Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Really Important Stuff

If you are feeling trapped
at the dog park,
look for a gate.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review: Defensive Tactics

Defensive TacticsDefensive Tactics by Steve Westover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You can buy the book for yourself HERE.

Lately in my life I have been learning about boundaries. How to set healthy ones because I am bad at it. Who knew I could read a work of fiction to help me figure out this concept of boundaries? I guess I've always known that fiction crosses over, but it's always completely awe- inspiring when a work of fiction can help me with decisions I must make in my own life.

I thought that this book was just going to be another action thriller about a couple of FBI agents, but it was so much more than that. It was a perfect example of what good boundaries can do for a person who desperately needs them. It was also a great lesson that boundaries alone are not enough; an adult, just like a child, has to have unconditional love to flourish.

The three main characters, Jimmy, Paul, and Emily were all AWESOME in their own way. I loved each of them and could relate to each of them, even though they were all completely different. Jimmy was a bright and amazing guy who was in a troubled time of life. He was floundering for good reason. I am against writing spoilers, but if what happened to him, happened to me, I don't know if I could get out of bed ever again. Paul was the perfectionist in me. He aimed to please and was a good rule keeper, but he was deep down completely insecure. Emily was every woman that we want to have depicted in a novel, smart, feminine, kind, gutsy, and more than anything, confident.

These three characters made a dynamic tale of love and friendship. My hat goes off to the author, Steve Westover, for his wonderful character development. Although the plot in the story was a bit predictable, I still really enjoyed the quick read.

Back to the boundaries. Jimmy was able to completely change his life around and tap into his under-appreciated strengths for two reasons: Paul's healthy boundaries and un-apologetic expectations combined with Emily's infinite and unconditional love.

This book was so much more than a private investigator story of mystery and action, it was a perfect love story. A love triangle that left everyone happy. Including this reader.

My hat is off to Steve Westover for his successful first novel.

View all my reviews

For inquiring minds or the FTC - I was given, for free, a copy of this book to review. But, to the best of my ability, I did not let this fact effect my honest evaluation and review. Even when my copy had the author's autograph. :)

Go here to see what the author of Defensive Tactics thought of my review. I loved what he had to say.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

For the Techno Savvy Worshipers

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Captain of the Bee One Four

We have a friend whom we love and honor.

And respect immensely.

I was so relieved when he came home safe from
his stint in The War on Terror.

His name is Joe Hinson.

And he is the Captain of the Bee One Four.

And his son, who made this video, has a remarkable sense of humor.

As do all the Hinsons.

What can I say?
We funnies are attracted to each other.

I would have loved to be at Joe's rank advancement ceremony
and watched the faces of his fellow servicemen
watching this video.

It's awesome.
Purely awesome.
And funnier
if you know beforehand
that Joe is a good good guy.
He doesn't swear.
Hardly ever.
Probably never.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Search Engine

I thought this particularly funny after this recent post.

Yes, we are google fans.

Even if it only satisfies all of our online searches.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Constitutional Rights

I will not even claim to be an expert on the topic.
LeGrand came home from law school one day
saying that he could study the U.S. Constitution the rest of his life
and still not be an expert.

I base everything off of my own experience.
And if LeGrand could study something
for his whole life
and still not be an expert,
I know that thing is complicated.

because of my own experience,
I know how inspired our Constitution is.
Because LeGrand is uber smart.

I just read this speech
by Dallin H. Oaks.
He was a professor at the University of Chicago,
a Supreme Court Justice in Utah,
and is now an Apostle of the Lord.

How amazing it would be
to be that wise.
I'm not.
Never will be,
at least not in this lifetime.

I, however, am good with people.
I love people.
I love their stories.

The other day
as I was checking out at the grocery store,
I hit it off with our bagger.
She had an accent.
Through my great interrogation skills,
I found out she was originally from
The Soviet Union.

She has been in the States for 6 years.
She was adopted from an orphanage at 10 years old.
This hit home
because for some reason,
I only had Abigail with me.
Abigail is 11,
and she was very interested
in this girl,
when I pointed out
that she was Abigail's age
when arriving in America.
And her English was awesome.

I asked her if she missed her home country.
She quickly said, "No."
I questioned further with, "why?"

She said one word:

She knew what she was talking about.
She said,
"over there I was stuck in an orphanage."
"Here I have a family,
a good job,
a good life.
I live a dream life."

What more do you need
to know that our Constitution
was divinely inspired?



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday homework

I believe I already wrote about our frustrations
with the amount of homework Abigail has in 6th grade.
But the frustrations have been so monumental
that I can't write about it enough.

I am having a parent/teacher conference
with all of her core teachers about it on Tuesday.

I sent them an e-mail last week
out of utter frustration.
LeGrand laughed on Thursday,
when for the second day in a row
Abigail came home with no homework,
except for the 4 major projects that had already been assigned.

LeGrand said,
"Do you think that this change is a result of your e-mail, Alice?"
The change had been drastic.
Abigail has been doing homework every waking hour
since school started.

My reply with a wink:
"I absolutely think it is because of my e-mail.
Why would you think any different?
You know that
I have influential writing skills."

We laughed.

Well, here is a church sign that I captured this past week.
I am posting it in honor of the homework
we will be supervising with Abigail all evening.
Supervising meaning
she will have to do the work,
but we will have to make sure she stays focused
and gets it done.

I am kicking myself for living the hell
we call Sunday night homework.
I remember how my parents
used to always beg us to get our homework
done on Friday or Saturday.

But really, I don't have the heart to
make her do it on Friday night,
when she is completely wasted mentally.
And Saturdays are busy!
Sunday just seems easier,
as all we really have scheduled is
a three hour block of church.

Tonight's big assignment is a current event project.
I can't wait.

When I saw this church sign,
I couldn't help but think about
this post on a blog that I have been frequenting.
The Knoxvillian author of mamapundit
just lost her son to a drug overdose.
I am appalled at what people say to her.
It has some serious religious fervor going on.
It gives you a taste of
living in the Bible belt.
Of course, I put in my two cents.

Well, I believe I will copy and past my e-mail,
(to the teachers, not to mamapundit)
in case any of you ever need
some influential writing.

What is your opinion about the homework thing?

Dear Ms. Parker and 6A Team Teachers,

Abigail Gold is my daughter. And as I know none of you well, I want to preface this e-mail with the fact that I am not one of "those parents". I will absolutely do everything in my power to support you all in your goals as I will for my child. I know we all have her best interest at heart. Abigail has always been a straight A student and has never had any problems completing assigned homework. I am worried that her Honors classes may be too much for her to handle at such a young age. If we were to take her out of honors, would there be a considerable difference in the amount of homework?

My husband and I are both very dedicated to helping Abigail succeed with her education. We are very concerned because Abigail has had an abundance of homework. We are worried on two accounts. One, is all this homework really necessary? And two, does our child need an A.D.D. assessment? She is having a terrible time concentrating on her homework. I am not sure if it can really be considered Attention Deficit Disorder or if she is just sick and tired of studying all day every day. She understands the material and so I hate to take her out of Honors, but I am worried about her emotional well-being. She doesn't have a minute to relax anymore...not a minute...until Friday night. This past weekend, we did homework for eight hours on Sunday, where we repeatedly corral her back to her desk to focus. I have thought that our 3 other children were a lot of the distraction issues for Abigail, but on Sunday our other children were at their Grandma's.

Tonight we did math for 2 hours, social studies for a 1/2 hour, and language arts for 15 minutes. This doesn't even touch the 1/2 hour reading she is supposed to do for her Reading class. She also has 4 ongoing larger projects that she has only barely started. Today, she came home from school, did homework until she ran out the door to her soccer game and then came home and ate dinner while working on the rest of her homework until 10 p.m. This has been typical since school has started. Even on the nights she doesn't have soccer or church, she is still doing homework from the time she comes in the door until she goes to bed.

I understand that Knox County has raised the bar, but is homework the answer for these kids? As adults, we don't want to work all day every day, and I especially don't think it's fair to expect that of an 11 year old child. I don't think it's healthy. I also don't know if this is just an Honors thing, but if it is, is it really fair to approach honors by giving the excelled students more work than they can handle healthfully? Our whole family has been negatively effected by the amount of attention is required for Abigail's homework.

Trust me, I am all for teaching my child good work habits. (Let's not even talk about the chores she never has time for anymore) Abigail has high goals for college and talks of Ivy League schools, and I understand that she needs to learn good study habits, especially if this is her future goal, but I am sending this e-mail with grave concern for my daughter. I hope you can all shed some light for me. I know all the other parents have said that their kids have a ton of homework too, but I think we may need some medical attention for Abigail. I have been told that the schools conduct assessments when a parent expresses concern, and I wonder if this is true? I know you all are much more experienced with middle school and with a variety of students and I am novice with my oldest child just starting 6th, and so I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I have always loved this old pioneer motto:

Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Who knew that life would take me on paths
where I got to master the skill of thrift?

I thought that once law school was over,
life would be peaches.
Boy, was I wrong.

I'm not complaining though.
Really thrifty is my newest resume builder.

It makes me a better wife and mother.
I am grateful to God for the trials that teach me.
I wouldn't have learned without them.

Here are three examples of ways I have learned thrift.
I plan to post some from time to time.
I hope you will enjoy.

I am not one to throw handicraft out as a way of bragging.
I can't stand braggy.
I just thought that you may get some ideas of your own
on how to be more thrifty,
and we can all use ideas like that
in today's economy.

1. Make your own gifts.
(this is so much cuter on my wall
I couldn't get the picture of the picture to work well,
but trust me when I say that LeGrand
loved this for Father's Day
almost as much as the Beef Jerky.)

2. Recreate your curtains.
(My old plan panels have a new look
And the material only cost me $5 on clearance at Wal-Mart)

3. Create, create, create.
(Here is my refinished dresser
It started out dark and ugly
I bought the dresser for $35 at the thrift store,
paid about $15 for paint and new hardware.
Wha-la - A new baby dresser / changing table
I wouldn't be as in love with it
if I had bought it at Pottery Barn.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Band Blues

Abigail surprised us by bringing home her french horn yesterday.

She said the band teacher made everyone take their instruments home.

She hasn't been going in early to practice
because she says that they have only learned three notes
and she already has them down.

She took out the instrument to demonstrate.

I said, "What notes were those?"

She said, "Mom, that was one note."

LeGrand and I busted up.
We couldn't help it.

And then LeGrand said,
"Alice, maybe you should go down to the school
to see about switching Abigail over to just choir
instead of the choir/band combination."

Abigail smacked him.

And her and I proceeded to the piano to practice some more.

It's about time the kid has some humbling experiences.

Between band and never-ending homework,
I think she's finally being challenged.
We are happy.

And still chuckling
"which notes were those?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gmail Priority

I got a kick out of this gmail training video.
Mostly for the music.
We are most definitely gmail fans around here.

There used to be this Old Timey piano
at that Ice-Cream parlor we loved as kids.

Once I ate all but 10 bites of their monster sundae.

It was a proud moment.

Man, I miss that piano.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Both of my cameras are broken,
So the cell phone images are going to have to work for a while.

That's what we call a living organ donation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thanks Cally.

Sometimes, I just love my friends even more.

Because I remember that I love them

And real.

And humble.

And they don't have to be perfect,
and when they don't act perfect all the time,
it gives me permission to be myself.

I wonder why sometimes
I waste time
building friendships
with non-real people.
You know,
they are made out of cheese.

I guess this is my guest post for the week.

Because Abigail came home with lice on Tuesday.
And I have been laundering,
and mayonaising,
and RIDing,
and laundering some more,
and spraying,
and vacuuming,
and crying,
and bagging everything,
and boiling hair things.

And my brother has been in town.
Thank goodness without his kids.
I would die to give them lice
and lucky for David, he is bald,
and had a hotel room.

Did you ever read my post
(Yeah, I just made that word up.)
Congrats to me.
Therapy has worked.
I'm o.k.
to tell the whole world
that my daughter has lice.
I have arrived.
I don't care.
Go ahead,
I dare you.
Call me
It won't hurt.

Have a wonderful Friday.

And know that this completely imperfect person
will never EVER claim to
be anything more or less than just that.

And, yeah,
sometimes my kids don't shower every day.
But, that's not how they got lice,
because they've been doing that
for 6 years.
And they didn't get lice
until Abigail went to middle school.
And I have my suspicions
of how she got it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bon Qui Qui

If you haven't seen Bon Qui Qui.
Especially if you need a good laugh.
And it's a MUST if you live in the South.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Karoake Night

Sometimes you feel like a nut,

(Two of my favorite people - Taylor and Karen)

Sometimes you don't.

I will survive.
I will survive.
Everybody sing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

You, Alone

A few weeks ago,
I found myself in a Japanese fast food place
ordering food to go.

I didn't want to eat in the restaurant alone.
So, I ate it in my car,
while wishing I had stayed in the air conditioned building.

This video spoke to me.
I am posting it for your self evaluation.
Even though LeGrand doesn't like it.
But that's just because he's the kind of guy
that isn't afraid of being alone.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Book Review: The Seeker

Seeker, The: A NovelSeeker, The: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love is everything. From the love between the two romance seeking main characters. To the man who couldn't love a woman and found his escape in a Shaker colony. The love of a father, a brother, and a daughter. The love of strangers for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War was powerful enough to keep the meals coming, at the risk of starving a whole colony through the winter.

I loved the character Charlotte. When she ran away from her Southern Plantation to a Shaker colony, I thought she was a coward, but when she used the opportunity to better understand herself, my affections returned. Adam Wade was every girl's dream: good-looking, rugged, and a very talented artist. The author's descriptions of his art made the reader feel like she was looking right at each masterpiece. Who says a picture speaks more than the written word? You would have never guessed this when reading this book. Each fictional sketch took on a life of its own for me, just as each character did.

Learning about the Shakers' beliefs was secondary to a look into the state of the nation during the Civil War. Did those Confederate soldiers really chicken out like that in that first battle? How did that get past me all these years?

The Shakers ability to love was inspiring, as was Charlotte's love and devotion to a helpless little boy...even when his own mother was a horrendous example of motherhood. Perhaps the greatest love story of all was the freeing of beloved slaves. I get teary just thinking of the fictional characters as their faces glowed with liberty for the first time in their lives.

I can't wait to read some more of Gabhart's books.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 03, 2010

How to dress up like a cow

We recently took a trip to Chick-Fil-A
for some free chicken.

All you had to do was dress up like a cow.

It was in this setting that I realized,

that moms can try as hard as they want:
they can make costumes
and help coordinate efforts

but, they can
try to

LG is such a good sport.
Or he really just likes free chicken.
Nobody got his costume.
Except for this other dad,
standing close by
in his sissy
jersey spots.

He let out a good manly chuckle
at the sight of LeGrand,
being the man that he is.
I think he is going to rethink
his costume next year.
I wonder how many men
will show up as bulls
next time?

But, remember,
you saw it here first.
LeGrand needs all the manly points
he can get
in this household
full of women.

Like our 4 daughters
always say,
"even our cat and dog
are girls."

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Sophia started another new vocabulary word.
I told you before about

We've been using it for a while.
We've also been using


It means kind of, nothing exciting, mediocre, in the middle,
or I am not really sure what to say right now.

It's a noun, verb, and adjective all in one.

How was that ski lift?

Were you scared?

What would you call a ride like that?

How old is this picture?

Implement it.
It's a perfect word.
Shortened to ish.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

For Abigail...

...and anyone else who has an interest in make-up.
Even if you aren't 11 years old.
I wear make up 3 times a month. Max.
But I was mesmorized.
Michelle Phan knows what she is doing.
And her voice is soothing.
I wonder how much she spends on her make-up
or if it is all given to the cause.

Check out her other stuff.

Lady Gaga's Bad romance and Poker Face.

Then you can watch this spoof.
It's funny, but you will be tempted to X it
from boredom.

But wait for the flour.
So funny.