Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Funday #18

Hey all! After having a couple of Sundays away from the link up, I'm back! My gall bladder recovery had a few days of crappiness but, over all went pretty darn well. I'm feeling MUCH better. And good news, I'm now in the running for the "Fewest Original Parts" trophy at my next family reunion this summer so... HOORAY for that! ha ha!

So... without further blabbing... here's the linky!!

Please remember the rules!

#1 TURN YOUR CAPTCHA OFF! (That's "word verification" for newbies!) Getting my gall bladder removed did NOT remove my stabbiness over captcha. It sucks. Making people type a made up word in, for "the honor" of commenting on your posts is LAME! Spam filters WILL catch spammy comments 99% of the time. Don't drive your readers crazy! Turn it off! If you need help with that... ask!!

#2 Grab the Sunday Funday button from the sidebar and insert it in your post! Putting it in a blogroll is nice but, putting it in your actual post sends more of your readers HERE... which can equal more links for us to read and more connections for us to make. It's a win-win for both of us!

#3 Hop on over to the other posts that get linked up and leave comments! Make new friends... or keep up with your faves. Plus, everyone loves feedback!

#4 If you're on Twitter, post that you linked up with me (@MamaRiceCake) and use the #SundayFunday hashtag! If you're not on Twitter... think about creating an account. It's a great way to network with other bloggers and generate more visits to your blog!

#5 Please DON'T link up giveaways! There's nothing wrong with them. We're just trying to connect with people and not stuff for Sunday Funday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Reading and Chess

I fell in love with reading and chess when I was in first grade. I had pneumonia and pleurisy and missed a ton of school in the fall that year. My birthday is in mid-October and I was absent starting about a week before my birthday until almost Thanksgiving. (I totally missed trick-or-treating that year and was really bummed out about it. My Dad took me to Baskin Robbins for ice cream that day to make up for it. And so began my love for mint chocolate chip ice cream...) My infection was so bad that even after I went back to school, I wasn't allowed to play outside for P.E. until after Christmas Break. I had to stay inside because the doctors were worried that running around in the cold air would cause a relapse. Talk about sucky!

Because I was so sick, I spent a lot of time in bed. I hadn't really thought about it until recently when I looked at my own 7 year old (Jack) and realized how sick he would have to be to spend that much time motionless. Most of the 7 year old's I know are in perpetual motion! How the heck did I stay in bed so much? Answer... I was really, REALLY sick. Anyway, because I had so much downtime. The grown ups in my life had to come up with new things to keep me both occupied AND still. That's how I developed a love of reading and playing chess.

My Grammy (Yes, the one who also introduced me to her World Famous Bourbon Slushies!) mailed me the very first chapter book I ever read on my own. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 got me hooked on reading in a huge way. I knew how to read before that but, after that I just inhaled books. I loved anything written by Beverly Cleary. The Mouse and The Motorcycle, Henry Huggins, Dear Mr. Henshaw... I had them all and loved getting lost in their stories. My Grammy kept on sending me books and I would lay in bed all day reading. I got to be really speedy and I'd start and finish one those books in about a day. I got a library card and starting checking out 5 or 6 at a time. I read anything I could get my hands on. My Dad started using new books as a token of affection. He worked down the street from the Glendale Galleria (That's a really huge mall for people who aren't familiar with that word.) and would go to the book store there on his lunch break. He'd leave new books on my pillow with a Post-It note that said, "I didn't think you'd read this one yet. I love you. Dad" Eventually, I got my own book shelves in my room and, over time, they ended up cram packed full of books. Savings all those books ended up being really handy! Now the RiceCakes have a pretty huge library of books to read. Pack Ratting for the win!

My family is all about playing board games. We played word games like Taboo and Scattergories quite a bit when I was growing up. We learned to play backgammon and all sorts of card games. At my Grammy's house at Christmas, we always played Tripoley... which means, YES my Grammy also introduced me to poker and bluffing. (Is she not the coolest Grammy ever?!) My brother Sean and I would play Monopoly for a week at a time. It's not surprising that we play a lot of games at my house now is it? See why Dave bringing the Surinamese version of Monopoly was such a crazy hit at my house this summer? It's fun to sit around with a group of friends and family laughing and visiting together. I really don't care who wins. I love games but, I'm not really that competitive. The camaraderie is the best part of playing a game.

I knew how to play a bunch of games by the time I was in first grade. Mostly I knew popular card games like Go Fish and Uno. But when I had pneumonia, my Dad taught me to play chess. Again, it was all about keeping me occupied, but still resting, for all those weeks. That had to have been challenging for my parents! After all, my brothers were 4 and 5 years old when I was in first grade. Can you imagine keeping your 7 year old still to 2 wild little boys running all over the place at the same time? My Dad had this beautiful wooden chess set. It was given to him by his grandfather, who'd come to this country from Switzerland. The pieces were so pretty and shiny. The game was all about using logic and paying attention to details. I got hooked.

Now, I'm not an expert chess player by any means. I've never competed in a tournament and I have no clue what my rating would be. I just LIKE it. I've played off and on over the years. I didn't realize how UNcommon the ability to play the game really was! I thought it was a game that we all learned to play... like Go Fish and Unothankful for being so sick when I was a kid. I think it's just another example of God using something that could be considered "bad" and working it out to be something that's ultimately "good." I keep telling my kids to do the things they LIKE to do, get better at those things, and don't sweat it when some people tell you that what you like is "nerdy" and "lame" because you never know... you might end up with a paycheck for it!

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Romans 8:28 (NAS)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The One Where I FINALLY Get Stitches

People who follow me on Twitter and keep up with me on Facebook know that I've been recuperating from having gall bladder surgery. Fun right? Yeah... my belly button looks like it went thru a blender. Be jealous!

Of all the surgeries a person could have... gall bladder isn't the worst. It's certainly better than anything heart related... or of the transplant variety. They do it laparoscopically which means... they cut 4 little holes instead of one really big one. They stick a light and a camera in one hole (the belly button one... the reason why mine looks like it got hit with a pool cue repeatedly.) and the other instruments thru the other 3 that up under your rib cage on the right side. Don't worry, I'm not going to make you ill with pics. Just know that now I have cool scars that I will be rocking at the beach this summer and you probably don't... unless you also had this awesome surgery.

So, now I can say that I've had stitches. 12 of 'em. Yes. I am officially a bad ass.

That's right. I made it all the way through childhood without getting stitches. I've never broken a bone. I was a cautious kid... and I liked having my feet on the ground. What can I say? I'm boring like that.

So, I know that I already posted about how life was really busy (in a good way!) and that I haven't been posting as much lately because of that. But I missed posting for #SundayFunday last weekend and I figured that I ought to tell you why. I wasn't ditching you on purpose. I was just hopped up on pain medication and several hours into a gnarly movie marathon on the new TV that my husband bought in time for the Super Bowl. You might have been watching with me. I'm pretty sure you can see the screen from space.

You ought to be hearing/seeing more from me over the next few months. While I've been laid up a few very cool people invited me to guest post! That's always fun! I love making connections that way and I really dig introducing my readers to some cool people they might not have found on their own yet.

Know that I'm around... just loafing and waiting to get my super cool stitches out. And trying NOT to be attacked by those freakin' inflatable fish my brother sent the kids. I swear they have a magnet that sends them to my bedroom at night! I need a cage for the remote controlled sharks and clown fish!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Long Time No Blog

I've been waaaay behind on blogging. The last time I told you a story and didn't post the #SundayFunday link up was a month ago! Sheesh!

That's soooo 2011...

I know!

Things have been busy around here for the last month. The RiceCakes' break from school was great. Seriously WONDERFUL. It was awesome to have a bunch of days to sleep in, not have homework, and just hang out. We hung out in jammies and had Just Dance parties (Seriously, if you have a Wii... you NEED those games! They're so stinkin' FUN!) and watched Christmas movies. The kids had sleepovers and play dates and we went to the zoo with some buddies!

Jack went to a friend's house for a sleepover and their First Annual Food Fight! No joke, his friend's parents bought a bunch of stuff like ketchup, vanilla pudding, and spaghetti noodles... invited a bunch of kids over... and let 'em go nuts in the front yard! The Dad made everyone T-shirts with their names on 'em! Seriously, Jack had the best time EVER. And I was scrubbing ketchup out of his ears for a few days. Note to self: Next year, pack him some ear plugs! Those parents are way more awesome than I am. They snuck that move in at the very last minute... I'm positive that they walked away with Parents of the Year for 2011. Maybe we have a shot at 2012? ha ha!

Dave and I had a great time hanging out more. Dave works for the railroad so, his shift changes a bunch and so, we don't usually have a date night set in stone. However, a few months ago we saw the preview for the second Sherlock Holmes movie... and, because we are really geeky AND love RDJ, we got a sitter way in advance. We went to our local outdoor mall... and lived it up at the Olive Garden, where I got one of these:
and then got our RDJ and Jude Law on. We had a blast and the night was fabulous until a small accident. But you already know about that if you read It's Date Night and Owl's Well!

My Dad came out and spent the holiday with us. It was the first time I'd spent Christmas with my Dad in 12 years. It. Was. AWESOME! My Dad lives on the other coast and we don't get to see him often. The last few years have brought some pretty major changes to our extended family. My Dad was riding on the Metrolink train that crashed into a freight train in Southern California. My parents divorce was finalized. And my Dad met this amazing woman, from his same hometown, and they got engaged! It was really great to catch up, REALLY catch up, with my Dad and all of the stuff that's gone on. He calls it "free therapy"... I think it did both our hearts a lot of good. The RiceCakes had a blast with their Grampa too. It was so fun to see them all together and making some sweet memories. They said that it was the best Christmas EVER.

Also? My brother in New York sent them these:
That's right. Helium-filled, remote-controlled sharks AND clown fish! They're awesome! They're huge! They're tricky to put together (Thank you Grampa for being a totally cool grampa who helps put Christmas toys together!) but, once they were together... they're so rad! Of course, I feel like I live in an aquarium with all these sea creature floating around... and one night, one of the sharks caught an air current and floated downstairs... landed on my while I was sleeping... and made me freak out like I was a swimmer in the movie Jaws... and I may or may not have kicked the crap out of Dave because he was "pushing me towards the shark"...  But... I'll get my brother back so... it's all good. (PS, Yes! This is my brother Danny... the one who's hardcore. So, I realize what I'm getting into.)

So yeah... I haven't been writing a bunch lately because I've been busy with real life stuff... stuff that's been pretty wonderful. 2011 ended so well and all the good stuff just seems to be flowing over into 2012. I'm excited about this year! We've already got some big plans to see some people that we haven't seen in a long time. Our extended family is going to welcome some new members (There are at least 2 weddings already being planned for this year and we're waiting on several spring babies!) and our family of 6 will get to be a part of some really special moments. Life is good.

2010 was a real butt kicker and it bled over into the first part of 2011. I've got a feeling that those seasons of chaos have really turned and now we're into more of The Good Stuff. Life is about to get awesome!

Ecclesiates 3:4-7 (NCV)

There is a time to cry
and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
and a time to dance.

There is a time to throw away stones
and a time to gather them.
There is a time to hug
and a time not to hug.

There is a time to look for something
and a time to stop looking for it.
There is a time to keep things
and a time to throw things away.

There is a time to tear apart
and a time to sew together.
There is a time to be silent
and a time to speak.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunday Funday #17

Yay! It's Sunday Funday time!!!

Come hang out! Pull up a lawn chair, grab a glass of Grammy's World Famous Bourbon Slushie, and link up a post!

There are a few SIMPLE rules:

#1 Turn off your captcha (That's word verification for any newbies!) It sucks. It makes your readers NOT want to leave comments. Turn it off. If you need help, ASK!
Remember, captcha = stabby readers

#2 Please don't link up giveaways. We want to read about YOU! Giveways can be awesome but, they aren't for Sunday Funday! Thanks! MWAH!

#3 Visit the other posts and leave 'em comments! Everyone loves feedback!

#4 Grab the Sunday Funday button from the sidebar and put it in your post!

#5 Tweet your link to #SundayFunday! The more links we get, the more fun we have!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Funday New Year's Edition

It's the first Sunday of 2012!!!!!
And that means... it's time for a
New Year's Edition of Sunday Funday!

This year, our family went to a good friend's house for a cookie exchange. The Glad company (the one that makes trash bags!) donated 10 cents for EVERY cookie exchanged in the month of December that you registered with them, to Cookies for Kids Cancer. So, last night, while hanging out with buddies and ringing in the 2012, we raised $120 for childhood cancer research! I think that's a pretty cool way to raise money since we would've been together anyway! Plus, we came home with a bunch of really yummy goodies! Win-WIN!

I hope you had a great time with family and/or friends and that you stayed safe!

Now come link up for the first day of 2012!

Remember the rules, they're really simple!

1. Please don't link up giveaways.

2.Please turn off captcha so it's easy to comment on your blog! (Captcha makes your readers stabby!)

3. Please grab the Sunday Funday button from the side bar and put in the post you link up!

4. Please go visit the other links and leave comments! (We all love feedback!)

5. Tweet that you linked up for #SundayFunday with me (@MamaRiceCake) and spread the word!