Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Nine Year Old is NOT Taking the SAT

Because she's 9. Ella is 9 years old. She's in 4th grade. Why am I even listening to completely unnecessary and stress inducing "guidance" about college? She's 9!!!

I'm not normally like this. Really. I know I can be a bit high strung and I have a slightly off-beat sense of humor, but I'm not a mom who stresses about every little detail of life. Usually. I didn't have my kids on wait lists for preschools that cost more than my car. I didn't hire a tutor for my 6 month old to make sure she could read in both English and Spanish before she could contain her own baby drool. I'm really not neurotic...but I'm starting to encounter some icky "your daughter's entire future rests solely upon whether or not you choose this curriculum" pressure and I don't like it.

Here's the sitch (see, in addition to being non-neurotic I'm also hip and happening), I've started looking for next year's curriculum for our homeschooling adventures. I'm in love with our math and language programs, but I am no longer pleased with history. So I have started searching and sifting and comparing different history curricula for both kids. And some of the sites are freaking me out.

Because Ella will be in 5th grade in the fall, there's this strange, and I think made up, timeline confronting me with all the stuff she needs to know or be exposed to or have memorized before she starts high school...in four years. So the helpful helpers have laid out these master 4-5 year plans to cover everything she "needs" to know for high school in order to be properly prepared for college...in eight years! And since I've only got four years left until HS-day I'm apparently already behind the curve and now my daughter will be doomed to an unforgiving string of rejection letters all because I didn't cover the shifting political and religious ties of Reformation Europe. Seriously?

I can't plan eight years in advance. I can only deal with one year at a time. And even that is a minor miracle. I'd say I'm about an 8 on the "organized and plan-ahead" scale, but plan my curriculum four years ahead? Eight years? There's no way. See, I also register pretty high on the "let's try something new and dangerous" scale. Yep, organized adventure...that's me. And you'd be glad to have me on an adventure because I'm the one who remembers to pack toilet paper and bug spray. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be an iconoclast here or a boat rocker or a trouble maker or anything else, but can't we ease up on the parent stress just a wee bit? Isn't one of the joys of homechooling being able to think outside the box a bit and do things a little differently? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with setting your kids up for success, we should all be doing that, but can't we plan for the future without sacrificing the joys of the present? And can we please stop raising the imaginary good parent bar? No one likes it, no one needs it and I'm pretty sure it was made up by someone who never had kids.

And thus ends my rant for the day.

So, who has a homeschool history curriculum they really love?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Someone Please Explain the Male Brain to Me

Disclaimer #1: I love my husband and I think he's awesome.

Disclaimer #2: Above mentioned awesome husband has read and approved the following post.

Disclaimer #3: This is a true story.

Yesterday afternoon, when we got home from church I wandered into the bedroom to change clothes. And I noticed something amiss. There were two pairs of socks on the floor. Not my socks. Major Dad's socks. On the floor. Three inches from the laundry hamper. Three. Inches.

(Disclaimer #4: Major Dad maintains they were six inches from the hamper).

As I stood there staring at the socks that were sitting THREE inches from the laundry hamper, Major Dad walked casually into the room. And this is how our conversation went:

Me: "Seriously? You can't put the socks IN the hamper?"

Major Dad: (Grabs one pair of socks and dumps them in the hamper while leaving the other pair on the floor). "There you go."

Me: (Staring dumbfounded at the pair still sitting on the floor THREE inches from the hamper.) "What about those socks?"

Major Dad: "They're not dirty."

Me: "Then why are they on the floor?"

Major Dad: "Because I wore them."

Me: "So put them in the hamper."

Major Dad: "But they're mostly clean."

Me: "Mostly clean? What does that mean?"

Major Dad: "It means I'm going to wear them tomorrow."

Me: "Then put them AWAY."

Major Dad: "I can't put them away, they're slightly dirty."

Me: "Then put them in the hamper and take them out tomorrow when you want to put them on."

Major Dad: "But if I put them in the hamper they'll be dirty."

Me: "What kind of ridiculous man-logic is that?"

Major Dad: (He didn't say anything here because he was too busy laughing at his own male-ness.)

Me: "So you're just going to leave them on the floor."

Major Dad: "Yes."

Me: "Really?"

Major Dad: "Yes. They're mostly clean."

Disclaimer #5: See exhibit A

Yes, the socks are still sitting there. Because I have no idea how to counter the mostly-clean classification system. Which I'm pretty sure is related to the smell-it-then-wear-it-system. All I know is that if I toss them in the hamper, it will apparently shift the entire clean:dirty ratio on some molecular level that will render the socks completely unwearable.

And he thinks I'm weird.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Scandalous Mashed Potato Scandal

A few nights ago I made a fairly simple chicken dinner and as a special treat for Major Dad, I made mashed potatoes. Major Dad is from the South. Major Dad loves mashed potatoes. So when he got to the table and saw the heaping pile of whipped goodness on his plate, he was a very happy camper. And he said so.

Then we prayed. And he said it again.

Then he took a bite (did I mention they were garlic mashed potatoes?) and he said it again.

Then he finished off the whole pile and said it again. Then he had seconds.

And I was trying to be all gracious and sweet. I really did appreciate the fact that he was saying such nice things about a dinner I had made. But inside, deep inside, stuffed waaaaaaaaay down deep, I was consumed with guilt. You see...oh I can barely bring myself to say it, my mashed potatoes....come from a box.

There, I said it! It's all out in the open. I'm a side dish cheat. Now everybody knows my deep dark secret. My mashed potatoes are instant. They don't come from the produce section, they come from a vacuum sealed bag in a cardboard box.

So after dinner when Major Dad complimented me again on those fabulous mashed potatoes I finally broke down and declared "they're from a box! Those potatoes came from a box. I didn't mash them or season them. Betty Crocker did it. I tore open the bag and added milk and butter and there you go. It's faster and cheaper than making them from scratch. Plus, I got those boxes on sale! I homeschool, you know. I don't have time to peel potatoes, boil them and mash them up by hand like my Grandma did. And I know she's be ashamed of me for using potatoes in a box, especially because we're Irish and all, but she even made her own salad dressing and I just don't have time to make Thousand Island dressing from scratch. Ok??"

And in the silence that followed Major Dad just stood there, staring at me like I had just lost my mind...which, in fairness, I sorta had.

And what was his response?

"Do you have anymore?"

Blissful sigh. I love my husband.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old Yeller Update

Because I know you're wondering...Ella finished reading Old Yeller today. Here's what I heard as she sat on the couch reading: sniff (pause), sniffle (pause), sniff, sniff, sniffle, sigh, sniffle, unintelligible whimper of some sort.

When I went to sit down next to her, I was too late. Old Yeller was gone. The fictional dog, not the book. Her face was all red and blotchy and she was doing that heart-breaking, pitiful, not making a sound crying. No kidding, there are tear stains on the pages of the book.

So I scooped her up in a hug and she cried. Then she went and snuggled with our greyhound who just laid there quietly, giving us a look that said rather eloquently, "dude, who died?" Oh, if she only knew.

And we had a mother-daughter moment and talked about life and death and giving up one's life for another. And there were violins playing softly in the background (ok, it was Christian rock) as I told her that if we tried to avoid all the sadness in life, we'd end up missing all of the joy as well. And she looked up at me with tears and wisdom shining in her precious eyes and said "I'm not reading that book again."

Two Monologues do not Equal a Dialogue

Yesterday was a skating day. Which to an uninformed passerby could look like a weekend getaway...or a blitzkrieg style invasion of a small country. It's not just me, Ella and Jack jumping in the mini-van and heading off to the rink. It's me, Ella and Jack along with two insulated lunch bags, Ella's skating bag on wheels with telescoping handle, Jack's hockey bag, a blanket for me to sit on (the metal bleachers are cold!), Ella's change of clothes for when we hit the grocery store on the way home (because she doesn't want to go out in her skating outfit), Jack's backpack full of stuff to keep him occupied if he decides to take a break from skating, water bottles for the kids and a thermos filled with caffeine for me. Oh, plus my purse (which rates its own post someday).

Anyway, on this skating day Jack decided he didn't want to skate by himself and since I wasn't feeling well I hadn't brought my skates. (Oh, add my skating bag to the above mentioned list of stuff stuffed into the mini-van.) So I sat on the bleachers watching Ella while Jack played with his Star Wars action figures.

Then a little girl, probably around four, came over to say hi. She was adorable and talkative and since Jack's big sister is also adorable and talkative, Jack felt right at home chatting with her. And this is how the "conversation" went:

Jack: "I have Obi-Wan and Cad Bane."

Little Girl: "I can go sledding when it snows."

Jack: "I have Yoda at home. And a Battle Droid."

Little Girl: "But it didn't snow today."

Jack: "Cad Bane has a hat but I lost it in the car."

Little Girl: "I want it to snow."

Jack: "Cad Bane is a bad guy that's why I have Obi-Wan. He's a Jedi."

Little Girl: "My sled is pink."

And on and on it went. They were both perfectly content talking to each other...or to state it more appropriately, talking near each other...about two completely different topics and it all made perfect sense to them.
Apparently to a four and five year old a similar sized munchkin is all that's needed for stimulating conversation. And it must have translated well into their brains because the little girl told her mom she made a new friend and Jack told me we should invite her to our house to play.

Go figure. Skate. Haha...go figure skate.*

*Sorry about that. I haven't had caffeine yet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Invisible Monkey Solution

Winter is not my friend. I despise being cold. And I'm not that fond of rain unless it's a thunderstorm and I'm inside under an electric blanket sipping hot chocolate while the power stays on. And I don't like ice. Which is weird since I spent most of my formative years as a figure skater and I now spend 2-3 days a week at an ice rink watching my kids skate. Maybe it's long suppressed emotional scarring. Or maybe it all goes back to the first thought...I just despise being cold.

Anyway, I've also discovered another drawback to winter. My kids go completely bonkers with cabin fever. If there was lots of fluffy white snow on the ground I could at least let them run around outside until their runny noses were officially frozen to their faces. But today it's just icy and cold and drizzly and yucky. I can't in good conscience let them go play in the frozen wasteland but to them even a thin layer of dirty cracked ice should qualify as a snow day.

So now we're all in the house, schoolwork is done and the bickering has begun. Here's the scenario....Ella & Jack are playing zoo. It's an invisible zoo, which is awesome & full of imagination, but keep in mind it's invisible. After building all the invisible cages and filling them with invisible animals, Ella decides to take the invisible monkey on a walk. At which point Jack declares that he is the official invisible monkey wrangler.

Ella: "But he's my monkey."

Jack: "It's my zoo too!"

Ella: "Why don't you go walk the elephant."

Jack: "I don't want to walk an elephant. I want to walk the monkey."

Ella: "Go get a lion. Lions are cool."

Jack: "Elllllllllllaaaaaaaa."

At which point my head threatened to explode. So Mommy the ultimate arbitrator stepped in.

Me: "Here, I just bought another invisible monkey for your zoo. Now you have two."

Ella & Jack: (after a moment of stunned, wide eyed blinking silence) "Oh, ok."

And off they went with their invisible monkeys.

So, what time is Spring?

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm Not Procrastinating....I'm Hiding

Shhhhhhh. You don't see me. I'm hiding. My to-do list is multiplying and I don't want it to find me.

Have you ever gotten to a place where your list of things to do is sooooo long that just looking at it saps all of your energy? Where even the idea of picking one simple thing to do is so overwhelming that you just want to curl up some place warm and hide from the world. That's how I'm feeling today.

I have a ridiculously long list of things that need to be done. But I just don't wanna. I don't even have a good excuse. I'm not sick, I'm not busy. And it's not like I've got world changing items on my plate. I didn't add "end world hunger" or "fix the economy" to the list. It's simple stuff like laundry, bills, vacuuming, phone calls, etc. But it's January, I'm cold and I just don't wanna.

So after much grumbling and foot dragging, I finally I sat down at my computer with grand intentions of actually getting something done...just so I could cross one thing off that smug looking to-do list. I intended to finish creating a schedule of rotating volunteers for an organization I work with...a schedule that has been a pain in my caboose for quite some time. And this was the result:


Found on etsy here

And after strolling through etsy for a big chunk of time. I decided to finally buckle down and get to work.

Take two:

Found here on Amazon.

I really want to learn to sew. And not with a big machine, I sort of know how to do that. I want to sew adorable little pieces of cuteness with my own hands. Like some prairie pioneer woman...or a sweet grandma who gives you stale butter mints. Truthfully, the sewing machine is too loud and I can't sit in my rocking chair when I play with it.

Anyway, so the schedule still isn't done. The laundry isn't folded. But I did get the blog for today done. Whew. Now I'm going to go add "write blog" to the bottom of my to-do list so I can triumphantly cross it off and then crawl under my heated lap blanket with my Kindle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm Potentially the Worst Mother in the World

*Potentially* That's important. It's not like there's been a vote or anything. And I don't think you actually win a prize if you get officially voted the worst mother in the world. It's more of an honorary title...like an honorary doctorate...or a rap sheet...whatever.

So here are the circumstances of my impending descent into worst motherhood-dom. *Potentially* Ella is reading "Old Yeller." Did you just suck in a deep breathe and say something like "ooooohhhh noooooo." Yeah, I know. It might be bad.

See, we're studying the post-civil war era in American History and one of the books in her curriculum is "Old Yeller." Also known as the evil-book-where-the-dog-gets-shot. I went back and forth for days about whether or not to let her read the book. Ella loves dogs. And when I say loves, I mean LOVES. She can name a ridiculous number of dog breeds and correctly identify them. She stages dog shows with her stuffed animals. It's adorable. And it's all about to come crashing down on her. Worst. Mother. Ever. *Potentially*

I finally decided to let her read the book because it's a classic, it has a great portrayal of American life in that time and its a good challenging read for her. Of course when I told Major Dad what she was reading he gave me a look that was part horror and part "I'm going to laugh at you when she flips out." And to make matters worse, the stupid cover of the stupid book has a picture of a big ol' fluffy yellow dog smiling a big doggy smile with no idea that he's about to die.

So now here I am...counting down the days until she hits chapter 15. And there's Ella, blissfully devouring what she calls "the best book ever!"

Worst mother in the world. *Potentially*

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Truth About SOPA

Holy cow, why are you asking me????

Seriously, on this, The Great SOPA Protest Day when many of your favorite sites are going black in a display of virtual non-violent protest, use the time you might have otherwise spent perusing humorous blogs or locating potentially unsubstantiated research or whatever else tickles your fancy but is today unavailable due to the power of the people making their voices heard in the halls...er...computers of Congress and do your own research on SOPA and decide what you think.

Piracy is bad. Censorship is bad. Don't let anyone else make up your mind for you. I started here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homeschool Lies Debunked

Last night a friend of mine shared this video...and I loved it! In fact, I loved it so much I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to it. And I'm sure it's just a happy accident that I happened to find a video to share on a day when I had no idea what I was going to write about. What a coincidence. Ahem.

Anyway the video is funny and encouraging and awesome all at the same time. And as for the last homeschool myth...our family is totally guilty.


Thanks to Messy Mondays!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Love the Smell of Decomposition in the Morning

So one bright sunny morning Major Dad let me sleep in. Aaaahhh, bliss. When I finally rolled my lazy self out of bed and decided to make an appearance in the kitchen, I was greeted rather rudely by the smell of death...and coffee.

This was a rare time when the question "eeewww, what died in here?" was actually appropriate. About two days prior to this stench filled morning, Major Dad and I heard some scratching in (what we thought was) the kitchen closet. This is where we keep the dog food and cleaning supplies (not mixed together, separate shelves). So Major Dad put down a mouse trap, baited it with chocolate (because apparently mice in our home have excellent taste) and waited for Mickey and/or Minnie to meet their chocolate induced demise.

So as I walked into the stink filled ick, I saw Major Dad pulling everything out of the closet in order to check the trap. And guess what...no dead Mickey and/or Minnie. Which led us to the incredibly ridiculous task of sniffing the inside of the closet to pinpoint the exact source of the putrid smell. How lovely is that? I'd put it somewhere to the grosser side of judging a worst smelling armpit contest held in a clogged sewer located in a city somewhere around the equator where the chief food staples are brussels sprouts, cabbage and beans. Yeah, it was nasty. I even got to take a turn sticking my nose in all the corners trying to determine where the mother of all bad smells was coming from.

And where was the source of the uber-stink located? Inside the wall. Inside. Fabulous. So Major Dad grabbed a knife and a mallet and proceeded to tear apart the inner wall of the closet. Yay, rotting flesh and destruction all in one day. I'm such a lucky girl. And lo and behold, a pile of mutilated dry wall later we were rewarded with a whoosh of fetid foulness.

Apparently a mouse family picked our house as the site of their very own rodent Jamestown. There they were a whole mouse family all curled up together and so very, very dead. Picture "An American Tail" with a depressing, existential, probably French, life-is-meaningless ending. And in my kitchen. How do I know they were all curled up together in what would have been sadly adorable if they didn't reek so badly? Because Major Dad, upon locating said sad adorableness said "come here, you have to see this." That's true love right there folks...hey honey, come look at the stinky, dead, disease infested rodents with me.

So after Major Dad sucked up the corpses with his Shop-Vac (not quite a burial at sea, but what can you do?), I dumped a gallon of bleach in their former tomb and drenched the kitchen in Febreeze. Now the house smells like disinfected flower covered corpses.

And on that note...Happy Monday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Permission to be Imperfect

Have you ever heard the phrase "nobody's perfect?" And have you ever heard the phrase "nobody's perfect" and moments later started berating yourself for all the things you've recently done wrong? Do you grasp the intellectual concept that "nobody's perfect," freely extend it to others and yet still allow your own inner critic to hold you to a ridiculous standard of perfection that you just agreed is unreachable?

Ah, the mind contorting and heart piercing puzzle of perfectionism. It stinks, right?

I have a very loud and very mean inner critic who likes to point out when I fail, when I'm going to fail and can even search out the failures in my successes. "Sure, you just climbed Mt. Everest, but you should have done it faster and in a cuter outfit...that Eskimo gear makes your butt look huge." Sigh. I know I shouldn't do it and I know I'm too hard on myself but even that psycho-babble self-awareness just starts up a whole new critique from my inner Ebert (it may be Roper) on why I'm a failure for listening to the very voice telling me I'm a failure. Now, that's a special kind of twisted.

So here's a phrase I recently heard echoing in my brain and I decided that I like it. "Permission to be imperfect." Maybe all of us hyper type-A, perfectionists need to chill out and give ourselves permission to be imperfect. Because the ugly truth of the matter (at least for me) is that the only person judging me and labeling me a big, fat failure who needs a bedazzled dunce cap...is me. There's no one else demanding that I keep our homeschool exactly on schedule. There's no one else yelling at me that we're running late for an ice skating session with no time limit. (yes, I do that..."hurry up, we're going to be late even though there's no start time and we're not obligated to be there anyway.")

And there's no one besides little ol' me declaring my house to be a messy embarrassment, or my to-do list too neglected, or my curves a little too curvy. Or reminding me that my blog is late and how dare I do that to people nice enough to read it even thought they probably won't like it anyway because it sounds like some throwback 80's after-school special about a nerdy girl who learns to love herself just the way she is and ends up going to prom with the most popular boy in school.

Is there such a thing as a type-A+ personality? Cause I think I rate some extra-credit crazy here.

So here's my point...if I don't expect perfection from others, why do I demand it from myself? Now I know we're wading into some deep Freudian-flavored psychological waters here and I don't have my floaties, so I'll end with this. I would like to buy my grumpy inner critic a big box of chocolate, some snazzy new shoes and give her the rest of my life off. I'd like to run late without freaking out. I'd like to actually try and fail before I label myself a failure. Or maybe even try and succeed and enjoy it without reservation. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So while I'm out shopping (metaphorically ) I'll throw together a goodie bag (also metaphorical) for any of you with inner harpies and give you the same permission to be imperfect.

Now go mess something up...on purpose.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hey, Watch Your Language

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but I tend to find humor in the strangest of places. I can be totally unimpressed by a slapstick comedy filled with people falling down and getting trampled by stampeding puffins, but catch me on the right day and a simple misspoken word will keep me amused for hours. Hours, I tell you!

Here's my most recent example. Major Dad and I were washing dishes and talking about something. I can't remember what exactly but it was something sports related. Trust me the something isn't the important part of the story. Let's just say it was...oh I don't know...lawn darts. So, Major Dad says "guess they don't have many lawn darts terminents."

Now he meant tournaments, but instead of being a sweet and supportive wife and just continuing the conversation I latched on to the tantalizing vocabulary Frankenstein that is "terminent" and took off running.

Me: "'Terminents?' Aren't those the bugs that eat your house?"

Major Dad: "That would be termites."

Me: "Right. Terminent is that robot movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Major Dad: (Through slightly clenched teeth) "That's Terminator."

Me: "Oh, right. Terminent is when you get fired."

Major Dad: (Silence. He's not playing anymore).

Me: (Totally not caring that Major Dad has left the playing field) "Sorry, Jim but after your recent debacle with the fax machine and the ferret we have to terminent you."

Still Me: "I'm sorry, Mrs. Jones, there's nothing we can do. The tone nail cancer is terminent."

Major Dad: "Are you done?"

Me again: "Gosh I hope this stain isn't terminent."

P.S. I would like some serious props for spelling Schwarzenegger correctly...without even googling it.

P.P.S. Ok, I did Google it, but only after I spelled it correctly, just to make sure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Help! I Think I Just Bought Mom Jeans

I love jeans. I literally live in my jeans. All day, every day...jeans, jeans, jeans. I understand that there are other types of pants in existence. I just don't understand why they are necessary in life. I own a pair of khakis (a pair...singular) and 2 pairs of black pants. But my go-to bottom half of any outfit would be jeans.

So you can imagine the trauma I went through when I looked down a few days ago and spotted a hole in the knee of my favorite jeans. Ugh! Fortunately I happened to know of a department store that was having a sale on jeans. So I threw on another pair of jeans and headed off to the mall.

Now, I think it's fair to say that jeans shopping can be an emotionally exhausting experience for many women...including me. And shopping for jeans immediately following the holidays...hmmm, let's evaluate the wisdom of that plan, shall we? After a holiday season marked by family dinners, church dinners, friend dinners, leftover dinners, cookie exchanges, cookie gifts and cookies for chubby holiday icons, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate...let's go shopping for pants that cover and/or accentuate every festively blessed curve and try them on in a dressing room lit with florescent bulbs so unflattering that even Thomas Edison would say "whoa, that's some bad lighting" and surrounded by mirrors on every side. Joy to the world, right ladies?

Anyway, so there I am trying on jeans, heaving a sigh, discarding them, fetching new pairs from the shelves, heading back to the exact same dressing room (I don't know why I do that...some sort of strange territorial shopping thing) and repeating the whole process. Several times. I tried on the exact same pair of jeans that I had just worn a hole in, but for some reason I didn't like them this time around. Couldn't have anything to do with the truffles my husband got me for Christmas. Clearly Levi's has had a change in their manufacturing process.

I finally decided to get a straight leg, as opposed to my usual usual boot cut. Why? Well, I thought I'd get a new pair of boots and I wanted to be able to stuff the jeans into the boots. Don't you just love how a new pair of jeans necessitates a new pair of boots? That's logic, right there. So I finally settled on a pair and went home. (Yes, I paid for them. I was just trying to move the narrative along.) Then the next day as I put on my new jeans I was struck by a sudden and terrifying thought. Did I just buy mom jeans???

So now I need an exact definition of mom jeans. Can I get away with the natural waist, straight leg if I don't wear a tucked in polo shirt and belt? Or am I totally up the mom fashion creek? Why can't stores label them "mom jeans" like they do "skinny jeans" so I know to avoid that shelf? Better yet, why can't we have truth in jeans labeling across the board? Imagine how much easier your shopping would be if they were labeled "jeans only a teenage pop star should wear" or "jeans you can't sit down in" or "jeans that make you look like a soccer mom, but they're really comfortable"?

Where's that Occupy movement?

Happy Tuesday!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Blog

So one of my big New Year's resolutions for 2012 is to get back to writing. Last year everything else seemed to take priority and writing just kept getting shoved further and further down the to-do list. Eventually it didn't even make the to-do list. Every once in a while I would see something or think of something that struck me as blog-worthy, but I never made it to the computer to actually start typing. No good reasons for it, no excuses.

But by December when I started looking back over the previous 12 months and wondered where the time went, I was genuinely annoyed that I has let go of something that I truly enjoy. Not the chocolate of course, but the writing. I still have no idea what my next book will be about, but even if I never figure that out I know I can keep typing little snippets of chocolate flavored funny and sending them off into the blogosphere. Or maybe chocolate flavored not funny...who knows? I'm wild and unpredictable like that.

The point is I actually made a New Year's resolution this year...to get back to writing and to keep writing. I've actually got a whole pile of notes already put together on using our talents, bringing what we have to God even if what we have seems like nothing and seeing the things we already have in new ways. But if I wrote all that right now, I wouldn't have anything left for tomorrow. And then I'd stop blogging again after giving you this glimmer of false hope and then the whole vicious cycle would start again and frankly I'm too old for vicious cycles...or any kind of cycles for that matter. Except maybe Popcycles. Oh wait, that's Popsicles. Huh. Well, you see the problem.

Anyway, so I messed with the blog design again, changed it up a bit and I've started typing. Isn't that first step in some neglectful bloggers recovery plan? Just start typing. So to those of you who have stuck around and those of you who have so faithfully checked this page during the months of my neglectful blogger-ness (4000 views when I haven't written in months??? That's nuts...and also spectacularly cool. You guys rock!), I thank you. And this is for you: