Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do You Mind If I Whine?

Just for a moment? Then I'll stop, I promise.

I'm a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman and I'm really enjoying reading her updates on the redecorating of her lodge which judging from the pictures, is about three times the size of my HOUSE, but is not their main house! WOW! Anyway, one of the fun things about reading her blog is that she is constantly doing giveaways and the only thing you have to do to enter is leave a comment and viola! you're entered in the random drawing to win 1 of 4 fabulous $350 gift cards to Pottery Barn or something great like that.

My whiiinnnnnnnne comes in to play here in that I'm forever missing her giveaways by one day. One. Stinkin'. Day. Not that I think I'll actually win, because I honest to Pete never win anything, ever...ok, that's not true, I won a TG&Y costume contest dressed as a California Raisin when I was 12...but that doesn't stop me from commenting and trying to win PW's contests because the prizes are always so great. But I don't know how many times I've logged on to her blog and the post title is !!!ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS!!! and every time I just want to wail!

Oh well, maybe some day I'll win! At least I'm not wasting money on the lottery!

The whine is finished.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Interview With The Karate Mom

Kind of like Interview With the Vampire, right? Only without Brad Pitt! And blood! And breasts, because I distinctly remember breasts in that movie and there will be none of those in this post. Nor any other post in this blog. We are a non-nudity blog here at Karate Mom, and for that I'm sure you are supremely thankful!

Anyway, here's how the whole interview thing went down.
My friend Flea, smocker of dresses, blogger of blogs, and a generally fantastically fun and creative wonderful person did a thingy on her blog wherein she was interviewed by another blogger and then she threw out the lure to interview other bloggers and I took the bait! The rules, so to speak, are posted at the end of this post, so stay posted (hee hee!) and you too can be interviewed!! By ME!! The Karate Mom! Yippee!

Alrighty then! Here goes!

1. How did your Honey ask you to marry him, and did you say yes the first time?
Well, let me preface this story by saying that my hubby and I both came to know Christ about two months before our wedding, so we were very different people back then. (I should also preface this whole interview by saying that I have an insane ability to take a very simple story and make it about ten times longer than it needs to be. Sorry.)
Troy and I were living together in a little duplex and one night he came home from work, woke me up, sat me on the end of the bed, and asked me to marry him. In the middle of the night. Now, one interesting thing about this is that we had been dating for about two years, but had never ever ever talked about getting married. Ever. So it was completely out of left field. The second interesting thing about this is that about three hours earlier, I had been journal ling on our computer about how much I loved him and how I really could see myself marrying him. So apparently it was on both of our minds, we just weren't discussing it with one another! I said yes right away, and we got married about six months later and will celebrate 13 years next August 10th.

2. I keep wanting to ask this: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? 2,397 1/4 licks if you have a tongue that is 4 inches long, weighs 7 grams, and has 2.3 ounces of saliva on it per lick.

Alright, seriously: How did y'all wind up at FBC? (For those who don't know, FBC is the church that I attend, and is where I met Flea for the first time!)
We decided to leave our other church, an Episcopalian church, when I realized that they didn't really do a whole lot of actual Bible teaching. Sure, they did a lot of Bible reading, because in the liturgy you have the Old Testament, New Testament, Gospel, and Psalm reading every Sunday. But you could not really be sure if the ten minute sermon was going to teach anything about what was read. Or, heck, have anything to do with what was read. I remember one Sunday, the priest got up and read a kids book for his sermon, for cryin' out loud. What's that all about?
Anyway, we knew this family across the street went to FBC, and they were really nice, so we decided to go with them and check it out. We weren't going to commit, though, because we wanted to try a lot of other churches. But actually, we ended up loving it so much that we didn't end up going anywhere else!
(See? I told you I could drag out an answer!)

3. What is your favorite thing to do to relax? Oh, this one is easy! And I can actually give a short answer to it! To relax, I love to read, mostly books, but I read blogs to relax. too. I also watch movies with Troy and The Kids.
(That one wasn't so bad, was it?)

4. I like Daryl's question: If money were no object, where would you live and why? Truthfully, I don't think I'd live anywhere but where I am, because 95% of my family is here, plus all of my wonderful friends and I have very deep roots here because I've lived here for my entire life. So, if money was no object, I'd just build a really awesome house, probably out on some land like my friend Shelley so I could be out where it's quiet and you can see the stars. And I'd build a house at the lake, and then I'd buy a jet and commission a pilot so I could go and visit my cousin in Atlanta and my brother in St. Louis and my aunt in Ohio whenever I wanted!

5. Who influenced your musical and artistic tastes growing up and in which direction? Well, my musical tastes are just all over the board!! Growing up, my mom played all sorts of folk music for us on her guitar, and played Abba for us in the car, so I have a special affinity for Take a Chance on Me and Puff the Magic Dragon. (And, yes, I adored the show "Mamma, Mia!", as well as the movie! Nothing better than Broadway and Abba combined!) I'm an 80's kid, so I do love me some hair bands like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and White Lion, as well as the electronic sounds of 90's of The Pet Shop Boys and Yaz and Erasure. Oh, I do love me some Erasure!
The thing is, though, I couldn't really say that I was influenced by that music because when I became a Christian, my philosophy about what I listened to kind of changed. While I really love pulling out some of my old CD's and rocking out sometimes, on a day-to-day basis I want the music that I listen to to be something that is both edifying to me and glorifying to God. And when I have a song stuck in my head, which I often do, good heavens sometims I wish I could find the volume control knob in my brain, I want it to be a song that is honoring to my Creator. So I choose to listen to music that fits that bill. Most of the time. Every so often I'll rock out to Erasure or Scissor Sisters for fun! (OK, Scissor Sisters isn't from my childhood. They're a new find from my brother!)

And that's it!! Thanks for reading!
Now, here's how the rest of it works!!
The RULES:1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oooo! A Giveaway!

Not by me, unfortunately. Sorry. Didn't mean to get you all excited. But a blog called The Crafty Crow that I just found through my friend Heather at Camien Academy is giving away a gift certificate for Usborne Books!
Just go to THIS LINK and comment, and then link on your blog and *poof*, like magic, you're entered!
I love Usborne books! It's the one and only home party that I will host! I love the products from Mary Kay and Pampered Chef, but I won't host a party. Usborne Books are a totally different story, though!

Consistency: The Hard Stuff and Having a Spine

(Cross posted at Morning Star, my homeschooling blog)

One of the things that I struggle with the most as a parent is consistency with discipline. I think that I just heard a collective "AMEN, SISTAH!" from pretty much every parent reading this, because heaven knows that one of the hardest things to do is follow through with that threat that you just made to Boseephus, Jr. about how if he did XY or Z one more time you were going to ground him for an entire year plus take away all of his desserts and send all of his action figures to starving kids in China. No sooner are the words out of your mouth then you realize that aaawwww MAN, now I need to actually do those things as discipline, or run the risk of my children realizing that I have no backbone whatsoever! And the implications of THAT are scary. Simply scary.

Well, I will confess that I am, more often than not, of the back-boneless variety. I am the classic Threatening Repeating Parent: "If you don't do such-and-such, then _____________" and I lay out some kind of consequence, only to remind said child of the consequence fifty times more, all the while growing more and more frustrated and closer to losing my temper. And, admittedly, sometimes completely losing my temper altogether. I hate that more than anything, really, because one of the things I'm trying to teach these little munchkins that God blessed me with as kids is SELF CONTROL, and it's hard to teach that when you're foaming at the mouth.

We're part of a history co-op with some of our best friends which meets every other week to do all the really fun activities that none of us moms really wants to plan for just our own kids. This week we were meeting at our house, but Monday morning I was spending time in school struggling with The Kids and their attitude. Both of them, oddly enough, because Declan is usually just fine. Finally I told them, very calmly and firmly, that if they didn't stop reacting to me in an irritated manner whenever I spoke to them or corrected them, if they didn't completely change their attitudes, they would not participate in the co-op. The way it would work is that they would be back in my room, on the bed with books, and they would not come out at all. Not to say hi to their friends, not to have a snack, or go to the bathroom or get a drink, et cetera and so forth. The only thing that would get them out of that room would be if the house caught on fire. (Hey, I'm not unreasonable!)

Well, Declan straightened right up and proceeded to finish up his schoolwork without any attitude. Reilly, on the other hand, did not, and long story short, lost her attendance at the co-op. She apologized for her behavior, and then said in a very sad voice, "I really wish that I could come to the co-op." I told her that I did to, but that she had her chance to change her behavior. She had her choice to make, and she chose to continue to be rude to me and I'm done with that. When co-op time came, off she went to my room, and she wasn't heard from until everyone left, which was about two and a half hours later.

Back in December I read
this blog post over at Woulda Coulda Shoulda and it really made me rethink how I dole out consequences. The line that really jumped out at me was when she wrote, "Hey, I’m ready and willing to believe my daughter is super special and everything, but with 80+ kids I’m supposed to believe that her absence ruined the show? And also that THAT takes precedence over raising her to be a pleasant, respectful human?" One thing that I've realized is that I tend to back down on my consequences when it's something that I deem a "memory". It's as though I think The Kids are going to be scarred if I have them miss out on something that they could look back on fondly when they're adults. (Does that make any sense?) I'm realizing, however, that more important than memories that might be made while they're growing, is their development into repectful adults.

So, Reilly missed the co-op, and hopefully a lesson was learned. Hopefully not just by her, though. Hopefully I'm learning too, and will continue to grow a spine.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A (Post) Christmas Blessing

I struggled more than usual this year with Post Christmas Funk. I think that I anticipate the holiday with such intense excitement that it's very, very hard for me when everything is over. I'm just like a little kid, thinking that I want to go back and DO IT ALL AGAIN! On Tuesday, I spent half of the day thinking, "*sigh* One week ago we were soooo excited because tomorrow was Christmas Eve. *sigh*" and then doing the same thing on Wednesday. It's rather pathetic, really, and I hope to one day outgrow this. Really, I'm too old. And Christmas is going to roll back around in, like, 15 minutes anyway, right?
My momb (no, that's not a typo. The b is silent.) sent me this poem that always helped her get past the Post Christmas Funk, and I wanted to share it with you. As I read it, it helped me too, because it is so true. We celebrate Christmas for a reason, and while the presents are now opened and the cookies are eaten and the decorations are put up, the Reason is still very much alive!

Carefully, tenderly, put them away
The Madonna, the child and the manger of hay
The baubles, the lights, the bright, shining star.
Lift them gently, their beauty not to mar.
For a few precious days they have lightened your life,
Have let you forget the world's sin and its strife,
Its hatred, its wars....for a brief season's space
You have heard angels sing and been touched by God's grace.
So as these blessed things you put by till next year.
Try to trust in the miracle
Christ is still here!!!