Friday, October 31, 2008

Do we scare you????


2006--Elmo and a Little Pumpkin
2007--Mickey and Minnie

2008--Diego and Dora

There she lays...

The Last One

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Scary One and a Silly One

Saturday morning we went to a pumpkin patch (a field where a farmer had set up all his pumpkins...not Tate Farms!) and let the kids walk around and pick pumpkins. I didn't think to put them in "Fall-ish" clothes...I'm just not that prepared! So in regular clothes we went, and the kids picked their own pumpkins. Lawson kept picking up bumpy ones, and Jordan kept trying to pick up heavy ones. We finally settled on some and came home with 3, because somehow Jon got one too!
We put them on the porch to carve that afternoon, but we didn't get time until Sunday after Funfest. We asked the kids what kind of Jack-o-Lanterns they wanted. Lawson said Scary. Jordan said Silly. Lawson, for some reason, picked the hardest pumpkin I've ever seen. I started out doing his, but it was so hard to carve that Jon and I switched after just cutting the circle out of the top!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things I will Miss...And Things I Won't...

There are several things I will miss when I'm no longer throwing papers every morning. There are more things that I will not miss. As I think of them, I may add them. Here are some of them, in no particular order....

Things I will miss...

  • My "thinking" time
  • The weekly paycheck!
  • Listening to talk radio. This has truly become something that I actually look forward to and miss when I get a day off!
  • Seeing my "regulars" There are several people I see EVERY morning--walking, running, riding bikes...I worry about them when I don't see them for several consecutive mornings.
  • Seeing my friends at the Drop.
  • Christmas tips!
  • Seeing awesome full moons and shooting stars
  • My talking time with Jon on Sunday mornings
  • The good feeling of completing a task that I get every morning when I finish

Things I will not miss...

  • Freezing cold fingers
  • Filling up my gas tank every 3rd day--When gas was $4/gallon, we were spending $800/month just to keep gas in MY car!
  • Sunday papers
  • Inserting TV guides
  • Getting complaint calls early in the morning
  • Doing Madison Spirits every Tuesday or Wednesday
  • Trying to stay awake during church and class
  • My van always being dirty. At least I hope this will end! Maybe I only think it's because of the papers!
  • Being exhausted. All the time.

My "way-too-long-for-the-comments-section" comment

My friend Jason has posted a couple political discussions in the last week or so. I have plenty of opinions, but have purposely tried to avoid any political conversation of late for a couple reasons...
1. I have my mind made up and figure that most others probably do to
2. I don't want to get into a long heated battle or debate on my blog (or elsewhere for that matter) about these issues because it's really not going to do any good or make any difference anyways
3. I tend to be a judgmental person (one of my largest personal character flaws) and I would just rather not know what others think about stuff like this so that I don't even have that in my knowledge.

Still, Jason's post last week got my thoughts brewing and spinning even more than they had been. Then, when he brought it up again, I just felt the need to comment with my personal answer to his questions. Finally, I felt like I didn't want to put a mile-long comment in his comments section, so I decided to post it. I would like to point out that I am closing my comments on this post as not to discourage any discussion that I might detour from his blog. If you read this and have comment, I encourage you to head over to Already and Not Yet to read Jason's posts and put your 2 cents in.

On "Values Voting and "The Issues"
I was going to post two separate comments. I never got around to commenting on the first one. So...I'm combining them.

In "Values Voting" Jason posted a host of questions about all types of disadvantaged people all over the world and asked where is their place at the table. I read over those, and most of them were outside the country. Personally, I care very much how those people fare in life, and I hope that through missions and philanthropic efforts those who are blessed beyond measure may give back and effect the lives of those others in a very positive and beneficial way. I also feel, however, that those issues are not the responsibility of the President of the United States. They are things that are definitely global issues, and if opportunities arise then our nation definitely should contribute and help, but when I am voting for the President of our country I have our country's issues in mind. I am concerned about how he is going to run our nation. Just like the CEO of a company, outside efforts might come up, but the main concerns to that particular position are the security, welfare and growth of that particular company. Let me reiterate--I definitely do not disagree with helping others. My faith and what I believe would prohibit me from feeling that way. Many individuals and organizations-both Christian and non-Christian-have made great contributions to the state of global welfare. That's awesome. I just don't think it's our government's main responsibility.

I think being a citizen of our nation grants freedom. Freedom to have the opportunity to worship, to work, to be succesful. It doesn't guarantee that anyone will take advantage of these things. It doesn't guarantee that no one will be unfortuate in their circumstances and all will have exceeding success. Those things, to me, are not rights.

On to the particular issues that I have in mind when I'm voting...
Jason mentioned something to the effect that many people vote on moral issues, and those have been narrowed down to abortion and same-sex marriage. Also, he put up a poll that I don't really feel comfortable voting in because I do not have all my concern in one pot, so to speak. The post mentioned single-issue voting, and I think that this would be a very dangerous and neglective way to vote. Many important issues would be left unattended and unaddressed. Certainly our political system has flaws. Certainly everyone who runs or is involved does not have the best intentions, motive or experience. I think one good thing about our system, thought, is the fact that there's two parties. These two parties are very polarized in idealogy, (and another negative is that it's almost impossible for a non-partisan to make it anywhere in a large election) but most views of my big issues agree with one side of the ticket.

The big issues in the news are big, but there are also some smaller issues that are of importance to me. Like I said before, I feel that the President (and government in general) is responsible for the welfare and security of our nation. I don't think that every little thing needs to be legislated or controlled. I don't like the idea of every move of the people being under control.

THE ECONOMY--I feel that government in general has not done well managing the income (tax dollars) they have received. I don't think that the President should be able to demand more tax dollars from anyone until he shows that he can be responsible allocating that which he already receives. Along the same lines, I don't feel the richer should be taxed more just because they're richer. It bugs me when people get mad at the rich just because they're rich. Just because they're successful.
Personally, in the scheme of our nation, my family is not rich. We're pretty average. We don't have money to throw around. BUT I'm not mad at successful, honest CEOs who get a bonus because they're company has grown and it's because of their leadership. (I am not talking about dishonest CEOs who take lucrative salaries when they know their company is tanking. Man, there are a lot of topics floating around...) Those who work hard deserve more compensation. I don't think government has the right to decide that those with more money must pick up the slack for those others and redistribute.
I think the tax system needs to be reformed to be more consistent throughout. I am not an expert on this. I will not elaborate, so as not to make a democratic symbol of myself.

IMMIGRATION--Unfortunately neither of the candidates seems to be on the right side of the issue for me. I think that's why this hasn't been such a big issue since the primaries have since passed. I have no problem with immigration. I have a huge problem with illegal immigration. I don't want to say that someone doesn't have the right to be here. I don't want to sound like I think I'm more special or deserve more just because I was born here. But there are RULES. There are LAWS. And there is a way to get here the RIGHT way. Being a citizen here should involve participating in the tax system. It should involve following the laws and systems. Paying taxes helps pay for the things we enjoy in this country--education, healthcare, protection by military and police and firefighter forces, among other things. I think that the statistic being tossed around earlier this year was 12 million illegal immigrants in our country, or something like that? I think that our country paying for education and healthcare and law enforcement and imprisonment(for criminals) of these undocumented workers and non-workers may contribute to part of the strain we're experiencing in our economy...maybe? I don't agree with just taking a big gulp and making them all legal in one swoop. There needs to be a President who will enforce the laws we have in place to prevent illegal immigration, and come up with a plan to control and regulate those who are already here. This belief generally falls under the Republican ticket, but not in this particular candidate's issues, I believe.

CANDIDATE CHARACTER--I think that under this category I am interested not only in the character, but in the entire candidate as a whole. I think that our nation would like to say that when a candidate's past is good for the candidate it should be explored and publicized. When it's bad (for their particular candidate) we should not take their past into question. I feel that the past is VERY relevant in choosing someone for office--for their past is the only way to really tell who they are. They don't expect us to judge the reality, honesty and value of a candidate only based on their campaign, do they? That's like judging someone you're dating by only knowing how they acy on a date and not knowing anything about their family, their past life, their current life and habits. Crazy!
The issues of candidate character that I am in intersted and I feel are most relevant in this election are as follows--experience in leadership, experience in government, experience in life issues, past voting record, past affiliations and allegiances. I don't like the tone of "negativity" in a campaign, but I also understand that it's generally the way campaigns go. There's also an idea, I think, that if one candidate reveals something about the other candidate and it's not nice and rosy that it's negative--but it if it's the truth, I am all for knowing it!

SECURITY-- Instead of just judging the war in Iraq (I'm no war expert, but am generally in support of finishing the war) I am interested in the ability and willingness of a candidate to defend our nation if the need arises. I feel that one candidate will fully back the military when it comes their time to defend us, while the other will cut spending drastically and cripple our defenders. I think that one candidate will be tough on terrorism and terroist actions, while the other will want to sit down and hold hands and sing kum-by-ah and hope we can all just get along.

MORAL ISSUES--I'm just gonna put these in one category--Most of them fall on one side of the ticket, again. I am against legalizing abortion. I am against changing the entire image of the family. Same-sex marriage and full adoption rights for same-sex couples scares me very much. I'm afraid that if those changes are made into law that the entire culture of our nation will be altered.

A FEW SMALLER ISSUES-- A few of the smaller issues that are important to me but I haven't seen come out in a big way (except by the interest groups that it matters to) are the following:

1. Gun Control and Gun Bans--these kinds of controls would affect our family on a personal basis. I don't think we need assault weapons floating around on the streets, but a system that provides for responsible gun ownership should not be prohibited.

2. Education by vouchers--I think that our school system would be more competitive and effective if there was the option to attend any school, not just public schools in a particular district. It would allow those who are in some disadvantaged areas to increase their opportunities by choosing their school. It would cause schools to want to be a 'chosen' school and up their standards and more closely evaluate their educators. I have lots of 'teacher friends', so I don't want to offend anyone...but I think tenure is one of the worst aspects of our school system. There is no other job that once you're in, you're in. I think teachers, just like doctors, lawyers and other professionals, must compete and try to remain the most effective in thier positions.

3. The Fairness Doctrine--This is legislation that is highly supported by Democrats to force radio and TV stations to spend time equally broadcasting conservative and liberal sides of issues. This is ludacris--No one is forced to listen to TV or radio, and this legislation would, in effect, put most talk radio hosts and many TV hosts out of business and off the air, because so many of them talk about the conservative side of issues and have conservative listeners. These listeners won't listen if have the programming is liberal--then no sponsors, no shows. I don't see anyone trying to get liberal media, like NY Times and Washington Post to go half-and-half. Let the listeners decide if they want to hear it--if they don't they can turn it off. It doesn't need to be legislated.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR ME--One of the most important things to me is what kind of judges will be appointed to the Supreme Court. Most of these other issues can be changed from president to president (and often are, such as tax increases/cuts and education benchmarks). To me, that means that while issues are important, they are often pretty temporary as the person in office changes. One thing that will last for possible DECADES is who will be the appointees to the Supreme Court. If liberal judges are appointed, while they are not supposed to legislate, they will continually rule in favor of more liberal issues--like abortion and same-sex relationships and gun control, etc--so much so that the precedents will allow for more liberal legislation. Over the course of years and years, the possibilities this presents scare me. With more and more legislation, what kind of govnerment are my children and grandchildren vote under? I want judges who will vote to uphold the conservative beliefs that I personally hold.

Jason...In your GREAT sermon Sunday (I really, really enjoyed it) you talked about where our hope lies. I completely agree with you--in whatever state our government happens to be in or headed towards, my hope lies in the grace that I am provided through Jesus. However, while I am a citizen of this country, I still feel that I have a responsibility to vote the way I believe when it comes to those running for public office. There are roles that I believe the government should play, and those that they shouldn't. As a public citizen, I need to support those with whom I agree, and I fear the repurcussions of liberal government will have in the leadership and lifestyle of our nation. No matter what happens here, though--recession, depression, war, cultural liberalism--I am ultimately a Christian who knows that our final judgment and ultimate reward is not here.

Remember, I'm disabling my comments b/c this is really just meant to be a comment. If you want to chime in, go to Jason's blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last Sunday? Check!! Beat Jon? Check, Check!!!

Yesterday Jon and I completed our LAST SUNDAY for PAPERS!!! I still cannot even believe that this is finally going to happen! This week will probably bring several paper-related posts, because the end of this phase in life has been provoking much thought! I am attaching some pictures, because if you have never seen the monstrosity that is a Sunday paper assembly line, I thought I'd give you a peek. (WARNING--LONG PICTURE POST!!)

Before that, though, I would like to announce to all of my friends who are local and read this that we are gonna CELEBRATE!!! Wooo--Hooo!!! This Saturday, EVERYONE WE KNOW is invited to come drop by and hang out this Saturday afternoon. Doors will open around 3 or so, and I'll put some dinner out around 5 or so. This is just a purely fun, come hang out, no-real-agenda party--meant just to celebrate with us and visit. We don't care how long you stay--BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE TO GET UP TO DO THE PAPERS THAT NIGHT!!!! :) Ya-hoo! If you know me, or Jon, you are invited! Your kids are invited! If you don't know where we live, email me!

Saturday afternoon/night we always go pick up the inserts at the drop. There are always at least 2, often 3, sections to pick up. These sections have to be inserted manually into the Sunday papers. The actual Sunday paper comes out Sunday morning. We put the inserts on our porch so if it rains they won't get wet. These 2 pictures are the inserts on our front porch.

Sunday mornings I get up about 2:30 and go to the drop to pick up the "fronts"-the actual Sunday paper that they print during the night. Here is a typical view at the drop--most of the carriers set up shop and wrap papers right there. I bring them home so Jon can help me. (The lights are not really green. I don't know why the lights at the drop always turn out green!)

This is my friend Mark...He and his wife Lisa have been doing paper routes for almost 20 years!!! Hats off to them! They are great people, and I am especially grateful for having met them because of my paper routes!
These are the "fronts" that I picked up. 12 bundles/40 papers each + some extras.

This picture is fuzzy, but I had to put it in here!!! It makes me laugh--Jon the gangsta! Ha!!! When I bring the fronts home, I go get Jon. (He usually gets up about 3:15 or 3:30.) He comes downstairs and gets the seats out while I set up the tables and get out the bags.
Let the work begin...
Starting out empty....don't mind the nasty carpet and all the toys and junk. I tell you--my car is a WORK car! It's always a mess, and the best thing about Sunday papers is that my trash gets thrown away that day, every week!

This is my work station. I use an old ironing board that will not collapse to stack my papers. I hang my bags from the handle that you're supposed to use to pull the back door down. See the 5 sections--left to right is the Kemp's Ad section, Comics, Life Section, Business Section, Fronts. We have a little more than 500 papers, so we have to put them together, one by one, til they're gone!
This is Jon's station. He works on the passenger side--first filling up the passenger floorboard and seat, then throwing in the side door.

In 3 1/2 years, I have had several combinations of routes--1 route, then 2 routes, then Jordan was born so back to one route, then back to 2 routes. For the first few months I did the papers at the drop by myself, but then I started bringing them home so Jon could help me. I always tease him that I am a faster wrapper than he is, and he always makes up some excuse about how I started early, or he had to go in the house to do something or whatever as a reason for why I beat him. Well, last week he told me that this Sunday was the final showdown. Once and for all, we were going to duke it out to see who was faster. Divide the papers exactly even. Start at the same time. If someone goes into the house, the other has to stop and wait. Once and for all. Here is Jon--notice, I even took away from my "wrapping time" to get an action shot!
Uh-Oh!!! Whose station is empty first??? MINE!! :) I KNEW I was faster--Wooo Hooo!! :)

Jon still had 24 papers to go!!!

Our last van-ful of Sunday papers!

Here's the side view...


This is the mess that we always have from the papers that are put on top of the bundles--this is just Jon's pile!

Well, there you have it! Lots of pictures, but that's what it takes! We have had a few subs in the course of 3 1/2 years, but give or take a few we have done about 170 Sundays! I have done several myself. Jon has done several by himself too. We have done MANY together. We have done them sick. We have done them well. We have done them silly and happy; upset and angry. We have done them sweating hot and freezing cold, wet and dry. For the last year we have wrapped them together, then Jon goes and throws them for me. It has really made the whole paper route thing more manageable to not have such a killer day on Sunday. I so appreciate that he would sacrifice his time and sleep to make it better and easier for me.

Although it makes Sunday a VERY long and tiring day, one of my favorite things about doing Sunday papers is spending that time getting to talk to Jon. I truly cherish the time we have spent together doing this long, seemingly-never-ending task together. We have sung songs, talked about the week, had serious talks, made plans for our future, dreamed together. I must say that I will miss this set-aside time--but hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to reschedule this special time for normal 'awake' hours!!!

So here it final farewell to Sunday papers! Adieu!

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Raising My Voice...

Lately I find myself raising my voice to my kids way too often. Either it's because they're upstairs and I'm downstairs and I'm just too tired or lazy to go up to them. Or it's because I'm busy doing something else. Or it's because I'm just tired of having already said that particular thing 8 times! Whatever it is, it's frustrating, because it never works. I get frustrated because I'm saying/yelling the same things over and over, the kids seem to not be hearing me (no matter how LOUD I am), and nothing is ever accomplished!

Last Saturday Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer posted links to several places she enjoyed reading, and one of her links was to a specific post that a lady wrote about not yelling at her children. I read it, and it has been in my head for nearly a week now.

I just can't get rid of it. I have been trying to remain more conscious of the tone/volume of my voice. I have been trying to notice the reasons why I raise my voice. I want my home to be a quiet and calm home, but I expect my children to listen and obey the first time I tell them something.

I am embarking on a journey to change my bad habit of raising my voice to my children and training them to listen to what I say to them. I am linking to the article here, in case any of you might want to read what she says about it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just in case you need to smile today...

or laugh out loud!!!

I talked earlier this week about going through some of my old pictures of me...Anna posted an old picture of herself and Laura put a funny one on Facebook...I wanted to show off my big plastic glasses too!!! I realized, though, that showing off my big plastic glasses would require that the rest of the picture go along with it! Opening myself completely up to you, I present "Younger Stacy":

Sorry for scanner! Just pictures of pictures! This was a birthday, in my old house. I can tell b/c of the big woven mat and wonderful broom decor on the wall!!! Here I am sporting my pigtails:
Here we have the side ponytail. Notice the big glasses, faded perm, and the outfit I made myself, thankyouverymuch! The thing I like about this picture is that it reminds me that somewhere under my current state of 'fluffiness' I do have collarbones that I could possibly see again one day! :)

It's only gonna get better from here on out, I tell you what!!! This was an Easter Sunday. I thought I had cool bangs, but apparently it was a mullet, because when the back got pulled into a ponytail (or bun, not sure which but equally possible), the bangs have expansive depth, width and breadth! Notice the hair stuck under my glasses' arms!! YUCK!! Also, the look on my brother's face cracks me up. Like he's saying, "We're gonna be sorry for this picture in a few years!" He's so cute! :)

Here it is...the MoneyMaker!!! I tell you, I will never be able to thank my mother enough for helping me get ready for school pictures this day!!!! She so thoughtfully put my hair in pink foam rollers, the night before, completely wet, so I could sleep all night in them! The next morning, she BRUSHED IT OUT!!! I am glad I don't actually remember how often I actually looked like this!!! The glasses and brown velvet shirt only makes it better, right??

Well, there you go!!! Hope you at least cracked a smile! Anyone else want to join the bandwagon and post an old (preferably embarrassing) picture of yourself???

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A beautiful windy day...

I have been keeping kites in the van for a while now, waiting for such a perfect day as this!

This morning I had to go to do my Wednesday papers (only ONE Wed left--Woo-hoo!!!) and after we were done I decided to grab a quick lunch at Wendy's (mostly b/c I wanted a Frosty). Afterwards, we went to our favorite field/grassy area over by the airport.

First we played a rousing game of Simon Says. Then we went across the street to see a cotton field up close (first time for kids). We saw several airplanes take off and land. We also LOVE to make the semi-trucks and dump trucks that pass by blow their loud airhorns!!! The kids clap and squeal every time we get one to honk!

Learning about cotton

We also got out the kites--last time I tried kites it was a Disaster!! Jordan freaked out and started crying b/c the higher up it got, she thought it was flying away b/c she couldn't see the string! She didn't stop crying until the kite was safely on the ground again! This time, though, she did so much better! I got the kites flying and they both held their own! Lawson wanted his shorter, and his even crashed a couple times and he figured out how to get it back up in the air all by himself! It was a fun way to end the morning!
Lawson flying his kite
Jordan flying her kite
Lawson getting his kite to fly after a crash

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Like Daddy

Lawson really loves Jon and wants to do everything he does! He loves to play with him or help him do whatever project Jon is working on. Lately, he has been talking about going hunting in the fall, and Lawson has really picked up on that. He's been begging Jon to show him his guns, and last week Jon finally took him back to the spare room and got a couple out. He also showed Lawson his bow, which had way too much tension for Lawson to draw! It was cute, though. I know that growing up hunting together with his own Dad are memories that Jon treasures, and I hope that Lawson and Jon can share some of those same memories. My Dad always hunted too, when I was little. When each of my kids were born, my Dad bought them each their own gun, on their exact birthday. (He never would have bought them guns if he wasn't sure that Jon would teach them gun safety and keep them locked up properly.) I think that's a special story they can carry with them as they grow up and hopefully share in this hobby with Jon.

Drawing the bow--with Daddy's help!
I think the bow's tension weight is more than Lawson's physical weight! He's barely bending the string.
Feb 2005--Granddad gives Lawson the gun bought for him on Dec 14, 2004
October 2008--Lawson wants to see the gun Granddad bought him so Daddy shows him
Learning to look through the scope. Lawson's mouth as he's trying to wink makes me laugh.