Monday, December 29, 2008

Who Knew I Loved Teenage Vampires?

There have been many things that have happened in the last few days that I would consider "blog-able moments," but alas each night when I sit down during my usual blogging time, I have forgotten what it is that I want to blog about, I am too lazy, or I am so far into this series that I can't put it down until it is done IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO.

Or all three simultaneously.

Actually, I could use those last two excuses as well to explain why my house still isn't all the way picked up from the Christmas explosion.

Seriously, I am actually getting a bit annoyed at that book series. It is sucking the life out of me. No matter how entertained I am by the books, I am still spending far too much time reading, thinking, and dreaming about the characters and the tangled lives they live than should be allowed.

I suppose if I completely ignored life all around me, as well as sleep, and just hunkered down I could have been done a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way for me, and also I chose to start the series at the busiest time of the year.

I will finish.

I won't start 2009 still in Forks.

With teenage vampires. (I am embarrassed even writing that.)

I cannot let that happen.

Until then, I do have one fun image to leave you with:

It's like we're the Cullens Family...it a warped and twisted way.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Aftermath

The day after Christmas is always a bit depressing. We do all still have the glow of the holiday still fresh on us, but reality starts to sink in. We have to go back to the real world. The world were you can't just eat Christmas cookies every night without noticing your waistband tightening. The world where there is no longer a buzz of excitement in the air as we anticipate the Big Day. The world that has school and work beckoning us back in a few short days. The world were children actually want to play with the toys they got and not just look at them in their packages. The world where these new toys must find a home.

Seriously, could toy packaging be anymore difficult? I mean what are they trying to accomplish with all the twist ties,wiring, hard plastic, rubber bands, and tape? What happened to the days of just opening a box and whatever was in it CAME OUT. That would be nice. I cringed each time one of the kids were ready to explore the next toy. I think by six this evening we were finally done opening toy packaging. I was literally on my last nerve, and I think a tear may have snuck out.

After all the toys have been successfully removed from their packaging, you really get an idea of how much "stuff" you really have. All that "stuff" needs a "home".

Well, we are out of "homes" in our home. I guess you could say, "There is no more room in the inn," if you wanted to keep things festive. The realization that we must get rid of stuff to make room for stuff always goes over so well with The Little Ones.

The Girl actually did pretty well with the concept this year. I told her that if she wanted something to come into her playroom, that something about the same size must come out.

Forever.

I told her we would be giving the toys to The Goodwill, and she would not be playing with them anymore, so she needed to be wise about her decision. Like I said, she did pretty well. Until the Polly Pockets were removed from the toy room.

I had actually removed them over a year ago due to the fact that The Little Man was at the age where he was putting everything into his mouth, and Polly Pockets are basically made out of broken balloons. They were just a tad on the freaky side to me in this regard. Well, we found them again today. Since they hadn't been played with nor missed, I figured they would be easily placed into the "Going to the Goodwill" pile.

Notsomuch.

I have since convinced her that they are more at home there, and they are making room for some of our other, much more fun, stuff.

I don't even have to tell you, I am sure, that The Little Man didn't really appreciate the whole "One Out One In" concept. Nope. Didn't like it one bit. He has tried to convince me that giving up a small toy from a McDonald's Happy Meal is totally worthy of allowing him to keep an entire race track in it's place.

Ya.

So, after Christmas we have in our home a small little battlefield full of twist ties, wire, tape that doesn't break no matter how far you stretch and pull it, hard plastic packaging that could literally cut your arm off if you are not careful, and two small children trying to decide what from their beloved collections of toys and stuffed animals they are and are not going to keep.

Thankfully, Christmas vacation is 2 weeks long.

We need this next week just to work through all of this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Promise

As Christmas day comes closer and closer, things in my home are getting crazier and crazier. My kids are BOUNCING off the walls. Sugar is partly to blame, but mostly they are so excited for Christmas to be here they can hardly stand it. At least that's what I am going to blame it on for now. If we are still seeing some of this same behavior after Christmas? Heaven help us.

I try so hard not to squash their fun with reprimands, but it gets so nutty sometimes. I feel like such a Stick in the Mud/Grinch/Ba Humbug/Meanie always laying down the law, but at some point, it has to be done.

Then I feel guilty.

And I wonder, "Why can't I just have more patience? Maybe I need to have more empathy for the situation and give a little more grace."

And I pray for just those things: Patience, grace, empathy, compassion, love, kindness, peace, self-control.

And then I lose my cool. Again.

It's a vicious cycle, really. Over and over again. Many times I have wondered, "Are you even hearing me, Lord?" And really, how ridiculous is it that I get frustrated about wanting to be more patient, but am upset that it isn't happening NOW!

Over and over again, I keep thinking of a lesson that came from my last week of Bible study this year. I think it works in perfectly with my patience issue, and it ties in a bit of Christmas as well.

In Psalm 132, God makes a promise to His people. He promises them a King from the line of David. He also promises them, that if they keep His covenant and His decrees, that they will have the throne forever. The people did not keep up their end of the deal.

I love how Beth Moore puts it in her study on the Psalms of Accent:
"As the ancient people of God made their arduous journeys to Jerusalem after sin and and exile, they sang this song (Psalm 132) with hearts in their throats, fearing their disobedience had deferred their hope forever. Then when they least expected it, 'Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough-because there was no room for them at the inn. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David' (Luke 2:4-11)"

It had been about 400 years since they had heard from the Lord. 400 years that they sat and thought about the promise made to them for a King. 400 years that they thought about their sin, and now hope deferred.

Talk about needing some patience!

Talk about feeling convicted about being frustrated after feeling like I haven't been answered quickly enough, or with the answer I wanted!

Not only did God answer their prayers, despite their disobedience, but He answered them abundantly. He answered them with His Son who was given to us as a Savior. His Son who will never leave the throne, and is the King of all kings. God, in His great mercy, kept His promise.

This Christmas as I celebrate with my family, I will remember too that I am celebrating a promise. A promise that was given and fulfilled. An abundant answer to prayer. It is a day to celebrate the birth of our King who is forever seated on His throne. A day to celebrate the birth of a tiny baby who came to Earth and changed eternity.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We Had To Do It Again...


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

We had to Elf Ourselves again this year. We laughed our fool heads off last year, so it just made sense. This year we included the dog, even though her craziness is driving me mad, we still love her. I think she makes a great addition to the "team". I also love The Little Man's smile for this video...it just fits, and it would be EXACTLY what he would look like if he were really doing this dance.

At any rate, maybe it will put a smile on your face. Especially if you decided to hit the malls or toy stores on this, the last shopping weekend before Christmas.

Not that I would know anything about that kind of madness...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One, Two TIE Your Shoe

The Girl learned how to tie her shoes tonight.

I was shocked.

I didn't teach her.

Neither did her dad.

Nor her teacher.

He did.

Learning to Dress Elmo was a gift to The Little Man when he turned one. Recently, the kids figured out how I had turned him off. Because listening to Elmo's sweet voice day and night eventually almost caused me to throw him through a window, I had decided it was time to turn him off.

Somehow he resurfaced a couple of days ago. Apparently, since then, the kids have figured out that stuffed animals that are supposed to talk, but aren't, just need to have their switch flipped in their back behind the Velcro.

Joy.

Since The Girl only owns one pair of shoes that have shoelaces in them, I really haven't focused on teaching her how to tie her shoes. It really wasn't a battle I thought was worth the time at the moment seeing as how her current Velcro shoes and Crocs were serving her just fine.

Then, tonight, she bounded out of the playroom and dashed upstairs to her bedroom. Next thing I know she is down in the kitchen showing me how she taught herself how to tie her shoes. There she was, standing there with her one pair of shoes that have laces, both shoes with beautiful bows in them.

I am a little sad I didn't get to teach her this milestone. Sad that I didn't get to see her face the first time that the laces made a tight bow.

She's as proud as a peacock.

She should be, I guess. She used a doll to teach her how to tie her shoes.

I wish that they had a Table Manners Elmo. An Always Pick Up Your Socks Elmo would be nice too. I will be begging for them to make a Don't Sass Your Mother Elmo.

Alas, they are just dreams. Far fetched dreams.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

They're Bouncing Off the Walls

Just a few more Christmas pictures of the kids. I only wish that the reality of these pictures actually existed.

Not so much.

These shots were taken after HEAVY bribery. They look so serene. So well behaved. So not hopped up on holiday sugar...


The black and white version...


Hanging an ornament


We will need some sort of sugar detox after the holidays are over. I don't even want to think about what photo shoots will be like from here on out...LOTS of sugar.

I've shot myself in the foot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Fan of Jack Frost, I Am Not

Um, -10 degrees? Excuse me? TEN BELOW! That, my friends, is INSANE! I guess it actually got to -18 earlier in the morning while we still slept. I totally thought about keeping The Girl home from school, but felt a titch irresponsible about that, and she would never allow for such a thing to occur. I'll have to remember that for when she's a teenager. No, we got bundled up and headed out for the day just like we do every Monday morning. It was just FREEZING that's all.

I'll admit it was pretty to see the world frozen. Since it was sunny out, everything sparkled like it had been covered with glitter. Add to that all the steam coming out of the smoke stacks of each of the homes, and it was a very wintry scene indeed. I tried my hardest not to be too irritated. Our dog definitely didn't help in that department. She doesn't know what to do with herself either in such cold weather. So she just did what she does best, drive me nuts.

All day long.

She has an issue with her water bowl. Well, actually she has many issues, but the water bowl is what the main issue was today. For some unknown reason, she cannot drink from her water bowl if it is inside the house. (Trust me this is only the tip of the ice burg. The dog has a serious case of the crazy's). Well, this weird thing happens to water when it is sitting outside and it's below zero for most of the day.

It freezes.

So, she begs to go outside because she is thirsty. I let her out. She stands and stares at her water bowl thinking, "Gee, now what am I going to do? My water seems to have frozen solid." I see her contemplating her options, and go quickly to fill up our water pitcher with warm water to fill up the bowl. While I am doing that, she goes down the stairs of the deck, and fills her belly up with snow. Then she decides it's way too cold to stay outside, and she wants in. RIGHT NOW PLEASE. No, no, she cannot drink the warm water from the bowl. She is way too cold now. "LET ME IN PLEASE!" she yelps and scratches. We let her in, the warm water freezes, we start all over again in about 7 minutes.

ALL. DAY. LONG.

My heating bill is sky rocketing as we speak.

Tomorrow, I am totally calling her bluff. She is drinking water INSIDE whether her "craziness" can handle it or not.

And, also, I am adding this to her Christmas wish list.

PLEASE! I am begging someone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Hate Mailing Labels

Enough Said.

Seriously, I have had to re-do my mailing labels for our Christmas cards every year for the last three years. Apparently, we have been changing computers/upgrading software more than we change our underwear.

OK. We definitely change our underwear more often, but you get the point.

When you re-do your mailing labels this often, it kind of takes away from the ease it's supposed to give. One year I WILL be able to just go and print off my labels with ease. I might need to update a few addressees here and there, but that would be much easier than re-doing the entire list from scratch.

I thought about hand-writing our envelopes this year, but then I came to my senses. However, next year, if you get a Christmas card from me and it has been handwritten, just know that I have given up.

Permanently.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cookie Caper

While The Girl and I ogled some yummy cakes online that we thought we might want to try out for her upcoming birthday, something sneaky was going on behind our backs.

My Little Man's love for all things sweet runs very deep. He was born a chocoholic and will do anything to get his hands on something sweet. I guess I had noticed that he had wandered away from us while we were perusing the cakes online, but I didn't give much thought as to what he was doing.

The Girl turned her head to talk to me and then stopped and hollered out, "UH-OH! BROTHER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Of course I turned around to see what the problem was. I found our little Sugar Hound caught red-handed with a cookie we had set aside from earlier, and were saving for after dinner.

The cookie was less one bite.

But not less the saran wrap that was used to keep it fresh.

Apparently, looking through cakes online stirred up a fresh and uncontrollable urge to bite right into the forbidden cookie WITH THE SARAN WRAP STILL ON IT. He, of course, didn't ask permission, and he knew what he did was wrong instantly. The tears were flowing like a mighty river.

When I asked him what he was doing and why, he just said tearfully, "But Momma, I am just so HUNGRY!"

It was difficult to punish him. I mean, you could tell he knew what he did was wrong and that he was remorseful. I couldn't let it slide though because you know he would've tried it again, with a little less remorse in his heart.

It was also difficult because I was laughing.

Which is precisely why he went to time out. I needed some space to get out the giggles before I had to look him in the eye and discuss the situation.

The poor kid sobbed while in time out like I have not heard him sob in a long time.

I think it was safe to say he had some Godly sorrow over the incident.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Don't Think He's Wishing For Peace on Earth

I took the kids to Super T today to pick up some randomness. While we were there I thought we should take a look at the kids Christmas ornament selection. We had made some ornaments this year, but I also love to get the kids an ornament each year to kind of mark who they were that year. Surprisingly, Super T did have a an OK selection, and the perfect ornament for The Little Man this year.

He picked out a Star Wars ornament that had Darth Vader and Yoda dangling in a mobile type way. Each has a light saber, and as the ornament hangs they circle each other like they are dueling. The Little Man's face lit up when he saw it, and I knew instantly it would be his choice. The Girl picked out an ornament that wouldn't have been one that I would have chosen. It was a Disney Princess ornament. I guess I thought she was too old for that, but she loved it, and really it's her choice anyways.

As I walked down the aisle slowly towards the cash registers, I listened in on the kids conversation:

d: I just love my ornament. It is so beautiful. All of the princesses look so pretty in their Christmas dresses!
p: Ya, I love my ornament too.
d: Just look at them! They have their hair done all special, and some even have Christmas berries. It's so gorgeous. I love it! It's so Christmas-y
p: Ya, I love my ornament too. Just look at Darth Vader and Yoda. They look so...so...fight-y. It is so cool and perfect and so fight-y. I love it. Fighting is perfect for Christmas.

I could barely contain myself.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Which I Reconsider my Brilliant Idea to Potty Train Without Underwear

Do you all remember all my potty training posts? Remember how we finally decided that in order to get The Little Man trained we would go sans pants or underwear until he finally got it? I thought it was such a brilliant idea. And it was. The Little Man picked up toilet training in about a weeks time. Just to make sure he didn't regress, and also because it was summer time, we allowed him to run around in the buff for about another month (or longer..whatever...it was summer time).

Apparently, this has created a "preference" for The Little Man. Which is to say, he doesn't like to wear underwear.

Or pants for that matter.

I thought when we first started school, in August, he was just kind of rebelling against the whole "End of Summer Freedom thing". Since it was still summer time, and he was wearing shorts to school, I let it slide a few times with forcing him wear underwear under his shorts. For the most part though, I was firm and told him he had to wear underwear to school. He obliged. Until we got home. Then it was off with the underwear. I kept thinking that when the weather got cooler, and he had to wear jeans, he'll want to wear underwear in order to, er, protect himself.

Surprisingly, notsomuch.

Right now, I have him convinced that he must wear underwear to school and church. After that it's all up in the air. Usually, upon coming home from somewhere that I insisted he wear underwear to, he will come inside and quickly take off his underwear stating that "I can't wear dese anymore. Dey are just too tight!" Despite the fact that he is walking around bow-legged and the previous comment, he is not wearing the wrong size underpants.

I am desperately seeking out boxer shorts that are size 3T...yes, I've seen the boxer briefs, and "Dos are too tight!"

This evening, while eating dinner, Hubby realized he was still in his pull-up from nap time (I am still not brave enough to put him in bed without a diaper despite not having an accident at nap time in months). He asked The Little Man if he would please change out of his diaper and then join us at the table. I guess we all thought that it didn't need to be said that he would then need to put on some sort of garment that covered the lower half of his body.

Since we were all enthralled with a movie that we were watching during dinner, no one really paid too much attention to The Little Man's return to the table. As he finished his dinner and got up from the table we realized that he was totally naked from the waist down.

Just eating dinner.

No pants.

No underwear.

Just eating his steak and potatoes.

I wish I could say I was shocked, and just beside myself. Instead I just laughed. The Little Man just looked around like, "What? What's so funny? Did I miss something?"

I guess we should talk a little bit about modesty, and keeping our private parts private.

I will have to wait until I am done cracking up.

Yes, that pun was totally intended.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Fun

Now that I am free to do what I want, I am having fun enjoying some of this:








I let the kids paint their own ornaments for the tree. I am one of those weird Moms that really loves hand made ornaments. Our house has a few trees which we decorate for Christmas. One tree in particular I love loading down with our mismatched and handmade ornaments. I even add Christmas school projects that may not necessarily be ornaments. I just balance those babies onto branches and display those sweet projects like the tree is some sort of cork board.

I love them all. I love going through them each year and remembering when they were made or where we were when we bought them. The hand prints bring tears to my eyes every time.

This sentimentality should be of no surprise to you at this point.

Here are the finished products:




Can you tell which set belongs to The Little Man?

He just wanted to be able to use every paint color option I put out there. Plus, with the type of grip he had on that brush, I should have known he was going more abstract and was going to shy away from the detail work.

**sigh**

He was darn proud.

The Girl was in love with hers too. I am not too sure why Frosty has a yellow bottom, but whatever. She just kept going on and on about how much time and effort she had put into hers. Since we had worked on them for about 20 minutes, I had to just lavish her in praise for her persevering effort.

Also, here is a little bit of Christmas cheer. It's organized chaos, at best, and it totally melted my heart yesterday.

Go Tell it on The Mountain never sounded so sweet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Returning From Captivity

So, I thought I was only half-joking in my last post when I said I felt like I was being held hostage. That is, until I was finished with the project that put me into captivity.

Last night as I put the finishing touches on said project, I felt such a sense of relief and freedom, that I realized I was in fact being held hostage by a silly project. How did I let that happen? What about all the good times I missed out on? Will I get those back? Will my family remember the old me? The me BEFORE "The Project" started? The one that actually did crack a smile, says more than just grumbles, and doesn't normally walk around with a stomp in my step?

Instead of trying to sift through all those questions, and wonder if they really will ever forgive me for the last WEEK AND A HALF, I decided I am going to just jump back into life with both feet. I have missed out in the joy decorating the house with Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and winter foliage of all sorts. Yesterday, I finished up the last bit of decorating and cleaning, and have loved every moment of my decorated home today, even as the snow fell.

Yup, happiness as snow fell. I think I officially used up all my grouchy, and can't even muster up any grumblings about the snow.

I might re-do our traditional Polar Express night. I was so tired from working that entire day, that I fought with myself for the full length of the movie to stay awake. I was nodding off to sleep at 6:45! I am sure I won't have to fight the kids too hard to have hot cocoa and watch a movie snuggled up in bed. They had a great time the first time around.





As I walked around the house picking up all the loose ends that had accumulated during my absence, I found this and smiled:

In case you aren't able to read either microscopically or through the inventive spelling, this is a list The Girl made for her and her brother. It is their Christmas wish list. On The Girl's side we have: a box of mints, Wowee Alive Cubs (the polar bear), and a picture of your (Santa's) reindeer. Her brother would like: Spike the Dinosaur, a Batman costume, and a toy car.

When she made it a few days ago, I looked it over and felt overwhelmed. I laughed on the outside, but cringed on the inside as I thought about how only few of those wishes would come true. I mean, how am I going to get a picture of Rudolph?

Today, I smiled. I looked carefully at the effort she put into the list. I thought about how thoughtful it was of her to ask her brother what he wanted too. I thought about how she loves the little things like mints, which when I asked her about why she wanted mints so bad she responded with, "I want my OWN box of mints to keep in my room so at nap time I can have one and eat it all up and stay nice and quiet."

DONE.

There will be mints under the tree.

There have also been several readings of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas so far these last few days. Along with a fresh word I received at a recent Women's Christmas Event, I have been savoring the words at the end of the story when the Grinch realizes that Christmas hasn't come to a stop because he has taken all the stuff away.

"How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"... " 'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!' ".

Well, DUH.

Somehow, though, I needed that children's book and the Women's Christmas Event to remind me that instead of running around like crazy doing projects and keeping up with "traditions" that I needed to be mindful of the truth behind the traditions.

The Truth is what we celebrate.

I'm glad I got all of that out of my system early.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Know I Owe You Much More Than This...

I am busy. B-U-S-Y. BUSY! The Holiday hustle and bustle is upon us all right now, and it is totally kicking my rear. I hate that I am losing so terribly. After Christmas is over I will share with you all what has been holding me hostage for the past week.

I want my life back!

Anywho, I did want to share a conversation that I had with The Girl tonight as we decorated the Big Tree. I will NOT allow any projects from keeping me from documenting moments like these. Even if I am a hostage.

D: Mom, are you going to decorate our big tree tonight?
me: I hope so. It looks terrible right now all bare.
D: Tell me when you are going to put the ribbon on. I want to help.
me: I'll let you know.

(I will admit that I totally said that last thing to appease her. The tree is 9.5 feet tall, people. She is NOT going to be able to provide any assistance to me whatsoever.)

Later in the evening as I am killing myself trying to get the ribbon wrapped evenly around our beast of a tree:
d: Mom! I saw you are working on the ribbon. I want to help too!
me: Sweetie, this is pretty hard. I don't know if I'll need your help quite yet.
(The Girl goes away for a second and then returns)
d: Mom, just so you know, I went ahead and gave brother something to do. You know, to keep him busy while we work.

Um. Thanks.

She has such a sweet heart.

Now it's time for me to return to my bread and water.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness

Since it is Thanksgiving, it would seem appropriate that I would be writing about what I am thankful for this year. However, I think I would be writing this post regardless of the day that is showing up on the calendar.

Recently, we have been shocked with the news that our friend, Aidyn, along with her family, has been placed in a very difficult battle. She was recently diagnosed with a tumor in her spinal column. The doctors were pretty certain it is cancer.

For the last two days, we along with hundreds of others have been consumed with prayer on behalf of our friend. Today, saying we are "thankful", seems like a huge understatement. After a long surgery, in which the tumor was much more easily accessed than what they initially thought, and now that said tumor has the possibility of being benign, we are filled with much more than just thankfulness. We are filled with thankfulness, joy, and humility. We are filled with feelings of comfort and love. We are filled with feelings, that I cannot express properly through words.

We are thankful on this day that, even though He has billions of children, our God heard us and is answering our prayers. We are thankful for a God that has plans for us that are good, that prosper us, and give us a hope and a future. We are thankful for a God that comforts us, and even though we are faced with tragedy, He gives us a sense of peace that goes beyond all understanding. He is a God that holds us close when we are anxious, scared, and sad. Like a Dad who holds onto a frightened child. We are thankful for a God that seeks us out for a relationship with Him, and longs to grow us to the conformity of His son.

Saying I am thankful for my family and friends, and that I am thankful for our health just doesn't seem like quite enough. Although I am extremely thankful for these things, I am also keenly aware of our God's abundance. Abundant love, abundant grace, abundant peace, abundant comfort, abundant power, abundant righteousness, abundant ability to hear His children when they call out His name. He is a God of abundance, and he gives abundantly to His children.

I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.--John 16 : 23-24

Father God, our joy is complete.

Thank you.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sometimes it Takes a Good Run to Get Your Head Screwed on Right

Life is full of struggles. Some are huge, while others just seem huge at first, then with twenty- twenty-hind-sight, they seem pretty small. Some struggles you will never forget. They grow you into who you are today. Other struggles you totally forget, and something will trigger a memory from that time. During that recollection you'll think to yourself, "Wow! I totally forgot all about that. I really thought it was the end of the world when "xyz" was going on." I never want to struggle in vain, I always want to grow from pain, but I hope this time of struggle is one I can wipe clean from my memory slate.

As I ran today, I spent time trying to figure out why I continue to stumble over a very small rock in my road. I came to realize that I have been holding onto this situation with a white knuckle grip. I kept asking God to please help me. I want to move on so badly. He pressed upon my heart that I have never let go of the situation. He can't fix something I won't surrender to Him completely. All this time I have been feeling like, "Well, if I just do this one thing," and, "I won't let this happen again," and, "I'll just not say this type of thing anymore."

While I don't think that God wants me to sit back and do absolutely nothing about this particular stumbling block, I also know he can't do anything at all until I fully trust and am at peace with the fact that He is in control. Ultimately, I can only do so much. After that it's up to Him. No matter how much I want a particular result to come about, I HAVE to be OK with it not turning out the way I want it to. I have to trust that if God says "No" to me, that it's because He is planning a bigger "Yes" for me later on down the road.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."--Romans 8:28

Each day when I surrender my life to serve Him for the day, I have to do just that: Surrender. I know that this doesn't sound like rocket science here, but I think I say I would like to work and serve according to God's will, but then I still want to complete my agenda too. There is absolutely no way my agenda can be as wonderful as the one He has already planned out for me way in advance.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." --Ephesians 2:10

As I finished my run, I felt such a sense of peace. I feel like I have finally let go of this situation, and I know whatever comes about it is for my good. I know that I have a God that can conquer anything that is set before me. Struggling through something doesn't mean that He isn't there or doesn't care. Quite the opposite. It means He loves me enough to grow me. I can't complete the works He has for me without this growth. I've gotten so used to giving up when things get difficult. I use the excuse that, "It wasn't in His will for this to happen. It's just too hard." I am learning daily that hard work doesn't equal "not meant to be". It means simply, work harder! He's got something for me, but it's going to take some effort, a little sweat, maybe some tears, and a whole bunch of being on my knees before Him.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you."--Jeremiah 29:11-14

I am comforted in the fact that regardless of what happens in this particular situation, He has plans for me, and they are good.

Glory.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why We Shouldn't Leave Money Lying Around

We had a little head to head with The Girl today. Usually, I don't like to blog about bad behavior. I don't like to give it the attention it was trying to seek out in the first place. But today, The Girl, took it to a whole new level. Since this blog is about preserving my Mommy Memories, I'll let this one story slide on in.

We took the kids to McD's for lunch today so that we could enjoy a different meal at a Mexican chain that the kids won't touch because they are kids, and they haven't discovered all the goodness that Mexican food has to offer them. They are still turned off by the spiciness of it all. Which, hello, is the best part. Hubs and I don't even waste our time or money trying to get them to understand. Instead, we have caved into their incessant whining and will buy them a Happy Meal. Plus, the toy at the end keeps them quiet just that much longer while we enjoy our Mexican goodness.

Well, the toy became a problem. It wouldn't stop making noise. Mostly because The Girl would not stop making it make noise. If you want know anything about me at all, it's that I can't stand repetitive noises. I lose my mind faster than you can shake a stick. So we gave The Girl a warning about the toy. We told her she had to turn it off until we got home, and then she could play with it in the toy room only.

(You've got to love the fact that those free toys are so annoying, and that they are also instantly your child's favorite.)

So, not so surprisingly, The Girl tested out our threat. Normally, I would have given just one more warning, but she was so blatantly testing us, I had no choice. We took the toy away.

Wow. She was mad.

As we got out of the car when we got home, she mumbled something to herself about how she thought her daddy needed to pay her back for that toy. She felt as though he needed to compensate her monetarily for the toy he was now going to keep for the afternoon.

Ya. That sounds like it would totally happen.

Well, as we went inside, she decided to take it a step further. She headed straight up to her daddy's office and grabbed a twenty spot he had laying on his desk . She then marched right back down stairs and told her daddy, "I'll be keeping this until you give me my toy back!" Hubs and I just looked at each other a bit astonished, and then he said, "What?"

She repeated, "Since you took my toy, I am going to take your twenty dollars. I think that's fair."

You know what I think? I think that is one gutsy five year old. I think we have a long road ahead of us in this parenting journey we are on. I also think that, when she was in her room with the door shut after her punishment, I about died laughing.

I am still floored at the thoughts that were going through her little mind when she confronted her father with his money and gave him an ultimatum.

She's braver than I thought.

Heaven help us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As If Mornings Weren't Hard Enough

It's been a bit difficult around these parts for me during breakfast time. It seems as though my children's finicky eating habits may not fall too far from the tree. Some might call me finicky as well. I even have a hard time watching some types of food get eaten. For example, really juicy meat will send me right over the edge. I also can't stand the look of sausage. Not ground meat or patty sausage, but the link variety. I saw a picture of some link type sausage in a magazine today that was touting some fantastic recipe using sausage. I am sorry, but there is not a talented enough food photographer in the entire world who can make a big old fat piece of link sausage look like something I want to put into my mouth and chew.

Nope.

No way.

Ain't happening.

I am sitting here with heeby jeebies just thinking about it.

Where were we?

Oh yea, food aversions.

So recently, The Girl, has really been, unknowingly, making me sick to my stomach at breakfast. Along with really juicy (read slimy or fatty) meat and link sausage, I can not stand to watch or think about someone eating soggy cereal. And if you want to see me gag, go ahead and drink the milk out of your bowl when your done.

Oh ya, I just gagged a little.

Please do not think that I am judging you for these things if you do them. I clearly understand that I am weird, and am also in the minority. It seems as though most people do like to drink the milk from their bowls after their cereal is gone. Which is why there are actually bowls out there with straws built into them. Also, I know people who choose their breakfast cereal based on the flavor of milk that is left in the bowl when they are done.

Clearly, I am a person with weird food issues. Thankfully, I have learned to deal with them, as well as the rest of the people who have to live with me, even though they get highly annoyed at times.

I'm sure that you have probably guessed that The Girl likes to wait for her cereal to get really soggy, and when she is done getting out the sog, she slurps up all the milk in her bowl.

Oh heavens, I can hardly stand it.

I actually have to leave the room most of the time. I definitely can't watch her eat the sog, and when she tips the bowl to her lips, I usually find something else I need to do away from the kitchen.

I refuse to say anything to her because I know what she is eating is good for her. Also, she really really likes it, and I don't want to ruin that for her.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, The Little Man can't stand to have milk in his cereal. So he eats dry cereal and has a glass of milk for breakfast. Lately, he has been particularly fond of "granola". I call it "granola" because it's actually just oats and honey. Since The Girl has a peanut allergy, and most nuts are processed with peanuts, we don't get granola that contains the yummy stuff in it like almonds, cashews, or walnuts. I guess at that point, the makers of granola have decided that if you don't want nuts, you don't want anything else in your "granola" either. So it's just oats and honey. That's it!

Can you even imagine eating a bowl of oats and honey or "granola", if you wish, without the milk? The Little Man puts his face in a bowl of it almost every morning. Just like a horse with a bag of oats.

My mouth and throat are dry just thinking about it.

Maybe that's why The Girl is slurping down her cereal milk.

She's got sympathy dry mouth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Outtakes

Christmas card season is upon us. I don't mean that I think they should be sent out yet, but that if I am going to get a card out with a picture, I have to get working on it. Oh sure, I have pictures from all year long that I could choose from, but then I couldn't torture myself with a high pressure photo shoot with the kids. Frankly, that's where all the fun is at. I think kids of photographers have to be the most difficult kids to get pictures of. They are so numb to the camera and being posed, they can't help but just act out. Here's proof of my children's PCS (Photographer's Child Syndrome).

First up, remember the problem I was having with The Little Man not knowing how to smile naturally for pictures these days? Well, we are still dealing with said problem. I realize that this isn't PCS per say, but more just an age thing. Nonetheless, it's still an issue.

Here is saying, "What do you mean I am not smiling normal?"


"You mean like this?"


What? I have to have my eyes open? I need to look at the camera?" What's a natural smile with a just a little teeth?"


Then there is The Girl. She loves the attention of the camera, but gets bored waiting for brother to get the smile right. When The Girl is bored, she gets silly. Today, she also had a problem with blinking from the strobe. So, I got quite a few pictures of this look:


That look is completely natural.

Put the two together and it's pure insanity.

Here we are, I am trying to get a natural smile out of The Little Man by making silly comments.

It really wasn't that funny.


A very natural and cute smile from The Little Man. The Girl is still over doing it by just a smidge.


Nothing here but pure goofiness and disobedience:


More crazy antics:


Here I was focusing on The Little Man. Just trying for both, that natural smile and eye contact. Meanwhile, someone else needed reigning in:


**Sigh**

Thankfully, we still have Halloween candy left over. I whipped out my super duper Mom Skillz, and bribed the heck out of them.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

They're Baaaack!

I'm not sure if you remember The Little Man's fashion "Must Have's" last winter and early spring? We'll, with the first snow of the season happening yesterday morning, it took about five seconds for them to re-appear.



Both kids were so excited to see the snow. I admit, I thought it was kind of cool to see it too. It's been a long time coming! I can't believe we made it to mid-November before a flake flew. No worries, today was beautiful, and the rest of week promises to be as well. Just a hiccup.

I wonder how much longer the boots and hat will fit?

I'm sure we'll see them all season long.

That's OK, it saves me money on haircuts and shoes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Starting Already

Here we are, at mid-November, and my kids already have Christmas on the brain full-time. I have been getting approximately one or twelve toy magazines A DAY in the mail. The stores have already put out their Toy Book ads in the newspapers. The political ads have been replaced with toy commercials which are even airing during prime time television. It's totally CRAZY.

We had some problems last year with The Little Man having a few meltdowns in stores while we Christmas shopped. Seems as though he couldn't understand the idea of giving to others. He just wanted to get for himself. Since he was only two and a half, we cut him a little slack. I was hoping this year would be different in that he would be more excited about getting gifts for others and surprising them with something special. I have seen this recently with him picking out and giving birthday gifts. Also, I thought since he is a bit older, we might be able to talk about giving and the reason behind it a little bit more rationally this year.

Really, I was hoping that last part wouldn't even have to happen. I was hoping The Little Man had morphed into a new boy this year and we would just give merrily, all season long. Considering he has already compiled a list of what he wants for Christmas this year that is so long he decided (on his own, mind you) that maybe he should split his wish list for Christmas into a Birthday wish list too, I don't think any type of metamorphosis took place. Yes, he now has two lists of "wants", and his birthday is over six months away.

Add that to the conversation we had tonight, and I think a lesson in giving is probably right around the corner:

me: Hey buddy, tomorrow you and Mommy are going shopping at a special toy store to look for Christmas presents.
P: Really! For who?
me: Well, we need to get presents for sister.
P: And who else?
me: Well, we also have our cousins K and C.
P: And who else?
me: Oh, and also cousins J and J and S and B.
P: Ya, and who else?
me: Well, I think that is all who will like that type of toy store, and that is a lot of people in one day.
P: (starts to cry and whine) Momma!
me: What's wrong?
P: How come we won't go shopping for me at that store? I will like the toys there!
me: Well, we can't go shopping for you while you are there. I have to shop for you when you aren't with me so it can be a surprise. Remember, we like our presents to be a surprise?
P: I don't want a surprise. I just want a present.

Have mercy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've Got to Be Fair

Now that we are all caught up on The Little Man, it's time to get up to speed with The Girl. I miss having her around everyday. I feel like she is leading a whole other life without me at school, and my heart hurts at the thought. I desperately try to get the details of her day, everyday at pick up, but she just gives the bare minimum, and claims to not really remember the details. I NEED the details. She must think I am a lunatic when I pry.

I am totally a lunatic, and I don't care.

Here's what I know:

1. She adores school. She can't get enough. She talks about it so much I get jealous. I am only slightly teasing with that last comment. She loves all her classmates, and thankfully has not experienced any mean spirited comments or actions that often accompanies school-aged children. I can't even bare to think about what that day will look like. I hope it is still far off.

She was able to eat lunch at school last week because of conference scheduling they had. She could barely wait until that day, and I imagine she probably counted down the minutes until lunch time that day. She was so excited about a thermos bowl I found for her at Super T because that meant she could bring a bowl of soup. The Girl LOVES soup.

As I unpacked her lunch pack from the day I noticed she had barely touched her soup as well as everything else I packed her. I asked her why she didn't eat lunch that day. She claimed they didn't have enough time. I asked her if she may have been talking too much and just didn't get a chance to eat because of all the talking. She grinned a little bit and said that could have been part of why she didn't eat, but mainly they didn't give her enough time. Considering she takes nearly an hour to eat her lunch at home, I am not surprised that she felt rushed with her half hour lunch break at school.

I guess we'll need to work on that at home a little bit before the first grade starts and she falls off the growth chart due to malnutrition.

2. She has taken a small break from her Magic Tree House books. She wanted to try the Life of Faith girl books. I was all for that. They are very similar to the American Girl dolls, but they have the "Faith" element added into their stories. I loved that idea.

We put our name on the wait list for a book at the library so we could get started. She wanted the book about the doll she thought was the prettiest, Violet. So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We waited close to four months to get our turn with the story of Violet Travillia. Once we got it, we dove right in.

Can I say, I miss the Magic Tree House books?

I mean, I guess this book is OK, but I find it a bit boring. Violet is a little over the top in the drama department, which I am all about, but...it's a little annoying. Plus, the writing in this book is a bit too much for The Girl. Also, there are a TON of characters, and I for one, am having a hard time keeping everyone straight. All that to say, I do still LOVE the concept, and the over all message of the book is great.

I asked her tonight if she wanted to ditch the book and read a Junior Mystery I got for her instead. She said, "No, I love this book, Mom! Don't you? I mean, it's getting so good!"

Really?

I guess I need to pay closer attention.

Thankfully, she got me up to speed as to what was going on. You would think since I am the one reading the book, I should know what is going on...

3. She is loving gymnastics. She still isn't a stellar gymnast, but she is having fun. That's all that matters anyway. The school that she goes to is really great. I love that they work really hard on coordination and basic gross motor skill with an emphasis in gymnastics. Meaning that they don't just sit and work tricks all night long. They have obstacle courses they work through, and they get to work on things that increase their strength. The gymnastics is worked into those things, but isn't the whole objective. This works well for The Girl because it helps her to be successful through out the practice and she doesn't feel like she is horrible at gymnastics because she didn't learn how to do a certain trick.

The best part about gymnastics is that both kids go at the same time. They are still in their own classes, but this particular school has a classes for each child at the same time!

SCORE.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just The Facts

Once sister started school, The Little Man and I began to have some serious quality time together. Well, about as quality as you can get when you only have 3 hours and you still have to fit in a work out and a shower. Regardless, I am getting more one on one time with the little guy. It's like I finally am getting that time with him that I had with The Girl when she was first born, and it was just she and I. I could spend the day obsessing over every little detail about her. Now I get to do that with The Little Man except he isn't just a lump with no personality or verbal skills. No, he's got quite the little personality, and the kid will straight talk your ear off if you let him.

Here's a quick rundown of where he's at right now:

1. He loves Sesame Street, Backyardigans, Dora, Diego, and pretty much any T.V. show that is on Noggin. He has always loved T.V. from day one. Seriously, one of his very first words was Dora.

He really loves Sesame Street. He can hardly wait to find out what the "Letter of the Day" and the "Number of the Day" are. He will even run upstairs to tell me what they are when I am in the shower. He really likes to "assign the episode" to someone based off of what the letter or number is. For example, if the letter of the day is "K" then it's a Katelyn day (our cousin) because her name starts with a "K". If the number is 5 then it's The Girl's day because she is five. If he can't come up with a connection for the letter or number of the day right away he will ask me, "Momma, who's day is it?"

2. The Little Man really loves school. He loves it even more when he is assigned a job at school. It's usually the first thing he tells me. "Momma! I was the "Door Holder" today." He likes to go to school, but really doesn't talk about his teachers or classmates at all. In fact on his recent report card (yes, a report card for pres-school) it said that he really didn't have any specific friends, but rather would play with whom ever was next to him. So sweet, but kind of sad too.

3. This kid LOVES music. He can sing many songs, and not just kid songs either. He likes songs that he hears on the radio, and can find a beat instantly. He loves to dance and play air guitar. When we are driving in the car, he will often tell me to, "Turn up the music, Momma!" when I have turned it down so that we can all talk to one another. I love that he would rather sing out loud and play air guitar than chat about nothing with the rest of us.

He also loves to watch himself dance to the music. He often catches his reflection in either a mirror at a store or in a pane of glass, and will stay for a while and watch himself rock out. He also enjoys putting on a dance show for me. His favorite music for dance shows comes from his Backyardigans radio. Here he is in one of the very few videos I have of him with bottoms on...for some reason he also likes to dance without clothes on. I hope he grows out of that little habit...

His style of dance is very alternative, and will likely not land him too many prom dates.

I am fine with that.

4. The Little Man really loves to eat. He is a finicky eater, but loves the food he loves. I am in big trouble come the teen years. I can barely keep up with him right now. He is a chocolate hound, and lover of all things sweet. Recently, I have finally gotten him to eat a few bites of vegetables, and tonight he ate some potatoes without gagging. He isn't too daring when it comes to trying new things, but I know that it will come with time.

5. He loves his Baboo. He also loves his Baboo to be folded a certain way each time he goes to sleep. If it becomes unfolded, he will call for us to come and refold it for him.

I love nothing more than going into his room at 1:30 am and refolding Baboo.

6. He loves to dress himself. He is especially fond of putting on PJ's. Recently, when doing laundry, I realized that I had folded over 9 pairs of pajamas. It had only been six days since I had last done laundry.

7. He is the master of losing stuff. If you have something you never want to see again, give it to The Little Man. He'll lose it for you in about two minutes flat. He loses his sippy cup about 12 times a day. I could hand him his sippy as we are walking out the door, realize I forgot something in the kitchen, run back to get it, and when I return the cup will be gone.

I wish I was kidding.

It happens that fast.

He hasn't even left the room, and it has disappeared. We currently have a Diego sippy that has been MIA for over a month now. He lost it while in the toy room. I have turned that toy room upside down several times with no luck. Thankfully, it only had water in it.

8. Psalm 23:1 is his favorite verse right now. He says it over and over all day long. I am not sure why, but I guess it could be worse. There is no way you could get upset/annoyed with this, is there?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Hope To Make it Two

I interrupt this unintentional bloggy break to wish this Blawg 'o Mine a Happy Birthday. I can't believe I started this blog a year ago not even thinking I would make it a month before getting bored or too busy. Needless to say, it's actually been difficult for me to NOT blog this past year. I love having this running record of the last twelve months. There are already things written in this blog that I have completely forgotten about, and am so glad I wrote it down.

Which was the whole purpose of this blog in the first place.

That, and it helps me to see life in a much more fun and refreshing way.

Now I must return to whatever has kept me from blogging since TUESDAY! I can't believe it's been that long. I've been busy with all kinds of nothing. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of craziness like: book fairs, book fair treats, teaching art class at The Girl's school, our first Kindergarten conferences, gymnastics at a new gymnastics school, finishing up client sessions, Halloween (parties, pictures, and trick-or-treating), and movies. My, oh my, have we watched a TON of movies in the last 2 days including: Kung Fu Panda, Little Mermaid 1 and 3, Barbie as Rapunzel, Nim's Island, Made of Honor, and The Bucket List. Not to mention a bunch of TLC shows and a ton of Noggin.

My bottom actually hurts from sitting on it for the last 24 hours straight.

Probably not as much as The Girl's tummy which is what has caused us to have the movie/TV marathon in the first place.

My body will probably suffer from atrophy before we finish passing that yummy bug around to the rest of the house.

You've just gotta love Flu season.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

T Minus 4 Hours and 15 Minutes

It's almost here! Freedom from the political craziness that has taken over our lives in every direction we turn.

I am thankful we live in a country were we have a voice, and are not living under any type of political oppression. I have done my duty as a citizen of this country, and I have talked with my children about this important responsibility.

I am also thankful that my name is on the roster to receive a mail-in ballot. Permanently. I did not have to stand in line, or go through the LONGEST ballot in our state's history while standing in a voting boot. Instead, I sat in my kitchen and ate cookies as I read through our ballot guide book, and felt no pressure to "hurry and make up my mind, already", and if I felt like I needed to read over something again and again to fully understand what I was reading, I did. No. Big. Deal.

Now, I wait for the freedom from political ads, emails, and phone calls. We have even had people come to the door. One sweet little guy (seriously, he was 12) even asked who we voted for when we told him we had already voted.

I am so excited to sit through an episode of The Office and not be tormented by political garbage. I never thought I would feel so full of joy at the thought of watching commercials for liquid dish soap. Alas, that day has come.

After today we will have a new President, new people in the Senate and Congress, and amendments made to our state's constitution. There will be all kinds of news coverage of how it all went down as well as analysis on every breath taken. That will be quickly followed up with the inauguration and the inaugural address. Then...more analysis.

February never sounded so good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Are You Ever Too Old to do the "Potty Dance"?

I like to hit up Super T early in the morning if at all possible. There is ample up-front parking, no lines, and usually the shelves have just been freshly stocked. I can zoom in and zoom back out quickly, even if I do meander off course here and there.

This morning while shopping, I realized I had drank too much water and I needed to use the facilities. This isn't something I normally do.

I mean use public facilities, not the other.

So I tried to ignore the urge until I could get home. As I continued to walk along, there came a point in which I realized that the 20 ounce bottle of water was too much to hold onto, and there would be no more waiting. The Little Man and I made it quickly over to the public restrooms. At this point, I should mention, I think I was starting to realize that it may be possible that I was going to have an accident. I kept trying to distract myself with the thought of how clean the bathrooms should be seeing as though we had to be the first people of the day to use them.

The Little Man was giving some resistance to me. He wasn't moving quite as fast as I would have liked him to be, and I didn't want everyone around to see what a hurry I was in. It was starting to turn into quite the predicament as I felt my bladder muscles start to quiver under the pressure.

Finally, inside the restroom. I could just barely shuffle into the restroom and find a stall. Then I realized that I couldn't just leave The Little Man hanging out in the restroom while I was locked into a stall not watching him. I mean, HELLO we are in a public restroom, and he is a boy, and boys like to play. The thought of it all nearly gave me a heart attack. So I tell The Little Man, "Hey bud, come in here with me please. I need to be able to watch you."

He came back with a hefty, "No".

My bladder is about to burst, at this point I am literally sweating.

"Bud, don't argue with me, please come into the restroom with me NOW" I say, trying not to sound too desperate because I can't afford for him to realize he totally has the upper hand at this point.

"No."

"Yes, buddy. You have to come in here right now. You are not allowed to stay out here without a parent", I say as I pull on his arm and drag him into the stall.

As I drag him he whines the whole way, "Mommma! No, I don't have to go. I don't want to go in there with you!"

"Bud, will you hurry up and get in here. Mommy is going to have an accident if you don't help her out right now and get into this stall," I say as I finish pulling him into the stall. He continues to scream that he doesn't have to go, and he doesn't want to go into the potty room. Thankfully, I am stronger than he is so he doesn't have a choice in the matter. At this point I am past sweating, my bladder muscles are doing more than just trembling, and I am totally doing the "potty dance".

As a grown woman.

In a public restroom.

This is exactly how I envisioned myself, when I was a child, as an adult.

I quickly turn around and try to get my purse straps onto the hook thing on the inside of the door. Of course they are tangled, and I can't get them to hook right. Then I fiddle with the lock to make sure we stay nice and private. Trust me, when you are dancing the way I am at this point, you really don't want an audience.

As I turn around while working on my drawstring, I realize that I am going to need to beg from the bottom of my heart for my bladder to hold on for just a few more seconds. The Little Man must have decided that he DID need to go potty after all, and now he is all lined up.

I'm telling you, my bladder deserves an award today. You think it's hard to look at/think of running water when you have to go? Try helping someone actually go.
Sweating, people, I was sweating.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Highlights

This year Halloween was good to us. I don't remember a Halloween that had better weather.

Ever.

I felt like we could've scoured the neighborhood all night if we needed to, and never get uncomfortable. With the exception of our aching feet, of course. Besides the weather being down right gorgeous, the kids were the perfect age. They had so much fun it was just fun to watch.

This year, Hubby was home (as opposed to traveling for work), so he was determined to get in on the Trick-or-Treat action. He missed last year's neighborhood romp, and was still sad about that. It was the year The Little Man really figured out what Trick-or-Treating was all about, and was so giddy about getting candy from every house that he could barely get himself under control. He had to hear all about it via telephone call later that evening. I too did not want to miss out on the fun. I mean, how often are your kids going to be in the age range where Halloween is close to the best thing that has ever happened to them? Not many years. I want to soak each one of those years up.

Well, as long as the weather is as nice as it was last night.

If it is snowing/raining, I can soak that goodness up right from the comfort of my own home. Thankyouverymuch.

So, with the both of us Trick-or-Treating with the kids, that left our home unmanned for our own candy give away. We both thought of this slight detail as, well, just that, slight. We figured, even though we promised the kids we were going to go to every house in our little neighborhood portion of the subdivision, that we would be home in about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes TOPS.

As you can guess, considering the fact that our children are ages five and three, we spent much more time Trick-or-Treating than we had estimated. Which made the fact that I had spent a little over $20 on candy sting that much more when we only had about eight Trick-or-Treat-ers come by after our, almost all night, adventure.

So to say we have a lot of candy, when you combine hitting up the neighborhood along with $20 in candy of our own, is a GROSS understatement.

Hubby keeps mumbling that this slight detail is what might push him right over the edge into chubby-ville.

Oh ya, and don't forget that we had to weed through the kids candy for any and all candy made with peanuts or chocolate (did you know that pretty much all candy with chocolate in it is NOT peanut free?). That left them with about 40% of their loot. The other 60%, is in a bag in our pantry, and it is like money burning a hole in our pockets. So, the running mileage will have to increase starting tomorrow and continue through the holiday season.

Regardless of all the caloric intake going on in this house, we had a great time together as a family. Here are a few highlights of the night that I will remember from Halloween '08:

1. How cute the kids were in their costumes.

2. The Little Man telling us after every house that "Those people gave me candy!"

3. The Girl reading every little sign that people had used to decorate their homes with, and then taking them seriously. For example if someone had a sign in a flower bed that said "Turn Back Now!" she would look at me and say, "Uh-oh momma! That sign says we should go back! I wonder if we should, or if we should just ring the door bell anyways?

4. After going to a house where a real live person was sitting on a bench on the porch looking like a pretend scare crow proceeded to scare us by moving as we walked by, the kids thought it would be fun to do that to the person who answered the door at the next house. After they rang the door bell, they both froze in crazy poses, and then when the person came to the door and greeted them, they both jumped and said "BOO!" to the greeter. The person answering the door totally didn't get it, and the kids just laughed and laughed as though they had pulled off the biggest prank in the world. Hubby and I laughed to, but for different reasons.

5. The Little Man sang to us as we went from house to house. The song of choice? Tobymac, Kurt Franklin, and Mandeesa's "Lose My Soul". Hubby and I thought it was fitting.

And last, but certainly not least,
6. The Little Man going up to a house and instead of saying "Trick-or-Treat", he had already decided what he really wanted, and just flat out asked for it. He asked the homeowner if he could have some Nerds because those were his favorite candy. Surprisingly, they were giving Nerds away which only made things worse because then he said, "Well, I better get two boxes then because I just love them." I, unfortunately, had to show my face to the homeowner and retrieve my son from their porch when he tried to fill his bag with Nerds.

Good times.

Next year, Hubby says he will stay home and pass out candy. I told him it was too much fun going with him. We're working on a compromise, and eating Snickers bars, like they are going out of style, in the meantime.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Forget, They Also Sell All Those Cool Pencils and Erasers

It's book fair time at school. Do you remember the book fair? I sure do. I LOVED book fair time. I loved going around looking at all the different books there were to choose from. I loved pursing the pictures, and skimming through some of the chapters in books I could never get my hands on at our school library. I also loved making out my "Wish List" because they very often strategically planned the book fair right around the holidays.

Oh yea, and we usually got out of class to do all of this.

It was pure beauty.

The Girl came home very excited about the book fair. She has never been, and I know she too will love it as much as I did. I can hardly wait to see her "Wish List". It will be INCREDIBLY difficult for me not to purchase every book she writes down on that list, just out of sheer excitement.

She was talking to me this morning over breakfast about the book fair.

D: Momma, the book fair is at our school! I think today is the day we get to go and see it. I will get to see all the books that they brought!
me: Today? Really? I can't believe you get to go today! Do you get to write down all the books you want on a list?
D: Ya! They let you put down all the books you like, and then you will get them!
me: Well, actually it's called a "Wish List" that means it's full of the books you wish you could get. Kind of like a Christmas list. Just because they are on the list doesn't mean you will actually get the books.
D: Oh.
Pause while The Girl thinks.
D: Well mom, I heard there is this really really cute book there.
me: Really? A cute book?
D: Ya!
me: What is it about?
D: It's this really cute book about spiders.
me: Spiders?
D: Ya, and it's sooo cute! I really want it.
me: Why do you want to have a book about spiders?
D: I just love them. This book will tell me all the facts I need to know about them. Like what they eat, where they like to live, some of their names, and maybe even if they are poisonous.
me: Wow! That does sound like a cute book.
D: I know I want to get that one!

That's my girl. Loving non-fiction reading.

Getting all the "facts".

She's such a little Scientist.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If I Do Say So Myself

I think I might be a genius.

Seriously.

I am sure you all have figured out why I still am doing a lot of cleaning in the bathroom. It isn't because I think a meticulous bathroom is a necessity. No, it's because I don't have a choice in the matter. Someone in our home has a loaded weapon, and has yet mastered how to use it (see #4).

The other day, I saw a commercial that peaked my interest. It was for Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel. All you do is put this blob of gel stuff into the bowl of your toilet. Bingo, Bango, every time you flush, it cleans your toilet. The idea was that, since it disolves by itself after about a week of flushing, you would never have to remove one of those toilet bowl-cleaner-holder-thingys again. Especially after months of use.

Ewwww.

Again, I do not really feel like my bathroom needs to be immaculate at all times, but I had an idea. See, in the commercial they place the blob kind of high, under the rim, and a bit out of site. I thought, "What if I put this blob low, straight out in front, and in plain view?" My plan was to tell The Little Man it was a target, and like all targets, he must shoot it. Then when he flushes, my toilet gets a little refresher. I felt BRILLIANT!

Oh yea, sure, other, more experienced mothers, have probably already come up with something similar. Like, I have heard of the Cheerio method, and there are even flush-able targets made just for this very reason, BUT are they cleaning the toilet at the same time?

I think not.

I will say that the fragrance that they put in that gel is a bit strong. In fact, I have had to hold my breath in there a few times. However, it dramatically cut down the number of times I have had to clean the bathroom in a day from around six to about one to two times.

Of course, like all good things, the novelty of it has worn off a bit, but it is easy to remind him before he goes into the potty, to aim for the blue target.

And my toilets have fresh breath.

Also, the Cheerios in my home have maintained their dignity.

It's the small achievements each day like these, that keep me going.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Black is Back

I'm on a little early today, but we have Halloween fun to do tonight so I thought I would quick post what my little cuties are going to look like at their Fall Festival this evening.

My Girl. She is the cutest little crime fighter I ever did see:


Showing some Super Hero Strength:


Hearing a call for help:


And if you read yesterday's post, you know the difficulties I've had with getting The Little Man in pictures. Put the boy in a costume, and he's serious business...even if he is smiling that cheesy grin under the mask.


Much more serious, and bringing the whole "Darth Vader Presence" with him.


Hopefully we'll get more Trick-or-Treat type pictures as Halloween approaches.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just For Fun

I had out the studio equipment for another client yesterday, so after nap time was over, the kids let me have some fun.

The Girl loves this type of thing. She has outfits planned and hair do's to wear. She also liked the idea of having a fan (the blow dryer) on.



Showing a little 'tude:


Outfit and hair change:


Next up: The Little Man. The Little Man is at an awkward stage for getting his picture taken. He knows that he is supposed to smile, but doesn't know how to smile for the camera and not look cheesy. There are so many outtakes from his portion of the shoot, but here are a couple of cute ones:

Trying really hard not to laugh:


Full on giggle machine:

(Note the no eye contact in both images. Sister was being an "assistant" off to camera left.)

The ONLY one of the two of them together where someone doesn't have their eyes closed or a weird face. What can I say, it was a bad day for a sibling shot. This one is still pretty cute though. The Little Man looks like a deer in the headlights, but whatever.


You know what I love about these type of impromptu, just for fun shoots? I love that they AREN'T perfect. That's what pictures are about sometimes. Our lives aren't perfect. I don't want to look back at pictures of my kids and only remember perfect smiles and hair. I want to remember that time when The Little Man didn't know how to smile for the camera. I want to remember how much The Girl loved working the camera, and what her idea of a "great outfit" was. It's part of our lives, and I don't want to forget a single moment of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

He's at it Again

It was deceptively cold today. I mean it was deceptive in the sense that if you gazed out your window, you might think it was a gorgeous sunny day. However, unless your home is built like an ironclad, you should have heard the wind howling at about 100 miles per hour. That wind? well, it was a brisk 15 degrees.

We (who are JOYFULLY on Fall Break) did what we do best on these types of days: Never get out of our jammies. It was a Jammie day! We cooked muffins, made popcorn, watched large amounts of tube, and just hung out.

Part of hanging out for The Little Man and The Girl is playing dress up. The funny thing is, I don't think they think of it as dress up. No, instead I think they think they are getting into the clothes that they should be wearing each day. The clothes that were made for them.

True to his accessorizing nature, The Little Man put together quite the pirate ensemble:



Ummmm....is it just me, or is there something vital missing from this outfit?

Thank goodness we were in the comfort and privacy of our own home. He stayed dressed like this for hours.

That is until lunchtime when his bandanna belt became a headband:


That's what I like to see...versatility.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some Days are Longer Than Others

It was four years ago that I was pushing my daughter through uncharted territory in a shopping cart. We had gone to a Super Center that I was not familiar with to find a newly released movie on DVD that, if purchased at said Super Center, came with a free gift. Since I didn't know my way around the store very well, I wanted to keep The Girl entertained while I concentrated on finding the loot. My entertainment of choice happened to be Reese's Peanut Butter Bites.

She eyed them closely before popping one into her mouth. I just laughed because I knew she would just light up with enthusiasm for these yummy chocolate covered peanut butter treats. Instead of gleefully asking for another one, she stopped in the middle of chewing that first bite and started screaming. When I asked her what was wrong, she told me that she, "Hated this snack. It was so yucky." She was simultaneously spitting the treat out all over her shirt and into her hands, and then smearing it everywhere while she frantically tried to get it out of her mouth. Since she was a few months short of turning three, she was having a difficult time expressing to me that not only did she not like the flavor of these treats, but her mouth was actually on fire and swelling up. She was having an allergic reaction to the peanut butter, but couldn't tell me what was going on due to her age, and the fact that she had never experienced anything like it before.

I did what all good mothers do. I promptly took her out of the store without her movie because I thought she was being dramatic and wouldn't stop throwing a fit.

I feel like I will never live that down.

As her reaction progressed over the next 30 minutes, I even sent her to her room.

I was desperately seeking that coveted Mother of the Year Award.

Thankfully, I had some divine intervention and decided to call my mom, who is a nurse, to complain about my daughter's weird behavior. She quickly brought light to the situation, and helped me to realize what was really going on. After phone calls to doctors offices and emergency rooms she was, thankfully, OK.

Since that day, we have been living with the reality of our daughter having a food allergy. Not just a few hives or maybe an upset tummy afterward, but a food allergy that causes anaphylaxis. With that we have her tested every year to make sure that it isn't getting any worse.

Sometimes (very rarely) kids can grow out of food allergies, but peanut allergies are the least likely food allergy to outgrow. Only 10% of kids outgrow a peanut allergy. Last years test results indicated that maybe, just maybe, she may be outgrowing this allergy. Further testing earlier this year indicated otherwise. This year's testing, proved those tests right.

Today as we did our annual test, The Girl did not do so well. She was such a trooper while receiving the scratch with the peanut protein on it. Usually, this is the area of greatest difficulty. After the nurse left, she boasted about how well she did with the "shot". Quickly after that, she burst into tears. She exclaimed that she couldn't take the pain anymore. It was burning and itching and she was having a hard time handling it. I tried scratching her back to see if that would help (the test was done on her forearm). Then I gave her a piece of gum and told her to chomp down on it really hard when it was itching too much for her to think. That seemed to do the trick. Unfortunately, her reaction site exploded into a huge hive. The doctor didn't even have to come into the room to tell me what I could already plainly see. She had not grown out of her allergy, and in fact it looked as if it had gotten worse.

They got her all cleaned up, and put some soothing cream on the reaction site. We were to wait there until the doctor came back into the room with our paperwork and prescription. As we waited, The Girl called for me, "Momma, I think I am going to throw up all over the place!" I looked up from my magazine to see my girl as white as a sheet, lips white, and eyes totally glazed over. I grabbed a trash can for her. Then I opened the exam room door and called for some help. Thankfully, they responded quickly with some antihistamine and all was good.

Let me tell you, it scared me to death. This wasn't like the first time when I had no clue what was going on, and only in hindsight could understand the seriousness of it all. This time I knew exactly what was happening right then and there. She was having an allergic reaction that could have possibly been life threatening.

She looked so little and fragile. I still can't get the image out of my head. I realized as I sat there and waited for the medicine to fully take effect, that I needed to see this. This needed to happen. I don't think in the past year or so that I have been taking this condition as seriously as I needed to. I have been horribly unprepared for the worst, and the worst is something I can't even think about. I needed to be reminded that this food allergy is serious business. Her life is just that much more fragile.

As we loaded into the car to go home, my head continued to spin with the thoughts of what had just happened, and the "What If's", and the "What am I going to do's". Then, as I started the car, the radio was playing "Spoken For" by Mercy Me. The chorus in that song that always makes me feel so loved and so cozy. It goes: "Covered by your love divine, child of the risen Lord. To hear you say, 'This one's mine', my heart is spoken for."

This time I didn't think about myself. This time I heard those words spoken about my daughter. He was reminding me, that I need not worry. She is His. He has already spoken for her. He's got her in His sight, and he doesn't blink. He loves her even more than I do. He's got it covered.

Praise you God! Thank you for never taking your eyes off of your children, and loving them even more than we ever could.