Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Wear My (Denial) At Night, So I Can, So I Can (Sleep)

(Didn't catch the title reference??  This was one of my favorite 80s songs. And even though apparently I was 8 years old when this video came out, I have clear memories of thinking Corey Hart was totally radical, dude!)

I am a little bit like a slumber party attendee in the middle of the night hours right now. Why? Because I have spent about 10 hours today preparing for the big meeting with our CPA tomorrow to do our taxes. I am most definitely insane at this moment.

It is my own fault.  I have a filing cabinet, but instead "file" our bills by throwing them in a box and not looking at them for approximately 1 year. So today I spent a few hours filing all of that junk, so that I could then access the files to get out all of the paperwork we need to do our taxes.

Tonight, I spent another 5 or so hours doing the actual tax prep work. Because of Eric's job, our tax status is weird -- we pay less taxes, I think, but the amount of documentation we need to actually DO our taxes is ridiculous. By ridiculous, I mean "almost every receipt and bill from the entire tax year".  And this year, we have the extra bonus of having sold a house out of state as a short sale, so I've been wading through sale documents, bills and expenses related to that house,

Remember in yesterday's post where I said whining and complaining gets boring? "Skip to the end!" 

Now it is past 11pm and I am exhausted. And my lips are chapped! And I have been calculating, thinking about our expenses and our money situation.

All of the sudden, I thought of something to share! A quirk, if you will.  It's "Let's Get to Know Amanda" time!

My biggest stress is money. When I wake up in the middle of the night, my primary irrational, panic and insomnia enducing fear is about money.  I have gotten a lot better about that lately, but it is still there.  One of the ways I avoid that night time anxiety is I refuse to get our mail or look at our mail after dinner. If I haven't seen it before then, it has to wait until the next day. No money talk, nothing to make me think about our budget or bills if we have already eaten dinner. And, amazingly, that actually has seemed to help us. Though, admittedly, it is occasionally inconvenient.

What will happen tonight? My rule was broken tonight and then all of those broken pieces were broken again.

Thankfully, I have a friend upstairs named Ambien. And my Ambien awaits!

Tomorrow, I *might* consciously break my Lent commitment to buy myself a lovely, syrupy, caffeine filled latte on my way to the CPA.  The good news is my appointment is basically first thing in the morning. At least it will be over before dinner!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February = Fail

It's a good thing that February is the shortest month of the year, because I feel like I was a pretty big failure for the last 28 days! All of my positive energy and momentum from January must have been used up over those lengthy 31 days. I pretty much suck.

At the end of January, I blogged about some goals for February. There were 4 and I didn't really accomplish ANY of them! Yikes!

But, I did go to yoga today and successfully accomplished wheel pose! It was my first attempt since September 2010.  And, I did go to the used book store to buy the next book our book club is reading and discovered that my credit there was not the measly "about $10" I thought it probably was, but was instead... $55!! Today was a "win", but the month... not so much.

Blogging "a couple times a week": I think I averaged 2 posts a week, but in a month with only 4 weeks, that isn't saying much!   There were a few things I wanted to blog about, but then I didn't have time or energy. And there were a few times I sat down to blog and ended up blogging a whole bunch of complaining and whining and erasing it because... well, it just isn't that interesting to other people.

For March, I am planning to mix it up a bit and do this "March photo of the day" challenge. For me, it will be a double challenge because not only will I actually have to take the picture, but I will need to figure out how to get the picture from my futuristic techno-phone on to the internet so that I can put it in the blog. I am also going to be optimistic and plan to write a little about the picture.

No Pop, No Lattes: Honestly, I thought I had this one in the bag. I didn't drink any pop at all in January, so eliminating the flavored lattes should be easy. But again, failure. I think it was the pressure that got to me. All of the sudden I psychoed out on pop and lattes! The girl at Dutch Bros knows me now! *hanging head in shame* I pulled it together at the end of the month by "giving something up for Lent" for the first time in my life. You guessed it, pop and lattes! So now in addition to knowing that it is a healthy choice that moves me closer to my clean eating goals, I also now have Jesus's sacrifice on my side. Not even kidding, more than once in the past week I have said to myself, "If Jesus can die on the cross, I can get through this day without a Pepsi."

Did I mention that one of the blogs I wanted to write earlier this month but didn't was going to be about the really strange things I sometimes hear myself saying in my own head? Unfortunately, those things are usually said while I'm in the shower, driving, or chasing lunatic children and blogging at those times is inconvenient.

Continuing on through Lent to Easter with no pop and no lattes!

Update the home office: Laughable! Here's how far I got with that. I went to Home Depot and bought the Wall Pops I need to do this awesome awesomeness, I briefly stalked a desk on Craigslist that I loved and then it was sold before I could call the guy about it. I taped some paint samples to the wall. And that is it.

I did do a major room cleaning and reorganization of Big Girl's bedroom. She is completely lacking in organizational skills, and even basic "clean your room" skills, so this took me the good part of 1 day. And I noticed that our playroom is a disaster that probably deserves one of those gigantic "Got Junk?" dumpsters to be pulled up to the back of the house. It is still a disaster, but at least I noticed, right?

Keep up with duathlon training: I really did have the best intentions here. We were out of town for a few days, my kids have been sick, and for the last almost 2 weeks I have been dealing with a weird energy-sapping, but otherwise symptoms like a seasonal allergy flare-up mystery sickness. Within the past couple of days, that stuff is finally gone, but now I've got some back and hip tightness that scares me. (Last year I pulled a muscle in my lower back and while it was healing, my lower vertebrae and left hip got messed up, which caused my back and leg muscles to spasm and I ended up with twice weekly chiropractor visits for 6 weeks before I could even function as a person. So the muscle tightness stuff is something I don't mess around with.) As of today I'm back to the gym -- 2 weeks away! not good... -- but I did yoga/pilates in an effort to loosen up a little bit. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. I am still moving ahead with my April duathlon plans though, until I get to that "I can't walk" stage.

So, there goes February. And after tomorrow, we welcome March. Here is some of what I have in store:

** Starting a new mom's Bible study with some other women from the church & school! Hooray! Mommy hang out time AND it is at my house, so I will be forced to keep my house clean.... er.

** Softball season is here!! I put WAY too much energy into being the volunteer coach of a middle school girls softball team. But I love it!

** Taxes! This time the exclamation point is supposed to indicate terror.  We will find out in the next week what kind of crazy government smack down we are going to receive because of the short sale of our former home last summer. If all goes well... home office updating! If not.... Amanda in the fetal position wrapped in a comforter, drinking Pepsi and eating Oreo cookies.

What do you have planned for March?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blogging the Academy Awards... for 20 minutes

I usually try to see as many of the Academy Award best picture nominees as I can. This year, I managed a pathetic 3.5 out of 9. (I saw the 2nd half of Moneyball in the Cinema Cardio room while running at my gym and then didn't care enough to watch the whole thing.)

We are interested in watching even though we haven't seen most of the movies. We probably will see most of them eventually anyway.

We broke our family rule to watch the opening by Billy Crystal while still eating Clam Chowder and french bread for dinner. We almost never eat dinner with the tv on. Sadly, this is the kind of thing that makes us break our rule.

Hey! There's Tom Hanks and... wow!... his lines are NOT FUNNY. AT ALL. Is he making fun of the old man seat filler in the blue tuxedo or honoring him?

Alright, Hugo just won the first two awards. Didn't see it. Harry Potter! A movie I did see!

Some kind of film montage of people... looking meaningfully at each other? And Jaws? Eric says, "What is this?" I do not know the answer. Now people are laughing.  There's ET!  I think we are seeing the range of emotion that movies convey.  Deep, deep stuff.  I am proud of myself because I actually know what most of these movies are. I think that means I'm getting old.

Now Little Man is mimicking the acceptance speech of the costume design guy from The Artist. "Well, this is thrilling." "This is thrilling... Hey! It's not funny!"

I don't really think it's funny, or thrilling. This might be one of the most boring Academy Awards shows I've ever seen, so far. And whatever is going on with their microphones... yikes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Through the Eyes of Little Man

I was going to write today about my new smartphone and, specifically, how difficult it is to use and how NOTsmart it makes me feel. But, since the whole situation has made me so anxious that I probably need a sedative, that will wait.

Instead, I will share with you some photos taken recently by Little Man on our real camera, which I know how to use well enough to upload photos on to my computer. (I'm looking at you, Devil Spawn Droid Phone!)

A few glimpses into the world as seen by Little Man...


Painting. Tarantula.

Leftover snack.

"Sold" vacant house with new neighbors and still a "Sold" sign.
Blog About This House

Plants. Across the street. 



Rubber band. 


Hat. TV.

Art Way Up High. 



Toy Bench. (LWML mites box holding tiny lego men)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Year of Dates: February

Last Sunday, Eric and I went on our second "A Year of Dates" adventure.  As I said repeatedly, to the point where it wasn't cute anymore, "Happy February date!"

Eric STILL has not looked at the entire set of envelopes, as far as I know. And I STILL cannot believe it.  But, February's date surprise was ruined. (January wasn't actually a surprise because he knew about that date before the whole "A Year of Dates" thing was started.)  Anyway, this time the date surprise was revealed because our date was almost ruined.

You see, on the outside of each envelope I wrote the date of each date (!!) if it was to occur at a specific date/time. Some of the months are flexible, others are for a specific event.  And then I also gave Eric a list of all of the dates and times.  But still, Eric managed to schedule the church voter's meeting where he had to make his school budget and staffing proposals for the EXACT TIME of our February date. To cut him some slack, the following Sunday was part of a three day weekend, and the Sunday prior didn't give the church constitution mandated amount of time from publishing the meeting time until the meeting took place.

For a day or so, it looked like we might have to cancel our date in favor of the church meeting. But Eric actually outed himself on Facebook about it, and the ladies came to my aid, telling him to reschedule the darn church meeting, for goodness sakes! So, the church meeting was rescheduled for the three day weekend, which brought some grumbling. If you are a grumbler, now you know. The meeting was changed so that my husband could keep a commitment he made to his wife. So there!

And now...

The Date: A trip to the Capitol Theater in Yakima (we'd never been) to see the the New Shanghai Circus...

(We did not see all of this stuff - I think this video is a couple of years old, but you get the idea...)

The Envelope: 2 tickets in the center of the first row of the upper seating area

It Went a Little Something Like This...

My mom was supposed to watch the kids for us for the afternoon and evening, since we had more than an hour drive each way, but she ended up having to fly out for her job on Sunday morning.  So our friend agreed to watch the kids for us instead, which was really nice because it ended up taking a good amount of her Sunday.

We had a nice drive to Yakima, seeing "the sights" which are hills, a few small towns and... well, that's it, really.

This glider guy flew right over us on the highway.  Cool! 

We got to Yakima with about 20 minutes to spare and found parking within a few blocks of the theater.  There was a slightly homeless looking guy walking towards us as we started walking to the theater. Eric was convinced he was going to try to steal his car. Yes, his early 90's Honda Civic hatchback with power nothing. (To be fair, it is a fairly desirable parts car.)

The Capitol Theater is a cute little old theater. We had really great seats in the center of the first row of the upper seating. A little extra leg room, no one directly in front of us.  It was only a problem being so high during one routine where a performer left the stage and went down into the floor level seating. We couldn't see her at all. But that's ok. We saved $30 by missing those 2 minutes of the show!

I have a serious problem with taking pictures of myself with my cell phone. That whole "push a button and the phone flips around" thing is beyond what I can comprehend, apparently. 
We saw spinning dishes, foot juggling, crazy acrobatics, amazing flexibility, awesome strength, a Chinese dragon puppet, tight rope walking, things being balanced on top of heads, hanging and swinging from cloth and some not-so-great dancing.  There were many times when we were in awe.  It was fun.

After the performance, we came down the two flights of stairs and saw the performers in the entryway!!

We were both hungry but decided to skip the Olive Garden on the corner and try our luck heading out of town to see if we'd find something. As we were leaving Yakima we came upon a seafood restaurant that looked good.  We risked a pricey meal and went inside. It was a nice little place, good food, pretty empty, slightly high prices and incredibly slow service. But it was a nice meal and time spent together.

Next Month: Finally a surprise!! And another date involving some thing/place we have not been before.  Here is your hint: it involves another state and more create talent. Do you have a guess?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Father Daughter Ball 2012

Getting ready for Big Girl's first date, to the Father Daughter Ball!! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Ballad of Big Girl

Big girl loves to tell stories. Often, she will draw pictures and narrate them as she draws.  The details are always amusing. And she has a distinctive narrating style that finds it's way into all of her stories. Not only with her word choice, but also the tone and the multiple voices she uses. You can tell the girl has heard a lot of stories in her day. 

Here is an excerpt from tonight's story. Along with a picture. She doesn't know I have been sitting here typing as she talks.  She did let me take a picture of her with one of the drawings she made while she was telling her story. 



It was Valentine's Day. All I wore was a crown. And yucky shoes, I suppose.

Then Ms Glass walks over to me at lunch time.

"Oh no," I say. "Now what are you going to do?"

I say, "Wait a minute! You are actually a nice teacher!" I say, walking toward her. "I didn't know you are nice!" She told me how special I was, and that I was not in the huddle.  

Then Ms Glass looks over at me. And then Marie came walking over.  She is my friend, Marie. She's not a very nice friend.  She is a bad princess.

"What's going on?" she tells me. "Uh," so I tell her. And we become friends again. I tell her what was going on, as I have longer hair. "That doesn't mean you don't have to play with me," I tell her.  "It means you have to LOVE me!" I tell her. "Even if my hair's down?"

Ms Glass was a better [sittering?]. Marie does not look positive. 

I tell her, "I just have sloppy hair." All she has is one broken, bent crown. That is all she has in her city. And old, plastic shoes.

Ms Glass walks over and says, "Who is being a good citizen here now?" "Uh, Ms Glass, you have a funny hair bow." Then the biggest kid in the whole class came walking over. You know who that was? The guy with the yellow, yucky shirt! 

I tell her what was going on. I was the tallest one in the class.  And I had the most humongous bangs. I showed them I wasn't very responsible. I was teaching other kids. I had HUGE leggings. I am sorry for all the bad stuff...

But then, Nancy, the shortest kid in the class, walks over to me.  She tells me "Don't worry!" All I had is a black shirt and black pants and a gold two piece crown.  We become nicely, goodly, silly friends.

The End

2012 12 Book Challenge

In 2011, I participated in a challenge on Goodreads to select 12 books that I have wanted to read for at least a year and commit to reading them in the calendar year.  I completed my goal, even though it involved the 800 or so pages of Anna Karenina.

I decided to do something similar this year, only instead of officially being part of a challenge, I made my own challenge. And, it's already February, so I already have some catching up to do!

I *heart* Goodreads for a lot of reasons. Most of all, I like to save titles of books I hear about that seem interesting, that friends enjoyed, that may be good for book club or whatever. Right now I have 207 books sitting on my "to read" shelf.

How to choose the 12? Last year I read 51 books, so picking 12 doesn't mean I am selecting every book I will read for the year. And with 207 to choose from, 12 is a drop in a bucket.

So I decided instead of choosing books I am dying to read, I would choose randomly from my 'to read' list. After all, they ended up on that list for a reason, so I might as well read them!

I used an online random number generator and then matched the generated numbers with the position on my "to read" shelf.  I must say, the collection is interesting. A few of the books I am super excited to read, a couple not so much, and a few I don't even recall anything about!

Here they are, my 12 books for 2012. I will try to remember to update when I read them!

Running the Rift

The Shelter of God's Promises

The Midwife's Confession

The Language of Flowers

People of the Book

Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America

The House At Riverton


The Red Thread


Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child

The Girls of Slender Means

Monday, February 6, 2012

Destroyer of Books 2: The Next Chapter

Alternate Subtitle: I Really Should Stay Out of the New Releases Section

Way back in November 2011, I was persecuted by our local library staff for a very heinous and malicious bit of book destruction. The book has been sitting peacefully and in relative comfort on a bookshelf in our home.  No other books have been harmed by its existence and I have managed to keep all of my books clean and dry since that time. I have obviously reformed.

It is as if the creepy music from episode one has started playing in the background while I read before bed. A little Sleeping with the Enemy, only the enemy in this case is a book. Now I am reading a hardcover version of Before I Go To Sleep, also from the New Releases section, for book club. Yes, it has the very same book sticker marking it a New Release. And it appears pristine from the outside.

The trouble started a few nights ago when I noticed that the inside of the back cover, which is black, has been scribbled on with a dark pen. You can't actually SEE the pen, you can see the line where the pen wrote, if that makes sense. I showed it to Eric, because he knows I am still a freak about my last library book destruction experience.

But last night, things got serious. Seriously serious. And now I have a dilemma.

I am about halfway through the 350ish page book, reading away. I turn the page and find... A PAGE HAS BEEN TORN OUT!

I am going to give you a minute to collect yourself because I know you can't believe it either.

Page 146/147 is missing from my book, minus a tiny residual strip along the spine. The strip is large enough and inexact enough that the page was clearly there at some point. This isn't a printer mistake. Someone tore the page out of the book.

Do you see where I am going with this?

I did not tear the page out of the book, and didn't notice it until I actually got to the page last night. Meaning whoever thoroughly combs the New Release books looking to fine people/me missed this serious book destruction situation.

But I am faced with a decision. My first reaction was to finish the book, take it back to the desk when I return it, tell them that a page had been torn out when I got it, and hope that this nightmare will end without me being asked for $600 to replace the new, hardcover book. As I told Eric this morning, I know it is the "right" thing to do, but honestly, if they accuse me of damaging the book, I do not know what I will do. Other than freak out.

My other option is to quietly return the book and not say anything. But then if they notice the missing page, I will look guilty. Or if they don't notice but the person after me says something, again I might look guilty. (Unless they pin it on that sucker.)

Decisions, decisions....  The Sunday School class we are leading right now on "Fearless" by Max Lucado would encourage me to not "fret" about this, but rather act. So I am going to finish that book in a lightning quick manner so that I can do some kind of action. But what action? We shall see.

Do things like this happen to other people? I just have to know.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Sometime in my life, I learned that landscaping and home decorating likes the number 3. Things look good in threes. Maybe my landscape designing mother-in-law, Sharon, told me that? Or maybe I learned it watching home shows on HGTV.  I can't say I completely have followed the advice in my yard.

But the other day I was grocery shopping and realize there is one place where I stick pretty hard to the rule of threes: the produce aisle in the grocery store! 

Without even realizing it, until recently, I always buy 3 of things. 3 red apples, 3 green apples, 3 oranges, 3 zucchini, 3 tomatoes, 3 kiwi. 

Why do I do that? 

More confounding, there are FOUR people in my family, so it would probably make sense for me to buy 4 of each thing. And yet, I continue wanting to buy produce in threes.

Since having this startling realization about myself, I tried to be really risky at Fred Meyer this week. To shop "outside the box", if you will. I bought 5 small Jazz apples on Monday! It opened up so many possibilities! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I Learned from January

February is here, which means I survived BlogHer's National Blog Posting Month challenge for January. Technically, I failed because I did not post every single day in January, but I sure got close! And a couple of days I actually posted twice, which I think should get me some make up points.

I won't be doing NaBloPoMo for February, but do hope to write at least a few times a week this month. 

Guess what else I did last month? I didn't drink pop! 

Unfortunately, when I stop drinking pop, I increase the amount of coffee and flavored lattes to make up for the caffeine and sugar. So for February, I'm doubling up: no pop & no lattes. I am switching to herbal tea, but allowing for 1 cup of unadulterated coffee in the morning. 

And because I like to do things in 3's sometimes, like right now, a third goal for February: by the end of the month, I am going to finish the grand master planned re-do of our home office.  I have my eye on an ugly little desk someone is selling for cheap on Craigslist. It will fit perfectly into my plan and the guy is only asking $25! The plan involves painting, switching out the current bookcase with one upstairs, smaller desk, beautifying the ugly metal filing cabinet, and a few other changes. I'm going to go all HGTV style and do all this stuff by myself, with a budget, and totally cheery and smiley the whole time. Uh-huh.

So, three February goals:

1) Blog "a few" times a week
2) No pop, no lattes
3) Update the home office

I must also like the number 4 because there is one more I just thought of! I am going to stick to my duathlon  training calendar workouts, even though they are totally kicking my ass! Literally, my butt hurts. (At least it's in a good muscle-weary way, and not the "I spent too much time on the spin bike and my butt is super tender" way.)

4) Continue with duathlon training

Check back at the beginning of March to see how I did with my goals!