Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet Ellie

Yes, we FINALLY (as my kids would say) got a dog! 

On our trip home from Alabama last weekend, we researched dog breeds for about 2 hours.  My kids and hubby told me all the reasons we should get a dog.  I was still skeptical but began to soften a little bit. 

By the end of the next week I had begun looking online for local animal shelters and made a few phone calls.  The more I talked about it, the more I seemed to actually want to do this.  What was happening to me?!? 

We found a shelter near us called ARF and started looking over the pictures of the dog's faces on their website, voting on our favorite ones, etc.  I called and set up a visit.  No turning back now!

Saturday around 3 o'clock we loaded up and drove to the animal shelter with a towel.  Yep, that's it.  Just a towel, but it would come in handy. 

We arrived and immediately all the dogs went into hyper-bark mode.  The noise was unbelievable.  It was so loud we could barely talk to each other.  The kids walked ahead of us and the shelter worker told me to tell the kids to keep their fingers out of the cages and not to run. 

About that time I looked up and saw Pop-Tart's face.  Fear doesn't describe it.  I've seen that look before - or should I say I've felt it on my own face before.  They had seen a snake, and Pop-Tart ran faster than I have ever seen her run.  And you know all I could think of?  Oh no, the guy said for them not to run!  But I figured a snake was a good excuse to run if ever.  The older boys (Gogurt and his friend) stood there like statues for a moment pointing and saying "Snake, snake."   We totally went to the other side of the farm and the shelter workers took care of the snake.  We didn't ask what they did to it, the kids said it was black.  Probably a black runner, so more than likely they didn't kill it.  And we thought the dogs were barking at us!

Poptart had now crawled up on my head and was saying, "I don't want a dog, I just want to go home," over and over again.  Once I got her calmed down, we continued on. 

After walking through and seeing all the dogs that wouldn't fit wrapped up in a towel on the ride home, we went to where the puppies were.  Ah, yes, the puppies.  We took out 2 puppies from 2 different litters and then had to decide on one. 

We decided on a black and white bassett hound mix 5-month-old puppy.  We paid our money, and she was officially ours!

The kids whisked her away to the truck while we said thank you to the shelter worker (I can't remember his name!)  The kids had her in the truck for about 10 seconds with all the doors closed before they quickly opened the doors and were gasping for breath.  Yeah, our new puppy needed a bath in the worst way. 

We left the shelter and about 5 minutes down the road, the yet-to-be-named dog threw up in the towel Gogurt was holding her in.  We pulled over.  I got out and tried to clean the towel by rubbing it on the ground.  The kids were gagging in the truck, and I couldn't help but think, I'm already cleaning up dog puke.  We got back on the road, and I bet you can guess she did it again.  However, this time we were pulling into our neighborhood so we didn't have to make another pit stop on the side of the road.  We got home, snapped a few pictures, and then I had to leave to go by this new pet of ours some food. 

We haven't had her 48 hours yet, but she has definitely made her mark on our little family.  She does wonderful overnight, doesn't bark, whine, or howl at all, and is pefectly content living outside.  The kids are begging for her to come in the house but as I've said, if she's happy outside, I'm happy to leave her there!

So it's Monday.  Brad's at work.  The kids are at school.  It's just me and Ellie here.  Am I supposed to go out and talk to her or something?  Poptart made me promise to take good care of her today.  I'll do my best, sweetheart.  I promise. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Website I Want to Share

 Our church is finally online!  Thanks to the hard work of a very sweet lady, Crossview Baptist Church has a website.  Will you check it out?  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inventive Spelling

Poptart is finishing up her Kindergarten year, and all of a sudden she has become a writing machine.  At school, they are encouraged to write, write, and write some more. They use a method called "inventive spelling" where the child is encouraged to write a word as it sounds, not necessarily as it is actually spelled.  Then as the process continues, they begin learning how to spell the words correctly.  I didn't know I was a fan of this method, but it seems to be working with Poptart.  I don't think she would be so willing to write if she were under the pressure to spell all the words just right.  

Above is a picture of her easel.  It is a list of things her and a certain friend are going to do when that friend comes over to play. 

(No, we haven't gotten a dog, guess #2 and # 14 is just wishful thinking?)

I have to say it's cutsie to see a 5-year-old writing this way, but it irks me to see businesses with their names misspelled.  For example, somewhere like "Katy's Katfish" or "The Koffee Kup" would be hard pressed to get my business.  I get the K theme, but really, it just doesn't seem so cutsie when adults do it.  

For now, I absolutely love reading what Poptart writes.  She writes letters to her Daddy, her brother, and me, and she makes lists - she's made several lists concerning her upcoming birthday.  I would not dare point out all her spelling errors to her, and I have to threaten Gogurt about doing it.  He loves pointing out all her mistakes, but then again what are brothers for? 

Hav A Gud Day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

E-Mealz, Part 2

We're finishing up our second week using E-Mealz, and I thought I would update you on how it's going.

On Sundays, I go to the E-Mealz website and print out the menu for the following week.  The menu is for 7 meals, and I choose the 5 that is the best for my family.  I have noticed (but remember, I've only seen 2 menus so far) that there does seem to be a pattern in the meals.  For example, both weeks there has been a pasta dish, a beef meal, a chicken meal, a fish meal, a soup, etc.  I don't know if this is true for every single week, but it's true for the 2 weeks I've been doing it.  I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just recognizing that pattern. 

I absolutely love having a list prepared for me.  It's super-duper easy.  It takes a few minutes to go through and mark off things you don't need (from the meals you've chosen not to make), but to me, it's nice 'cuz it feels like with everything I mark off, I'm saving money. 

But that brings me to the down side - money.    The prices they list are not the prices I have found at my local Kroger.  There is a disclaimer at the top of the list that the prices are based on average Kroger prices in Alabama, Tennessee, and a few other states.  Mississippi is not one of them.  And as I'm sure you can probably guess, the prices are higher in my local Kroger, not lower.  With that said, I'm not seeing a big savings in my grocery bill.  And remember, their list does not include things like milk, cereal, juice boxes, snacks, etc.  (I would be curious to know if lists based on Wal-Mart prices are any more accurate.  If anyone tries this with Wal-Mart, please let me know - - I just might switch)

The recipes are easy to fix - - I do not consider myself a good cook, but these recipes are easy even for me.  I like that it has offered me new things to try.  I felt like I was in a real rut when it came to cooking, but this has given me a few new options.  Just like night, I broiled cut up squash, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion as a side dish.  My family "eeewwwd" at the squash and zucchini, but I thought it was delicious. 

I'm making notes on the menus as to whether or not that particular meal was a hit or a bust with the fam.  That way if it comes up again on a later menu, I can decide whether or not to include it in our menu.  There's only been one bust so far, and at this moment I can't remember the name of it, but it was a tomatoey-chicken dish over rice.  It was okay to me, but Brad and the kids could barely down it. 

The only other thing I would have to say is this.  If you were raised like I was - on peas and cornbread - you won't find any of that kind of food here.  There's no fried chicken and turnip green meals (that I've seen yet anyway!)  But of course, you can substitute your fresh-from-the-garden peas for any side they've chosen whenever you feel like it!

Overall, I'm liking E-Mealz a bunch.  The convenience is definitely what I like the most.  I don't know how long I'll use it, but for now I almost get giddy when I go to the computer to see what we'll be eating! 

I know, I'm weird!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Open House

No, I'm not having an open house per se, but I am making a conscious decision to have an open home

And not just for kiddos.  My home has always been open for neighborhood kids, school friends, church friends, and the like.  On the weekends you can almost bet money there's more kids in this house than I actually birthed. 

I'm talking about, deep breath, adults. 

I have never been the hostess type.  Heck, I'm still not the hostess type.  But I'm making a determined effort to be more hospitable in this home.  It's clean (for now), and I am hoping if I schedule some sort of get-together every few weeks months,  I will be more inclined to keep it clean (forever). 

Last Saturday night was our Sunday School party.  We had it here, and I think it was lots of fun.  Just sitting around talking, eating, and playing Pictionary on Poptart's easel.  I did think about taking pictures, but when I got my camera out to share with you all, I realized my card was full so I have zero pictures of our party.  

I have already volunteered to host a baby shower for my teacher-friend here at my house in May.  This makes me quite nervous although I'm not sure why.  Another teacher thankfully offered to "co-host" with me.  I think she could sense my trepidation about hosting it in the first place. 

I have always considered myself and my home pretty open, but having a friend drop in is alot different than hosting parties and showers. 

I'm gonna hang in there though and see how this whole hospitality thing goes. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Dreams have always fascinated me.  I once started a "dream journal" years ago.  It was a little journal I kept by my bed.  In the mornings I would jot down details I could remember from any dreams I had had the night before.  I felt silly writing down weird details that seemed to make absolutely no sense at the time.  However, it wasn't until years later when I happened upon that journal and re-read my entries that I was astounded.   There were some dreams I had had that I could definitely tie into something that had happened in the years since I had written the words.  Of course, I couldn't relate all of my dreams to a specific real-life happening, but some I could.  And that to me was simply amazing. 

I am a believer in dreams.  God spoke to people throughout the Old Testament in dreams, and I firmly believe he does the same thing today. 

Do you dream alot?  Some people do, but I have heard some people say they very rarely dream.  Some people lie awake at night worrying about circumstances.  Apparently, I go to sleep and dream about them.  Some make sense, some do not.  Some are easy to "translate," some are not.  (If you've never googled "dream interpretations," do it.  Bookmark a good site and then when you dream something strange you can try and figure out what it means.)

One of the first conversations I have with my family each morning, especially on the weekends, (we don't really have time on school days) is about our dreams.  We've done this since the kids were little.  "Did you have any dreams?"  Maybe you do it too with your kids and spouse.  Or maybe we're just weird.  Whatever the case, we share our dreams from the night before.  It's fun to do with little kids - - they can make up some very colorful dreams!  Poptart will start telling us about her dream and when we think she's done and someone else begins, she exclaims, "I'm not done yet!" and keeps on talking.  Gogurt loves to call her out and accuse her of making it all up, but she promises she is not.  And who can really say? 

I've dreamed all sorts of things in my lifetime, and I'm sure you have too.  Do you have recurring dreams?  I've always heard if you dream something 3 times it will come true.  That terrified me as a kid.  I remember one scary dream of a Chinese dragon (you know the kind people walk under in their parades?) coming out of the woods and chasing me.  I dreamed it twice and was scared to death I would dream it again.   As far as I can remember, I never dreamed it that dreaded 3rd time. 

My most recurring theme is showing up somewhere unprepared.  For example, I have dreamed unnumbered times that I showed up for a basketball game only to realize I had forgotten my jersey.  That dream has sort of faded as I have gotten older, but it has been replaced by the dream of arriving at a wedding at which I was the pianist and realizing I had forgotten my music.  Do you see the theme there?  I wish I would have kept a tally of how many times I had dreamed those two dreams in my lifetime.  I'm guessing a dozen at least. 

Have you ever had the dream where your teeth just crumble out of your head?  That's an awful one.  I read somewhere the meaning of that dream.   It means one of two things, either your health or business is in jeopardy or you have spoken poorly of someone and it is coming back to haunt you. 

What about dreaming someone you love has died?  That's an emotional one.  What about the dream your spouse has been unfaithful?  (And you wake up seriously hurt and mad!) 

Then there's the totally nonsense dreams that as far as we can tell make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Those are the fun ones to share together - it makes for a good laugh!

The thought I would like to leave with you is to not dismiss your dreams.  From my experience, dreams can absolutely give insight to what is happening around you in your "awakeness" that you may be ignoring.   

And never, never doubt that God could be using a dream to tell you something. 

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Life Lessons I Learned From Basketball

Nothing takes me back to those days like watching the State Tournament on TV (which is what I'm doing as I write this post).  Nowadays our Mississippi Public Broadcasting channel, or PBS as we know it, airs the State Basketball Tournament.  Back in my day, they didn't. 

But my day was back in the late '80s/early '90s. 

I knew I wanted to play basketball from an early age.  Don't ask me how, I just did.  In fact, in 6th grade when they took us incoming 7th graders to the band hall to play around with the instruments and decide if being in the 7th grade band would be a good fit for us, I decidedly turned them down (even with my music background) because I knew that the school schedule would not allow me to play in the band and be on the basketball team at the same time.  You had to choose one or the other.  There was only one free period so it was band or basketball or PE or whatever else there was to choose from. 

From 7th grade through 12th grade I was on the basketball team.  I started in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades but of course when I came onto the high school team, I was a benchwarmer like most sophomores are.  My playing time increased game-by-game and by the time I was a junior I was playing entire games. 

Watching these young guys on TV brings back so many memories.  My first year on the high school basketball team, we were fortunate enough to make it to the "Big House" and play for a state championship.  And believe it or not, we won, and I have a ring to prove it!  Actually, I don't have the ring in my possession.  It is hanging on a nail in my father's bathroom.  He was afraid I was going to lose it (and he was probably right) so he decided he would  "keep it" for me.  Every few years he thinks to ask me if I want my ring back now that I'm an adult and could probably be more reponsible with it and not lose it.  I always say, "Nah, you better keep it." 

We never made it back to the championship game, but through all of my practices, games, time in locker rooms, weight rooms (yes, I lifted weights), I learned some very valuable lessons. 

  • Listen to authority.  This is the first thing you learn when joining a team.  Listen to your coach.  He is always right, and his word is final.  If he says run another lap, run another lap or pay.  I saw what happened to girls with attitudes toward the coach, and I decided early on I wasn't going to be one of them.  He may yell at you, push you, anger you, but in the end he has made you a better player and a better person.  

  • Be unselfish.  Pass the ball when someone has a better shot than you.  Don't try to be a hero all the time.  The best teammates are the unselfish ones, the ones who are just as happy to see someone else make the bucket as they are themselves.   It's true, there is no "I" in team. 

  • There will always be someone better than you.  

  • Never give up.  Getting beat is one thing, giving up is another.  Hold your head high no matter what happens.  You make a mistake?  The game doesn't stop for you to mope and hang your gotta keep going. 

  • Anything worth having is worth the work it takes to get there.  I remember the summers in gyms with no air conditioners, the after-school practices that seemed to go on forever, the running, running, and more running.  It was work! 

  • Don't take anything for granted.  At the beginning of this post I told you I knew from an early age I was going to play basketball.  What I didn't know is that when my senior year ended, the year that was supposed to be my shining moment, I wasn't playing basketball at all.  In January of 1993, after missing 5 games due to mono, I was making my return.  I had missed more games than I ever had before, and I was determined to end my career at Neshoba Central on the best note I could, playing the best ball I had ever played.  I couldn't wait to get back on the court and play out the rest of the year.   I believe we were playing Choctaw Central, but I'm not sure.  What I am sure of is that I heard it when it popped, and I immediately hit the floor.  My knee was hurting, bad.  I couldn't move it at all.  I was literally running down the court one second and lying writhing in pain the next.  That's how fast it happened.  A teammate came over and I remember squeezing her hand and saying with panic, "I can't move it, I can't move it!"  My coach carried me off the court.  And that, my friend, is how my last basketball game ended.   On Senior Night, instead of running to midcourt to accept my plaque, I hobbled out on crutches with a blue cast covering my entire right leg from my thigh to my ankle.  Don't ever assume you have another game, another day, another anything

  • Have fun! Some of the best memories from my basketball years are the off-court experiences. Road trips all around our state, a trip to Tennessee, and even a trip to Kissimmee, FL (Disneyworld!)

So there you have it, a few life lessons I learned from basketball.  Oh, and there's one more.  Use it or lose it.  If I had to run a suicide right now, I think I would die.