That Holy Feeling

Lately I have been struggling with the issue of money and tithing to your church; how much should I give, how often, etc. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered hearing the "10%" thing, that you should give God ten percent of your income. The Scripture also repeatedly says that if you give God as much as he instructs, He will provide for you and bless you. So I sat down to do my finances.
Now, when God said ten percent did he mean ten percent of your gross income, or net income? After thinking about it I decided on net for some reason. The following is a layout of my finances for the first two weeks of June, keeping in mind that I need cash on hand for milk and gas.

Net income: $1498.57 (10%= roughly $140)
Groceries, tp, etc: $147.88
James' allowance: $101.80 (includes ATM fees)
Rent: $450
Water bill: $50.91
Dell: $32
Geico: $68.50
One Spirit (book club): $38.03
Colombia House (DVD for James): $26.75
Army (loan for deductible when we it a deer): $50
Eye doctor (LASIK eye surgery): $50
Furniture: $279
Capital One: $25
Orchard Bank: $25
Dairy Queen (our once every two weeks outing): $9.70

Now here's the kicker: All of those added up and subtracted from the net is -guess what?- $144. Which would be $140 (ten percent) for God and $4 for milk (which HAPPENS to be on sale at two gallons for four dollars). Is that amazing or what?!
But then I remembered: I need refills on my meds and gas money, too. Refills will be $18. Then God reminded me. James get hazard duty pay on June 4th in the amount of $25. So there's my refills with $7 to spare. Not exactly enough to get a sizeable amount of gas. Then God jogged my memory again: Mom owes me gas money for taking her to Miles. $5? So there's $13 for gas, and I don't plan on going out of town within the next two weeks, so that would be just right for two weeks of around-town driving.
Granted, that leaves my checking account balance at zero, but hey. God will bless me. Isn't He amazing?!!!

Conversations with the He-Child

Recent conversation between me and the He-Child, driving home from Angelo:
"Ungsh kwa."
"Ungsh kwa!"
"I dont' understand 'ungsh kwa' baby."
"Ungsh kwa!!!"
"What is ungsh kwa?!"
"A gwaber lana boger shooda ungsh kwa!!"
"Wait til we get home, then you can show me, ok baby?"
-slight whining-
"Ungsh kwa?" Grrr.
"Do you want an apple?" I keep fruit in my purse.
"What did you do at Nana's yesterday?"
"Ungsh kwa."
"Really." 'Ungsh kwa' must be a verb....
"Ungsh ornsh." This one I know!
"You want an orange?"
"What baby?"
"Ungsh kwa!!"
"I don't know what ungsh kwa means!!"
"He wants a piece of drink your water!" Now Lily is awake.
"You want a drink of Mommy's water?"
"Yeah! Ungsh wader!"
"All you had to do was speak English!"

Darn Old People

Why can't old people leave us alone? HaHaHa Just kidding Granny. But really, I was at the gas pumps yesterday and I was washing my windshield with the sqweegie thing they have out there, and this older lady came up behind me and said "Excuse me!!" I turned around and saw that she was reaching down to get the air hose by my feet, so I said "Oh, sorry" and moved aside. I thought the encounter was over. Wrong. The next thing I hear is "WELL YOU WERE SLINGING WATER EVERYWHERE SO I HAD TO SAY EXCUSE ME!!" What was her problem? So I turned around and said "YEAH, AND I APOLOGIZED." Now, I didn't yell like she did. I simply raised my voice an octave. I guess I pissed her off cause she got in her car and drove off. Good grief!
Now I'm probably gonna get in trouble for this next story, but hey, it's funny. My brother Zac and his wife Raysha were walking in Walmart, her pushing the basket and him behind her. He reached over and pecked her on the cheek (sweet huh?). Then this older woman says "EXCUUUUSE ME! GO DO THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE!" Was this out of line or what? I mean, they weren't making out in public, and yeah they look young but hey they both had their wedding rings on. So Raysha GOES OFF on this woman, like "Oh I don't think so, it's none of your business yada yada yada" with her finger pointed and everything! The funniest part is they were standing in the middle of Walmart fighting with an eighty year old woman, and when she turned to walk away, still muttering under her breath, Zac had to DRAG Raysha out of the ring! When they told me this story I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. I would have paid my own plane ticket to see that.
And last but not least, I almost got run over in the Walmart parking lot by an older woman. I had Caleb sitting on my left hip, and I was walking on the left side of the isle because some moron was driving in the right side. So I'm walking along, minding my own business, when WHAM! something hits my left knee. Now before this episode I was under the impression that you had to learn how to look in your mirrors before backing out of your parking space. I guess not. Some older lady had backed into me! It didn't knock me over, but it did kinda push me. I looked over and in her rear view mirror I could see she had a shocked look on her face. Now I know this wasn't very Christian like, what I did next, but I was pissed not that she had nearly run over me but that I had my son with me too. So I gave her an ugly look, flipped her the bird, and stormed into Walmart.
Next time I go to Walmart I'm going to wear neon yellow and a sign that says "I don't have nine lives, please look before you back up!!"


Tae Bo

So I've been doing Tae Bo daily now for a week (yah!), until Sunday, my day off. And Monday was my birthday, another day off. Tuesday the VCR broke; another day off. So here comes Wednesday, time to get back on the horse......OH MY GOSH. I seriously almost DIED. I didn't even get through the stretches and I was huffing and puffing. I paused the tape twice to catch my breath, and I've only done that once before! I'm glad no one was home cause I was sweating like a stuck pig, grunting with every effort, and farting with every side kick. Can you imagine what I sounded like? -uh- -pfft- -uh- -pfft-
I know Lily would have been cracking up. And double time? -uh uh!- -pffft pft- -uh uh!- -pffft pft- I was getting mad at myself because I couldn't keep up, so I decided to pretend that with every front kick I was kicking Billy Blanks in the unmetionables. I must have gotten over-enthused because I hit the tv and nearly knocked it off the cardboard box it sits on. No, I haven't recently moved. That's about as sophisticated as my entertainment center is going to get for now.
But there is a plus side to all of my hard work. My arms aren't flabby anymore, and my legs are a little trimmer. But this gut! It's not going anywhere! Just jiggle jiggle jiggles through my workout and won't lift a finger to burn some calories. Dumb fat.


Nine Questions of the Times

1) WHY do they have to put 500 q-tips in those darn boxes?!! Do they like to sit around and imagine us poor parents picking them ALL up??

2) Do single serving mac and cheese's have a purpose? Why not make the economy box, you know they're gonna eat it!

3) Do they make kid repellent for single people? What about wrung-out parents? What does it smell like? Peas?

4) Is it REALLY that heart breaking when a horse breaks it's foot? Look up that race horse on yahoo, holy crap people were "weeping in the stands" and the sponsor person ran out screaming "don't put it down, i'll buy the horse! don't kill it!!" Were they weeping for the money they lost? And is that story about how they euthanize injured horses ON THE TRACK (right after they fall) accurate? C'mon people, children are dying of starvation daily yet we bawl over a horse....

5) Why do they even offer the 50 ounce tube of toothpaste? Do they KNOW you have a two year old eager to squirt it all on the bathroom floor?

6) And why do they put all the ice cream on sale the same week you start a new diet? I think it's a conspiracy..... They want us to be fat! Fat people make the world go round!

7) Why isn't birth control mandatory for girls between the ages of 13 and 20?

8) Why does a cat who is helplessly tangled up in one of your bras (I mean almost unable to move) fight you when you try to get it off her?

9) Why do cats think your tossing and turning at night is an invitation to gnaw on your toes?

Kids are smarter than you think....

This is a set of pictures I found tonight on my hard drive. Apparetly Lily has learned how to take pictures with the web cam. Notice the progression of the shots....


Alejandra's Adventure

So my in-laws, my kids and I went to a Mexican restaurant for Mother's Day. It goes good until we sit down, then Caleb throws a fit because he doesn't want to sit in the high chair. He screams NO and PA PA and kicks until I, not being able to stand the other people's eyes boring into me, take him outside. We have a talk and he calms down. We go back inside. We sit. Now he wants a gum ball from the vending machine we passed. I tell him no. He screams. Lily joins in because she wants one too. Now I have two screaming children. So my father in law, James, goes and buys them one each.
Caleb wants red, not orange, and Lily wants orange, not red. So after more screeching they switch. My mother in law, Jeannette, is afraid Caleb will choke on the gum ball, so she bites it in half and all hell breaks loose. All I can hear amidst the commotion is "Nana" and "No" and "bite" and "ball." After numerous threats he calms down and decides he'd rather have a chip anyway.
This gives the waitress, who's been patiently waiting at a safe distance, a chance to take our orders. Jeannette gives Caleb a chip, which she doesn't break into small pieces cause if she's like me she's thinking if he chokes at least he'll be quiet for a little bit. He screams for dip. We hand him the white Ranch sauce stuff, but he makes it known he wants hot sauce and won't take no for an answer. So I give it to him (I know, but it's called tough love for a reason).
He makes a funny face, turns red and starts screaming again. I'm laughing. People are staring and I'm sure a couple were calling the operator trying to find out the local CPS phone number. Half a cup of Sprite later he's ok, and the in-laws have quit freaking out too. The food arrives, and we enjoy a bittersweet five minutes of silence.
I'm glad I eat fast because as soon as I finished Caleb was ready to leave. Lily had crawled under the table. I fished her out while James tried to console Caleb, unsuccessfully. Lily pouts and Caleb continues protesting. James gets up and buys them a little toy. Lily likes hers, Caleb doesn't like his. Screaming. Crying. A new toy. Less hair on my head. Lily gets up and jogs around the restaurant. Finally I take both of them outside, where they roam around and yell at each other until James and Jeannette finish eating. Then we leave.
Can anyone tell me where the OFF switch on a two and four year old are? I seem to have misplaced my manual....

Hangin' With Kirby

My husband bought a $1300 Kirby a year or so before we met, and the curse has now passed from his ex to me. The thing sucks, and I didn't mean that as a joke.
I had just started using it shortly after we met, thinking "Oh, $1300 this thing must be magical!" It was extremely hard to push, and I complained to James about it. He asked me if it was in "drive" or "neutral." What? The darn thing has GEARS? I must have overlooked the gear shift.... So he shows me that when it's unplugged, you put it in neutral so you can move it from room to room. When it's plugged in, you put it in drive to activate the self-propelling mechanism. Oookay......
It also has a carpet shampooer on the sucker. So some months later I decided to try that. I have James explain to me how it works, change the heads, put the soap and water in, blah blah. So he goes out to the back yard, leaving me unsupervised. I get the water, check. Pour in some soap, check. PUT IT IN DRIVE, check. Turn it on. It suds up and runs smoothly, so I'm pretty psyched.
Then the thing starts regurgitating bubbles. LOTS of bubbles. I mean coming out of the head, tray and wheels. I think maybe it's in super duper cleaning mode, so I check for a lever to turn it down a notch. None. By now a whole three feet of carpet is bubble-covered, so I switch it off and go get James. He asks me what the hell is going on. I tell him I don't know. He asks how much soap I put in the tray. I say "Well, I just kinda poured some in there. Probably like half a cup." He shakes his head. "You're only supposed to put two CAP-FULS, dear."
So the months pass and James gets deployed and leaves me REALLY alone with the confounded contraption. I'm vaccuuming along, and the darned thing starts burning. Well, something is burning. Taryn thinks I'm building a camp fire in the kids' room and walks in. "I bet you have to change the belt." Okay, that makes sense.
Now James had attempted to show me how this is done one or two times before. So I struggle and huff and puff and finally get the head off. Have you ever seen a dismantled vaccuum cleaner head? IT'S NASTY. I know I've cleaned up puke and poop and all that, but this was disgusting. Taryn sure as heck wasn't touching it, so I had to dig around and get the swivel rod thingy out. Then I put the belt on. Then I push it back into place. Then I try to put the head back on. No go.
So I take it off and try again. And try. AND TRY. I figure you just reverse the order of steps you took to get the darn thing off to get it back on, right? I guess not. We get the manual out, which is skimpier than it should be considering all the obvious problems customers can have with the machine. I see we are doing the same steps the manual shows. Hmm.
After much cursing, I get it back on and start vaccuuming up the mess I made trying to fix the vaccuum. Now it won't suck! Oh my gosh, I'm about to barf. But I can't leave the mounds of dirt and dust on the floor cause it's gross and the He-child will probably eat it, so I dismantle the thing again. And remantle it.
I still have to run over stuff several times for the vaccuum to suck it up, but I'm not messing with it any more until July, when James comes home. Stupid machine.

Book Club Blues

"Thank you for calling the Crossings book club customer service, how can I help you today?"
"Yeah, I got a bill in the mail for some books from ya'll, and I didn't get them cause I never ordered them. I'm not a member of Crossings."
"Okay, let me look and see what's going on. What is the account number on the invoice?"
"Ok, just one moment please..... Oh I see here that we sent you blah blah and blah (seven books by Joyce Meyer). How would you like to pay today, with a credit card or from your checking account?"
"Um, neither because I didn't order those books from you, I ordered them from One Spirit. And I already paid them."
"Ma'am, we show that you received the books. How would you like to pay today?"
"I don't WANT to pay because I didn't receive the books from YOU, I got them from ONE SPIRIT."
"There's no way you could have gotten them from One Spirit ma'am because it shows you ordered them through us. "
"So I went to One Spirit.com and paid them and they just took my money for books they didn't send?"
"I would call them to straigten out that issue, ma'am."
"I'm telling you I didn't order the books from you, ya'll must have gotten something mixed up. Please cancel my Crossings account."
"I can't do that ma'am, because you have a balance of $34.98 that needs to be paid. We accept credit cards or checks over the phone. Which would you like to use today?"
"Can I do anything else for you today?"
"Yes. You can close the Crossings account we've been talking about for ten minutes now."
"I can't do that ma'am, there is a balance of $34.98. How would you like to pay today? We accept checks and credit cards over the phone."

My Mimi Moment

Well a couple of days ago my DSL went out. I ran my Adware, Spybot, Stinger and AFG softwares and they found a couple of things but nothing real big. I ran them because last time my DSL went out, it was because a virus had "eaten the internet modem connection." So then I ran the softwares that came with the stinkin Dell. Nothing. I decided that rather than pay some guy to reformat my hard drive, I'd do it myself. How hard could it be, right?

So I go to my mom's and look up on the internet how to do this step by step. I take notes. Reformatting the hard drive means I will lose EVERYTHING, including my DSL software, which isn't working anyway, but I really don't want to call Verizon and get a new DSL package, so I decide to call them and see what they say.

"Thank you for calling Verizon DSL technical support, my name is You-wont-remember-in-ten-seconds, how can I help you?"
"Yeah, my DSL isn't working."
"Can you describe the problem in a little more detail?"
"Um... I click on Internet Explorer and it says it can't find the server."
"So it's not connecting to the central server."
"Darn, you people are geniuses. Glad I called."
"Are the lights on the modem lit?"
"Yeah, the power and ethernet are, the DSL is blinking, and the internet is unlit."
"Ah, your modem isn't communicating with the central server."
"No crap, really?"
"Let me test the line, one moment please.... Yes, it's definately not communicating."
"I'm glad there are people at Verizon like you who can tell me what's going on, cause you know, I'm REALLY confused."
"We like to help our customers."
"I noticed."
"Well, we'll sent a technician out tomorrow to have a look at it, ok?"
"Ok, bye." Click.

So the tech comes at ten o'clock.

"Let's check all the lines first. Where is the phone jack?"
"Over there in the corner."
Tech walks over, moves the cat box, stands back up, looks at wall, looks at me and smiles.
"I think I found your problem."
"Did you find the missing hamster?"
"Hahaha. No, the phone cord is unplugged." Reaches down and plugs it in.
"Darn kids!"
"Have a nice day, ma'am."


For Thoe Who Lost Track

Since Lily has a different biological father than Caleb, she has twice as many grandparents as he does. But they claim him too, which is cool. For the purposes of this blog, we'll call her biological father "Bio" (original, huh?).
For those who lost track of who is who in my children's world (after all, don't we revolve around them?), I've composed a list of relatives and their nicknames.

James' parents: Pa Pa Princess and Nana (because Pa Pa is always calling her his little princess)
My mom and step-dad: Mimi and Pa Pa Badboy (he's a police officer; COPS theme song; get it?)
My dad and step mom: Pa Pa Pumpkin (He-child's translation: Pa Pa Pookin) and Grammy (because he always calls her Pumpkin)
Bio's mother and step dad: Other Nana (when you already have one, the next can only be the "other", right?) and Paw
Bio's sister: Aunt Lissa
Bio's grandmother: Great Grandmomma

There you have it folks, but before I retire I thought I'd throw in another Lily-story:
We were looking through some old photo albums, her pointing to the people pictured and either naming them or asking who they were. We came upon a picture of myself and Bio hugging each other on the couch, and Lily says accusingly "Mama! THAT'S not DADDY!"
"I know baby, that was someone I knew before I met your daddy."
"Whew! That was a close one...."
Shoot, I couldn't get away with it even if I TRIED!!

Kids Are Funny... So Are Moms

I recently overheard this conversation between my kids.....
(both quietly playing)
(scream from the he-child)
"La-lee! Geh back! Geh back La-lee!!"
"Oh! Caleb, you can talk! Here you want this back? Here you go." (said in a little sing song like way, which is how her part of the conversation goes)
"Welcome." (He-child's way of saying thank you.)
"Caleb! Can you say Lily?"
"Good boy! Can you say Nana? Say Nana!"
"Great job! Say Mama!"
"Cool! Say Daddy!"
"Good! Now say Pa Pa Pumpkin!" (Long story, see the above blog....)
"Pa Pa..... Pakun!"
(She-child gets up and runs into my room)
"Mom! Did you know Caleb can talk like a real person now? He can talk like you and me!"
(She-child conveniently forgets He-child has been making fairly legible sentences for about three months now....)

The other day Lily sat down beside me on the couch and said
"Mom, I'm not gonna say sh*t any more."
"Ok, then don't say it."
"I'm not GOING TO say sh*t any more!"
"Ok! Then quit saying it now!"
-Huff- "Mom! I SAID I'm not GOING TO say sh*t any more!!"
-moment of silence-
"Well, I just wanted to tell you I'm not going to say sh*t any more."
-gets down and runs off-

I got out of the shower yesterday and was drying off when Lily came into the bathroom (Ever notice that once you have kids, dressing and peeing in front of another human being is no longer taboo, as long as they're less than 36 inches tall?) and said, "Mom, you have a fat tummy!"
"Did you know I have a fat tummy because of you?"
"Yeah, when you were in my tummy you got really big and stretched it out, and that's why it's so fat."
-sits and ponders this thought-
"Well that's cool."
-returns to the play room-

Today I was talking on IM to my mom, who is thoroughly amazed at the whole concept of instant messaging. I'm constantly getting messages like "Hey! I can change the color of the words!" or "Look at these cool smiley-thingies!" My mother's loss of.... reasoning? youth? memory giga bytes?..... has been a unique experience, and I can't wait to torment my kids. Anywho, she told me Taryn (my sister) had asked her for mom's friend Karen's address, to send a graduation invitation. So mom typed it into the email..... and sent it to Karen. In case she forgot. Then she realized her mistake, copied the email..... and sent it to herself. In case she forgets. (Maybe Mom is just planning for the inevitability of our minds to start dumping infrequently used data..... I'm glad she thinks of others as well as herself.) Finally it reached Taryn's inbox, but not before I finished laughing my butt off.