Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just to get it all off my chest

First confession: I've been really pissy lately. There's no way of sugar coating it.

And here are a few of the things behind it (at least the ones that I can put a finger on):
  • I'm getting close to my stupid period. And it makes me crazy in the head. My head is full of angry bees -- Angry, evil bees that tell me that I'm fat and lazy and that nothing is right. And that nothing will BE right. And, WHY THE HELL can I be left alone in some cave somewhere where I will eat my body weight in chocolate and Fritos ... and emerge in about a week twenty pounds (give or take) heavier and full of self-loathing.
  • I'm seriously, totally bummed about Oregon's voters passing Measures 66 and 67. Okay, truly? I couldn't care less about 66. We don't make anywhere NEAR $250,000 in our family. And, really, I don't know if anyone I know does. Besides Bill Gates. But that's probably why he lives in Washington ...
    But Measure 67, which totally boots the taxes on businesses? It scares me. There are going to be family farmers put out of business. Michael's company might be put out of business. We're STILL in the middle of this stupid recession and NOW the few companies that ARE looking at doing business here in Oregon are pulling out because of these CRAZY-HIGH taxes. ... Taxes that I highly doubt will ever make it to the schools and public services that they're SUPPOSED to fund. ... Yes, I'm jaded and depressed. I REALLY BELIEVE that instead of creating these new (and RETROACTIVE?!?) taxes, our state government should just take a pay cut (or A FEW) to counteract ALL the times that they've recently voted to give THEMSELVES RAISES.
    I'm just sayin'. Especially since these raises are coming as they demand that teachers take pay cuts. "For the children." ... Yeah, right. I'm ready to start a movement that makes our state government a VOLUNTEER position. ... Okay, I'm not, really. But I think they are overpaid and underworked. If they can't create and stick to a viable budget, KICK THEM OUT. And fine them for all that they've gone over. That's how we mere peons are treated, right?
    *headdesk. headdesk. headdesk.*
  • I'm still bummed that Gingi's dead. And that my children KEEP. BRINGING. IT UP. If they didn't bring it up about once a day, maybe I could get over it faster. I don't know.
  • My children are whining.
  • My house is never fully clean. Part of the reason is that I'm a sentimental idiot and HATE to get rid of things. Part of it is that I don't have lots of money, so I don't want to get rid of something that MIGHT be useful. Because, per Murphy's Law, when I finally get rid of something that I haven't used in forever, THAT's going to be when I really need it. And then I'd have to buy a new one. And I can't afford that. Whatever it is.
  • I hate money. Or, more honestly, not having money. I would LOVE to be all caught up on bills, have money for a trip somewhere, able to buy some fun things ... But it's not in the cards right now. I know that this experience is to HELP us and to TEACH us something. But it's really, REALLY wearing thin. I want this stupid recession to END. I want my husband to be able to be paid what he deserves ... which isn't happening because things are tight for EVERYONE. I'm not trying to be selfish about all this. I want the recession done and over with for EVERYONE. ... That all said, I'm grateful for the blessings that we receive from paying out tithing. There's no way at ALL that we should be able to afford to be even where we are without it. So, yeah. that is that. Money situation = EPIC SUCK. Tithing = MADE OF AWESOME.
  • I hate being all pissy. It isn't fun. I want to be a fun person. Like how I was before I worried about money and acting like a boring type of grown-up. I don't always feel that I'm as interesting as I used to be.
Okay, now that I've got all that off my chest, just pet my hair and tell me that I'm still a pretty little tulip and that you do still love me ... even thought I'm a whining whiner and have my head full of angry bees.

I'm off for some Tylenol or something.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's shakin' today ...

  • Had to say goodbye to my mom again. But she'll be up next week, so that's really okay.
  • Got to the library for storytime with enough time to get a great parking spot.
  • I know where they've moved the J (Juvenile) DVDs, so we got quite a few to watch. ... Including VeggieTales, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" (which always makes me think of BriBri) and a DVD of Mo Willems and John Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca") narrating a cartoon of "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus."
  • My mom's now read just about ALL of Mo Willems books. Last month, she really hadn't even heard of him. But my kiddos (and I, truth be told) LOVE "da pijjin'". And Knuffle Bunny. And the Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie books (seriously, check out the endpapers in those! They are EXCELLENT!!!). Good stuff.
  • I finished making dinner -- chicken and stars soup from homemade stock.
  • The kiddos haven't taken a nap, but they did lay quietly. And Bruise only really had one meltdown, which earned him a spanking and a timeout (The spank was due to the fact that he was arguing about going to his room for the timeout).
  • Facebook seems to have fixed whatever issue they were having ... which was having me get kicked off of FB every few minutes. Which was annoying.
  • Philips Electronics has CRAP customer service (first email - "Hey, have you read the manual and checked out the page FAQ?" My response - "Yes. And because my issue wasn't answered THERE, I am asking YOU. And I'm rather OFFENDED that you'd assume that I wouldn't check THERE before wasting your PRECIOUS TIME. 'k write me back, smoochies!" Them - "Well, since it's not solved there and it's out of warranty, you need to take it somewhere, anywhere that YOU can find, to have it looked over. Good luck! Also, I really don't write in English well! I'm probably working for a job that was outsourced!") ... (Okay, so there's some SLIGHT dramatization going on. If you REALLY want me to post what EXACTLY was said, I will. But I don't want people to be bored. ... Still, totally helpful, huh? Just makes you want to RUN out and SNATCH up some Philips Home Theater Systems since you're going to get such GREAT customer service!! /sarcasm)
  • Still, the DVD player likes Michael. And Michael's found that if you press "stop" LOTS, it'll work without much fuss. Phew! Because, seriously, it's JUST out of warranty. By, like, a MONTH. Really, don't we PAY for products to work even when they're out of warranty? *sigh*
  • I mentioned a couple posts down that I had leftover Chinese for lunch. Yum.
And then I got all bummed out over missing my baby-head. *sigh* I'm really not all that good at letting go. As much as I ADORE Thomas S. Monson, I really, really miss President Hinckley. Heck, I also miss Neal A. Maxwell. And my Pop-pop and Grandma Darlene ... Like I said, I really suck at letting go.

I haven't taken a shower today. I was going to take a bath and read in the tub while the kids took a nap .... but that didn't happen. Oh well. Not a huge deal.

I am thinking, though, of putting the kids to bed a little early (since Michael's got a meeting tonight) and doing some of the DIY ideas that Michelle Phan has on her YouTube channel. (Thanks Bri for introducing me to her channel! I'm hooked!!)

Okay. I think that really covers just about everything! Overall, a decent day. Especially since my kids had a BLAST with their free-play after their resting period. I have NO IDEA what all the plot was, but it was fun to watch. ^_^

Bummer ...

So, it's been 181 days since my Gingi-kitty died.

No, it's not really any easier.

Sometimes I do okay ... I succeed at putting the fact that I don't have her anymore here from my mind.

And then I'll remember. And I lose my breath and find myself with watering eyes.

If I had had the money, would I have succumbed to the temptation of having her stuffed? Yes, it WOULD be creepy to have a taxidermied (is that even a real term? Who knows.) cat around. ... But, but ... I'd be able to pet her.

Of course, if I did have her stuffed, then if Michael ever died before I did, I might just follow my own precedent and be the crazy, creepy lady with her husband's corpse on display (however well preserved).

And I don't want to be THAT crazy. I mean, a LITTLE crazy is one thing. But crossing the line into WITHER-THE-FRIES-WOMAN-THAT'S-SOME-CRAZY-SHIZZLE ... well, I think that wouldn't be a good idea.

Still, I want my baby-cat back, dammit. I slept better when she was alive.

The only really good thing is that she's not incontinent anymore ... Poor baby cat.

But, yeah. I still miss her.
Maybe more than is healthy.


But that's just how I roll, I suppose.

Random bit

Ode to leftover Chinese:

Sitting in the fridge.
Nuke you for two minutes, then
it is ambrosia.

Yes, I DO wax poetic about food.
... WHAT? Stop looking at me like that.

No, I'm NOT sharing.
*nom nom nom*

Cynthia's going to be jeeeeeeeeaaaaaaalous!!! :P

So, I was trying to do one of these for ME .... but obviously, MyHeritage likes Michael better (and, really, who could blame them??)

But his #1 Celebrity Look-alike made me laugh. Because my Cynthia loves that man, so. ^_^

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

What can I say? I know how to pick 'em, huh?

And, here's mine.

The two celebrities that wouldn't fit on that were Gillian Anderson and Katie Holmes, if you wondered.

It makes me laugh that one of Bruise's celeb-twins is Colin Firth. ^_^

And, last, here's our princess:

It tickles me that most of her matches are Japanese. :P Good for her!

So, there you go! If you do some of the Celebrity-lookalike collages, let me know! These always are fun. ^_^

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thinks that make you go "Awwwwwww!!!"

So, a while ago, one of my friends got all reflective.

So she made a list of all the things that she ISN'T.

And, really, who hasn't made a list (at least mentally) of all the things that we're not that we feel we could/should be?

Not that I'd EVER do that. *whistles innocently. If I could whistle that well*

And, truly, a good deal of her friends (including me) quickly responded about how excellent she really is.

But it gets even better. HERE. Her husband hijacked her blog and made a list of things that she IS.

Seriously, how darling is that?

Totally darling.

That is the only correct answer.

Best Laid Plans and other random bits

Okay, so I last wrote on Thursday ... what's happened since then?

Friday -- We cleaned the house and fed the missionaries. We had nachos. If I do that again, I want a fondue pot or something that can handle a can of Sterno underneath it. The cheese sauce (melted Velveeta with some salsa tossed in) kept cooling and congealing. Not so fun. But it was tasty. It was a meal that Bruise actually ATE, so that was a huge success, no?

Saturday -- Cleaned the church building. One gal had come and cleaned the night before (since she had to work that morning), so Michael and I emptied the garbages in the classrooms, vacuumed the classrooms, and cleaned the four bathrooms that hadn't been cleaned. Oh, and I wiped out the drinking faucets. (For those of you not in the know, ward members are assigned to clean the ward buildings. And there are lists of what duties you need to do. In our building, we have three wards. Each is assigned one sheet of duties. One will have to wash windows, pick up any garbage outside, and vacuum and sweep the chapel and hallways and cultural hall and stage. Another ward will be assigned to clean the bathrooms, serving area (like a kitchen -- except we're not supposed to do meal prep in there. Legal reasons, you know? Crazy litigious society that we live in!), and vacuum the classrooms and empty the garbages there. ... I don't really know what all the other ward is assigned. We've only ever been cleaning the building when we've had either of those two sheets of responsibilities. ... And, after you (and whatever other people in your ward) are done with your sheet ... and you've signed off on all the duties, you call the person assigned over it and report to him. And you're done!

After that, we took the kids home for a nap. Which they didn't take. :(
Then, in the afternoon, there was a free nutrition workshop at the local library. With FREE CHILDCARE. Bruise happily played at the library's train table for about an hour and a half. Happy as a pig in the mud. Bucket would go back and forth between playing in the children's section of the library and then coming to sit with us in the presentation room/storytime room.

And, since she was with us when the food was served (our presenter, from OSU Extension Services made a healthy chili and pear quesadillas. Yum!) and was happily chowing down, we had our picture taken and put in the paper.

There we are. You can JUST see Michael's sleeve next to Bucket. Luckily, our names aren't attached to the image (they were in the paper, so I'm not giving you the link for that. Sorry! Just trying to protect my sweet babies from potential Weirdos (of the nasty-nasty sort)), so I can share the picture with you.

Truly, I think I look horrible. I'm not wearing a lick of make-up and the bold red of my jacket's totally reflecting off my pale-pale-glow-in-the-dark skin. And, heavens above, but could I smile? If I smiled and lifted my chin, I'd avoid looking so fat-in-the-face. *sigh* I know. I'm my worst and cattiest critic. Oh well. (I just REALLY need to work out. *sigh*)

Sunday wasn't all that eventful ... still enjoying the Family History course that we're in. I still have my work cut out for me. But, hey! It looks like there's been some work done on my mom's side. Work that she and I haven't done ... cool, huh?

Now, to yesterday. I had great plans for yesterday. I was going to get up, clean the house -- finish up the dishes, fold some laundry, vacuum, dust the living room, sweep/dust mop ...

Well, I did dust the living room. And I did a load of dishes. Everything else? Fell by the wayside.
I read with the kids. A chapter of The Book of Mormon (hey, we have to start somewhere, right?) and some Mo Willems books. We love us some pigeon books ... and anything else he writes, really. ^_^ I think we're going to have to buy his whole oeuvre of kids' books.

Bruise did take a nap when I asked. But Bucket? WAS. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.
Eventually, I really just lost it. She was in her room most of the day, SCREAMING and throwing tantrums ... even after Michael got home and took her for a drive. During which they discussed "Princess Behavior."

I did have dinner made. And, per Michael's suggestions before he was able to come home, she spent a while in the naughty chair in my bathtub so that I could keep an eye on her while I showered (there's a separate shower stall in the master bath).

It was NOT a very good day. At all.

But Michael, bless his heart, brought home ice cream for me (and him). He totally deserved it, too, with how much she screamed and fussed. We didn't read story-story (A chapter of "The Last Battle"). She, due to her attitude, also didn't get to listen to the scripture story. Bruise and I cuddled, him on my lap, and read about Christ and the ten lepers together.

I had remarked to Michael that, after a day like today ... Well, I almost wished that Bruise was an only child. He was SO good. At one point, I was in their room, sitting next to Bucket, in the hopes that she'd settle down and FALL FRICKIN' ASLEEP (which, you can surmise, she DIDN'T). Bruise stirred from his nap, turned over, saw me, grinned and waved at me, then rolled back over and went right back to sleep.

When he woke up, yes, I let him out of their room to play. He deserved it. And, gosh, he handled it well that the DVD player isn't working, so he couldn't watch the show that he wanted (usually the kids FUSS like nobody's business when something like this occurs -- usually a DVD from the libraries won't play. And I have to withstand the WHINE of DEATH). Bruise, though? He took it in stride (what a GOOD nap can do!!) ... and, instead, he played without a show. And was very happy to watch the kids' programming on OPB.

When I had told Michael how GOOD Bruise had been, Michael -- ever the optimist -- told Bruise, "You've been a very sweet boy. Don't let it go to your head."
(Yes, I LOVE my husband.)

Bucket, however ... well, I think that she ended up getting tired out enough by all the fussing and whining and SCREAMING that she finally went to bed around 8:30. When, usually she's nodding off in bed around 8PM. *sigh*

And then she threw up this morning. Into the toilet. I'm SURE it was due to the stress that was yesterday. She had a few cold showers and a few spankings and a few timeouts. Okay, a HELL OF A LOT of timeouts.

Yeah. I'm still ready for a nap. And a working perfectly DVD player. I mean, really, it's just over a year old. What's the deal with technology HATING me so much this year? Especially when I love my technology so????? *sigh*

So, yeah. If you can just pray that Bucket will return to the sweet princess that she usually is ... and that technology stops hating me. And, hey, if you can give me tips to motivate myself to exercise. And get off my duff and get the laundry folded. And how to stay sane ... well, sane-ish, anyways, I'd REALLY, REALLY appreciate it.

Just about as much as I appreciated Michael's bringing me a pint of "Americone Dream" (since, dude, it's got a picture of STEPHEN COLBERT on it!! :D Yup, I got myself a keeper. ^_^)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Funny aside ...

Sometimes your kids, as they're learning to talk, have very ... ENDEARING pronunciations.

Right now, the best one is how Bruise pronounces "ice cream."

Let's just say that it sounds like a trucker-type-language term for Desitin.

So if you hear it, be aware that we don't say "@$$" in this house. And that he really wants a frozen treat ... not not a "pah-sick-ell." Nope. The kind that can come in a cone or a dish.

Not treatment for diaper rash.

Just so we're all on the same page.


In which I gripe ... and then am very humbled

Let's get the griping out of the way first, okay?

In regards to other drivers, I just want to use the quote, "Lack of planning on YOUR part does NOT necessitate an emergency on MINE."

If you are putting off merging until the last second, don't expect me to be as happy and patient as if you'd put on your blinker right away. OR been in the correct lane in the first place.

And I say this even though I'm not great at parking and made a few people wait while I executed a three- (maybe five-) point turn in the library's parking lot. ... But I TRIED to wait until there weren't TONS of cars around. I try not to impose my crazy on everyone around me. (Part of my crazy is being unable to aptly gage space and distance ... and, therefore, I live in mortal fear of backing up into other cars or structures.)

Also, when I was volunteering yesterday, there were TONS of books. I arrived to find about four carts (one was only half-full. And already in the lobby. The rest were in the adjoining staff room). So I pull out one of the full carts, thinking to myself that I can totally just grab books off of TWO carts to shelve as easily as one. I push the mostly-empty cart in front of me and pull the FULL cart behind ... and it tips over and spills its load of around 60 alphabetized books. Because I'm JUST that awesome and effective.
(Two patrons immediately asked if they could help me. I said yes. And one of the library staff came and helped me put the cart back in order, assuring me that these carts are really "tippy" and that this has happened to everyone.)

But, yeah. Since the library had been closed for Martin Luther King (Jr)'s birthday on Monday, we were still catching up. It happens after every holiday (the week after Thanksgiving, when the library has been closed for TWO days is KILLER. I wasn't there for the aftermath of Christmas or New Year's this year. But I recall when I volunteered before, shelving the new [2 week checkout] books, it was rather ... crazy).

The kids are lying less. Which is good.

Bucket started ballet class. And proclaims to love it. (Bruise agrees. And he's technically in the class, too.) But you wouldn't know that if you'd seen her at class yesterday.
Bucket is most likely the youngest in her class, since it's for 4-6 year-olds and she did just turn 4. She has a church-friend in the class, which is nice. Bucket is, though, definitely the smallest. And, as with most new things, she was really reticent about joining in at first. She did participate with the group in the warm-up and the cool-down sections. However, the bulk of the class was spent either sitting on my mom's or my lap -- or (and this was much more preferable) practicing along with the girls as she stood next to our chairs.
Bruise didn't participate at all. I finally kicked him out of my lap so I could take a few pictures of Bucket being in class (and I SHOULD have taken the picture of her, tear-streaked, cuddling in my mom's lap). So, he ended up sitting in a chair next to me for 80% of the class.
Still, when both kids left class to walk to the car, they both proclaimed to Mom and me how they LOVED dance class.

Now, here's where I am very humbled. Lately, I've been kinda pissy (really, that's the best word for it, I'm sure) about our situation financially. We have credit card debt. We wouldn't have this debt if people in charge of the economy hadn't gotten greedy and screwed over the rest of the nation. If we didn't have this debt and things weren't so stretched, life would be a lot easier. ... We still wouldn't be the kind of family that could afford a yearly vacation with air travel or anything ... at least, not without saving lots and lots. We don't have tons of food storage. We don't have flashy cars or big screen TVs. Heck, right now, we're back down to ONE working computer. We don't have a Wii, nor do we have plans to buy one in the immediate future. When I get new clothes, it's almost always because they are gifts. When I gain weight (which has happened since this time last year), I have fewer and fewer clothes that look good on me. ... And, even with trying to be grateful for the good things, I find myself getting caught up in the sucky stuff:
  • bills, bills, bills. And they're never all paid off , really. Because as soon as we get them paid, the NEXT one comes in.
  • My kids are slowly trying to drive me mad -- lying, ordering me about like some plus-sized Cinderella (and HELL if I'm going to put up with that!)
  • I've been sleeping wrong (or something) which has resulted in REALLY sore shoulders and neck for me ... which only adds to my cheerful, sweet disposition ... of wait, it doesn't. It leaves me PISSIER THAN EVER.
  • Did I mention that my computer, which had started WORKING AGAIN, died AGAIN?
  • I still miss my Gingi-cat. And I tear up about how much I miss her just THINKING of it. And I wonder if I'd rather NOT feel these emotions ... and if I could give them up, would I? Or would it be disloyal to her somehow? And it doesn't help that Diana-cat isn't much like my Ginger. Or that, every so often, I'll catch a glimpse of something pale out of the corner of my eye and, immediately, think that it's her ... and then I have to remember that it's NOT. And that I'm not really putting forth enough effort to perfect myself so that I can be utterly assured of getting to the Celestial Kingdom (because I'm one of my harshest critics. If not THE harshest) ... and if I don't make it there, I might not get to hang with my Gingi much.
  • I get frustrated with myself for thinking the above. But have I gotten fully motivated to read my scriptures more (let alone really STUDY them)? I am praying a little more ... I could EXERCISE and get some endorphins.
  • We're reading "The Last Battle" and things are so ... bleak/bad/suckified/crap. I KNOW that it gets better. I really do. It's not just faith because I've read this book before. MULTIPLE TIMES, even. But reading it aloud to the kids (because I have read it aloud before when it was just Michael and me, driving along) .... it just makes it (and life) seem more bleak/bad/suckified. Yesterday, I read some of Mo Willems pigeon books instead. Because they're lighter and funny and I just couldn't handle reading about Shift and his wicked designs.
I know, overall, it's stupid stuff. Nothing really that having a few fistfuls of money won't solve. And, truly, if throwing money at a problem solves it, it's not that huge of a problem.

Which brings me to this:


You can throw money at it, but not everything's being solved.
But the kids' pediatrician is doing what he can. He took action. And that's another reason why I love and respect our doctor.

Here he is, volunteering and DEALING and HELPING with all of this.
Some people amaze me.
Most people amaze me ... Most people rise up and make great choices and DO great things.

They're not all greedy and power-hungry.

I have to remember this. Even when the actions of a powerful FEW affect the honest MANY.

There are good people. LOTS of good people.
If only we (If only I) could be more like them.

Then the would wouldn't feel like it's just so crap.

Here are a couple more examples that make me tear up ... but in movie form:

Sound of Hope:

Lost Generation:

Today, I'm grateful for: good examples, proactive people, that I DON'T live in a place that's war-torn or suffering from massive natural disasters. My healthy family who loves me. Our church.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Trying to get rid of my stinking thinking ...

Okay, ... So as I'm sitting here being a tab bit impatient and down about my computer and the fact that we're not just sitting here watching the monkey money roll in, well, I remembered hearing one of the General Authorities give a talk.

A talk involving lyrics from one of the songs from Fiddler on the Roof (which, coincidentally, is the first musical I ever remember seeing. At the high school that I attended. I think I was around ... six? seven? Around there, anyways).

And I *THOUGHT* it was Elder Jeffery R. Holland who gave it.

So, I'm searching and searching for it. Can't find it.

Because it was Elder Dallin H. Oaks.


But, yeah, whenever I get all, well, pissy about my lot in life, I tend to recall this bit of the talk:

I love the musical and motion picture Fiddler on the Roof. There a wonderful Jewish father sings “If I Were a Rich Man.” His memorable prayer concludes with this pleading question:

Lord, who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am;
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan,
If I were a wealthy man?
(lyrics by Sheldon Harnick [1964])

Yes, Tevye, it might. Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality.

And, yeah, it helps me to recall that I am NOT omniscient. I am given this trials because they're something that I need to endure. There's something in here that I'm supposed to learn. Hard as it seems, I am going to get through all this crap ... and I'll be all the better for it.

Like I was discussing with Michael the other day, it WOULD be really nice if our prayers were answered instantaneously (like the lights on our dashboard in the van. After Christmas, when Michael got gas, the dude there didn't close the gas cap all the way, so our "check engine" light came on. AGAIN. And it takes forever to turn back off. So, if had been a couple weeks. I was starting to get worried. [Okay, I was CONTINUING TO WORRY.] And THEN one of our doors was REALLY acting up. When we'd make a turn, it'd activate the light in a set of microsecond strobes. Not good. So we had to turn off the overhead lights in the car. THEN it stopped even RECOGNIZING that that side door was closed at all. ... So, what could we do but pray? ... And clean all the sensor bits with some rubbing alcohol. ... So we did both. And, really, within a week, the "check engine" light turned itself off. The sensors started working again. I can even leave the overhead lights on so that I can tell when a door is ajar without having to turn on the car. That little annoying red streak isn't showing up saying that a door's open when it really isn't. Phew!!)

Any, yeah, wouldn't it be NICE if all prayers were answered so expeditiously? I mean, it wasn't INSTANTANEOUS, but it was fast.
And, then, if a prayer couldn't be answered, if you could get a note explaining WHY it just wasn't going to work.

But then, on the other hand, that'd totally negate the need for faith. And so it just would't work. *sigh*

... Still ... it would be kinda nice.

But, yeah. I just need to figure out what I need to be learning and FREAKING DO IT so that I can totally get through all of this. And then, we can only hope, business will completely turn around, we'll get out of all debts (except, perhaps the mortgage ... and I'm fine with that), and I'll get A PONY! (Okay, not really. But maybe a gerbil or a frog or something? Something that I can handle cleaning up after ... Which means that it must make really SMALL messes. *sigh*)

... Okay, while the children are happy with their Little Einsteins DVD (after, thankfully, the DVD player has decided to cooperate. Sometimes it just really seems to hate me. *sigh* But it just needs a little time-out and it'll work again.), I should get into gear and go read my scriptures and pray and stuff.

I at least need to express my gratitude that the DVD player's working and that I was able to find that talk that I needed to.
Because I needed that reminder to be grateful for the trials that I have. They're for my good. I KNOW this. I just need to accept it and to learn what I need to learn so that I'll be able to get THROUGH this.


Also, how am I going to get through reading "The Last Battle" without sobbing like a perfect idjit?? Because it's so frustrating in the beginning ... Shift is such a jerk ... *sigh*

Just pray that I'm going to get through everything and learn whatever it is that the Lord wants me to know asap. I'm positive it'll help.


It's just been a little nuts around here.

Friday ... what DID we do Friday? I think we just cleaned house and laid around. Michael was still getting better from the cold that had kicked his butt Wednesday. Saturday, we went shopping for a birthday present for Bruise and Bucket's friend, H ... and to H's birthday party (Fun stuff).

I had a little cash, so I did buy a few things for myself. A copy of the Jan/Feb mental_floss magazine (since my subscription expired. D:), a journal for utilizing in my quest to develop a habit of scripture study, The Latke Who Wouldn't Stop Screaming (by Lemony Snicket, what more needs to be said? I love this book.) ... milk, a copy of Glamour ... I think that was really it.

Sunday was church. Michael's still both the Executive Secretary and 1st counselor in the EQ. So he's still having to do the meetings in the morning. I got us dressed and to church on time. The kids enjoyed playing with their paper dolls from Bucket has a fairy pocket with Whisper and a couple sheets of her clothes. Bruise has (from my Dianne) the brown haired brother. And they played well with them, when they weren't fighting over (1) who got to sit in my lap and (2) who got to hold the little temple schedule booklet from 2008 (Unfortunately, i normally had the one from last year in my wallet. And I had taken it out. Guess I'll be grabbing it out of my bedroom to put into the church bag).

We started a new Sunday School class about Family History and Temple Work. Michael and I knew a bit of what out teacher was talking about, so he was filling things in from our old PAF file onto and downloading the new program that we're going to be using. The Church used to use Personal Ancestry File (PAF), but now they're using RootsMagic. You can download the basic version (RootsMagic Essentials) for free ... which fits our budget quite well. If you want the full version with all its bells and whistles, it's $29.99, so I hear.
Just so you know.

Oh, and the nice thing about RootsMagic is that it's fully compatible with everything that you've filled in at And you can import your old PAF files into it. Which is nice and saves you some time.

After church, we watched the BBC version of The Silver Chair, since we had just finished it last night. (The book's better ... but I'm sure that you already knew that.) Then we started "The Last Battle." ... And, oh, just reading that first chapter ... Gosh, the world is really falling to crap, isn't it?

After the kids were put to bed ... and we had a discussion on proper nighttime behavior (lately, the kids will wake up in the middle of the night and try to crawl in bed with us in the wee small hours of the morning. Or coming to us and whining how they need to go potty) ... So I told them that, hey, if the sun is not up in the sky, they are NOT to get into bed with us/me. If they have to go potty in the middle of the night, they don't have to tell us. They also need to use THEIR bathroom, not ours. If the sun isn't up, they're not to cross our doorway. A little harse, but with how little sleep we get with them in bed ... especially if we've ... and we're not so covered ... ahem ... but you get my drift, I'm sure.

So ... then Michael and I watched "Earth Girls Are Easy," which was pretty cute. And young Jeff Goldblum? I'm not going to complain. I like him. *grins*

As we were watching it, we had the lights flicker due to the wind outside. And, well, what would you know ... this morning, my computer won't start. CRAP!! Crappitycrapcrapcrap!

Well, at least most of my stuff (besides my new booksmarks and the new roll sheets I had altered for YW) is backed up. *sigh* But STILL!!! I JUST got it running.

I cried a little.

And, since I had a sore throat last night (which still isn't ALL gone), I took some NyQuil. And I feel ... other ... this morning. I could sleep for another few hours. ... But I'd be feeling a bit better if my damn computer would freaking work! Grrrrr.

Looks like I'm going to have to rely on the kindness of my friends and family. Michael'll look at it when he gets home.

As you can tell from the previous post, I finished my latest book review. Not a bad book at all. However, the depressing thing is that over at Booksneeze (the new name for Thomas Nelson Book Bloggers), there's no books that I feel like reading. :( This is what happens when you procrastinate. If I had gotten it done even last week, I could have read a little Amish romance-thing. And it sounded good. *sigh* oh well. My loss.

So, yeah. It's not quite Allanna and the Awful, No-good, Very bad, Horrible Day (or whatever), but it's not the best day that I've ever had.

At least Michael's in the habit now of leaving his laptop, so I'm not cut off from everything. *sigh*
But, gosh, I just want MY computer! And, while I'm at it, I want all the files from my OLD HD, too! This way I'd have ALL my old bookmarks and everything that I've worked on during the last year. *headdesk**headdesk* *headdesk*

Time for prayer, scripture study, and trying not to let my dear children get on my nerves.
And let's do clean the bathrooms and get the kitchen into some semblance of order again. (It's about halfway there. Phew.)
And let's do finish folding the laundry and getting it put away. And perhaps I'll get off my duff and work up some endorphins by actually exercising. Not a bad plan.

But, really ... would it be so bad ... would it spoil some vast, eternal plan, if I were a wealthy [girl]?

Review: Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage

Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage tells of what Rick and Bubba (and their wives) have learned in their own marriages – and from watching others’ relationships. They give short, to-the-point lessons infused with plenty of humor. The lessons are rather simple, but easily applicable to anyone’s life.

I enjoyed this book overall. There were a few things that Rick and Bubba discussed that I should work on in my marriage. Their writing didn’t ever feel preachy or condescending … More like two funny men (and their wives, who chipped in some advice on occasion) discussing life. The only think that bothered me a little is that sometimes Betty comes across as a little … gruff and less-than-charitable. However, “The Book of Blame” (a bonus chapter) had me snickering to myself.

Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I would have adored it if Betty hadn't seemed to snippy when she talks about her husband, Bubba. Though, her griping about his weight could just have come across as such because I'm heavier than I should be and am a bit sensitive about it. We can't all be aerobic instructors.

As a Thomas Nelson book reviewer, I received this book free to review. This has been my honest and unbiased opinion of this work.


If you are interested in reviewing Christian-genre books, go to and sign up.
Yes, this is one of the ways that I feed my addiction. ^_^

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nothing huge to report...

No real progress made in my goals. Meh.
Did a load of dishes. Need to fold laundry. Managed to refrain from going ABSOLUTELY FRAKKING POSTAL on my children.
(Note: Why are our children LYING to us? WHY???)

Getting further in my book-review book. Might have it up and posted by this weekend. Maybe.

Got caught up on the mental_floss blogs. Finally. Still kinda sad that I lost all the fifteen bazillion bookmarks that I had on my old hard drive. But, hey, that's life.

Besides, how many of those bookmarks was I really using? (Now, if I had about 2-3x our current income, I would be much more miffed at losing all the wildly fantastic bookmarks I had accumulated. Right now, I'm just sad for not having the cool website where you could read children's books -- like Lemony Snickett's "The Latke Who Wouldn't Stop Screaming," which is my absolutely favorite Hanukkah story of all time. OF ALL TIME!! ... Or a few games and videos ... *sigh*)

I think that I'm just going to have to give up on Bruise and Bucket taking naps. Which sucks for me. Especially since they ARE grumpy little snots at times. But I mostly love them. :P

One last chapter in "The Silver Chair." Then it'll be "The Last Battle." When Bucket asked what we'd read after that, Michael and I said that we'd discuss it. I offered Harry Potter as an option. Both kids opted for that. (After that, I might pull for Edward Eager's "Half Magic" and the accompanying books. Since I have all of those.
But, who knows? Maybe we should do Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain ... though that would mean that I'd really HAVE to learn to pronounce all of those Welsh names. And I'm really crap about Welsh pronunciation. It'd be nice to improve, though. Really nice.

Wow ... I'm really boring today. Like INSANELY boring. Ugh.

Complete and total non-sequitur: I really love Mo Willems' books. Especially the Pigeon series. And Piggy and Elephant. They just totally rock.

Michael's cold (which caused him to stay home from work on Wednesday) totally came back with a vengeance today. So it's been a mostly quiet day. He let me sleep in (which was really nice), then I let him get a nap. Quiet day.

Even though twice this week, I've had people accidentally call (in once case) and text me (in the second. And this was on purpose) early in the morning. Crazy, huh?
No wonder I slept in until, like, nine-ish. So nice.

... Ugh, If I hear much more whining, I think I will witness my head spontaneously explode. I just can't handle it so much right now. Especially after the lying and refusal to take a nap. And the tantrums.

If only straight jackets and duct tape were acceptable forms of discipline. If only ...

I sound like a Marsh-Wiggle. Full of cheer and cock-eyed optimism, that's me. /sarcasm.

Okay ... time to scrounge together some dinner. Ciao, my dears.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Goals -- Progress (and the lack thereof)

  1. I am doing a little better on reading my scriptures and praying. I have a testimony that it's important ... so I should better really make it a habit that I don't have to THINK about, huh?
  2. My computer is running. The monitor ... not so healthy. But, hey! I'm on the internet, I have most of the programs that I desperately want loaded on it. Now, to back-up EVERYTHING every month (or every couple of weeks. JUST so that I don't freak out when this ever happens again.) ... And to save up for a new computer. And a netbook. And an iTouch. Since I love me some technology.
  3. I still need to review all the YW manuals and guidelines. I'm going to get on that.
  4. I need to set up my VT appointments. But I've read the lesson. That's something, right?
  5. I have not worked out at ALL, really. Any exercise that I've gotten has been purely accidental. Like cleaning the house or walking around the zoo. I haven't turned on an exercise DVD or anything. :(
  6. My house IS loads cleaner. I do have a plan for the dinner calendar for last week and this week. I've been doing the FLYlady daily missions.
  7. I haven't done anything about Bruise or Bucket's baby books. Or Gingi's grave marker. I'm not doing the 365 photo project. I haven't given a thought to NaNoWriMo (well, one thought. A totally different plot point. Which will lead me to sobbing when I'm writing it. Because I'm a sentimental idiot. But I can handle that. It'll be cleansing and ... well, hopefully, it won't be complete drivel. We'll see.
  8. I've done one of the book reviews that I needed to do. One more. Then I can get a new book. The one downside of this book reviewing is that my choices are so limited. The options are often nothing that I've had on my TBR list. But that's not a bad thing, really.
  9. We still need to attend the temple this month.
Yeah, I know that we're only two weeks into (and not even quite THAT yet) 2010 and I'm worried about my progress in my goals. Yup, sick in the head.

Heck, it's NOON and I've still not showered or picked up the photos that I have waiting at the store (so I can give them to my Nana when she comes to visit tomorrow). *sigh* I had best get on all that.

*sigh* I can do it. ^_^

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The party report

So, I went completely sick in the head over cleaning my house ... meaning that it was pretty darn close to spotless. Or as close as I get.

I even cleaned the master bathroom. JUST IN CASE. And we stayed up to fold the mountain of laundry in our room. JUST IN CASE.

Friday, we went to the zoo. It was SO COLD. Cold enough that a good deal of the animals were inside, sleeping where it was warm. But, on the bright side, it was nearly deserted. Which was great due to my emotional state (Dear Mother Nature, I hate you. Smoochies! Signed, Allanna.) ... And the tiger was out, walking around, which was nice.

Then we went to the party for my Roxy's youngest daughter, since she's born three days before Bruise and Bucket. Good times. Pizza, pinata, cartoons, Sunny Delight ... My kids did NOT want to go home. But, alas, we HAD to ... Michael and I still had to make their cakes for THEIR party.

Bruise asked for a chocolate cake with a Decepticon symbol on it. He also wanted it to be a round cake. Thank goodness for my Pampered Chef round cake pans. I made his cake from scratch (but we used storebought frosting on that one. Except for the Decepticon. That was homemade buttercream. Dyed purple. Which is the hardest color to make, I think. I'm SO buying purple gel coloring for next year). It turned out well enough that my mother-in-law was raving about its texture! Go me!

Bucket's cake was made from a box -- Cherry Chip. Rectangle. With homemade pink sour cream frosting (which, together, taste pretty amazing), trimmed with storebought vanilla frosting and a few of MY little Disney princesses figurines (Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Mulan, Aurora, and Pochahontas. Bucket was sad to learn that I don't have ANY Snow White figures. It saddens me, too.)

Michael took care of the decorating of the cakes. I did a crumb coat on Bucket's cake and made and colored the frostings (the ones that didn't come in jars). I think we got to bed by around 11:30 Friday night.

Saturday, we finished cleaning, Michael decorated the cakes, then we went to lunch with most of Michael's family.
When we got back, Mom (my mom) and Julie had arrived and had let themselves in. My dad and L (my, for all purposes, stepmom... if Oregon had common-law marriages, anyways. ^_^) were out, waiting in the truck. Oops! We were supposed to be home to let them in! I was very sorry about it, since Dad was obviously disappointed. But L told me to "get over it" since they hadn't had to wait very long at all. Phew!

One of Bruise and Bucket's friends, H, and one of his big sisters and his mom (whom I get to work with at church) were able to come as well. So that was fun. Of course, Bruise and Bucket's cousins were there. They had come in the morning with Michael's folks ... so it was an energetic party. Our children are very spoiled.

Some of the presents received:
  • A bouncy horse
  • Dress-up clothes (Bucket)
  • A dress (Bucket)
  • Money
  • Legos (Bruise)
  • Transformers (Bruise)
  • DVDs - Mulan, Meet the Robinsons, The Fox and the Hound, and season two of Transformers: The Animated Series (with the cool, Manga-esque art. ^_^)
  • Paints, smocks, and paper
  • They each got an outfit (Bucket's has a purple shirt and pants, Bruise's has blue/gray camo pants and a Transformers shirt)
Really, my kids are spoiled. Michael and I got Bruise some Transformers cars (they don't transform, but they do have the corresponding Transformer on the bottom of the car.) and Bucket got a pair of hoop earrings, since she's had her piercings long enough to be able to wear them.

After most people went home, we waited around for C and A to come to trade cars with Michael's folks. During that time, Dad C helped me work on my computer. And, after C and A both got here, C helped us get it running.

(So, yes, you've read that right, I have a working computer again. I even have it loaded with most of the programs that I need on it and connected to the internet. I still need to get it connected to the external HD ... get the latest pictures of the kiddos transferred onto that.) ... Of course, I really do need a new monitor. This one's older than my BAYBEES ... and is showing it. The screen is ... wiggly and jumpy. So it's good that I'm not all that susceptible to motion sickness. Or I'd be BLUUUURGH-ing all over this keyboard. Ifkwim. Aityd.

So, yes. All in all, a good success. Phew!!

Now to gear up for the next one. 364 days until the next party, give or take. ^_^ I can do it.
(For someone who can talk easily with people, I really do seem to be a bit of an introvert now. I am still so tired after being social with so many people. Crazy, huh? But it's wonderful to have so much of the family together. I was so glad that my dad and L managed to come. ^_^)

Four Years Ago ...

Four years ago, I had spent all night laboring.
Four years ago, about the time that you two came into my bedroom this morning, you made your appearance into the world.
Four years ago, I found my life changed forever ... As cliche as that sounds, it really is true.

Bruise, my firstborn, you still push and shove your way through life. Not much has changed. you're still my little grumpy/cuddle/hungrybear. You're all boy ... though you scream like a girl (as you're oh-so-proud to declare).
Right now, your goal in life is to become a Transformer. Preferably an Autobot. However, you also want to be "Dark Aver" (Darth Vader).
You've grown taller and more talkative. You're sweet as can be ... except when you're being a punk. (And, NO, I couldn't possibly guess where you'd get THAT personality trait.)
You've grown to love singing -- Your favorites are "I am a Child of God," "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and The Imperial March.
You stage epic lightsaber battles in the living room ...
You are, most times, an extreme delight. I'm glad that you're my son and that I have the opportunity to be your mother.

Bucket, my princess, you were the child I first held and first nursed. You seem to go through life with a grace and ease that I can only envy ... And I can't even do that. I hope that you always maintain your confidence ... and use your charm for good and not evil. ^_^
You are a remarkably pretty little girl -- your smooth, creamy skin and shiny curls. And you match your looks with your intelligence. Which sometimes worries me.
You love to be helpful and to try and be a second mother to Bruise. You're a born nurturer. As well as a born flirt.
You're already starting to read ... which floors me. You are so motivated to go into school already that it kills me that you're going to miss the cut-off date for Kindergarten. You are driven -- to the point where I am aghast at how stubborn you can be (Not that I'd know WHERE you could have learned a personality trait like THAT).

Bruise and Bucket, I'm so glad that you're both healthy, smart children. That you are surrounded by family and friends who adore you. (Truly, whenever I go anywhere without you, people will ask where you are. I am, for a good part of my existance, [Bruise] and [Bucket]'s mother. I can handle this.) I am so glad that you are lucky enough to have a daddy who loves you and plays with you.

When I don't get out of bed before you get up (which is, to be perfectly honest, most of the time), you run down the hall to hop into bed and cuddle with me. You beg me to play your favorite Facebook games (Happy Aquarium is there at the top of the list). We're working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia (right now, we're in the middle of "The Silver Chair") and debating on what to read for bedtime stories after that ... Even though you, Bucket, seem to fall asleep before the chapter's done each night.

I don't quite know what this year will bring for you. Hopefully, the economy will turn around so we can spoil you both much more. I'd really love to buy you the bunk beds that you covet ... and a doll house and a train table ... Heck, while I'm thinking big, how about a bigger house with a playroom? Your own computers? A Wii? An Xbox, so you'll know what it is after quoting that scene with the black crane in BBC1's "Walk on the Wild Side" (Daytime ... Nighttime!!). And, hey, after you were both so well-behaved when we saw "The Princess and the Frog," if I had the money, I'd take you out to the movies a lot more often.

Still, even without tons of money, it's fun being your mother. Even though I often lose patience and find myself yelling and getting frustrated. ... Even so, I do love you both very, very much.

Many happy returns, my sweet ones.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Crazy Dream Chronicles - It's a TWOfer!

Now, I apologize that I don't remember ALL the details from my dreams. But, considering that I had TWO different dreams on the SAME night, ... well, maybe that'll be somewhat appeasing.

First dream -- I dreamt that I got back from volunteering. And there were Mom, Bruise and Bucket, like normal. Except that Mom and Bucket were sporting very DIFFERENT hairstyles. My mom was missing a chunk of hair in the front. About a palm-sized area was cut away. Bucket's hair (which is really about to her waist when wet (when it's dry, it springs back to about three inches shorter) was cut up to her shoulders ... except for one piece over her left shoulder, which was the same length as normal. It appeared, especially with Bruise's untouched haircut, that BRUISE somehow got hold of the clippers and went to town on his Mutti's hair and then sliced off most of his sister's hair with the scissors.
Good thing it was just a dream, right??

The SECOND dream -- Considerably more interesting. Especially since nothing at all horrendous happens to my family in it.
And I think that my Cynthia will very much approve of this dream.
It was like a mash-up of Castle and Supernatural, in that the police had conscripted the aid of Sam and Dean Winchester in solving some cases.
Now, the really depressing part of writing about this dream is that there were, like, THREE cases. And I don't remember the details! I remember, in the last one, those Winchester boys and the villianess (and her assistant) were in some industrial-type kitchen (like in a restaurant or a school or something) and they were trying to slice up Sam and Dean (who were trying to apprehend them and get the confession out of the one gal) and Sam, I think, turned the tables on her and asked how she'd like her uterus sliced out ... since, as I do recall, the main reason for her crime spree was that she was with one guy ... and I think she got pregnant by him. And she killed him and the unborn baby because she was holding out for her Mr. Darcy because what she wanted (more than a Mr. Darcy) more than ANYTHING, was to live at Pemberly. Yeah, she was a messed-up little chickadee, huh?

THIS is what happens after my rampant case of insomnia (Thank you, Mother Nature, you little whore. :P)

OTHER results of my insomnia and my raging hormones:
  • My kitchen is CLEAN - wiped down the cabinets, swept/scrubbed the floor, the counters are clean, the cupboards reorganized. I'm SICK in the head.
  • Cleaned the kids' bathroom. We're talking microfiber towels and anti-bacterial Windex. EVEN ON THE FLOOR. I soaked their toothbrushes in bleach water. ALONG WITH THE TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER.
  • The front parts of the house are cleaned and vacuumed.
  • I did that book review yesterday. I read that book ALL Monday night.
  • My desk is lots cleaner.
  • I have the YW calendars started through March.
  • I have almost all the laundry in the house washed and dried (but not folded or put away. *sigh*)
  • I'm freaking out about getting the laundry room organized. And cleaning our bedroom and bathroom. Since those are the last bastions of clutter and uncleanliness. God help me, it's going to be quite a chore.
  • I also am determined, amid all that cleaning, to read and review the last book that I have for Thomas Nelson. Then I'll be able to order away for some other free book.
  • I also am down to having only one unread book from either library. Yes. One library book between two libraries that I haven't read. I've actually gotten caught up on all the ones that I NEEDED to read (even though, before Christmas, I did turn in quite a few that I hadn't yet read. I was just feeling lots of pressure. After this weekend, though, I'll be checking out books. And, hopefully, getting through all of them. ^_^)
THIS is what Mother Nature (sometimes I really HATE her) does to me.

I don't totally mind the being-totally-productive part. It's nice when Michael comes home and tells me how awesome I am -- having the front part of the house, INCLUDING THE KITCHEN, clean and dinner made. Yup. Impressive. Doesn't always happen as often as I'd like it to. :( Especially, what with my two munchkins, it's totally a full-time, continuous, never-ending job. Lord love my little monsters.

Especially after my dear sweet cherub smeared one of her new liquid lipglosses ALL OVER THE COUCH CUSHIONS (which are now in the wash with a healthy dose of a laundry detergent/color-safe bleach/Oxi-Clean cocktail). Yes, she did that JUST NOW. *sigh* chants to self "I love my children. I love my children" amid deep, yogic breaths.

I'm not doing quite as great on my goals/resolutions for 2010. I'm going to be working on that.
Probably, I should print them all out onto a list and stick that up in the bathroom ... That would probably help, no?

Let me get on that. STAT!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Sweet By and By - Sara Evans (Book Review)

The Sweet By and By is about Jade, whose upcoming marriage is swiftly approaching. She debates whether or not to invite her mother, Beryl – who is just about Jade’s polar opposite, a free spirit who enjoyed Woodstock, in comparison to Jade’s staid existence as a shop owner and the soon-to-be wife of a lawyer who often suffers from panic attacks. Before Jade’s marriage, she has to come to grips with her past and her family – as well as adapting to the differences in the family she’s marrying into. Will Jade be able to let go and heal from her past or is her upcoming marriage going to fail before they even exchange their vows?

Overall, I mostly enjoyed The Sweet By and By. The family dynamics in both Jade’s and Max’s (her fiancĂ©) families were interesting. Also, having a novel with romantic elements but without premarital intercourse was a refreshing surprise. The writing is clear.

However, as I read, the plot seemed to all move along well enough until about three-quarters of the way through. Then it all seemed to rush into a huge climax … and then peter out a little. The pacing in the beginning worked well. Toward the end … I just am not so sure about it.

The plot is original enough. Some events are a little predictable, but not too many. The characters are original and have believable dialogue. Still, with all the strong points, I don’t know that I would re-read this novel. But, if you’re looking for a quick read without graphic language or sex scenes, this might be the book for you.

I am a reviewer for Thomas Nelson Publishing. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this book review. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.


If you want to review books for Thomas Nelson, here's their website:

They do mostly Christian fiction and non-fiction. You can request one book at a time. After you review it on your blog (and you can create a new blog just for reviewing these books) and on a consumer website (e.g.,,, etc.). They'll ship you your book for free.

Right now, I still have one more book to review (I've been procrastinating terribly). This book, I was able to get because, every so often, Thomas Nelson will offer (on a first-response-first-gets system) a bonus book. Usually due to the fact that this book is a new book that they're publishing. And getting reviews put out on its first day helps. ^_^

This is my ... what, fourth book review for them. So, obviously, that means that I've gotten four free books. And, after you review the book, you're free to keep it or give it away or whatever.

This review, is the first time that I've reviewed a fiction work. All the others have been either Non-fiction or self-help.

(Coincidentally, I didn't enjoy this novel as much as I liked the other books I've reviewed. Probably because I have higher standards and read a heck of a lot more fiction. :P)

But, yeah. If you want to get some free books. And you don't mind writing around 200 words and posting it two places (so, all in all, depending on your writing speed, maybe one hour of work in exchange for a book), go for it!

(Sometimes it's not just books. My friend, Katie, who also signed up with Thomas Nelson, got to review a DVD with her kids.)

Figured that I'd share the wealth. And, really ... if I worked harder, I'm sure that I could have received at least double the books that I have currently gotten. Speaking of, probably within the week, there'll be another book review. So that I can get a new book. ^_^

Counting ...

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