Friday, August 31, 2012

White and Nerdy - Oh yeah, baby! :-P

Today's Frivolous Friday post is dedicated to my mom. Sorry that there is no white horse ::wink, wink::, but these dance moves will make up for the lack thereof. ;)

This video literally had Maddie and me laughing until we had tears in our eyes. haha.

Happy Friday! :-D

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Getting PASSED by the PAST, and having a blast!

For those of you who don't know me all that well yet, I must confess that I have a bit of a narcissistic enthusiasm for the "proper" use of English grammar. ::winks at The Purple Lady:: I may have even used that particular choice of words before, but Zach refers to me as "The Grammar Nazi," and I figure that it's probably preferable to be called a narcissist as opposed to a Nazi? It's a toss-up...hehe...but, it is what it is. ;)

I don't know what it is about the English language (or language, in general, for that matter); though, that fascinates me so much. Who knows - maybe I was an English teacher in another life. :-P

I am not going to sit here and dare to claim that my knowledge of "proper" grammar is perfect. I know that I still have a lot to learn - especially since language is so fluid. Besides, there is always room for self-improvement. Every once in a while; though (you know - when Hades is expecting a snow storm...hehe), I might have a slip-up, and you'd better believe that Zach and Madison are all over it when that happens. haha. It has actually become quite the little game for them. It's like their life's ambition to catch me in the act and knock me off of my grammar throne. ;)

In all seriousness though, every time I come across a rule in the English language that I don't completely understand, it drives me absolutely insane. I finally have to concede defeat and look up the rule, because - well, like I said: I am a narcissist (haha), and I can't stand to not be 100% certain that I am using the proper spelling of a word (etc.) when I know that others will be seeing what I write. It's like how some people can't stand to leave the house without  wearing makeup. There's nothing wrong with THAT brand of narcissism, is there? ;)

Anyway, one of those little things that is always tripping me up is the correct usage of past vs. passed. For some reason, I constantly confuse the two. I know that it is a common problem, and I found this link recently that explains the difference very clearly, so I thought I'd share the love. :)

Past vs. Passed

I hope that this will clear things up for other people who suffer from my same degree of confusion, and I just wanted you all to know that I accept tokens of gratitude in the form of ice cream - or basically anything drenched in chocolate. Hehe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tales of a 6th-grade drama queen.

*If you are reading this, please take note that this blog post is a continuation from an experience that was posted yesterday. If you haven't already read the backstory, please click here to do so, or you might be a little confused. ;)

Anyway, I promised you last night that I would fill you in on the details as to how our daughter, Madison, ended up 2 miles from our house after school yesterday:

So, she said that after school let out, she asked a faculty member where she was supposed to go to get on her bus. She told him/her the route number and was instructed to stand at a specific spot at the bus pick-up location.

A few minutes later, she saw the bus pulling up to the ramp but the driver just continued driving through, never stopping to pick her up. She said there were other kids on the bus at that point, so she doesn't know if she was sent to the wrong pick-up location or what happened, but the bottom line was that she missed her bus.

She returned to the faculty member she had spoken to before and explained that the bus had driven off without her, and was told to get on another bus. I guess because the bus system was so chaotic on the first day of school, the bus drivers were instructed to take kids to their regular stops if they missed their intended buses (they were basically just putting kids on any available bus and having the bus drivers drive them to where they were supposed to be?).

She was also told; though, that it may not be her actual stop, but might be a mile or so off from where her usual stop is located? That is one thing I still don't fully understand. Did Madison misunderstand what she was told, or was she just so confused that she misconstrued the instructions? Either way, she went to the nearest bus and heard the bus driver asking kids what their cross streets were so they could be taken to where they needed to go.

This is another part that baffles my mind. Madison said she didn't know her cross streets (which she does. I think she was just so confused and freaked out by the chaos that she just shut down and couldn't think logically), so instead of just admitting as much to the bus driver, she hopped off that bus and went to the next one.

The bus driver of the new bus said he was going to a certain cross-street location that Madison thought sounded vaguely familiar, so that is the bus she chose to take. When the bus driver pulled up to the aforementioned stop, Madison got off the bus to look around and see if she recognized her surroundings (which she didn't). Before she could say anything to the bus driver; though, he closed the door behind her and drove off.

Upon hearing this, my first reaction was to become absolutely furious with her. I couldn't figure out why, if she didn't know where she was, she didn't just tell the bus driver, instead of getting off in some strange place, with no idea as to which direction she was even supposed to start walking. And why, when she missed the bus in the first place, did she not just call me immediately to come pick her up!

Her response broke my heart. She said that she had considered going to the office and calling me when she first missed the bus, but thought to herself, "I am a big girl now. I can handle this myself." Bless her heart for trying to be independent, but I was so frustrated at the fact that the whole thing could have been avoided had she just gone to the office instead of getting on that bus.

Anyway, the fact of the matter was that she was now stranded in some neighborhood that was completely unfamiliar to her. She had no water (and it was well over 105 degrees out yesterday at that time), no phone, and no idea where she was in relationship to the house (which, she actually ended up being in a neighborhood about 2 miles south of us), so she decided to just start walking until she either saw something she recognized or found a public place where she could go to use a phone.

She ended up walking about a half mile south to the next major street, and then turned right and headed west for another mile and a half or so. That particular neighborhood is mostly residential, so there weren't any businesses along the road anywhere until she got to a major intersection (after she had walked about two miles) and went into a business to use a phone.

The first place she went into said they didn't have a phone. I told her that she should have explained the situation to them and someone probably would have let her use their cell phone. It is what is is though, and at the risk of looking silly and completely out of control, she left and tried finding another business with a phone (poor kid).

The next place she went into was a bar, so she quickly turned around and left (although I am sure they would have let her use their phone as well). The third business; however, was next door in the same shopping center, and when she told them the situation, they offered her a chair to sit in, a glass of water and, of course, a telephone. That is where she was when she finally called me.

Though I am eternally grateful for the fact that she eventually made it home safely, I have a mix of emotions at this point about this whole ordeal. A part of me wants to call the Superintendant of the school district and file a complaint, or at least call and have a chat with the principal of her school. I do know that we, as parents (and Madison, as a middle schooler) are partly to blame for the events that transpired yesterday. Perhaps we didn't prepare her sufficiently for what to do if she ever missed the bus, and perhaps she should have just done the wise thing and asked for help from the very beginning.

Either way, one thing that Zach and I ARE grateful for in all of this is the fact that some serious delinquencies were brought to our attention; both on Madison's part AND ours. Thankfully, we got a wakeup call and still have the opportunity to make some changes before something more serious happens.

First of all, we know now that we need to help Madison to not only to be aware of her surroundings and become more familiar with our neighborhood, but we also need to let up a little more in general with regards to how much we shelter her - allow her to spread her wings a little and become more self-sufficient.

I am not going to lie. This is going to be very hard for me. I already had to fight the urge this morning to just pile the kids in the car and start driving her to and from school myself. I know if we give her this room to grow; though, she might not be so afraid to take control and won't shut down in the midst of a catastrophe again, but instead will have the coping skills necessary to think logically and minimize the damage if a similar situation should ever occur again.

We sat down with her last night and had a good heart to heart about some positive changes that need to take place. We talked about maybe taking her for bike rides in the neighborhood, with the sole purpose of familiarizing her with street names, and where things are located in relationship to our house. Maybe we'll even take her to a certain location (like the public library, which is only about 5 blocks away) and have her tell us how to get home from there.

I think it was definitely a testimony-building experience for her too. Maybe that's another positive consequence that can be attributed to this horrifically traumatic experience. She said that as she was walking away from the bus stop where she was dropped off, she didn't recognize anything in her surroundings and just kept praying that heavenly Father would guide her feet to safety. Thankfully, He did and she is home safe.

Man, being a parent is so stressful. I guess this is just another one of those curve balls that I was talking about once upon a time. Let's just pray that life doesn't throw us anymore like this one. ;)

Source: via The Purple on Pinterest

Related link:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Middle School Mahem: The day my heart stood still!

Today was Madison's first day of middle school, and starting the day out, I had so many thoughts running through my head:

First of all, how did we get to this day so soon? It seems like just yesterday I was dropping her off for her first day of kindergarten, and here she is in the 6th grade. It just seems so crazy to me. It got me thinking about how fast time passes. Before we know it, she will be going off to college...getting married...having children. And I seriously do not feel old enough to have a child who will be turning 12 in a few months.

I look at pictures of her from just a few years ago and she seemed so little. She still seems so young to me - but then I think of myself at her age - at how I thought I was so mature, so responsible. I mean, I was babysitting at her age. I look at her now; though, at the childlike naïvety that she still possesses, and I think that my parents (sorry mom...hehe) must have been crazy to allow me to assume responsibility for someone else's children when I, myself, was still so young and ignorant. I don't know...the whole thing just blows my mind. I have a middle schooler.

I know that for Madison, today must have been pretty scary. She was at the same elementary school since first grade. She knew all of the teachers and the staff, and was known on campus as the girl whose nose was always in a book. Now, not only is she at a new school with new teachers, but her best friend is at a different school this year too, so she has to really put herself out there and try to form new friendships. She is basically in a new, scary place and is just another strange face in the crowd.

To complicate things further, she takes a bus to school this year for the first time in her life; a fact that has had her both excited and nervous. Change can be a scary thing, and a little ounce of fear and uncertainty was to be expected - on both of our parts. We just had no idea how real that fear would be for us today when all was said and done.

Everything was fine this morning (on my part, at least) as I sent her off to school with my husband, Zach. He had decided to drive her himself so he could take her in early to meet the band director (he is a musician and so band for her this year is - well, a big deal). I was a little sad because it was the first year I wouldn't be driving her myself, but I thought I was handling it pretty well.

I went about my day as usual, but was in constant anticipation of her return - anxious to hear about how her first day had gone. When 2:30 p.m. rolled around, I hopped in the car and drove to where her bus is supposed to drop her off. Shortly thereafter, the bus pulled up and kids started piling out.

I suddenly had an extremely bad feeling as kids continued to emerge through the bus doors who were not my daughter, but I told myself that it was just first-day jitters - that I was just nervous about Madison riding a bus for the first time, and that everything was going to be fine. She was probably just going to be one of the last kids off the bus. After all, Madison and I had reviewed the details for her bus route over and over to make sure she knew which bus to get on and where her stop was located in relationship to the house. What was there to worry about, right?

Well, as I sat there starting to freak out a little, the last child hopped off the bus, the doors closed behind him, and the bus driver began to pull away. I saw one of her friends from elementary school and asked him if he had seen Madison on the bus, thinking maybe she just forgot to get off? He said he had actually seen her as the bus was pulling away from the school - walking in the opposite direction. I realized then that she probably just missed her bus and either went to the office or was directed by a faculty member to hop on a late bus. After all, I hadn't received a phone call from the school, so I was trying to tell myself that she was okay and that she was somehow still on her way home.

I tried calling the number to the school district transportation department, but despite several attempts, their line was just ringing busy. I then tried the school but was unable to get through to the office. I just kept getting a revolving message that said to call back during normal business hours, which it still was, by the way. They were supposed to have been open until 3:30 p.m. and it wasn't even 3:00 p.m. yet. I was really starting to get frustrated and felt the panic settling in. I finally just decided to drive to the school to see if she was there somewhere.

When I got to the school, I went in to the office and told the secretary up front what had happened. She had said that some children who had missed their bus were directed to get on later buses that would take them to their normal stop (since it was the first day of school and things were basically chaotic, I guess they expected some kids to have issues?) She then told me to call the transportation department to see if they could track down which bus she had gotten on. I told her I had tried that but the line was ringing busy. She then suggested I go and wait by her stop to see if she had, in fact, gotten on a different bus, and to keep trying to call the transportation line. She also gave me the number to campus police and said to call them if I couldn't get through to them and/or if she wasn't at her stop.

At this point, I was freaking out because the school had no idea where my child was. I kept telling myself that it was all going to be okay though, and that she was probably just walking home from the bus stop by now. On my way out of the office, I ran into another parent who I happened to know from Madison's elementary school, and apparently, her son had missed his bus too. We exchanged numbers and I told her that I would call her when Madison was finally located so that I could let her know if her son was on the same bus. She agreed to do the same, in case her son was dropped off first.

I called home to see if there was any sign of Madison, but there wasn't, so I drove to the bus stop to wait for her there. After arriving at her stop, several minutes passed by and still there was no bus. I finally got a call from the other mother telling me her son was home, but that Madison had not been on his bus either. I could feel the tears welling up inside, but I told myself that I was not going to cry. I WAS going to find her and she was going to be okay.

I tried calling the transportation line one more time, but it was busy, so I dialed the number to campus police. I told them the situation and they informed me that they would look into the situation and call me back. I then started cussing myself out for not sending her to school with her cell phone. She had gotten it taken away over the weekend and I had had half a mind to send it with her today in case of an emergency, and then confiscate it when she got home. In the end; though, we decided against it, and I was seriously kicking myself in the behind. The ONE day something like this happens, she doesn't have her phone. I seriously wanted to scream.

I said a silent prayer, pleading with Heavenly Father to keep her safe and bring her home to me. Finally, after a few more minutes, my phone rang and it was a number I didn't recognize, so I answered it quickly hoping that it was someone who could give me some answers.

Thankfully, it was Madison. She was calling me from a business nearly 2 miles from our house. How she had gotten there is an entirely different story. She was obviously upset; though, and practically in tears, and all I wanted to do was get to her ASAP and wrap her in my arms.

She stayed on the phone with me the entire time that I drove to her, and as I pulled in front of the building where she had been waiting for me, I saw her burst into tears - tears of relief - an emotion that both of us were experiencing in that moment of joy.

She got into the car and collapsed into my arms and we both had a good cry. I asked her what had happened and she explained how she had missed the bus, and then one thing led to another. I don't want to go into the details right now because I am literally spent emotionally from the traumatic events of the afternoon. Tune in tomorrow and I will fill you in on the details. I will tell you, though, that I took her out for ice cream immediately after picking her up. I figured we were both in some serious need of some comfort food. :)

The important thing right now is that she is home. I am just so grateful to my Heavenly Father for taking care of her and getting her back to me safely.


Friday, August 24, 2012

I want Candy!

Here's a little something to make your Friday a bit sweeter. This cracks me up every time - the candy (Ms. Brown) and her man candy, William Levy. This is so how men think (I must say that it nailed us women pretty well, too. haha). It's a seriously epic commercial:

Happy Friday, peeps. Don't forget to be frivolous! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Period films are my cup of tea.

I was looking some stuff up on (the internet movie data base) the other night and came across this list of the best period films/series. I don't know about you, but I absolutely ADORE period films/series, and some of my favorites are on this list: The Young Victoria, Downton Abbey, BBC's Pride & Prejudice, Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility (with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet & Hugh Grant), Masterpiece Theater's Jane Eyre (2006), Anne of Green Gables, The Count of Monte Cristo, etc.

Looking at this list made me realize how many different versions there are of some of these films. Almost everyone of the films adapted by a Jane Austen book has at least two versions, some of which I have seen all versions. Some of the less popular ones I haven't seen; though, and I find myself wondering which versions are worth seeing and which are absolute rubbish. I know that some of the titles on the list are Rated R, so let's not include those ones, but I am anxious to hear your opinions on the others. :)

One of my favorite period films of all time:
Queen Victoria: [sobbing] I'm so sorry! I thought I was going to lose you! 
Prince Albert: I don't think he was a very good shot. 
Queen Victoria: Why did you do it? So stupid, why did you do it? 
Prince Albert: I had two very good reasons. First, I am replaceable and you are not. 
Queen Victoria: You are not replaceable to me! 
Prince Albert: Second, you're the only wife I've got or ever will have. You are my whole existence, and I will love you until my very last breath. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Anne of Green Gables and Food for the Soul

So, a couple of days ago, a friend (thanks, Melissa) posted a link on Facebook to a blog post about 10 books you must read to your daughter, and I was surprised to see that most of the books on the list are books that my daughter and I have read - either together or on our own. One series that was mentioned; however, was the Anne books: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, etc. Unfortunately, I never read the books as a girl, but I did watch the mini series and the sequel (back when they were on VHS) religiously, and actually still do re-watch them on occasion. My mom even bought the entire series (including The Continuing Story, which I hadn't even seen until I was an adult, as it wasn't released until 2000) on DVD for me a few years ago because she knows how much I LOVE the series...and because I am her favorite daughter. Hehe. J/k. ::winks at my sister, Christina::

Well, reading about the book series got me wanting to read it with Madison, so naturally, I hopped onto my trusty, little Amazon iPhone app and added the boxed set to my reading list. In doing so, I started feeling all nostalgic, and felt the sudden urge to watch the movies. As you guessed, I busted out the DVDs and had a little Anne of Green Gables movie marathon with my daughter, Madison (who also has already seen them a million times - one of the benefits of having me as a mom. haha).


As usual, I fell in love with the characters all over again (especially the charming Mr. Gilbert Blythe), but this time around, I found myself watching the series from a different perspective. It might be because of the fact that I have grown really fond of cooking over the last couple of years, and have really begun to find joy in branching out and trying new, fun recipes, but as I was watching the movies this time, I started looking at all of the delicious-looking food that is featured in the films and I suddenly felt my wheels turning with the idea of how incredibly awesome it would be to try and re-produce some of the recipes. Suddenly, I was on a mission. :)

"It's a well-known fact that great ladies of old believed that the culinary arts also fed the soul." -Anne Shirley

Anyway, I went online and started searching for individual recipes, such as Marilla's plum pudding and her raspberry cordial (we all remember the incident where poor Diana mistakenly drinks current wine instead of the intended, said non-alcoholic beverage. haha). I then started to remember someone briefly mentioning that there is a cookbook out there (I think it may have also been the oh-so-savvy, Melissa), so I looked it up and found that on Amazon as well (if you haven't figured it out by now, Amazon is probably my favorite online shopping site. I think my husband, Zach, is ruing the day that I discovered that incredible shopping option. Hehe). I couldn't wait for a cookbook; though, and continued looking for recipes online.

As I started to find some of these fun recipes, I found myself getting more and more excited about how much information is actually out there on the internet. I wanted to share some of my favorites from the movie with you:

Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial

Plum Puffs

Marilla's Plum Pudding

There is even a recipe for the infamous sauce - you know the one:
Caramel Pudding Sauce (without the mouse)

Haha. Can I just say that I think that last part (about the mouse) is absolutely hilarious!

"I suppose in the end, it was a romantic way to perish - for a mouse." -Anne Shirley

I even found a link for 24 recipes from the Anne of Green Gables cookbook, which I am seriously anxious to try. This whole thing has me so excited. I think I need to just host an Anne of Green Gables party - simply to test and serve all of the yummy food from these recipes. Maybe it could even be a potluck so that others could get in on the fun as well. Oh snap! I think that an ingenious plan has just been born! :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Frivolous Friday

Who here loves Fridays? I do, I do. :) Not only because they mark the beginning of the weekend, when children look forward to a few days off from school, and the prospect of excitement and recreation anxiously await behind every corner, but Fridays are also when new movies are usually released in theaters, when you get to stay up past your bedtime, and when pizza/movie nights take place. There is just something magical about Friday - when Mom and Dad get home from work, and you know that you have the whole weekend ahead of you to explore the endless possibilities of fun and adventure - or to indulge in some much-needed R&R and stay in your pajamas all day long. Either way, Fridays mark the beginning of a time period in everyone's week when frivolity is at its finest.

In celebration of our favorite day of the week, I am dedicating Fridays on this blog space to all things frivolous and fun! Not only is "frivolity" such a fun word to say (go ahead and say it aloud - you know you want to), but it also has some uber awesome synonyms: light-heartedness, silliness, giddiness, etc... I don't know about you, but I feel pretty giddy and frivolous on Fridays - and what way to better commemorate the beginning of something we look forward to (for five days at a time, with such passion and longing that we have actually designated the half-way point as "hump day" to signify that you have made it over the hump and are now on the downward cake-walk toward said frivolity) than with a little carefree and silly comedic relief. :)

So, in honor of our very first Frivolous Friday, I want to share a few, quick tidbits of some Weird Al genius:

Weird Al working his magic in a grocery store. haha. He is my hero.

Adverbs are awesome! :)

Those who know me can attest to the fact that I have a somewhat narcissistic enthusiasm for the "proper" use of grammar...and nobody is quite as frivolous and quirky as our good man, Weird Al. No one puts the art of grammar into perspective quite like him either. "Grammar people, come on...seriously!" Hehe.

So, have a happy Friday, peeps - and don't forget to be frivolous! :)

P.S. Guess what comes out on DVD/Blue Ray tonight at midnight?!? Hunger Games...booyah! Can you tell I am excited? I might just have to be frivolous tonight and run to Walmart for the blue ray/digital copy combo pack. Hehe. This one looks pretty cool: Hunger Games Rocks! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Terrible TWOSday!

Have you ever had one of those days where your child did something that was just so unfathomably frustrating, that after you were finally (somehow) able to overcome the initial urge to beat the living daylights out of him, you wanted to just sit on the floor with your head in your hands and cry? was one of those days. I am sure that anyone who has ever raised/lived with/cared for a toddler (particularly one of the ripe old age of TWO - they don't call it "the terrible twos" for nothing) can not only sympathize with my pain, but can also attest to the fact that sometimes, these precious little creatures in our lives just do things that seriously make you want to rip all of your stinkin' hair out...

Well, over the weekend, during a visit with my mother on the other side of town, we started watching Gone with the Wind on VHS. I know, I are thinking, "What? VHS? Really?" She has owned it for forever; though, and refuses to buy DVD versions of movies she already owns. Anyway, I somehow had neglected to watch the movie until now, and was really looking forward to it, as I am a huge enthusiast of the old classics (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Wizard of Oz, The Blue Bird, and Fiddler on the Roof are a couple of my old favorites).

Unfortunately, as we got about three-fourths of the way through the movie, I noticed that it was about 8:15 p.m. and we had to stop the movie, as it was getting late and I needed to get home in time for my husband to leave for work. My mom asked if I wanted to take her VHS tape home and finish watching it, but I told her that since we don't have a working VHS player (courtesy of our dear little Logi monster - he broke it a few months ago by shoving random crap into the tape slot. He jammed it so badly that you can't even insert a VHS tape anymore. <<sigh>>), I would just finish watching it next week when we come back for our weekly visit. She then offered to let me borrow her extra VHS/DVD combo player that she keeps in the play room for the grandkids. She knew that I had really gotten into the film and was anxious to see how it ended, and since she was so willing to be so accommodating (hehe), I accepted her offer and took the VHS tapes and the player home with me.

So, that brings me to this morning. I got up pretty early and the babies were still asleep, so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to finish the movie. A few minutes in; however, Little Mister (my two-year-old son) woke up and came out into the living room with me...not a big deal, right? He could just sit on my lap and watch it with me. Ha! After a few minutes, he started whining that he wanted something to eat, so I stopped the movie and went into the kitchen to make us a quick fruit smoothie to share for breakfast. Not five minutes into my preparations, I heard this loud whirring sound coming from the living room. My first thought was, "What in the heck did that kid do now?" Sure enough, in the few minutes that I had left him to his own devices, he had managed to get his hands on a DVD and then proceeded to stick it into the tape slot of the VHS player while the tape was still engaged in the machine.

I quickly slid my fingers into the tape slot and grabbed hold of the DVD, then carefully removed it, trying to avoid causing any further damage to the DVD or tape player. I hoped that once the DVD was removed, the player would continue functioning properly and I'd be able to continue watching the movie...and then it would be a beautiful, sunny day with puppy dogs, butterflies, and rainbows. is never that easy. The stinkin' VHS player powered off and I couldn't get the VHS tape to even eject. I tried turning the power back on, but the machine just made a low whirring sound and turned off again within seconds. I tried shining a flash light in through the slot opening to see what was happening, but all I could see was that the tape was stuck with the film flap open. I went ahead and unscrewed the top cover of the player to get a better look at what was going on inside, and this is what I saw: 

I don't know if you can tell from the picture or not, but the VHS film was still actively engaged in the machine so I couldn't eject the tape, but when I'd turn the darn machine on, it would just make that soft, whirring sound and shut itself off again. It wouldn't stay on long enough for me to push the eject button. 

I tried calling my dad to see if he coud talk me through a quick solution (there seriously is nothing that he can't fix), but he wasn't answering either of his phones, which just frustrated me further. Not only was I right in the middle of some serious drama in the film and wanted to find out how it ended, but they were my mom's VHS tapes and player, and I didn't want to have to tell her that her precious little "angel" had broken them. haha.

So, I called both of my brothers and finally got ahold of my older brother. He said it sounded like something was jammed but that it was hard for him to know what was wrong since he couldn't see it to assess the damage...great. My husband worked graveyard last night, so I knew he wouldn't be up still for several hours. At that point, I was seriously so frustrated that I wanted to strangle my son. I literally had to muster every ounce of self control NOT to bend him over my knee. Then, he came over to me with his big, beautiful, hazel eyes, and his sweet, innocent smile, and I couldn't help but hug him. It was better than beating him anyway. haha.

After a few minutes, I decided to concede defeat and turned the tv to PBS for my son so I could start cleaning the kitchen to get my mind off of everything (something that needed to get done anyway). A while later, my brother-in-law walked into the living room and we got to talking about what happened. Apparently, we own the movie on DVD and we had it in our DVD case the entire time. Doh! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The whole thing could have been avoided had I just known that one, small detail. The upside to this story; though, is that I got to finish watching the movie after all...even though the ending was UBER lame and I was so disappointed. I found out, though, that there is a sequel, so maybe this isn't entirely a sob story - I'll have to keep you posted. My mom lent me the sequel on VHS too, so maybe if we are able to fix the machine, then I will have a happy ending to this story after all. :)

Anyway, I finally got ahold of my dad (hours later) and he told me that I can bring the player over to his house. He's going to take the player apart and get the tape out for me. So yeah...I am sure that when all is said and done, my mom will get her VHS tapes and player back, and the world will be at peace once again. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I can do hard things!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a Sunday school class as a visitor with my sister-in-law in Utah, wherein a lesson was given on the topic of the pioneers that traveled from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City in the late 1840's (as Pioneer Day was the following Tuesday). The timing of the lesson was deliberate, I know - for I had previously sat through many lessons given in reverence of the pioneers. It was his perspective on the topic; however, that stood out so prominently in my mind.

Upon first entering the room where the class was designated to take place, we saw the phrase, "I can do hard things" written on the board. The gentleman giving the lesson initiated the discussion by telling us how his wife had begun using the phrase in their home when their children would complain about chores or other tasks they were asked to complete, claiming, "It's too hard," or "I can't do it by myself." As a mother, I had to laugh because of the fact that I could totally relate to the situation (as could every other parent in that room, I am sure). My husband and I have tried implementing similar philosophies in our own home, but I cannot tell you how many times we have heard those same protestations from our children too, as if sweeping the floor or taking out the trash would require them to give us their right arm or something.

As parents, we understand that the simple responsibilities we give them are not to torment them or make their lives miserable (even though that is what they may claim at the time). We are, in fact, only trying to teach them the value of hard work and self sufficiency. They only complain because they don't yet understand the value of the lesson they are being taught.

After a few good laughs of appreciation for his amusing, little anecdote, with which we all could identify, the atmosphere in the room began to shift as he started to convey how that same phrase relates to the pioneers and the dissimilar attitudes they expressed through their experiences in life.

Initially, he gave us a brief history on their journey, as could be expected, but then we began to discuss some things that made us more apathetic to their heart-breaking misfortunes. He spoke of families pushing hand carts across the plains through the most horrible of conditions imaginable, wives who lost husbands, mothers who lost children from exposure and starvation, etc... Still, through the rain, snow, mud, and heaven knows what else, these people continued to press forward, steadfast in their faith. Why? Because they believed that what they were doing was righteous and significant, and they knew it was necessary to experience those trials in order to arrive at the blessings that had been promised to them. So, why is it that so many of us feel that our lot is too difficult? Or that we lack the strength to endure it?

This brings me to the moral of the story. The message of the lesson that was taught that day was two-fold for me. First (as I am sure was the intention of the lesson), it serves as a reminder of the trials the pioneers faced and the faith they possessed, which caused them to endure to the end, in spite of those trials. I know that remembering their hardships can teach us to refrain from murmuring as we encounter difficult circumstances in our own lives. It can also give us the ability to remain humble and maintain an attitude of gratitude, especially when most of us are fortunate enough to have the essential necessities that we require for survival (and for our own comfort) on a daily basis.

This message can also grant us the confidence to recognize that as children of our Heavenly Father, we (like the pioneers) do have the capacity to do hard things. Over the course of the next few days, it almost became a little inside joke between my sister-in-law and me. In dealing with children who seemed determined (for whatever reason) to make life complicated, and challenges that the Lord must have felt were necessary for us to face at that moment in time, repeating the simple phrase that was written on the board that Sunday morning would bring a smile to our faces, lightening our mood tremendously.

So, in closing, I just want to express my appreciation for a man who may never understand the impact that his lesson has had on my thinking - and for a simple phrase that I can recite on a regular basis to remind myself (and my family) that life is a test, but that's okay - because I can do hard things! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Eventide Book Review and Giveaway!

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE books? I know that e-books are the "new thing" these days, with all the competing e-readers out there, but I am having a difficult time conforming. My husband and I both own iphones and we even have an ipad - all of which have iBook capabilities - but I just don't foresee that I will ever be willing to give up the pleasure of soaking in a nice, hot bubble bath or relaxing in a big, comfy chair with a good book in my hands.

There is just something significant about the way the pages feel in your fingers as you turn them one-by-one, and the smell they leave on your hands afterward that bring such an an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. There is also a certain kind of pleasure evoked when you physically put a bookmark in the inside crease of your book to keep your place. From an aesthetic perspective, books look beautiful as they are stacked together in uniformity on a book shelf, and even create an air of intelligence and knowledge simply by being strewn haphazardly about in a room (on coffee tables, night stands, etc...).

The bottom line is: books are sophisticated and exquisite - and like I said - I love, love, LOVE them. :)

Want to know what I love even MORE than books, though? Book Giveaways! What's better than the possibility of a free book, right? Especially when it's a GREAT, free book. Plus, a little competition is good for the soul. hehe. As it were, it just so happens that you can check out an awesome book review and giveaway at All Things Purple. So, hop on over to see The Purple Lady for a chance to win a copy of Tales of the Dragon's Bard, Book 1: Eventide, by Tracy & Laura Hickman. Best of luck and happy reading. <3