Friday, April 29, 2011

Whoops, forgot to breathe.

Not a lot of time for a post today, as I'm having to prepare for my upcoming, insane weekend.

As I've explained before, my family is large and close-knit (family tree here), so any sort of celebratory occasion becomes a major event.  That's why there are upwards of 30 people attending my baby niece's (Cousin L) first birthday party tomorrow.

So, once I finish my work-week and my weekend starts, here is my schedule:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We must focus on these important issues facing our country.

For those of you who aren't exposed to national news (but manage to get online to read blogs, for whatever reason), the White House has released the President's long-form birth certificate.  While the "birthers" (those who want to believe President Obama is not a natural-born American citizen) were originally perceived as a fringe group, a recent study reported that roughly 40% of Republicans shared this belief.  (I'm going to go out on a limb and bet that these are the same people who believe he's Muslim, or that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, or that Iraq had WMDs.)

Donald Trump, a self-made gazillionaire (who, oh yeah, just also happened to inherit millions in prime real estate from his daddy), is now trying to call President Obama's scholastic credentials into question.  Trump, who I guess is bored between shooting crappy reality shows and buying implants for airheaded Miss America contestants, now wants to waste even more of the White House and the general public's time in trying to demand release of all of the President's college transcripts, from everywhere he attended.

So now that all but the most vocal crazies have accepted that, yes, President Obama is legally entitled to remain President, I have to wonder what will be the next conspiracy theory to take hold and distract away from all the actually important issues our country is facing.  Here's what I'm predicting the next generation of birthers to demand:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Had I known how to save a life...

No post today because I've got this morning filled up with my scheduled blood donation to the Red Cross.  This is my 8th donation, making me a part of the prestigious "Gallon Donor" club.

Summer is a really hard time for the Red Cross.  There are more accidents and more people needed blood, but less people giving due to disruptions in their regular schedule, whether due to vacation, or time off school, or whatever.

If you want to help, please call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the Red Cross blood donation website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Once saved, always saved? I'm gonna go with the Bible on this one...

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one. ~ John 10:28-30

I was raised in a church that very fervently believed you could lose your salvation if you "backslid", a term I have come to despise.  Basically, the concept was that, even if you had priorly asked Jesus for forgiveness and dedicated your life to him, if you sinned badly enough or for long enough, you could lose your salvation.  If you died within this time period, you would go to hell.

Now, for this church, "backslid" could mean everything from listening to secular music to hanging out with non-Christian kids.  (You were allowed to witness to them, but not to be friends with them.  Yeah, it doesn't make any more sense to me as an adult than it did to me then.)  Basically, if you weren't, as they often termed it, "100% on-fire sold-out for Jesus", you were worse than a sinner, you were a lukewarm Christian, and Jesus would spit you out of his mouth.

You could even sin through your emotions.  If you didn't wake up every morning filled with energy from the joy of the Holy Spirit, you must be in sin.  The same thing was true if you didn't witness to every single stranger you met in your day-to-day life.  You were expected to be on that "just-got-back-from-a-missions-trip" high, 24-7.  If you didn't feel it, the problem was you.  A popular saying was that, "If you feel far from God, it must be you; He didn't move."

So the pattern was, you go to a youth rally, you get pumped up, you leave, you have that emotional (I now no longer believe it was spiritual) high for a while, you lose it, you feel guilt over having "backslid", you go crying and crawling down to an altar call to rededicate your life, or you go on another (often expensive) trip or rally, get that high again, rinse, repeat.

In an insecure, obsessive-compulsive youth, this sort of thinking led me down paths of paranoia and depression.  I constantly confessed every little sin, every unhappy thought, the second it happened, terrified of falling dead and being condemned to hell.  This grew into a festering hate for myself, and hate for the hypocrites I was surrounded with in my youth group.

As an adult, I can now realize that the doctrine of "conditional salvation" has no biblical basis, and was a tool of manipulation wielded by a controlling church.  However, I still run into a lot of people who very strongly believe that a person can lose their salvation.  Here are some of the arguments I hear most frequently, and why I believe they are not scripturally sound.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I make money online.

This blog started as a hobby, a mean of stress relief.  To this day, that remains its primary function.

However, I do make a little bit of money off of it.  I have also made money off other internet activities as well, all entirely legal and over-the-table.

Now, I'm not saying I make the crazy amounts you see boasted on sleazy sidebar ads, you know, the hundreds or thousands of dollars a day people claim to receive.  In a bad month, I pull in about an extra $20.  In a good month, it may be $100.

Also...it is work.  There's nothing easy and effortless about it.  It takes time, and it's not always enjoyable.  (Some of it is downright tedious.)  But, though it's low-paying and not always a ton of fun, it's something I can do in my spare time, from home.  And I've come to really appreciate having that little bit of extra income.

So, how does one do it?  How do you make money online?  Well, there are quite a few ways.  I'm going to break them down for you, and tell you what's worked for me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Starting Point Church in Raleigh



Just had an amazing Easter service at Starting Point Church and, I had planned to take this weekend off, and not do a weekend post, but I just feel so strongly about what God is doing in my life and in my church, that I wanted to share this video showing a little bit about Starting Point - Raleigh.

I know it's 5 minutes long which, in internet time, is like sitting down to watch "Gone With the Wind", but it's a really amazing video.  It's got everything, including bathtub baptisms and toilet-chucking.  (Look for "toilet-chucking" in the next summer games.)  Watch the video, and check out the awesome things that are happening in Raleigh.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Story...for toddlers

I'm writing this while I distract my toddler with the DVD of "Tangled", so I'm still on mommy-duty today.  Forgive me if the post is disjointed or feels like it was written in spurts (because it was).

Last year, Easter with my son was pretty easy.  He was only 9 months old, so getting a bite of chocolate candy was the pinnacle of his involvement.

This year, he's already been in multiple Easter egg hunts, met the Easter Bunny, and has been taught the little story about what jelly bean colors mean.  (It only applies to basic colors, not Jelly Belly flavors like popcorn and margarita.)

And, judging by the way he is totally absorbed in the plot of "Tangled" (though his favorite character appears to be the horse), I feel like he's old enough to learn a little bit about the Easter Story.

But, obviously, I'm not going to give him the full "The Passion" rundown.  So, I think this is the gist of the Easter Story I'll tell my son.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sale today through Monday

Big sale in the 8PP Store this weekend!  Runs from today through Monday.  Enter the following codes for the associated discounts:

Coupon Code: AprilSweet
Discount: $5 off any order!

Coupon Code: AprilSugar
Discount: $10 off subtotal of $50+

Coupon Code: AprilCandy
Discount: $35 off subtotal of $100+

As always, customization is free upon request.  Use the contact page to let me know what you'd like.

I know I say it a lot, but my kid is so spoiled.

My son is S-P-O-I-L-E-D.  It is ridiculous.

I'm not talking about how he's spoiled with clothes or toys, though he is, with both.  My kid is spoiled with time.

My son gets heartbroken if he doesn't see his grandparents at least twice a week.  He sees his aunts and beloved cousins almost that often.

My husband and I both work close to home, and we're always off work by 5:00 at the latest.  We take him almost everywhere we go.  (Seriously.  I can't think of more than about a half a dozen times in his life when he's been left with grandparents while Mommy and Daddy go out.)

Yesterday, I decided to spoil my kid some more.  It was a good day to do it.  I had to leave the office early to go downtown and swear in as a notary public.  (BTW, downtown is insane since the storm.  There were even still a few traffic lights out, and Moores Square is unrecognizable.)

Well, I lucked out and found parking right near the building, then the whole process with the Register of Deeds Office took almost no time at all, so I finished everything up a lot sooner than I was expecting.  However, it was late enough that, if I went back to the office, I'd only be there less than an hour before it was time to leave again.

I debated going home, changing out of my dress, and just having a little "me" time to chill.  But then I remembered that my son is the coolest guy I know, so I decided to go pick him up early from preschool, instead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breaking Your Own Rules

I have a strict-ish bedtime of 8:30 set for my 21-month-old son.  A lot of the time it's not even a problem; he's tuckered out and ready for night-night by 8:00 at the latest.

Tuesday nights, however, are special.

On Tuesday nights, my husband and I have couples' Bible Study (aka "Life Group"), and childcare is provided.

Now, my son is by no means what you would term "shy", and he thrives on getting to go see all the people from church and from getting attention from the babysitter.  By the time we leave around 8:30, he's wired.

Most nights we will just bring him home and put him straight to bed, but he was in such a wide-awake and happy mood last night, I couldn't stand to do it.

Plus, "Glee" was back after a long break, and Mommy can't watch it by herself, now can she?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We were hit hard.

The photo to the left is of an area less than a mile from my house.  Everywhere around here looks like that.  None of my family and friends, nor even their property, were harmed.  We were very lucky.

I'll admit, growing up around here, I don't always take severe weather as seriously as I should.  I've been through major hurricanes, tornadoes, and once lost power for two weeks during an ice storm (we showered at the gym).

So, when I heard that thunderstorms were being predicted for this past Saturday, my only real concern was how much it would affect the church Easter Egg Hunt.

I was volunteering, so I got to the egg hunt early.  We had a bouncy house set up, tents for candy, food, and hid eggs everywhere outside.  Our contigency plan was that, if it rained, we'd just move inside.

The sky darkened, but there wasn't any rain, so we were go.  We had our first group of egg hunters, no problem.  Then the wind started to pick up.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's not the bars that are the watering holes anymore.

I originally had a different post prepared for today, detailing the danger and drama of this past weekend.  (Long story short:  we were besieged by tornadoes.)

But today has taken an unexpected turn, one that finds me sitting at home, rather than at my office.

When I woke up this morning, it was supposed to be a relatively normal Monday, particularly in comparison to the events of the weekend.  I got up, got dressed, kissed my boys goodbye, and got in the car to get to work.

It is my custom to arrive a few minutes early and do my Bible reading sitting in the parking lot.  It seemed there were fewer cars than usual, but arriving around quarter after 7:00 always puts me as one of the first people in the building, and I thought perhaps a few people stayed home to work on their damaged property and deal with insurance agents and whatnot.

However, one of my coworkers was wandering around the parking lot on a cell phone.  I caught bits of his conversation as he approached me.  "No, you turn around and go on back home...No point coming here...Sure, I'll stay to tell everyone...Can't believe they didn't have something on the news to tell us."

I'd pieced together what he had to tell me before he hung up and said it.  Power out all over campus.  No way to even get in the building (electronic keycards), much less do any work.  See you tomorrow, maybe.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bucket List ~ Director's Cut


If you haven't checked it out, click the pic to watch the "official" Glee flash mob.  (It's worth it just for the two cute little kids breakdancing at the beginning.)

I saw this linked last night, and I just love it.  I'm a huge Gleek, and I think flash mobs are the greatest social construct of the 21st century.  I dream of one day being in a flash mob, or even better yet, organizing one.

How brave do you have to be to be the first person to jump out there and start dancing?  You have no guarantee that all the people who are supposed to join you are going to follow through, and you run the risk of greatly embarrassing yourself.  I can only imagine how thrilling that moment is, when you commit to such an insane, impromptu public performance.

So, I decided that leading a flash mob is at the top of my bucket list.  And that got me thinking about other things I would really like to do, and some of the cool things I've done.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fight the good fight against unfair health insurance policies.

There is a man in my church who has been through many trials and tribulations with regards to his health.  His name is Tony Luparello.  Through the grace of God and his own innate toughness, he's been a true survivor throughout.

Now he is facing another trial, suffering from an affliction diagnosed as "acute peripheral arterial insufficiency".  To put it in very simple layman's terms, he has wounds in his foot that won't heal.

If this condition continues untreated, he will most likely lose his foot.

There is good news.  "Hyperbaric oxygen therapy".  This is a treatment that can save Tony's foot.

The American College of Hyperbaric Medicine approves HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) as an effective treatment for acute peripheral arterial insufficiency.

Insurance providers AETNA, Humana/Choicecare, Kaiser PermanenteCIGNA, even Medicare and Medicaid agree.

More bad news:  Tony has BlueCross/BlueShield of North Carolina.  And they've denied his request for this treatment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charlie hit us at 0500 hours.

My son woke up in a spectacular mood this morning.  Cheerful, giggling, ready to play.  At 5:00 a.m.

5:00 a.m. is an hour before I usually get up.  It may not seem like much difference, but it's an important hour.  I'm pretty sure that's the hour when all my best dreams happen.  (Doesn't it seem like all your good bedtime dreams are interrupted by the alarm clock?)

At first, I thought maybe my son would still let me sleep.  My husband got up to get him out of his crib and brought him upstairs to our bed, hoping maybe he would cuddle down and, if not nap, at least lay quietly with us.

I think he may have done that, but it was for such a brief period of time that it can't be observed in units larger than nanoseconds.

My son squirmed up next to me, giggling, and tangled his little legs and feet in the covers.  "Mama night-night?"

"Yes, baby, mama's trying to go night-night."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Notes on a Toddler

My son is now right around 20 1/2 months, and I feel that 2nd birthday fast approaching.  I'm crazy excited about his birthday and throwing a big party and getting an excuse to spoil him even more than he usually gets.

But milestone pediatrician visits make me nervous.  They give you that little sheet where you check off what things your kid is doing yet.  My son has always done great developmentally, has actually always been ahead for his age.

But I still dread my imaginings of his doctor peering at the checklist through her glasses.  "Oh, he isn't counting yet?  Not at all?  Oh, I see."

So I've been paying close attention to my son's recent accomplishments.  This has been difficult, however, because there's a ton of stuff it seems like he just started doing overnight.  Recently, he has:

Monday, April 11, 2011

What does a Christian look like?

The other day on my way to work, I had to stop at the gas station by my house to fill my car up.  (Off-topic, but $40 to fill up the 12-gallon tank of a sub-compact?  Really?)

Now, this gas station is at a strange juxtaposition of subdivision, bus stop, Mexican grocery mart, and downtown.  You get a very broad range of customers patronizing the gas station and attached convenience store.

I normally stop there early in the morning, and I like watching the different types of people that mill around there.  There's a homeless guy who rides a bike around my neighborhood, and he often stops there to pick up a Fuze brand sports drink that he carries around in a basket on the front of his bicycle.

Early in the morning, the delivery guys are normally there, too, dropping off the shipments of soft drinks and beers.  Construction workers and contractors gas up their big, heavy-duty pickups and grab some of the cheap kwik-e-mart coffee.  I see other office workers, women pumping gas in high heels and pant suits.

This morning, there was a big American sedan at the pump next to me.  It was full of older ladies, dressed like they were on their way to a fancy Easter service (fabulous hats with silk flowers and all).  I wondered if maybe they were going to a convention, since it was 7:00 am on a weekday morning.

I set the nozzle to automatic fill, and sat back down in my car to start on my day's Bible reading.  (I like to do my reading before work in the morning.)  A few moments later, I heard a tap on my window.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I get bored.

Not everything I do on here, as you've surely seen, is mommy-related.  That includes t-shirt designs.  I came up with this idea yesterday and, though it's not entirely relevant, I enjoyed it enough to turn it into a full-fledged design.  I'm expecting people to want them again in a month or two, since the opposing sides of Congress seem to treat forming a budget like a bunch of toddlers competing to see who can hold their breath the longest.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Come on, come on, livin' for the money...

I'm going to be flat-out honest here.  The #1-with-a-gold-star sin I struggle with from day to day is worry.  I worry about everything.  I worry about my son's developmental progress.  I worry about the same thing for my nieces and nephew.  I worry about my Children's Church kids and my friends' kids.  I worry about my friends' pregnancies.

I'm a hypochondriac.  Yesterday I managed to diagnose myself with a (benign, at least) pituitary tumor, hypothyroidism, and ovarian cancer...all before lunch.

I avoid going to the doctor out of fear they'll decide I need yet another surgery or medication.  And I would panic at the idea of another operation.

Not because surgery is dangerous and really, really hurts.  Because I can't afford it.

And there's my biggest issue.  All my smaller fears lead back to my one great worry...money.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mom's Movie Reviews: "Hop" is mostly tolerable for adults.

After the kind of heavy post I had yesterday, I wanted to write something light-hearted today.  And that's why I decided to make a list of all the cast, gags, and cameos that helped me sit through "Hop" last Friday.

Spoiler Alert:  Once you read this list, you'll have heard every good thing about the movie.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My fellow Christians...Please stop doing these things.

There's a bus stop at the traffic light right before you turn into my subdivision.  It's close to downtown, and the juxtaposition of a relatively well-to-do neighborhood next to a cheap shopping center and some woods makes it an ideal locale for panhandlers.

I was on my way home from work, stopped at the intersection, with my windows down because the weather was nice.  A homeless woman was walking up and down the rows of cars.  She was smiling while she shouted at us that our whole city would be destroyed, a la Sodom and Gomorrah.  I thought to myself, "What is she so excited about?  If fire starts to rain from the skies, she's the one who doesn't have a ride out of town."

I'm sure that woman, like so many homeless, suffers from severe mental health problems.  I feel sad for her, but it's also a self-pitying kind of sadness, because I'd like to help her and others like her, but am never really sure how.

But what sticks with me most is that eerie, cheerful smile.  She was screaming at dozens of strangers that they were headed straight for hell, and she was doing it with the same facial expression a kindergartener would have telling you about her new puppy.

I finally realized what it was about her that so creeped me out.  That smile is so familiar.

Allow me to elaborate...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to determine if you should take a sick day...

My baby has felt really crappy all weekend, and Sunday night his fever shot up to 102.  My husband and I reached a consensus that, if he didn't feel better in the morning, he was staying home.  Unfortunately, I had projects at work that absolutely required I be there, so my hubby got to stay home all day with the baby.

I can't complain too much, since they cleaned the whole house.  But I always hate being at work when my little guy is not feeling well.  He still wasn't doing great last night, and he was just feeling well enough this morning to go to school.  (He's been over 24 hours without a fever now.)

But my hubby and I talked about it and, since he got yesterday off, if the preschool calls saying my son needs to come home, I'm going to get him today.  This got me to thinking about how we validate sick days.  Take the test below to determine if you should call in to work today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creatively groundbreaking blog post: Mommy whining about her diet

My hubby and I started a "lifestyle change" (not supposed to say "diet") last week.  This was largely prompted by my youngest sister joining Weight Watchers and promptly losing enough weight to make her officially lighter than me (by about 1.5 pounds).  Not being willing to be the heaviest sister, I resolved to stop eating.  Once I got hungry and realized that was stupid, I resolved to start counting my calories again.

A few years ago, I used to count my calories.  I had to stop doing this for a few reasons (not least of which was getting pregnant).  One of the big issues I had is that calorie-counting and obsessive-compulsive disorder don't go very well together, and I may have gone a little bit overboard, depending on who you ask.

So, when my hubby and I signed up at MyFitnessPal, I edited my permissions so he can see all my entries.  This helps hold me accountable to eating healthy and eating enough, instead of trying shortcuts (i.e. substituting Diet Red Bull and Hydroxycut for a day's worth of meals).

But, I'm not going to lie, losing weight the slow and healthy way sucks.  It's constant work, day after day, with very little payoff and it never ends.  And that doesn't even cover all the extra little ways it sucks.  Like...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I want to do nothing but eat icecream and yell at my t.v.


If you want to help me out, visit the 8PP Store.  All proceeds will go to the purchase of Midol and another 40.

Friday, April 1, 2011

:REDACTED:

This website (termed "8-Pound Preemie") has been suspended due to violations of the Patriot Act, specifically provisions regarding Internet Security and Dissemination of Sensitive Information.  All persons with connection to the aforementioned properties are charged with the following Class II felonies:

I.          Unlicensed distribution of satire
II.         Inciting outrage against an elected official
III.       Dissemination of classified medical information
IV.       Multiple traffic violations
V.        Promoting alcoholism to minors
VI.       Vandalism and health code violations via spread of bodily fluids
VII.      Attempts to impede industry through criticism of lactation consultants
VIII.    Overt socialist leanings
IX.       Inciting mistrust of medical professionals
X.        Slander, with an attempt to cause financial harm
XI.       Blatant self-promotion with goal of monetary gain
XII.      Stalking
XIII.     Encouraging mental illness in a minor dependent
XIV.     Violating copyright statute
XV.      Promoting and abetting truancy of a minor
XVI.     Encouraging racism against the good people of Cary Township
XVII.   Unlicensed possession of more than two cats in a residence
XVIII.  Thought crime

Those who have been lending support to this website through readership should consider themselves charged as accomplices and immediately turn themselves in to law enforcement for processing.