Monthly Archives: May 2007

Mother, Interrupted

Malia pictureWell it’s been awhile since I had to opportunity to actually sit down and write anything. I had wanted to post actual thoughts on JBelle’s birthday but I was weary, overwhelmed and brain-dead when I got to the computer later that day (Sat 5/26) so I went the lazy route and just posted those pictures. I’ve had so much on my mind the past several days, I’m not sure I even know where to begin!

I’m sort of missing my old blog. I really did want to change direction with my posting, be more focused on topics and less random than I was at the old place. But I do miss, from time to time, putting up posts of just random thoughts, musings and ramblings. I could still do that here, but I already feel like I dominate this co-authored blog. And I knew that David would not post as much as I am prone to do, however I still sometimes feel that when I’ve posted several times in a row, without a post from him, that I’m “talking” too much.

But right now I feel I’m in need of some heavy duty encouragement. Y’all…parenting sucks sometimes. Tonight I’m feeling like the biggest failure in parenting ever to walk the earth. Nothing earth shattering has happened, it’s just been another day of endless frustrations, whining, disobedience and disrespect…and that was just from the dog! (Well at least I still have my sense of humor.) The silver lining is that, thankfully, I’m not alone. I’m so glad that I have David, that we have each other, to lean on and provide support, back-up, reality checks and constructive criticism (which sucks but it’s crucial).

Children are natural mimics; they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners. –Author Unknown

So here I sit, children nestled all snug in their beds, a cold glass of my adult beverage of choice by my side, it’s quiet and I can actually think, no distractions, no one needing me for anything and I can’t even figure out what I want to write about. I just know that when I tuck my children into bed at night and I watch JBelle as she prays and I look into The GMan’s eyes while I sing to him, that somehow, someway, it’s worth all the heartache.

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Filed under by Malia, parenting

Go forth and die in the name of the Lord

David pictureOver at Aunt B’s place, she discussed Terry Frank’s take on the Gospel of War.  As everyone knows, Jesus commanded his disciples to “go forth and die in his name in defense of the state” in John 15:13.  Everyone knows that if you are a martyr for the state, you show the greatest love there ever was….and you get 70 virgins in heaven.  Oh wait, wrong martyr myth.

While many have acted valiantly and selflessly in the face of peril in war, this bible verse is no salve or justification for such sacrifice.  It is certainly not a verse to hang your hat on in the way of life goals.  It works well in the Army for making good soldiers, but not in Christianity for making good disciples.

As a person trying to do things to make this world a better place, it makes me very angry to read the glorification of violence and death in violence as something done out of love and endorsed by God.  Loving your neighbor as yourself does not include trying to kill them in the first place.  In a global sense, aren’t we all neighbors?  Aren’t we all brothers and sisters?  Seems to me that if you are going to love your neighbor as yourself, it is a prerequisite to try to not kill your neighbor.  It makes the loving a little easier.

So, please (gently, non-violently, and in love) take your red, white, and blue wrapped bible and stick it.

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Filed under by DB, Politics, Rant

Seven

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Happy Birthday to our sweet girl!

(Pictures by Emily)

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Filed under JBelle

Ice Cream Cake

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Recipe here.

(Picture by Emily)

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Filed under life as a domestic goddess

Winds of Change

Malia pictureMy split personality is in turmoil. Well, I guess that’s kind of redundant since the very nature of having this split personality (of sorts) keeps my psyche in constant chaos. My “loves change, thrives on risk, bring on the challenges” side is having a big ole party right now. My “loathes change, risk averse, don’t mess with my life” side needs to breathe into a paper bag.

My little family is experiencing some significant and not so significant (but still stress inducing) transitions. The most significant is that David has started a new job. It’s exciting, it’s a great career move but it also poses some challenges for us. He’ll be, initially, working from home. That is really an exciting thing for me (and him) but it also means making adjustments to habits and spaces and schedules and expectations, etc. The next is that school ends in just two days and summer looms in front of me. Again, it’s exciting and fun but it also brings change to habits and schedules and expectations. I’m ready for it but not ready for it at the same time. And the last is that my first born will be seven-years old on Saturday. My children’s birthdays always seem to put me into a bit of a tailspin. She’s finishing first grade and coming up on another birthday all in the same week. You’d think I’d be used that combination. Last year, she graduated from Kindergarten and turned six on the same day! Talk about a roller-coaster of emotions! (If she turns eighteen and graduates from high school on the same day, I may need to be medicated!)

So yeah, I’m a little tense, weepy, irritable, lonely, giddy, sidetracked, distracted, nervous and excited. Throw in the lifelong coping mechanism of eating for comfort and it’s like PMS, only worse.

Can somebody please save me from myself?!?!

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess

Flashback Friday Saturday*

Malia pictureLast month after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I went looking for some pictures of David and I while we were students there. Oddly enough, I didn’t find very many but the memories came flooding back just the same. Virginia Tech (and the Blacksburg community) is a special place. I imagine that many of us have a place from our pasts that is unlike any other place we’ve ever known. They are the places that no matter how much changes, will always feel like home. They are places that no matter how long you are away from them, will always welcome you back with open arms and memories. So it is with us and Virginia Tech.

The weekend before that fateful day in Blacksburg, I had returned to Virginia Tech for a reunion. The sorority I was involved was having a 40th anniversary celebration (it’s the oldest women’s organization on campus). I had planned on walking the campus and visiting old haunts but it was a cold and rainy weekend so I settled for a drive around campus and the town. I marveled at all the new buildings, admired the additions to Lane Stadium, was caught by surprise by a new traffic pattern on Washington Street and looked longingly at a new corner Starbucks on Main Street (wish that had been there when I was!) I also saw so many things that were exactly the same. The signs in front of the residence halls and campus buildings, the signs that designated parking areas, “The Cage” where on-campus residents parked their cars, Squires Student Center (for the most part, though there have been some internal changes), all the “old” academic buildings and even the Blacksburg Transit (BT) buses.

It was so nice to be back and the only thing that could have made it better was if David had been with me. There were numerous times when I wanted to point something out or remark about a new or old site and yet, I was alone. When I got home, I told David about it all and what it was like but that it wasn’t the same without him because Virginia Tech is “our place” My entire time in Blacksburg includes David.

Okay, enough all that…the real reason for the post is to give you a glimpse into our distant past. These photos were taken my freshman year at Virginia Tech and are taken in my residence hall, Lee Hall.

This first one is before a dance, I believe it was Homecoming. David and I went to the dance with two other “couples” (one of the couples was a dating couple and the other were just friends going to the dance together). All of us had gone to high school together. I was the only freshman in the group. The guy in the middle (Jared) actually attended James Madison University and had come down to Tech for the weekend to be with his girl (Jodi). The girl with the puffy white sleeves (Melanie) and I were in Chi Delta Alpha together.
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And here’s one of just David and I.
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This one was taken in the spring semester, in my dorm room. Tanya was visiting Blacksburg Jonathan for a weekend and she snapped this picture of us.
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So there’s a little stroll down memory lane. Do you have any special places like that from your past. Where you went to college? Where you vacationed with family as a child? Let us know!

*Flashback Friday is a feature from a new blog I’ve been reading (and enjoying!) called ‘Twas Brillig. I started this post yesterday but…you know…life gets in the way of finishing blog posts!

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Filed under by Malia, Virginia Tech

Self Government

David pictureI am one of those crazy people that think the 10th Amendment means what it says, powers not granted to the federal government are retained by the people. Those rights that are expressed in the COTUS are presented as a means of emphasizing the people’s retained right to self-government. So, if it is not expressly, positively granted to the federal government, it is out of bounds for the feds to touch (interstate commerce clause interpretation included). All of those rights we fight over (free speech, guns, protection from unlawful search, etc, etc) have as a presupposition the ability of the people to self-govern.

Self-government does not mean democracy or a representative republic, it means the ability of each individual to have a sense of lawfulness, a modicum of knowing right from wrong, of working things out between individuals without the interference of or the need to petition government to resolve grievances.

I have come to a point where I will either wholeheartedly support the cause of Libertarianism to supplant the tyranny that is our current government structure built to perpetuate itself by bureaucratic fiat or abandon political pursuits altogether after reaching the conclusion that the people in this country have lost their ability to self-govern. I am leaning toward the latter.

It is my opinion that without the ability of self government, the rights of the people don’t matter, no matter how well stated or broadly defined in COTUS. And if rights don’t matter, our supposed form of government is a sham and should be called so.

Does anyone out there truly believe that the vast majority of American people are capable of self government? Is it time to admit that the grand experiment is a failure and what we have now is a hollow echo of what might have been? If that is the case, I’m fine with it. I just want to be able to call a spade a spade.

On the other hand, if the American people just need to wake up to see that our current bureaucratic system is choking self government, then I want to be there to help pull those fingers off our collective throats.

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Filed under by DB, Politics

Preface To Today’s Marriage Post

Malia pictureMaybe I should make this part of my disclaimer, but I thought I’d put it out here as a preface to the marriage post that immediately follows.

When I wrote The Great Housework Debate, it was hard for me to not “look” longingly at someone else’s situation and wish it for my own. And I imagine that there were some who read the post and thought something along the lines of of, “I’m glad my marriage is not that way” or “I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that”. Writing that post was hard for me. I think I was mad at David for at least two days and in fact, we got into a pretty serious argument (via instant messaging, then later face to face) regarding the post and how it worked in our life.

And then, I wrote this post about finances and it was hard for me to not “look” with judgement upon other ways of managing money within a marriage. Fact is, we don’t have the perfect model of managing money and other couples don’t have the perfect model of dividing up household chores. We all try do what works best for us. And if we know our way of approaching these things is flawed or insufficient then the best thing to do is to work on it within our own marriage, not long for the way another’s marriage works. Money is not a very big issue for me and David but I’m sure it is for other couples, just as housework is not a very big issue for other couples but it is for me and David.

My hope is that these posts are helpful and inspiring. I don’t want them to be a yardstick by which we all measure our marriages and see how we’re better or worse than each other. I say that for myself and for you.

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

Finding Financial Harmony

Malia pictureMy first order of business after David and I were married was to change my name on all necessary documents. One of the first places I went was my credit union and while I made the changes, I also put David’s name on the account and made it joint. David still had an account somewhere from before we married but all our paychecks, wedding money, etc went into that joint account and his former one was eventually closed. I also pretty much took on the primary responsibility of paying bills and determining how much could be spent on groceries, household items, etc. For me, this was entirely natural. It’s how my parents operate and what I had been modeled for me while growing up. But David had seen a different model of married financial management: Separate Checking Accounts. I couldn’t even fathom how that worked. However, David didn’t feel compelled to follow that model so it was never an issue for us.

Not that we’ve been without financial conflict. I remember one February, several years ago, we were leaving our apartment to go to a Valentine’s Banquet. We hadn’t checked the mail that day so one of us grabbed it on the way to the car. There was a credit card bill, I think, that was overdue. David questioned me about it, I felt attacked and our evening was completely ruined. We eventually were able to communicate rationally about the situation. We even instituted a rule for ourselves, never check the mail before leaving for an evening out together!

Over the years we’ve tweaked, revised, trashed and reconstructed various budgets and ways of dealing with money. The plan that we’ve found the works the best for us is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. The aspects of Ramsey’s plan that have helped us tremendously are: don’t use credit cards, use only cash for purchases and keep to a budget that we both agree on. I don’t believe that there is only one right way of managing money between a married couple. I do believe that you have to find out what works best for you and that you need to agree on how money is managed in your home. Here are some things that David and I have learned about managing our money.

  1. Be honest: Never, ever lie or try to cover up a financial foible. It’s best to work them out together and you’ll have more peace about the situation. For example, a couple of years ago we had veered off course from our budget. I was (am) the primary keeper of the budget. We were two days from David getting paid, we had very little money in our account and there was an insurance payment (auto, I think) due to be automatically drafted from our checking account the next day. I felt awful, guilty, embarrassed and trapped. I didn’t want to admit to David that I had let our spending escalate to the point that we didn’t even have money in savings to overdraft from. With ever fiber of my being, I wanted to somehow hide this from him, but I knew I couldn’t. So, I told him about the situation. Instead of getting upset with me, instead of blaming me, yelling at me or any of the things that he could have done (and in my opinion, had a right to do) he calmly and lovingly helped me, us work through this situation and come up with a plan.
  2. It’s a joint effort: While I may be the primary money manager of household bills, budgets and spending needs, we make decisions together regarding how money is spent and allocated. Neither of us comes home with a car, or a boat, or a land deed, or a pony without having consulted with the other first. Any spending done outside of our normal cash budget is decided on between the two us before the purchase is made. We do not have an “ask for forgiveness, not permission” attitude in our marriage, we feel it’s unhealthy and unwise.
  3. Keep an open mind: Most likely between a husband and a wife, there will be different ideas on how money should be dealt with. Many times one has more of a “saver” mentality, while the other has a “spending” mentality. These two personalities don’t necessarily have to conflict with each other. In our case, one of us is more open to risk than the other and the one that feels we should be more “safe” with our money has needed to be trusting and open to different ideas.
  4. And as always communication is crucial: Like my example in the first point, having financial harmony between a husband and wife means communicating about everything from screw-ups to successes. While I don’t need to detail my every purchase from Kroger to David, I do need to communicate when I feel our food budget is insufficient. When either of us feels the budget is getting too restrictive or our spending is getting too liberal, we try to communicate that to each other without blame or accusation or anger. It’s not always easy but knowing that we can approach each other about our money has given us great peace and unity in our marriage.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph 4:2-3

Note: regarding these posts about marriage, please see my Disclaimer.

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Filed under by Malia, love & marriage

How Not To Be Noticed

Malia pictureCelebrities take note. While your fame is most likely going to be lost on me anyway (since I can’t keep up with who’s who anymore), you can still add this to your repretoire of trying not to be noticed in public. In addition to the ballcap/visor, dark glasses, irresitibly adorable toddler, and beautiful wife, bring along your very unusual dog. I’ll be so taken in by your chubby, slobbering, all around wonder of a canine, in this case a full breed English Bulldog, that I’ll not notice you, Eddie George, hanging out at the playground with your family.

And yes, my husband will say as we drive away, (in sing-songy voice) “I know what you’re going to blog about when we get home!”

And I’ll look at him with a puzzled expression on my face and say, “What?”

And he’ll reply, “That you saw Eddie George at Granny White Park!”

To which I’ll screech in shocked reply, “That was Eddie George?????”

See? It worked!

(yes, I posted this at NiT, too…what of it?)

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Filed under by Malia, random