Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Yes, I'm Still Here...For Now

I have been chided for not keeping my blog updated (you know who you are). I find it a little amusing that during the time of year when I typically have nothing going on, I can't seem to keep up with anything.

Summer is my lazy time of year (well, lazier than usual :) ). We don't plan any vacations, we don't get away. We just went on our first camping trip of the season last weekend and summer is almost over. I feel like summer is my time to hibernate.

If that's true and I have been in hibernation mode, I can feel spring creeping up on me. Fall is just around the corner which means I will soon have no time for sleeping or relaxing or spending an afternoon catching up on Facebook. My beloved stories that I'm writing will be pushed to the side and my unread novels will just have to stay that way. There are far too many things calling for my time.

It 's almost time to start school up again. Along with homeschooling the 3 kids comes co-op. This semester I will be teaching two classes as well as accompanying Logan to two classes. It's only one day a week but it's amazing how much energy it saps from you.

I also have my usual slate of craft shows. During this season, craft shows are our livelihood. After the kids are in bed, I retreat to my cave and work, typically until midnight or 1am. Everything we sell is handmade and I have to make sure I have enough stock to last to December. Whenever I can, I also slip in a few hours during the day. Most of the time I enjoy it, but again, no sleep.

This year has an added bonus. My husband and I are in charge of our church's missions auction and dinner. It's a very big task but we feel so strongly about it that we couldn't NOT do it. It happens to fall at the end of October. The time of year when I am usually in my cave anytime that hubby is home and can take care of the kids.

Those that know me know I won't be seen for the month of November and only sporadically before and after. I always laugh when December comes and everyone else starts to feel the pressure and stress while I am grateful for the downtime.

I will do my best to keep up with my blog now that summer is coming to an end. And my movie blog as well since I have a whole page list of movies that I want to discuss. But just keep in mind that if I haven't written for awhile, it probably meant that I chose sleep over blogging!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have a garden. I know it's hard to believe but I do. And it's actually producing edible food. If you know me at all, you know this is an amazing accomplishment. I'm great at growing houseplants but outdoor plants? Not so much. It probably wouldn't be so bad if I actually liked to be outside or if I enjoyed playing in the dirt but I really don't like either one.

So why start a garden? That's a very good question. Like everything else, I blame it on my mother. When I was young, my mom had a garden out back. She grew peas, zucchini, tomatoes and lots of other things that I don't eat. I can remember going out to the garden and picking tomatoes off the vine and eating them. I remember opening up the pea pods and popping those little green balls out and eating them right there. I've always told myself that I was going to have a garden like my mom did.

Now, I'm not a complete idiot. I knew that I needed to wait until I had the time (and yard) to devote to this garden. My house has the perfect spot and for the last 3 years, our friend and renter grew lots of things in it while I watched, shaking my head as she watered and weeded at 6 in the morning. She loved to be in her garden. I was content to watch her through the window.

This spring however, she wasn't here to plant her garden. I got the brilliant idea that I should keep it going. I spent days clearing out the space. Weeding, tilling, preparing the soil. My mom went shopping with me for seeds and starters and stakes and tools and gloves. Almost $200 and a few weeks later and my garden was planted. It looked perfect. For about a day.

What I didn't realize was that my friend didn't spend every spare minute in her garden purely for pleasure. It takes every spare minute just to keep up with all the weeds. Not to mention battling slugs and crows. I'm fighting a losing battle against all the critters that have found my strawberries so appealing. And it's not enough just to turn on the sprinkler and water every day. Some days it needs more water than that. And watering the plants also makes the weeds grow so I have to spend more time digging those out.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against a little hard work. I just really don't enjoy working the dirt...with all the bugs. I've come to the conclusion that my kind of gardening is best suited to flowering shrubs surrounded by beauty bark. You pull a few weeds here and there, do a little pruning and water occasionally. Done. I'm not even against having nothing but grass and then all I have to do is mow.

And I can't say anything tastes better just because I grew it. I'd rather spend the money to buy organic from the grocery store than to have to live on the fruits of my labor. Someone needs to keep those farmers in business.

So far I think the idea of having a garden and growing my own fruits and vegetables is so much better than the reality! But really, isn't that the case with most things?
Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

The Descent

PLOT: A group of thrillseeking girlfriends explore an unknown cave system only to find some really nasty creatures dwelling underground.
STARS: Shauna MacDonald, Natalie Mendoza (both pretty much unknown)
A year after Sarah (MacDonald) loses her husband and child in a car accident, she joins her friends on a cave exploration led by gung-ho Juno (Mendoza). Juno lies to the group, taking them to an unknown cave system as opposed to the mapped out one that they had planned to explore. I'm not generally a fan of horror movies but as soon as I saw a trailer for this one I HAD to see it. It is scary but it's really good. What's great about this movie is it's not until about halfway through the movie that you are even introduced to the creatures living in the caves but you're on the edge of your seat the whole time. There are plenty of surprises that will keep you jumping until then. The only thing I didn't like was the ambiguous ending. I don't need my movies to end with happily ever after but I need closure and this movie did not provide it. It's just a personal preference, not something that takes away from the movie. If you want something that will keep you in suspense, this will work. And my rating for this movie is based on scary movies always being better on the big screen.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

STARS: Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand
PLOT: Kristen Bell is the Sarah Marshall of the title and she dumps Jason Segel for Russell Brand's British pop phenom character. Jason's character then flies to Hawaii in an attempt to forget her but unfortunately, Sarah and her new man have also gone there as well, staying at the same hotel of course. Mila Kunis plays a hotel employee that Jason develops a crush on. I was a little surprised at this movie. It's really funny. I've seen Russell Brand do a few interviews and I was ready to hate his character but he actually ended up being one of my favorite things about the movie. And the nice thing about Sarah Marshall is that eventually you see why she broke up with her boyfriend. She's not just an evil shrew, she just couldn't give any more to a doomed relationship. Yes, Jason Segel is naked during the break up scene and yes, it's more than a little awkward and unnecessary. But he's great as a guy hopelessly addicted to his lost love. Best line of the movie? Jonah Hill's character asks Brand if he's listened to his demo CD yet, and Brand responds, "I was going to, but then I decided to get on with my life." (paraphrasing).
Monday, June 1, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom


It's finished! Five months and hundreds of pages later, my first book is finished. I am so excited, it's hard to sit still. I've read and reread, edited and re-edited and I'm quite pleased with the finished product. I have passed on a copy to a select few to read and give me their opinion so now I just sit and wait...anxiously. My dream would be to have it published. Along with the next books that I have planned (some of which are already being outlined). I've already looked into the publishing process and I have a game plan. But for now, I am just living on the high of having completed my book!
Thursday, May 14, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Latest Twilight News

Okay, if you're a hard core Twilighter than this probably is really old news to you, but for the rest of the world, this is for you. I was stoked to find out that Michael Sheen is set to be a vampire in New Moon. He played a vampire in the Underworld movies and he was one of the best things in the series. He has to be playing one of the Volturi. Aro, to be specific.

If you've never heard of Michael Sheen, let me give you some background on him. If you look him up on IMDB, you'll see a bunch of pics of a somewhat nerdy looking British actor. If this is all you know of him, you'll be at a loss as to why I'm so excited. But look at his resume. He was "Frost" in last year's Frost/Nixon. He played Tony Blair in The Queen. I can't wait to see what he will do with the creepy, sinister leader of the Volturi.
Monday, May 11, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Voices In My Head

My dear friends, let me start by apologizing for abandoning my blog lately. I haven't forgotten all three of you, I've just been a little distracted lately. Nothing major has happened, no crisis to deal with. Life just continues as always, busy but nothing unusual.

The problem is all these voices in my head. They have been consuming my every waking moment and I'm afraid I've been inclined to give in to them.

Let me explain. When CJ went to TX over Christmas, I didn't do much sleeping. I read a new book every day and stayed up all hours in an effort to not have to go to bed alone. During this time, an idea starting forming in my head. If I was to write a book, what would I write about? Characters started to take shape, plots began to form, and I tried to keep up with all of it. I started writing a book. Honestly, it's more like five books.

You see, my characters are a family of five siblings. Each one is given their own book in which to tell their story of finding the love of their life. I would love to be able to say that I'm writing some deep, motivational guide or an educational children's story, but alas, it is merely romantic fluff. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But since they've been created, each character has been competing for space in my head and time at my keyboard. If my brain is not actively involved in my current activity, then it is filled with their voices. They're telling me what they want to do, how they act, what they like and don't like. They're revealing their personalities and shedding light on their individual plots.

Currently, I'm working on my fourth (or fifth) draft of my first novel. It's so close to being complete I can almost taste it. But darn it if life doesn't keep getting in the way. There are children that need to be fed and taught, a house that needs to be cleaned, a garden to be cared for, family, friends, church, chores and errands. Each one can be an unwelcome intrusion to my obsessive mind.

I want nothing more than to finish with this first book because the second one is already writing itself out in my head. I have outlined my story but when I sit down to write, it sometimes takes a different turn. The words flow out of my head faster than I can keep up and I have no choice but to hang on and enjoy the ride, anxious to see how it will turn out. It feels like the book is already written and I'm just struggling to match up the right words.

Even now, as I write this, my characters are yelling at me, demanding to be heard. How dare I spend a few minutes on my blog when that is precious time I could be using to bring them to life. Forget eating, just write. Kids don't really need clean underwear, write instead of doing laundry. Standing in line somewhere? Grab a notepad and write. Sleep is overrated, write instead. When I'm washing dishes, mowing the lawn, working in the garden, walking around the track, taking a shower, driving the car--all of these activities only serve to give free reign to my imagination and the people living there.

So please forgive me for neglecting you. I'm afraid there are others who have been more insistent in commanding my attention.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Saint Easter Fairy

I grew up believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. I can't tell you exactly when I found out the truth about each one but I don't remember being very traumatized. It just seemed like a fun tradition, so when I had my own kids, I kept that tradition going. Recently, I've been second-guessing the wisdom in keeping those traditions alive. Do I really want to have to explain to my children that I've been lying to them all this time?

Doing without these traditions has benefits though. We've had to leave the Tooth Fairy notes on more than one occasion explaining that there was a tooth left but she probably couldn't find it under all the pillows so could she please come back and try it again? We were as polite as possible even though I knew full well that Tooth Fairy just fell asleep on the job!

The belief of Santa Claus brings with it an endless amount of questions that you have to try and come up with an answer for. Questions such as: How do reindeer fly? How can Santa get in when we don't have a chimney? I haven't been good all year, am I going to get coal? Why didn't Santa get me (fill in the blank) from my list? We provide answers for all of these but it's only more lies. And how do you tie Santa into the birth of Jesus?

The Easter Bunny is even harder to explain. We're supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and in order to do that, we put on new, frilly clothes and have a giant bunny come and hide colorful eggs that may or may not be filled with candy and treats. Where was the connection again?

I don't mind giving my kids a quarter or fifty cents when they lose a tooth; it's fun. But why does it have to be the Tooth Fairy that does it? Why can't it be Mom and Dad?

Why couldn't we explain the true story of St. Nicholas and let our kids know that Santa is really the spirit of Christmas? That the point is to look out for others the way that God was looking out for us when He gave us Jesus?

Why can't we have an Easter celebration without a giant rabbit? Couldn't we have an egg hunt and let the kids know that the eggs represent new life, the new life we have with Jesus? Couldn't it be about God instead of bunnies and candy?

The thing about starting my kids on these beliefs is I don't know how to stop them. My kids are 10, 8, and 6 and they all believe 100% in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I've decided to tell them the truth before but I always sabotage myself. Before we went to Grandma's last night to dye eggs, I had decided that when we were done, I would tell the kids the truth about the Easter Bunny. Well, on the way home, a small brown bunny ran across the road. I stopped the car so all the kids could see it. When it finally ran off in a flash of white fluffy tail, I turned to the kids with uncontrolled enthusiasm and said, "Maybe it's the Easter Bunny!" What is wrong with me?! Of course the kids were excited. They thought it was great that they got to see the real Easter Bunny. Corban decided after we got home that maybe it wasn't actually the Easter Bunny, but he knows the real one is out there. So that meant I had to be the Easter Bunny for another year. They found eggs around the house this morning that you-know-who must have hid. It certainly couldn't have been Mommy and Daddy.

So how do I back track and get out of all this without breaking their hearts? I love to watch them light up whenever they think that one of the Trifecta of Holiday Gift-Givers has been to see them. They're so sweet. But it can't last forever. Sometimes I feel bad that I've let it go on this long, much less started it altogether. Because, really, Santa and the Easter Bunny and Miss Fairy have nothing to do with their respective holidays. They are NOT what my kids should be focused on. The question is, do I tell them now or do I let them find out on their own?
Friday, April 10, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

To Sassy, From God

God is so good. Last night, Sassy and I were heading to a baby shower. We were driving and listening to the Christian music station when her favorite song came on, "Here I am to Worship." She sang along quite enthusiastically and I soaked up every second of it. When the song was over, she asked if I thought "Our God is an Awesome God" was going to come on. It comes on occasionally but the odds of it coming on before we got to the church building were slim so I just answered a generic, "I don't know." Another song came on and her question was forgotten. But when that song was over, just as we were exiting the freeway, "Our God is an Awesome God" began to play. We were very excited and I told Sassy that God was playing it just for her. But that wasn't all He had in store. We noticed a rainbow in the sky as the song was playing. It's probably been years since we've seen one. But here we were, listening to her song and looking at this beautiful sign from God. As we pulled into the parking lot, the song ended and the rainbow was blocked from sight, but I made sure she knew that she'd just been given a very special gift from God. I'm so thankful that He made Himself known to her in that way. God is so very good.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

A Good OCD Day

I was walking through Walmart the other day, looking at all the Easter goodies when I saw it. It was as if someone read my mind and put up a display just for me. Just looking at it made me happy. They had arranged all the Easter candy by color. One whole section of the aisle was just for the yellow candy. Yellow peeps, yellow M&Ms, yellow suckers, yellow cookies. And then there was pink, green, orange, blue. Each little section was color coordinated. It was a dream come true. You laugh, but looking at it made it seem that everything was right in the world somehow. Why can't everything be arranged like this?

I love walking through fabric stores and seeing the bolts of calico lined up by their colors. I love passing the aisles of scrapbooking paper or ribbon or anything else that is arranged this way. Even swatches make me smile.

I love to see things organized and in their place. Of course, you wouldn't know it by looking at my house. I love to organize, not clean and yes, there is a difference. My favorite articles in my scrapbooking magazine are the ones that show other crafter's workrooms. I finally got a room like that of my own. I can sit and look at everything for hours. I think I'd rather sit and look at the nice organization than actually make anything in there.

The other day I went to my mom's and organized her pantry and finished putting her office together. It was a good day. I like it when everything has its place. In my house, most everything has a place, it just isn't always in it. And I'm okay with that sometimes. As long as I know that it has a place to go whenever I get around to cleaning.

My kids get frustrated because I'm always moving things around. But I can't help it if I think of a more efficient way to store something. That's just the nature of the beast. And while I am not actually OCD, those tendencies are quite obvious in many members of my family. The worst thing for my kids is they are just like me. Well, the boys are anyway. Poor things!

My husband surprised me with a great gift one day. He brought home a catalog for kitchen remodeling. It had all those great organizing things like drawer pull outs and pantry dividers and baskets and shelving. He's so good to me. And you know I love it when the IKEA catalog comes in the mail. Forget the furniture, I want to look at the space savers and bookshelves.

I would rather organize my scrapbook stuff than make a scrapbook, and I love to scrapbook. I need to make a career out of this but I'm not sure how. I've actually looked at the professional organization companies but I'd rather work for myself. Wouldn't it be great, though, to actually make money doing something you loved? What a concept.

Thursday, April 2, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

PLOT: It's sort of a spoof of Walk the Line. It's the rise and fall of a singer throughout his career.
STARS: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows
This movie follows the same basic plotline as Walk the Line but it's completely irreverent and inappropriate. There are a few good moments here and there but the best thing about the movie is the songs. The filmmakers have crafted completely original songs for this movie. The styles range from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to disco. They're great. Skip the movie and check out the soundtrack instead. (**)

Made of Honor

PLOT: A single guy's best friend runs off to Europe and comes back engaged. He agrees to be her maid of honor even though he's just realized he's in love with her.
STARS: Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan
This is basically My Best Friend's Wedding all over again. But this one is much nicer and more fun. Time is actually spent setting these two up as best friends who are very much a part of each other's lives. So when Patrick Dempsey realizes he loves Michelle Monoghan, you believe it. They all head off to Europe for the wedding, with Patrick coached by his friends in how to steal the bride. Humiliation ensues, as expected, with the requisite happy ending. I liked this one better than a lot of the other chick flicks that have been coming out lately. I think Patrick Dempsey is smart to be picking movies like this and Enchanted. That's where his bread and butter is. (Does anyone else remember Can't Buy Me Love?) This movie is fun and sweet. (****)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

PLOT: The true story of how one of Jesse James' own gang members assassinated him.
STARS: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell
I have heard so much about this movie, I was expecting to be blown away. I really wasn't. Affleck is Ford, he joins the James gang having idolized Jesse his whole life. He's let down though and plots a way to take him down. That part is easy to understand. I got lost in another part of the plot where Jesse is trying to track down certain members of his gang. Who was he tracking again? Who is secretly plotting with whom? And who is who exactly? It got a little confusing for me.
However, I am going to recommend this to anyone who is a Brad Pitt or Casey Affleck fan or if you're just a student of acting studies. These two are amazing. As Jesse James, Brad Pitt goes from confidence to suspicion to depression to resignation. Sometimes all in one scene and with few words. He can see the end is coming and yet he's powerless to stop it.
And Casey Affleck. He's not just the tag along little brother of Ben Affleck. If you've only seen him in Good Will Hunting or any other side kick role, you are missing out. This came out the same year that Gone Baby Gone came out (another great movie). He's so good. His Robert Ford has spent his whole life almost worshipping Jesse James. He doesn't just want to be like him, he wants to be him. But reality never holds up to our illusions. You can see the exact moment that Robert becomes disenchanted with Jesse. Robert is a man who longs for grander things and sometimes fools himself into thinking he's got it but ends up worse off than he ever expected. These two are the only reason to see the movie but they are worth watching. (***)

30 Days of Night

PLOT: A small town in Alaska is attacked by a band of vampires during their 30 days of no sun.
STARS: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George
Again, it's a vampire movie...had to see it. I don't sit through too many horror movies. I'm not a big fan of being scared. This one had me on edge until pretty much the last 15 or 20 minutes. That's when I had a few problems with plot points and believability.
Now, the vampires in the movies are not of the Twilight type. There is a reason this is rated R. They have mouths full of the nastiest fangs I've seen on a vampire. They've been dormant for years and are now coming out to...take over the world? Have a snack? Not exactly sure why they were coming out at this particular point in time. But they decimate this little town. There is a small band of survivors that keeps moving closer to a big utility plant just outside of town where they think they will be safe. No surprise, they don't all make it.
At the risk of being thought completely deranged and psychotic, I have to tell you my favorite scene of the movie. It's an overhead shot of the vampires attacking the town. What you see is people running everywhere. It's hard to distinguish between the vampires and the townsfolk because it's dark and it's total chaos. But everywhere you look, there are huge puddles of dark red blood on the white snow. It's a massacre. I'm not much for gore, but I loved the way this scene was filmed. It was a great shot.
I'm giving this movies 4 stars. Scary movies are always better seen on the big screen.

My Rating System

I've decided to give my movie reviews a rating. I at least like most movies but I wouldn't necessarily want to watch them over and over again. So here's the system I've come up with. Since there is no key with a "star" on it, I will use the asterick for my star.

1 star (*) will be for movies that are not worth your time. They are a waste of studio money and you will wish you had that hour and a half of your life back.

2 stars (**) will be for movies that I would only sit through if it happened to be on TV when there was nothing else on.

3 stars (***) are for movies that I would check out from the library or watch from Netflix. I might have been entertained but I didn't put in too much effort or money.

4 stars (****) are movies that I would go to see at the discount theater or maybe even pay matinee prices to watch. It's worth the trouble of finding a babysitter and even paying for tickets.

5 stars (*****) are movies that I would pay the full, $9.50 movie price to see. (That's saying a lot because I'm cheap, uh...I mean, frugal!)

Underworld; Underworld, Evolution; Underworld, Rise of the Lycans

PLOT: Vampires are in a war against lycan (werewolves). The story is told from the perspective of one of the vampires.
STARS: Kate Beckinsale, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Scott Speedman
I had to see these movies because, hello? they're about vampires. Plus, any movie that has a girl kicking serious butt gets a thumbs up in my book. Kate Beckinsale is great as a death dealer vamp. She doesn't look like the heroine of Pearl Harbor or Serendipity in this movie. There is a story line about her falling in love with a vamp/lycan hybrid but it doesn't rally dominate the movie. There are definitely inconsistencies here. The lycans are portrayed as so fierce and viscious it's hard to believe they haven't wiped out all the vampires. And the third movie brings back a character named Sonia who was only quickly referred to in the first. But when they showed her in the first, she was blonde and then she was brunette in the third. I know it's a small thing but really, how hard is it to go back and look at the first DVD and see that you need to cast a blonde? I loved the whole history and backstory for these movies. People who you think are good, aren't. Those who seem evil may not be. But I have to say my favorite thing about this movie was discovering Bill Nighy. I've heard his name hear and there but never really saw him in anything. Actually, I have and you probably have, too. He plays Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You know, the guy with all the tentacles on his face? Yeah, that's the guy. Can't say his acting really caught my eye in those movies. But I feel like I stumbled upon a hidden gem in this movie. Whenever he was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes off him. And not in the same way that I can't take my eyes off Colin Farrell or Russell Crowe. No, I just loved watching him act. He has an accent that seems to float between east coast upper class and pompous British. I'm currently looking through his movie archives to see what I can add to my playlist. But even without Bill Nighy, these are good movies. If you have any interest in vampires or that type of lore, I definitely recommend all three of these.

Adventures in Autism: Peete vs. Peet

Adventures in Autism: Peete vs. Peet

World Autism Day

Today is World Autism Day. In honor of this day and of my Bubba who was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism at the age of 23 months, I wanted to share some stats about Autism. If your life has not been touched directly by Autism, you probably know someone who has. Please take a moment to read over this. Feel free to share it with anyone who may benefit.

Autism is a neurobiological disorder for which there is no known cause, prevention or cure.

1 in 150 people are diagnosed with Autism. It affects more people than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

It occurs 4 times more often in boys than in girls.

Autism impairs the ability to communicate and relate to others.

It typically results in rigid routines and behaviors and can range from mild to quite severe (to the point of a person being "locked" inside themselves without the ability to communicate or even "notice" others).

Some children are this way from birth while others seem to have just "lost" skills and regressed (as was the case with Logan).

Parents are usually the first ones to detect anything is wrong while many pediatricians take a "let's wait and see" approach. As a result, many of us parents find ourselves having to educate our pediatricians in the latest research and therapies.

Early intervention is absolutely critical.

Intervention and therapy can include physical, occupational, and speech therapy; biomedical intervention; special diets; social training. All of these are expensive (speech therapy is around $200/hr) and most are not covered by insurance.

Every child has different symptoms and responds to different therapies. There is no one way or standard for treating this.

Raising a child with Autism is hard, very hard. It's a lifetime job. It's lonely, frustrating, maddening, sad, surprising, depressing, rewarding, draining.

Autistic children look "normal" and so if they act up in public, people assume that you just have a bratty child and should be disciplining better. Many are even quick to let you know what they think about your parenting.

Many couples with an Autistic child end up divorced.

Many pediatricians don't keep up with the latest information that comes up about Autism because it's all anecdotal. Meaning, there isn't concrete medical research to back it up. How can there be? Every child has different traits and responds to different things. There is no way to do any conclusive studies when that's the case. And the funding is definitely not there. And so moms of Autism are experts on the subject. We've read all the books, studied the research, tried every option. You have a question about Autism? Find a mom of Autism, not a doctor.

I feel especially lucky in that Bubba responded so well, so quickly to intervention but he will always have his "issues" and life wasn't always this easy. He lost speech around 13-14 months and didn't speak again until he was 4. CJ and I didn't go out together once in 3 years. For 3 or 4 years, I HATED going to church. It was just a battle of how long we could make it before Bubba was just too unmanageable and we would have to leave.

It's hard to call on even family and friends to help. If you're not even sure how to deal with your own child, how can you ask someone else to? Honestly, it's even hard to keep loving your own child when he's been biting you, screaming at you for hours, trying to claw your eyes out or even choking you, and all this during a time when you never hear him say mommy or daddy and definitely not I love you. Maybe he never will? How can you ask someone else to give him the same kind of unconditional love? It's not realistic. And so as moms, we are typically isolated and alone. No matter how many fits someone may have witnessed my son throw, they have never seen him at his worst. I'm not even sure if Dad (in my case at least since I'm the stay at home parent) has seen the depths that I have.

If it's possible to have a "typical" case of Autism, Bubba is not it. Most kids deal with more issues than he does. If you know Logan, he seems like a "normal" kid nowadays. This should not be your picture of Autism. Autism is not just having a quirky kid. If you know someone who has an Autistic child, just stop and give them a hug. It's nice to have physical contact that doesn't come from having to restrain or redirect a speeding freight train of energy and determination.

I know this is long, but if you read this, parents of Autistic children will thank you for taking the time to try to understand it better. God bless your day!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom


Howdy learned about Lent in his Sunday bible class and decided that he should give up desserts for Lent. I was very impressed that he would choose this voluntarily especially since it hadn't even crossed my mind to observe Lent. It hasn't been easy for him. He's used to having dessert every day (a habit that I am more than happy to see being put on hold). After about Day 3 he was having second thoughts. He said, "I think I picked the wrong thing." When that means he's given up precisely the right thing.

In a show of support for his struggle, I decided to give up something as well. I have given up reading novels for Lent. This, of course, means that I am not reading my usual 5 or 6 vampire books each week. It hasn't been too difficult until these last few days. It helps that I haven't had any new books around to read but still I'm going stir crazy without my books. I took the kids to the library today and I thought that I would just look at the paperbacks so that I could see what I've been missing. They didn't have a single book that I would have checked out. I think that's supposed to be a good thing.

I've never observed Lent before and I know I'm not doing it properly now. The idea isn't just that you give up something important. I believe you're also supposed to pair that with setting your mind on God now that you've removed this desire that is usually in the way. To be honest, I don't think it's actually considered observing Lent if it's not done with the right mindset. What I'm doing is really only moral support for my son. I'm not teaching him any valuable lessons here, just that he can live without sugar longer than he thought.

I have close friends who go through Lent with it's full meaning close to heart. As I think about what it means to replace those "priorities" in your life with thoughts and focus on God, I am convicted that I need to do this more on a daily, hour to hour basis, as opposed to a yearly, dictated event. I am aware of God's presence in my life. It's His will that opens my eyelids in the mornings, not my own. But that's not enough. That's like saying, "I'm aware that I have children but I'll get to them when it's convenient." If my children had to wait to be taken care of until I got around to it or when I was "in the mood", they would have starved to death years ago!

I spend almost every waking minute immersed in my childrens' lives. I can tell you what they will ask for at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can flip through the TV and tell you which kid will want to watch which shows. I could even tell you what they would say in their bedtime prayers most nights. I know what they like and what they don't and I try to give them what they like. I can tell you who's tackling whom just by the muffled voices drifting down from their bedrooms. I am not just "aware" of them, I live and breathe them. My children, children who were given to me by God and ultimately belong to Him alone.

Our call is to be completely immersed in God, to live Him, breathe Him. We need to know where He is in our lives even when it seems like His voice is muffled. It's not enough to know of Him, I should be intimately involved with Him, His word, His teaching.

But still, I find a complete sacrifice of spirit and will to be much more difficult than any physical sacrifice. Nothing I give up will compare to giving up my own selfish wants and desires and replacing them with His words and deeds. I'm not sure I can do that completely in 40 days.
Thursday, March 19, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

The Wedding Date

PLOT: A woman hires an escort to be her date at her sister's wedding, where the best man is her ex-fiance.
STARS: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney
There is nothing surprising in this cute little rom-com. It's very predictable. Debra Messing is cute as the single sister with issues. Holland Taylor plays the mother (as she does in almost every movie she's in). I just love her. I love romantic movies so I can handle the predictability. What bothers me is Dermot Mulroney. Yes, he has a great voice and yes, he's good looking. But where did anyone get the idea that he would make a great romantic lead? He was horrible in My Best Friend's Wedding and only marginally better in this. Who do I want for a romantic lead? How about Mark Ruffalo, Matthew McConaghey, Aidan Quinn, or (oooh) Clive Owen. If these guys are the steak of romantic movies, Dermot Mulroney is a hamburger. Yeah, it's good, but there's no comparison. And I'll buy into the love at first sight concept in movies but we're really not shown any reason why they would fall in love with each other. (Side note: that's why I don't like Two Weeks Notice. Fun movie, terrible romance story. These two would never fall in love.) So if you're a hard core rom-com addict like I am, it's a fun little (and I do mean little--only 79 minutes) movie. Enjoy.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom


PLOT: A TV superhero dog thinks he really has powers and has to face reality when he runs off to save his person.
STARS: the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus
I saw this with my kids and my nephew last night and I thought it was so funny! I laughed throughout the whole movie. I'm a little leary of any animated movie that isn't from Pixar, even Disney movies. I hate how so many of these "kids" movies aim their humor for adults. It's so inappropriate. I don't want to take my kids to a movie only to have to spend an hour explaining all the things they heard from the movie that they'd better not repeat. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Once I found out that John Lasseter was the executive producer it made sense. He is the head honcho at Pixar, which is owned by Disney. He is very careful to make movies that you could take small children to. He's very family oriented. It shows. We all had a good time and enjoyed the movie. There wasn't any bathroom humor and the only word I had a problem with was "moron". John Travolta was perfectly cast as Bolt. He was so sweet. (Maybe he should stick to animated movies instead of the hammy, overacted roles he's been taking.)All the sidekicks were great, too. My favorite part of the evening happened during a scene where Bolt is getting a pep talk from a hamster. Logan (my middle child) turned to me in an excited voice and said, "You have to believe in yourself! That's what the movie's about! You have to believe in yourself!" He then proceeded to shout it down the aisle to the rest of our crew. Love that kid. So go see Bolt, it has a great message.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

The Usual Suspects, Etc.

I watched The Usual Suspects recently. Yes, I know it's been out for years but I hadn't seen it yet. I thought it was pretty good. Kevin Spacey does more than his fair share of scenery chewing but I still enjoyed it. Here's the thing. I knew the twist at the end before going in. No one told me what it was, but I've done enough reading about movies to have figured it out on my own. That happens. It was the same thing with The Sixth Sense. I read several articles about the movie ahead of time that kind of pointed out the big plot secret. It never bothers me to see a movie knowing how it ends, it doesn't spoil it for me. What's fun for me is to watch a movie, knowing how it will end, with someone who doesn't. Obviously, when I know, I see the little clues sprinkled throughout the movie that usually you have to go back and catch during a second viewing. It's fun to see how everything leads up to a climax that (in theory) you didn't see coming.

I have to admit, I'm the same way with books. After I've read the first few chapters and am invested in the characters, I jump ahead and read the last chapter. I'm not exactly sure why I do it, but I can't help it. I have to know who's still with me in the end.

I'm curious. Have you ever watched a movie knowing how it ended and wished you hadn't known?


Want a really fun way to spend an evening? Gather a bunch of your friends together, huddle around a computer, and pull up all the old MTV videos you used to watch when you were growing up. It's great! We just did this on Sunday night with some friends of ours. We had so much fun. It's amazing how it takes you back. We all sang along at the top of our lungs, even when we didn't remember all the words.

The best part was listening to all the kids saying things like, "Why are they dressed so funny?" "He has weird hair." Ahhh, the good old days!!
Monday, March 9, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom


Overwhelmed. There's no better word to describe what I'm feeling right now. I've been a little stressed lately. Imagine that. Actually, it doesn't happen quite as frequently anymore. But it's been weighing on me lately. That's why I've been reading 6-7 books a week and getting nothing done. It all came to a head Sunday and I dumped it all on my husband as usual.

I suffer from the same guilt that I'm sure all parents experience. You know that feeling of never doing enough for your children? There's always more that could be done, should be done. It's just a fact of life. But the problem with me is, I truly am not doing enough. I'm not just being hard on myself. I'm not teaching the kids everything they're supposed to be learning in school. I haven't been studying the bible with them or reading them verses or stories. They don't know how to bathe themselves or ride bikes or other things that independent kids their age know how to do. They are not playing sports or taking lessons. (Well, they take piano lessons but I never remember to have them practice.)

I love that I have been entrusted to love and care for and guide my three children. But when I think about all that entails I'm overwhelmed. It's my job to make sure they hear about God and know the bible, I have to teach them respect and decency and manners. I have to make sure they know how to care for themselves and the world around them. It's my job to teach them games, read with them, show them how to pursue their interests and make friends. And that doesn't include all the 13 state required homeschool subjects or the quirks of Austism that I have to help them deal with. In some respects, I can see why so many kids grow up with no values and no sense of respect or responsibility. It's so much easier to stick them in front of the TV or video games. It's a lot harder to be a constant presence and really know what's being planted in their minds, not to mention trying to combat it all.

The truth is, I'm lazy. I know, no surprise there. But I know my kids, I know how they learn best and what they need. They do best when our day is run by the clock. They have to have specific deadlines or nothing will ever get done. Most children do better with structure but I think mine take it a little deeper. The problem is, I hate it. I resent having to plan out every minute of every day. I hate living by the clock. I would much rather just have a general idea of what the day should look like and hope that it comes close to that. I like to stay up until midnight or 1am and sleep in until 9am. I prefer to eat when I'm hungry and run off to do errands whenever I get around to it. But this is not the way my kids function. I have to have our routine posted up where they can see it. They need to know what to expect. And they don't do well with unstructured time. Of course they get it every day, but it usually culminates in wrestling, fighting and crying, in that order.

It's hard knowing that the best thing for my kids is completely contrary to the way I would prefer to live and my natural tendencies. I am not a great housekeeper. I wouldn't even consider myself a good one. But how can I expect my kids to get themselves dressed when they don't have clean clothes in their dressers? How can I expect them to try new foods and get over their food issues when I don't cook a healthy dinner introducing new foods? How can I expect them to get in the habit of cleaning up after themselves when they're used to living among the clutter? I want them to show respect but I've never explained why or taught them on a consistent, day-to-day basis. It's not ingrained into them so of course it doesn't come naturally.

I love my children and I am so grateful that I get to be home with them. I want a whole house full, busting at the seams. But I can't even run this one smoothly with only three. I think this is a challenge that God is presenting to me. This life isn't about me and what I want. My task, my most important job at this period in my life is to nurture and mold these children. I am to provide a warm, safe, stable home for them to grow up in. I am to be the example of the kind of life God wants them to live. What kind of example am I? Am I the kind of person who starts each day thanking God for all that He's given me? Or do I start each day grumbling about all that I've been given to do? If I truly believe that God has given me these children, that I have been honored with the task of raising them, I need my life to reflect that. I need to be doing what I can to be that example for them. I am their guide in this part of their lives. I should be preparing them and directing them on the right path. Whether or not they choose to take that path is up to them. But I need to make sure they are equipped to deal with their choice.

Please help me to remember that it all comes down to you. You are the most important thing that I am supposed to be teaching my children. So often I get bogged down in the details and forget the bigger picture. I pray that I can always keep in mind that I am to be preparing them for life with you, not just life in this world. I pray that I will be an example to them of what it means to live for you and not for myself. Help me to have patience, wisdom, and plenty of rest. You are so good. I pray that I will keep my focus on that and not on the things that overwhelm me. I thank you for all your love and blessings. Amen.

27 Dresses

PLOT: A woman has been a bridesmaid 27 times all the while dreaming of her own wedding, hopefully to her boss that she is secretly in love with.
STARS: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Ed Burns, Malin Ackerman, Judy Greer
Katherine is Jane, the self-sacrificing bridesmaid. She does everything for the bride. She says that she has a lot of close friends, but really, she's just addicted to weddings and taking care of everyone. Her sister comes to town and falls for Jane's boss and they get engaged. This, of course, means Jane has to (help) plan the wedding. James Marsden is a reporter doing an article on the perpetual bridemaid unbeknowst to her (ala The Runaway Bride). She's always so concerned with other people's happiness that she never gives a thought to her own. It's fun seeing her model all of her bridesmaid dresses, some of them are really out there. And you can never go wrong with Judy Greer. She's hysterical. It's a cute movie. It's a very reliable, predictable chick flick. But those are some of my favorites.

Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

PLOT: A successful, well-to-do talk show host returns home to see his family who do their best to bring him down a notch or two.
STARS: Martin Lawrence, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Earl Jones, Joy Bryant, Nicole Ari Parker, Cedric the Entertainer
Here's the thing, I think Martin Lawrence is hysterical. I have to pass on his comedy though, he's too raunchy. But I love his movies. He cracks me up. In this movie, he heads home to Georgia to see his family. They are not impressed by his lifestyle and they all spend the whole movie treating him like family, meaning they are not nice to him. The whole movie is him trying to figure out who he is and what's really important. Mo'Nique stars as his sister and she's a little over the top. There's a funny scene where she beats him up...that's a real family! Cedric the Entertainer is perfectly cast. He has a great scene with Martin where they go through an obstacle course. It's a culmination of 20 years of resentment and competition and they shove kids out of the way in order to beat the other. It's just plain funny!
Thursday, March 5, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Righteous Kill

PLOT: Someone is going around killing bad guys who've gotten away with their crimes.
STARS: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy
Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino are long time cop partners trying to figure out who's taking the law into his own hands. It's soon determined that it must be a cop and then we have to figure out which one. Someone actually confesses to it early on but it wasn't until later that I realized that he wasn't confessing for himself. There's a twist that if you don't see it coming with the confessional, you'll catch on about 2/3 of the way into it. This is the first movie that DeNiro and Pacino have had any extended screen time together. (Doesn't it seem like they've already done lots of movies together? They haven't.) There's lot of language, not surprising given the cast and subject matter. It keeps you hooked though. I liked seeing Donnie Wahlberg. He needs to walk away from any more talk of a New Kids reunion and stick to acting. That's where his talent lies.

Angela's Ashes

PLOT: A boy grows up in impoverished Ireland. Based on a true story.
STARS: Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, a bunch of different actors that I don't know
As with most movies based on books, the book is SO much better. It's the true story of Frank McCourt who grew up in Depression-era Ireland. The movie is gorgeously dreary but that's the problem--it's too gorgeous. This man's whole life is just one tragedy after another. He grew up in unbelievable poverty, most of the time having nothing to eat but lard and bread. He was sickly looking, not adorably handsome like the boys who play him in the film. You don't get a sense of how hard his life really was, how hard it was just to survive day to day. And you don't realize how much his father shaped his life even though he ends up being absent for a lot of it. Don't bother with the movie but DO read the book.

Fred Claus

PLOT: Santa's estranged brother agrees to help out at the North Pole in exchange for $50,000 to invest in a casino.
STARS: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey
Vince Vaughn is one of those people that you either love or hate. He is the same in every movie so if you like one Vince Vaughn movie, you'll probably like them all. I happen to like him. That being said, this movie was your typical holiday redemption movie. Brothers have always been at odds with each other, major crisis brings them together to save Christmas, all is well in the end. Kevin Spacey is the bad guy threatening to shut down Christmas. And we all know the only reason anyone would ever want to do that is because one year as a child he didn't get want he asked Santa for. Hasn't Santa learned by now that that only serves in creating mean people who hate Santa? Paul Giamatti makes a good Santa, though and Ludacris is a strangely cute elf. Here's my bit of useless movie trivia for you. Paul Giamatti and Kevin Spacey were in The Negotiator together and Vince Vaughn and John Michael Higgins (the head elf) were both in The Break Up. Now you know.

House Bunny

PLOT: A Playboy bunny gets kicked out of the mansion and gets a job as a house mom for a dying sorority.
STARS: Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Colin Hanks
This is kind of a cute movie. Anna Faris is the "bunny" and she's sweet. Well, sweet in a stereotypical dumb blonde kind of way. All the girls of the sorority are social rejects who have to get more pledges or they lose their house. So little miss bunny sexes them up until everyone's pounding on the door to get in. They learn to balance who they really are with the stuff that they learn from bunny and all live happily ever after. The only thing I didn't really like was the guy that Emma Stone (the leader of the sorority) is in love with. He wants nothing to do with her when she's a complete nerd but once she looks great, he's all over her. And she makes sure to act dumb so she won't intimidate him. The whole point is to be who you really are. Not act like an idiot to score some stupid frat guy.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom


PLOT: Two men are hired to bring peace to a western town after a man and his gang murder the sheriff.
STARS: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons
If you like modern westerns, you'll like this movie. I'm not a big fan of Renee Zellweger and her character drove me crazy. She falls in love with Ed Harris but then spends the rest of the movie falling into bed with any man who looks at her sideways. I love the unspoken communication between Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. They really make you believe that they've been together for years. Jeremy Irons can always be counted on to bring the slime and he does it well as always. However, I was a little distracted by his accent. It's hard to do cowboy when you sound like he does. But overall, good movie.


PLOT: A teenage girl is kidnapped while in Europe and her ex-spy dad has to track her down.
STARS: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Jenssen
I actually saw this in the theater! The scene in which she's actually taken is so good. I was gripping my husband's hand the whole time. As with most movies nowadays, credibility is strained in several parts but it keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time. The movie made me a little sad. The girl is sold into the sex trade and you see scenes of what happens to these girls (nothing terribly graphic). Part of me says there's no way anything that horrible could really happen but the truth is that what happens is so much worse. Despite minor plot issues, I enjoyed it.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

PLOT: Indy is recruited by Marion's son to save her and find the legendary crystal skull.
STARS: Harrison Ford, Shia LeBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen
Indiana meets Marion's son who, it turns out, is actually his son. It's a typical Indiana Jones movie. Bad guys want to take over the world, Indiana has to find a lost artifact in order to stop them. It's fun to watch Indiana realize that he has a son. Great casting in Shia LeBeouf, love him. Karen Allen picks up as if she never left the series. I wasn't sure about the whole alien thing but it works. There's always a bit of mythical or otherworldly-ness in these movies so in that sense, it fit. If you liked the other movies, you'll like this one, too.


PLOT: A hitman is shot up with some kind of chemical cocktail that will stop his heart--revenge for someone he took out. He has to keep his adreniline up until he can get his doctor friend to help him.
STARS: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakum(sp?), a bunch of Chinese bad guys
This is kind of a teenage boy movie. It's completely unbelievable; it's just a vehicle for car chases and stunts and shoot outs. But I thought it was fun. It has no redeeming qualities other than it's just fun to watch Jason Statham run around town hyped up on Red Bull, picking fights and getting hit with a defibrillator to keep his heart pumping. Honestly, I've decided that anything with Jason Statham is worth watching. He'll never be nominated for an acting award but he's just so...pretty! Sometimes that's enough for me (well, the accent helps, too.) It really strains credibility through most of it, and especially at the end, but it's a fun ride.

Gone Baby Gone

PLOT: The child of a druggie mom goes missing and the aunt hires a local private investigator to find her.
STARS: Casey Affleck, Amy Ryan, Ed Harris, Bridget Moynahan, Morgan Freeman
I've been dying to see this one since it came out. For several reasons, actually. First, it's Ben Affleck's directorial debut. Second, the whole movie rests on Casey Affleck, the baby faced younger brother and typical tag along to Ben's movie characters. And third, there was so much critical hype when it came out. For once, the hype was well deserved. The movie has so many twists and turns, sometimes it's hard to keep up but it's worth sticking with it. Casey Affleck is so good and his baby face actually plays into the plot of the movie. It asks very difficult questions about what's right and wrong in a very twisted world. Do you do the right thing when it seems so wrong? Would doing something that's wrong be okay if a child's life will forever benefit? Ed Harris co-stars and is great as always. Amy Ryan is the child's mother and she was nominated for and won all kinds of acting awards. It's no surprise to me. She did such a great job I wanted to reach through the TV and smack her upside the head. Watch it and let me know what you think about Casey's character's decision.

American Psycho

PLOT: A Wall Street stockbroker goes around killing people. End of Story.
STARS: Christian Bale
This movie came out quite a few years ago, but with Christian Bale being such a hot topic lately, I thought I had to see it. Don't bother. As the title suggests, he is Psycho, a serial killer actually. It's all very 80s/Gordon Gekko/Wall Street and he does that part well. But it's just too bizarre for me. He's a great actor but he falls into that category of Hollywood actor that would consider himself an Actor, very Method (see The Machinist). I've seen better serial killer movies (Mr. Brooks, for example) and better movies period. He waxes poetic about his CDs and murders people in very odd fashion (is there a normal way to murder people?) and I could just never get into the movie. And really, the whole point of any movie is just to be entertained. This one just didn't do it.
Monday, March 2, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Counting My Blessings

A friend of mine just left the country. He and his family are moving to Belgium. I know, who moves to Belgium, right? But he just retired from the military and got a great job offer. And, honestly, if I had a chance to live in Europe, I'd do it in a heartbeat. His wife and her kids will be joining them at the end of the school year but he had to fly out on Sunday.

Have you ever had any of your friends move away? Most of the time I'm the one who's moving but not always. As soon as I found out they were heading to Europe, I felt like crying. Why is it that I don't take advantage of the people around me until I find out they are leaving? Do you know what I mean? We attend homegroup at their house and she teaches piano to my kids. We see each other and have a great time when we do. But upon learning they were leaving, I was so angry with myself for never having made more of an effort to spend one on one time with them.

These aren't people that are sort of "peripheral" friends. You know, the kind that you say hi to at church but don't really make any effort to get together with. I love to be around them. They are so funny and so much fun to be with. They have a great dynamic. I have a habit of intensely observing other couples and how they interact with each other. I love to watch these two. They have absolute respect for one another and aren't afraid to get completely goofy.

I've felt like some kind of leech or something since their moving announcement. I'm desperate to spend time with them. He just left as I said, but it just makes me that much more insistent to spend time around her and soak her all in. No, I'm not obsessed with these people. I'm not some kind of Kathy Bates/Misery/I'm-your-number-one-fan psycho. But I've learned the hard way that I don't appreciate the people around me until they're gone.

Last year, a couple at church moved to Texas suddenly. Well, sort of suddenly. They'd been trying to move for well over a year but they had to wait for their house to sell. I had plenty of notice that they would be leaving and my husband and I kept telling ourselves that we should spend more time with them before they left. We enjoyed their company and knew we would miss them when they were gone. Weeks went by and then months and finally more than a year. We never did invite them over or do anything with them. It was just talking to them on Sundays or at the occasional church function. When their house sold, they were gone within a week and we had no idea. We never got a chance to tell them how much they would be missed.

Now it's happening again. Such is the way of life when you're an adult. People move, things change. I know this is the best for their family and I'm happy they have such an amazing opportunity. But my selfish side (which is the bigger side of me) wants to keep them here. I will miss their sense of humor and their conversation. I will also miss the two little ones. Her son has the most contagious laugh and her daughter speaks my language. I love them both fiercely.

One good thing is that with the internet, it's easy to keep in touch with everyone. And she will still be here for the next few months. I intend to take advantage of that time as much as possible until she leaves or gets really sick of me, whichever comes first!

Take a bit of advice from me and count your blessings while they are still in front of you. Dont' wait until they're gone.
Monday, February 16, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Chocolate Creme Pie

I'm having chocolate creme pie for lunch. And lots of it. It's just that kind of a day.

I haven't been keeping up with my blog lately because any free time I had to write was spent working on a book I'm writing. It's coming along quite well actually. Yesterday the kids had a friend over and since that kept them all occupied, I was able to work on my book. I spent about 8 hours adding, rearranging, changing, deleting. I made alot of changes that really made a huge difference. It was all off the top of my head. I forced myself to stop around 11pm because it was getting late. I made sure to save my work continually as I went but all disappeared. CJ tried everything he could to find it but with no luck. My hours of hard work and inspiration, which of course I have no back up for, have disappeared into cyberspace. I have a call in to my computer guru but I am not very hopeful.

Where do things go that have been lost on the computer? Are they really, truly lost, vanishing into thin air? Do they float around in cyberspace like so much space garbage? Do they run off and join the Missing Sock Brigade? My book has to be somewhere, right?

I felt sick to my stomach as I crawled into bed last night. It took awhile to get to sleep. I woke up feeling the same way but with the added bonus of a headache.

The nice thing about using the computer is it's so easy to make changes and it's a lot faster. But with writing everything out longhand, I have a hard copy right there. I realized this morning that I had deleted something that I worked out on paper. I was able to dig through the recycling and retrieve it. That one paragraph has been salvaged. If only it was that easy to get back the other 20 pages of revisions.

In times of stress, some people drink, some people smoke. some people turn to drugs or alcohol. I eat. That is my vice. I'm not proud of it. I know it's just as harmful as everything else I mentioned. At the moment, though, it's the only thing keeping me from pulling out my hair and screaming at the top of my lungs. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to finish eating my chocolate creme pie.
Thursday, January 29, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Out in Left Field

Do you ever feel like you're the only black sheep in a whole field of white fluffy sheep? I feel like that quite often, to tell you the truth. Most often, I feel this when I'm having some form of biblical or spiritual discussion. Sometimes I agree with everything that's being said, but many times my point of view is way out in left field. Maybe it's my very liberal upbringing and the lack of biblical knowledge growing up, who knows?

Let me give you a specific example. In our Sunday morning class, we've been reading and discussing "The Shack". One of the things we discussed among our small group one morning was the Trinity and whether or not there was a hierarchy present. Let me just state now that I don't think this is a matter of salvation; I don't believe it will be required knowledge on the day of judgment. It was just a sharing of opinion whether we all agreed or not. The gentleman I was talking to firmly believes that there IS a hierarchy among them, I do not. What's funny is the same passages he cited in having studied and come to this conclusion, I can point to and use to support MY opinion, which, of course, is in opposition to his. Again, in this specific example, I don't think it's a matter of salvation. I just think it's one of those things that I'll put on my list to ask God when I get to Heaven.

In our small group on Sunday evening, we've been going through the book "The Sinai Summit" by Rick Atchley. It discusses the ten commandments and we happened to be on "Do Not Murder." I brought up a question partly to play devil's advocate, partly to get others discussing and partly because I struggle with this particular issue.

Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of literally killing anyone. My concerns lie more in the area of capital punishment. God established certain laws for his people and with those laws came consequences. But we also live under a new law that says the most important thing is love your God and love your neighbor. If we love our neighbor, how can we sentence him/her to death? I've heard, "Well, it's the law of the land and we're supposed to obey that law." Yes, but what if the laws of the land go against God's teaching? Abortion is legal but I certainly don't follow that law. "We're protecting other families from this criminal." Do we know for certain that he/she will hurt someone again? Is this person who was formed in the image of God, but isn't living for Him worth less to God? Are we absolutely sure that God has no plans to turn this life around and use it for good?

I'm not looking for answers on this particular topic. I'm not even sure if I agree with the arguments that I brought up. The point is, I don't always see things in black and white. Most of the time I chalk it up to my lack of scriptural study. As I've said before, I'm very shallow when it comes to reading. I tend to be content with what's on the surface and miss out on any deeper meaning. I admire those who have a firm stance on an issue and can argue their beliefs with conviction, those who've studied and read and prayed and have come to those beliefs through much learning.

I tend to be swayed by those who are more "studied" than myself. I figure they've read more, they've obviously been around more and understand things better, they MUST be right. So I find myself agreeing with whatever opinion has been expressed...until I get home. And then I think, "Wait a minute. I DON'T agree with that. I just don't see it that way." I realize that the only way to be sure of what I do believe is to sit down and study a certain topic. But I have to admit, I'm not really at a point in my life that I sit down and open my bible and say, "OK, let's see what God says about capital punishment, and while I'm at it, I'll look through 5 different commentaries and research it on the web, too." No, thank you.

In all things essential, I believe that I'm on the right path, everything else is just background noise. Sometimes I listen and sing along and sometimes I just block it out before it becomes too overwhelming.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

So Many Books, So Little Time

If you know me or you've read some of my previous blogs, you know I love to read. I can read a book in a day or even an afternoon. When CJ was gone for 10 days at Christmas, I would stay up reading instead of going to bed alone. I went through 8 books.

I used to read like this all the time. At least I did until I had Corban. I remember that I started a book when I was pregnant with him, but then after having him and getting busy with baby, I didn't pick it up again for another 3 years. That was pretty much the way it went for a few years. I didn't have time to commit to a book. When the kids started going to school and I had a little bit of time, I started reading again. But I always made sure that I was reading a book written by a Christian author, something faith based or it was a book about Autism. I figured my free time needed to be spent learning more about God or my son. How dare I think of reading just for entertainment's sake.

Then one day, I was at a friend's house making plans for an upcoming retreat. She was speaking to one of the other ladies there about a particular book. The book was Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross. It sounded funny, like I would enjoy it. I found myself wishing I had time for pointless reading. As I was leaving, I said something to that effect to my friend. Her response has always stuck with me. She said, "You have got to get over your guilt!" and she sent me away with the book. Well, I took her advice and read it. Of course, it was the first in a series and so I had to keep reading the adventures of Miss Julia. That snowballed into what is now my current obsession with books.

I still don't have time everyday to read but I squeeze it in when I can. I try to make sure I always have a book with me when I'm going somewhere so that I can sneak in a page or two while I'm in line or stuck in traffic. The problem I have now is that I have too many books waiting to be read. And I keep borrowing good books from friends so I now have their books laying around as well.

Some of the books waiting so patiently for their turn are Wicked, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Mother Warriors, The Almost Moon, and Born on a Blue Day. These are the ones that are calling the loudest to me right now. I also have dozens more on shelves waiting to be picked up.

My reading preferences change according to my mood. I used to read mostly romance, then I moved on to horror and suspense (at one point I owned all of Dean Koontz's books). Lately I find I'm drawn to memoirs and books dealing with tragedy. I've never actually dealt with any kind of tragedy so I'm not sure why those hold a particular interest for me. My favorite so far has been Angela's Ashes. Frank McCourt's whole life is one tragedy after another but I love his books. I love his style of writing; it's unlike anything I've read before.

The Notebook is another one that I loved. I haven't seen the movie yet and after reading the book, I'm having a hard time getting myself to willingly sit through it. It was the saddest, most heart-wrenchingly romantic book I've ever read. I just can't get myself to experience all that emotion again.

The last book I'd like to mention is The Shack. If you've never read this book, YOU HAVE TO! It's so good. It's another tragedy but this time it comes from a God-centered point of view...sort of. It was written by a man named William Young. He made up this story to try to explain the Trinity to his kids. It's fascinating. You may not agree with everything he puts in there, but it really gets you thinking. It really made me think about how we put God in our little boxes and we limit what He's capable of. It also made me think of the Trinity in a whole new way. Like I said, you don't have to agree with it, but read it and see what you think.

So, for now, I will continue to squeeze in pages, or even paragraphs, whenever possible. Whether it's just brain candy or something of substance, I am trying to keep my mind active (even if the rest of me isn't!).
Friday, January 16, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

What Makes You Happy?

The other day as I was visiting with a friend, I was reminded of a challenge that I came across in a scrapbooking magazine. The challenge was to come up with 100 things that make you happy. It sounded like fun and so I did it. I thought it would be hard to come up with so many but once I got going, I easily passed 100 and had to make myself stop writing.

I would like to post this challenge to you. Can you come up with 100 things that make you happy? I would hope that you can.

What you do with the list is up to you. The magazine suggested you scrapbook the list. (I, however, can't even seem to find it.) Maybe you could post it up somewhere so you can see it often. It's a reminder that there are so many good things in life.

While I can't find my original list, I do know some of the things on it, and I'd like to share of few with you (in no particular order).

I love the smell of Crayola crayons, fresh cut grass, and new shower curtains.

I love the sound of the ocean waves hitting the beach and Bubba's laugh.

Gadgets for organizing make me happy, so does a freshly made bed sprayed with Lysol.

I'm happy when I make my husband laugh.

I'm happy when I hear Sassy singing a worship song, sitting at home in the middle of the week.

Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream makes me happy (fat, but defiantely happy)

I love sitting in front of the fireplace and listening to Enya while it rains.

I love when Howdy holds my hand, even though he would never admit to doing so.

These are just a few of the things that make me happy. What makes you happy? I imagine this challenge will be easier for women. I think our brains are just wired to think along such paths. But try it. I would love for you to share some of them with me, but you don't have to.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in the news and circumstances of the day, that we forget life is full of good things. So, grab a pen and paper and try to come up with 100 of the things that you look forward to in life. And I hope that you have to force yourself to stop writing because you're running out of paper.

Thursday, January 15, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

Break Out the Rubber Boots...Again

Dear friends, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I've actually done both. It was quite a job cleaning up after our basement flooded last week, but we finally got it done. I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week trying to make sure nothing mildewed. My craft room is in the basement and I have every inch of it packed. I had to move everything out of one area, mop everything down with bleach water, dry it out, move everything back, and then start on the next area. It took a long time but I finished it. (It helps that I had a friend coming over and I didn't want her to see it :) )

But then it happened again. At 5:30 this morning, our friend/basement tenant came up to tell us that it had flooded again. My first thought was, 'But it hasn't rained!'. No, it wasn't because of the rain. This morning's flood was brought to us by the friendly folks at Old Pipes. It seems a connection in our pipes had come loose and literally poured water all over place. When our friend woke up this morning, she heard the water and thought someone was in the shower because it was so loud.

CJ had a great wet/dry shop vac that we used during the last clean up and it was still downstairs. However, it was right underneath the waterfall and the motor had completely filled up with water leaving it useless to us. The water was widespread but not deep enough on the floor to allow the pump to work. So we got to clean it up the old fashioned way--with towels and buckets.

Cleaning up the floor and drying out the storage areas were actually the easy part. You see, I have a large shelf unit along the wall where the water originated. On the shelves were totes that I store my craft supplies in, totes without lids. All of those 56 quart totes filled up with water. I took both of us to get one tote off the shelf because they were so heavy. We had to pull each item out of the tote, dry it off (or throw it away if it was too damaged) and then set it aside. Many items were wood and we had to lay them out on towels to air dry.

I felt that I lucked out during the previous flood. I had several boxes of craft books that got wet but I only lost a few books. There were a few that got wet that I had set on the bottom of a bookcase with a fan blowing on them to dry out the pages. Unfortunately, this time around, the water came down with such force that it soaked everything that was within 2 feet of the floor. Those books are now wet, along with the dry books and magazines I had stacked with them.

But it could have been so much worse. We didn't lose anything precious, nothing that couldn't be replaced. The fan that I had on to dry out the books was still plugged in, turned on and sitting in water. And it seems that we had water pouring into our breaker box. One breaker tripped but that was it.

Am I sick to death of mopping up water? Uh...Yeah! Do I want to bulldoze this house and move somewhere, anywhere else? Definitely. But I am so thankful that this is nothing major. We're all fine, and the problem was actually fixed quickly and without expense.

Our friend heard us laughing while we were cleaning up the mess and she commented that not all couples are lucky enough to have these things to go through to bring them together. Ahhh, the power of positive thinking.
Friday, January 9, 2009 | By: Slacker Mom

It's Always Something

My husband finally returned home to us on Monday...late, of course. I was so happy to have him back. I thought, "Hey maybe now I'll get some sleep." Well, I did get to sleep in the next day (Thank you! Thank you!), but then it rained. Not just the typical WA rain, but a flooding rain. Our basement has been converted into an apartment that we rent out to a friend of ours. She had to come upstairs and wake us up at 3:15 in the morning on Tuesday? Wednesday? (They all run together for me.) She had got up to use the bathroom and found herself standing in water. We spent the whole night bailing out water and trying to find a way to keep it all outside instead of all over the basement floor. All of Wednesday was spent doing the same thing. Hubby finally came up with a way to keep most of the water out--he's so smart! Wednesday night we worked in 2 hour shifts mopping up the water that was still seeping in (I had the 12am-2am shift...zzzzz). By the time Thursday morning rolled around, the rain had stopped and so had most of the flooding. (Hey, I think I actually just made a long story short! Go me!) Now we just have the task of drying everything out before it starts to mildew, always a fun job.
We feel very blessed and grateful that we didn't have a major crisis to deal with. We didn't lose anything of value and the water isn't much more than a nuisance now. To anyone else that is still dealing with the flooding, you are in our prayers.