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A Little Courtesy, Please

Ok all…I’m about to vent, and then I’ll change my “Thanks, Not Cranks” bracelet over to the left arm.

Now, I’m all about Sundays.  God instructed us to observe the Sabbath, and I do try hard to.  My kids are supposed to do their chores on the other days of the week, and I usually sit around and knit on Sundays.

But the first thing that happens is church.

Oh, how I love my church.  I love the music, and our pastors pass along very good messages.

I’d love these things more if people didn’t talk during them.

Begin Complaint #1.

Please tell me if I’m alone in this, but am I the only person who thinks it’s rude for people to talk after the singing begins?

I mean…music is very important for me in a worship service.  It helps me focus my thoughts and adoration on God (where they need to be).

After an especially long week, I needed this morning to regroup.  I got caught up in the music…and then I heard two people having a conversation.

And it wasn’t short.

It was long.

Now, you can try to tell me I should have tuned them out, but it was really hard.  I work with teenagers, and I can mostly tune them out, but that’s different.  Even they know (most of the time) the appropriate time to talk.

Ugh.

Even worse than talking during the singing is when people talk during sermons.

I rarely, if ever, have encountered this situation…until this morning.

I can understand that the pastor might say something that would cause you to nudge your neighbor and say something like, “I do that too.”  However, the two people sitting beside me talked…and talked…and talked.

Then they would stop.  I would try to gather myself and figure out what the pastor had been talking about.  Just as I found myself able to follow the pastor’s train of thought again, the people sitting beside me started another conversation about his newest comments!

Ugh.

I seriously considered leaning over and saying something, but I didn’t want to make a scene.  I kept wondering if it was just me being over-sensitive.

I don’t think it was.

I considered saying something after the service was over, but I don’t think God wanted me to, because they left during the singing that we did right before we were dismissed.

My point in this rant?

Have a little courtesy.  If you are sitting in a gathering where there’s a speaker, close your lips and listen.  Maybe you’re not interested.

Ok.

Do those of us who are interested a favor and maybe think about nodding off.  Or nod your head like you are listening and make your grocery list in your head.

Or better yet, pass notes to the person beside you.  At least you’re not speaking out loud.

Ok…Complaint #1 over.

Time for Complaint #2.

Leaving church with that in my head, I headed to Walmart to buy two Sunday papers.  You know that I buy two of them because I want two sets of coupon inserts.

For the last two weeks, my paper has only been carrying one insert…either the Red Plum or the SmartSource.

Not cool.

I trucked myself down to the newspaper office last week and demanded (um, yeah, that’s what I did) my missing set of coupons.

I was rudely informed that coupon inserts are only guaranteed to home delivery subscribers.

Say what?

So, because I cannot afford to subscribe to your paper but am buying one at the newsstand, you’re going to punish me by charging me more for the issue as well as keep part of the paper from me?

Not kosher.

I was not a happy girl and told the woman that I’ll probably subscribe to a way-out-of-town paper that promises I can have whatever I want.

Except that I don’t have the money yet.  Cause I can’t find a job.

Sigh.

This morning, while at Walmart, I opened up the papers before buying them…just to make sure I was getting the two inserts promised.

I only found one.  For the third week in a row.

Well, fully irate, I marched back to the greeter, informed her that I was not buying the papers because they were missing inserts (which I don’t blame Walmart for, but I didn’t want her to think I’d read the paper and put it down without paying for it), and I walked out.

I started coming up with a plan on how I was going to write this and that letter and call this and that person.

What I wound up doing was driving to Books a Million, hoping that it would carry out-of-town papers.

They carried the New York Times (no coupons) and my local paper.

On a whim, I opened small-town paper and guess what I discovered?

TWO COUPON INSERTS!!!

Say what?

This made no sense, but I live in Podunk, USA, where we tend to do things backward, so maybe it makes perfect sense.

I walked myself and two papers to the cash register, where I used my frequent buyer card to save money on the papers, spending less on them than I would have at Walmart.

I felt smug as I walked out.

I beat the system…this week.

I am still plotting, though.

Phone calls will be made.

Belts will be tightened (even more than usual) as I try to figure out how I can subscribe to an out-of-town paper, receive my coupons, and kiss the local one goodbye forever.

Ok.  Complaint #2 over.

Do I sound grumpy?

Yes.

Why?

Because I’ve mostly eaten soup all week because I still have two holes in my mouth, and I just finished Prednisone (which is a moody sort of medicine), and when I try to eat, my tummy hurts.

Really, though, all I wanted was quiet (church sermon) and coupons.

Am I being greedy?

Happy Sunday all!  😀

Super-Secret Project Revealed!

So, I know I’ve been teasing you over the last few weeks…referring to a Super-Secret Project but giving few, if any, hints.

Well, I am thrilled to FINALLY be able to reveal what I’ve been working on!!!

But first, a bit more of a tease.

I began this project on October 5, 2009.  Chicky and I had received an invitation to a friend’s bridal shower.

“K” and “T” were getting married!  They are a very special couple.  Both graduated from college in December, and T just got hired on as a full-time youth pastor at my church.  He’s been an intern for quite some time and is very close to the local kids.  K worked at the church last summer and became very good friends with Chicky.

This is a couple that adores being with teenagers.  They have been such a blessing to my own family, so I knew a special gift was in order.

I quickly decided on a project as, of course, a knitted item was in order.

I bought the yarn…

Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool - Color 098 (Natural)

I was ready…confident that I would be able to finish the project in the three weeks time-span to the shower.

The knitting gods laughed at me.

I mean, let’s face it.  It was Fall…the holiday season.

I worked when I could, but other projects came up.

But then things settled down, and I finally focused all of my energy…

To finish…

The Tree of Life Afghan

Folks, can you believe that this pattern is free?  You can find it here.  There’s also a Ravelry group dedicated to this project.

Now, you know me, and you know I like cables and fancy patterns.  This project kept me interested.  The tree sections were actually the easiest and fastest to complete…

These panels alternate with garden sections, which required a new technique for me…using a crochet hook to pull the yarn from back to front (trust me…it’s not too hard when you read the instructions)…

The sections in-between were simple garter stitch…easy-peasy!

There are different arguments out in internet-world about the best way to complete the border.  I didn’t read ahead in the instructions, so I was oblivious.  I pretty much did what I was told and knit it separately from the rest, attaching it by using my own modified version of the mattress stitch…

The border was very simple but very elegant, forming leaf petals.  I worked on the border when I subbed for a history teacher for a week.  My classes spent most of their days watching movies…which allowed me a lot of time to knit as the movies were long, and my students were incredibly well-behaved!

Now, I’ve gotta say that I mustered up some brain power and smartly decided to leave live stitches on my needles, not binding off the edging until I was absolutely sure it was long enough.  I knit 58 repeats, stitched them to the blanket, and promptly ran out of edging.  So, I knit another 17 repeats, adding this portion to the blanket’s edge, and discovered I needed one more repeat!!  Oy!

In total, I worked 76 pattern repeats of the border.

The border really made this project complete.  It added a very elegant touch to what was already an incredibly amazing project (if I do say so myself).

Rooster and the Mr. held it up so I could get pre-washing/blocking pictures…

Now, allow me to tell you a story…real quick (yeah, right).

See, I knew I was going to have to wash this blanket…for several reasons.

First of all, this blanket almost had a bad accident, courtesy of Pele, mischievous pup that he’s become of late.

You see, one morning, shortly before Christmas, I had left the blanket on the table while I ran to the store.  When I returned thirty minutes later, I walked into the house to see a long, cream-colored string hanging off of the table.

“PELE,” I hollered, following the trail the string had left.

I followed it to the den, where my heart stopped.

There, on the floor, lay my up-to-then-completed blanket (maybe 1/3)…on the floor.

I checked it for holes.

Nothing.

However, I did notice that some of the stitches had come off the needles, which forced me to tink back the section I had just worked…about 12 rows.  At 180 stitches per row, um, well, yeah, you can imagine how mad I was.

And relieved.

But in the process, that blanket had been drug over a very hairy floor.

So yeah, I knew I was going to have to wash it before gifting it.

No easy task.

Fishermen’s Wool is 100% wool, which means no washing machine, and no dry cleaning (I checked).  Only gentle hand washing.

I feel like a bad gifter, putting this kind of burden on a newlywed.  Oh well, it’s warm and pretty…just don’t throw up on it!  Washing it is not my idea of a fun way to spend the day.

Anyhoo, I stuck the blanket in the tub, covered it with water and added a dash of dish detergent…

I took the water spray nozzle thing-y and rinsed it completely afterward.

And then I tried to pick it up.

Folks, this is one heavy blanket when it’s wet!  I had already mashed some of the water out of it, but oh my!  I laid towels across the ping pong table and rolled the blanket in them to remove more water…

Then, I placed fresh, dry towels on the table and blocked the blanket.  I wanted to open up the edging so it would lie flat.

The blanket took a few days to dry…especially with the cool temperatures we’ve had in Florida.

Then I had to wait because one of the newlyweds went out of town for a week.

Oy!  I was so excited to gift it (and blog about it)!!

And then last night finally arrived.

Gift time!!

K and T came to the house so they could open the gift in front of us.

I was so nervous!  Would they like it?  Would it match their decor?  Would they realize that I want them to USE this…not be afraid of the 100% wool thing?

I needn’t be afraid.  I think you can tell what they thought of it from the pictures below…

K inspected the work up close…

Final stats on this project:

Began on October 5, 2009
Bound off on January 18, 2010

Used 4.6 skeins (2,139 yards) of Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool (Natural)

Knit on size 8 needles

Finished blanket size:  78 x 58

A special message to K and T:  Thank you for giving of yourselves so freely and unconditionally.  You have already had a profound affect on the children in the church.  More personally, though, my own children love you.  We have come to think of you as family.

We’re thrilled that God led you to each other, and I pray that when you look at the blanket, you will be reminded of the Lord and His promises.

I decided to make this blanket for a couple of reasons.  The Tree of Life Afghan symbolizes a couple of things…

  1. The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden…a promise of eternal life spent with God one day to those who accept His love and sacrifice for us.
  2. The start of your own family tree.  May God bless you abundantly in the many, many years to come.

This gift was from the entire AuburnChick home.  I may have been the knitter, but each member encouraged me by their words and ooohhhh’s and aaahhh’s.  They also reminded me that I needed to stay on the ball and get it finished before it turned into a one-year anniversary gift!!

May you enjoy many chilly days snuggled under this blanket, and may you feel God’s love (and our’s) upon you during those, and all, times.

We love you guys!!

Coconut M&M’s!

About a week ago, I stopped to gas up the car.

Of course, I had to go into the mart and get some chocolate.

No, the Mr. was not following me this time.

Maybe he should have been.

This was not the regular gas station I stop at, so I was surprised when I spied these…

Have you ever seen Coconut M&M’s?

Neither have I!

I bought them out of curiosity.

The white M&M’s had little umbrellas on them…

I’ll admit that I was a little leery at the thought of trying them, but still, it was chocolate, so I was game.

I popped one into my mouth, and I pleasantly discovered that Coconut M&M’s are DELICIOUS!

There’s only a hint of the coconut taste.  It’s very similar to Almond Joy, minus the almond.

Oh my but soooo yummy.

The next day at school, I was talking to the receptionist about the little treasure I had discovered.  She had never seen them.  At just that moment, one of the school’s administrators walked out of her office and, upon overhearing me, said, “Coconut M&M’s are my favorite!”

We had a lively discussion about them, and I told her where I had purchased mine.  She was grateful for the information because her store had been out of them for some time.  It would seem that these are not carried by most convenience stores.

Too bad.

The Mars company is losing many potential sales!  C’mon stores…STOCK THESE BABIES!! I mean, who’s not going to want a little taste of paradise?  Especially in the middle of winter?!

What Did AuburnChick Do Today?

Today was busy.

Still, I made sure I carved out time to visit my local Panera, which opened YESTERDAY!!!  Many thanks to the student who told me!  I ran out during my Planning/lunch and grabbed Black Bean Soup, bread (I could only eat the soft innards), and fresh lemonade!  YUM!

Later, Chicky’s team was playing in the Regional Quarterfinals.  I took my knitting along, not really expecting to actually knit.  My bag is like a security blanket.  It goes everywhere with me.  But, lo and behold, I did actually knit two rows of my newest project (the Super-Secret Project will be revealed in a few days, I promise)…

Chicky’s team won!  Yay!

I managed to keep my mouth shut for most of the game.  Yay!

Wonder what I’ll be doing tomorrow…

Life in a Small Town…

…means that you can’t slip out and get slushies or chocolate without the hubster knowing about it.

I mean, c’mon girls!  Don’t ‘ya sometimes just want to indulge in a little chocolate therapy.  Shouldn’t we be able to do this guilt-free?

I’ve been subbing for a teacher who has 2nd period planning and then early lunch, so I go in, teach one class, and get time to re-energize.

That means chocolate, right?

So, a couple of days, I was in Happy Land.  I’d gotten my donuts and Reese’s.

Yeah, I was a happy girl.

I was heading back to school, and who should call?

The Mr.

“Hey,” he said.

“Yeah, what do you want?” I answered.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Who me?” I asked, all innocent-like.

“Um, I’m behind you.  Where’d you go?” he persisted.

Rats.  I didn’t want to lie.

“I went to the store.  BTW, what are you up to?” I asked, trying to change the subject.

Sometimes the man uses his brain.  He did not allow me to steer him off his line of questioning.

“What did you buy?” he asked.

“Stuff, okay?  Chocolate stuff.  I NEEDED it.”  I said.

“Uh huh,” he said, unconvinced.

End of conversation.

I wish this was an isolated incident, but it’s not.

Today, I picked up Rooster from band practice.  I decided I was in need of a Sonic Icee.  See, I had interviewed for a history teacher position today, but I didn’t get it.  I was a teensy bit down in the dumps, and my mouth was a little more sore today than yesterday.

Rooster was totally okay with taking a detour on the way home.

And then we saw it…

The Mr.’s car.  He waved as he drove past us!

Rats.

What did we do?

We drove home.

Sigh.

Guess the icee will have to wait for another day…when I’m sure the Mr. is tied up at work.  😉

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Folks, what you’re looking at is my cup.

It’s full of the most delicious stuff ever…

Sweet, iced tea.

Now, y’all know that I grew up in L.A…Lower Alabama to you Northern folks.

Home of Sweet Tea.

I’ve been making it all of my married life, but I have never been a huge fan.

Until yesterday.

When I came home with two holes in my mouth.

The literature suggested drinking decaffeinated tea to help with the healing.

And you know me…usually obedient.

It’s cool enough in the house that I can drink it without adding ice (of course, it’s coming straight from the fridge, but my insulated cup keeps it cool).

Oh my, but the first timid sip I took last night was HEAVENLY!!!

The cup in the picture above holds 24oz of yummy stuff.

Today, I took a cup full to school (yes, I went even with two new holes in my mouth).  I had my pain medication doing its thing, and my antibiotic is working hard too.  I was set.

Until 10am.

When I ran out of sweet deliciousness.

A problem.

You see, I was trying to figure out what to do about lunch.  I’m not a big eater, but there was something about being “denied” the right to eat (i.e. not being able to open my mouth and chew) that made me WANT to eat even more.  I guess this is the battle that people fight when they go on a diet?

Anyhoo, I didn’t have much time…not enough to run by the restaurant that was whipping up a roasted tomato soup they assured me would go down with very minimal chewing and run by home to pick up more tea.

The restaurant does not sell decaffeinated tea, and I can’t have the caffeine because it can mess with the blood clots that are trying to stay put in the now-empty tooth sockets.

Honestly, I wanted to cry.  Perhaps it was me being emo (that’s teenage slang for emotional) because of the Prednisone I’m taking for swelling in my mouth.

Regardless, I did what I needed to do.

I texted Chicky and asked her to visit my classroom to get the cup so she could refill it for me when she went to lunch.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

She got a good chuckle out of it but willingly obliged because she because she didn’t want to see me get more emo because I couldn’t have my tea.
I gave her a hug, in front of my Freshmen class, when she returned with a full cup of tea.  Good girl!  I sipped on it the rest of the day.
When I got home from work, I refilled my glass.

And realized that we were almost out of tea.

Time to brew up some more!

Hello.  My name is AuburnChick, and I’m addicted to Sweet, Iced Tea.

I guess there could be worse things, eh?

AuburnChick Visits the Dentist

So, after Chicky’s fabo 18th birthday, I didn’t post on my blog.

Why?

Because I had a little something called a toothache.

No ordinary toothache.

The kind that makes you cry.

Right before Christmas, I lost part of a filling from one tooth.  I didn’t think I needed to do anything, because I didn’t have any pain.

Apparently things changed this weekend.

Ouch!

Why wouldn’t I call the dentist immediately, you might wonder?

Well, because I have this crazy fear of these drill-bearing doctors.

It goes back to childhood.  My mom took my sister and me to our semi-annual cleanings.  I don’t remember her actually threatening bodily harm if cavities were found, but I think she somehow got her message across, because I was always deathly afraid that the dentist would find something wrong.

My record stayed clean until I was 17, when I had two cavities!  My mom made me drive myself back to my appointment (40 minutes away) to get those suckers filled.  I was by myself and deathly afraid.

Fast forward ten+ years to a toothache that resulted in a root canal.

Oh my, but that was a very traumatizing experience.  I couldn’t eat without pain for a couple of weeks.

Added to the physical pain was the financial ouch of a $400 crown during a time when every single penny went to paying monthly bills.

I think you get my point.

For me, going to the dentist is a torture equally as bad as water boarding.

I sucked it up today, girded with a dose of Midol which, by the way, says on the box that it’s good for toothaches, and called.

The office had an opening for 3pm…perfect since I have been subbing regularly.

I called Super Sis who empathized as only a sister can and offered to pray for me.

Then I went.

And I sat.

I cried as the assistant tried to take an x-ray…another reason why I cannot stand the dentist.  My mouth is very small, and I cannot hold the x-ray films between my teeth without getting all gaggy-feeling.

I was mortified that I was losing it over x-rays.  The technician wasn’t lovey-dovey, but she did an amazing thing.  She applied topical anesthesia to my gums so that I wouldn’t feel the film.

It did the trick, and we were able to finish taking photos.

The dentist came in a bit later and declared that I needed a root canal.

Rrrrronnnnkkkkk.

Wrong answer.

I told him so, in pretty much the same words.

I asked if he could pull the tooth, and he said, “Sure, although it might be hard given the location of the tooth beside it…”

The wisdom tooth is the last tooth on the right...laying sideways beside another tooth...the one causing me pain.

After a few shots…yet ANOTHER reason why I don’t like dentists…I was ready.

Now, I have to ask a quick question.

How many of you watched the television series Alias, which starred Jennifer Garner?  It was on in the early 2000’s.

Well, in the first episode, Sydney (Jennifer) gets her teeth removed because she’s caught spying and they are trying to torture her.  The guy approaches her with dental clamps.

Let me tell you…that is the scene I thought of as the Dr. E came at me with his own stuff.

Now, if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that anything I do is not done the easy way.

Such it was with this tooth extraction.

Apparently my teeth are as stubborn as my emotional state, because the tooth refused to budge.

He decided to break it apart.

Fine with me.  My mouth was numb.  I cared not one iota.

Now, one of the worst sounds ever is that of a drill.  Ugh.

But I was such a trooper, if I do say so myself.  I didn’t cry.  I was numb.  Dr. E was removing the reason why I had spent Saturday curled up into a ball crying in pain.

Even after breaking the tooth, he could not remove it.

Can you believe it?

He tried.  Boy, did he try.

He actually stood up and leaned over me…putting his muscle into the work.

Nada.

That’s when he decided this called for extreme measures.

The wisdom tooth beside it had to go.  Did I mind?

Um, no.  I had the other three extracted almost 15 years ago.  No biggie.  I was numb.  I didn’t care.  Just keep the pain medicine coming, I warned him.

Another shot went in.

I stayed semi-happy.

I’ve never felt so loved…two adults hovering over me…one with an air sucker thing and the other welding all sorts of metal objects.

And all it took was a little toothache.

So, the dentist worked and worked.

The wisdom tooth was proving to be almost as stubborn as the other one, but once he had shaved it down, there was no turning back.

I tried to relax, and I prayed.

Finally, that wisdom tooth came out.  I actually took a picture of it, cause I’m a good blogger, but because I’m a better blogger, I’m not going to post it.  It’s a little icky looking.  But it was HUGE!  Trust me.

Anyhoo, one would think that the other tooth would come out easier now that the obstruction was removed.

Not!

The doctor worked and worked.

I prayed.

And then, finally, one of the roots came out.  He held it up proudly for me to see and explained that the roots of this tooth and the wisdom tooth had gotten tangled around each other…hence the reason why he couldn’t remove one without the other.

I was excited.

One down, one to go.

Stubborn little booger.

A good 15 minutes later, the second root came out, but only after the doctor had to make an incision in my gum.  I didn’t care.  I was numb.

And for the record, yes, I was fully aware that although numb during the procedure, I’d be paying for it later.

I didn’t care.

I was numb.

The doctor sewed me up after he finished removing that second root.  The nurse stuffed my mouth with cotton gauze and sent me on my way with three prescriptions in hand.

I walked out of there paying a little over $100 (a bargain since the crown I’d had for my last root canal cost me an arm and a leg).

On the way home, I picked up Rooster, and we went to CVS to get my meds.  I was lucid enough to use a coupon I had printed out which entitled me to a $25 gift card with a new prescription.

Might as well get something out of my ordeal, eh?

Then, I took Rooster home and attended a soccer board meeting.

Now I’m home, a Loritab is working its way into my system, and I’m settling down.

I’ve gotta say that there is a huge lesson that I’m taking away from the day.

Never let fear stop you from doing what you need to do.

I’ve been reading a number of Christian blogs lately, and one theme that has run through them has been fear.  This is something I struggle with in several areas of my life.  My head tells me one thing, but I let my emotions rule.  I just can’t do this anymore.

I feel so good right now, except for the pain from two holes in my mouth where bone previously existed.

I’m praising God for a knowledgeable dentist (how many regular dentists will readily extract wisdom teeth and cancel other appointments because your’s took so long)?

I am grateful for a supportive family and friends willing to drive me home from soccer meetings because the med instructions say, “Do not drive.”

Wanna know what else I’m thankful for?

Sweet iced tea.

Tea has healing qualities that are perfect for tooth extractions.

So yeah.  I’m thankful.

And not afraid of the dentist any more.

Chicky Turns 18!

My oh my, but it’s a big day in the AuburnChick home.

Today, January 22, is Chicky’s 18th birthday!

Last night, we waited for her to go to bed.  We gave ourselves an extra 30 minutes to ensure she was deep in sleep, and then we let loose with the streamers and balloons.

This is the hallway to Chicky’s bedroom.  We wanted her to feel special from the moment she got up.

The next picture is the view as you enter the kitchen from the hallway.  My house is a disaster right now, but you get the point.  Banners and streamers everywhere!

Even the coffee pot (shown in the picture below) didn’t escape attention!

The den and dining room also feel victim to the decorations…

I finally crawled into bed around 1am.  I couldn’t wait for Chicky to wake up.  It reminded me of her very first Christmas…the anticipation kept me psyched up.

I heard Chicky get up and walk in the kitchen (to get her cell phone, don’t ya know), and she exclaimed, “Think you put up enough streamers?!”

LOL

She was happy, I could tell.

That pleased me because this is HER day.

We decided to do presents in the morning because Chicky has a game tonight.  She opened cards from family first, and she happily discovered a check in each one.  Every teen loves money!

Then, Rooster gave her his gift…

It’s an insulated travel coffee mug!  With her recent foray into this coffee thing, she needed her own cup (she’s been using the Mr.’s), and she needed one that would keep the coffee warm.  Rooster also later gave her his Best Buy gift card…the one he had received for Christmas.  It still has about $8 left on it, and he wanted her to use it for her birthday.  Is that sweet or what?!

Next, Chicky opened the gift from the Mr. and me…

It’s a Visa gift card, and we explained that we want her to buy a Pea Coat or a certain dress she’s had her eye on.

Her eyes gleamed as she told us what she wanted to buy, which she could now afford if she put all of her birthday money together.

I got dressed, and we headed out to spend her $$…

She got herself a 32gb iPod Touch!  You should have seen the look on her face as she opened it up.  As one who loves technology, I have to say that it’s PURTY (as in pretty, but Southern-style, you know).

Next, we decided to go to lunch.  I mean, what can be better than lunch with your Mama on your 18th birthday?  (Yeah, I know that lunch with Guy Friend on your 18th birthday would probably trump the other, but humor me, okay?).

We saw cars parked in the lot in front of the new Panera that’s going up, and we thought maybe it would be open…

If you look closely, you’ll see the sign on the window that says “6 Days.”

Oy!  I do love me some Panera, and my mouth was watering.

Instead, we decided to head to a local eatery that is popular with the high schoolers.  This place serves up sandwiches and other lunch fair.  I’d never been there, so Chicky suggested what to order.

Oh my gosh, but it was delicious!  For $6, I got 1/2 sandwich, a side (black beans and rice), and a drink!  So, it was $12 for the two of us.  Not bad at all!

We chatted about every day stuff.  It was wonderful.

This has been an amazing day.  In some ways, it’s hard to believe that I’m the mom of an 18 year-old.  Yesterday, I pulled out her baby and toddler books, and as I read through them, I was astounded at the memories that flooded in.  I remember writing those words on those pages.  Could this much time have passed already?

For those of you with young children, it is so true when people tell you that time flies, and before you know it, they’ll be grown.  Some days seem to pass by slowly, especially when the children are younger and crying with croup.  But all of a sudden, you wake up and find yourself taking pictures of a daughter in a prom dress or a graduation gown, and then you think about how quickly those days actually flew by.

I’m not going to be a weepy mom.  I’m thrilled that Chicky has reached this milestone.  My #1 mantra as a parent is that I’m training my children to be independent and serve God.  Knowing that Chicky is on the cusp of spreading her wings and flying on her own makes me a teensy bit nervous, but I know that God will watch over my little Chicky as she leaves the nest.

Happy Birthday, Chicky.  You are special.  You are loved.  You were wanted and planned for and appreciated on the day you arrived.

Watching you grow and mature has been the greatest reward as your parent.  I pray that you always put God first in your life, and that you will always seek His will and trust Him through all that life may throw your way.

I love you!!

Love,

Mama♥

A Couponer Gets Vindicated

Consider this post Part 2 of this post.

You’ll recall that I had a rather bad experience while trying to use coupons at Walgreens.  I showed my not-so-nice side and called the corporate office to “inquire” (i.e. prove myself right) about the company’s coupon policies.

Now, you know how sometimes you might speak to customer service reps who promise to take your information and assure you that someone will get back to you and nobody ever does?

I kind-of expected that this might happen to me, but guess what?

The store manager (i.e. Head Honcho) called me back!

The next morning!

We discussed the issue I’d had the evening before, and he AGREED that I was RIGHT!

Insert a not-so-humble-I-told-you-so.

Of course, I was gracious, and I genuinely meant it.

The guy was professional and likable.  He told me that I was more than welcome to go back to his store and purchase the items that had been placed in his office for me.  I sheepishly told him that I’d bought them at Target after getting them to price-match and using my coupons.  He expressed disappointment that he’d lost the sale.

Hmmmmm…

I asked him to pass along my apologies to the assistant manager I’d wanted to wrestle.  I assured him that I’m really a nice person…just don’t tell me I can’t use my coupons.  Then I lose my youngish but misleading innocent look.

Just thought you’d like an update!

Random Dozen

Yay for the Random Dozen!  As always, thanks, Linda (and yes, this is THE Linda from my post yesterday).

I’m finding that I’m enjoying these questions each week.  I think they are introspective, which is something I need.

So, on to the questions!

1. If you physically lock in one age for yourself, which would you choose and why?

I think my ideal age would be 31.  I was still a full-time SAHM, I volunteered at the kids’ schools a lot, and I was working out at the gym.  I felt good about myself all the way around.  The kids were still young enough to like me, and I was down in South Florida surrounded by really close friends.  I miss the afternoons I spent at the park or at friends’ houses…chatting away until it was time to go home and get dinner ready.

2. What is the best dish that you cook or bake (your piece de resistance?)

Dessert-wise, my chocolate chip cookies are to die for.  Trust me.  I kid you not.

Snack-wise, I make a mean deviled egg.  Coupon Queen taught me how a number of years ago, and I’ve proven to be a good student.

Entree-wise, I recently discovered this recipe for Chicken Marsala.  Oh my, but it’s easy and so delicious!!

3. When you feel blue, what is one strategy you use to help yourself back to normal?

I eat chocolate.  And I pray.  And I cry.  And I take a nap.  Somehow, things seem better after a little sleep.  Yes, that’s my ONE strategy.  It’s all-encompassing.

4. When was the last time you danced in public?

Yesterday, I think I did a little gig at school during class (don’t tell my kids).  I LOVE to dance.  Always have, ever since I was in high school.  I have danced with my kids in the house, I’ve car-danced with my kids’ friends in the car (Shakira’s song, “Oh Baby When You Talk Like That” brings on groans from my children).  I’ve danced impromptu with one of Chicky’s former soccer coaches in a restaurant (out on the patio).

Um, yeah.  Sometimes I’m not shy.  Or rather, I can be egged on rather easily.

5. Do you consider yourself a realist or dreamer?

A realist.  I am so practical, it’s disgusting.  Sometimes, though, I can dream, but then the realistic side of me will try to figure out how to make that dream happen.  Case in point…finishing my college degree.  I dreamed about it for a long time.  I finally went back to school a few years ago and got my diploma.  Second case in point:  I used to dream about working in the school system.  I finally applied and obtained a position (my tech position at a middle school).  Now I’m subbing in hopes for a teaching position.  Sometimes being a realist is not bad.

6. As a parent, what is one thing that you have done well?

How to be a contributing member of the family.  By that, I mean that my kids are independent, and they understand that the house doesn’t cleaned up by itself.  They can sweep, wash clothes, hang clothes on the line, take care of the dishes, clean their bathrooms, and even cook (Rooster is starting to get better at this).

One other thing I think I’ve done well is that I’ve taught them the value of money.  I always gave them allowances and allowed them to spend them, not tying them into chores (see previous paragraph).  Yet, I didn’t buy them the things they wanted.  They learned to save their money.  They learned to do extra chores (clean the windows or wash the cars) if they needed extra money.  Chicky now how her own bank account, credit card, and check book.  She takes care of business.  Rooster is not far behind.

7. Which is your favorite character on the Andy Griffith show?

Can I be honest and say that I never liked this show?

8. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Probably a 6.

9. What is your #1 driving pet peeve?

People who honk at you a tenth of a second after the light has turned green.  C’mon people!  This isn’t a race!!

10. Which color best represents your mood today? Care to elaborate?

Yellow.  Yellow is happy, bright, and cheery.  Today, I was teaching my students about indefinite nouns and verb agreement.  I realized they didn’t know anything about prepositions (a must for the lesson), so I went outside the box (i.e. went beyond the teacher’s lesson plans) and taught the section on prepositions.

I watched as the lights went on in those students’ brains.  They put the pieces together and GOT it!  That made me happy!

11. If your spouse were an animal, which would he/she be?

The Mr. is a grumpy sort…a bit of a brooder.  Of course, he is married to Your’s Truly, so that could be part of the reason.  I don’t really know what kind of animal would describe this behavior.

12. What activity takes up the bulk of your time on an average day?

Reading blogs.

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