Monday, September 29, 2008

Tinsel Teeth

In between all of my hiney wiping and juice cup filling, I realized that I never updated you on Kellie-Laine's new grin. Well, here she is......get out your sunglasses!

And, well, it just wouldn't be right or fair if I didn't post this lovely picture of her:

It is, after all, my main goal in life to embarass this child....or at least that's what she thinks. (According to her, I embarass her about 50 times a day. Or whenever I speak.)
So after a few days of eating chicken noodle soup, ice cream and anything she could swallow whole, Kellie-Laine has finally adjusted to her new grill. I must admit that things have certainly changed in the orthodontist arena since I was a kid.
Back when I had braces, the only "cool thing" about it was the different color rubber bands or the color of your retainer. Today, the orthodontist visit is an experience complete with tooth brushing station, computerized check in, waiting game-room, and a Kerurig coffee bar. The kids can earn "money" by wearing the orthodontist's custom t-shirt, making all A's, visiting their regular dentist for check-ups, flossing each day, etc. This money can buy all sorts of stuff from shopping gift certificates to ipod shuffles. No joke.
I'm wondering if the orthodontist would consider refunding some of our money if we opt out of their incentive program?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Less-Than-Traditional Aggie Football Game

Is there such a thing, you ask? I wouldn't have agreed until this past Saturday when the Beeler family hit the road to College Station for the A&M vs. Miami game. And for the record, I am here to testify that this game was, yes, less than traditional....for many reasons.

First of all, let me back up and say that we took Kellie-Laine and Landrie with us to the game, which was a first for our family. Usually, I send Cody and Kellie-Laine to cheer on the Aggies, which means standing up for four hours straight. No, thanks. I'll stay at home with the little offspring and sit on the couch while they play at my feet.

This year, though, I decided that Emerie was the golden child who could actually be given to a babysitter for longer than two hours without that particular sitter feigning some sort of strange illness to get out of the job. She's easy and fun, and she has a cute little dimpled smile which will just melt your heart no matter how rotten she's acting.

The game went much like I had anticipated: I got carsick; Landrie asked to go home after the first ten minutes; the girls went into sugar shock from the snacks we bribed them with; Landrie attempted to spread out her coloring books on the jam-packed stadium seats; Landrie got frustrated when the sixty people on either side of us wouldn't "schooch down" to make room for the coloring book; Kellie-Laine was completely mortified any time I participated in the Aggie yells; Cody was distracted and was pretty useless as a parent; and I experienced extreme fatigue and muscle soreness from climbing 22 ramps to get to our seats in the Zone. What a way to spend $300 bucks, right?

Okay, so back to the less-than-traditional Aggie game. I made several observations while people-watching from my seat (which was waaaaay more interesting than the football game). You need to know that I graduated from A&M in 1997....when things were a bit more traditional (although I'm sure the guy who graduated in 1979 is laughing at that last sentence!). Anyway, the main observation is that the collegiate attire has changed drastically. Back in the day, a cool maroon t-shirt was all you really needed. These days.....that same maroon t-shirt has been fashioned into a skin-tight halter top; complete with Coach handbag and Chanel sunglasses. Also, there were many gals who wore t-shirt morphed-halter-dresses with an Aggie emblem on the chest or buttocks and trimmed with lace or ribbon. (I must admit I thought these were so precious! But not on the two year old). Other surface observations occurred to me as well, like the fact that apparently Daisy Duke shorts have made a comeback. And, the youth of today have gotten so much more beautiful....guys and gals.

But the real diversion from the stereo-typical A&M home game occurred during the half-time show. As a prelude to the Aggie Band (which personifies Aggie Tradition), there was a guest performance by the Prairie View A&M Show Band.

Folks, they aren't called a "Show Band" for nothin'.

Words cannot even describe what took place on that field, but here are a few snippets:

--The Announcer would say things like: "Sit back while we do our thang..." or "Watch us bring it to you" and finally, "Go with us while we swim in the ocean" (this is what he said as the band fell on to their backs and simulated some kind of pelvic gyrating).

-- The dance team sat hunkered in a corner covered in a dark, velvet cape......UNTIL......the announcer introduced us to the "Black Foxes."

--Upon hearing their esteeming introduction, the Black Foxes threw off their capes and stood in all their majesty and glory in nothing more than an outfit specifically made for adult entertainment.

--Upon throwing off their capes, Landrie became hypnotized by their beauty and said: "I wish I could have a dress like that!" (remember her love of inappropriate clothing? This should tell you a little something about their attire.......)

-- The Black Foxes are, apparently, double jointed in places most of us aren't.....and proudly displayed it.

--I had to cover Landrie's eyes during various parts of the "performance."

-- It was the only part of the game Landrie enjoyed.

--Even Kellie-Laine was giving me the "raised eyebrows" look.

--I told Cody we needed to go to church. IMMEDIATELY.

Let me defend all of this commentary by saying that if I didn't have my girls with me.....I WOULD HAVE TOTALLY LOVED THIS SHOW.

It really rocked. But not in a "I'd love for my girls to be involved in this one day" kind of way, you know?

Gig 'em.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Case You're Wondering

Some of you may remember my post about little Miss Emerie and her less-than-angelic poses for the camera. You may, in fact, be wondering if the child has been properly trained by now.

I'm going to let you be the judge:

So the short answer is obviously "no." The child still wads her face up into a tight contortion, and there doesn't seem to be any hope for the future that she'll do otherwise. A smile is kind of a hard thing to describe to a two-year-old, right?
We have a gift certificate with my favorite photographer here in Waco, but I'm too scared to use it. Even the most talented photoshop editor would have difficulties with this face!
In other Beeler news, please mourn with me the loss of my not first, but second laptop hard drive replacement. I don't know if I can say this any clearer: buy a HP Pavilion only if you enjoy losing all of your most precious data every 6 months. I looked up the definition of the word "Pavilion" in the dictionary and actually gleened a lot of information from it. Apparently, the definition of Pavilion is: an ornate tent, which I find rather appropriate seeing as how this laptop is nothing more than a lovely, ornate black box--filled with defective hard drives.
I want----no, I need----a Mac. But for now, I'll settle for this lovely HP Pavilion which makes me froth at the mouth each time I touch it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Angela Economics

I will be the first to admit that I know NOTHING about the stock market, Dow average, American economics, or sub prime mortgages. I took one Economics class while at Texas A&M and the only thing I learned was what an "Opportunity-Cost situation" was. And, believe me, I live most of my days in the opportunity-cost dynamic. A perfect example is this: is the opportunity to participate in the Body Shaping class worth the cost of puking afterwards? To which I mentally yell, "Hell no!" and I, once again, thank my lucky stars that I was forced into that Economics class my freshman year.

Back to the main point...... most of my financial information comes from Dave Ramsey, and I often find myself texting Cody to say: Dave just said we need to put 15% into we do that? To which Cody will reply: yes, and I could invest a lot more if you'd quit shopping. And thus goes the conversation......

In the past few days I've been reading a lot about these investment banks that are failing due to sub-prime mortgages, and that got me wondering things that my mind has no business wondering about because it will inflict serious injury on my temporal lobe. So here's my silly, mush-brained question about this situation: if sub-prime mortgages are causing so much grief both to consumers and to the lending institutions--why were the loans given in the first place?

If Sally and Bob can't afford the $450,000 house right now....why give them the loan for it? Why don't Sally and Bob wait and save up money? Or better yet, why don't Sally and Bob go for a smaller, less expensive home? I don't get why America is having to bail out people who are in financial crisis because they can no longer afford their massive house payments. I don't get why banks offer crazy financing options to try to "make it work" for the next five years and then start huge balloon payments, only to find that thousands of people cannot afford the higher payment. Really, people, am I missing something here?

Cody and I live in a very modest home--nice, but modest. And while there are many moments when we feel like jumping the gun and buying or building our dream home, we know that the only way we'll do it is when we've saved up enough money to afford it. Not with the bank's crazy financing.....not by using our retirement....not by dipping into the kids' college fund....but just by good ol' earning and saving.

Cody and I both had some pretty significant debt when we first married, and with Dave Ramsey's help and a little discipline, today we've got zero debt. Zippo. Zilch. I hope this doesn't sound boastful, but I am quite proud that we have accomplished a goal that many people will spend their entire lives trying to reach. It's just not the "American way" is it? It's counter-culture to be debt free and live within or below our means....and we love it.

Now I need to let you know that part of the reason we live like this is because Cody's job is 100% commission.....which means that on any given month his paycheck could be $25. Then I would be forced to find a job that pays night......because I want to stay home with my children. The only job I can think of that meets these two requirements is a job that involves dancing and a pole--and I'm just not going to do that. But I digress......

Listen, I know you don't visit this blog to get financial lectures or economic lessons, so I apologize for the uncharacterisitc subject matter. Actually, I'm just trying to prove that SuperMom has a little depth and can think about things other than filling juice cups, wiping hineys, or upcoming vasectomies. I just want you to know that if any of you are currently struggling with debt, you should really check out Dave Ramsey's website. He has a book and a radio show (check your local listings.....I've ALWAYS wanted to say that!!), and he has literally changed the lives of so many families in America. And if the Democrats do what I think they're going to do if elected (raise taxes) we'll all need to find ways to make our dollar stretch.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

K for Kim Says......

(here's another post from my guest blogger, Kim.)

Keepin' it Real:

Okay – so now that I’m a sort-of-blogger, my life has suddenly gotten more interesting. At least to me. I find myself going through the daily grind writing a fabulous story about all the previously mundane things in my life.

You know you do it, too.

For some, it’s a soundtrack in your head as your child plays his or her sport. For others, it’s a romance novel in which your husband sweeps you off your feet again and again. You could be that scrap-booker who is documenting a picture-perfect life. Or like me, you could be writing some fabulous story of how you’re saving the world by your amazing talents… or something like that.

All of which has gotten me thinking…why is it we think we need a better life?

I know you all have at least one friend that sends the dreaded Christmas letter. You know the one. Everything in her life is absolutely perfect – which makes your own life seem so pathetic by comparison. Her kids are the smartest, best-looking, most courteous, highest-achieving kids ever born. Her husband treats her like a queen, is the perfect dad, and gets a promotion every single year. She hand-sews all their clothes, cooks certified organic gourmet meals, volunteers all over town, and looks better than she did in high school. Oh and don’t forget - they spent the whole summer in Europe. Blah, blah, blah. (Okay – I am making a little bit of that up. But you know what I mean.)

Sometimes I feel like we are all trying to prove something. Trying to “one-up” each other. Keep up with the Joneses.

How about just being real?

Oh, it’s not easy. The make-believe life is much more fun! But what are we saying to ourselves – and to our husbands, our kids, our friends - when we can’t be authentic people even when life is hard, when it’s mundane – maybe even a little boring?

There’s no glory in scrubbing the toilet, doing endless loads of laundry, or cleaning up dog vomit. (Yes, I did that today.) Believe me, housework is the absolute lowest thing on my list of priorities. If you’ve ever been over here, you know that is an understatement! But keeping house shows a grateful spirit for what we’ve been given – both to God and to the one who is working so hard to pay for it all. Doesn’t have to be perfect…just making the effort counts (at least that’s what I’m hoping!)

I’d rather be shopping than driving kids all over town but by being their chauffeur, I’m showing them that I want to be a part of their lives (and I do!) – not to mention I get to hear all kinds of interesting things, especially if a chatty classmate has come along for the ride! I also hope they are learning what it means to work together by going through the process of “making it all happen.” We all have to give up a little to make it work for the group – a little self-sacrifice can go a long way in keeping the peace in our house full of individual agendas.

And the hard stuff? Like disappointments, loss, illness, suffering…even death. Those are a part of our life story, too. Accepting those, and seeing God in them is part of growing up. And I’m not talking about the kids here. Yes, they learn through those - I’m hoping they are learning what it is to lean on God because they see me doing that. It’s not at all glamorous. Sometimes it is painful. The soundtrack in your head (if there is any) is melancholy and doesn’t always resolve nicely in the end. But you know as well as I do that where real life is - where real growth happens - is in the hard times…where God is all you’ve got.

As I’m going through my days, I hope I can find contentment and fulfillment in my real life…in all of it.And I’m hoping my real life is the same as the one in playing in my head.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Girl In the Window

Each morning I log on to my computer, check my email, and read the Fox News headlines. I will admit that I usually skip over any headline involving politics or business. I read the articles dealing with really, really sad things like the Virginia dad who gave his life to save his drowning son, the mother who made her children drink toilet cleaner and then took her own life, or the baby who is now dead because the CPS system failed....again.

I'm not sure why I put myself through this torture, and at times I wonder if it desensitizes me a bit. I'm really not shocked at the things I read anymore. And more and more, I realize that we are making God not just angry or sad, but heartbroken. I believe He is crying, wondering how we, the very people He created, can so blatantly thumb our noses at Him. And that makes me cry, too.

So I came across this news story about The Girl In The Widow, and, of course, I read it. And the gal who hates to cry....bawled my eyes out.

I'm wondering what it will take to make us act instead of attention instead of ignore. How many lives have to be snuffed out...How many children have to suffer....before we help?

I don't know the answer to this problem, but rest assured I will be on my knees talking to God about it. I urge you to do the same.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Things I've Learned

(thanks for the post idea, Kes!)

For the first time in my blogging history, I'm feeling the burden of the blog. I think the craziness of school, life, kids, athletic events, the endless filling of juice cups, homework, pre-teen attitudes, five-year-old tantrums and hiney-wipings has brought me to the brink of insanity. And adding one more thing to my "To Do" list just might push me over that brink.

Just as I peer over the edge of insanity, wondering if "Ange-La-La Land" will be filled with gummy bears and unicorns, I remember: I haven't updated my blog.

And then I jump.......

So I can't really say that this particular post is filled with inspiration and creativity. Rather, it is filled with obligation and pity. Nonetheless, here are the Things I've Learned in the past three weeks since school has started for my girls:

1. Two Days of Mother's Day Out for Emerie? HALLELUJAH! Praise God for MDO!!

2. Overnight, my oldest daughter morphed into a teenager.....and I now look more like her sister than her mom.

3. The decision to hold Landrie back a year before starting Kindergarten was.....worth it.

4. Getting a new puppy for Kellie-Laine two weeks before school started makes her puppy.

5. Receiving four phone calls before 9 am on any given morning is a blessing and a curse.

6. My summer tan is now my summer fade. Spray tanning, here I come!

7. I said "yes" to too many projects and commitments.

8. I have too many opinions and not enough friends to share them with.

9. My children will not be better off because their lunch box matches their back pack which matches their nap mat which matches their hair bow.

10. Teachers don't understand that some moms have more than one child.

11. Puking after your first body shaping class in two years does NOT increase your self-esteem.

12. The cellulite on the back of my thighs does NOT increase my desire to attend a body shaping class.

13. I never thought I'd be a mom who missed any of my kids' events....until now.

14. I was convinced that my girls hated each other.....until they went back to school.

15. A clean house is an empty house.

16. A clean car means I am dead.

17. I could not do my job without my husband.

18. I'd never laugh without my girlfriends.

19. There would be no need for a "no-no" stick without my girls.

20. I would not trade my life for anything. Thank you, Jesus.