Friday, September 26, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

Holy Cow....

Do my boys....

know how to...

sleep or what?

Apparently one must

keep their mouth open

to get some sleep around here!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Joined the Ranks...

Well, with much prodding, my husband finally got me to get a new phone...a new iPhone 3G nonetheless. I really didn't want/think I need so much phone but....HOLY COW!!! This phone is amazing. In fact, it's so amazing it's scary!

What made me shrug my shoulders and say "fine, I'll take the phone" (can you believe so much arm twisting from Jason to get this phone? I really didn't want a new phone and didn't find the need to jump on the iPhone bandwagon!!!!) is that I was wanting an MP3 player for Christmas and this phone basically is an iPod as well.

But I can also check my email, get on the internet and see the internet exactly as if I were on my home computer, I have a calculator (and low-and-behold, my favorite calculator just died so perfect timing), a calendar, phone (I guess that is the main point of an iPhone), oh and I'm so excited because I downloaded an App (application for those non-iPhone users) that is a grocery list. You can't imagine how exciting that is to me!

So anyhow, I promptly went home and whipped up a carrying case so I can through it in my purse. It matches this purse here.

Anyhoo, I have SO much to blog about: Lawyer's birthday was Tuesday and his small party is on Saturday, the caterpillars that are eating my mandarin orange tree to nothing and they look like snakes, a few recipes and some random things. Oh and I might throw in a few more thoughts on the upcoming election.

Did you check out the t-shirt
here, here, here and here? Buy one today...Kelly will be finished selling these in the next few weeks, just in time for you to wear your shirt proudly before the big election!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Heart is Hurting...

I received an email yesterday morning for a prayer request for a family that I don't know. The family had a little boy about Lawyer's age that was struggling with a tumor that had taken over his sweet little body. When I read their Caring Bridge post (it's a blog of sorts for families that have serious illnesses/disease as a way to share what they are going through and to get support), my heart was so sad for them. I saw the pictures of their beautiful baby boy healthy and happy and then swollen and broken with disease. I cried, no I sobbed, for this family. All I could think of was, what if that were my child, what would I do, how would I feel? They asked for prayers since they were told their child might not make it but a few more hours....HOURS!!! And yet they were resolved to the fact that Jesus was calling their child home and I believe they were feeling that peace.

I'm so sad to say that after I was praying for a miracle, something, anything, to save their sweet boy, this child went home to be with the Lord yesterday afternoon.

I haven't been able to shake the sadness I feel for the family. I have tears as I type this. I looked at Lawyer yesterday after I received the news and thought, why am I sitting here on the internet when my child is full of life and wants to play? And it was with that thought that I got up from my chair, reached for my child and hugged him tight and told him I loved him. I did it because I know that's my blessing in life, my baby boy. And I did it for this family that can no longer do such a thing.

Last night, I kissed my little boy a hundred times over and told him I loved him just as much. I kissed his cheeks, his forehead and his pouty red lips while he was sleeping, whispering that I loved him. This morning, as Lawyer wanted me to carry him (a challenging feat since he's almost as big as I am) I was delighted and I squeezed him and kissed on him some more. I told Jason while I was holding him that I couldn't imagine waking up this morning and not getting the chance to see/talk/smell/hold/love on this child of ours. I couldn't imagine one day he's there and the next day no more.

The only joy is that this child, Cole was his name, that this family lost, is not hurting or suffering anymore. He doesn't have to be poked or prodded by unfamiliar people in unfamiliar hospital rooms. He's dancing and singing with Jesus as we speak and, after reading what the family wrote, I know that they know that too.

Please pray for Cole's family. And if you want to visit their Caring Bridge blog to send them encouraging words, please do so. I know that the family feels everyone's prayers.

My Apologies to Mrs. Karenina

Well, I've tried, and twice at that, but I just can not get into Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. I find the language of the times (late 1800's since that's when it was written) both beautiful and hard to follow. I love the love story in the book (although, not really, since I'm not for having affairs!) but the political aspect is just boring and long-winded.

I only reached about 250 pages into this book, of the 1000 pages that it is. And I'm sorry Mrs. Karenina. For all the praise that has been spoken about you, I just can't stick with you. Maybe third time will be a charm but today, I just can't concentrate enough nor do I have enough time and patience to devote to you. And in true French fashion in your particular Russian era, I bid you adieu.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buy a Shirt!!!!

Hey everyone, I know it's hard to believe I'm doing another post in one day but I wanted to show you a shirt that Kelly Moore from Kelly Moore Photography is selling on her blog. This is for those Republicans that want to want to SHOW their support. All proceeds will go to support the (as Kelly puts it) the candidate that would wear this shirt.

I designed the shirt and she is taking pre-orders so head on over to Kelly's blog (and check out her amazing photography) and buy a shirt to show your support!!!!
Babies, Guns and Jesus....I'll support these issues at stake!!!!

You better believe I will wear this shirt as soon as I get one!

Death & Taxes

Well, forget about the death part of my title, I thought just plain, old "Taxes" sounded ultra-boring.

Today's little post is about, surprise surprise, our upcoming election. I thought I'd give a little insight to what lower taxes means as a whole to our country.

I recently was talking to a certain family member about this exact subject and his/her (this is to protect the innocent, or know who you are!) take on receiving lower taxes was's not going to amount to a hill of beans to me personally (this may not be verbatim but it's what I took away from the conversation). This person truly thought that the lowering of THEIR taxes didn't seem like a big deal in the scope of things. So, in true Amii fashion, let's take a look at what lower taxes for our country will mean as a WHOLE. I am NOT an economist, although I did want to be one at a particular time in my life (I LOVED my economics classes a lot) but I understand basics of how economics works and I'm also pretty much someone who is logical. Logical almost sounds contradictory to our current situation here in the US!!

1) Lower taxes mean that each individuals/families will have a greater NET worth because they will have more money in their pockets after taxes.

2) Said money allows you to do one of two things (or both)....Spend it or Save it

3) Said "saved" money gives you greater peace-of-mind about your now can save up that money for a house, a car or your child's education, without feeling much of a crunch because you technically just got a raise due to your lower income taxes. (Here's a little secret though...the government really doesn't want you to save it, they want you to....see number 4.)

4) Said "spending" money allows just that...for you to spend it. So let's look at the bigger picture of you spending your extra net pay money.

When YOU go to the store and buy, let's say, a new TV because you have that extra income money (from lower taxes) you think that it is only benefiting you, right? WRONG...if you have extra money and you are spending it, don't you think that at least SOME of the other 300 million plus people in the US are doing exactly the same thing?

So let's look at it this way...let's say 150 million Americans, due to their greater NET (by the way, see below for what this means if you don't already know) worth buy the same $1000 television that they wouldn't have bought unless they had that extra take-home pay. Did you know that all of a sudden, the sales of 150 million TV's just added to our growth in our economy? The more money spent within our economy means that there is prosperity. Prosperity means that all of a sudden there is higher demand of "stuff " (ie, cars, houses, sweaters, ring pops, whatever). Higher demand means more jobs. More jobs means lower jobless rate. Lower jobless rate means less welfare applicants. Less welfare applicants means less tax burden on Americans. The more money that is pumped into our economy also means that we are digging ourselves out of our nation's ridiculous deficit.

Look at it this way....let's say 100 million Americans each made $50,000 (called your GROSS income) with a 30% tax rate. So, if you were to look at it by an hourly rate, you think you're making about $24.00 per hour (if you work 40 hours a week/52 weeks a year). WRONG. When you deduct the 30% tax rate from your GROSS income of $50,000, you get your NET income of only $35,000. Sadly it's the way taxes work (but let me re-iterate that I do believe that some taxes are necessary for such things, since our country as a whole benefits from it, as our national defense...that's the only way we have the military). So now you don't make approximately $24.00 per hour, you really make about $17.00 per hour. So what if tax rates dropped 5%? Well your net worth will be $2500 more per year than it was before. Doesn't sound like that's much to make a difference? Well, let's look at the big picture again with 100 million other Americans making $2500 more per year in their NET pay. If you calculate that up, it equates to about $2.5 billion MORE money per year that our country has as spendable money. And that's only if everything were exactly as my above example.

So to summarize, lower taxes may not "amount to a hill of beans" to you but as a whole it means A LOT to our nation. Next we're going to talk about our energy crisis and what it means to me and how I think McCain/Palin WILL be the go-to people on this subject when they get elected.

Vote McCain/Palin for President and Vice-President!

Oh and by the way, to those that don't like Sarah Palin, my personal feelings are that you, subconsciously, don't like her because she's pretty and smart. Quit being jealous...I'll vote in a smart, beautiful woman, particularly Sarah Palin. Oh and I would way rather have a mother of 5 in the office any day of the week. If you are a mother, you know what I mean! Way to be both smart and pretty, Mrs. Palin! Lord help us should we have ever had manly dictator like Hilary voted in!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Ball with the Cubbies

I think Fall Ball is my favorite compared to the traditional spring baseball season. Everything is so relaxed - it's way more about having fun (or maybe it's just that I think it's more fun because Lawyer isn't crying at every single game and practice).

Lawyer plays for the Cubs - Jason's beloved baseball team. I like the Cubs team this season really only because Lawyer gets to wear a blue/white/red shirt that really sets off his fair skin/light eyes/pink lips really well.

That's a pretty good judge of how well a team is in my book, wait, wouldn't that technically be considered "judging a book by it's cover"? Hmm, I shall ponder this the remainder of my day...

Anyhow, Lawyer's game on Saturday was lots of fun. It was somewhat cool and overcast, thanks to Ike (the hurricane, not my great uncle, which I don't even have a great uncle named Ike). The tiny kids were all over the place, except my poor child isn't so tiny....look at that giant 3 year old in the mix of those tiny 3 year olds!

Since Lawyer is so tall and really has such great conversation skills, especially for a 3 year old (I know adults that SUCK at conversation!), he always looks so much older and more mature-acting than a lot of other 3 year olds his age. Maybe I'm just biased but I see an 8 year old preparing to knock the ball out of the park, not my baby that's three!!

Look at that form (and look at those shoes...he picked out his shoes that morning)!

I think his favorite part of baseball is getting to get popcorn, bubble gum and a hot dog from the concession stand, although I don't know of any other reason to play/watch baseball besides that one reason.

The nifty little (or huge) baseball-plex has these cool bright blue awnings and metal bleachers that go perfect with Lawyer's uniform and his pretty blue eyes.

What a cute little ball player...he even has a swagger about him when he walks as if telling those that pass by that "yeah, I know I'm cool". Oh and check out the dirt on his butt...he was getting dirty on the field!

Way to go Cubbies, I never know if y'all are winning or losing but I sure have fun watching y'all play!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cool Toy Sites for the Cool Kid

I am so excited to announce that I am DONE, and I mean DONE, buying junk toys for my son. After perusing other blogs and clicking here and there, I think I have found some GREAT resources of toys/creative items that won't disappoint.

After carefully looking at my new found websites, I have selected the following companies to buy Lawyer's birthday presents from. Not one toy that I bought last night online has a battery or "only one way to play" use. Almost all of them have open-ended uses so that these products will stay relevant in his life for years to come. While I bought less and spent a little more than I would have at Target or Walmart, I do believe that the quality and longevity of these products are going to last a lifetime, and that, my friends, is worth the extra money. So without further ado, please meet my new favorite toy/play sites for children.

I think I bought at least half of what this store had to offer. I got everything from Crayon Rocks (a soy-based crayon that is supposed to "rock" your coloring world) to Rubbing Plates (remember these? I think my favorite were the Barbie Fashion Rubbing Plates where you could be your own designer - with huge shoulder-padded jackets, ultra mini skirts, tapered pleated-front polyester that era!). I'm very excited for all the creative products this company provides and can't wait to get my box of goodies! Oh and check out owner Amy's blog...she has small children and her blog is devoted to showing fun projects for kids!

Nova Natural Toys & Crafts

If ever there was a fun site that had a lot of traditional toys/play things, this would be it. I want to call it my "hippie toy store" since everything is about being organic and non-conforming. I bought the coolest blocks (called the Four-Elements Blocks, go figure) and they are "organic" shapes of earth, wind, fire, water, etc. Oh and I bought a toy sailboat (think Victorian times of boys in their knickers having sailing races on the pond while their bustled mothers wave their parasols) that was so fun-looking. Pool season isn't over after all!

For Small Hands - A Resource for Families

This is a Montessori-based resource for children that focuses on child-size, real-life items like child-size mops and brooms or a small cutting board with a wood cutting knife to prepare snacks. Montessori builds independence, character, self-esteem, responsibility, respect, imagination, discovery (I could go on and on since Lawyer has been going to a Montessori school for almost a year now) so it makes sense to have some items at home that have a Montessori-feel about them. I know Lawyer will jump right into these products/works like he would at Montessori. I got him this super cool Hammering Activity that I have to show a picture of...he's going to LOVE this!

The wooden shapes have small pre-drilled holes and then you get a hammer with real 1/2" nails. The child works on his fine motor skills (putting the nail in the hole on the wooden shape and then hammering onto the provided cork board) and it comes with pattern cards (sequencing is important!) so Lawyer can find the appropriate shapes and put them together or he can make his own patterns. I also got him this cool wooden bead activity that can be used as a lacing project (something he loves at school right now, threading beads onto string, again this builds fine motor skills that are essential for writing) or as a pattern project.

Back-to-Basics Toys: Games and Hobbies

I love this company's slogan of "They do make them like they used to!". This is a great toy store since it provides a lot of traditional and classic toys. Remember Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Color Forms? They got them! Remember the Fisher Price TV (you turned the knob and it played, what I remember, "Row Row Row Your Boat" while the screen "moved" to look like there was action going on), the Chatter Telephone (with his eyes that moved when you pulled him along by his string) or the Corn Popper Push Along? They got them! Lawyer's been asking for a trumpet since "he doesn't have one of those (his words)" so I found one on this site. They also have Shrinky Dinks that I think would be cool but Lawyer isn't that patient with "waiting without action" since they have to bake in the oven.

I hope this has been a good useful tool for everyone that reads this. If you don't have small children, these are great resources if you are looking to buy a special present for a grandchild, a friend's child, niece or nephew, etc. I can definitely say that Lawyer will be getting presents from his parents that are unlike anything else that other children his age would be getting. But it's not about that, it's the fact that when I spend my dollar for a toy, I want to know that it's going to be played with for year's to come without falling apart (you can't believe how many toys Lawyer gets ahold of and it falls apart the first time he plays with down the drain!), that it's going to hold interest and be able to morph into other activities the older Lawyer gets and I want to know that I'm giving my money to small business (quality and customer service) rather than to "big box" retailers (low prices and quantity over quality; oh and customer service is either non-existent or it plain sucks).

Come on, you knew I had to throw a little politics in at the end at least! Lower taxes for small businesses means you get to shop at these fine establishments (otherwise, they are forced to close since it doesn't pay to have a business when you continue to give most of your money to the government!). Vote McCain/Palin if you support small businesses!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Arugula, Beet, and Goat-Cheese Salad

If you like goat cheese, you are going to love this salad and if you think you don't like beets, you MUST, I repeat, MUST try this regardless of your preconceptions to this delectable root

1/2 cup walnuts
1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot (I used red onion since that was all I had
2 Tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 can (15 oz.) whole beets, drained and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
6 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces (1 bunch) arugula, stemmed and washed well
2 ounces (4 cups) frisée

1 Scatter the walnuts on a baking sheet; toast in a 350 degree oven, tossing once, until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop and place in a shallow dish

2 In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, orange juice, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Place the beets in a small bowl. Pour one third of the dressing over the beets; toss to coat

3 With your hands, form the goat cheese into 12 balls. Roll the balls one at a time in the walnuts, turning to coat completely, then gently press with fingers to flatten into disks

4 Place the arugula in a large bowl. Tear the frisée into large pieces, and add to the bowl. Drizzle the greens with the remaining dressing, and toss to combine. Divide among 4 plates, and top each serving with some of the sliced beets and 3 goat-cheese disks

This is a Martha Stewart recipe. And this is GOOD!!! I also think that making a balsamic reduction dressing would be equally as good drizzled over the salad instead of the orange dressing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama Video

If you don't believe in sacrifices for freedom, if you don't believe in fighting for our liberties, if you don't believe that sometimes it takes a war to keep your freedom or to help others in their cause for freedom....then you aren't American and therefore do NOT deserve the right to vote in my opinion!! How else do you think this great nation came to be??? Please watch until the end. And while I'm not a very sympathetic person, I do believe that the message he gives by his action of walking away is just as important as when he speaks. This is a brave soldier who was proud to fight for our country and for Iraq's freedom and who does not believe that he fought for nothing.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lazy Days in Florida

Lawyer and I had a great time in Florida for two weeks with Granny and Papaw. We were sad Daddy couldn't be with us but we had a lot of fun (and I got a new kitchen from Jason!).

So enjoy our pictures...these were a few of my favorites!

Choose wisely, because there is a REALLY wrong choice! Part One

*Deep Breath* Want to know something that gets my 28-year-old blood pressure up? Misinformed and misguided individuals. I know walls will be built between a few of my blog readers and myself but I ultimately have to stand up for what I believe in. This post will actually be multiple posts so if you want to hear my views, stay tuned.

For those of you who are backing the democratic ticket, let me remind you that our country was built on capitalistic democracy. This country was not formed around socialism. Not sure what socialism and the democratic ticket have in common? Well, let me remind you that socialism does not mean a FREE country, where you are: FREE to own your own home, FREE to keep your own paycheck, FREE to have choices for your child's future, FREE to make government choices. No, socialism is based on state and collective ownership. It's based on the government having more power than the people. What does that mean? Well, it means that the government basically OWNS you for the greater good. Hmm? Yeah, it means that you don't own what you think you are working hard for. It means you are NOT the boss of your elected officials.

So why is this really bad (as if all I already said wasn't bad enough)? Well, our government was originally designed to be the PEOPLE'S government where we are the bosses of our elected officials, this is the reason we get to vote. Don't you think for a moment that if and when a party that has shown socialistic backing won't begin to take away your freedoms? Even your voting power? Now this may all sound extreme but it's a glimpse into the future if we allow socialism to enter our realms of government anymore than it has. Did you know that there is socialism-based program in our government now that I think needs to be abolished? It's the welfare system. Did you know this program was supposed to be a "social welfare program designed to DECREASE the dependence on the government"? You should be wary of the word "social" to begin with and next, you should note that the welfare system INCREASES dependency on the government. I once took a sociology class (required and mad about it but learned A LOT from it) and it was noted that there are now 5th and 6th generations of family within the system? Can you imagine? Fifth and sixth generations of families UNWILLING to get themselves out of that rut???

The welfare system makes me red in the face and you want to know something really interesting? My mother, when she was 19 years old with 2 babies, was on welfare back at the beginning of the 80's. She has told me, time and time again, how incredibly HUMILIATING it was to pull out food stamps for milk, diapers, and hot dogs. She wasn't on it for long because she realized that this was not how she wanted to live her life: constantly humiliated, worthless and un-providing for her children.

My mother now owns a VERY successful business (high taxes for small business will be another issue to discuss), never graduated college, and lives the true American dream. She didn't stay in the "system". She didn't feel that the government and the American public owed her anything. She saw no reason for others paying for her way in life. America - It's time to take personal responsibility! Lost your job? Go look for a new's not that hard, I see "hiring" signs EVERYWHERE. Can't feed your children? Get out and work two jobs if need be or, here's an idea, quit having 15 kids!! The welfare system DOES NOT work and as somebody who pays part of my paycheck to support that system, I am pissed about it!! That's one of the many reasons I vote AGAINST the democratic nominees. I'm tired of paying for LAZY (why would you want to get a job when someone is going to give you FREE money), IGNORANT (or maybe not, let's face it, those welfare check recipients have it pretty good!), BITTER (of course it's my fault you had 8 kids and couldn't provide for them, I mean, who knows how those babies showed up to begin with!!) and IRRESPONSIBLE (how dare those welfare recipients take away my hard earned money!!!!) people who want to always say that it's not "my fault" I'm in this predicament. It's not "my fault" I don't have an education (note to those: low-income families actually get "free" money to go to college!! You don't have to pay it back!!). It's not "my fault" I can't afford birth control and have so many kids(um, keep your body parts to yourself?).

American people, I'm tired of the excuses. I'm tired of no action taken against these delinquents (and yes I see that what the "users" of this system are doing is a true crime against our country). And I'm mad as hell that I'm paying their way in life.

Vote against socialism, vote against empowering the welfare system (it DOES NOT WORK!!!), vote against government programs that are BROKEN and vote for McCain and Palin instead of Obama and his "changing change for change because we need change" inexperience!!

If you're not tired of my passion and desire to more informed, stay tuned. I'm sure I'll get going even more and really fan the flames on this historic upcoming election!!