## Monday, March 30, 2009

### Mathematically Speaking- I Hate Math

I've never been good at math. I can remember the very moment I realized that math-well- sucked.

I was in 3rd grade. I was trying my best to keep up and figure out how the heck to divide fractions and I just wasn't getting it. The teacher called on me to answer the problem. I didn't have a clue. So, I did what made total sense at the time.

I pretended that I had not been paying attention and didn't know what problem to do. Because it would be so much better than actually admitting that I needed help, right? She then told me that I had to sit on the sidewalk during recess and called on someone else to do the problem.

I never did learn to divide fractions.

Lately, math has given me even more of a reason to despise it.

Justin did several brackets for the basketball tournament, several of which have monetary prizes, should he win.

One, in particular, is a nation wide, ESPN sponsored bracket. Winner take all. And, by all- I mean \$10,000. Cash.

In this nation wide contest, with over 115,000 entrants, Justin is in second place. The difference between his bracket and the person in first place is one game. And that one game was lost by one point.

Mathematically, there is no way possible for Justin to win.

I. HATE. MATH

## Wednesday, March 25, 2009

### The Pink Panther

I'm now officially a softball mom. To a precious member of the Coopertown Pink Panthers.

Practice has started in full force. Justin takes her on Tuesday nights while I'm at work and we both go to the Sunday practice.

Every time I ask how the Tuesday night practice went, I get the same response from both of them. "Great." Thanks, guys. A little information might help me feel less guilty about missing the practice.

Justin told me that at last week's practice a mom pointed to Maddie and asked if that was his daughter. When he said yes, she said, "I thought so. She looks just like you."

On Sunday's practice, I noticed that Maddie is by far the smallest on the team. She is one of the youngest on the team. It is a 5-6 year old team, but there are a couple of 7 year olds on it. Justin calls them the "beasts" because they are so much bigger than Maddie.

During their first practice game, I watched Maddie play. In the dirt, that is. The coach marked her spot to stand and then she marked it by writing her name. When the ball was hit, she ran around in a circle. Not really looking for the ball, just running in circles. And if she happened to find the ball, she would pick it up and not know what to do with it.

She may look like her daddy, but she plays ball like me.

And she's okay with that. And so are we.

Because she is having the time of her life.

## Tuesday, March 24, 2009

### I Don't Know Much, But I Know What I Like

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed to start doing music reviews. I love music. Almost all kinds. So, needless to say, I was excited.

I decided that my approach to doing music reviews would follow along with how I decide if I like any type of music. I would listen to the CD a few times, and if it held my attention and I found myself humming the songs, I would do further research on the artist.

The first CD I received was Corneille The Birth of Cornelius. The first time I listened to the CD, my first thought was, "I'm kinda liking this." The second time I listened to it, I thought, "I'm almost loving this." By the third time, I really did love it. Enough to let Justin listen to it. And he liked it as much as I did.

So, then came the following up and reading about my man, Corneille.

Wow. That's all.

The lyrics to his music have so much meaning, I can barely fathom all that he's been through.

Take this verse from a song of his, for example:

Last time I saw you
You were filling your rivers up with
Blood of your own
Last time I saw you
You were wearing fire and
Burning our souls to the bone
That's how I remember you
So please forgive me
If I never call you home
again

I believe that he is talking about his time in Rwanda. You see, he was born in Germany where his parents were students. At a young age, they moved back to Rwanda and stayed until he was 17. He was there in 1994 when the Rwandan genocide occured. He is the only surviving member of his family from that time.

He sings frequently about his struggles finding his place in this world. With his Tracy Chapman voice and soulful words, he sings of love, and his life story,.

To find out more about Corneille, visit this site.

So, if you are in need of a great CD or some new songs for you MP3, I highly recommend this one. You will not be disappointed.

## Monday, March 23, 2009

### It's Gone Far Enough

Several years ago, Maddie and I went with my mom to the Grand Canyon. *Free advice: Don't take a 2 year old to the Grand Canyon without a leash. And nerve medicine.*

Maddie was going through a period of testing the limits. We were walking along in the park. She stopped. My mom and I waited patiently for her to catch up. She didn't. She didn't move.

We told her to come on. We pretended that we had something to show her. She didn't care.

Ha! I'll get her to come to me.

"BYE!! I'll see you later." And I started walking slowly away. I took a quick glance back at her and saw her sit down in the middle of the path.

"Bye bye, mama!"

Okay- so that didn't work. I laughed it off, ignored the group of tourists that were laughing, and went to get her.

Fast forward 3 years to today.

We were at the park with some friends. The kids had played well the entire time. It was time to go.

"Maddie, it's time to leave. Tell them goodbye."

She ignored me and continued playing.

I told her again, with my "I mean business" voice.

She climbed up the hill to the slide and told me that she wasn't coming. I told her that if I had to climb the hill to get her, it would not be pretty.

She slid down the slide and then started playing in the dirt. Again.

"Maddie, I'm leaving without you. I sure hope no strangers get you." Stranger Danger!! Stranger Danger!!

"Umm. I think I'd like to just stay here alone." Seriously? This independence thing is getting old.

"You would have to eat those veggies in the garden over there. That's all you would get." If stranger danger doesn't work, surely the thought of having to eat vegetables would scare her into obeying.

"Well, then I would get stickers for trying new food." I. Can't. Win.

"Maddie. You are coming with me. Now. End of story."

For some reason, her defiance was a lot cuter when she was two, and in front of strangers. But now that she is five, it's not funny at all.

Especially in front of my friend.

## Thursday, March 19, 2009

### Time Travel

Justin grew up playing sports and even now plays in a basketball league. My best friend played college basketball. Her husband was a basketball manager for a college team.

I did none of the above. The closest I got was playing 5th and 6th grade basketball and I was terrible. I mean, really terrible.

So, when the four of us get together, there are moments when I'm left out of the conversation. I'm perfectly fine with that. I have nothing to contribute and basketball is something that all three of them enjoy. I get it.

Last week, the challenge was made to do brackets for the upcoming tournament. It was agreed that each couple would combine their scores from their individual brackets and the highest score would treat the other couple to dinner.

And that was all I heard about it.

Until last night.

Justin handed me two completed brackets to give to my friend. One with his name on it and one with my name on it. Only, I hadn't done one.

I told him that it wasn't really fair. He didn't see it that way. He wanted to win.

When I told my friend, she agreed with me. Vocally. She explained that it wasn't fair for him to know and pick both teams. And I, knowing nothing about the teams, had just as much chance because often they over analyse the bracket. That made me feel better.

Until I tried to use that reasoning with Justin. He didn't buy it and said it wasn't true. Thanks, hon.

Then, Justin said that we could do a couple's bracket where each couple would complete one together and just use that one. Only, I knew that I wouldn't have a say so in it at all. Justin confirmed that he would just do it without me.

When all of the fairness talk was going on, I was transported back to gym class elementary school. There I was, standing in line, waiting for someone to pick me and praying to God that maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be the picked last again. Inevitably, I would be.

Only this time, my husband didn't want me on his team. My best friend wanted me on the other team.

Because they both wanted to win. And apparently, I'm the loser.

Welcome to March Mad-ness.

*Justin has since apologized. I'm almost over it. Really.*

## Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Why?"

"Because I said so/it might hurt you/it might hurt me/it is driving me crazy."

And then she proceeds to ignore me and continue to do whatever is was I just told her to stop doing. This goes on all day long.

We are pretty much at our wit's end. No- scratch that. I'm losing my mind. Nothing seems to work.

Monday night, I was helping her get ready for bed. I told her to stop jumping around in the wet bathtub. She jumped again.

I asked her what just happened.

"I disobeyed." And then she giggled. She. Giggled.

"And what should happen when you disobey?"

"A spanking." And then she stuck her little tush out, ready for punishment.

Was she calling my bluff? I can't not spank her at this point.

I gave her a spanking- not a hard one, but one that left a slight sting on my hand. I watched her upper lip quiver.

"You know, Mom, that didn't really hurt."

Me walking out of that bathroom was the best thing I could do at that point.

The next morning, I was sitting on her bed talking to her. I told her that us praying about her behavior and my reactions to her behavior before the day starts might help us.

She explained that since she wasn't blind and her legs worked fine, she didn't need His help. Yes, they've been studying the miracles of Jesus in Sunday school.

I prayed anyway.

As the day went on, I noticed something profound happening. The clouds started parting. There was a little blue in the sky. And a miracle happened here in Middle Tennessee.

THE SUN WAS OUT!!

We spent the entire day outside, enjoying the day.

When she wanted to go inside for something to drink, I brought it to her and made her swing while drinking it. When she complained that her feet were hurting, I brought her a different pair and suggested she run around the house to make sure that they felt good. We walked down to the creek and jumped on dirt piles. We invited our neighbors over to play.

3 hours of continuous play time.

And after all that, she went to softball practice.

Her behavior was better than ever. It may have been from sheer exhaustion, but I'll take it.

Spring. It's every mom's answer to prayer.

## Monday, March 16, 2009

### The New And Improved Tract

It was Thanksgiving and we were all sitting around listening to Justin's mother. Well, I was pretending to sleep on the couch because if you are sleeping, you aren't expected to respond.

She was talking about this man that went to school with Justin. Apparently, he went to her restaurant with his 5 children and let them run wild. Her restaurant is a small place, and 5 small child running around quickly creates havoc.

"I let him know that I didn't appreciate it. Not one bit. And he was in there all high and mighty...blah blah blah...and when he left, I went to the table to clean up the mess those little heathens made and you wouldn't believe what that man had left."

She paused to make sure she had everyone's attention.

"A TRACT! He had the nerve to leave me a tract."

At that point, I couldn't pretend to sleep anymore. I made eye contact with Justin and we both burst into laughter. Justin's brother and his wife were laughing so hard they were crying.

We were laughing so hard because the one thing you don't do to my mother in law is question her faith. I promise you that if you do, you will be on her bad side for at least 20 years. That poor man had no idea.

She still tells that story every chance she gets. And we still laugh at her outrage.

Saturday night, I walked over to my table that had just left. And they had left me a tract. Of a different kind.

I'll admit I was in disbelief.

Just who do they think they are? Don't they know I work out 5 or 6 days of the week?

And then I started questioning myself.

Do I need this? Is this how everyone sees me? Should I go to the gym twice a day, now?

And then I just had to laugh.

Because it takes some kind of nerve to leave a tract. Of any kind.

## Wednesday, March 11, 2009

### Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I have a strange habit. It could even be termed a fixation. And I can't help myself.

I read each and every church sign I see. Believe me, living in the buckle of the Bible belt- I read a lot of signs. I've even turned around and drove back to the church because I missed what it said.

Some of the time, there is a Bible verse- which never hurts.

Some of the time, there is a cutesie little saying that is cute until I get to a stop sign.

Some of the time, I wonder what in the world the church was thinking when they put it on the board.

Most recently, I passed a church and the sign had 5 simple words on it. I did a double take because I was sure that I had read it incorrectly. I hadn't. It read:
WELCOME
FAMILY, FRIENDS, and SINNERS

Wow. I could just imagine being a guest walking into the church and asking to sit in the "sinners" section. Would there be ushers? I pictured it to be like a wedding- Are you family, friend, or SINNER? Ahhh, you are one of those SINNERS, huh? Well, here is your red "S". Make sure you wear it so everyone will know. Oh look, you are the only one sitting in the SINNER section of church.

I could go on forever.

I'm sure the church's point was to simply make it clear that everyone is welcome. But, really- if you weren't a Christian, would you want to try it out based on that sign? I'm a Christian and a sinner and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't. But that's just me.

I found some pictures of church signs that are pretty funny and if I were looking for a church, I might try it out because it's evident that someone in the church has a sense of humor. Enjoy.

## Tuesday, March 10, 2009

### Career Day

Last week was "T for teeth" week at Maddie's school. Every day was filled with tooth related stuff, and the week ended with a dentist coming to her class for further instruction.

This morning, Maddie told me that she was going to ask her teacher if they could have "R for restaurant" week. That way I could go speak to her class about working in a restaurant.

I wanted to explain that being a server in a restaurant isn't quite in the same class as being a dentist, but I didn't. Children going home and telling their parents "I want to wait tables when I grow up!," doesn't have the same ring as, "I want to be a dentist/doctor/vet/astronaut".

But then, I started thinking. All Maddie talked about for 2 days was what the dentist had told her. Maybe I could use this to my advantage. Maybe I will go speak to her class. Maybe I can brainwash them. No- forget I said that.

Here is my outline- just in case I get the invitation.

I. Intro
A.) Positives
1.) Cash
2.) Working with all types of people
B.) Negatives
1.) Some mean, bad people just don't tip no matter how good the service is
2.) Working with all types of people

II. Tips
A.) Percentages
1.) 15% is good, but 20%+ is better
B.) Wages
1.) Servers make \$2.13/hour.
2.) Rarely is a check actually given.
3.) Servers depend on tips to pay for groceries.

III. Behavior
A.) Drinks
1.) Slurping your drink is rude. It will not make your server go any faster.
2.) Ordering water with 8 lemons so you can make your own lemonade proves
you will probably not tip. And we don't care if Oprah told you to do it.
B.) Food
1.) If your order is incorrect, by all means let your server know. If your server
corrects the mistake, tip accordingly.
2.) Mistakes happen

IV. Conclusion
A.) Economy
1.) We understand things are tough. But spending \$75 on a meal and leaving a \$3 tip because things are tight is just wrong.
B.) Most important lesson to go home and tell your parents... 1.) TIP
2.) 20%
3.) Ask for Chelsea if you tip over 25%

What do you think? Should I present my outline to her teacher?

## Friday, March 6, 2009

### Chocolate Pie

Justin has a terrible diet. He knows it. I know it.

His breakfast, every single morning consists of a king size candy bar and a Mello-Yello. His lunch is usually fast food. Most of the time his dinner is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and whatever instant potatoes Maddie doesn't eat.

His family history leaves a lot to be desired. His dad had both a heart attack and a stroke before he was 50. His mother has diabetes.

But I know that no matter what I say, he is going to eat what he wants to eat. If I were to tell him that he couldn't have something, it would make him want it even more. But, it doesn't stop me from wanting to warn him about the long term side affects.

Last night, I walked up to a lady that I work with. This lady is 75 years old and waits tables like nobody's business. Somehow, the conversation turned to health and eating and diabetes. She told us this story.

"When my husband was 36, he had diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems. It was December 22. We had been out most of the day. I fixed a pot roast for dinner- trimmed all the fat off because he didn't need it. He wanted a piece of chocolate pie. I wouldn't let him have it. We argued about it, but he didn't get his chocolate pie."

I laughed for a minute because Justin would definitely argue if I told him he couldn't have chocolate pie.

"He needed me to run some errands and on the way home, I got behind an ambulance. I followed it to my house. It pulled into my driveway."

I stopped laughing.

"My husband had had a heart attack and died. I sure wish I had let him have that piece of chocolate pie. When it's your time, it's your time."

So, Justin- eat your candy bars and your chocolate pie. But, seriously, a salad every now and then wouldn't hurt.

## Thursday, March 5, 2009

### Miniatures and Treasures

I've told you how much Maddie adores Bella Sara in a previous review. And her passion for everything horse related hasn't diminished in the least.

Excuse me. . . "Maddie, hold on. I'll tell you when."

Her love only increased when we received the Bella Sara Miniatures. It is a brand new product line that features 20 tiny horses to play with or collect. Each velety horse comes with its own stand, a bonus code redeemable online, and a checklist. And for only \$1.99, it's perfect for small rewards.

I'm sorry. . . "Maddie- I'm doing something important. A review for my blog. If you want to keep getting stuff to play with, I need to get this done. I'll call you when I'm done."

The other new series Bella Sara has added is the "Treasures" series. With Treasures your horse lover gets more printable activities, bonus codes, coloring pages, wallpapers, a poster and jigsaw puzzles. Every treasure pack comes with 5 cards, a mini-game, Bella Sara tattoos, and stickers. As a bonus, the tattoos wash off in less than one day, and for me- that's a huge bonus. Until April 30th, Bella Sara is offering the chance to win a Treasure Hunt Party of their very own. The Treasures pack retails for \$2.99 a pack, which is still a great deal.

Aaargggghhh. . ."Maddie- seriously. Let me do this. Two more minutes."

Bottom line- check it out. And in the words of Maddie- "Bella Sara is awesome- especially the little ones."

"Okay- Maddie. I'm done."

Note to self: Never tell Maddie that she can play on Bella Sara after I'm done on the computer.

## Wednesday, March 4, 2009

### Family Look-a-likes

Justin gets asked a lot if he golfs. His answer is always an emphatic "no". And the response is usually, "Oh, cause you look a lot like Tiger. If Tiger was white."

And he does. Some. Particularly in the summer when he has a tan.

Last week, my brother in law was stopped in the airport because he was mistaken for someone that was famous.

Guess who.

DWIGHT YOAKAM

Wow.

Since he doesn't look anything at all like good ole Dwight, I'm thinking my brother in law needs some looser jeans.

## Monday, March 2, 2009

### Not Even A Taste

When Maddie was a baby, she would eat anything. Almost anything we put in front of her, she devoured it. Now- not so much.

Now, the only "vegetables" if you can call them that, that she lets pass through her mouth are mashed potatoes. But not just any mashed potatoes. They have to be Daddy's mashed potatoes.

And they are instant. I'll wait while you stop shuddering.

She fell in love with them the first time he fixed them for her. And turned her nose up at mine. And her granny's.

She then proceeded to explain that she doesn't like "old lady mashed potatoes." Meaning that if an old lady prepares them, she won't eat it.

And let me tell you- it does so much for my ego to be called an old lady. insert heavy sarcasm.

I had almost given up until I came across an idea that worked with 3 small boys. I just tweaked it a little to suit our family a little better.

I printed out the cards. For every time she tries something new, and actually eats the entire bite/serving without making herself gag/vomit at the dinner table, she gets a sticker. When the card is filled, she gets a special treat. We were going to let her choose her favorite restaurant when the card gets filled, but she pretty much does that anyway since our choices are so limited to what she will actually eat.

When I explained the Tasty Tasty club deal, she loved the idea. Until it came time to try something new.

We were sitting in Cracker Barrel- if you aren't familiar with Cracker Barrel, I'm truly sorry. You are missing out- and I offered her some of my mashed potatoes, so she could get her first sticker.

"Um- I'll need two stickers to try that."

And then when she explained the whole thing to Justin, she tricked him into joining in. If she eats something new, he has to try it too. And then he can get a sticker.

Yesterday, she asked me to fix my mashed potatoes and spinach, so she could get two stickers.

She put the spinach on her fork and ever so slowly brought the fork to her mouth, but did not even open her mouth and put the fork back on her plate.

She filled her spoon with mashed potatoes. Very slowly, she brought the mashed potatoes to her mouth, touched it with her tongue, and claimed that she didn't want the stickers that badly.

It's freakin' mashed potatoes! What kid doesn't like mashed potatoes?

After 5 days, Maddie has one sticker. For eating half of a roll.

Justin still has no stickers on his Tasty Tasty Club card.

Which proves that his prayers worked. Because he only has to try something new if Maddie does.

And she didn't try the spinach.

Website Content and Copy: PBJinabowl.blogspot.com, 2007-8.
Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.