Thursday, September 18, 2008

Unfortunate misuse of the CTR ring...

I hate the game of slug bug. You know the one where if you see the VW Bug first you get to punch someone in the arm and yell "slug bug, no slugs back". I hate that game so much (I am a black belt, but my kick is stronger than my punch) that I was thrilled when some CA cousins who shall remain nameless introduced us to Cruiser Bruisers. Same game, different car. Thanks. I had a friend who came up with hug bug instead, which I preferred, and it was working for our family, until Thing 1 became a teenager. It was irresistable to find a new wrestling avenue with Dad. It was irresistable to find out if he could punch hard enough to hurt Dad. Dad will not admit it to you, but he has admitted to me, Thing 1's punches are beginning to hurt. I let it go and chalked it up to a guy thing. As long as I am not involved, whatever.

Dad got home from work early, had the evening free, and so we decided to go on a family walk in beautiful fall weather. We even brought the dog, and the football. Cool, huh? Till thing one saw the P.T. Cruiser. Punched Dad in the back. I am not involved, whatever. Then I turn around to see Thing 2, my little girl, punch Thing 1 right in the chin!?!?!?! What are you doing? I missed? Missed what? His shoulder. By a long shot! In her defence Thing 1 is growing at an alarming rate. At the beginning of summer he had just barely become as tall as me. School has started. He is at least two inches taller than me. He is growing about 3/4" a month. So I thought, maybe it is hard to aim up. Maybe, she hit his arm and then it grazed off and accidentally hit his chin. Thing 1 states clearly that this was not the case.

Okay, Thing 2, my little girl, let me just give you some motherly wisdom. Dad and Thing 1 look like they are having fun playing this game. I can see how you think you might want to join in. Resist the urge. They are hurting each other. And laughing about it. This is a stupid game that boys play. Be smart. Do not play this game with them. If you do, you are opening yourself up and you will get nailed. 100 % dissatisfaction guaranteed.

Thing one is not satisfied with this lecture. He says it really hurt when Thing 2 popped him in the chin. Plus, you are supposed to hit in the arm. Yup, and she missed, and you hit Dad in the back and this game is stupid and if you don't want to get hurt don't play it. But it really hurt. Yeah, that is the nature of the stupid game. Buck up. You are big now. There is hair on your upper lip. She is a little girl. How bad could it be? Pretty bad. After mentioning his hairy upper lip, I now noticed the lip underneath it. It is bleeding. Not bad, but there are cuts on his chin. Oh my goodness!?!?! Didn't I start out on a Norman Rockwell painting like family walk? And it ends in bloodshed? Apparently it was her CTR that was the culprit. It stands for Choose the Right. I don't think that is how you are supposed to use those. I hope nobody in the neighborhood was watching. They might nominate us for a parenting award with the county's child protective services.

The bumper on my car is fixed. But the catalytic converter on the driver's side is not. And something is wrong with the steering wheel, and the passenger side mirror isn't doing the night dimming thing right anymore, and winter is coming and the back heater isn't working. So my car is in the shop. It has been there since Monday night. And it won't be done until Friday. That is the bad news. But, it is all under warranty and my warranty covers everything including a rental car. That is the good news. Until I see the rental car.

It is a P.T. Cruiser. The good news is now a little bit concerning for my family's welfare. I have got to get my car back before somebody in my family ends up looking like this:

"Cruiser Bruiser, no bruises back!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Domo arigato Mr. Bento!

My kids had not been eating their school lunches I was been packing for them and so I had been experimenting with different things to make lunch more fun for them. Problem is, they really prefer a hot lunch. So I tried these thermos type things from Target and you put the food in, microwave it and then screw on the lid. The kids loved it, but as the food cooled off it create a vacuum, the lid locked and neither of them could open it without a combination of 3-5 children and or adults helping to get it open. So....dah, dah, dah, dah...I began my search for a better alternative. With some expert internet sleuthing, I found it. The answer to all our school lunchtime woes is - Mr. Bento. It is made by Zojirushi, a Japanese company and is intended for a Japanese style lunch of soup, rice, meat and vegetable. There is an outer insulated canister into which four containers fit (they even give you a metal spork with a nifty cap like you would put on your toothbrush for traveling). The first is insulated and is intended for soup. The second is also insulated and intended for rice. The top two are not insulated and are for meat and vegetables. I boil hot water and pour it into the canister and two bottom containers and put the lids on to heat the containers. Then pour out the water from the containers, dry them out and put the food in the containers. It keeps it hot for hours! I don't have leftovers crowding the fridge, the kids love their lunch, they get a variety of foods, the thing is terrific! Check it out on Amazon, and don't be afraid to look on at a site called Mr. Bento Porn. I have no idea why this is the name, but it is just pictures of what people have put into their Mr. Bento for lunch. It is pricey, I admit it, but it is paying for itself quickly as we are not wasting leftovers and lunch food anymore. If you go to the website you will find their American website. If you search Mr.Bento they will give you names of places in your area that sell them, or you can order them online. I went to a very interesting Asian grocery store to get mine. I asked where they were, they pointed. I asked about their return policy, they pointed to the receipt, then the box, and held up one finger while repeating "week". I took that to mean you have one week to bring your receipt and all your packaging if you would like to return it. Thankfully we aren't returning it and I didn't have to pay any shipping charges. Thought some of you moms with school age children might want to look into it. The kids have had swedish meatballs and rice, green beans, apple slices and drink and some chocolate covered raisins (thank you grandma for spoiling us with treats from Costco) or Italian pot roast, noodles, peas, or chicken and rice, potato soup, you get the idea. It either keeps all the food hot or all the foods cold, but not hot and cold at the same time. I have even surprised the kids with pancakes, syrup, eggs, sausage one day. It is intended that the bottom is warmer than the top containers. I find that I can put a piece of cake or some other kind of treat in the top container and fruit in the second down, with the two hot containers at the bottom. If I don't have anything for the bottom soup container I just leave it filled with hot water to keep everything warm. It comes with a case to carry it all and there is even a pocket on the outside that is big enough to tuck in a drink. Thing one and thing two love it! They are totally bummed to get a regular lunch. They much prefer Mr. Bento. When the weather is warm I make salads, sandwich wraps, pudding, etc. Their all time favorite is in the winter I make hot cocoa for the bottom soup container and send in a straw. They slurp away and make all their school friends jealous.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Neutral is not always a safe place to be

There is a dent in my fender. A $750 dent. It wasn't my fault. This time. I wasn't even there. Plenty of people saw it happen. Except me. But I have seen the result. Luckily I don't have to pay for it. The poor girl whose fault it is will be paying or half of it. Her mother is paying the other half. She's had her license for two months, poor thing. Her mother was making dinner and needed shrimp and sent her daughter to the store. Daughter knew she needed to hurry, so she pulled up behind some parked cars, didn't bother using a parking space and ran in to get the shrimp. Only she forgot the to put on the emergency brake. It was a 5 gear and she left it in neutral. Nobody touched her car. It just started rolling. Okay somebody did touch her car. After it was rolling. He tried to stop it but the momentum was too strong and there was nothing he could do. Then, voila! Her car stopped rolling. Because it had just collided with mine. Oops! She was a good girl. She stayed to take responsibility. And she called her mother. First, before doing anything else. Her mother came immediately, and had a hard time controlling her anger and frustration. She told me later she didn't have the heart to tell her daughter that she had gotten the wrong kind of shrimp.

It made for a great family discussion. What is so dangerous about being neutral in our lives? Well, kind of like this car. If we don't make decisions ahead of time about what we will and won't do, what we want out of our lives, what we want to accomplish, we may very well end up someplace we don't want to be. And it won't be because we made any effort to get there. We will have just ended up there somehow. Pulled by gravity, or laziness, or lack of purpose, no clear set goals and standards. James describes it like this: James 1:6 - "For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." Just like nature pulled her car to where she never intended it to go, unchecked, our natures can pull us to where we never intended to go. Unless....we get it in gear. Apply the brakes. Figure out where we want to go and where we don't. Change our very nature. But how to get it in gear? James says it again. James 1:22 "Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

I am so grateful for all the things I have learned by trying to follow my Savior. It gives me purpose, direction, comfort, joy and so much more. In short, it helps me get it in gear. Know when I need to apply the brakes. Get where I want to go.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

I was just reading a post on my husband's family website and one of his family members was saying how her kids came home from their first day of school and saw how clean the house was. They commented on how great their mom had done. She explained that there was probably a correlation to them not being home and the house being clean. They were making the mess!
I looked at my house when the kids got home from school and it was not so picture perfect. So, this is my dilemma. If the house was cleaner all summer when the kids were home, and the kids go to school and my house is more messy, does it really mean that I am the one who is a mess?

Please tell me it is just because I am getting back into gear after being at the lake this weekend. I have been doing laundry all day, and there are still many loads to go before I sleep.

The good news is that at 39 and after fifteen years, I was able to water ski. I was so proud of myself I could hardly stand it! At least my husband was impressed. I had told him I could ski, but he said it was way cooler to see it! I got in one semi-decent run after several failed attempts. I am so sore it hurts to sit down, stand up, bend over, cook dinner, do laundry, walk, reach for food on the top shelf, and move my eyes. Honestly, it is even a little painful to sit here and type. I think I need to get back in shape. The only video I have is of one of my failed attempts. Right after this I did much better, but the camera ran out of battery! I had a great time though!

So did the kids. Thing 1 caught a fish,

tried wakeboarding,

and swung from the awesome rope swing.

Thing 2 played in the sand,

jumped off the high dive,

rode on the Big Bertha,

and put on too much sunscreen.

Hubby did the best cannonball!

Aren't those good reasons for my house not to be clean?