Monday, August 30, 2010

I know I'm Not The ONLY One, Right?!?!?

IMAGE: via Google Images, T-Shirts available at this site.


Every now and then when I'm reading I'll come across a word I've never read before. Depending on the complexity of the word, it usually throws the brakes on my reading until I've figured out the word ~ pronunciation, contextual meaning, usage, the works ~and if I can't figure out a pronunciation or a working definition on my own...LOOK OUT! I'm on a mission! I absolutely NEED to know this word or else! I'll usually head to the web first these days, although an old school dictionary works great too. I find out the definition and the pronunciation (I like dictionary.com because they have a little button you can push to actually hear the word spoken. That's awesome for those particularly tough ones. ) and then more often than not I'll spend the remainder of the day saying the word out loud at random to make sure I still can say it without stumbling. So...is it just me? Am I the ONLY one who does this? Do you just skip over the words you're not familiar with or are you as obsessive as me that you HAVE TO KNOW?

Just where did this post come from, you ask? What is "today's word"?

pres·ti·dig·i·ta·tion[pres-ti-dij-i-tey-shuhn]

It's a noun meaning "sleight of hand." {Wanna hear it pronounced? Go Here and click the little speaker.}

I was reading along in my book Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank when all of a sudden a quote from the Roaring Twenties by Harvard professor William Z. Ripley dropped the linguistic bomb of the day. Pres-tid-i -what?!?!?! So now we know.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's YOUR Real Age?

LOGO COURTESY OF www.realage.com

Am I late? Have you already heard about this website? If not, are you curious? Maybe even morbidly curious? I was. So I went over to the site and took the quiz. {Psst...It's got Dr. Oz on it!} The idea, as I understand it, is to take your lifestyle and health factors, combined with chronological age and brief family history information, to determine the age that your body "thinks" it is. You get the sledgehammer ~ Your REAL AGE is... ~ followed by an itemization of what is making you older than you could be. And THEN: they give you a plan to help your body "grow younger." Hmmm...Almost had me there until the fountain of youth thing...Instant skepticism! In all seriousness, though, I really do think that anything that helps motivate our family to live healthier lifestyles and make better choices is a good thing for us. Whether you agree or not, it is kind of fun to see what your result is. So why not go check it out?

And my results? My Real Age is 35.8. [My calendar age is 35.1 ... not too bad, I guess!]

Friday, August 27, 2010

Money Matters...

PHOTO CREDIT: Horia Varlan



Rebound? Recession? Are we gaining? Losing? Are the Markets up? Down? Time to buy? Sell? I am no expert ~ trust me, this much I know! ~ on anything financial or money or even numbers related. I cannot hold an intelligent conversation on much of anything numbers related. Still I seek out information until the pesky little numbers make my eyes cross (which doesn't take long!) There are people who get it, though, and are glad to talk about it. I have more finance-y blogs on my Reader (or "Following" list...or both. I still haven't determined whether one automatically updates the other or not. Google experts care to clue me in?) than I care to admit. I'll give you a couple of those in a minute. First, my perspective...for what little it's worth.

They Say It's Really Important...

Everyone from the goofy guy on the TV commercials to the trying-valiantly-not-to-expose-her-sullenness lady manning the bank booth at the middle school orientation has been saying it. "Monitor Your Credit." Well, this week we actually did what we're told to do and requested the free annual copies of our credit reports. Turns out, even though the monthly budget often gives me heartburn and there are WAY too many places that we need to "trim the fat," our reports are currently showing no major catastrophes. (Thank you, Lord, for providing just what we need exactly when we need it.) It was easy...and a trifle humbling. I now know exactly what our balances are.

Here's the Reality

Even though I read all these blogs and online resources, maniacally clip coupons and jump from store ad to store ad to store ad to keep our grocery bill low, and swear off frivolous spending at least once a month, we still have more debt (credit card and otherwise) than I will ever admit on this blog. Heck ~ I even read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, got inspired by the stories to attack my debt snowball, and fizzled out just as quickly as I started! It is a brutal cycle, and it showed on those little reports. So out came the scissors. No more games. Maybe I should adopt a {What Would Gussy Do?} philosophy? (Granted: She was proactive and took care of everything in the proper order and I am in a reactive situation trying to fix it now that it's already broken but who doesn't love.Love.LOVE looking at her GORGEOUS Gussy goods??)

On the Right Track

So our financial situation is not perfect. We are a one income family and haven't always been mindful of our spending like we are now. Regardless, my kids are quick to speak up whenever they see me pull out a little plastic card for payment somewhere. I have desperately tried to inform [brainwash? no, that sounds bad...educate? yeah, that's better.] them about credit cards and how they are EVIL. I am so glad they are listening. (Even if that means that I have, on occasion, had to insinuate to them that the CREDIT card in my hand is a DEBIT card to back them off a bit. They don't get close enough to see the truth.) As long as their first instinct is always NO when it comes to plastic, I've done my job. And maybe, just maybe, they'll be smarter than me when they are old enough for their own money management. As for us, we are thankful we've been able to keep our credit "in the green" (all the reports seemed to show the positive credit history as green, which was nice to see) and, God willing, we will be heading down the right track to getting rid of some of this lingering debt once and for all!

You Mean You Want REAL Information or Advice?

I got nothing. But here's a couple of bloggers that do:




Friday, August 20, 2010

Wish Lists and Daydreams...

I've spent so much time bopping around the web lately ~ all in the name of research, mind you ~ that my eyes have nearly glazed over! The blogs, the stores, the instructions and tips, the giveaways. Wait! What?!? Yep, giveaways. One of the blogs I found, Craft Gossip, is hosting a giveaway where three people will win a $100 wishlist from Etsy. Here's the problem: with all the time I've spent on Etsy lately (*ahem* it's RESEARCH) my wish is wa-a-a-a-a-a-y too long to qualify for the giveaway.


So, what's a gal to do? How 'bout this: I created a special wishlist (kinda, sorta) themed toward my goal ~ inspiration items, mostly, with some necessities tossed in for good measure ~ just for this giveaway and it will serve two purposes. {#1} it may give you an idea of what I am working on (then again, it may not...it's kinda hard to follow my train of thought sometimes); and {#2} it forced me to pick specific items off the million miles long wish list I've already started in Etsy.

:::PLEASE NOTE ~ all photos are courtesy of the respective Etsy shop owners listed below:::


GO PLACES. This print from Green Nest is perfect ~ with its inspirational [even kinda subliminal] message (Go Places!) paired with one of my most popular daydreams (I will own a VW bus!) and a calm and cool and fun print, who could ask for more? [$14]


Mushrooms = adorable; Scrabble tile incognito = awesome; Pieces of Me Pendants mushroom pendant = perfect little bit of fun! Now, if the Scrabble tile is a "J"... [$5.95]

This is another little bit of wearable inspiration! Tiny Token Designs' Ring of Love, with custom stamped message... My own reminder. [$27]


Now THIS. This Gnomeville fabric by Michael Miller in EuroGirlsBoutique's shop is both inspiration AND a necessity in reaching my goal. Kind of. If you squint just right. [$6.75]


This one, though, is a necessity. In order to make any progress at all, I'm gonna need to perk up my online look. Enter: Peachy Keen Blog Design. I have an idea, just don't know how to execute it. Maybe she can help? [$45]


So There You Have It...a 5-part snapshot of my Etsy wishlist. If we were looking at the whole thing we'd be here all.Day.LONG

A Whole Lotta Jibber-Jabber, A Whole Lotta Nothin'

Wowza. Some days I feel like I can't get one foot in front of the other...I'm just percolating in one place ~ snapping and popping with all kinds of energy and ideas and ohmygoodness ~ but not making any forward motion. Lateral motion, yes. Elliptical motion, sure. Even tangential motion, sometimes. But actually taking a definitive step forward? Not so much. You know it's bad when Bill has actually said "Wow, babe, your A.D.D. is kicking lately!" Yeah, I know.

I really do have some things in the works that (I hope!) will re-energize my little corner of the "www. land" and be a whole lot of fun (at least for me). I just have to get past this "research and preparation" stage and get moving. Easier said than done (again, at least for me).

Part of the research has me ALL OVER the blogosphere. There are some seriously creative and inspiring bloggers out there, y'all. In fact, I really had no idea the creativity that consumes every corner of the web. I just learned how to transfer my Reader over to this "follower" function that everyone's talking about. One day I'll try to get a blog list or a widget {the mere mention of that word always makes me think of the middle school history teacher who called me "Jelly Nose"...don't ask} added so you guys can click right on through to all these amazing pages. But probably not today.

Today, you'll have to just go check out SouleMama's Friday ritual, the {This Moment} post, and take some time to bounce around the links in the comments. So neat. I keep saying I want to participate but I never do. This will have to be close enough for this week. I've got a whole lotta jibber-jabber and nary a photo in sight.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's The Day!


Katie the 2nd grader and Kyle the 7th grader!


Mari, the Team Leader! The Buddy Walk is coming up on October 17 ~ wanna join our team or sponsor our walkers?

{thanks to the Bovas for a super-cute picture of Mari to use for our Buddy Walk info!}

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Hitler, the War, and the Pope, Revised and Expanded by Ronald J. Rychlak


Both the title and the subject matter of this book completely intrigued me. This was to be the definitive answer to the question, “Was Pope Pius XII a Nazi Sympathizer?” It promised to be historically accurate, “thoroughly researched and meticulously documented.” And it was, at least so far as I could understand it. (There was most certainly something like 300 pages of appendices to document the information provided by the author.)

I can’t shake the feeling that this book was too far over my head to give it a fair review. Perhaps jumping from complete ignorance of the subject (ok, now Pope Pius XII was who, again? That's BAD. I know.) to such a COMPLETE analysis wasn’t such a great idea? Or maybe I just need to absorb, digest, and process what I was able to grab onto a little bit more and then revisit the material again to really get it all? Could be that it was too much all at once for me to appreciate. I should have guessed that would be the case, what with my being little more than a baby Catholic {four years this year. Thank you, Lord!} and all, but I really did – and still do – find the topic fascinating. It was a lot to comprehend but still feels worth it. I think I’ll give it another go.


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DISCLOSURE: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Hitler, the War, and Pope, Revised and Expanded by Ronald J. Rychlak.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Just One Year...

One year ago today we went from a family of FOUR to a family of FIVE.

Mari, in her Daddy's arms for the very first time ~ August 12, 2009

Mariana Kay was 15 months old when we first got to hold her and snuggle her and whisper that we would love her forever. 15 months old, but she was only able to hold her head steady when she was on her tummy propped up on her elbows. When holding her we had to be extra careful to support her head and neck as she had little to no control of it on her own. Mari didn't take anything but a bottle and wouldn't cry when she was hungry or needed to be changed. Our littlest girl was very much like a newborn baby.

In just one year so much has changed!

Katie, Kyle and Mari ~ August 3, 2010

Today, on the one year anniversary of the day she joined our family (forever!), Mari has gained so much strength and improved so much it's hard to believe. For just a few examples of her progress, as of today Mari can:

  • Sit unassisted
  • Crawl
  • Pull to stand
  • Cruise along the furniture
  • Climb up onto the couch unassisted (though we are still working on climbing down safely)
  • Feed herself finger foods (no utensils just yet)
  • Use the sign for "more"
  • Say "Hi!" and wave ("Bye-bye" too, less frequently)
  • Babble and mimic sounds
  • And so much more!

Today we celebrate one year as a family of five. We thank God each and every day for our three beautiful children and for the blessing of adoption for bringing us together!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oh... Em...KE'E!!!

And by that I mean, "Oh my! Ke'e Grill totally rocks!"



Wanna guess who had a DATE last night, hmmm????


[If you'll pardon the dalliance, I must say this is probably the BEST "self-portrait" we've ever managed to snap! It turned out pretty good!]

I happen to have the most wonderful sister on earth. She took the girls while Ky was with his grandparents to give Bill and me a chance to go to dinner - *gasp* JUST THE TWO OF US!!! - to celebrate our anniversary, which was this week.

See this smirk:



It's because we were there bright and early with all the Early Birds! We were the only two in the whole joint who hadn't reached retirement age. Well, maybe except for the twenty-something at the next table who was having dinner with Daddy...

And Then...



We went to the beach for a little bit.



Guess now I kinda have to admit that Florida can be really pretty at times. SEE?:



The best part, though, is that it really wasn't even too hot to be outside last night. Shocker!

Finally,

on the way back to my sister's house, we caught a really nice, rosy sunset.


I love clouds...and sunsets...and I especially love.Love.LOVE cloudy sunsets.


The way the colors radiate from behind those big ol' clouds is just too cool for words.

Thanks again, Hillary!

And thank you, too, honey.

It was a wonderful evening.

I love you both! xoxo