Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Obligatory New Years Post?

Pin It You know, the resolution post that has fifteen things I will do and fifteen things I won't do, and every single one of them will be broken by the end of January? Yeah, that post. I'm not doing it. Who needs the discouragement? I did find this list of questions on (In)Courage and thought I'd answer them. Keep in mind, it's early, I'm answering them off the top of my head without a ton of thought, and once again, I woke up with a headache. (And, for once, I'm aiming for a snark/sarcasm free post ... let's see if that's even possible.) (Evidently not.)

(I went through and added some things here and there ... the things in italics are my edits.)

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
The kids, particularly Gabbi, really stepping up around here. I have been so proud of her - all of them really - for just being able to realize when I'm at the breaking point, and just helping out. What an enormous blessing!
Also, the fact that my brother is still here, and doing pretty well. That was completely unexpected after this summer!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
hm ... let's see ... racking my brain ...


3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
My friends! They anticipated my needs, listened to me cry and whine, prayed for me, made me laugh ... my friends who are reading this - you have no idea the blessing you have been to me over this year!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Feeling that I wasn't handling things well enough; I wasn't supportive enough, I wasn't kind enough, that no matter how I did things, it wasn't enough. Really, my main goal for the year was just to survive it (sorry, I know how dramatic that sounds). Doing it well wasn't really my goal. When I was reminded that I wasn't doing it well, that was a huge obstacle. And well, I'll just leave it at that.

5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
CHALLENGING!! sleepless, different

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
CHALLENGING!! (And well, he hasn't SEEN me in six months! Who knows how he would describe it?)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
CHALLENGING!! lonely, busy

8. What were the best books you read this year?
Same Kind of Different As Me (just finished that and LOVED IT!) Crazy Love (haven't exactly finished this one yet, but I really love what I've read of it.)

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
my friends. To the one who asked one day "What simple thing would make life easier for you right now?" AND THEN JUST DID IT ... oh my, how I thank the Lord for you!
All of my friends ... and the thing is, I'm a big "repayer of favors" usually, and there is just no way I can do that (which is something that has been an interesting challenge for me!) I am so blessed!
Also my relationship with my husband ... it's been a little weird this year; go figure that. I'm anxious to see what 2010 is going to look like for my marriage.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I think realizing that I am way more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. And that it's okay to be a little needy from time to time. I've had to let go of some pride issues, which has been tough, but necessary.
Anticipating the changes that are going to have to be made when Jim gets back ... well, that should be interesting. I'm pretty good at doing what I want to do when I want to do it, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that being mostly in control has worked for me. In some areas, I'll very happily give up that control. In others ... well, it might be a challenge. I'm betting he's going to have his own challenges to deal with when he gets back too. Might be interesting around here!

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
Maybe I've gotten a little better at trying to figure out what's really important, and realizing it's not whether there's a mess under the girls' beds. (A little better is all ... still had a fit about that the other day.) I've given myself permission to be emotional sometimes, and permission to avoid situations if I choose to not be emotional sometimes.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I can see the Lord changing me even now ... the pride and the "what's really important?" issues ...
Also, I've seen the Lord really meet some very plain old basic needs, even as I whined about having those needs.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I'm blaming nabisco for that. Darn Oreos.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
(wow, these are tough questions ... and now that I'm at the end of the list, I'm kind of questioning the wisdom of putting this all "out there!")
I've relied on others in places that I probably normally would not have. There are a very small few who have been "privileged" to see lots of the ugliness that lives in me ... which takes a huge amount of trust.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
haha ... my mom got me an electric broom for Christmas. OH MY WORD, I'm in love with that thing. I hate sweeping the floors, hate the dustpan, and usually my floors are in desperate need of help. This little thing is awesome! And the best part? It's lightweight enough that even my 8 year old can do it! Now that's enjoyable! (Do I sound like an infomercial?)

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
just getting it all done. I get overwhelmed so easily, and I'm pretty much incapable of anything when that happens, so I went to great lengths to avoid that. Doing all of the laundry, then realizing that half the contents of the girls' closets was crammed under their beds, or the boy had shoved dirty clothes into his toybox ... yikes!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
oh yikes. I'm going to just say facebook. I do enjoy it, and it's been great connecting with people I haven't talked to in years, but I also wasted a great amount of time there.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
This year I made a loose schedule and stuck to it. It has been great! I've done basically a month at a time, kept up with a calendar, and it's been so nice!

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
The Lord can take even what seems insurmountable and bring you through it. That's actually a prayer of faith, because I'm certainly not through it yet.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
This is certainly not my phrase or statement, but I'm claiming it, for 2009 and forever.
Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

___
So, let me challenge you to grab these questions and answer them for yourself. A little end of the year introspection is a good thing!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Heart Faces - Outtakes

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Oh my. I have a few (um, thousand.) Here are five. (nope, four. She changed her mind.)

First, the annual "let's make mama crazy by LOSING OUR MINDS when she starts trying to get a decent Christmas card pic." Christmas 2007.



(If you saw a pic here earlier, please try to erase it from your mind. LOL She gave permission then rescinded it, so I took the pic out.)

And one of my favorite pictures ever. The "this is guaranteed to make me smile no matter how bad of a day I'm having" pic. Brendan was way unhappy to not be included in a pic of the girls. I intended to just crop him out after the pic was taken, but I really just love it.


And this one from the other day. I love taking pics of these two boys. One was very cooperative and sweet. The other (my own son) CLEARLY had too much caffeine. Or something.

(The really funny thing? In the last pic I took, the buddy decided that if he couldn't beat him, to join him, so I got two tongues sticking out!)

Click on over to I Heart Faces and get ready to giggle at everyone else's outtakes!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Post a YouTube Video Day!

Pin It It's "Post a YouTube Video" Day!

(I totally made that up.)

(I'm betting that you guessed that.)

(I just wanted an excuse to post this video.)

I was just giggling earlier this week because this silly Christmas song from an ALBUM Troy had when we were kids kept going through my head. The girls just laughed at me and said there was NO WAY ON EARTH that could possibly have been a real song.

I did what any internet savvy mom would do; I searched for it on youtube. AND I FOUND IT.

And because I could not possibly keep this fabulousness to myself, you get to see and hear the video too! As silly as it sounds, this song very much says Christmas to me, because I remember so well being so excited about Christmas and listening to this album. I'm sure we watched the show too, but it's just the music that I remember so well.

So ... without further ado ...

I present ...
R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas:


And because I love you all so much, I have to share this one too. I couldn't find a video for this one though.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, My Friends

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The GOOD Things About Being an Army Wife

Pin It 1. Shaving is entirely optional.

2.


hm. That's all I've got. I miss my husband.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Heart Faces - my holiday traditions in photos

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One of our Christmas traditions is the annual Christmas card. The truly fun part of this is coming up with the perfect Christmas card picture. This usually ends up with at least one adult and and least two children in tears. Frequently there is bribery involved as well, and mama always needs chocolate when it's all over. Ah, what fond memories my children are going to have of this event as they grow up! I'm sure their therapists will hear all about it.

2001 is the earliest we have. (Sorry Gabbi. We didn't enter the digital age until 2001. We probably did do a Christmas card when we had just one; at least I hope we did. It would have been easier with just one! My scanner has issues so I didn't even bother looking through the boxes of pics.) Gabbi was 3, Madelyn 8 mo in this pic. This is one of exactly three minutes in Madelyn's first year of life in which she wasn't crying.


2002 (This is one of my favorite pics ever.)


2003


2004


2005 ... enter Brendan into the scene.


2006 I remember that it was absolutely freezing out when we took these pics.


2007 ... another favorite picture. I cannot begin to tell you how long or how much frustration was involved in taking this pic! Nor am I willing to tell you how much photoshop was involved.


2008 ... we were anticipating some family changes in 2009 and decided maybe it would be good if mom and dad got in the pic.


2009. I did not have it in me to try to attempt pics of the kids by myself, so we used a family portrait made in May as our Christmas card pic.

Not Me!

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As I'm sitting here in the quiet of my house on December 21 with about four presents wrapped and about 104 to go, and a big ole pile of laundry (didn't I just DO the laundry?!?), I think I need a little "not me" action.

It was not me who typed the "go north" post and got up in the middle of it, ate some cookie dough, then sat back down to finish it.

It is not me who has been sugar free for two days. Nobody has been yelled at, maimed, or harmed in any way because of this. Amen. I did not make six dozen cookies yesterday and miraculously not eat a one of them. I do enjoy making cookies and it works pretty well to just make them and give them away. I did keep a few though; somebody make them stop staring at me like the eyes in the Geico commercials! (My children will probably take care of that when they wake up ... cookies for breakfast anyone? Nope, not me.) Oh and by the way - do not think there's anything noble going on here. I am the girl who can eat nearly an entire package of oreos and proved that in the last week. :-/ I mean, no I'm not. Or didn't. Or something like that.

I do not keep putting off getting a netflix subscription because it's more than I want to spend in a month on renting movies. In the meantime, I also do not go to redbox and end up keeping every movie I rent for nearly a week. Yeah, someone do the math here ... this is not the most brilliant financial move ...

Jim will be home for leave soon, so we have told the children that we're going to hold Christmas until he gets here. My children have not told other people that we're just not having Christmas this year. Oh my. (So, if you're reading this and have heard from my children that we're not having Christmas, it's not true. Actually (blush) mama has overcompensated for *something or other* and the children are going to have a bigger Christmas than normal. Oops. Because we all know presents make everything better, right?)

My son does not have his mother's natural skepticism. He did not, on Saturday, when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, look at him seriously and say "I already told you what I wanted!" Yikes. After a few seconds of panic, I did not look at Santa and say "Of course Santa remembers that you want a GRABBER TRUCK for Christmas!" The funny thing - this is just Santa #2 for him this year, and this one really looked like Santa. The first one ... um ... did not. Not even close.

Okay, I believe that's it for this Monday! I'm working on a picture post from I heart faces that I might be able to get up today ... or maybe tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It is Time to Go North

Pin It No, we're not headed back to Spokane, or anywhere really.

(I'm going to try my best to make this post not jumbled. I'm not expecting a whole lot of success. You've been warned.)

I have been reading this blog: Lysa TerKeurst. If you're not reading it, you should be. Many of her posts just plain resonate with me. You know, weight and hair struggles. How many people can't relate to that? (Okay, she goes way deeper than that; although those alone are enough to keep me following her blog, especially when my handy dandy heat styler broke today ... right after I had done HALF of my hair. I'm sure the half flat, half frizzy look is all the rage these days, right? I can't make this stuff up, people.)

ANYWAY ... the point?
Earlier this week, I read this post.

Then yesterday, I read this post.

Go read them. I'll wait.

(Did you read them?)

The first one made me think. Yeah, it deals with weight loss, so that sparked my interest, but it really spoke to me about areas other than that.

Then the second one. Oh my. That verse just grabbed me. Did you catch it too? Deuteronomy 2:3 - You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.

Got any mountains in your life that you've been circling long enough? Sense that maybe the Lord is telling you it's time to stop circling the mountain and head north? Oh my. Yes, of course weight loss is one of them, but other, bigger, more important mountains are out there too, and I've been walking around and around a few of them for quite a while now.

Now it's time to quit walking around the mountain and head north. That's going to mean letting go of a few things. Maybe some anger, maybe some bitterness, maybe some ideals of perfection ... maybe about seventy-five other things. And yes, sugar is one of them.

This verse has been rolling around in my head since I first read it; just thinking about some things I need to let go of and some things I need to head toward. Lysa said it much better than I could, so please, if you haven't read those posts, go read them. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just Random

Pin It I don't have the time or energy to put into a big blog post, but I do have some random thoughts that I'd love to get down.

First - Mrs. Billie told us we should go to the Christmas production at First Baptist Port Neches. At first I was thinking "yeah, right. Another thing TO DO." But then she told me what it was about and that she thought it would really bless us to go see it. We did and it did. They had incorporated stories from an army chaplain in Iraq into the scenes of a typical passion play. It really was fabulous. The kids were RIVETED. (Well, except for Brendan, who made it five minutes into it before falling asleep and drooling all over my shoulder.) I wish last night had not been the last night because I would have recommended that all of you local people go see it. Thank you, Billie, for telling me to go see it! And thank you First Baptist Port Neches for putting it on. It was a humongous blessing to us.

Next - a note to my children.
Dear sweet children of mine,
I love you to pieces. I just want to share with you some information that will make our mutual existence in this house more pleasant. We seem to have missed some valuable information in teaching prepositions, mainly you do not seem to have grasped the difference between IN the laundry basket and NEXT TO the laundry basket. Please learn this difference ASAP. Also, please note that trying something on and rejecting it does not make it dirty. If something has not been worn during a meal, or outside, or for at least several hours, it probably is not dirty, and would be better folded neatly and placed back in the drawer, rather than next to the laundry basket. If you wear a dress to church, and you don't get rained on, chances are that dress is not dirty and does not need to be washed. Please do not wad it up on the floor next to the laundry basket where it will be walked on for several days. Please hang it back up and place it neatly in your closet. If you can wear a dress and live in this house, you can also read, so all of this goes double if the magic words "DRY CLEAN ONLY" are on the tag of said dress. And to the other child: I KNOW you love your Buzz shirts. Believe me, I know. You have several though, so it is really unnecessary for you to wear the same one every day. Although this really does cut down on the laundry, I'd really prefer to have a bit of additional laundry to you wearing the same dirty shirt every single day. Also, you do have several shirts that do not have Buzz on them. They need some love too. Oh - another note to all three of you: if, in pulling something out of your drawer, something else is knocked out, it's not dirty. Simply hitting the floor does not make things dirty. Please pick up what's knocked out, fold it neatly, and put it back in the drawer. One more thing. I love you to pieces, you sweet little darlings!
Love, your ever loving, laundry doing, mother.

Okay, now I have to run. I either have to clean this house TODAY or I will be forced to move to preserve my sanity. I'm hanging on by a thread anyway, so all measures to preserve sanity must be taken.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Me Monday!

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I was not too busy to blog nearly all week last week! Nope, I didn't spend a good portion of the week last week looking at my blackberry to try to figure out which Christmas party / play / program etc. was coming up next. I also didn't look at my calendar today and realize that all of the extra stuff ends Tuesday. I also did not do a little happy dance about that!

I did not award myself the "What Was She THINKING?!?" award on Saturday. There would be no need for such an award, because I certainly didn't attempt to take three children to Olive Garden by myself. We have a tradition of taking the kids out to eat after the girls' choir concert, and usually go somewhere fairly nice, or at least doesn't have the menu on the wall for this celebration. When asking the kids where they wanted to do, I didn't receive two McDonald's! replies and one Olive Garden! and go with the one that had breadsticks ... because it sounded really yummy to me. I didn't sit down with my children, immediately break up a fight because there was only one red crayon, watch my son scoot his chair on wheels across the room, wipe tears because one child only got two olives, order Italian sodas for the kids and listen to two complain that they didn't like them, and watch the third drink hers and theirs, then listen to the other two complain that they didn't have anything to drink, then wonder at my sanity when I let a child wearing a white shirt order spaghetti with marinara sauce, then leave with four mostly full to go boxes. I don't suspect that I heard cheering as we walked out the door, either. I did not declare right then and there that Chick Fil A was going to be fine dining for us for the next several months. (They come to the table and refill my drink, which kind of negates the menu being on the wall. LOL)

I am not currently sitting in a house that is completely trashed that was completely clean on Saturday. (I'm typing this Sunday night ... so YESTERDAY! Yesterday my house was clean! What in the heck happened?) I am not threatening to have certain children open Christmas presents then march said children to Goodwill to donate these presents if they don't RIGHT NOW start cleaning up their stuff! (Yes, I am a mean mama. I'm probably not sorry if that shocks you.)

I did not stay up until nearly midnight last night addressing Christmas cards. And especially not Christmas cards that have been in my possession for about a month now, just sitting there, lurking, waiting for me to address them. I'd never put off a task that took all of half an hour until the very last minute. I also did not (AGAIN) run out and have to place an emergency Christmas card order at Walgreens. Let's hope that the new ones don't sit on my counter for a full month before receiving attention. Or maybe I should have just been a little less optimistic and made them into New Year's Cards ... or Valentine's ...

Okay, I think that's it for this week! I hope you have had a great week, and that you didn't do any of these things either.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Delightful!

Pin It There is nothing in the world like a four year old who has gone shopping for his parents for the first time.

(fake smile and all!)

He is so funny. He came to me right after shopping and told me what he had bought me. (It's a snowglobe.) I am not allowed to touch the package, or even look at it really. Despite the fact that he has told me what it is, he wants it to be a surprise.

He actually has presents under the tree that are to him. He's expressed a little bit of interest in them, but mainly he watches the presents he bought from the awana store. He is just so proud of himself for buying those!

Reminds me of a certain "rocking dog" that a certain little boy who is now nearly 17 got for a certain Nana, when he was probably about four.

I am totally taking this child to the dollar store with a few dollars in his pocket to see what treasures he comes up with for his sisters!

Four year old boys are just the sweetest things, even when they wake up on the wrong side of the kindermat and have a meltdown at Dillards because their moms want them to try on a pair of pants rather than a Buzz Lightyear shirt.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Heart Faces - Sweet Dreams

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Awww ... aren't they just little angels when they're sleeping?

have to edit this with a quote from a scrapbook page done for his sister: Looking at his sweet sleeping face, it's hard to believe that he could be the human equivalent of the tasmanian devil. ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday/ Speechless Saturday

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Awww! They love each other!

Friday, December 4, 2009

FABULOUS Give-Away!

Pin It http://makingmyamericandream.blogspot.com/2009/12/pearl-paradise-review-giveaway.html

Oh my goodness. I browsed around the Pearl Paradise website for a few minutes and had to stop because I was drooling all over myself. That's really embarrassing, you know? ;)

So go to the blog, and enter. I really hope I win though. :-P

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Pin It Good:
Getting away from home for a week and watching the kids enjoy Jim's family.

Hearing Brendan say "Emawee" and watching him bond with her.

Don's patience in playing approximately 735 games of Bingo with Madelyn.

Thanksgiving dinner, especially the stuffing. Oh, and banana pudding, which Brendan called banana pot pie. LOL

Jack carrying Madelyn and Brendan through the house piggy back for like two straight hours.

Lazy days spent bonding with Grammy.

Jim getting to visit with his mom, sisters, brother in law, nieces, and nephews through Skype.

Snuggling a sweet, sleeping Brendan.

Shopping in Grammy's closet, jewelry box, and book shelves.

Bad:
The flight from Phoenix to Houston. Seriously the bumpiest flight I've ever been on. Usually bumps don't worry me too much because the flight attendants are still walking around. On this flight, the captain came on and told them to sit down. Yikes.

No snow in Spokane.

My camera spent way too much time in the bag because I was simply too lazy to take a bunch of pics.

Missing Jim and the brothers-in-law.

Missing my parents and family.

Ugly:
The sheer volume of stuffing eaten by ME.

The cold, rainy weather that met us in Houston.

The post-flight headache that won't go away.

Post-trip laundry. When added to the pre-trip laundry that didn't get folded, well, suffice it to say that I am in the middle of a laundry nightmare.

I'm sure there's more for all three categories; this is just what is coming off the top of my head at the moment. We had a fabulous time though. I was sad to leave but glad to be home. I'm thankful for all the time my kids have been able to spend with Grammy this year, and thankful that Brendan knows his cousins, although I'm not sure he can tell Pierson and Jack apart.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Heart Faces - Tooshies week!

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It's I Heart Faces Tooshies Week! This means I need to post my favorite pic of my three kids!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cool!! An Award!!

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Sweet!! My friend Krystal at Show Us the World gave me a blog award! Thanks Krystal!! Y'all check out her blog. She's the mama of a "family on the road" and writes about all of their adventures. Fabulous pics and great stories too! I've known Krystal for, I'm guessing, about nine years now. We were in a small group of online friends, and this past spring, we finally got a chance to meet in person. What a treasure!

Okay, here's the list of questions I'm supposed to answer:
(OOPS!! These were supposed to be one word answers! Okay, leaving my original answers, but putting the one word answers in italics!)

1. Where is your cell phone: tethered to my computer here
2. Your hair: brown with an unmentionable amount of gray brown
3. Your mother: love her to pieces; she's about to have her hands FULL busy
4. Your father: love him to pieces; he reads my blog regularly ... Hi Dad! similar (to me)
5. Your favorite food: um ... I pretty much like all food. Mexican
6. Your dream from last night: I dreamed that I had a sweet boy snuggled up next to me ... and I did. :) snuggly
7. Your favorite drink: splenda sweetened tea tea
8. Your dream/goal: to be completely debt free peaceful
9. What room are you in: dining room at my mother in law's house dining
10. What is your hobby: reading, scrapbooking, photography reading
11. What is your fear: snakes and confrontation snakes
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: happily homeschooling happy
13. Where were you last night: Spokane
14. Something you are not: friendly
15. Muffins: blueberry with crumb topping blueberry
16. Wish List items: obedient children and clean floors ?? no idea how to sum that up in one word
17. Where did you grow up: Tennessee and Texas
18. Last thing you did: swiped the icing off of a corner of Brendan's piece of cake swiped
19. What are you wearing: sweatshirt, tee, jeans, fuzzy socks sweatshirt
20. Your TV: is off off
21. Your pets: two cats, one dog, one four year old cats
22. Your friends: amaze me daily :) love!
23. Your life: crazy busy
24. Your mood: sleepy
25. Missing someone: Jim
26. Vehicle: minivan
27. Something you're not wearing: bracelet
28. Your favorite store: Kohl's
29. Your favorite color: red
30. When's the last time you laughed: a few minutes ago as Gabbi was tickled at making a ukelele make funny noises earlier
31. When's the last time you cried: Tuesday
32. Your best friend: Micah :)
33. One place you go over and over: Target
34. One person who emails me regularly: Annette
35. Favorite place to eat? eh, depends on my mood Jason's

Now it says I'm supposed to pass this along to six people. I can't possibly do that. I love all of your blogs and I want to see all of your answers. So, if you read this, consider yourself tagged and awarded! :D

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bittersweet

Pin It Do you ever really miss being a kid?

I do.

I had a mini breakdown in an airplane yesterday because I wanted to be a kid again so bad it hurt! I was watching how very excited my kids were and I remembered that excitement like it was yesterday! And oh my heavens, it took me back, and it broke my heart.

We are at Grammy's house for Thanksgiving. Cousins will be arriving today.

Growing up, we were the family that came in from out of town for Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least while I was a little girl. I remember packing and being so excited I couldn't stand it to see my grandparents and my cousins and just hanging out. Seeing my middle one just quivering with excitement yesterday ... oh my goodness, I remember.

All of my grandparents are gone now. How I miss them! Particularly this time of year, because when I was a kid, this is the time of year we would spend with them. Their houses that may have been overcrowded at holidays (which honestly I don't think I ever noticed!) and the food that they would make, and the noise level, and mainly the total delight they had in us.

Yesterday Brendan wanted to bring this toy inside. The toy had been in the sandbox (it was actually his toy from this summer, which "moved" here because of it's time in the sandbox.) Toy filled with sand. He brings it in and I said "no, it's all sandy! Don't bring it inside!!" and Grammy said "it really is fine. It's just sand, we can vacuum it. I don't care if he gets sand in the house!" Yep, I remember that too. I had grandparents that didn't care if we got sand in the house too! (And this goes for my parents too -- my parents would have been telling me not to bring sand into the house, but I'm fairly certain they would have no problem with Brendan doing it. haha)

I laid awake ... um ... for a very short while last night. LOL I think I went to bed at 7 Spokane time, but I got up at 4:30 Houston time ... so you do the math! Anyway - I was just remembering holidays as a kid and how very much I loved them. I'm sad to not be spending Thanksgiving with my parents. The traditions are different here, which is not a bad thing, just different. I miss having my husband here too. I'm just plain in a weird place right now. I'm thankful for all these memories, thankful for how excited my kids are to be here (even with very little snow - let's all pray that it will snow this week!) thankful for the fabulous relationships my kids have with their grandmothers and grandfather, thankful that at least the girls got to know their other grandfather. I'm sad to be missing my own grandparents, I'm sad to not be at my home for Thanksgiving, I'm sad that my husband is so far away.

Like I said, it's a weird place to be. Bittersweet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not Me ... um Sunday night

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Well, I wasn't going to do one of these this week in the interest of being so busy keeping my plates spinning, but since it's 11:30 Sunday night and I've got a good 20 minutes before the dryer is done, and since I just know that if I don't put the clothes from the washer into the dryer tonight, I'll forget about them completely, and I definitely don't want that to happen, I'll do a not me.

First thing - I would never ever post a humongous run on sentence. I'd never do something myself that would cause me to pull out my handy dandy red pen and mark all over it if my children did it. Nope, no double standards here.

I am not using the children sleeping excuse to not vacuum my floors. And I certainly did not avoid doing this chore that I hate all day long, for the express purpose of using the excuse of sleeping children to get out of it. I would never do that. (so ... um ... if you come over, just don't look at the floors, mmmkay?)

I did not have a fit over a pair of slipper socks that one child HAD TO HAVE and then promptly lost. Nor did I have a fit over a missing shoe, a dribble down the front of a shirt, dirty boots, a stepped-on toy, spilled cat food, or a dog that would. not. stop. barking. I'd never have a fit over such things.

I did not procrastinate this week. Not once. I certainly did not grade co-op papers that I had all week long a couple of hours ago. I put a lot of thought into grading and working with these kids, so I would never ever put off even looking at their work until the last minute. I'd also not have considered putting it off until tomorrow morning, except that I was worried something else would come up and I'd forget them altogether.

And with that said, the dryer just buzzed. WOOT! Good night everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Pin It We interrupt your regularly scheduled whine to bring you a little thankfulness.

Let me tell you about my day today.

First, after taking Brendan to MDO, I came to the house to see if I could find my lab orders to take and have that done. When I finally found them (why is it that I can find a receipt from a year ago without any problem, but a paper I had THREE DAYS AGO gets lost?) I ran out the door to rush to the doctor and there was a man in my yard. It took me a minute to realize it was one of my neighbors, who also goes to my church. He was meeting another church member so that they could cut a dead limb that has been dangling in one of our pine trees for a year now (thank you Hurricane Ike.)

:-O I made a random comment to my neighbor one day, I think about someone parking under it or something, and he just showed up to cut it down for us. Wow.

We have been so blessed. I'm behind on my thank you notes, which is kind of a good thing. Okay, maybe not a good thing if you're the one who hasn't been properly thanked yet, but bear with me. Because I am now 40, my brain no longer works. (Hold on you young people, it will happen to you too.) SO, I have a handy list where I keep track of people to whom I owe thank you notes. This list stays right near my computer, and you may have guessed that I spend a fair amount of time by my computer every day, so this thankful list is usually pretty nearby. It's so nice to just have the reminder in front of me that we have been so blessed.

Meals.
Babysitting.
House stuff.
Limb removal.

Amazing. I can't even say the number of times that I've been talking to someone just working through keeping all the plates spinning, and whoever I'm talking to has some solution to whatever the problem of the day is. It's just amazing. I know it's the Lord working to bless me, and working in the lives of my friends as well. Amazing just to be a part of that.

Tonight I had a great time visiting with friends and stocking my freezer. The Main Dish We giggled and visited, and prepared freezer meals. YUMMY freezer meals. The girls and I had so much fun tonight figuring out what we were going to eat tomorrow. The price was very reasonable, and it was just fun.

The kids and I planned the rest of school for 2009. I do so much better when I have a schedule in front of me, and I believe the girls do too. We're going to be working hard to get lots done before the end of the year. The girls seem to be willing to get to work and I have been so thankful for their good attitudes.

I know I've been all whiny and complaining lately, so I wanted to just take a minute and let you all know how thankful I am too. :)

(Now back to your regularly scheduled whine, already in progress. haha)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Could I have some instant gratification, please?

Pin It I'm frustrated. And irritated. And to be honest, just plain ticked off.

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday. I was expecting it to go a little better than it did. Somehow, in six months, I managed to lose eight pounds. I'd like it to be more, but at least it's something. That's not what I'm so frustrated about.

My average blood sugars managed to go up a fair amount. Terrific. I think the actual result was a little misleading too, and not in a good way. Diabetes medication #17 was a fail because I kept getting lows with it. So, I know I took this medication faithfully for about a month, had a bunch of lows, which *should* have skewed my average blood sugars down. And yet it went up. Not only that, my blood pressure was up also. (It really is fine when I check it at home ... either my monitor isn't terribly accurate, or I just get all freaked out when I'm in the doctor's office. Not sure which.)

I exercised a lot. I kept track from mid-August up until now, and did not exaggerate at all. I ate well. I did everything right.

Are you following? I did everything right, lost like 1.2 lbs per month, my blood sugars got worse, even in the midst of a bunch of low blood sugars. My blood pressure was still elevated. In my mind, that makes everything over the last several months pointless. And that is frustrating.

Tomorrow I'm going to have the rest of my bloodwork done. (You know, the cholesterol and stuff like that.) I couldn't do this on Monday because my appointment was after lunch and I need to be fasting for this bloodwork. May I just say that I really REALLY want to see some improvement somewhere? Something to make the work worth it?

I know this sounds like a bunch of whining. Well, darn it, I feel like whining. Or eating ice cream. ;) It really is nice to be able to wear smaller clothes and to walk quickly to the park and not get winded. I mean, I definitely can see the benefits of the exercise, but if I still have doctors chasing me down with new prescriptions that I don't want to take, well, it's just frustrating to me.

So there's my pity party for the day. I'm really hoping and praying that tomorrow's bloodwork will look better than the bloodwork I had done six months ago. Just some kind of good results will be nice. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not Me

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Yep, even in the midst of having nothing of substance to say here, I do have some not me's. Go figure!

I have not let the laundry pile up to disastrous proportions. I am not actually SCARED to start tackling it right now, because there is enough of it that it could actually take over the house if it had a mind to. There would be no reason for me to let it get that bad, I was home every single day last week.

I am not having to remind myself constantly that my daughter is still not herself after having her tonsils and adenoids removed last week. We have not had a spree of bad behavior on both her part ... and mine ... especially yesterday. Poor little thing, I know she's not feeling well. She did not take that as an excuse to display some completely AWFUL behavior. I was not embarrassed by the behavior and way more interested in just making it stop than in trying to figure out what was going on. There was not a ton of rejoicing last night at bedtime, simply because the day was over.

And, I am not sitting here having a temper tantrum myself when I received something that was different from what I wanted and expected. This tantrum is not something that is just going to hurt me in the long run, and I'm not completely justifying it by sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "LALALALALA I'm not listening and I don't care!"

(hm ... can't imagine WHERE any of my children may get their fabulous tantrum throwing abilities ... )

Okay ... headed to sort some laundry. If I don't blog again in the next few days, you'll know that the laundry won, and I'm crumpled on the floor somewhere trying to beat it off with a stick. Those who survive will be wearing out of season or too big/small clothes.

(oh, and as I typed this, my son did NOT lay down and take a nap. At 4:15 in the afternoon. I am not anticipating a really long night for us now. SIGH.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I got nothin'

Pin It I seem to be taking an unintentional blogging break. Weird. I just don't have anything to say. It's been a crazy week, but relaxing other than Monday. I've been loved on by friends way more than I deserve (I say as I am munching on a casserole that a friend brought us last night.) My daughter is recovering nicely from her surgery. I read an entire book! My laundry was done yesterday, the sink isn't full of dishes, and the floors ... well, I should have stopped with the sink.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, another day that (unfortunately) hasn't meant a whole lot to me in the past. I tried to write something about it yesterday, but everything I wrote sounded forced or stupid. I think that I'm too much in the thick of life right now to even properly reflect on what it means to me now. Don't think I'm selfish or petulant or even self-absorbed by that. Well, maybe I am. It's just that dwelling too much on it is a place I just can't go right now. Maybe that will make sense to someone. It's not even making sense to me, so let's just say "it is what it is" and move on.

The kids are doing well. I left my son at MDO *not* in tears today. (Him and me!) He wasn't exactly overjoyed to be there, but he handled it well. Maybe it was the m&m bribe, and let me tell you -- I would buy m&m's by the truckload if it would stop his heartbreaking crying when I leave him. Whatever made a difference today, I was so thankful!

So that's it. Maybe I'll have a post of substance soon. Or maybe not.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Me Monday

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What a fun and busy week we had! With all the fun and busyness, you'd think there wouldn't be any "not me" moments, right? HA. I have just a few to share.

I always thought it was so sweet when I would teach little 3 and 4 year old boys in Sunday school that they wanted to grow up and marry their moms. Awwww. So therefore, I have to tell you that it is NOT my son who does NOT want to grow up and marry me. Nope, not my son. Of course he wants to grow up and marry me. He did not at all, when I asked him who he was going to marry, loudly declare "Gabbi!" Nope, my son does not really love his sister more than he loves me! It was so darn cute though!

If you've read here any time at all, you know the struggle I'm having while trying to lose weight. That's why I would never have agonized over whether to spend 40 calories by putting mayonnaise on my sandwich or not. And I would never have decided to just save those 40 calories in case something better came along. And I certainly wouldn't sit down immediately after this internal debate and eat a bag of cheetos. Nope, not me. (btw - I'm sure the 40 calories I denied myself really do balance out the THREE HUNDRED TWENTY calories in a bag of cheetos.)

And since we're not me-ing, I have to tell on my daughter for just a moment. She had some friends over a couple of nights ago. They did not watch and giggle through the "Love Comes Softly" movies. Then they did not go to bed and stay up until 2 am, giggling and ... are you ready for this? DRAWING. They ILLUSTRATED the movies. One girl was giving drawing lessons, and the others were following along. No makeup, boy talk, or any inappropriate behavior whatsoever. Just drawing. I was not enormously blessed by this!

And now we are not about to rush out the door, because once again, I am not running late. I never run late. Just so you know.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Pin It Kind of a speechless Saturday post. HAD to share this, in case anyone missed it.



Now I'm just hoping one of my neighbors does some fabulous lights this year so I can pull out my "ditto!"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halfway.

Pin It We've reached the halfway point of Jim's deployment. Wow, five months down. Here's a little rundown of how we're all doing, really. (You know that conversation. "How are you doing?" "Fine." "No, how are you doing really?" Well, here's the answer.)

Gabrielle: This girl is amazing. Of all the changes in the kids, hers are the most amazing. She is the one Jim is absolutely not going to recognize when he gets back. When he left, she was a girl. When he returns, he will find a young lady in her place. I'm serious. To have had some anger issues at the start, she has adjusted well and has really stepped up. Sure, we butt heads from time to time, but for the most part, she is incredibly helpful around here and is able to maintain a healthy father/daughter relationship with Jim through skype. She has been given more responsibility around the house and has graciously (most of the time ;) ) accepted it well. She is well-adjusted and happy.

Madelyn: This girl is a riot. Maybe it's her age, or maybe it's her personality, but not much really seems to affect her. She misses her dad and is ready for him to come home, but she has accepted that this is a season in life and is rocking along in typical Madelyn fashion. I have seen some atypical moodiness in her over the last week, but she's going to have her tonsils removed on Monday and she's a little nervous about it. I believe that when Jim gets back, there will be no adjustment required on her part; she's typically a "go with the flow" kinda kid.

Brendan: Right now, Brendan is having a hard time. He's gone through several stages of separation anxiety in his life, but the past month or so has been incredibly difficult. It's kind of interesting; I can leave him with a person, or a person can come get him without any problem. When I leave him at co-op or mother's day out, or even Sunday school, he completely freaks out. I'm really not knowing how to handle it. I've always thought that if you just firmly do it and reassure them that you will come back, it would take care of itself after a couple of weeks. It seems to be getting worse though. The thing is though, once he does get settled, he enjoys his activities. On Tuesday, he cried and cried when I left him at MDO. When I picked him up, he cried because he didn't want to leave. He has also perfected the art of the tantrum, and has many every day. I know part of that is the age, but it wears on me when every. little. thing. is a battle. He really does miss his daddy, and I think he really doesn't know how to express that. Or something like that. I'm sure a lot of it is typical four year old boy stuff too. (btw - just after I typed this, he came up and put his hands on my face and told me I was his "fazorite". LOL)

And for me ... I have good days and bad days. I notice that the really bad days happen somewhat cyclically. Imagine that. ;) I'm trying harder to relax in some areas (ahem, under the beds) and to relax a little less in other areas (like schoolwork. If I get up thinking "I don't want to do this today!" that doesn't necessarily mean we should take the day off!) I'm generally DONE for the day at about 7 - 7:30, and the kids aren't done for the day until 10:00, so the main "bad times" in our house happen right around bedtime. I still crave that quiet time, even more than I crave sleep, so I'm still up too late at night. I was hoping with the time change, we might could move bedtime up a little, and that has happened a couple of nights. I still need to come up with some kind of bedtime solution.

(As an aside - bedtime has always been something of an issue here. I'd love to institute a 9:00 bedtime, but even when Jim is home, that doesn't work because he's after 9:00 getting home two nights per week, and it's tough to send them to bed when daddy is going to be home in half an hour.)

So, I guess that's it. That's how we're really doing, all of us. I can't believe we're halfway through this now!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Homeschool Mom Universal Translator

Pin It Oh, this is so fabulous! I just read this and HAD to pass it along, as soon as I stopped giggling long enough to type.

The Homeschool Mom Universal Translator

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This is How Rumors Get Started

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Yesterday was my anniversary. Thirteen years. Wow. This is kind of an interesting place to be thirteen years later!

Look at these gorgeous flowers Jim sent me!


And look at this one; the special thirteenth rose:


Brendan is totally confused that these flowers are from Jim. I had to step into another room to cry for a moment when I mentioned to the girls yesterday morning that I would have a flower delivery from Jim, and Brendan said "DADDY'S COMING HOME?!?" Man, I'm getting all teary again just typing that out. Pretty heartbreaking, huh?

Anyway, so the flower delivery man brought the flowers, and Brendan wasn't here when he came. He was very confused when he got home and saw the flowers. I told him they were delivered; that daddy sent them but didn't bring them to me. So now he thinks that Jim physically sent them to me. He had several questions about how the balloon fit, and did Daddy blow it up. Then he seemed to kind of figure it out. The mailman gave me flowers.

So, if you see my sweet son, and he tells you that the mailman gave mommy flowers, you'll understand, and won't have to look at me questioningly. And give him a hug, he's really missing his daddy.

And happy anniversary to me.

(Love you, Jim. The flowers are GORGEOUS! Happy anniversary.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not Me Monday - the Halloween Candy edition

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Ah, halloween candy. I have three types of candy-grabbers. One wants only the good stuff, preferably chocolate. One wants all. of. it. Good stuff, yucky stuff, doesn't matter. Volume is most important to this child. The third is okay with whatever comes into the bag, not picky, and not after a ton. I have not managed to use this to my best advantage.

(What? Don't tell me you don't rummage through the kids' halloween candy!!)

Okay, so the system that I did not devise looks something like this. a) the "good stuff only" kid really just can't be messed with. This kid keeps inventory and the only way something is coming out of that stack is if a stray candy not liked by that child happens to find its way in there. Just ignore that stack. Best to not even look at it. (And it's probably under lock and key anyway, lest *anyone else* around the house be tempted.)

So now we're down to:
b) the "volume" kid, and c) the "whatever" kid. Bag b is the bag to dig through. This child really isn't all that concerned with what's in the bag, as long as the approximate weight is as remembered. SO, if I were going to *borrow* some halloween candy, which I'm NOT, but if I were, it would look something like this.

Dig through bag b and pull out some good stuff. Realize that peanut m&m's are a lot heavier than pixie sticks. Dig through the c bag - remember, that's the whatever kid. Take heavier stuff from c bag - gumballs, stuff like that, and put it in b bag. Then practice looking innocent when the owner of the b bag is digging through the bag and says "hm, I KNOW there were some peanut m&m's in here just a little while ago!"

Not that I would ever DO anything like that. And I know you wouldn't either. Oh, and if I did, I probably wouldn't justify it by saying that the children really don't need so much candy anyway. See, actually, if I WERE to do this, I'd actually be doing them a favor. Because I'm a good mom like that, that's why.

Just in case you were wondering, the words "mama's coming, hide the tootsie rolls!" were NOT heard at my house at any time this weekend. Not even once.

Oh, and I would never ever consider Halloween candy to be a meal. And if I did, I would never post about it on my blog.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just So We're Consistent

Pin It Halloween.

And the dilemma starts for every Christian who does not have this issue nailed down. Christians like me.

On the one hand, no, I don't want my children participating in pagan ceremonies and rituals. I get what Halloween is about. I don't want my children seeing people walking around as vampires or witches, or with Scream masks. I certainly don't want them participating in any pranks/vandalism that goes on Halloween night. To be honest, I don't want to supply candy to every child in my neighborhood, and I don't want to spend a ton of money and effort on costumes. I know that the Bible says that Christians should flee from darkness, and to have nothing to do with most of the Halloween activities. I really do get all of this.

Then on the other hand, as far as the kids are concerned, it's harmless fun. We have never gone trick or treating (although to be honest that's more to do with not knowing a whole lot of people in my neighborhood more than being opposed to it). We usually go to the Fall Festival at our church, or when I'm at my parents' house, we go to the Fall Festival there. It's safe and fun. The kids usually do have costumes; dress up is a fun game around here, and we usually have an assortment to draw from if they want a costume.

Some years I feel "against" Halloween and want to stay home and have a movie night and just not participate at all. Other years, it really doesn't bother me at all, and I want the kids to go have fun. I've said before that it's okay to do the fall festival if it falls on a night other than the 31st, but that particular date is off limits.

Clearly, I haven't made a stand on the issue. (Oh, and if you're tempted to try to persuade me one way or another, trust me when I say I already know all of the arguments.)

This year, we have costumes for the girls from the Renaissance Festival, and Brendan is (of course) wearing his Buzz Lightyear costume. (Again.) We're going to the Fall Festival at church, as we usually do.

I'd love to reach a settlement in my mind on this issue. It's tough when some times it's an issue I care about, and sometimes, it's so far down on the list that it really just. doesn't. matter.

Just so I'm consistently inconsistent. My kids are going to learn a lot from that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Fabulous Few Days!

Pin It We have had the best few days!

Monday we had our homeschool co-op, and afterwards we had big plans. We took Brendan to Dean's house, and OH MY, he was so excited. He's had some separation issues lately, and I was a little worried. I should not have been. Barely a good-bye to mama and he was off to have fun with his best buddy.

Then the girls and I were on our way! We had to make a pit stop at Kohl's first because I was approaching *blue jean emergency.* The scale may or may not be having STUCK issues, but my jeans were too big. (Like all women, I have jeans in various sizes here. For whatever reason, there is a HUGE jump between the size I was wearing and what I have here of the next size down. I've been SO discouraged by that! I finally decided to just go get some that fit. Oddly enough, they were the same size as the ones that I have here and can't zip. Whatever.) I now have jeans that fit, and fit well. :D

We left Kohl's and headed on our way to visit some sweet friends. My friend and I were talking and realized that our oldest girls have been close for a very long time. Through moves and life changes, these girls have remained close friends, and it's such a blessing to see them together. It was fabulous! The younger girls took off, the older girls took off, and my friend and I were able to just sit around and chat and relax and just have fun together!

Then Tuesday, we all loaded up and went to the Renaissance festival. It started out cold and gray outside but we ended up with a beautiful day. The girls had a great time!


Check out their costumes! They looked so lovely! They each had a friend to hang out with (and I did too!) and it made the day even better.

We stayed at their house again last night, watched a fabulous movie, and just visited and chatted again. Today we loaded up and headed home. I was really starting to miss the little man!

Any fear about him missing me was laid to rest when he saw us drive up, said "Hi Mom!" and ran back to play. Then I had to physically DRAG him to the car to take him home. LOL Good to know he's in good hands. He did snuggle me this evening and tell me that he missed me. Sweetie boy!

Now we're all worn out and ready for bed. The little one is asleep and the rest of us are headed that way shortly. We are all thanking the Lord for mini-vacations and friends and fun times!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things That Make You Wonder ...

Pin It 1. Doing laundry and finding 17 pairs of undergarments for one child and two pairs for another child.

2. I stopped exercising this evening because The Biggest Loser came on and I wanted to watch.

3. I can devote an entire day to laundry and get every little piece of clothing done. When I go to bed that night, the laundry basket will be full again.

4. Same as #3 except with dishes.

5. The fact that I have no problem leaving the house to take Brendan to Mother's Day Out immediately after exercising (and being all grungy) but if I don't exercise, I feel that I must shower before going.

6. The compulsion that my two youngest children have to bring acorns inside the house. Any idea how badly it hurts to step on an acorn?

7. I realized that in the last month, we have had three cases of flu, two cases of strep, one bronchitis, and two stomach viruses. Four of these required doctor visits!

8. It's easier to just buy a song from Rhapsody, iTunes, or Amazon than it is to go find the CD that it's on.

9. My son got mad at me today and called me a "noodle." This was said in a loud, screechy, angry voice.

10. In planning a family vacation, I asked my friend which room choice would give us the least "family togetherness."

These are the random thoughts that are rolling around my head over the last week. Aren't you glad I shared them with you?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Psssst.

Pin It Scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Please see ticker. Note the date - 10/22. (and aHEM. My husband has been gone for nearly five months. It's not THAT kind of ticker.)

Give a little WOOT~!!

(and don't mind me. I'm the little sweaty heap crumpled up on the floor.)

We are THAT Family

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In honor of the two year anniversary of the "We Are THAT Family" blog, Kristen is giving away some fabulous prizes! Just write a blog post about why yours is THAT family, link it to her post, and you're entered.

Here's mine:

We are definitely THAT family right now. Imagine a trip to the grocery store. We show up with the oldest two bickering over everything from who is going to open the door to who spotted the "slug bug" first, to who stepped in gum. Yes, my sweet girlies have actually had a fight along these lines: "I stepped in guuuuuuuuuum, youuuuuuuuuuu didn't~!!" If somehow the oldest is distracted from the fighting and arguing, the little one is always happy to step up and torment his older sister. (Funny, he only torments the middle one, never the oldest. I wonder why that is.)

Since the girls usually have the daily requirement of bickering covered, the little one is usually free to do what he does best. That would be jumping into mud puddles (remember, we live where it rains nearly every stinkin' day, LOTS of mud puddles around here), pulling that one orange off of the stand so that every one of them falls off, and my personal favorite, alternately pleading and whining for every. single. thing. in the store.

I am seriously going to go all this one day:


Our grocery store trips nearly always end with someone in tears, and sometimes it's me. The mom who walks into the store looking okay and together, and leaves with hair flying everywhere and THAT look on her face? Yeah, that would be me.

So, yes, if you see us coming at the grocery store, just keep in mind that we are THAT family, shake your head sadly, and smile and wave at us. ;) I'm betting you have some of THAT family in you too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Such as is Common

Pin It I know I've talked about the (in)courage site before. If you haven't gone there, please do. You really will thank me for it. I am just amazed at the number of posts that simply resonate with me there. I think "oh, I'm the only one who deals with this particular issue" and then go there and see a post addressing that very thing. And, usually it has tons of comments. What? I'm not the ONLY one who feels that way? Or struggles with that thing?

(as an aside - resonate is the word of the day - I saw the best illustration of this word! It was in a Beth Moore study; I think Daniel. She had a lady come up next to a piano and sing a note. You could actually hear the note on the piano, because the strings resonated with the lady's voice. I love it. We hear things and they cause similar stirrings within us; that's resonate!)

Today's (in)courage post:
Hurry.
I have actually been trying lately to slow down. I'm always rushing the kids. "Get into the car, we're leaving RIGHT. NOW." and "Would you hurry up and get your seatbelt buckled?" and "Why are you STILL doing your math? I gave it to you an hour ago!" I've been trying to ask myself if it matters if it takes even five additional minutes to get out the door, or if the thirty seconds I might save by rushing them to get their seatbelts buckled are really going to make any difference. (The math thing ... well ... it probably really doesn't matter if it takes an additional half hour to complete the math, but I'm not willing to give that one up just yet.)
Fighting Being Still
This one is along the same lines, and also resonated with me.

But then there was this one:
Magazine-Cover_Itis
I know I've said before that I don't really want to be perfect, I really just want you to think I am. And I know that right now, as in the other seventeen times I've typed that, you're gasping in shock that I'm really not so perfect. I totally suffer from this disease though. I'm driving myself and my children crazy with it. Despite my recent redo of my bedroom, and the current redo of the redo, I'm not a decorator, nor do I play one on TV, nor will I ever be one. For me, it's more being so afraid of being overwhelmed that I'm going to whatever lengths to avoid it. That has led to all kinds of frustration on the part of my children - to the point of me actually checking under the girls' beds to see if there is anything under there, and telling them that their room is not clean if I find anything. Okay, it's not a bad thing to be good stewards of what we have, and that includes keeping our space clean, and I really don't want half of their belongings stuffed under the bed, but seriously? Me checking under their beds every day? Don't I have enough other stuff to do? Think I could maybe let that one go a little bit?

That post talks about finding beauty amidst the chaos. I tend to get so bogged down with any kind of chaos that I'm physically incapable of seeing beauty. I know that part of this is the little control freak that lives in me. I haven't figured out how to let her go yet.

Maybe the first step really is admitting that there's a problem? Actually I seem to not have any trouble with that. It's the next step - what to do about the problem that I seem to struggle with. I am seeing that this quest for perfection, if that's even the right word, is a form of bondage. It's one thing when I put myself into that bondage, but when I see myself so desperately wanting my children to fit into my definition of perfection, well, that's a problem. (And they would definitely agree with that!)

I don't have the solution. The Lord does though, and I'm so thankful that He is still working on me!

So, have you gone to the (in)courage site yet? Do it do it do it do it!! I know you will find posts there that resonate with you as well, and that you will be encouraged.

(edited to add: I'm not going for the cover of a magazine. Lots of y'all have seen my house and know that very well. ;) It's more of an "I got this" attitude, or that I can handle things easily. Just so you know, sometimes I can, but lots ... maybe most ... of the time, I can't. Anyway ... I have some nice, quiet time this evening and I'm still mulling thoughts over in my head.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me Monday

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I think I need a little not-me'ing today.

I have not had a heck of a week in the last week, filled with tons on not so stellar parenting moments, with all three sick with the flu at the same time and a mother in law visit.

That said ...

The one and only thing my mother in law requests while she is visiting is coffee. That's it. No other special requests, and even the coffee she requests is very basic plain ole' coffee.

I did NOT forget to buy coffee for her before she came. Yes, I did only get out to go to the doctor's and pharmacy the couple of days before she got here, however, I did know for several weeks in advance, and did make several trips to the grocery store in that time. We did not have to stop on the way home at the grocery store for the express purpose of buying coffee.

Speaking of which, it was not me who took three kids sick with the flu into the Houston airport. Nope, not me. I did follow behind them with antibacterial wipes. That makes it all better, right?

I also did not bring my mother in law to my house and slip out alone every stinkin' chance I got. Nope, not me. I wouldn't take advantage of free babysitting like that.

The day after getting over the flu, Brendan got sick again. I didn't treat this a little too nonchalantly, thinking this was just how the flu was working for him, until I called the doctor and they said to bring him in. Now. I also didn't opt for a shot for him rather than a specific medicine simply because a shot would just get it over with. Since our experience with Tamiflu and Brendan is still splattered on my walls, I did not opt for the easy way out, even if it would cause pain for my son. And now that he is still taking antibiotics, I don't tell him with every dose that if he won't take it, we can just go get a shot. Nope, not me.

And today, after a busy day of co-op and a busy week last week, I am not sitting here trying to be as lazy as possible. I don't have a room 1/3 painted that needs to be finished, and I don't have three loads of laundry waiting to be folded. I also don't have supper that needs to be made and floors that need to be swept or vacuumed. I also have not learned that this will wait until tomorrow. Except the meal. I guess food should be something of a priority. Maybe if I aim for getting that done and then call it good enough for the night?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Indecision. It's an awful thing. I think.

Pin It Okay, well, we had the big secret painting project a month ago. Except that the secret lasted about 1.52 days because the children decided to have a fight with paint sticks in front of the webcam. I painted my bedroom a creamy chocolate color, and I really liked it. I still do actually.

Then the quest for the perfect bedding began. I actually found some that I liked and was so excited for it to get here. It got here and was size full rather than king. Not going to work so well. Then the company irritated me and I decided to return rather than exchange. So the quest continued. Let me tell you - I looked at EVERY place imaginable, online and local, and found lots of things that were *close* to what I wanted but nothing that was IT. Then yesterday the kids and I went out for a while and I found what I wanted. I bought it, came home, and put it on the bed. I love it! Really really love it.

But ...

(there's always a but, I think.)

But then I started looking at the walls. I like the brown color. But then I thought another color might look better. I thought about it last night and again this morning.

(as an aside - I took the girls to church this morning but kept Brendan home; he's nearly well, but was still running fever yesterday.)

So, we took the girls to church and Brendan and I came home. I went into my room and looked at the walls. Then I loaded Brendan up, we went to Lowe's, and bought some paint.

Maybe since there's no secret to be revealed at this point, when (and IF) I finish this project, I'll post pictures! There are still several things to do though. Paint, and then the windows (and I have NO IDEA what to do there) and then decorations. I'm really excited to have an updated bedroom!

And with all that said, I'm going to put some paint on the walls. I'm a little nervous! I hope I like it! (And I guess if I don't, I can call it exercise, right? And not only that - I have another gallon of the brown, I can just do it again, right? Right?)

edited to add: The first wall is mostly done. I like it! I did have a moment of all out panic when I first put it on the wall. Know how wet paint sometimes looks a lot lighter than it really is? Um, yeah. Let's just say that the lighter version of the color I chose is not so pretty.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update from the Infirmary

Pin It We have improvement!!

Child #1 is officially well. She had the lightest case. I wonder if that is because she was SO sick with the flu this past spring?

Child #2 seems to be the most affected. Imagine that. She was still in a pretty bad way yesterday and I think she coughed all night long last night.

Child #3 is improving. He slept (with me) very very fitfully last night and is coughing a fair amount.

#2 and #3 are faithfully taking their tamiflu. Well, #3 is taking his hidden in juice. Whatever works, right? Since tiny little dose #1 was sprayed all over him, me, the door, the floor, the table, and the cat, we resorted to plan b.

The kids are currently residing in Grammy-land. (Because wherever Grammy is, it's Grammy-land, right?) We picked her up yesterday and infected everyone in the airport with the flu. The kids are so excited about Grammy visiting! #3 showed her ALL of his toys last night. #2 really just sat around, hopefully she'll be back to her normal self and able to show off all of her tricks today. #1 is excited because Grammy means coffee, so she's walking around with a coffee cup. (Mean ole' mama usually just says no to the very idea of an 11 year old hyped up on coffee! LOL)

Our plans are to lay low again today and let #2 get well. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to report that everyone is feeling well.

Continued prayers for Grammy and me to stay well would be appreciated!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday

Pin It What a DAY!!

Let me give you an overview of the weekend. Friday was pleasant and quiet.

Saturday the girls and I headed to Beaumont. I haven't had a Kohl's fix in months and it was time, plus we wanted to make a trip to Hobby Lobby. I told them we could have Pei Wei for lunch. Gabbi said that's not what she wanted. I should have been suspicious right then. In my sweet motherly way, I told her to suck it up because that's where I wanted to go, and I was paying. (My warm motherly skills bring a little tear to the eye, don't they?)

So, we get there and eat and I noticed she was shivering. It was a little chilly, but it wasn't cold inside. Then we went on to Hobby Lobby and I noticed that she was completely white. She was very clearly not feeling well, and it was easy to tell she was running fever. Sigh. No Kohl's. We got home and put her to bed.

Sunday, we were (obviously) staying home from church. Brendan was grumpy and fussy and then laid himself down to take a nap. Uh oh. He woke up with fever.

Monday, I had arranged for another mama to take Madelyn to co-op since she was still well. Madelyn woke up with fever. I've never had all three sick at the same time before! They all have the flu.

Did I mention that my mother in law is coming to visit? Tomorrow?

Thankfully, Gabbi is already on the mend. She was still running fever tonight, but it's lower, and she's definitely feeling better. Hopefully the same will happen for Brendan tomorrow (plus, he's taking tamiflu) and Madelyn will feel better by Wednesday (also on tamiflu). I have tamiflu ready for my mother in law and for me.

To add insult to injury, my much anticipated new bedding got here. It's pretty. I knew it should arrive, so I had my nephew help me move my mattress off so I could put the new dust ruffle on. Then UPS arrived, I opened the box, got the bedding out and saw "SIZE FULL" stamped on it. Um. I have a king size bed. Not so great. Actually, I kind of lost it. (Remember that crisis/inconvenience thing? Um, think crisis. Or straw that broke the camel's back.) So it's going back. Sigh. At least I changed my sheets today. I love fresh clean sheets.

So that was my Monday. I had a big long list of things to do and got to about four of them. I'm actually too tired to stress about that right now, and as soon as my husband calls, I'm leaving everything undone and going to bed.

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Pumpkin Bread recipe

Pin It Oh, this was so yummy and so super easy!

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I used apple pie spice, it's what I had)
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup pumpkin puree (um, canned)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin puree, beaten eggs, oil, water, and spices together. Mix with the dry ingredients. Pour into a well greased loaf pan. Bake 50-60 min or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Enjoy the fall aroma in your house as it's cooking, then enjoy the warm yumminess when it's done!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just Me and My Girls

Pin It I really have nothing of interest to say here. You've been warned, proceed with caution.

So Tammy called me a little bit ago and said they were coming to get Brendan. We had talked about it, but I had been planning to go out of town and just decided last night not to go. I forgot completely that they were going to get Brendan! He was very excited. It will be interesting to see how it goes tonight. He was VERY tired, which is one of those things that can be good or not so much. They haven't called yet, so I'm taking it as a good thing ... we'll see ...

(btw - facebook had this little analyzer application that tells you various statistics about your posts. Want to know my most commonly used word? It isn't even a word. It's an ellipsis. You know, this: ... Crazy, huh? So now I'm making a conscious effort to hold off on the ellipsis. They just pop out every now and then though.)

Friday night is my TV night, with Monk and Psych on USA. The girls both enjoy watching these as well, so we're going to have a girls' night tonight. I intended to make some pumpkin bread. Maybe I still will. It sounds good, and it would be yummy heated up for breakfast tomorrow.

So, is this the most random post ever? I have 15 minutes until Monk starts, just enough time to whip up some pumpkin bread! I'll let you know how it goes. If it's as yummy as I hope it is, I'll post the recipe!

edited to add -- the pumpkin bread was DIVINE!! Recipe to come tomorrow. In the meantime, this is the funniest thing I think I've ever read.
Pioneer Woman - Wanna Bet?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Crisis or Just an Inconvenience?

Pin It Here it is. The blog post that I've been mulling over in my mind for a couple of weeks now.

The Esther Bible study that my Sunday School class has been doing is working on me. This is a question Beth Moore posed back a few weeks ago. Why is it that we take something that is really an inconvenience and react as if it is a crisis? (Or maybe it's just me ... although if she mentioned it in her study, it must not be just me.)

Take the Handy Manny toolbox incident for example (see yesterday's "not me" post if you have no idea what I'm talking about). This caused major stress for me. WHY? I mean, it's gross and all, but to elevate it to crisis proportions? It took all of five minutes to clean the toolbox and another five minutes to clean the carpet.
editing -- one of my friends pointed out that this would most definitely be considered a crisis -- if you happened to be either Handy Manny or one of the tools. I about fell off my chair. LOL~!!

My other "not me" post. The bark and grass washed down the drain. Had me nearly pulling out my hair. My friend's family came over and the husband fixed it in about ten minutes. The kids had to brush their teeth in my sink twice. (Although -- that did nearly reach the crisis level. It's called RINSING, small people!! There is little worse than toothpaste spit unrinsed from the sink!)

So what is it about me, or about our society as a whole that elevates minor inconveniences to crisis levels? Is it that we are so self-centered and so focused on our plans that anything that alters them is so annoying? Same thing - road rage and being so aggravated about being behind a "slow car". This is absolute selfishness - whatever *I* have to do is so much more important and I don't have the time to slow down, no matter what your need might be.

Lord, help me.

Seriously. I'm trying to ask myself now if the various things that simply annoy the snot out of me are really crises or if they are minor inconveniences. Most, if not all, of the time the things that send me over the edge are so minor. It's going to be tough for this high-maintenance high strung girl to relax. The Lord does not want me a big ole' bundle of stress all the time, especially over things that are so completely minor.

So ... let's see what happens ... If you get stressed out over minor things too, join me. Let's see how it goes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not Me Monday

Pin It


I fully intended to skip "Not Me'ing" this week. I have some real thoughts I want to share. The Lord is speaking to me through my Beth Moore Bible study and I really want to blog about that. These children though ... they provide me with so much "Not Me" material that I just can't help but share. They are going to be so excited about this when they get older and realize that I'm sharing all of their stories with everyone who reads this. (Jim always says that kids are fair game for sermon material, so I figure they are fair game for blog material as well. My blog, my rules.)

So ...

My sweet son ... bless his little heart. He did not at any time this week practice his *aim* into his Handy Manny toolbox. Nope, not my little angel. And if he had done that, he would not have then stuck the tools back into the holes where they belong, this spilling ... um, yeah ... on the floor. And if he had done that, he certainly would never have then picked the thing up and carried it to another room, thus *dripping* through the house. He did not realize how much trouble he was in and figure that sleeping little children do not have to deal with the wrath of mom, and decide to just go to sleep, at 9:30 am. I did not decide that it was better for all involved for him to just take a good long nap.

And my sweet middle one ... bless her little heart too. She didn't receive a flask as a kids meal prize from Chick Fil A because we don't eat a ton of meals there. (ahem ... thank you so much Chick Fil A for opening a restaurant five miles from my house. I sure have gained a lot from the experience of going there several times a week. GAINED. A. LOT.) Anyway ... she did not decide to create her own science experiment with this flask. Her experiment did not include things like shampoo, toothpaste, various things she found in the kitchen, plus grass and bark. She did not try to get her brother to taste her concoction, and when he looked at her as if to ask if she was crazy, she did not pour it down the sink. The sink without a stopper. Nope, not my child.

Hm ... someone is left out. I guess she decided to lay low this week. I'm sure I'll have some tales on her next week. ;)