Friday, October 29, 2010

Give Me Five Friday- {words I should never say (or type)}

If you missed it last week, here's the short version of Give me Five Friday. I like making lists. Every Friday I'll make a list. The only rule is it has to be five things.

In the afternoons, I tutor students at a local tutoring company. This week I was tutoring three high school girls all at the same time. I felt archaic as they used slang I had never heard. They laughed at my ignorance, but I explained to them that slang has an age limit. It's a different age for each person, but I know I have definitely passed it. How do I know? A slang word said by someone else sounds fine, but when I say the slang word it just sounds awkward and lame. So here's this weeks five.

{five words I should never say (or type)}

1. chillin' or the variations of chillaxin', and chillin' like a villian

2. My Boo when used in reference to the man I love. The girls I tutor told me that your "boo-boos" are your friends. (See, you learn something new every day.) So I tried that one out....still lame.

3. gangsta' To be honest, I think this word would have always sounded lame coming from me, no matter what my age.

4. cool beans This phrase dates me as a teenager of the 90's. You know what? I may take this one off the list and try to bring it back! Cool Beans Forever!

5. lol Again, everyone else types this and it looks cool. But I just can't do it. I can't tell you how many times I've typed "lol" only to delete it and replace it with "That is so funny!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blessing #7- Showers of Blessings

This has been such an exciting week. We are coming down to the end of the pregnancy. The best way I can describe this time is it is like Christmas. However,unlike Christmas, you don't know when it's going to happen, and you end up getting the best present ever!

Anyway, over the past week we've had two baby showers. One of the showers was a traditional baby shower and the other was not so traditional. The first shower was Saturday morning. It was thrown for me by some friends. I did not expect to have a shower at all (you know second baby blah blah blah), but it was so nice that they did it. I got so many things we needed, all the details. The best part was I got to see friends I had not seen in a few months. And the food...any event with a sausage and egg casserole is a hit with me!

The second shower was only attended by Shad, B, and me. On top of that, I even cried during this shower. Before you think this was the most depressing shower ever, let me explain. My church in Georgia threw this shower for me. Because I now live so far away, one of my very thoughtful friends came up with the idea of a "shower in a box." I got a package in my mailbox, filled with cards. The first card had a Chickfila gift card and instructed me to go there to open all of my other cards. I called Shad up and asked if he wanted to go on his lunch break. It was a tough sell, but he agreed. So we got our food and took turns opening up our cards. As we opened them, I had to cry. I cried because of the extreme kindness shown to us. I cried because I'm so blessed to have people that love me in multiple states. And let's face it, I cried because I'm pregnant and hormonal. It was truly amazing, for an hour I was transported back home and embraced by the love of that church.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Project Life: October 18 - 24

It's week two in my Project Life! Again, if you want to see how I found out about Project Life click on this. Hope you enjoy this week!

October 18 - I put some jumper cables on the front step. I didn't feel like walking all the way out to the car. When B went out to play he hooked them up to this poor rhododendron.

October 19 - There is no purpose for Brandon to have a book bag for his pre-school. It's just two hours! However, he is the only kid there without a book bag. Shad found this cool monster bag for $5 at Staples. This was B's first day wearing it. He was so excited to have something to put in his cubby.

October 20- Isn't this so sweet? The big boy wanted to help mommy with cleaning the guest house! He asked if he could vacuum. I thought, "Wow, Stephanie, a hard working boy. You are doing something right." He then asked if I would turn on the sucker hose. I left the room and heard him giggling. I walked in to see this.

This is what I found him doing. I think this was his goal all along. He was just buttering me up.

October 21- I went on a walk to try to help the new baby out. This is one of the sites I got to see. I love living in the country.

October 21 (again) - I didn't have a Sunday picture, but I had an extra picture for Thursday. I love this picture. Are you having trouble, just ask daddy to help!

October 22- We went out to eat, and in order to occupy Brandon I handed him the camera. He discovered the wonder and self-absorption of self portraits. I just love that face!

October 23- Oh, there are so many things I could say about this picture. I'll just say this. Yes, we were at a friend's house. Yes, that's a doggy door. Yes, that's my son going through it.

October 24- No picture

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blessing #6 - The Power of the Belly

Today as I type this, I have 2 ½ weeks until my due date. According to an ultrasound on Thursday, the little man is estimated to already be 8 pounds! Now I could tell you about how, because of my pregnant belly, I can no longer tie my shoes, I can’t pick up a piece of paper off the floor without getting winded, or how my wearable wardrobe is dwindling down to nothing. However, today I want to focus on the power of my pregnant belly. Recently, I’ve noticed that people are treating me differently. Let me give you some examples.

1. In stores, I feel like Moses walking through the red sea. People seem to part just to get out of my way.

2. In Walmart, I knocked an item off the shelf with my purse, and immediately a middle aged man hurried to pick it up for me. I thanked him and he replied , “No problem. No problem.”

3. People are constantly smiling at me and wishing me luck. They seem impressed and proud that I'm just walking around.

These are all ways that I’ve seen the power of the belly, but the most noticeable power of the belly is haggling at yard sales. This weekend, a woman wanted $10 for an item. I offered her $5. That's half of what she wanted. She didn’t argue with me, but just said, “$5...Sure!” I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. I thought haggling was going to be difficult, but everyone gives me what I want. Why is this? I’m not a skilled negotiator, but I’m convinced it’s the power of the belly. Here’s what I think the people are thinking when they are haggling with me.

“She wants to only give me $5 for that! Wait…look at her. If I make her angry, she might pop right here in my yard, and that’s bad for business. On top of that who would cover the cost, my homeowner’s insurance, or her insurance? I hate to take a $5 loss, but if it gets that ticking time bomb out of here, let her have it.”

Then they sweetly smile at me and say, “$5... Sure," and I feel like a haggling queen.

I have only encountered one person that was not influenced by the power of the belly. I recently had an appointment with a doctor that was mean and downright rude to me. (Note: Maybe she wasn’t as mean as she seemed. But I've gotten so used to people being so nice to me, she seemed rude in comparison.) Here’s why the power didn’t work, she was just as pregnant as I was. I guess the power of her belly voided out my belly's power. Oh well, at least it works on everyone else. I told Shad my theory, and he says when we decide to buy a house, I need to stuff pillows under my shirt.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Give Me Five Friday- {Fall}

I love making lists. When I'm driving, cleaning, or waiting, I'm usually making mental lists. So to keep myself mentally occupied, I am going to make my list a part of the blog. I'm calling it "Give me five Friday." There are no rules, just that the list needs to be five.

{Five things I must do before fall is done!}

1.} Eat a caramel apple

2.} Take pictures in the leaves

3.} Make some boiled peanuts

4.} Go to the pumpkin patch

5.} Drink some hot apple cider

What does it say when 60% of the things I need to do involve food? I think I'll just blame that on pregnancy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blessing #5 - Quirks

I love quirks! I know it’s strange to count them as blessings, but they really make life interesting. My husband has several cute quirks. They make him who he is. He gave me his permission to mention them on this blog. Since you can print blogs into books now, one of the purposes of this blog is to keep a journal for my boys. To someday give them some insight into who we are at this moment.

One of Shad's quirks is what I will call, “Song of the Month.” Shad must have songs constantly running through his head, and it seems like he gets stuck on a certain song for about a month at a time. At random quiet moments, Shad will suddenly start singing the song of the month out loud. The current song of the month is “You’re Grace is Enough.” Shad will break out singing the bridge, “So remember your people. Remember your children. Remember your promise, oh God.” Here’s the thing though, this is the only part of the song he sings. He always breaks out into this line, and then stops. Thirty minutes later, he breaks out into it again, “So remember your people. Remember your children. Remember your promise, oh God.” Only that line, no more, no less! He does this with every song of the month. I don’t notice it the first few times, but I always reach a breaking point when I suddenly notice it. “Finish the song! Please finish the song! Why do you sing that specific line? Isn‘t there more to the song” His reply is always the same, “I don’t know…..So remember your people. Remember your children. Remember your promise, oh God.” I’m not the only one that notices it either; B notices it too. Last month, while riding in the car, Brandon broke out into Shad’s song of the month at the same line Shad always sang.

Now unless you think I’m just picking on Shad, I have a similar quirk I’ll call “word of the month.” I get stuck on a word and I’ll use it over and over again. Past words of the month have been bombastic and ingenious. I won’t notice that I do this and then suddenly Shad will say, “Is that even a word? Is that really how you are supposed to use it?”

That’s why I love quirks, they just make life interesting. I especially love Shad’s quirks. They make him who he is cute, charming……….bombastic!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Project Life: October 11-17

Here is my first attempt at Project Life. It's a great challenge where you take a picture everyday. If you want to see the blog where I got the idea, just click this. I've been thinking about doing this for about a month, and now we are diving in. I am so excited to start this. It was really fun this week. Shad even got into it. He would say, "That would make a good picture for the day."

As you look at this week's pictures see if you can see something (other than Brandon) that shows up in many of the pictures. I'll tell you at the end.

Monday, October 11: We have been waiting for the combine to come back for a year! This is on the farm where Shad works. Last year we missed it. B has asked Shad over and over, "When the combine comes you need to call mommy!" Monday, Shad called me and told me the combine was harvesting the soy beans. We had to make a stop and see it!

Tuesday, October 12: This is on the farm where the guesthouse is. About this time every year the Canadian geese show up. This is only part of them. I think they are telling their friends because there seems to be more this year.

Wednesday, October 13: This is B and Clyde. I'm nervous about B around horses, but he loves Clyde. He's finally learned he has to be slow and quiet around horses. Have I mentioned I love this horse!

Thursday, October 14: When I was little, one of the big events for me was when something broke. If it couldn't be fixed, my parents would let me take it apart. I loved to see how something works. So when B was taking apart this car that broke (maybe because he jumped on top of it) I had to take a picture! Can curiousity be genetic?

I took another picture for Thursday. After B took all the wires out of his remote control car, he tried to put them in our car. "I'm just fixing it!" was what he told me.

Friday, October 15: Friday we were out running errands when B started into his manipulation, "Where do you want to eat daddy? I would love to go to the Waffle House and have a waffle." After about thirty minutes of this, Shad asked me where I wanted to eat. Sadly, the four year old brainwashed me and all I could think about was Waffle House. I took this picture there. I have no idea what he sees, but I love the face.

Saturday, October 16: This is my current shadow at almost 37 weeks pregnant. I was walking and noticed it. I had to laugh, and of course take a picture.

Sunday, October 17: No picture

That was our week! Did you see what showed up in Monday, Wednesdays, and the second Thursday's pictures. It B's "concrete construction boots" (because concrete workers wear them). Don't call them rain boots, or you'll offend him, and he will make sure to correct you. We got them last week at Goodwill. As soon as I picked them up he loved them. He had them on his feet before we left the store. He has worn them every day since then except for the day it actually rained. Go figure! He's a complicated little guy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blessing #4- "Hey Mommy, watch this!"

“Hey Mommy, watch this,” is the Russian roulette of a four year old boy’s phrases. You never know what you will turn around and find. Sometimes I’ll turn around to find B doing something really cute. Other times I’ll turn around to see him doing something new he has learned. Sometimes I'll turn to see something gross he has found. However, most of the time I turn around to find him about to do something dangerous. Today’s “Hey Mommy, watch this,” moment came while we were cleaning the guest house. I turned around to see B sucking up his cheek into the dust buster. He then tried to suck up his tongue, but I stopped him.

Why does he do this? After much thought I think I have found an answer. I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve noticed when males do something dangerous they HAVE to have an audience. Don’t believe me? Look at all the stunt shows, Evil Knievel, and the X games. When the male species tries something dangerous, they have to have an audience to prove it.

For now, at least until he discovers You Tube, I am the only audience B has for all of his stunts. Soon though, “Hey Mommy, watch this,” will become, “Hey Ya’ll, watch this!” See, a boy’s friends make a much better audience than his Mommy. After the dangerous stunt, his friends will give him high fives and say things like, “That was awesome man!” In contrast, after a dangerous stunt, Mommy’s eyes bug out and she says things like, “Do you know how much the last trip to the emergency room cost us.”

So for now, when I hear, “Hey Mommy, watch this,” I’ll take a deep breath, say a prayer that it’s something cute, and turn around. For now, I’m happy to be his audience of one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blessing #3 - Secondhand Finds

Do you see that green piece of furniture? It's a $20 Goodwill find from this past weekend. There's something about finding items at yard sales or Goodwill that makes them feel like treasures. Why you ask? Here are some reasons.

1. They are often one of a kind items.
Can I go and find this green beat up desk thing at Walmart? I think not.

2. Every secondhand piece comes with a story.
For example:
"They were asking $30 for this, but I offered them $15, and they took it!"
"A woman had this in her hand, and we followed her around the store until she set it down!"

3. Sometimes you buy something just because you like it or it's cheap, only to find out later you really needed it.
This particular green desk thing was bought just because it looked cool, but once I got it home I put all of my small kitchen appliances in it. It freed up so much storage space!

4. There is nothing more thrilling than beating someone else to a "find."
As soon as I saw this green desk thing, I stood guard over it as Shad took the tag up front. Three seemingly well to do people walked up and say, "Oh, it's already sold." It took everything I had not to start doing my happy dance and saying, "That's right, it's sold! In your face! Boo-ya!" However, I decided to act more lady like and just smile.

5. Every time someone compliments you on your find, you get to say, "I got it at Goodwill!" (I usually also quote the price, but that does seem a little like gloating.)

Although I love secondhand shopping I must warn you. If you ever start, you cannot go back. You will complain every time you walk into a normal store. "$20!!! $20 for this!!! Do you know what I've gotten at Goodwill for $20!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blessing #2 - Clyde

I have never liked horses. They make me nervous. They're just so big. However this guy is making me change my mind.

This is Clyde,well, I call him Clyde. I don't know his real name. He is our landlord's horse. Brandon loves to visit with the miniature donkeys, but Clyde, an enormous Clydesdale, is in the same field. Talk about irony, miniature donkeys and a Clydesdale as field mates. I didn't like Clyde getting near B, so I would pet Clyde while B petted the donkeys. Next thing I know, Clyde and his sweet face won me over. I think it was the way he puts his nose on my shoulder, or maybe how he runs to the fence when he sees us. I don't know what it is, but he definitely brightens my day.

Have you ever tried to take a self portrait with a horse? It's not easy, but it's easier than taking a picture with a four year old.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Curse #1 - Stinkbugs

I am not writing about a blessing today, but rather a curse. Recently, Delaware and Maryland have been infested by stinkbugs. This infestation is of Biblical proportions. Please don't think I hate all bugs. I've heard that bees are vital to the world. The Bible says, "Look to the ant." As far as spiders are concerned, have you seen Charlotte's Web? I appreciate bugs, just not stink bugs.

About twice a week, I clean a guest house on a horse farm. I have to work about 30 minutes extra each time because of these stinkbugs.

These were just the stinkbugs from the weekend! They congregate at the door and have a stinkbug party. Then on Monday, I have to come in and clean up after them. I become a crazed woman cleaning up these bugs, and I can't help but laugh as I recall my childhood. Just mention the word "Japanese beetle" and my dad will probably spit in disgust. My dad has fought a war with those beetles every year for over fifteen years for his crepe myrtles. I believe you can hear him quietly laughing each year as he sprays the crepe myrtles with insecticide. However, there is one major difference between my dad and I. In the war of my dad versus the Japanese beetles, he wins every year. He's got the crepe myrtles to prove it. In the war of Steph versus the stinkbugs, I lose miserably. Because of the stinkbugs natural stinky defense, I cannot smush them. Monday, I cleaned up all the stinkbugs only to find this guy on my way out.

The light brown piece after him is a part of granola bar. Brandon wanted to feed him. B said, "Hey little stinkbug. You're looking for your mommy." "No Brandon, stinkbugs don't have mommies," I said. "They are spawned from pure evil." Okay...Okay...I didn't say that, but I wanted to.

Monday, after slaving and cleaning up all their messes, this is what I found as I got in my car. Arrogant little stinkbugs, they just had to rub it in.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Essential Brandon

If you do not know my son, this picture explains exactly who he is. Let me explain.

1. Dirt! Dirt is on B's top five list of favorite things. When he outside he says that he is "working on his fields." His name means "brown covered hill." I guess that's was prophetic for his love of dirt.

2. Blue teeth! These blue teeth came from his latest piece of candy. He's a candy nut like me.

3. Tractors and dozers! He's obsessed. He loves them so much.

4. Danger, Danger! He is always into something dangerous. This specific case is a broken shovel.(Don't worry I took it away after the picture)

5. Boots! He loves work boots. These were comouflage. We got them two days ago at Goodwill and he hasn't worn any other shoe since.

That's your essential guide to Brandon. I'll mention him a bunch. Sorry, I'm a mom in love.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Birthday Adventure...Adventure

Here in the Lankford family, we have birthday adventures. A birthday adventure is where the family goes on an “adventure” of the birthday person’s choosing. For Shad birthday adventure, we visited as many Goodwills as we could in one day. That’s may not seem adventurous, but Shad loves Goodwills, and the birthday adventure really did get adventurous.

While waiting in line to check out at a Goodwill, Shad noticed some money on the ground in front of him. He picked it up an realized it was a larger amount of money than you would expect to pick up at Goodwill. We suspected it belonged to the two men in front of us. Now everyone knows saying, “I just found some money, is it yours?” is not the smartest way to handle this situation. So we waited to see if our suspected money losers noticed the missing money when they paid. The only item they bought was a big suitcase. (Red Flag #1). Surprisingly, the suspected money losers did not notice the missing money when they paid. Maybe it was because they pulled a large wad of cash out to pay. (Red Flag #2) Shad told me to stay in the store and he followed them out. As they were walking to there incredibly, nice customized mustang, (Red Flag #3) Shad asked if they had lost some money. The one man did not know English so his friend interpreted for him. “Yeah, we lost $30,” the interpreter answered back. Shad informed them that wasn’t the amount he found and told them to have a good day.

Shad came back in the store and retrieved me and my son. As we were buckling ourselves into the car I said, “Shad the drug dealers are walking around looking for something. Shad the drug dealers are pointing at our car!” Now before you call me judgmental, look at the red flags! Growing up as a preacher’s kid on the mean streets of my rural Georgia hometown, I learned how to spot these things. Anyway, Shad gets out of the car. In panic, they told Shad, “300!!! we lost 300 dollars!!!” Shad told them that was the right amount and gave it back to them. After thanking him profusely, they gave Shad $40 for his good deed. Shad took the opportunity to witness to them. The one man said in his best English, “You a good Christian man.” Shad then gave them five, a fist bump, and a hug ( I have no idea why he chose the day we meet the drug dealers to become a hugger) and got in the car.

Afterwards, I had an image of what could have happened. I would be sitting in the police office trying to explain why my husband was talking to drug dealers in a Goodwill parking lot. The conversation would go something like this…

Police: “But ma’am if he wasn’t getting drugs, why did he have $300 in his pocket.”

Me: “They dropped it and he was returning it to them.”

Police: “RRRRRRight. Sure, he was ‘returning’ the money!”

Me: “No I promise. We are Christians. Christians do stuff like that!!!”

Fortunately, I did not have to have that conversation. We did not expect Shad’s birthday adventure to have that much adventure, but at least he has a story to tell.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blessing #1 - Google

I have debated on what should be my first blessing. Should it be meaningful and deep. "I am thankful for salvation, air, my family, my third grade teacher Mrs. Bacel." However, I just decided to jump in where I am today.

I have a motto, "I don't know everything, but what I don't know I can google!" I say it all the time to my kids at Sylvan when we are working on homework. I know what you are thinking, "Way to inspire students. Don't learn it, just google it when you are older!" I do love google though.

Here are some things I have had to google recently.

1. The meaning of Brandon

2. diagram of the muscles of the human body (that was for helping a student at Sylvan)

3. I like statuses (glad I googled that first)

4. signs of labor(I've got to be prepared)

5. squirrel recipes (that was a joke for a friend on facebook, but they were interesting recipes)

6. project life" (phenomenal idea that I am going to try

7. egotistical(I had to know how to spell it for a status)

8. how to make a blogger header

Thanks google for making me look smart!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Calculating Blessings

It all started a year ago. I took a challenge to find one gratitude item or blessing every day in the month of November. At first, I thought this would be a small, easy task. “I am grateful for my husband, son, parents, etc.” I did not expect this task to change my entire outlook on life. Just like anyone else, there are many things in my life that I would like to change. In the past, I found myself focusing on those items (I have a mental list you know). Prayer requests that God, for some reason had not answered. Consumed by my impatience in God, I looked for relief. Unknowingly, I would find it in this simple blessings challenge. Something happened to me when I started to SEEK out my blessings. I started seeing God’s hand in my life, daily handfuls that He would give to me. I just had to stop and see them. My focus changed from what I did not have to what He has given me. This simple task revolutionized my view of God and my walk with Him.
Since last November, I have been seeking out blessings in an unorganized way. Just noticing them as I went along and mentioning them on Facebook. My new challenge to myself is to try to find blessings, and put them in this blog. Since you can now print out your blog, this blog will also serve as a journal for my boys. I would like them to someday know me as I am now, a young mom. The journal is for myself as well. Time is going by so fast. One day, having the funny things my little guys say and do written down will be a treasure. So here I go, calculating blessings!