Thursday, January 31, 2013


Monte surprised me a few weeks ago with a new iPhone 5.

You know I didn't ask for it.

Remember me?

Techno dinosaur and somewhat proud of it.

Monte REALLY needed me to enter the world of smart phones.

Just occurred to me that maybe he was embarrassed of me when I'd whip out my little ol' slider phone at basketball games to update my parents on McDaniel's team.


Whatever the reason, I am an iPhoner now.

Is that a thing to say "iPhoner"?

It really took no time to get the hang of since I am comfortable with how Apple products work.
(She said with just a teence bit of haughty condescension.)

Seriously, the hardest part was making a call.

I am dead serious.

I can take a picture and send it to multiple people and places WAY easier and faster than making a simple call.

Ellie gave me a tutorial the first night I got it.

She is 10.

And NOT a smart phone owner.

Wait. She doesn't even have a phone of ANY kind.

Wow. I feel even more prehistoric now.

I guess she elected herself my personal trainer on the iPhone since she got "fed up" with me always complaining about not being able to get the DVD player on 
or the Wii
or the Apple TV

or let's face it, 
sometimes turning the TV on and off troubles me.

And switching between all of the above?

Heaven help me.

So before the holidays, Ellie took it upon herself to set up a "Little Tutorial" for me on all things remote, 
and TV related.

She had a clipboard with a list of topics to teach and then quiz me on.

She had a stop watch too.

I wish I was making this up. 
My palms are starting to sweat thinking about it.

First Ellie wanted to see my level of need.

So I fumbled with all the remotes like I normally do

saying, "For the love of Pete" under my breath a lot. 

She said, "Oh my," to the ceiling and shook her head.

Honestly, we have WAY too many remotes!
Why can't we consolidate to one really big remote?
With bigger buttons and lettering--they are getting smaller, am I right??

This would be a dream to use
and read!

Remember the old remotes that actually made a clicking sound when you pressed a button?

That is why my grandma still calls the remote "the clicker".

But they were simple. Easy to use.


Good ol' days.

But I digress…

Ellie spent no less time training me on how to switch from
 to the Apple TV
 to the DVD player 
back to cable 

than Mickey did getting Rocky ready to fight Apollo Creed.

It has been way too long
since I've mentioned Rocky

I may have been more exhausted.

And I didn't get to hear that great theme song to inspire me.

It would've helped.

So when Ellie showed up, clipboard in hand, the night I got the iPhone, I knew what was getting ready to happen.

I didn't fight it.

It wasn't worth it.

At least with the TV remote training, I was better for it in the end. 
I use those skills daily and they have served me well.

I failed big time on the iPhone.

Ellie didn't like my inexperienced touch screen texting technique
or speed.

She threw up her hands in defeat.

So fast forward a few weeks later to last night.

Monte spontaneously gave me a follow up to Ellie's tutorial.

Without a clipboard. 
Or a stopwatch. 

I learned how to make a call without handing it to one of the girls and saying:

"Call your father." 
"Call your grandmother." 

It was great. 

And so simple.

It certainly has been nice to pick up email on the run--especially during McDaniel's basketball tournament when I realized through an email from her coach that she had packed the wrong uniform.

The one thing I didn't realize was that I would love playing a game (Ruzzle) so much.

It's a cross between Boggle
and Scrabble

You see, I was the one not understanding the people that play games through Facebook

or who post just how much they play or score on said games on Facebook.

Hey, I if am going to spend an inordinate amount of time NOT doing the laundry or the dishes, I certainly am not going to publicly declare it.

I'd rather tuck that under the rug with the crumbs where no one can see it.

But that's just me.
(And I may just have to ask God for strength to break me free from my Ruzzle addiction. 
But not before I can beat Monte. 
At least once!)

The whole reason I thought I'd want the smart phone was to show coupons to cashiers on the screen rather than on paper.

Haven't done it…yet.

We haven't gotten to that bullet point on Ellie's clipboard…yet.

Fingers crossed we'll get there by Spring.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clearing Out

Okay. So it has been over a week since I announced the new challenge I have taken on.

Migonis Home is a blog I follow.


Is anyone else giving this a go?

I think I thought I would get rid of something EVERY DAY.

I haven't.

But I have been quite intentional about making a list of what I want to clean out:

We call this awesome vintage wooden trunk my
parents gave us the Treasure Box. We keep games and
blankets in it. Not treasure.

Which of course will add to the tally

(that I am NOT keeping) 
towards the goal of 365 items 
gone out of my house.

I have managed to clear out all those mysterious Legos that i found and put them into my car to donate


in the near future
(I hope)

because they keep rolling around in their Ziplocs making a pretty big racket when I'm driving.

I have also cleaned out our humongous TV armoire of unwanted board games and DVDs 

which amounted to 3 FULL bags
which we sold to Half Price Books for

wait for it


We have sold 
Disney movies, 
hardback books,
 brand-new DVDs

and they always give us $17.00.

No matter what.

I think the whole waiting for your name to be called with an offer is just a false pretense leading you to believe they are carefully picking through your stuff, looking up their values on some proprietary online database and then carefully tallying the totals.

They have already been trained to offer $17.00.

Or it could just be us.

Yeah, it's probably us.

Having this list of what to clean out is proving quite handy.

Ellie wanted to make some extra cash yesterday without taking any money out of the bank.

She asked for a savings account for her birthday last year.







I quickly referred to the list

decided it was all too much for a 10-year-old to tackle in an afternoon

but then gave her the coat closet to clean.

It looks amazing! 

And we have snow pants and snow boots in a bag ready to be donated.

I also made her vacuum. 
(Because I just didn't feel like it.)

So, in conclusion, the challenge is still ON

I am just being more realistic about it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sofa Shopping

We have found ourselves in need of a new sofa


davenport if you are my dad.

Many years ago
(let's say 10 because I have no earthly idea) 

we invested in a quality leather couch with down filled cushions.

This bad boy was going to last FOREVER

and then we were going to give it to one of the girls when they got their first apartment.

But here we are
(let's say 10 years later) 

and it looks like this:

Can't you just hear it sighing?

The back cushions are supposed to be zippered into the back. 

My husband, Monte, has a habit of sitting only on the far left cushion 

(see how more flattened it is?) 

and then spreading his left arm out and under the middle cushion pulling it forward and out of its zippered position.




This is what we are left with after years of the habit:

There is lots of punching and fluffing and rearranging that needs to happen before taking a seat.

I find people go out of there way to NOT sit on the couch when they are here.

Now this is starting to happen ALL over the place:

I made an appointment with an upholsterer 2 years ago to give me a quote on refilling the cushions.

But someone in my house threw up the morning 
of the appointment and I had to cancel.

Life happens.

Our wedding anniversary is December 16. 

Since it is so close to Christmas we decided early on to stick with the recommended anniversary gifts as deemed by

you know, I am not sure who deemed 
paper for the 1st anniversary 
and silver for the 25th.

It has been a lot of fun following these gift guidelines and a great outlet for being creative.

We celebrated our 17th this year.

The recommended gift was

wait for it


Can you believe it?

It is almost ALWAYS 

or watches

not something actually useful

and completely relevant 

to our current needs.

When I informed Monte of our gift recommendation,

he said, "It's time."

I knew what he meant.

We started doing research on refluffing the down feathers in the cushions.

No easy task which involves 

a bucket of water, 

a big stir stick 

and the possible threat of mildew 
if the feathers don't get properly dried.

So. Not. Trying. That.

Then there is the method of removing the cushions from the leather and then placing them in the dryer with tennis balls to hopefully beat the fluff right back into them.

But let me remind of you this:

I don't want my dryer/laundry room/ENTIRE HOUSE 
to look like a goose massacre.

And it would.

We know this about ourselves.

Things happen to us.

So, we started researching having the down replaced.


The cost

of course these were online estimates 
not face-to-face after seeing our particular need estimates

was going to be more than buying a new (non leather) couch.

So. Not. Doing. That.


we went sofa shopping Saturday.
(could be my new record on how long it took me to get to the actual point)

We went by ourselves so as not to be swayed by any teenage or tweenage girl opinion.
(They love the slouchy leather couch and see no need to replace it. 
They are SO getting it when they get their first apartment.)

Monte said he was ONLY coming along for the negotiation part (you know, delivery fees, cleaning sprays, etc.)

He even said, 


that it was ALL UP TO ME on what we got in a sofa.

We went to 5 or 6 different furniture stores.

We didn't know 

what we wanted 
or how we wanted it to look 
or in what color.

We were a salesperson's nightmare.

And that was before we sprawled out horizontal on each and every couch and asked if it would show drool marks.

Hey, life happens.

We did quickly narrow down what we wanted.

Let me rephrase that, MONTE quickly narrowed down what HE wanted.

For someone who said it was ALL UP TO ME, Monte sure took the reigns back quickly.

RIGHT AWAY he declared that anything less than a 3-cushioned couch would be a travesty.


If the cushions weren't SEWN into the back of the couch

Keep walking.
Don't even sit down!

(Remember, his bad habit? He didn't want to be responsible for ruining another couch. 
Heaven forbid he just NOT do it anymore.)

Where was I? Got a little lost getting mad at Monte…

He, okay, WE, also had issues with the depth of the sofa.

Too narrow and Monte feared he couldn't get a proper nap roll over in.

Too deep and my feet wouldn't touch.

Seriously, I am 5'6" and there were MANY couches where my feet 



the floor!

Who are these manufacturers making couches for?

There was one couch that met all Monte's criteria:

•3 cushions
•Back cushions sewn in
•Ample nap roll over depth
•Karmen's feet could reach the ground
•Decent price

As Monte was working his negotiating skills on delivery fees and asking for actual dimensions to see if it would fit through the front door,

Monte found out that there was a WEIGHT LIMIT for one side of the couch.

As in, 

No more than 250 pounds should ever be on one side of this couch.


I don't know about you, but we have BIG family

and BIG friends.

How do you tell them to NOT sit on one side of your couch lest they snap the thing in two like Goldilocks did to Baby Bear's chair?!

So we didn't buy anything.

Took all day for us to decide that we haven't found the "just right" one yet.
(Might as well keep on with the Goldilocks thing.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This word has always been negative to me.

It was something my dad shouted at me 
in the car 
on long road trips.

This was our actual station wagon. The very
back seat faced the other direction
and was out of Dad's arm reach.
When I was bored and making a game of 
getting my youngest brother into trouble 
or making my other brother laugh 
until he wet his pants.
(I was good at that.)

"Quit!" Dad would holler.

Neg. A. Tive.

When I accepted a job after college that
overworked me,
underpaid me 
and played a little too close to the shady-side 
of the proverbial "line" of what was ethical, 
I confided in my dad.

"Don't quit. Stick it out for a least a year," he recommended.

I quit on my 1 year work anniversary.

They gave me a commemorative pin and I handed them a resignation letter.

Then Monte chased me through the parking lot 
to profess his feelings for me.

Not all negative.
(But that's an entirely different story.)

Back to quitting.

We just let Ellie quit basketball.

We were quite torn about it.

Do we force her to stick it out as a character lesson?

You know the whole, we finish what we start thing?

Or do we let her quit because we can actually see the confidence drain right out of her every time she steps into practice or a game with a coach that is a screamer?

Like gets told by the referees to stop yelling at his own girls 
kind of screamer.

Like gets technical fouls called on him 
kind of screamer.

Is this a robot referee?
Like his own daughter cries on the bench a lot 
kind of screamer.

I just don't see how the saying

"Winners never quit and quitters never win"

applies here.

Quitting can be good,

can't it?

The definition actually says it is a release.


That is how I feel.


Released from the tension of sitting in the bleachers and biting my own tongue from screaming,

"Sit down and shut up! They are in the 5th grade!"

Actually an opposing coach said something very similar to him a few games ago.

And she was a she.

And it was glorious.

But this is not about revenge.

If it was, I would've been in charge of telling the coach that Ellie was quitting.

No, my very diplomatic husband, Monte,

very wisely
very succinctly
very vaguely
said that Ellie was no longer going to participate in the team.

At first I was like,



…due to the negative coaching style of this team


…in order to preserve the confidence of our 10-year-old daughter

Not even a

…you need help, buddy. 
And, from one man to another, 
stop wearing skinny jeans! 

No, my husband prayerfully sought direction. 

And did the right thing.

I am so thankful I am married to him.

Because I could really have burned a bridge

Oh, let's face it,

massively bombed it.

Over and over again I am reminded 

just because I think it
(and it is correct)

doesn't mean I have to say it

out loud.

Do you really think the complaints 
of one family 
are going to highlight the error of this guy's ways 
and cause him to be 
all sunshine 
and rainbows 
and butterfly kisses?


It would just further corrupt a flawed man.

And we are all flawed!

By the saving grace of Jesus Christ 
we don't get what we deserve every day.

Doesn't this coach need a little grace too?

Monte thought so.
(I am getting there.)

Now Monte did say if this coach pursues a further reason for Ellie's quitting, he will address it.

But he is going to wait for an invitation.

Do you ever step back and thank God

For not getting your own way?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Challenge

I know, I KNOW! 

You might be saying, ANOTHER challenge?!

Like the 31 Days of Story Telling back in October.

And the Tuesdays Unwrapped in December.

And the whole One Word for the new year year thing.

There is a good chance you might be getting just sick to death of me doing them.

But I need accountability.

Dare I say, a schedule.

I am such a creature of habit.



When I saw this challenge on a blog I follow (Migonis Home) this morning, I felt inspired.

You see, my youngest is doing a presentation today on Sir Walter Raleigh.
(The explorer--I knew I recognized the name but I was like, "Who was he again?")

Ellie gets to dress up like Sir Walter Raleigh. I thought of the Captain's Hook hat I wore several years ago for Halloween and felt it would be PERFECT for Ol' Walt's outfit.

I looked in the Halloween boxes in the garage.

In toy boxes. 
(Seriously, WHY do we have toy boxes still?! 
And why were there Legos in the toy box? 
My girls NEVER played with Legos!)

Then I went into the dreaded attic closet in McDaniel's room.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I am lucky I wasn't killed.

Literally stuffed from floor to ceiling with all the things that McDaniel didn't know what to do with every time we told her to clean her room.

I found a LOVELY dress winter coat that Ellie could be wearing.

It literally fell at my feet.

What a disaster!!!

I never did find that Captain Hook hat.

So this challenge has hit me

at the right time 

with the right motivation 

for the right spaces I need to purge.

I know, I know. 

365 items GONE from my house. 
It sounds like a million. 

But if you saw that attic closet, you would realize that there are about 13 trillion items crammed in there!

Now, I know that there will be a GREAT temptation to clean that closet and say,

"Hey! I'm done for the year! 
That was just like 13 trillion items purged from my house. 
Challenge accomplished!"

But would it be? Really??

No, I want to stay true to the challenge and make this an everyday deal. Even if it is throwing something out of the fridge before I put something new in.

I am SO counting that! Don't tell me that doesn't count!!

Now, if you read today's full post on Migonis Home, she recommends coming up with a plan of how you will accomplish this challenge.

And wouldn't you know the devotion I did this morning was about making an intentional plan to accomplish our goals as well?


just a shot in the dark here, 

but I think I am supposed to do this with some sort of plan.

Which I don't have.


So, going back to that other challenge I took on

(I am starting to sound a wee bit crazy) 

of the one word for the year

mine being LINK,

I want to LINK up with you all so we can HELP each other do this 365 Project.
(Don't you like how I am totally assuming you all are completely on board on doing this challenge with me?)

I want to know how YOU plan to do this so I can figure out how I can do it too.

So what do you say??

Say yes.
Say yes.
Say yes.

Plan for today:  get rid of the Legos!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Falling Down

Falls are funny to me.

I know. 

I am simple.

I splash around in the shallow end of the pool

too much sometimes. 

My husband fell on some black ice in the parking lot of his office yesterday morning.

He is fine.

He called to tell me he fell.

I like to think it is because he knew I would get so much delight from the story.

But I think he did it more to say, 

"Hey! I fell. And it hurt."
(You know how guys can be)

He said he noticed the patch of ice.

So he adjusted his step appropriately.

Then he fell quickly 

and in such a way that he isn't sure exactly what happened.
(Even though I keep pestering him to remember and reenact.)

All he knows is that he at one moment was taking careful steps on an ice patch and then 

there may have been sky

and then there was most definitely pavement

and then he was on all fours.

Like baby Bambi on the icy pond sliding around. 
Well, that's how I see it in my head, anyway.

His glasses were a decent distance away from him.

Monte did a quick body assessment to see what still worked.

He found his hands were scratched up and knuckles bleeding. 

His pants were wet. 
(Oh. My.)

His neck was stiff.

His knees hurt.

His back was jarred. 

Of course I had to ask if anyone saw it.

He didn't think so.

Can you imagine the front desk receptionist seeing him 

limping in 
with wet pants, 
bloody knuckles 
and his glasses all askew?

Did she ask,

"What's with you?"

or leave it at

"Good morning!"

These are the kinds of details Monte could not remember.
He was too busy limping to his office so he could call me to tell me,

"Hey! I fell. And it hurt."

Monte has a history of falling down. 

But let me start by saying he is FREAKISHLY limber.

He can do the FULL lotus position no problem. 
Think criss cross applesauce with BOTH ankles on top of your thighs.
I actually find him sitting on the
floor watching football in
this position all the time.
Especially if the game is close.

The man could be the greatest yogi but he is NEVER willing to do yoga with me.

But we aren't talking about yoga, we are talking about falling.

Several years ago, Monte was on a ladder hanging Christmas lights on our house. 

It was dark.

I heard a yelp 

caught glimpse of a dark mass fall past the window

bounce off the bushes

and land on his feet facing the window

like he planned to do that all along.

If that were a gymnastics meet, I would've held up 
at least a 9 on my judge card.
At least.

But it was not always that way.

One time he cruised out the kitchen door for work one early morning like it wasn't 2 degrees and the world wasn't frozen solid.
(He grew up in Florida.)

I saw the tail end of his dress coat fly up past the door window. 

It took a few seconds for it to register that something was

not right about that.

I found Monte on all fours (hmmm…baby Bambi again)

with his head in his hands

and a grimace on his face.

I very intelligently asked,

"Did you fall?"

I can't remember what he said next.


Monday, January 07, 2013

One Word

I have been noticing that many bloggers are picking one word for 2013 to

strive for, 
hold them accountable 
or just flat out 
use as an anthem for the new year.



There is even an entire web site dedicated to this one word idea.

I poo-pooed this idea of one word last year. 
(Remember? I am the one with no smart phone. Not an early adapter.)

Which made me pause when I saw it pop up again this year. 

I am not so much for hopping on the trend wagon. 
I like to see things tested and tried out.
By someone else.

I have nothing painted in ombre in my house. 
(Google it. Or better yet--Pinterest it. All the rage in painting. And hair coloring as it turns out.)

I have no chevron in my house. 
(Although I did try to paint my own on fabric for a pillow cover. Looked like Charlie Brown's shirt.)

I have nothing against either of those things. 

Well, except for maybe ombre. 

I don't get it. 
Painting something in slightly different tones of the same color? 
Isn't that the paint chip shelf of Lowe's or Sherwin Williams? 

But for the sake of stepping outside of my normal safety zone, 
I am going to give this whole one word thing a shot.

Before I could give it much thought, the word LINK came to mind.

So I prayed about it.

And the word just wouldn't go away.

A new friend emailed me an invitation to a bible study that a longtime friend has invited me to numerous times 

that I poo-pooed each time--
see how I roll in new situations?

You see, I was already in a bible study that I loved

and was comfortable with
and loved all the people.

Why would I go to another bible study??

Both girlfriends (unbeknownst to the other) described this study with words I would use to describe this one word that was now screaming in my head:  


Words like:




I am not the brightest bulb in the house, but I think God wants my word to be LINK.

And I think He wants me to give this new bible study a try.

I have this image in my head of women's arms being linked. 
Ok, they weren't cowgirls in my head, but how cute are they?

I feel as if I am not supposed to know 

this LINK is all about 
as it is revealed. 

I have a whole year, for crying out loud.

I will keep you posted. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

How I Know It Is Time For School To Start Again

We have had a GREAT two weeks off
from school,
 and the CHAOS that is otherwise known as 

But all things must come to an end.

And this is how I knew it was time.

I found this in the bathroom:

What is in my deodorant?


I took off the cap to investigate.

It is a big ol' sparkly sequined…sparkly thing.

Embedded into my deodorant.

Without question, this has Ellie written all over it.

This would not have felt nice in my armpit.

When I asked Ellie to explain the big ol' sparkly sequined…sparkly thing embedded into my deodorant, she gave me a long-winded scattered tale in one breath the equivalent of a Family Circus cartoon.

You know, the kind from the Sunday comics.

I have no idea where this girl gets her rabbit trail tendencies.


But if you are bored enough that you take a big ol' sparkly sequined…sparkly thing and embed it into your mother's deodorant,


The End.

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