Friday, April 30, 2010
If you follow my blog, you may remember my posts about how recently I'd pass cops all the time, while usually going a bit too fast, yet, no one ever pulled me over. There were three or more times in Huntsville within two or three weeks where this happened...usually driving over Governor's.
Well, today, I finally got pulled over.
But here's the kicker...read on...
So, I'm trying to get out the door for the final day of The Orange Conference, here in Atlanta. I'd like to be out the door by 8:15. Jack and Lucy are both awake, and I've made them breakfast, which has put me a little behind schedule, but no big deal. What really delayed me was that Jack kept toddling over to me, nudging his truck and tractor book at me to read to him. And so I stopped and read to him because of course I can make a few minutes to point at some tractors with him. But of course it wasn't just two or three minutes.
But I finally get out the door, I'm five or so minutes down the street and realize I've forgotten my badge, which I have to have and will cost me $15 to replace. So I turn around, go back home, retrieve my badge, but I'm now REALLY late.
And logically, figuring since I'm already late, I'll just stop really quickly by the Starbucks and grab a vanilla latte, because that would greatly increase my happiness level this morning. And like I said, I'm already late as it is...compeletely makes sense, right? ;-)
Just so happens that the cops are doing a fundraiser for their "cop group" or whatever at the Starbucks. So I grab my coffee, and drop some money into their bucket.
And then it just so happens that not even two miles down the road from there, I get pulled over for speeding. Speeding to a Christian conference where I'm going to learn about how to be a better leader in children's ministry! After just donating to the cops, I get pulled over by a cop. UGH!!!!!!!!
Super, really brilliant, really convenient. Retexted Jennifer, "Well, I'll be even later than the "late" I was already going to be...getting a speeding ticket."
And if you're wondering, I was only going 60 in a 45...not that fast considering we're in Atlanta! But, Jesus would have taken what was due and humbly changed his behavior (well, you know, if cars and stuff were around then, which of course they weren't, but you know what I mean ;-), so that's what I did. I did ask the cop if he was with the group that I had just donated to, but he wasn't. He was "Duluth" and apparently, I had donated to the "John's Creek" cops' department.
So, fast forward like ten hours forward. After meeting a friend for dinner, I'm driving back home, and the same group of cops are still at the Starbucks. I drive past, thinking, "huh, wow, they're still out there..." and then I think, "Hey! I should totally stop by and tell them what happened to me this morning. At worst, they'll just empathize with me, but at best, maybe, just maybe they'll pull some strings and get my ticket to disappear!" (Notice how fast my notion of taking my punishment humbly vanished! ;-)
So I turned around and went back to the Starbucks - told the cops my story, but nope, didn't get anywhere. Boohoo. But, they were very nice and said, "Oh, was it us Duluth?" I told them Duluth and they said, "Oh, 'cause we'd feel really bad if had been us."
Darn, why couldn't it have been these cops that pulled me over!?!
So, then the cop says something really interesting, sort of chuckling "What, were you going 58 in a 55?" (which leads me to believe the Duluth cops must be real sticklers - really unlucky for me!)
I told him I was going 60 in a 45, and he says - with a scoff mind you- "Well, that's not even that fast!"
"I KNOW!" I repeated (thinking, yes! so take away my ticket!!!! BIG CHARMING SMILE BEAMS FROM MY FACE!)
But alas, I will just have to deal humbly with my ticket (of which I haven't yet looked up what the fine will be - sorry Jason! ;-) and definitely drive slower!
Oh yeah, so when I finally get to the conference and meet up with my group, Brian, who is a lawyer in Huntsville, says, "Well, if it was local and we were home, I could get you off..." Another boo hoo...
No, no, must deal with punishment...disciplining oneself IS good ;-)
well, being forced to discipline oneself is good... ;-)
It may take me five hours to get back home Sunday, but I will NOT be speeding ;-)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My favorite part has been the worship. It's a concert every time a band comes on stage to perform...lighting, sound, audience is engaged, it's thrilling, moving, and powerful! I've never experienced something quite like it.
And the speakers have been so engaging! Today we heard from John and Nancy Ortberg, who spoke about the idea of good leadership and family. Great, great ideas they shared. This afternoon we heard from Reverend Run (remember Run DMC?!?)
He's a very entertaining speaker, and he was sharing great deas about being an engaged parent and keeping in touch with God constantly throughout the day because we need his wisdom. He said a great line, "Since I don't know all the answers, I want to to know the One who does!"
My only complaint, and keep in mind, it's not a criticism, but the only thing I don't LOVE so far is the "overload factor" that feels like it came into play today. It's an entirely amazing experience, every single minute of it - the conference, getting to know the other leaders and volunteers who are here with Cove, the worship, the information, the revolutionary ideas - but all of that, boom, boom, boom, one thing right after another, one session to the next...whew, well it's just a lot all at once.
In an ideal world, we could attend the conference for one day, have one day to digest what we learned, then attend day 2 and so on...but of course, that's not practical, so it's all crammed into three action-packed days.
I'm really glad I'm here; it's been awesome. Tomorrow is the last day.
But I had a real low point of my day too...At times, I felt totally out of place.
TOTALLY out of place.
Specifically, I was surrounded by so many people, so strong in their faith, it was literally just oozing out of them. In the form of passionate singing, outstretched hands, convicted faces you just knew connected to God right there through prayer or whatever we happened to be doing.
And in a nutshell, I just didn't feel that strong connection. And I don't know why?!? And I'm frustrated! Really, really frustrated. It's like I'm waiting for that "a-ha" moment, whatever it is that stirs up people's souls and causes them to abandon whatever insecurities they have and just be in that powerful relationship that comes from knowing God.
I believe in God, I've seen His work being done, I've experienced forgiveness, I read the Bible, I study it to equip myself with the knowledge I'll need to make wise choices, I'm genuinely excited to go to church and attend C-Group, I try to grow in my faith by talking to other Christians and non-Christians, I've no doubt in my mind that God created us all, all this, and that I'm here for a purpose. And when my babies were born into this world - or whenever I meet a new baby - I'm in awe of God's work and unbelievable gift of life.
What I saw everyone experiencing today - what seemed to be such a closeness to the Lord, I want that... I think it's there for the taking - heck, I feel like I have taken it, but today I couldn't shake the thought that maybe I just think I have.
It's like when before I had given birth, and I'd ask friends who had, "What does a contraction feel like? Will I know when I'm having one?" And every person would chuckle and say, "Oh, you'll know when you're having one! You'll KNOW!"
Surely, people who have a relationship with the Lord know they do, so what does that mean that I'm unsure if I have one?
I mean, I wasn't unsure when I was experiencing labor; I wasn't unsure when I said my wedding vows, I'm never unsure of how much I love Jack and Lucy.
What do I need to do differently? What am I missing? Is there something I'm afraid to let go of? I'm just feeling at a loss...
Ugh, oh well...that's it for tonight...time to let everything I heard and learned today settle a bit. There's a new Office recording waiting for me...time for some laughing! (Which by the way, we learned today that the two most successful ways to draw people to you (or something like that) is smiling and making people laugh... ;-)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Last night at Supper Club, we girls were chatting about what makes us happy. Specifically, Molly was telling us about "The Happiness Project" she's been following. And she proposed the question to the group, "What makes you happy?"
What was most striking to me was that, while of our answers varied a little, every single one of us had one answer in common: maintaining order/productivity in our lives. And we all agreed that our husbands would never list that as something that makes them happy...
Makes me wonder...are moms, especially stay-at-home-moms who live where they work, overly obsessed with order, keeping things in a "just-right" way? I am happier when my house is clean, things are put away, kids are getting tucked into beds with nice, fresh linens, and I do feel lighter on my feet when I've marked off several items on my "to-do" list before it's noon on a given day, but could I be even happier if I let that stuff go?
In other words, am I letting the "urgent" take over what's "important"? Our pastor mentioned this idea a few months back in a sermon...how easy it is to get sidetracked because we focus on what's urgent rather than what's important. And I think it's so true. We feel a need to make sure emails are checked frequently, we drift toward updating our Facebook statuses before we update our medicine cabinets, and sometimes we feel like we can't sit on our dirty floor and play with our kids until that floor is cleaner...
And we get to stressed because we feel like we're running around all day, tending to what's urgent, but losing focus on what's really important.
I dunno...it's been on my mind though, today. If you're curious, my other answers to the girls' question, "What makes you happy?" was my friends/enjoying events with my friends and my kids. Of course my husband and kids...
So on that note, of things that make me happy, onto a little update:
Weight Watchers meeting today: slightly frustrating. After last week's loss of 0.6, I was hoping for a bigger loss. Not so...today I registered a loss of 0.4 - ugh ;-(
A loss is a loss, and I am grateful for that, but my two weeks' records before that, just to show you why I'm frustrated was -3.2, and -2.6. Two weeks of substantial loss, followed by two weeks of tiny loss.
But the meeting was very helpful and encouraging for me. Everyone there had been in my shoes at some point, and our leader pointed out that the closer you get to your "range" of an ideal weight for you age and height, the harder it is to loose the weight. And I realized this, but I was just on such a "hot streak" you could say, it still was a hard pill to swallow. Especially after all the hard workouts I've put in this week. But, it's still a loss, and the shorts I'm currently wearing are a size below what I've been able to wear in the past year and a half...so woo-hoo for that! I'm just gonna' keep on keepin' on ;-)
Monday, April 26, 2010
Super, super easy and fall-off-the-bone delicious!
SLOW COOKER BBQ RIBS
(makes 6 servings)
4 lbs. baby back pork ribs
1/2 C. brown sugar
12 oz. jar chili sauce
2T. worcestershire sauce
2T. dijon mustard
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. hot sauce
Cut each slab of ribs into two sections. Put in slow cooker.
Combine remaining ingredients. Pour 1/2 over ribs and refrigerate remaining sauce.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, then on LOW for 6 - 8 hours.
Reheat remaining sauce and serve with ribs.
Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The kids were invited to dress up as a prince or princess, and they were just so adorable!
Everything went perfectly, and I think everyone had a great time! My little girl is THREE - Wow!
jack taking a break from it all... ;-)
"Put the sticker on the princess" ;-)
Whew, opening all these presents is exhausting! :-)
The best part was when Princess Jasmine surprised all the kids and told them a story and served cake and party favors. Our "Jasmine" was a friend of a girl on our babysitters list, and she was awesome! I figured there was a much less expensive way of doing a surprise visit from a princess rather than using professional services that do it, and we hit jackpot! She earned some quick money, and the kids had a blast with her.
telling the kids how she met her prince...
Gavin pelted her with so many questions..."Do you have kids?" was my favorite!!! ;-)
See ya later!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Lucy received her big present from my parents, Papa 'n Lady, Friday night. While she was getting her bath, my parents set up her adorable, "petal canopy."
I love how this looks-heck, I want one!
Here's Lucy walking into her room to see her surprise!
Lucy wants the tulle closed all around her once she's in bed, and loves to sleep with it around her all night!
Great present Papa and Lady!!! I turn 30 in July...(hint, hint) ;-)
Lucy's party was today (she turns three on Monday), and it was just great! The weather outside was grey and threatening storms, but amazingly, they held off for the whole two-hour shindig ;-)
The little tots looked absolutely precious in their costumes, and our surprise treat for the kids - a visit from princess Jasmine-went off so much better than I had expected it to. She was great!
I've lots of photos to edit through, but pics will be up tomorrow!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
With all the scrapbooking I love to do, I've got how she looks documented, but I wanted to capture her cute ideas as well. I'll print this out on cardstock, and then create a scrapbook page around it...
Check it out. Adorable, I love it!
My favorite answers are regarding her fav tv show - because the show she answers, she's never even watched before ;-) (but Audrey does I think ;-), and her answer to the very last question...well, I just wish I could provide audio as well. Classic!
Happy 3rd Birthday, Lucy!
“May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young.” - Bob Dylan
Here are your sweet, precious ideas, as expressed by you as you turn three years old! Happy Birthday, baby girl!
We love you so much!
1. What is your favorite toy?
My pink bear
2. What’s your favorite thing to do at school?
Make arts ‘n crafts
3. What is something you like to say?
“I need to go potty.”
4. What is your favorite food?
Strawberries because they’re juicy
5. How do you treat your brother?
6. Who’s your best friend?
7. Where do you like to play?
8. What is your favorite tv show?
Max & Ruby
9. What is your favorite book?
The acorn book
(“The Little Acorn” Max Lucado)
10. What is your favorite color?
11. Who loves you?
“Audrey does. Audrey loves me. She does.”
I was going to the Publix at Whitesburg and Airport, and noticed that the old Movie Gallery is getting prepped for Plato's Closet.
If you're not sure what it is, click HERE!
You know I'm love buying consignment; I can't wait! I love a good deal!!!!
In other news, both kiddos have pink eye, boo :-(, Bunco was lots of fun last night and I tried out a few recipes that were VERY tasty, and I'm totally bummed about the forecast for Lucy's birthday party on Saturday: 90% chance of thunderstorms.
The good news is that I haven't received any "regrets" for the party, the bad news is that means there are going to be a TON of people in the house with nowhere to spill out if it's pouring rain.
Busy day ahead! Enjoy yours!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
For so many reasons, one of which their photo center has great, great, GREAT prices on large collage prints. I have a 16X20 frame near the front foyer that I like to keep current collages of the family in, and here's the collage I made from Lucy's three-year old shots:
And would you believe a 16 X20 print is just $5.99. I LOVE Costco!
Monday, April 19, 2010
My friend, Ashely, has a natural knack for photography - and she was looking for more kiddos to gain some experience with - so, I asked her to photograph Lucy to document her turning three.
She took these pictures at her friend's house over in the Dug Hill area. The funniest part of this whole thing was that Lucy - who is usually very eager to have pictures taken of her - saw a red powerwheels jeep in the driveway the minute we pulled up to the house. And as far as she was concerned, there could be nothing more important than playing with that jeep.
So, understanding that the subject was already a temperamental three-year-old, and add to it that all Lucy wanted to do was be done with taking pictures, I think Ashley got some amazing pictures. I don't know how she did it. I think she has a lot of natural talent with photography!
Here are some of my very favorite pictures:
different color tone
Years ago, way before I even thought about kids (well, who am I kidding? - I've been thinking about having kids since I was 13, but anyway ;-), I found a cake pan at Williams-Sonoma outlet that was a castle mold. Paid a crazy amount of money for it, saving it just for an occasion as this. (I actually used it to make a castle cake for her 1st birthday, but it wasn't a theme, so it didn't fit quite as perfectly as it will for this birthday ;-)
Anyhow, I wanted to do a test run since I had the idea to make the cake aqua blue, since Lucy's favorite princess is Ariel, and the tablecloth has a huge Ariel under the ocean on it.
Let me just say how glad I am that I decided to try it out first, because it turned out terrible. Not the taste - it was very yummy- but the cake browned so much as it cooked that, well...just see for yourself:
You can see the "turquoise color " I was going for where the kid and Jason tore into the cake, but obviously, the brown color is YUCKY! It's too bad, too, because I really like the turquoise color, but I can't get the cake not to brown as it cooks...
My original plan was to use a sheer glaze for the icing, since I didn't want to cover up all the neat detail created by the mold.
After deciding that the aqua cake was a "no-go," I thought to just make a blue glaze and put it over a new cake that was not tinted with food coloring.
Obviously, this is the dirty blue cake, but I wanted to see what the glaze would do, and I don't like how it turned out either. I still covered up too much detail and looks messy:
But, round 2 of a new cake batter - free from any food coloring - did produce a nice golden-brown cake.
So, I'm sticking with the golden-brown color, and I'm just going to have to do a clear glaze. I don't think the aqua glaze will look good, and I don't want to go through another round of making a batter that calls for 3 whole sticks of butter, 4 1/2 cups flour, 6 eggs, and 3 cups of sugar and a whole new mess in the kitchen to clean up just to test out IF the blue glaze will look okay. I don't think it will anyway ;-)
But the good news is that this cake does taste SO YUMMY! And it's a very simple batter to make. So, it's my recipe for today's "meal."
My favorite part of this recipe is that this website allows you to enter in how many servings you want, and it automatically calculates the new measurements for each ingredient. And since I was multiplying the recipe by "3," the conversion was much easier done by the computer ;-)
Sunday, April 18, 2010
And my sweet tired, who's exhausted (yes! maybe he's getting a glimpse of what it's like for me everyday ;-), wrapped his arms around me with my arms around the kids, and all was well with the world! I can't wait to get a wonderful night's rest tonight, for I never sleep well when Jason's away.
But they all had a blast at Auburn's ADay game and spending time with Jason's folks, Baba and Grandpa. Jason's brother, Justin, also came into town, so the kids loved seeing him. I've been told their favorite part of the ADay game (which brought in over 60,000 fans - that's over 2/3 of the stadium's capacity-what a turnout!), was walking on the bleachers and all around the stadium.
Here are some pictures from the weekend:
Lucy and Baba
Walking to the tailgate spot with Grandpa!
Catch me if you can!
So, the game started at 1:00, and since our kids nap from 1-4ish each day, they didn't take naps. This pic below is of Jack at the end of the game. He couldn't even make it back to the tailgate spot. He was O.U.T! Sweet sleeping boy!
(funny note on this umbrella stroller...It cost me $3 at Play It Again, and it has survived two airport trips to Denver and now a super long walk to and from the stadium. I think we've gotten our money's worth! ;-)
I got so much accomplished this weekend:
Friday night I headed out to The Scene at Bridgestreet with three other girlfriends where I spent the majority of my weight watchers "weekly bonus" points on sweet potato french fries and cheese quesidilla and two miller lights.
Saturday I scored oh so big! (more on that to come) at the community-wide yard sales over in my area, ran, got a pedicure with Tiffany, completed a scrapbook gift book for our sweet cleaning help, Mary and Jimmy, scrapbooked the kids' Memphis trip, planned the menu for Bunco here Wed. night, and Lucy's birthday menu for Saturday.
And today, I planned the Supper Club theme and main entree for this month (April's birthstone of "diamonds" made me think "weddings," so the theme is going to be bringing food items we all had at our weddings), as we're hosting that here Monday night.
(Oh my gosh, after typing that I just realized, I'll be hosting Bunco here Wed. night, Lucy's party here, three days later, followed by Supper Club here two days after that. Whoa! People will be so sick of coming to my house! ;-)
Oh yeah, and I hired a high-school girl to come and be the Surprise Princess at Lucy's bday party. She's going to dress up as Jasmine (Thanks to my friend, Julie, who scored me the costume!!!!! Thanks a mil!) and theatrically tell the story of how she met her true love, Prince Aladdin, and do some other fun stuff with the kids.
It was such a refreshing weekend, but I'm glad my house is buzzing again! Thank you Jason for a wonderful weekend!!!! xxxooo