Friday, April 25, 2008

My little dancer

Posted by Mandy at 6:31 AM 6 comments Links to this post

I just got Madison's dance pictures in (thanks Carolynn!!!) and I love them! Her recital was awesome. She danced her little heart out. I was so proud! Her ballet dance (was to the music "My Place in this World") made my mom, sister, and me shed a few tears. It was beautiful! I'm going to order some action shots of that dance and I'll share them when I get them in. I'm so glad she's found something that she really loves. And she's actually quite talented at it! Especially ballet. She's always had a lot of grace and balance, so ballet seems quite perfect for her. It's her personal favorite! She says she likes tap and jazz a lot too, but ballet is quiet and slow, and if you know Madison, that's her kinda thing!


Amazingly my quiet and slow loving ballet child is super excited about playing softball this year. I don't know what's changed, but when we got the sign up sheet in her folder from school she said she really wanted to play! Great! (she hasn't wanted to play at all since she played her first yaer of tball...) She'll still be in T-Ball because she won't turn 7 until June. I was worried about that because almost all of her first grade friends are already 7, but she is excited because her dance friends are late birthdays too so they're also still 6. She also has a few other friends that are a year younger that she is hoping get to be on her team. So, looks like she's going to get another shot at liking softball again. Her daddy is a huge baseball fan, and player, so I know it does his heart good to take his oldest child outside to teach her how to catch with her glove, hold her bat correctly, and catch a pop up and a ground ball. Carter's having fun tagging along with that game.. he loves to bat and run and chase the balls the Madison hits. I think his daddy has big baseball dreams for him as well. Samuel gets to sit in the baby swing or crawl around the yard watching too... soaking it up early! We may not do your typical "baby training" but we don't mess around with things like baseball... gotta teach 'em while they're young! ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Positives

Posted by Mandy at 6:08 AM 5 comments Links to this post
So, Clayton's been gone for a full week.. he gets to come home sometime today or tonight, and I cannot wait! I tried not to post while he was away b/c I didn't want to complain. Today, as a reflecting day, I thought I'd turn it around and find positives to him being away this week, and in general, with work. Digging deep to find them!

- I get to know my kids better. Without Clayton here as a "distraction" I really spend more time with the kids and listen better in the evening hours to every little thing they say.

- I learn lots of patients. There's no room for mommy to "lose it" when daddy's away so often. I can handle lots more than I thought I ever could, solo!

- I get closer to Clayton. The old saying "Distance makes the heart grow fonder." really is true. It's almost like we're dating again. (we dated long distance for 3yrs) Just a few short phone conversations over a weeks time makes you long for more. (include screaming drill instructors into the background and it makes for a tough phone call! The newest group of state police recruits happens to be there at the same time as he and other guys are getting trained to train them. lol The DI's aren't yelling at Clayton's group, by the way.)

- It's a confidence booster. A good friend of mine, who's husband is away a little more often than clayton and also works long hours, said a cool thing to me recently about our hubby's being gone. She said, "You know, one good thing is it boosts us into a whole different relm of motherhood... most women start flipping out if their husbands aren't home by 5:30pm... for us, it's just the start of a long night when we KNOW no one's coming in that door to relieve us." So true. The amazing thing is, after all of these years, I don't even need help at night most of the time. Would it be nice? lol um, yeah! But, I manage fine. I still cook a good meal each night, clean the house, get kids bathed, play games with them, read bedtime stories, and put them to bed... all by myself. I NEVER would've imagined doing this with ease when we started this venture of crazy work schedules almost 4 years ago. I assumed I'd have lost my ever loving mind by now.

- I get to catch up on all of the shows Clayton hates! This week was full of recorded episodes of John and Kate Plus 8, What Not to Wear, The O'Reilly Factor, and Little People, Big World. Ahh... it was bliss!

- I learn to face my fears. Without him here to scoop up the big black furry caterpillar we found in the kitchen, to squish spiders that come in b/c it's warm outside now, and get spider webs off of the kids swings outside.. guess who MUST do it? lol yeah.. me! I also have to continue to face my fear of being home alone at night. Yes.. I know. I'm home alone MOST nights... but it still is a huge fear of mine. I did well this week. As long as I watch TV in bed for a bit it blocks my mind from thinking of who might be trying to break in b/c they've noticed the Trooper Car has been gone for an awfully long time... I pray a lot, and thank God I wake up to a safe home the next morning!

- I catch up with friends. This week I had lunch with a friend I haven't seen in a month or so, Lee Ann came to hang out Wednesday night and we had the most awesome time, I had supper with another friend, too. I try to see my friends often, but when Clayton's home it's easier to call them up and beg for company. lol Thankfully they're all so sweet that they OFFER their company before I even have to swallow my pride and ask. They know I'm lonely... and I so appreciate them joyfully saying, "Hey! Since Clayton's gone let's hang out!" I'm SO blessed with my friends. SO SO SO BLESSED!!

- I get to know "me" a bit better. When there's no one to distract you from yourself, you have more than enough time to reflect on your life, your thoughts, your relationships, and all things that make you, you. Since I miss Clayton, I often spend time thinking of him. How great he is, how much I love and miss him, and how I want to be the wife he's excited to come home to. I was so touched to hear the guys he's with in the background talking about "how good Clayton has it at home..." the other night. Knowing that your husband speaks highly of you when you're not there, especially when you KNOW you're not always so deserving of it, is just the best feeling ever!! I've realized that the more time I spend building him up, the better our relationship gets. It's a great cycle to start!

- I have more blogging time. When's the last time I rambled on like THIS in a blog post, hu? I know you guys are as ready for him to get home as I am, now! ;)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tagged!

Posted by Mandy at 12:11 PM 2 comments Links to this post
Brittany at: www.http://brittany-becoming.blogspot.com/ tagged me.. so here goes:

The Rules:
1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Facts:
1) I've had six abdominal surgeries in my short almost 25 years. Two umbilical hernia surgeries, one laproscopic surgery to drain ovarian cysts, and three C-Sections. (no wonder I can't get a flat tummy...)

2) I was a cheerleader/dancer all through school and secretly still long for those days!

3) I tend to be quite passionate about all I do... you may have noticed. ;) Things like attachment parenting and environmental issues can top the list of my recent passions. Second runners up would be healthy eating/fitness and writing.

4) I'm, on the down-low, getting into writing. I'll share more on that as it progesses... hopefully progresses I should say.

5) I nearly cut ties with my mother after Madison was born over several issues, but by God's grace we have a better relationship today than I could have ever imagined. I cannot imagine not talking to her every single day.

6) I've recently become very aware of many of my faults. (attribute this to growing relationship with Christ) My top thing to work on as of now is judgementalness. It's so hard for me... but I'm really working to not just fake not being judgemental, but truly have a pure heart for others.

7) I hate to bake. I LOVE to cook, but baking makes me insane. So many bowls, so many spoons, SO much mixing and stirring, and it never turns out as good as the boxed or premade goodies I get at WalMart. "What's the point?" I say...

Now I have to tag some victims:

KT at www.momma-tude.blogspot.com
Maury at www.maurydraper.blogspot.com
Wendy at www.wendyjanelle.blogspot.com
Jeff at www.journeyguy.com

Okay, I'm cheating.. my infant's crying so I only got around to tagging 4 ppl... my husband's been gone ALL week for training, so have mercy on me! lol

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mercury in CFL bulbs

Posted by Mandy at 1:09 PM 7 comments Links to this post

Anyone that is the least bit environmentally conscious, or financially looking for savings, has invested in the new CFL bulbs. (compact florescent lighting) Here's what one brand says about CFL bulbs:


If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.


Earning the Government's ENERGY STAR


ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs:
-ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
-Save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.
-Produce about 75 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
-Are available in different
sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture, for indoors and outdoors.


Well, that sounds mighty fine if you ask me! These are the reasons we have almost only CFL bulbs in our home. Can I tell you that the fact that it's been probably over a year since we had to change a light bulb is reason enough to use these? So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled across an article on mercury dangers from CFL bulbs. "what?!" I had to do some research and share what I found. Here's the gist of it from http://www.snopes.com/ :



-CFLs contain mercury, a dangerous substance: True.


-While mercury stays safely contained in intact CFLs, it escapes from broken CFLs into the immediate surroundings: True.


-The amount of mercury contained in one CFL bulb poses a grave danger to a home's inhabitants: False.


-But folks do need to handle the breakage of a CFL bulb with a great deal of care and follow certain procedures in removing the broken bulb and its contents from the home: True.


-An environmental clean-up crew needs be called in to deal with the mercury dispersed by one broken CFL bulb: False.


...they also contain mercury, a fact that causes no small amount of concern in light of how dangerous that substance is. Yet the amount housed in each bulb is very small, about 5 milligrams, which is about the size of the period at the end of a sentence. And, provided the bulbs aren't broken open, none of that leaches into the home. Like batteries, used CFLs need to be disposed at a toxic waste depot rather than tossed out with the ordinary household trash. Because mercury is cumulative, this poisonous element would add up if all the spent bulbs went into a landfill. Instead, the mercury in dead bulbs is reclaimed at such depots and recycled. As to the potential for harm posed by mercury escaping from broken bulbs, says the King County Hazardous Waste Program: "Crushing and breaking fluorescent lamps release mercury vapor and mercury-containing phosphor powder. These can be difficult to contain." Yet the recommended clean-up process does not involve calling in a HazMat team. Says the EPA...


Long story short, CFL bulbs are still the best choice environmentally speaking, as long as you continue to do the environment some good and recycle them or take them to be properly disposed of once they go dark. Whew! I can continue to be a lazy bum and not have to spend my days changing and re-changing light bulbs!


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Braggin on my honey

Posted by Mandy at 6:21 AM 6 comments Links to this post

I can't help it, I have to brag on Clayton. I'm just TOO proud! He recently got certified as a DRE. A Drug Recognition Expert. When he told me he was being sent to be trained for this, I thought, "whatever.. good.. fine.." I had no idea it was such a huge deal! It was about a 3 week class... in which they crammed about 3 months worth of material! The testing was intense... I'd have never passed! Once they passed the class, they moved onto doing real evaluations. A DRE is someone that does very specific testing on someone that is thought to be intoxicated on drugs. This really involved set of physical tests they do, and make the arrested do, tells them what class of drug a person is on. The testing is more of something you'd see a doctor do, not a cop! Taking blood pressure, pulse, doing many balance tests, making them tell you when they think 30 seconds has passed, doing a pupil size exam, and then a 'dark room' pupil size exam. That pupil size test... wow. You have to literally be inches away from the person's face, with a chart by their eye, a light in their eye... to measure the size. You just hope that person doesn't spaz out and start fighting or something! (and if they're high on 'who knows what'.. chances are eventually someone is going to go nuts!) Anyway, he just got the word that he's now officially a DRE. I am so proud! He's one of about 15 State Police (meaning, in all of Arkansas) with this title. He's been told he needs to go get trained to be a DRE instructor so he can teach classes in the future. I'm for that seeing as how it actually comes with nice pay! (since he doesn't get paid any more to be a DRE.. even though it will mean more work... oh I love how the state works...) so there's my long post on my man. He continually amazes me!
 

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