Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our Day out with Thomas

I don't know what happened to the pictures. . . hopefully this will work now.

Braeden took his third Day out with Thomas last week. This year, Gabe & Katie were able to go with us, and Jeff also tagged along for the ride. The weather had us a bit worried, but the rain held off in spite of rather menacing clouds. Actually, the overcast skies made for fabulous color in the photos. I had to do very little editing to them.

There was a petting zoo which was much better than last year's. We got such a kick out of the baby goats nursing - their tails were little spinning they were so excited. Gabe wanted to play on the mini golf course that had been set up, and Braeden was content to play in the tent with all the track set up while Katie colored.

I'll post more pictures on my photo blog later. These are the ones that show more of what the kids did Friday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I have waited for this for a very, very long time. . . .

My work - one of my early digital scrapbook pages - is in print! Okay, so it won't hit newsstands for 2-3 more weeks, but still - ME - one of MY pages - in a magazine! If you feel so inclined, it's on page 77 of Digital Scrapbook Magazine.

AND. . . yesterday I had a very flattering request regarding my scrapbooking. More details on that later. :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Faith Issues

I'm really struggling right now with my faith. I've blamed God for things that He didn't do. It seems we are in yet another financial crisis, and I'm tired of it. I'm sick of the constant stress and worry of how we will pay for everything. I hate that the minute we save a little money, we have another crisis that saps it all. I hate that people keep screwing us over and leeching even more money out of us. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it! Is it ever going to end?

Yeah, I'm struggling. So today I was listening to James McDonald, a radio pastor. He's always been inspiring - but he also has a proclivity for stepping on my toes. He has a daily radio program, and I like to listen on the internet when things are quiet. Today I heard an entire series about how God is always at work in our world, regardless of our ability to "see" him working. I needed that. I needed to be reminded that God does not work on my schedule.

Then I listened to the start of another series about finances. Unusual preaching for him, but again - I needed to hear it. I look forward to listening to the rest in the morning.

I have a long way to go. Sometimes I think I am so spiritual - and then I realize I'm just fooling myself. Think I'll ever figure it out?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Love Speakerphone

I just had one of those epiphany-moments.

As I was talking to Mom, I put her on speakerphone. This allows me to freely "talk with my hands" while chatting to someone who can't see me.

Yes, I am one of those people who can't complete a sentence without waving my hands in the air like an idiot. Speakerphone is good for people like me. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fortune Cookie

My fortune cookie said now is the time to tell my long-distance family and friends my news. Problem is, I haven't got any news. At least not anything anyone would care about, or I haven't already told everyone.

Guess the fortune cookie was wrong.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Incident

I am a creative paranoid - by that, I mean that I can envision all kinds of crazy, horrifying scenarios of things that might, but probably never will, go wrong. One of my favorites (should I use that word?) is that Jeff winds up in a disastrous car accident on his way to school or out delivering pizzas.

So yesterday, I was three minutes from getting off work and enjoying a snooze, courtesy of a NyQuil hangover, and the phone rings.

"Amanda? I've had an accident."

(My heart sinks below the level of my chair.)

"Are you hurt?"

"No, and the car isn't too badly damaged."

"Is it driveable?"

"No, I have two flats and busted-up rims."

"What happened??"

"The road was narrowing into two lanes and some idiot decided to whip up in there and he cut me off and I could either hit him or run up onto the curb."

"I take it he didn't hang around for the aftermath."

"Oh, no. He's gone. And no one is stopping to help, either. I have to get to school! I don't know what to do!"

"Are you in the middle of the road?"


"Call the police. They can get a wrecker. You at least need a cop there to divert traffic so you don't get run over. Then call one of your classmates and see if they can pick you up. I'll have my cell phone and you can call if I have to come to Chattanooga and get you."

"Uh, yeah. Okay. [insert unintelligible muttering] Bye."

So I ran to the bank to deposit the money we'd been squirreling away for several weeks so we can pay for a tow truck and tire repair. So much for the emergency fund. We can't even save $1000 without wiping it out. Later Jeff called and told me that one of the tires is repairable, but the rim is bent too much on the other. He wound up putting the donut back on and limping the car home.

I give up. I'm trying to consider myself blessed that we had the money stuck back to cover the expense, but I'm so irritated about having to spend it on tire repair when it really should've gone for brakes and tuneups that I can't see the "blessed" aspect of this right now.

Back to Square One. For the thirty-thousandth time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Hooray! We have ignition - the computers are all networked!

Okay, not all of them. The old laptop is dying a slow, painful death. I haven't even attempted to network it, and probably won't, either.

AND - I found the MIA recipe files! Hooray!

More Miscellany

Ugh. I hate being sick. The drastic change in weather in the last week has left me snorting, sniffling, coughing, and aching. I think the allergy attack spawned by the 30-degree drop in temperature has morphed into a full-blown sinus infection and goodness knows what else. Last night I felt like crap. I actually was in bed at 10pm, which is sooo early for me. Today I'm chilled and generally feeling icky.


Still haven't got the blasted computers networked. I can get internet access to them, but the networking is not cooperating. It's probably the difference between XP & Vista, but I am too tired to think clearly enough to deal with it. I did manage a work-around to get the necessary files moved from one computer to the other. Now I can at least do my digital scrapping again. Yay!

Incidentally, I have to thank Jeff for something. He insisted on a huge monitor - 22 inches - and I thought he was out of his mind. No way we could possibly need such a large monitor, I thought.

I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

I cannot tell you how nice it is to have this monster moniter for digital scrapping! Especially when I'm doing a 2-page spread - I can actually see the whole thing without having to constantly zoom in on one spot, then scroll over, then zoom out, then scroll some more. . . you get the idea. It's also quite nice for working in large spreadsheets (yes, I am an Excel fanatic). Plus, having the larger monitor has greatly reduced the eyestrain I was experiencing. It's not that the type onscreen is any larger. I guess it's just a better quality monitor overall, and my eyes have quit hurting. I can't tell you how much of a relief that is. Seriously, I was afraid I was about to need bifocals!

In other not-so-interesting news, I am not having a good Weight Watchers week. In fact, I'm feeling terribly discouraged about the whole process. (More to come on my WW blog.) Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. Worse - I lost my ENTIRE recipe folder in all the computer hoopla! I had literally hundreds of pages of recipes, and poof! - they are all gone. I just want to cry. Included in the MIA files was the recipe book I put together a couple of years ago, and my tried/untried list. So now I'm back to the drawing board. Maybe it's for the good. I probably need to reformat the recipes, anyway.

And on that note, this is long enough and I am bored with blogging for the moment. Off to find some DayQuil. . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Getting There

Slowly... not so surely.

I am trying to network the two pcs so I can transfer files. Let's just say it doesn't seem to like me. I am definitely past my expertise level on this one.

Hopefully Jeff's computer-guru/friend can figure it out before my headache progresses to migraine level.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Computin' Machine

I am typing this from my brand-new PC. The emachine had been subjected to 10-12 hours a day for more than four years, and was showing signs of virtual Alzheimer's. It was a great computer - I'd recommend an emachine to anyone.

However, the new computer is an Acer. Emachine just didn't make one powerful enough for the massive amount of photo/digital scrapbooking files I use. It runs on Vista, which makes me nervous - but so far, so good.

I guess this is the fourth new computer I've had. They've come a long way since the one I bought my senior year of high school that ran on Windows 3.1 and had ClarisWorks for the word processing program. That one lasted 5 years, then we "upgraded" to a Gateway. I will never, never, never buy another Gateway. Ever.

After that came the beloved emachine - an excellent computer for $450. We aren't retiring it - I'm just going to buy a wireless adapter so we can move it to the living room and Jeff can use it to download music and surf lyrics sites - both of which have a tendency to create virus issues.

This means we now have four computers in our household - two PCs and two laptops! Granted, one of the laptops belongs to Chatt State, but still... it's a lot of technology. It amuses me to no end when I think that 25 years ago, when I was Braeden's age, a Commodore was cool stuff! (Remember those? LOL) Using a computer was a novelty, to say the least. Fast forward 25 years, and I have a preschool-aged kid who can successfully navigate the internet!

My, how things change! What would our great-grandparents have thought of our progress, I wonder? Would they find it intriguing, or just think we were wasting our time?

I suppose we'll never know. I, for one, am quite fond of my computer and would not be willing to give it up.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What to Say...

I admit - I was stumped. Then I was emailed this survey, and I thought, "Oh, good! Blog fodder!" :)

( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Skipped school (Oh, yeah. Usually to sleep.)
( ) Watched someone die
(x) Been to Canada (Just over the border at Niagara Falls
( ) Been to Mexico
(x) Been to Florida (last year for the very first time!)
(x) Been on a plane (several times - as far as Amsterdam)
(x) Been lost (Uh huh. Many, many times.)
( ) Been on the opposite side of the country
(x) Gone to Washington, DC (The first - and only - vacation Jeff & I have taken)
(x) Swam in the ocean (does wading count?)
(x) Cried yourself to sleep (a few times, but don't ask me what I was crying over.)
(x) Played cops and robber (Yup. I was more into boy games when I was little.)
(x) Recently colored with crayons (On the kid's menu at Cracker Barrel!)
( ) Sang Karaoke
(x) Paid for a meal with coins only? (All the time at fast food joints. They look at me like I'm nuts.)
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? (I refuse to go into gory details.)
(x) Made prank phone calls (My suitmate in college was the best at pranking. I "assisted.")
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (Sodas hurt!)
(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue (Yes, but it was so long ago I barely remember.)
(x) Danced in the rain (I don't dance. No rhythm. But I've ran through puddles in the rain.)
( ) Written a letter to Santa (Sadly, no. We didn't do the Santa thing when I was a kid.)
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sunrise with someone you care about (That means waking up early. Nah.)
(x) Blown bubbles (gum bubbles and with a wand)
(x) Gone ice-skating (A few times - once in Scotland. Not very good at it, but it's a lot of fun.)
( ) Been skinny dipping outdoors (There are some things NO ONE wants to see!)
(x) Gone to the movies (Yes. Lots.)

1. Any nickname? Manders

2. Mother's name? Brenda

3. Favorite drink? Currently diet Mountain Dew, though I'm trying to quit

4. Tattoo? nope

5. Body piercing? just ears

6. How much do you love your job? It's not bad. Boring sometimes, but I can't complain. I get to work at home!

7. Birthplace? Benton, AR

8. Favorite vacation spot? I don't vacation much, but Scotland is the coolest place ever.

9. Ever been to Africa? No, but I'd like to get my RN and do short-termmedical missions there someday.

10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? no, but I used to eat them for breakfast every day

11. Ever been on TV? I don't think so... at least I don't recall it.

12. Ever steal any traffic sign? wellllll...

13. Ever been in a car accident? yes

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 4 door

15. Favorite salad dressing? honey mustard & peppercorn

16. Favorite pie? not a big fan of pies

17. Favorite number? I dunno

18. Favorite movie? I can't pick. Really. I have such a huge list of movies I love. Maybe that will be another post.

19. Favorite holiday? Christmas

20. Favorite dessert? my homemade chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate cake mushed up with vanilla ice cream

21. Favorite food? same as movies. Too many that I love to choose a favorite.

22. Favorite day of the week? Saturday - the only day I get to sleep in

23. Favorite brand of body wash? Don't have one. I buy whatever's cheapest

24. Favorite toothpaste? See above

25. Favorite smell? I had a blog post about this once... cumin, tea leaves, wild onions, etc., etc.

26. What do you do to relax? scrapbook, read, play sudoku

27. How do you see yourself in 10 years? hopefully a lot thinner, a SAHM, and having adopted (or at least started the process)

Monday, April 7, 2008

I had a dream...

A rather realistic one, in fact. I woke up at 5am needing to potty, and in the hour before I had to be up and ready for work, I dreamt that a tornado was coming for my house. I had little warning, and in a panic I ran for the bedroom. I decided the safest place was under the bed Dad made for me. We have always joked that it was so heavy a tornado couldn't budge it. :) As I got into the doorway, I could see the twister in the window. It was slender and red, which was very strange. I felt like I was running through peanut butter - my brain was telling my body to hurry and my body wasn't getting the message. Somehow I got under the bed just as the tornado struck. It came right through the middle of my house, reducing my kitchen and living room to rubble. I was distraught because I lost all of my scrapbooks. Jeff came home from work and the only thing he could say was "why didn't you try to save the brand-new computer?"

My college roommate got her hands on a goofy dream interpretation program one time. We got a kick out of entering random elements - almost every "interpretation" had to do with sex or sexuality in some form or another. It was highly entertaining.

Except for the part about Jeff being a hiney (I know from experience he'd be panicking if I was actually in a tornado) and the tornado being blood-red it was unnervingly real. So for fun, I decided to analyze the elements of my dream, sans computer program. Here are the results, from www.dreaminterpretationsguide.com:

Tornado - If you dream that you are in a tornado, you will be filled with disappointment and perplexity over the miscarriage of studied plans for swift attainment of fortune.

Red - To dream of the sky, signifies distinguished honors and interesting travel with cultured companions, if the sky is clear. Otherwise, it portends blasted expectations, and trouble with women.

And since I couldn't match any of the other elements, I guess I'll have to leave it at that. Looksl ike I can expect to be seriously disappointed in the near future, and have trouble with women.

*sigh* Perhaps I should've left well enough alone!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Celebrating Five Years

I have discovered something. It is far more fun (and memorable) to celebrate a child's birthday by being a family and having a big play day than it is to gorge on cake and gifts that are quickly discarded for bigger and better toys.

Last year, we took Braeden to IMAX & the children's museum. This year, the weather was not so cooperative, so we went to Pump It Up and Chuck E Cheese. If you have never been to a Pump It Up, you need to go. I'm telling you, it is the most entertaining exercise you can possibly get! Most of them are open on the weekdays to the public (parties on weekends), and for $6 a kid, you can let them run off all their excess energy.

It is a tad difficult to take pictures, since you have to use a flash, but bear with me - perhaps you'll see just how much fun this place is!

This is one of the "games" at Pump It Up

Can you believe it? I'm actually in a picture instead of hiding behind the camera!

Somehow, Jeff wasn't concerned that a 50-lb missile was hurtling over his body. :)

Braeden was leaping off the slide - this was the moment of impact, about 10 feet from the top!

The true highlight of Chuck E Cheese is the model train setup.

Jeff gave Braeden pointers on the best way to squirt a misbehaving clown.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Birthday Letter

It's no secret that I love to scrapbook. Some days I feel that it's my "art," and some days it's just a stress reliever. Every now and then I hit on a layout that I am infatuated with from the moment the idea begins to form in my head. This is one of those pages. I don't really intend to make my blog all about scrapping, but since 2peas is down and I am itching to post this, it's getting a rare space on my blog.

I can't totally take credit for the design, as the idea came from a magazine ad. Still, I made it "my own," and I am so thrilled with this layout. Every year I write Braeden a letter on his birthday, and this is by far my favorite of the letter layouts. So without further adieu, here 'tis: