and uncertainty. Next Wednesday, we are taking him to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. We did this with Connor when he was Benen's age, but I don't remember feeling as sick about it. I'm trying to keep in mind that I am doing what's best for him, though it certainly isn't easy. I laid in bed and cried last night, just wanting to wrap him in my arms and shield him from what I know will happen. I realize it's not that big of a deal, and certainly not anything life threatening, but I still hate for him to have to go through it.

With Connor I was unprepared and went in blind. This time I'm getting organized. I'm bringing a DVD player and movies and I'm putting together a special present for after the surgery. Connor got one when he had his done, but I sent Chad out after to find something for him and there wasn't much selection in the small town where we stayed. I'm also planning to stay the night in the hospital with him. Thankfully I'm not pregnant this time. A hospital stretcher isn't comfortable on a good day, let alone when you're nine months pregnant and bursting with baby!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Little of This and a Little of That

Boy, I feel like there's so much to say, yet I can't seem to come up with a clever way to say it. As a result, this post may seem mundane and boring, which, ironically, IS like my actual life. But here goes - a little bit of random.

********************

Some of you may have read that Benen was the ring bearer in a wedding on Saturday, September 20. I had promised to post some pictures and have yet to deliver. And it'll have to wait as I lost the chord that connects my camera to the computer. When I do find it, I'll get the pictures up.

But let me just brag for a minute. That kid was absolutely, hands down, THE handsome-est thing I've ever laid eyes on. 'Course he gets it all from his daddy. Now, I've had the opportunity to see Chad in a tux before and he takes my breath away, but this was the first time I've ever seen Benen all dressed up. It literally left me speechless. His suit was black with a chocolate brown vest and tie and a white dress shirt. He looked SHARP! I was on music duty and had to play for the processional. I tried to glance up and catch a glimpse of him walking up the aisle and nearly lost my concentration. He was just the cutest thing ever! I really hope I can get the pictures up for you to see.

And, of course, him being Benen and all, he charmed the socks off everyone he met that weekend. There wasn't a girl, young or old, who wasn't in love with him by the end of the day and there wasn't a guy he met that didn't end up thinking he was the coolest little man. He got to hang out with the wedding party for Friday and Saturday and he just loved being treated as one of the guys. It was a special time for him and he loved the attention. Naturally.

********************

About two years ago I took my oldest two boys to see a homeopathic doctor. We were having some "concentration" and "listening" issues along with some allergies that were undetected. The doctor tested the boys and ended up listing a whole whack of "food sensitivities" and telling me to put them on a grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free diet. It was a challenge, but we tried - to the best of our ability - to follow the strict eating guidelines. We found some amazing results in Benen's listening and concentration, but never really noticed a difference with Connor.

We did this for a year until my husband began researching what, exactly, a "food sensitivity" to gluten does to you. The boys didn't have "celiac disease", a condition that's becoming more common and well known. They simply had a "sensitivity" which has a varied range of effects. After realizing the gluten wasn't the cause of the boys' hyperactivity and skin problems (but rather the corn and corn products) we began giving them gluten again. About 6 months ago they returned to a regular diet with regular bread and foods. The only exception was their lactose-free milk.

Now, six months later, Connor is complaining of frequent stomach aches and having some issues. I figured it was the gluten and took him off it again. It seems to have helped some. And this past week I took all the boys to see the doctor. We all had appointments to deal with our problems.

Connor - He had some blood work taken to check for food allergies and any other problems that could be causing his stomach pains. I'm wanting to rule out any serious digestive track problems and double check that his "food sensitivity" hasn't developed into anything more serious such as celiac disease. He HATES-WITH-A-PASSION getting needles, so the doctor put on that special topical cream that completely freezes the area. It's the same stuff they give kids when they have to stitch a wound. He was still a nervous wreck, but he didn't flail, scream and puke like the last time.

Benen - He has VERY LARGE tonsils (I'm talking almost NO room at the back of his throat) and I've been concerned for a couple of years about them. His nasal passages are also small and he has some allergies. This all adds up to problems with his breathing. He snores, breathes heavy and often complains of a stuffy nose. After a talk with my fabulous doctor (just LOVE him) he decided to refer me to the specialist in a small town hospital and Benen will be getting his tonsils and adenoids removed on October 29. The timing is perfect. Before Christmas, but after his birthday party on October 18. The consult will be the morning of the surgery and the surgeon can change his mind if he doesn't see the need, but I'm really hoping and praying they'll take care of the issue so he doesn't have problems later on in life. This is the same doctor and hospital that Connor went to when he had his removed 2 1/2 years ago. I was NINE MONTHS PREGNANT (1 week to my due date) when I stayed overnight in the hospital on a gurney. Can you say OWWW!

Kolten - He went for his two year exam and to check the soft spot in his head which has never closed over. He was born with a HUGE soft spot (took up most of the top of his head) and it's still a pretty good size (bigger than a quarter). The doctor measured the circumference of his head and says it's bigger than normal. But what's normal for a two year old? Don't lots of toddlers have heads a bit bigger? He looks completely proportioned to me and I think I'm being objective. I didn't have any opportunity to ask what it could mean and what the concerns are because we were rushing out the door to get Benen to gymnastics on time and Connor for his blood work. Still, I'm not TOO concerned because he's a very bright kid and seems to be developing at a normal (or slightly above) pace. He goes back in two months for a follow-up exam.

Me - All good and finally back to feeling normal - or what's normal for me.

********************

Benen started gymnastics this fall. He's gone to two lessons and he LOVES it! And the kid is really amazing. He started showing interest last year when he caught a couple of minutes of it on t.v.

"Whoa! Dad, what is that?"

"That's gymnastics."

"I wanna do that!"

Now a year later, he's doing it. He's been practicing at home this last year and I've been showing him some stuff. I used to be in it when I was young and I still love it. Getting to watch my kid, and seeing his natural ability at it, makes me soooo proud. I know this sounds like bragging, but Benen really is the best in his class. He has GREAT posture and balance and I have never seen the kid so focused. This is BENEN! My kid that drives me crazy with his goofiness. He is 100% focused, does NOT take his eyes off the teacher, obeys EVERY WORD, and is quick to catch on. He's also the only one that can do everything so far. In fact - and I know this is bragging - I was watching the older boys who are in the more serious training class which runs at the same time as Benen's, and Benen can do 80% of what they're learning and as good as some of them. It thrills me to see him so involved in something he loves.

********************

While his brother got into gymnastics, Connor has become more and more interested in music and he started private piano lessons this fall with an AMAZING teacher. I do NOT have the patience to teach him myself and this lady is an absolute blessing. First off, I've known her and her husband for years, and secondly, she is so skilled and qualified. She teaches from her home AND on a grand piano. Yeah, there's a little jealousy coming out there. Also, she has two young kids of her own and she relates well to Connor. Connor is a very intense, focused individual and she is constantly encouraging him, yet gently correcting him at the same time. He is thriving under her tutelage and doing SOOO well.

********************

Have I bored you enough yet? Have you managed to make it this far without dozing off? Are you still with me or did you abandon this post somewhere near the top? One last thing and then I'm done.

Shauna's Dictionary

Ripple Effect - when running up the stairs you realize the jiggling in your behind is not contained to your posterior, but rather ripples down the back of each leg in continuous waves.

(Not the most pleasant of discoveries.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Over His Head

So, I'm standing at the kitchen counter making muffins when Chad walks up and says, "Nice buns."

Benen, who was watching me spoon the batter into the tins, looks at his dad and in his oh-so-grown-up voice replies, "Da-ad, they're not buns. They're muffins." Then he turns to me. "Sometimes Dad just gets it wrong."

Uh, yeah. Some things go right over his head. Good thing, too.

Seriously, that kid is a HOOT! He did so great this weekend being the ring bearer. He was completely in his element and he swept everyone off their feet. The women all adored him and the guys treated him like a little buddy. He was positively glowing under all the special attention. I'll have some pictures up soon and will give you the highlighted moments of the weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here Comes the Ring Bearer

A friend and co-worker of Chad's is getting married this Saturday and they asked Benen to be the ring bearer. This will be his first - and probably only - time being involved in a wedding. When they asked us a year ago, we gave them fair warning. If you follow my little blog at all, you know what I'm talking about. Benen and his exploits are the frequent subjects of my posts. I was a bit surprised when they told us HE was exactly what they wanted - someone to keep things light and funny. It will be that.

Chad is also standing up as a groomsman and I am doing the music for the wedding. I'm playing some background music while guests are being seated and then I'm playing the processional. I'm using the song, "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk, and while the attendants walk up, I'm playing an instrumental of the song. Then, when Benen and the flower girl make their way down the aisle, I'm going to continue the instrumental, but move it to a higher octave and make it light and "little" sounding. When the bride makes her entrance, I'm going to start singing the song and do just one verse and chorus, which should get her down the aisle. Also, during the lighting of the unity candle, I'll be playing and singing "Burning Embers" by Kendall Payne.

Tonight is the rehearsal and I'm a little nervous. I like having all my i's dotted and t's crossed and I won't know exactly what I'm doing until I meet the guy whose performing the ceremony and find out the order in which he's doing things. Also, for anyone who knows me, I get EXTREMELY nervous when I have to do solos. Ask me to lead worship and chances are I'll have no problem. Ask me to sing a special and I shake like a leaf. Still, there's a part of me that's excited - I get to play a grand piano and that's not an opportunity I have very often. My fingers feel itchy with anticipation and I just hope the sound person is good. They can really make or break you. I'd be much more comfortable if my husband could set my sound levels, but it's not at our church and you know how it is.

Anyway, here are the two songs if you want to check them out.






For the Kendall Payne song, click here and then select the song "Burning Embers."

I'll try to post some pictures of the wedding and my handsome little man some time next week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

If I Could...

If I could, I'd stop the season where it's at and enjoy warm days mixed with crisp, cool winds. I'd revel in the beauty of autumn, its sky made grey-blue by the misting of clouds. I'd sit and watch the sun's valiant effort to break through and the calmness of its muted light. I'd open all my windows and let the breeze blow through, bringing the refreshing scents of green grass, trees and changing leaves. I'd take deep breaths and let the coolness seep into the deepest parts of me, and I'd bask in the feelings of renewed hope and new beginnings.

If I could, I'd freeze the hands of time where the sounds of my children playing fill my days. I'd listen to their make-believe world and watch as they transformed into superheroes, determined to rid the backyard and their small world of its evil villians. Where everyday is an adventure to be met and its challenges to be conquered.

If I could, I'd pause this moment in time where the beginning of school holds all the blossoming dreams of their some-days, all the promises of who they could be. Where all the possibilites are open to them and their imaginations know no limits. Where innocence and confidence blend and everything seems reachable. Where the stars are not too high and they are fearless to reach for them.

If I could, I would bottle up the smell of fresh air, sunshine and little boy, to be taken out when time has passed. When I'm watching them learn to drive, standing at their graduation or crying at their wedding, I would pull it out and remember sweet days gone by. I would breathe deep its fragrance and be overcome by memories of cuddles on the living room floor, wrestling matches that ended in kisses and a million "I love you"s. I would remember warming cold little hands, kissing cool little cheeks and hugging warm little bodies. I would remember breathing deep, soaking in their special smell and wishing I could bottle it up.

If only I could.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Random, of course

**Sweet Words**

Connor - "Mom, I figured out how to change the toilet paper roll. Now you'll never have to change it again."


**50/50**

I went to pick up Benen after his second day at kindergarten. "Mom, I need to talk to you."

"Alright. What's up?"

"No, uh, not right here. Let's....um....go a long way away from people."

"Oh. Okay."

He grabbed my hand and led me half-way down the hall of the school. "Uh, here's good." I knelt down so I was eye level with him and repeated my question.

"So, what's up?"

"Um, I got sent to the Table today."

The "Table" is where the kids who aren't listening and behaving are sent for time out away from the class. "Oh, really. What were you sent to the Table for?"

"Um...for goofing around."

"Huh. You weren't listening to the teacher?"

"No."

"Oh." Honestly, at this moment I had no idea how to respond. It was then I noticed the little smirk he was desperately fighting to hide. Huh. Imagine.

"How about you try better the next day to listen? Okay?"

"Okay."

Honestly! Two days in and already he's causing mischief. Though, if I'm being honest, I'm not entirely surprised. I'm giving the teacher two weeks. If I don't hear from her by then, I'm making an appointment to see how she's holding up. (Truly, Benen is a good kid - just a little clownish and fidgety - and I don't want him to be misunderstood.)


**One Sad Boy**

"What's wrong, Benen?"

"Dad won't give me a bigger spoon."

"Why do you need the bigger spoon?"

"I did the littler spoon and I need the bigger spoon to hang on my nose to prove I'm talented."


**Why?**

"Come on, Kolten, you need a nap."

"Uh, no."

"Um, yes."

"No."

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because you're two, you're little and you're tired."

"Uh...uh-kay."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A New Day

I haven't been around much the past few months and I'm sorry about that. I've missed hangin' out in Blog Land. There's been a lot going on and I took a little, much-needed break. I'm trying to get back to blogging and will hopefully be more faithful in the months to come. To all my blog pals - I'VE MISSED YOU! I can't believe you still check my little old spot on the blog map.

Anyways, tomorrow - well, today, seeing as it's 1:00 a.m. - marks a new chapter for me. TWO of my little men will be heading off to school in the morning. Connor is entering grade one and I can't believe he'll be gone five days of the week. It's a little sad, yet strangely exciting, too. I'm thrilled that he will be in the same class as his little friend from last year. God is good. I prayed for that and shouted a "hallelujah" when I read the class list. Connor doesn't adjust well to change (wonder where he gets that from... :-P) and having his friend with him will help ease his way into grade one. Now we're hoping they get desks next to each other.

Benen, on the other hand, can't wait to go to school. He's so excited he can hardly contain it. It's funny that I find myself worrying more for Connor - who's done this already - than I am for Benen. Or maybe it's that my concerns are different. With Benen I'm concerned about how well he'll listen, how many phone calls I'll get and if he'll remember to walk home after school and not get distracted on the playground. I worry that he'll forget to look before crossing the street and won't see the car coming until it's too late. Or that he'll decide to walk to a friend's house - just to make sure his friend got home safely - and I'll be frantically driving through the neighborhood screaming his name while calling the police. Which reminds me I need to put their number on my speed dial. *Sigh* He's such a good kid, but so easily distracted. And WAAAAY to independent and confident. I'm gonna start counting how many grey hairs I acquire over this next year.

Well, I really should get some sleep as the morning is sure to be full of chaos and noise. Thankfully Chad is home on holidays and will be going with me to get them settled in school. Then he's off to the golf course and I'm gonna hit Starbucks before going to my BFF's for coffee and a *quieter* visit. 'Night!


*I am way out of practice with my writing skills (what little I had) as you can tell by this post. Please forgive me. I hope to be better in the future.*

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Quick Funny

I was walking Benen to bed late tonight and he says, "Know why I like you?"

"Why?"

"'Cause you're tough!"

"Am I?"

"Uh-huh. Show me your toughness."

I dramatically lifted my arm and put some umph behind it as I flexed my bicep for him.

IT DIDN'T MOVE! Not. One. Bit.

"Woooooah. You're super tough."

Gotta love that kid.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What I learned

This past weekend, I learned it is NOT a good idea to accept the challenge of a foot race from my four-year-old son. I came to this conclusion after a series of mistakes on my part. The first mistake, I'm sad to say, was the result of my foolish pride.

We were at the church Saturday night and I was pulling song sheets for Sunday morning when, on the way to the photocopier, my son, Benen, asked, "You wanna race?" A strange feeling overtook me and I was struck with the desire to show my child just how fast his mother REALLY was. None of that let-them-win-you're-so-fast crap. I wanted to FLY; I wanted to see the unbridled awe and adoration in his little face. I was gonna win his admiration with my lightning fast speed and agility.

Mistake number two. I conveniently forgot that the last time I had sprinted was in junior high, when they force you to participate in Track and Field. I found out my four (and a half) year-old son is *almost* faster than me. I was REALLY having to work. What I thought would be simple, quickly turned into a fierce competition. I hate to lose.

Mistake number three. In our final race for the front doors I yelled out, "Quick Benen! Run down the stairs!" And then it hit me - that's not the kind of thing a *good* mother would say. So I quickly amended it with a follow up, "Be careful!" By this time he was half-way down and winning.

Mistake number four. Finding myself behind, I decided to show off a little and leaped down the remaining four steps, with a little side twist thrown in for flair. I landed with a solid thump.

Mistake number five. I planted my feet, completely forgetting that the upper half of my body was still being carried by my forward momentum. I was left in a mad scramble, trying to get my feet to catch up with the rest of me, which by then was headed for impact. I did a nice little slide-and-dive on the carpet in our church foyer. I have the rug burns on both knees to prove it.

Benen won the race.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Book Review & Giveaway and Guest Blogger - Amber Miller

It is my privilege today to be a stop on author Amber Miller's blog tour to help celebrate the publication of her first novel, Promises, Promises. If you haven't already "met" Amber/Tiff, let me introduce you.


Amber Miller is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband in beautiful Colorado Springs. Amber has sold four books to the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing with the promise of two more before the end of the year. She is currently pursuing an expansion into trade-length historical fiction as well. Other writing credits include several writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing.

Read more about her at her web site: http://www.ambermiller.com/.

This amazing lady has agreed to share her own personal love story with us. It's quite the tale, but I'll let her tell you. Also, stick around (or scroll down) for my review of this book and leave a comment for the chance to win a FREE copy of Amber's book.


Hi, my name is Tiffany Stockton, but I publish under Amber Miller. The name is derived from my middle and maiden names. I was published before I married last year, and my wonderful husband doesn’t mind me having this “alter ego.” I’m thrilled to be here with Shauna on her blog. She’s been an avid supporter of my writing and my web site for over two years now. Of course, it’s been some time since I’ve seen a comment left by her, but hopefully with my appearance on *her* blog, she’ll again return. (hint, hint)

Anyway, this blog is one of the over 25 blogs and web sites I’m visiting during my 3-week blog tour. I’m promoting the arrival of my first book on Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, Parable sites, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, where available. As of right now, the links haven’t been activated, but stick with me on this tour, and you’ll be notified the moment they are live.

My first book actually released in February to the Heartsong Presents book club, but they wait a few months before releasing the titles to the general public. In fact, book 2 is now available. It released on July 1st. So, if you love what you see on this tour, you can actually order *both* books, not just one. There are also a variety of blogs and sites that are including a book giveaway. Visit all of the stops on this tour and you can enter more than once. Increase your chances.

Oh, and yes, these books are romances. It’s what I write. I don’t apologize for it, as our relationship with God is just like a true romance. The romances we experience on earth are supposed to be mirror reflections of the love God has for each one of us. It’s a pleasure to craft stories which demonstrate that truth. And today, I’m here to share a bit about my own personal love story.

As I mentioned above, I married the love of my life last year and moved to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Shauna was hanging around my blog when the engagement announcement and wedding planning period was taking place. So, she asked me to drop by her blog and talk a little more about it. One of these days, I’ll write a book featuring it, but for now, here is a sneak preview.

Once upon a time, a red-haired princess sat alone at home, gazing at her computer screen and wishing she had some companionship from the outside world. She lived her life day in and day out, wondering when her turn would come. Her only relief came through the attendance of an annual writer’s conference each year in the Fall. This is where she met the dashing and compelling dragon in 2004.

That year, the dragon made quite an impression, and although they didn’t exchange many words, six months later on Valentine’s Day, they began an online conversation via email and instant message. This communication helped ease the loneliness and emptiness in the princess’ life. It entertained the dragon as well, but he didn’t want to admit it.

The distance between the princess and dragon proved beneficial, for they shared many things with each other that never would have passed their lips had they been meeting face to face. Through their chats, they learned a lot about each other. And at the next conference six months later in 2005, their friendship was sealed. A little shameless flirting took place, but at this conference, many of the married ladies spent all of their time attempting to find a girlfriend for the dragon and dropping hints that the princess might be the perfect match. Because neither the princess nor the dragon were ready for anything other than friendship, they parted ways and returned once again to their electronic communication.

However, once back home, something was different. A spark had begun to flicker in the hearts of both the princess and the dragon. Though they denied the attraction, they both secretly admitted it existed. At the conference in 2006, their friendship had become much more. But the dragon remained in denial. He had allowed the princess to persuade him into asking her out for dinner, and he later admitted that had he gotten out of his car to say goodbye, he wasn’t sure he would have been able to do so without a kiss.

The princess didn’t know this at the time, though. So, she went into the hotel and almost cried. Had it not been for the counsel and encouragement of a special friend both she and the dragon shared, as well as a handful of others, she might have given up. Armed with their reassurance and the belief in her heart that the dragon was the one for her, the princess continued to wear down the dragon. For three long months, the dragon continued to resist the pull of the princess. Finally, in December of 2006, the princess sold her first book, and the dragon was the only one online to be the recipient of her good news. It was late, and everyone else was in bed.

A few days later, the dragon admitted it was time to make a move. So, he told the princess to start planning for his visit. In March of 2007, the dragon flew to the princess and spent 4 fun-filled and entertaining days with her. With a single kiss, the dragon was transformed into a handsome, blue-eyed prince. By the end of their time together, they had admitted their feelings and agreed to take their relationship to the next step. Neither one expected that step to be engagement just 6 days later. But that’s what happened. And the dragon and princess accepted it.

Ten weeks later, the dragon swept her off her feet by surprising her with the engagement ring she knew he had, only he had chosen a beautiful way to give it to her. He’d planned a romantic moment with white Christmas lights strung on his screened-in porch, soft music, a flickering lighted fountain, and him down on one knee. It was there that he pledged his undying love and asked the princess to marry him. He told her she’d brought so much joy and laughter into his life, he couldn’t imagine life without her.

Ten weeks after that, they were married, and the princess joined the prince in Colorado, where they now live. They have yet to start a family, but as they approach the joyous celebration of their upcoming first anniversary at the end of July, a family is next on the agenda.

So, as you can see, I finally have my own real-life fairytale. Although my dreams and imaginations helped me write the stories I wrote before I met Stuart, having him in my life has added a much richer dimension to my books. I now know first hand what true love is all about. And yes, it’s just like what you read in those romance novels and fairytales. Of course, you have to work at it to keep the fairytale alive, but it’s more than worth it in the end.

I hope you’ve loved reading this little tale, and if you’d like to see evidence of the love we share, pick up one of my books, where I put a little of my real-life experiences into the stories of my characters.

Shauna will no doubt provide the rest of the content for this blog, so I’ll leave it in her capable hands. In the meantime, thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you at the other stops on this tour.

Take care.


Tiff, thanks for sharing with us. Catching the original engagement announcement was so awesome and getting to follow the progress as the wedding was planned was a special front row seat to this romance.

And now, take a look at her book, Promises, Promises, the first in her historical romance series, Brides of Delaware.




Has God forsaken Raelene?

What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? When Gustaf Hanssen promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word, must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

ISBN: 9781597899390
Ordering link: www.ambermiller.com/books.html

The second book of this series, Quills & Promises, was released July 2008.

ISBN: 9781602600492
Ordering link: www.ambermiller.com/books.html

Promises, Promises is an intense, emotional tale of struggle, heartache and pain, and the hope that can be found in faith and love. Raelene and Gustaf are both bound by promises made. Raelene is determined to keep her father's dream alive; Gustaf has promised to assist and watch over the woman who rejected him.

I loved watching Raelene and Gustaf wrestle with their untimely attraction. There is a delicious and tangible chemistry between these characters that keeps you reading, hoping and aching for them. There are laugh-out-loud moments and moments where you will catch your breath. It’s simply wonderful.

I found this story full of unexpected surprises that completely delighted me. It left me wanting more and excited for book two. I also have a review of this book up on LASR. Hop over to read the slightly longer version.

It has been a pleasure being a part of this blog tour. The rest of the stops are listed below, so be sure to follow for more chances to win a copy of this book. Also, don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win one here. You can also leave a comment without entering the draw - just specify that in the comments - but why would you want to?? I'll leave the contest open until Friday, June 18 - one week - and then I'll put all the names in a hat, swirl it around, reach in and pick a winner. I'll announce it here as well as send the winner a note, so be sure to leave a working email address where you can be reached. Good luck everyone!



BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Shirley Connolly (July month-long feature) - http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com/

July 7 - Margaret Daley (bio) http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com/
July 7 - Dawn Kinzer at From Dawn til Dusk, Musings of a Night Owl http://dawnkinzer.blogspot.com/
July 8 - Donna Moore at Write by Faith http://writebyfaith.blogspot.com/
July 8 - Kim Woodhouse at God's Grace, Love & Forgiveness http://www.kimberleywoodhouse.com/
July 9 - Margaret Daley (interview) http://margaretdaley.blogspot.com/
July 9 - Amy Riley at The Friendly Book Nook http://thefriendlybooknook.com/
July 10 - Jenny Blake at Come Meet AusJenny http://ausjenny.blogspot.com/
July 11 - Rose McCauley http://rosemccauley.blogspot.com/
July 11 - Shauna Sturge at The Coffee Stop http://shaunasturge.blogspot.com/; Long and Short Reviews http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/
July 12 - Carolyn Strawder at Quiet Time with Carolyn http://www.quiettimewithcarolyn.com/Serenity
July 14-19 - CAN! blog spotlight http://canblog.typepad.com/canbookmarketing
July 14 - Martha Rogers at Martha Writes http://marthasbooks.blogspot.com/
July 15 - Leslie Sowell at A Little Bit of Sunlight http://www.footprintsinthesand.us/blog
July 16 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http:///
July 16 - Novel Journey / Novel Reviews http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/ / http://novelreviews.blogspot.com/
July 17 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http:///
July 17 - Eileen Astels at A Christian Romance Writer's Journey http://eileenastels.blogspot.com/
July 17 - Cheryl Wyatt at Squirrel's Treehouse http://scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com/
July 18 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs) http:///
July 18 - Cara Putman at Cara's Musings http://carasmusings.blogspot.com/
July 18 - Tyora Moody at CB Reviews http://www.faithwebbin.net/cbreviews
July 19 - Stacy Johnson at Vader's Mom http://jeffstacyandvader.blogspot.com
July 21 - Camy Tang at Camy's Loft http://camytang.blogspot.com/
July 21 - Jennifer AlLee at Musings on This, That & The Other Thing - http://jenniferallee.blogspot.com/
July 21 - Trish Perry (interview) at Reading, Writing and the Stuff In-Between http://www.trishperry.com/
July 22 - Cindy Woodsmall at the Plain Talk Blog http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/category/plain-talk/
July 23 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (review/interview) http://themelodywithin.blogspot.com/
July 24 - Margaret Chind at Creative Madness http://cherryblossommj.blogspot.com/
July 25 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (guest blogger) http://themelodywithin.blogspot.com/
July 25 - Christa Allan at Fictionary http://cballan.wordpress.com/
July 26 - Paula Moldenhauer at Grace Reign http://gracereign.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Told You

Games played: 704

Games won: 367

Win percentage: 52%

I told you I was addicted to Spider Solitaire. I have worked really hard to get my win percentage up from 47%. Do you know how many games in a row you have to win to up your percentage by one point!? Well, neither do I, but let's put it this way - between two and three days worth.

Now, it's 1:25 a.m. and I really need to stop playing and just GO TO BED!

'Night.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Disaster Control

Today was Connor's last day of kindergarten. We did it. We survived the whole year with only a few minor disasters.

I have never proclaimed to be the most organized person. My idea of "filing and sorting" is taking the papers out of his backpack (the morning of his next school day) and placing them on the growing stack by the microwave. Every so often I would sift through the mess hoping to unearth monthly calendars and that pesky list of field trips I was sure I had seen a couple months ago.

Which could be why I received this phone call last week on Thursday morning. I had just crawled back into bed after seeing Connor out the door and was enjoying a nice morning chat with my BFF when my other line beeped. "Can you hang on a sec? My line's beeping and it's probably Chad."

"Sure."

I switched lines.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Shauna, it's Mrs. T from Connor's school phoning." I started to panic. My biggest fear was that some person would snatch Connor on his way to school during the fifteen seconds he's out of my sight. My overactive imagination went out of control and I barely managed to contain the urge to scream, sure she was about to tell me Connor had never arrived that morning. "Today is our day to take the kids to the park. I'm sure you saw the note. Connor needs a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, hat, lunch and snack. You probably just forgot."

"Uh....note? I didn't get a note."

"We sent it home some time ago."

Ahhhhh, that would be the missing paper I couldn't find. In true Shauna style I replied, "Oh, that note. Yeah, I lost it."

"Oh." Big awkward silence. "Would you be able to come down right now and bring Connor's things. He's quite concerned that he's the only one who doesn't have his stuff."

Ouch. "Absolutely," I said oh-so-calmly while jumping out of bed and reaching for a pair of pants. "What time are you leaving?"

"Nine o'clock."

A quick glance at the clock showed it was 8:48. I threw on a shirt, brushed my teeth, ran my fingers through my hair and yelled at Benen to "get in the van NOW!"

I ran to Connor's room and yanked open the dresser drawer to find...nothing. No swimsuit and no shorts. I rushed to the laundry sorter and began doing the pull-and-sniff looking for his swimsuit which I assumed was at the bottom. No luck. In the dryer I found a pair of board shorts and decided they would do.

Towel. No clean towels. I ran upstairs and downstairs looking through laundry baskets and in every room of our house. Finally, I found an old, but clean, towel sitting on the stacking stools and I grabbed it and stuffed it in a bag. I threw in sunscreen and a hat and again yelled, "GET IN THE VAN! NOW!"

I slipped on my sandals, grabbed Kolten, who was wearing a pajama shirt and diaper and rushed out the door.

At the van, I yanked open the door and stopped. There was no car seat for Kolten. I had forgotten that I had taken it out and given it to my aunt who is due to have her baby soon. It was my spare and I had not yet put Kolten's seat in the car. Well, there was no time, so I ran around the other side and strapped him into Connor's booster seat. He was completely delighted. I believe his exact words were, "Whoa-ho-ho-ho." I put the van in gear and ignored the school zone limit during my mad dash. After all, the kids were all in school, right? And this was an emergency.

I made it. The kids were lined up at the classroom door, ready to head for the bus. I jammed the plastic bag in Connor's backpack, gave him a hug and a kiss, and apologized profusely for forgetting.

Mission accomplished. Phew.

I'm not sure how I'm gonna do this everyday next year.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Evolution, and why it's a load of crap

If evolution was true and actually possible, if an organism could adapt and change to become stronger and survive, then mothers would have THREE ARMS!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Making the Band

Last night my boys went into their bedroom to play some music. I helped get Kolten set up with a guitar and left them to their NOISY play. About twenty minutes later they emerged with satisfied grins.

"Did you hear us playin' music?" asked Connor.

"Yup."

"Did you like it?"

"I loved it."

"Did it sound good?" chimed Benen.

"It sounded awesome! You boys are soooo good." (A bit of motherly embellishment.)

"We started a band," said Connor.

"Really?"

"Uh-huh."

"Do you have a name for your band?"

"Yup. It's called Fire Heart."

"That's a cool name. How did you come up with it?"

"Well, well, actually...Connor came up with it," confessed Benen. (My little truth teller.)

"Oh. How did you think that up, Connor?"

"Well, I was just thinkin'...and I thought of it."

I sent Chad for the camera. Here are some pictures of the newly formed, one-day-famous band, FIRE HEART.

(I don't know what is UP with our camera, but please forgive the poor quality.)








Here are their rock 'n roll poses:




And their poster pics:




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Random Thoughts

I'm back. I wish I had something entertaining, profound or deeply insightful to share with you, but I don't. I'm short on insight, somewhat shallow and often boring. *g*

There is a reason I haven't been blogging as frequently, and hopefully I'll feel confident enough to share it here soon. Quick question: how do you get personal on your own blog, knowing you will come face to face with some of the lurkers?

For now, I will leave you with a few random things.

:: :: ::

Words I never expected to hear from my husband's mouth:

"My period is almost over, so if you'd rather wait..."

Granted I've used that phrase a time or two, but hearing it come from him was a shocker! It caused a slight misunderstanding until I realized he was talking about hockey...and me waiting until the period was over for him to bath the kids.

:: :: ::

I have found there are two things you can't do after having a baby - sleep in the nude and jump on a trampoline with a half-full bladder.

:: :: ::

The most difficult question in the world is "How are you?" Because everyone asks it, but you can never be sure if they really want to know the answer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Year Gone

Today marks the day twenty-eight years ago that I entered the world a squalling, red faced baby. Not much has changed. KIDDING! Well, kind of.

Last year I was less than thrilled with the idea of turning twenty-seven. I'm thinking my aversion to odd numbers had something to do with it. I refuse to believe it was because the big 3-0 was looming closer. I'm a step closer to the top of the hill and the view ain't all bad. I am determined to age - somewhat - gracefully ... or at least do my kicking and screaming in private.

I was pondering today the changes the past year had brought. You know, what things had I accomplished, what goals had I met, how many diapers had I changed. That type of thing. Here's the list I compiled.

1. I've been married one year longer.

2. I've grown in stature. Okay, not "stature," just ... grown.

3. My oldest went off to kindergarten, which resulted in...


5. My husband and I enjoyed a ten day trip to Costa Rica where we lived it up. NO KIDS!!

6. I changed roughly four diapers a day, which over a year adds up to ... 1,460 diapers. (Minus the ones Chad changed on the weekends.)

7. I have wiped hands and faces twice a day ... 730 swipes. Multiply that by two for the sticky ketchup in hard to reach places. (Ears, hair, between fingers, belly buttons)

8. I have given about 30 hugs a day, 40 kisses, 10 tickles. That adds up to 10950, 14600 and 3650 respectively.

9. I've continued to lead worship at our church which has been both a wonderful blessing and, at times, a difficult challenge. It has been amazing to watch God work in spite of me. *g*

10. I have new, wonderful bedroom furniture. LOVE, LOVE IT!! Deep rich espresso color (yummy) with a leather headboard and foot board. Gorgeous.

11. Deepened friendships both online and off.

12. Sporadically maintained a blog.

13. Bought a 30+ Skin Care line. My way of giving 'Ole Father Time a swift kick in the teeth.

That's about it. Not a very impressive list I'll admit. But that's my life - wife, mother, worship leader, friend, occasional blogger. And I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Average Day With Benen

"Mom, if you had three Benens there would be three to make three beds."

"Oh. That's true."

"Mom, what if you had three Connors, three Benens and three Koltens? Wouldn't that be awesome!"

"Well, that would mean I had nine kids. That would be a LOT. I think I'll just stick with three."

"Yeah."



:: :: ::



"Mom, how would you like .... THIS!" He wraps his arms around my waist in a bear hug.

"I'd LOVE that."

"I love you, Mom."

"I love you, too, Benen."

"I know."



:: :: ::



"Mom, when it's my birthday, you don't have to buy me a card if you don't have time."

"What?"

"If you don't have time, that's okay. You don't have to buy me a card."

"Benen, I love you and I will make time to buy you a card. And I'll make time to buy you a present and make you a cake and give you a great birthday party."

"Oh. Mom, you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna invite you to my birthday."

"Thanks, Benen."



:: :: ::



"Mom, you know, we never see you shower."

"Nope, that's right."

"Why?"

"Well, 'cause I'm a girl and you're a boy."

"Oh. Are you gonna have a shower or a tub with some toys to play with?"

"A shower."

"Oh. When you're done can you come downstairs and show us your beautiful looks?"



:: :: ::



"Mom, when I go to kindergarten, I'll think about you instead of my friends."

"That'll be nice, Benen."

"Yeah. And I'll kiss you before I go to school."

"I'd like that."

"Yeah. Mom, you know Barney Rubble? Sometimes, he doesn't kiss his wife on his way to work. He's in a hurry and he just whooshes by."

"Hmmm."

"Mom, don't worry. I'll make time to kiss you goodbye."


:: :: ::


"'Night Benen. I love you."

"'Night, Mom. I love you a hundred to a hundred."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Funny


Can you read that? I know it's fuzzy and this time it wasn't the camera. I'm just the worst picture-taker in history. Here's what it says:

POWER
VITAMINS FOR MEN

This makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time. As if that's not funny enough, here's the caption, the "selling factor."

ENRICHED WITH
MALE FACTOR NUTRIENTS

BWAHAHAHAHA! Just what, exactly, are "male factor nutrients"? I mean, REALLY. That's just too much.

Chad came home with these vitamins a couple of weeks ago. I have done nothing but laugh every time I see the silly bottle. The amazing thing is THEY WORK. Chad has been on medication for his high blood pressure for two years and keeping it under control has been a daily challenge. If he missed his pill one day, he started to feel the effects.

He began taking these vitamins and after about five days, he noticed he was feeling weird. He sat down to check his blood pressure (yes, we have our own machine) and it showed he was quite low. Like 110/67. So he checked again. And again. And again. We were both baffled. Even with his medication he always leaned toward the high side. His numbers had never, in his entire life, been that low.

He went online that night to research just what was in these Power vitamins. Turns out there are four different herbs that lower your blood pressure. He has been off his medication now for a week and a half, and its staying down.

So, even though I still laugh at the ridiculous label, I have to give Jamieson props, as Randy Jackson would say.

:: :: ::

This Week's Worship

Opening Song:
Lord Reign In Me

Worship Set:
I Am Free
Everyday
Everlasting God
Let the Church Rise

Closing Song:
My Redeemer Lives

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Mother's Dream Day

My Mother's Day was incredibly special this year. It started out with breakfast in bed.

I cringed when I heard the door creak open at too-early in the morning. Any hour of the morning is too early for me and it wasn't helped by the fact I had had trouble falling asleep the night before. I finally drifted off somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00. My oldest son crawled in around 5:00 and I spent the next hour fighting elbows and knees for space and trying not to sweat myself into dehydration while being thoroughly cooked from both sides.

So when the door opened I groaned on the inside, but managed to paste a smile on my face. It got better from there. I opened my eyes to see my oldest son carrying the wooden tray he had made on a school field trip to Home Depot. On that tray was a plate with toast and a nicely folded napkin. (I'm not much of a breakfast eater.) Chad was carrying a hot cup of coffee. Have I said he's my Knight in shining armor?

The boys were adorable with lots of hugs and kisses and phrases like, "You're beautiful, Mom," and "You're the best mom in the whole wide world," and "I love you a hundred to a hundred." (That's Benen's newest one. Makes me smile every time.)

Then came the presents.

Benen was literally bouncing with excitement and when Chad handed him the bag his enthusiasm took over. He reached in the bag and whipped out ... a new pair of slippers. They are fuzzy, fluffy thong style slippers that are bright pink and baby-blue with puppies and stars all over the straps. Totally Benen's personality. He also bought me a card and a book bracelet. It's a bookmark that fits around the spine of your book and has little decorations on it. He picked it out because there's a heart in the middle. (Chad was able to talk him out of the Hannah Montana bookmark that first caught his eye.)

Connor handed me his gift bag and I reached inside and pulled out ... another pair of slippers. What one does, the other must do. Connor had picked out simple slip-on slippers in a soft shade of pink. Once again, totally Connor's personality. At school he had also made for me a card with a tulip on the outside. The inside of the card read,

Dear Mom
I love you!
Happy Mother's Day!
Love Connor

And he had written it all by himself. He also made one of those plaster hand prints in gold. It was incredibly special. And the whole time I was opening presents Kolten sat beside me on the bed and ate my toast.

Chad decided this year to join Mother's Day with my birthday - which comes nine days too soon - and bought me the iPod Touch. I'm thoroughly enjoying my new toy.

The rest of the day included church, grocery shopping, shopping for an iPod case and hanging out with friends and family.

We barbecued supper over at my brother and sister-in-law's and when it was time for the kids' bedtime, Chad took them home while I stayed and watched 27 Dresses with my mom and sister-in-law. The perfect end to the perfect day.
I hope you all had wonderful days, too!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Mother's Day Shopping Trip

A conversation while shopping for Mother's Day presents at Walmart, as relayed by Chad:

Connor: "Whoah, Dad! We should get Rock Band!"

Chad: "Connor, who are we buying for again?"

Connor: "Mom."

Chad: "And do you really think Mom is going to play Rock Band?"

Connor: "Ummm, no."

Chad: "We need to think about what Mom would like. What does Mom like?"

Connor: "Well....she likes me. How do I give her me?"

Benen: "I know Connor. I know what you can do. You can wrap yourself in wrapping paper."

Connor: "I can't do that. I'll die. I won't be able to breathe."

Benen: "Welllll, I know. You can poke some holes in it."

A little while later....

Connor: "Mom likes stuff that's soft. I'm gonna look for something soft to get her so she has something soft to sleep with."

Chad: "Think about it Connor. Does Mom really like soft stuff, like stuffed animals? Does she sleep with anything soft right now?"

Connor: "Well she sleeps with you."

I'm interested to see what the boys picked out. I'll be back tomorrow to give the details.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Book Recommendations

A couple of weeks ago Travis tagged me with the new challenge of picking a Friday book recommendation. The idea is to look back and remember some of the great books of the past few years. I was supposed to have posted it last Friday and completely dropped the ball on that one. Sorry, Travis. I wish I had a good reason, but the truth is I don't even remember what I was doing. The last few weeks are basically a big blur. But, although I'm a week late, I want to go ahead and do it anyway.

Patti Abbot launched this great idea. Here's her original explanation:

This is the first of what I optimistically hope will become Friday recommendations of books we love but might have forgotten over the years. I have asked several people to help me by also remembering a favorite book. Their blog sites are listed below. I also asked each of them to tag someone to recommend a book for next Friday. I'm worried great books of the recent past are sliding out of print and out of our consciousness. Not the first-tier classics we all can name, but the books that come next. Here's my choice.

So that's the idea. And now, here's my choice.



A MISSING HELICOPTER AND TONS OF HIJACKED COCAINE ARE JUST PART OF THE MAELSTROM AWAITING SARA IN HER NEW LIFE.

Following a whirlwind romance and impromptu wedding, she is whisked off to her husband’s palatial family estate in Bolivia. Cultural differences and family adjustments are no match for her fierce love for Nicolas. But Sara soon opens a Pandora’s box of questions surrounding the Cortez family’s billion-dollar business, becoming ensnared in a deadly clash between her new family, a drug cartel, and the DEA.

Driven by heart-pounding drama and supported by compelling realism and precise detail, Jeanette Windle catapults you into an all-to-real world of intrigue and danger . . . captivating and mesmerizing you from first page to last. Experience first-hand the inexorable forces and critical choices that draw Sara relentlessly into the Crossfire.


The only word for this book is awesome. I loved every word, sentence and page of this book. It starts out with a bang and keeps rapidly moving, taking you on a heart-pounding adventure. There are twist throughout this book that are completely unexpected. Jeanette Windle writes in such detail, you will feel as if you get an up close look at the dangers and truth of the fight against the drug trade. Powerful. Emotional. AWESOME!

And now, to tag someone for next Friday, I pick Katybug. This gal is a dear blog friend and uber reader like myself. She has steered me towards some great books and I'm excited to see what she picks.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Untitled

It's been a while since I last blogged. I have a reason. I'm addicted to Spider solitaire. I tend to go through phases with it and right now, every time I sit down at the computer with the intent to blog, I find my mouse gravitating towards that little button on the side of the monitor. Instead of checking e-mail and blogs and attempting to peck out something here, I find myself sitting in a trance, determined to beat the game at least once before going to bed. Or feeding the kids, taking a shower, doing the laundry, washing the dishes. You get the idea.

Anyways, I won tonight and since I'm currently riding the high that victory brings, I figured I'd put the extra energy to some use. 'Course I could be making my son's lunch for school tomorrow, but where's the fun in that?

So here's the deal with last weekend - and yes, I can share most of it. Chad and I managed to get away to the city and it was fabulous in its way. The time spent with Chad was wonderful. BUT a major hair disaster put a decided damper on the holiday. Let me explain.

I needed some touch-ups done on my hair, a few extra layers put in to take some of the bulkiness out of the middle. I had been (notice the past tense) attempting to grow out my painfully-slow-growing hair for the summer and just wanted to thin out a couple of places.

Here's the thing. I have a good friend who cuts my hair and it's hard for me to trust someone else to understand what it is I want done. I allowed myself to be convinced to give a salon in the city a try.

I made the ultimate mistake of choosing the first place we came to in the mall. I figured big city, they must know what they were doing. I was WRONG! I took one look at the woman and almost walked out. I should have. There was something not quite right with her eyes and I was picking up some weird vibes from the place. The fact the receptionist looked like a cross from Ripley's Believe It or Not and some weird creature from a wax museum should have tipped me off. BUT I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. A mistake I won't duplicate.

I tried to explain to the butcher - pardon me, hairstylist - what it is I wanted and I thought I had made it clear despite her halting, broken English. With great trepidation I planted my backside in her chair and allowed myself to be draped with the black cloak. My stomach was churning and my nails firmly embedded in the arms of the chair as I fought to remain seated despite the nausea and light-headedness.

"I want to keep the length," I emphasized. "I just want it blended a little through here and maybe a few more layers. Don't take off any length."

"O-kee."

Ten excruciating minutes later and I looked like the worst version of an eighty's mullet EVER! I kid you not, she took off most of the length on the sides and LEFT THE BACK LONG! I stared for two shocked minutes, unable to reconcile the hideous creature in the mirror as being me. I gulped.

"What did you do? I asked you not to take off any length."

"Oh no, I didn't take off length. See?" And she pulled on the back of my hair.

"But you cut off the sides! The sides are short!"

"Uhhh, yes and now it blends so much betta."

"But the sides are SHORT! And the back is LONG!" She just stared at me through her evil Mirror-Mirror-on-the-Wall. "Just cut off the back, please. You might as well just cut it all off."

"O-kee."

So she did. She didn't even attempt to style it after. I had to ask for some product to try and put some curl back in it after she had ruthlessly combed it straight. As I went to pay, the receptionist looked at me with her soulless eyes and wax face. "How much you tip?"

I was taken aback. How much did one tip the person responsible for her worst nightmare? I was clueless, "Uh, I'll tip ten...I guess." And then I grew a back bone. "Uh, well, se-seven."

I received the nastiest look ever. "Seven?"

"Uh-huh."

I swear she hissed at me. Then she handed me the slip to sign. Imagine my shock when I realized she had gone ahead and charged the ten dollar tip to my card!

Although I struggled through the weekend trying NOT to think about what hair remained on my head, it was a lot of fun meeting up with some family. The weekend was full of wonderful company, conversation, good food and lots of fun and laughter.

And now that I'm home and have my trusty straightener, I've been able to resign myself to this new look. It isn't as bad as it first appeared and I'm accepting it, 'cause, let's face it, what else am I gonna do?

:: :: ::

On a completely different note, I watched P.S. I Love You tonight. I sobbed my eyes out! What an amazingly wonderful, funny, romantic, yet sad show. I am a complete mess. But, I think it may be one of my favorite contemporary chick flicks. Anyone seen it yet? I also watched 27 Dresses for the second time. What a cute, feel-good story.

Okay, it's getting late and I really should make Connor's lunch tonight since I don't function in the mornings and may possibly forget to include a spoon again. Not a good thing when half his lunch requires one.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WIN FREE BOOKS!!


For the month of April, there will be daily book giveaways here. There are also additional opportunities to win books of your choice. Just click and follow the contest rules! I'll see you there!

**New blog posts will appear below**

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Weekend

I'm heading to the city with my hubby for the weekend. Just him and I.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quick! The bucket...*blarf*

There have been countless times in the last five days I have sat down with the intent to blog, but I've been unable to force my fingers over the keys to craft coherent sentences. See? That last sentence is rather messy and wordy. But I'm moving on, 'cause if I delete it, it may be another five days before I get to it again. So many things have happened and I've thought, "I need to get this down," but Procrastination has become my middle name. Hey, it sounds better than lazy. Now, since sentence structure and paragraph flow is sketchy at best right now, I'm gonna do a random post and just get it all down in messy chaotic fashion. Oy! That paragraph is atrocious.

This is my version of blarf, or blog puke, if you will.

:: :: ::

Benen crawled onto my bed with me to watch American Idol. During David Cooke's performance he looks at me in all seriousness and says, "He sings more better than you."

Hey, I can't argue with the truth now, can I?

:: :: ::

I was squatting down, sifting through the piles in my sons' bookshelves looking for stories to read him before bed, when Benen spoke.

"Mom, you're too fat to fit in my bed."

My jaw dropped. "What did you say?"

"You're too fat to fit on my bed." I was shaking with silent laughter. "But that's okay, 'cause I'll just move over like this, and then there'll be room."

:: :: ::

My husband and I were laying in bed watching a late re-run of Rosanne (Hey, it's what was on at the time) when Connor crawled into bed with us. He has frequent dreams so this wasn't out of the ordinary. I forgot he was lying there.

"Honey, I look like that."

"Like what?"

"Like her. Like Roseanne." I was having a "fat day".

My husband rolled his eyes.

"You don't look like that, Mom."

I turned to Connor, curious what he would say. "Really?"

"Yeah. You don't look like her. You got curly hair and glasses."

I love the innocence of kids. They are so pure of heart.

:: :: ::

Oh, YAH BABY! My guys won!! I'd give three cheers right now, 'cept they don't do that kind of thing in the UFC. That's right. Georges St-Pierre WON THE WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP Saturday night. He didn't just beat Matt Serra, he DESTROYED him! I'm talking a complete annihilation, he DOMINATED Serra! It was beautiful! A truly memorable moment.

St-Pierre beat Serra in the second round by TKO. The referee stepped in to stop the fight when Serra became unable to defend himself. If you're interested, here's a video of round two. (St-Pierre is in the tight, black shorts. Um, I'm not a fan of the spandex, but the guy is a unbelievable, his athleticism almost unrivaled. You'll hear the announcers say he may be the best wrestler in the UFC.)



And of course, Rich Franklin beat Travis Lutter in the second round by TKO. Lutter nearly got a submission in the first round, but Rich "Ace" Franklin was able to pull a Houdini and spun out of an arm bar. Amazing! You can see it here, and if you don't want to watch the whole thing, skip to the 6:00 mark. That's some beautiful, technical work.



And of course, here are the winning moments.



:: :: ::

And last, but certainly not least, a Farewell to Forty-Nine and Hello Fifty!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Night At the Theatre

Sunday night we went to the theatre and saw the musical production A Buddy Holly Birthday Bash. It was awesome! Besides being a hilariously funny musical featuring the songs of Buddy Holly and some amazing dance moves, I didn't have to cut any one's food into bite-sized pieces, get anyone a drink of water, wipe any sticky fingers or clean up any spills. A pretty top-rate night in my book.

I'm still not feeling a hundred percent, but I'm going to peck away at the keyboard and try to share some of the highlights from the evening. Beginning with this picture.

On the drive to the city, I tried to get a better picture of my hubby to make up for last time. Obviously it didn't work. I figured the bouncing in the car made the picture blurry. Sorry 'bout that.

We arrived in the city and went to see the themed hotel room my brother-in-law and his wife had booked for the night. It was done in a Polynesian theme, with a waterfall that cascaded down into the jacuzzi tub and a bed that looked like a boat. The room was decorated with bamboo and leaf print. Very unique. Here are some pictures.

Chad and his dad couldn't resist climbing into the jacuzzi for a "Rub-a-dub-dub" picture. We laughed ourselves silly when my father-in-law realized he had sat in something wet. We're pretty sure it was soap. Are these pictures looking blurry to you? Hmm....

Anyways, here's a picture of the bed that's made to look like a boat.

And here's an interesting one....

Can you figure out what it is? Yup. It's a picture of the ceiling above the bed. That's right, there are mirrors up there. *snicker, snicker* Since I try to keep this a mostly G-rated blog, I won't say more except that you can imagine the jokes and ribbing that went along with that one. And may I just say that I believe mirrors are a completely male idea.

Pictures still blurry? Yeah, this is about the time I lost it, frustrated I couldn't take a nice picture and yelling that our camera was wrecked and we needed a new one. Chad asked if I needed to clean the lens. Oh. Oops. So I gave it a swipe and voila! Here's a non-blurry picture of the jacuzzi tub.

From there we made our way to the theatre. Here is my handsome brother-in-law (I can say that 'cause he looks a little like my hubby) and his beautiful wife, who happens to be one of my dear friends.

These are a couple of the servers. Everyone is in character, even those who aren't a part of the actual play. It is wildly hilarious to watch them act out their own dramas during the intermissions and the serving of the food.

Our server was Larry King. There's nothing like being in the presence of a legend.

Chad's first comment was, "Wow, your shoulders look a lot smaller in person." I managed to take the next picture moments before they made the announcement that no cameras were allowed during the production.

The play itself was a fictional story based around Buddy Holly's 18th birthday. It was also a spin off of American Idol and had Buddy auditioning to be "The Next Big Thing." This show was a total thrill for me, with music from the '50s - which I totally love - and spectacular dancing. The cast was fantastic. The vocals are done live and it is amazing to watch the energy and spirit the actors/actresses put into the performance.

The food was incredible and of course I forgot to take pictures. I'll just say it was heaven on a plate. Chicken stuffed with brie cheese, cranberries and something sweet. Yummy!

During the dessert time, the cast went around giving special birthday wishes to everyone there celebrating a birthday. This guy jumped up on the chair right beside us and sang very loudly to the woman at the table.

This gal was one of the main characters in the story. She played Buddy Holly's love-at-first-sight and niece of Col. Simon Cowbell, recording company owner and talent show scout.

Peggy Sue came over and brought us our special birthday wish. She mixed up all our names. It was hilarious.

And now, for the final picture. I remembered to take a picture of the gorgeous dessert I had. It was called Chocolate Mousse Cake.

It was a fabulous night. The food, the conversation, the play, the music - wonderful! I would pay to see it again, I loved it that much. This is the third dinner theatre we have been to and I would say it was my favorite so far.


:: :: ::

Now, since it is my Sunday to do music, here is the line up.

Opening Song:
Doxology

Worship Set:
Arise
You're Worthy of My Praise
Holy Is The Lord

Special Music (during communion):
There Is A Fountain

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Excuse for Not Blogging

Sick.

Trying to find the words.

Will post about the theatre later.

Friday, April 11, 2008

On the Road Again

Well, we're off for the weekend to visit the in-laws. Just wanted to drop a quick note and wish you all a great weekend. We're doing our annual group birthday celebration and we'll be taking in another dinner theatre on Sunday. I can hardly wait. Adults with no kids...*sigh* I look forward to the peace and quiet and a break from the never ending questions that are such a part of this age.

Oooh, just remembered I need to pack my camera. After last year, you just never know.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Big, The Bad and The Bloody

I don't know how it happened. One minute I was strong, solid, determined to hold out. Little did I know I could be so easily seduced. That's right. I have been lured by the raw appeal of the UFC. I am hopelessly, completely, happily addicted to the sport. What did you think I was talking about?

Last fall my husband convinced me to sit down and watch one of the PPV fight nights. He began explaining the history of each fighter and I found myself drawn into the drama, unable to look away even as the blood began to spray forth - literally. Apparently it was one of the bloodiest fights ever, but even though I shuddered and gagged at the disgusting, sticky mess (how can they stand to have someone else's blood covering them?) I have been hooked ever since. I L-O-V-E it!

Saturday, April 19, is the next UFC. I have been almost giddy with anticipation over this title fight. Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre (whom I saw fight last fall). The history between these fighters is going to make for a dramatic, adrenaline filled night.








Matt "The Terror" Serra vs. Georges "Rush" St-Pierre




Matt "The Terror" Serra shocked people when he defeated Georges "Rush" St-Pierre, taking the UFC Welterweight Championship in April, 2007. Set to defend his title against fighter Matt Hughes, he was forced to pull out of UFC 79 due to a herniated disc in his lower back suffered during one of his training sessions.

With the loss of the Serra-Hughes fight threatening UFC 79, the decision was made to match former champion St-Pierre against Hughes for the newly created interim welterweight championship. On December 29, 2007, St-Pierre defeated Hughes with an armbar in the second round and won the interim welterweight title. In a show of pure class, St-Pierre handed off the belt to a cornerman, stating that the real champion was Matt Serra, who defeated him the past April, and that he would wait until he had faced Serra again before claiming the belt.

That's what is happening on April 19. Matt Serra is returning after healing from his injury and will fight Georges St-Pierre to unify the belts and defend his title. Personally, I'm giving the fight to St-Pierre. He is considered one of the top pound-per-pound fighters in the UFC. I was blown away with the lithe grace and athleticism he showed in his fight last fall. He doesn't just win a match, he dominates inside the ring. The man moves with the agility of a panther and strikes with the speed and precision of a cobra. He can stand and exchange hits with the best of them and his ground game is nearly unbeatable. It's like poetry in motion.




Also fighting that night is Travis "The Serial Killer" Lutter vs. Rich "Ace" Franklin.







I've never seen Lutter fight before, but I'm hoping for Franklin to take the victory. Franklin is one of my favorite fighters. Besides being a top competitor in his weight division, he is a guy who demands respect both inside the ring and out. He won my respect during his fight against Anderson "The Spider" Silva last October. Though he was defeated by knock-out in the second round, he was pure class during the post-fight interview, giving Silva the credit he deserved and showing a deep respect between the two fighters.

Silva also won my respect that night as he fought with a skill level almost unseen in the UFC. The respect he showed Franklin was overwhelming to a newbie-to-the-sport like me. He was humble in his victory and I couldn't help but like the guy.



So next Saturday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. you know where I'll be. Happily planted in front of my t.v. as I cheer on both St-Pierre and Franklin.

One other quick confession. I have now fallen victim to the reality t.v. show The Ultimate Fighter. It's no surprise really. Basically it takes sixteen wannabe UFC fighters and splits them into two teams. This season the teams are being led by Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin.





Team Rampage vs. Team Griffin








In a new twist, the contestants had to fight their way to win a spot in the house. Thirty-two hopefuls were picked and then pitted against each other in sixteen exciting fights. The sixteen winners are moving on and teams will be selected next week.

It appears I now have to download Criminal Minds and watch it on Thursdays so I don't miss my new favorite reality series.