Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Red Sofa Revisted or How We’ve Utilized one of the 4 “Rs”

Malia pictureWe bought a sofa a few weeks ago and today I called the furniture store and canceled the order. What it all boils down to is a sofa and two matching chairs became available that we could purchase for a little less than we paid for the red sofa. No, the “new to us” sofa isn’t red but that’s alright, because like the title of the post indicates, we’re able to reuse items instead of purchasing new.

Reusing is probably the second most utilized, in our household, of the four “maxims” I blogged about earlier. My favorite form of reuse is consignment sales. I’ve been shopping at consignment sales since JBelle was a baby and a couple of years ago, I started participating in them by putting my own items in the sale. I think the reason I really like consignment sales is because I’m not a big shopper. I sort of used to be but over the years I’ve become a bit of a “fuddy duddy” who only shops when necessary. I get very little pleasure out of just roaming around malls windowing shopping, browsing, etc. (There are occasional times when I want to do this, so I guess I’ve haven’t revoked my “womanhood” entirely!) When I shop, I have a purpose, an item in mind that I’m either wanting or needing. So, I do consignment sales because twice a year it becomes necessary to outfit my children for the upcoming seasons. They need clothes, consignment sales have clothes, that makes me happy, everybody wins!

Thrift stores are another great way to get items. I’ve only been in a few of them over the years and today, Meredith introduced me to one that’s really close and does a lot of good for our community. And of course, there’s the quintessential garage/yard sales. This kind of shopping is hit or miss and I usually don’t have the patience to go from store to store or house to house hoping to find a treasure. But I’ll definitely be going back to my neighborhood thrift store on a regular basis now that I know all about it!

Do you have any favorite ways of reusing?

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Filed under by Malia, life as a domestic goddess

At Least I Still Have the Internet

Malia pictureMy physical voice has been silenced by a cold. I can’t yell at my kids, nag my husband or scold the dog. But I can still type!! Oddly enough, I don’t have much to say here. Or rather, I have a lot I’d like to say, just no time or energy to hash out coherent posts. I’m going on my fourth or fifth night of not sleeping well so in addition to being mute, I’m feeling rather brain dead as well. So that’s all your actually going to hear from me right now.

Have a nice day and stay well!

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The 4 Rs

Malia pictureI want to talk a bit about something that has become almost an obsession for me and DB. I’ve posted before about how we’re trying to live a more simplified lifestyle, not buy new stuff, etc. Part of our efforts have been to implement four maxims into how we live and run our household: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-Purpose. I think I’ll do a post about each one over the next week or so.

It took me a long time to get to this point because I kept thinking that it would just be too hard, too time consuming, and not exactly “simple”. I’d like to share with you a few ways we’ve found to do each of these “Rs” that haven’t been difficult at all. My hope is to encourage and enlighten, not to condemn or to say “look at us and how good we are”, because that’s not it at all. And we’re certainly not perfect. There are days when admittedly, I throw out stuff that technically could be recycled or I buy something just because it’s “easier” than reusing or re-purposing another item. It’s all apart of learning and being human.

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Dear MNPS School Board, Please Make Up Your Minds!!

Update at the end of post.
Malia pictureLate last week I was perusing our family calendar to familiarize myself with what was coming up this week. I saw that school pictures for JBelle were on the calendar and I sighed to myself thinking, “Hmmm…should she wear the red or pink polo shirt to school that day?” Because, as you remember, Metro Davidson Country Schools now enforce a Standard School Attire dress code. Nothing says personality like every kid’s school picture looking exactly like that of the student sitting next to them!

But wait! Lo and behold the phone rang that same evening with a nice recorded message from the school’s principal. Ms. Principal* was calling to remind everyone about fundraisers, upcoming events, etc. On the list of reminders was school pictures and a notice that for one day only students do not have to wear SSA approved clothing. However, no jeans and no cargo pants would be allowed! So basically, JBelle can wear a dress or a non-collared, even patterned(!) shirt to school on picture day.

OK, I’m thrilled that JBelle can pick-out the outfit of her choice (albeit mother approved outfit) for her school pictures. But, if you’re going to implement a dress-code standard, why change it up for picture day? What? Don’t you want proof of the asinine decision to make every kid look exactly the same and the budget breaking strains placed on lower income families? You’d think the school board would want to flaunt their ground-breaking decision with school pictures that scream, “My individuality has been regulated out of me!” I mean really! Aren’t school pictures supposed to be a “snapshot”, a reflection of what the child looked like that year?

Heh. Now we get to look back at JBelle’s second grade pictures and remember the day, the only day, she didn’t have to wear a collared shirt and khakis.

::sigh::

*Not her real name, natch.

Updated: A couple of things came to my attention since writing this post. First, we got a letter home from Ms. Principal saying that the “no jeans” decision was actually something that fell under “principals discretion”, so she decided to allow the students the opportunity to wear jeans on picture day, if they so desired. Second, apparently each school gets 10 days a year when they can relax the SSA dress code and many schools were choosing to use picture day as one of their ten. A lot of this still totally irks me but as I reiterated to JBelle, these are the rules, we will abide by them and we’ll be respectful. And only Mommy can complain about on her blog ;) (no, I didn’t say that part to her!)

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Filed under by Malia, on the other hand, Rant

Welcome to My Maddening World

Malia pictureI write on my About Malia page of my self diagnosed split-personality disorder (tongue-in-cheek phrasing). It’s something I deal with on a daily basis. Today offered a very classic example of my dilemma driven days.

JBelle is on the swim team with a local YMCA. It is her first time being on a swim team and today was the first scheduled swim meet. Being a beginning swimmer, she was only signed up to participate in one event, however, swim team members are strongly encouraged to attend the entire meet to offer support and encourage to their teammates. It makes sense, but do you know how long swim meets are? Hours and hours long. From what I can tell it’s pretty much an all day thing.

So here’s my back-and-forth dilemma. I know it’ll be good for her. It’ll be good, fun even, to see the other swimmers compete, to get a good sense of what this “being on a swim team” thing is all about. However, I seriously don’t want to spend all day at the pool when my kid is participating in one event that’ll take five minutes. On the one hand, I want to have a good attitude, to lead by example. On the other hand, I want to whine and complain and stomp my foot and pout!

So, I put on my happy face, psyche myself up, make a concerted effort to be excited and thrilled to be going to a swim meet today. I drive JBelle and my self ~35 miles, over to the next county to a the YMCA where today’s swim meet is to be held. We arrive at 10 am sharp, in time for warm-ups. (Meet starts at 11 am.) Can you guess what I’m about to tell you? The meet was canceled!!

Yet, I still find myself oddly conflicted. Here is the answer (albeit frustrating since we’d just driven 45 minutes) I would have never even hoped for and I still can’t be entirely happy about it. Why? Because of all the reasons I listed before. So, on the one hand, I’m thrilled to have “my day” back but on the other hand, I’m bummed that it didn’t work out.

It’s madness I tell you. Pure madness.

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8 Random Things About Phil Wilson

Well, Phil has tagged us on a meme. I really don’t get why he wants us to list 8 Random Things about him, but here goes.

1. We know at least five Phils.

2. Phil Wilson is by far the funniest. (looking – no! just kidding)

3. We can always count on Phil for information about Heroes.

4. Phil could be one of the Petrelli brothers. His superpower would have something to do with blogging, kind of like e-mail girl. He would make a iPhone gadget of sorts appear in mid-air and reprogram all of the worlds blogs to say, Phil Petrelli is awesome.

5. We get a lot of people coming to this blog from Phil’s blog. Hi Phil’s readers!! Glad to see you here!

6. Fred Thompson is tall, Phil is not (but he’s not short either).

7. Phil shares his initials, JPW, with a brand of loudspeakers.

8. We find that incredibly ironic.

We tag:

Brandon Scott Thomas
Gavin Richardson
Justin Mundie

To do 8 Random Things about Phil Wilson!

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Trying Not To Whine

Malia pictureToday has been a tough day for me. (And it has nothing to do with the date.) I honestly don’t want to whine about it on the Internet so suffice to say I’m not in the best of moods. But I did get to help out over at Music City Bloggers. I wish I had the time to contribute more regularly over there. I’ll just take a moment to publicly thank badbadivy and Katherine Coble for all their hard work on MCB. There are a bunch of us who contribute but those two do the lion’s share and I am very grateful to them for it!

And props to Brittney!!!

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Friday’s Feast Tres

This week’s Friday’s Feast
fridaysfeast_buttonone.gif

Appetizer
Using only one word, how does grocery shopping make you feel?

Broke.

Soup
What is your favorite part about the season of Autumn?

All of it! The cooler temps, the leaves changing and falling, playing in the leaves, putting out my fall decor, the smells, the colors, crunchy caramel apple pie, pumpkin bread, trips to Gentry’s Farm, carving pumpkins, picking out Halloween costumes, Parade of Bible characters at church, Halloween & Trunk or Treat. I heart Autumn!!!
Salad
Have you ever had any bad experiences online?

Thankfully, no.

Main Course
Name three things that make you happy daily.

DB, JBelle & The GMan

Dessert
What one household cleansing or organizing item would you not want to be without?

What is this cleansing and organizing you speak of? Okay, I’ll try – cleansing: washing machine; organizing: computer

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Obligatory Post about Poop

Malia pictureNow what kind of potty-training, laundry folding, house cleaning, dish washing, bed making, meal cooking, mess eradicating mommy blogger would I be if I didn’t regale you with at least one story about poop? I’m mean come on, it’s my civic duty as a blogger and a mother to share these tales of woe and major embarrassment with the Internet!

Here’s the scene, The GMan and I are in a local mattress store. As I complete a transaction with the nice and helpful salesperson (and the details behind this are too long and boring to enumerate just believe me, it was warranted), The GMan is wandering around the store checking out all the mattresses on display. Now, we are in the throes of potty training with our young son. We have taken the step from going sans diaper at home to sans diaper while out and about. I keep diapers, wipes and a change of clothes on hand just in case. Just as I’m about to get up from my seat, The GMan appears at my side and says that he wants to go home…and I get a whiff of, that’s right, poop.

Oh, did I mention we haven’t purchased underwear yet? No? Well, yeah, here’s the deal. I thought I had some hand-me downs for him to use during this training time but it turned out they were too big and since payday was still a few days away…I thought we could just do without until our next trip to Target. Strike one for Mommy.

So, back to the story. I take a look at The GMan’s backside and I see poop on his leg and coming out of his shorts. Meanwhile, nice and helpful salesperson is still sitting there behind the desk. I pretty much just ignore the fact that he’s there and quietly plot our escape out of the store. The diaper bag is in the car. All I have in my purse are some tissues. And then I remember what The GMan had been doing whilst I was distracted with making my purchase. I think, “Dear Lord, please tell me he was not on any of the mattresses when he did this!” Thankfully, he was not but as we got closer to our exit, I notice a blob of poop on the floor beside one of the beds! Strike two for Mommy.

Oh dear. I whip out my pack of tissues and scoop up said blob with one of them. Then I take another and furiously blot the cheap polyester carpet until no more poop is visible. Still ignoring the presence of anyone else in the store, we hightail it out of there and get to the car. I pop the trunk on the car, remove some items, lie The GMan down in the trunk and get to work on cleaning him up. What? You’ve never changed a kid in the trunk before?

Of course it had to be one the nastiest, messiest, stinkiest poop messes ever! I used all but two of the wipes I had in his bag. The remaining two I used to scrub my hands. But I eventually got him cleaned up, put a diaper on him and got him settled into the car. We headed home with a ziploc baggie at my side containing his shorts and about 20 used wet wipes. Gross. I still had to deal with that back at the house.

Now, you’d think all would be well but here’s the thing. I eventually have to go back to the store to pick-up my purchase. Strike three for Mommy!

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

A Lifetime of Wednesdays

Malia pictureFor most of my life, I’ve been resentful of the Wednesday evening service at church. When I was kid, I didn’t really understand why we had to go to church on Wednesday nights. Yes, I’d been given the typical reason of, “the elders set this meeting time for the congregation and we need to honor that”. I never really thought that was good reason. All it really did was fuel the fires of legalism and allowed for people to take notice of whether or not you deigned to grace the church building with your presence at the mid-week meeting. Then there was the, “it’s a good opportunity to refresh and renew your spiritual walk in between Sundays”. But I never really experienced anything like that.

When I hit youth group age, Wednesday nights were about seeing and being seen. (I guess some would call it fellowship.) In high school, I started working part-time jobs but was instructed by my father that I would not work on Wednesday nights. My presence at church was expected and was reflection on our family. Then came college. Finally, I could choose if and when I went to church. For the most part, I always went on Sunday mornings. I wanted to go to church, I wanted to be apart of a church family while I was in school but away from home, however, I finally got to have a say about whether or not Wednesday night would find me at church or not. And for the most part, it didn’t. Of course, homework and studying took up a lot of that time and it was an easy excuse not to go. But really, I just liked not “having” to go.

That pretty much continued on through early adulthood. After marrying and then leaving Blacksburg, DB and I just didn’t make it a priority to go to Wednesday night services. But after JBelle was born and she got a little older, we both wanted, ironically enough, to instill in our children the same commitments and responsibilities we had both been raised with.

But I still didn’t like going on Wednesdays because honestly there was never anything that interested me about Wednesday night classes and devotionals. I would fidget and yawn through classes. I would find myself daydreaming and thinking about what I would do the next day during devotionals. I would find just about any way to be at church on a Wednesday night without actually participating in anything. I was restless and tired and really just wanted to be at home. About the only positive part was having an entire hour childfree.

Then a few years ago, our church started something called Vespers on Wednesday evenings. And finally, I had a reason, a real, true reason to be at church on Wednesdays. Vespers was exactly what my heart, soul and mind needed in the middle of my week. Vespers was exactly what people had always said that Wednesday nights at church were supposed to be but that I had never found, “a chance to renew and refresh”, “a spiritual pick-me-up”. No longer do I show-up only for my kids sake. No longer do I think only about seeing and being seen. No longer do I dread sitting through yet another class or devotional. Now I come to meet God, to feel His presence, to experience His love. I come to take a few moments to quiet myself and my thoughts, to refresh my soul, to soothe my heart.

Vespers is a devotional service unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced in my fellowship of faith. The atmosphere is calming. The lights are off and there are candles all over the place. The service progresses in the same order each week but the experience is never exactly the same. A capella and instrumental music is used. There is a short period of complete silence (probably my favorite part since I have very talkative and inquisitive children!) There are stations that include all sorts of actions like reading and meditating over poetry, molding clay, partaking of communion, writing encouraging notes to others, praying, or just sitting quietly in the pews meditating over scriptures and listening to the music.

The Vespers service takes a break over the summer and tonight is first one since May. My soul has longed for it all summer (in a dry and weary land, there is no water). I’m really looking forward to tonight! A lifetime of Wednesdays has finally led me to place where doing church actually has spiritual benefit and a really good reason to be there.

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Filed under by Malia, religion