Thursday, December 29, 2011

JESUS Is The Light Of The World

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When we started decorating and preparing for Christmas, we had no idea that God would have something different in mind. Three days before Christmas we were called out of town for a family emergency that landed a family member in the ICU.
Over the course of the next six days, it felt as though we'd been to war! I guess in sense, we had. Everyone that we asked stepped in and helped, beyond measure, to create a normal holiday experience for the boys while I tried to maintain some type of order and be supportive.
While things have improved greatly, we still have a long road ahead. The whole experience served as a reminder that JESUS is the reason for the season!

2011 has been a year of extremes: extreme highs and extreme lows! As the saying goes, "All that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"! We're STRONG and looking forward to 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet Treats


Here's my all time favorite holiday treat: Peppermint Bark! I started making it with the boys, a few years ago, to send their great-grandmother. She'd never had it before, but she loved it. One year she even requested it in the spring. It's virtually impossible to find candy canes in March, so I learned to stock up on a few boxes after Christmas.

Well, every year we make a bigger batch and this year was no exception. With only four days 'til Christmas it dawned on me that we hadn't gotten a gift for our piano teacher or neighbors. I do not break the bank for last minute gifts (it can be so easy to do during this season)! I stopped by the store and got the ingredients: 2 bags of white chocolate chips and 1 box of candy canes. In 30 minutes I had 3 bags of goodies to share.

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Directions: Unwrap candy canes, place them all in a large plastic zip top bag and crush them into small pieces. Melt the chocolate chips in a glass microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds at a time, stirring frequently until smooth. Spread the chocolate evenly onto a sheet of foil (approx 9x13). I use a silicone spatula. Spread the crushed peppermint over chocolate. Lightly press the candy into the softened chocolate. Let set until hardened (about 15 minutes. Break into small pieces.

I packaged the bark in a sandwich sized zip top bag and used scrapbook paper along with a printed message to make a label. Three gifts for $6! You can't beat that!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

At It Again


I've said it time and time again….crafting keeps me sane! I must have an outlet for the craziness that is swirling around. So, in the middle of the holiday hubbub I volunteered to make a character cake for my little cousin's birthday. He turned four and is Spiderman's number one fan! It's been a LONG time since I did one of these, but I don't think it turned out too bad. He loved it!

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Of course I also had to come up with Christmas gifts for the teachers, so I found these cute (and very easy) Post-it holders on Pinterest.
Every time I finish one project, I come up with a dozen more. Nothing is more exhilarating for me than going into a craft store and buying supplies for crafting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Some days are like that, even in Australia!

What a helluva week! Wowzers!

I've been on an emotional roller coaster this week. I don't like roller coasters!
I'm stuck in a place I'd rather not be. I don't like being stuck!

Let me recap:
Monday: Errand day
Tuesday: Regular day + afternoon dentist appointment+ 1 hour of Zumba
Wednesday: retail therapy +afternoon piano lessons + extra late night for the hubster
Thursday: mid-day conference at school+afternoon altercation at school
Friday: Doctor appointment+Christmas shopping
Of course there's the usual 1-2 hours of nightly homework, cooking dinner (this week's menu: burgers, braised short ribs w/rice, Chicken pot pies) and prepping for the next day.
If that's not enough, two nights this week Baby A's sleep schedule regressed to that of a two week old.

Let's all say it together now……"Some days are just like that, even in Australia!"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

House Party

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Friday night we hosted a gingerbread decorating party for a few friends. It was a blast!
A few days after Christmas I always go to the local party store and buy decorating kits for a few dollars (rather than the $12 regular price). The kits come with candy and I add to it Halloween leftovers and $1 candies like peppermint, licorice, and Smarties. This year I didn't have enough Frosted Mini Wheats (great for rooftops), so I bought a much cheaper alternative: wafer cookies. The night before the party I assembled the houses on their bases using hot glue to avoid having to worry about structural support. I sorted the candy and laid it all out in dishes, assembly line style.
The kids had such fun creating their masterpieces and tasting the building materials. We decorate houses every year and display them with our other Christmas decorations. I'm so glad we invited friends over. It looks like I may have started another tradition.


Let me start by saying that I still don't like technology, but....

I am SO glad we finally got a new PC and it's up and running. When I first logged on and did some web browsing an error message popped up. I called the hubby in and from the look on his face, let's just say I'd better overlook all future computer errors! He's had enough of my of my techno-griping. Anywho.

We He scored a great deal on an all in one desktop and I love it! Even the keyboard has a better feel. Now I'm motivated to decorate and organize our office. I've already found a desk at a local consignment shop that I'm waiting a few more days to buy (waiting for its final price reduction.

Maybe I'll even do better with my daily postings. Okay let me be realistic, that probably won't happen. For the time being I'll settle on getting my address list updated and mailing labels printed. I have a stack of Christmas cards waiting to be addressed and I'm so thankful to NOT have to hand print them in calligraphy. My calligraphy skills are a little rusty.

Better get to it!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spike, the Christmas Elf


Last week we were gifted (by the neighbors) with yet another tradition...Elf on the Shelf. I deliberately waited to open it, because my plate is full right now. Today the boys opened their package and read his story.
For the next month this little guy will travel back and forth to the North Pole nightly to report the boys' behavior and special requests to Santa. He returns before the day begins and rests in a new hiding spot in our home until it's nighttime again. Bright-eyed JB was thrilled and captivated by the magic of it all. MC on the other hand thought it was creepy and insisted we name the elf Freaky Jack, "because he's just freaky!". We settled on Spike, but MC doesn't want me to put him on the shelf just yet. Maybe I won't be stuck with have another tradition after all.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just for Kicks

As if I don't have ENOUGH projects! I added another quick one to the list: reupholstering the piano bench. I went to Hobby Lobby last night, just to get out of the house (HA!) and scored fabric regularly priced $45/yard for only $7/yd. Thankfully it was a small project. I bought 1 yard, though I could have gotten by with 1/2. I figured I'd splurge with the ginormous discount. Just when I thought I had an extra few minutes to knock it out, Baby A woke up and demanded my full attention. About 40 minutes later I finally finished and was pretty pleased with the results.
See for yourself... 
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blog Interrupted

Twenty consecutive days of blog postings….interrupted!
On Monday night, Nov. 21st, we had a power outage that lasted two hours. It was downhill after that. I spent all day Tuesday at the hair salon, followed by a trip to Central Market to pick up a few last minute Thanksgiving ingredients. Guests began arriving on Wednesday and that brings us to today….Turkey Day!

It doesn't seem like it should already be Thanksgiving. Where did the year go? Last night I baked a few desserts and chopped the "Southern Trinity" (bell pepper, celery, and onion). I woke up early this morning (as usual) with my game plan. Take the yeast roll dough out of the fridge; prep all veggies; assemble dressing. The next few hours is a circus of sorts: calculating cook times and juggling side dishes to to avoid having to reheat it all before dinner is served. Traditionally, we serve dinner at 1:00. This year was no different, but a little more difficult. After pressing through a brief moment of frustration, I acknowledged that I should push back dinner time to give myself more flexibility. I don't know why it took so long for that "revelation".

We've had a great time eating, laughing and eating some more. Although my helpers are staying a few extra nights, I will resist the urge to put up Christmas trees tonight like I've done in the past. There's plenty of time for that! For now I think I'll have another slice of apple pie ala mode with rum butter sauce.

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Countdown Begins


I'm somehow managing to plow through my to-do list and that's a great feeling. It's going to be a great week! I can feel it!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Household Happenings

I'm trying to stick to the NaBloPo challenge I really am! It has definitely taught me that I'm not a fast writer. As with every thing else, it takes me forever to finish. I've gotta stop over analyzing everything! So, even though I may not officially post something everyday, it's out there in cyberspace waiting to be edited.

Here's what we've been up to:

The boys finished the 2nd Six Weeks of school.
Baby A got her first round of shots (she did surprisingly well).
We've been cleaning and pulling out Christmas decorations.
I've started choosing decor and color swatches for the boys' rooms.
We had a surprise house guest.
The boys performed in their fall piano recital. One of them realized they should take my advice during nightly practice.
I've taken Christmas pictures and ordered cards.
Baby A took her first road trip and did great!

Toss in a bunch of homework, household chores, a nursing baby and hyper terrier. What do you get? 1tiredmommy
Time to suck it up and keep moving. We've got a busy week ahead!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Surpise

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Last night I made a recipe pinned on Pinterest. I recently discovered Pioneer Woman and I can't believe what I've been missing!
My favorite thing about Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta was the basil. I am in love with basil. I use it on pizza, in sauces, on pasta, for homemade pesto, in salads, on panini…..
For years I've been growing it along with other herbs in a pot. . Planting is much more cost effective than buying it in the store; and I have to admit, stepping outside to clip it for recipes makes me feel a bit like Martha Stewart. This year I decided to plant it in the ground.
I brought my old herb pot to the new house and set it outside near the herb garden until I found a use for it. The plants were dead, but it was still full of soil. A few weeks later, I noticed herbs sprouting again in the pot. Now, I've taken enough science classes to know how it all works, but because I have a "black thumb", I'm conditioned to trash plants when they die and just buy more. The fact that I don't generally read directions sealed the deal.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that basil is self-seeding and will continue to grow, if the conditions are right. Now I'll have all the sweet basil my heart desires. Yum!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice

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This week I started working on Christmas decorations. Since we moved we decided to change up our decorations to fit the house. Though different, the plan for this year is pretty simple to avoid going overboard and having a tacky mess! We're sticking with lights trimming the house and flowerbeds, wreaths hanging from each window and a large one on the front door. I still need to decide what to do at the front entrance. I have a few days. The plan is to have it all up next weekend.
I pinned a really cute wreath on Pinterest and decided to do my take on it. I'm still playing around with ornaments and picks, but I'm loving the repurposed golden R and chartreuse (this year's accent color) ribbon. The other outdoor wreaths will also be repurposed.
While the vinyl saying is not technically for Christmas, I've been meaning to hang it for a while and I'm always happy to check a few things off the to do list. A few years ago I discovered how practical vinyl art is, especially text, because it covers a large area and is much cheaper than paintings or a canvas print. LIttle did I know how difficult it would be to hang all of these individual letters on a curved, textured wall, but I did it. I think know it's a bit crooked (by about an inch), but I resisted the urge to take it down and do it again. I'm going to try NOT to let it drive me bananas.
Crafting keeps me sane, so right now I'm feeling pretty good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tiger Mom Has Returned

It took a while for me to get back in the groove, but it finally happened. All year long, the boys have been joining neighbors for daily play dates, watching t.v., know "kid things". Well, grades aren't up to par and classroom instruction leaves a lot to be desired. This week we resumed our old schedule which means the boys spend most of the afternoon doing homework, enrichment exercises and reading. It's painfully boring, but I know it will pay off!

Other than that, It's business as usual (the week before Thanksgiving). I have a million irons in the fire and even more projects in the works.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas tubs have been pulled. Stockings and Christmas pajamas are being embroidered. (Some) Presents are hidden. Christmas cards have been ordered. As soon as the last bites of turkey and dressing have been devoured it will be time to get busy! Although I'm working on wreaths and getting organized, I have a thing against decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Something just feels weird about that. So, as usual, we'll be in a mad dash to get everything done.

This Christmas, we'll:

Visit the children's theater
Go to the Christmas tree farm
Decorate gingerbread houses with friends
Make a new set of Christmas ornaments
Bake goodies for neighbors
Go ice skating (if we can figure out logistics with Baby A)
Set up a piano bar--Both boys now play the piano and I've finally convinced them they could make some cash by playing Christmas music while family visits during the holidays.

'Tis the season!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Must Be Santa

With Christmas just around the corner the boys have started their usual "Is Santa real?" line of questioning.

Last year, I overheard JB saying, "There's got to be a Santa because Mom and Dad would NEVER buy all this stuff!". MC doubted Santa's ability to get around the world in one night. At first I just laughed it off, but deep down inside I was a bit saddened by prospect of them losing that little bit of innocence.

At their ages, their friends were talking about their different theories. So much so, the teachers banned talk of Santa. So, when JB began to doubt (and wouldn't let it go) I responded: "What do you think? Well, if you don't believe in him he won't bring you anything." Pretty savvy answer, huh?

Fast forward to tonight...

JB "Okay, Mom, tell Santa real? We're old enough for you to tell us the truth!"
MB "There couldn't be a Santa. There's no such thing as flying reindeer. He'd have to drive a car."

I held back the giggles and stood firm to my previous explanation. Finally, JB conceded, "Well...I believe, but..."

I'll have to admit I was a little relieved. Maybe that will buy us another year!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The End Justifies the Means

I've never been fond of the process. As a child, I notoriously quit various activities because I felt tortured during the learning process. I remember quitting tap lessons because I didn't want to just "tap, tap, tap". I wanted to instantly be as good as Gregory Hines (after seeing him on Sesame Street). This pattern continued through adulthood and is probably one of the traits that I'm least proud of. Even things that I consider myself to be passionate about require me to endure the painful and dreadful process. My trouble with the process is even evident in my obsession with countdowns.

Cake decorating, for example, is usually painful until I am taking pictures of the finished product. I'm not sure whether this is a perfectionism issue or something else, but it's my own personal struggle. Because I've already quit everything that is "quittable". All that's left is the "nitty grit", as my mother would say.

At this stage in my life I'm hoping to learn a lesson from the process. Then I'll know for sure that the end justifies the means.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


My guys LOVE football. Honestly they love all sports, but football holds a special place in their hearts. They are such diehard fans they'll watch classic games, a concept that's unimaginable to me. Watching a current game is bad enough. Why would someone watch an old one?
I loathe sports! I'm not competitive and don't really like playing games. I never played a sport and only attended games that my hubby played in when we were dating in high school. There are too many rules and it's hard to follow the ball. Fans see athletic prowess. I see a bunch of guys in tights, running around falling on each other. I have literally fallen asleep standing up at a football game.
As the boys get older and more interested, I find myself asking more questions about the game. I don't really care enough to remember the answers, but that doesn't stop me. From the look on my hubby's face he'd much rather I take time during the off-season to learn the rules. Who knows, maybe I'll get a Football for Dummies book. Probably not! As Mama (Kathy Bates) in Waterboy would say, "Foosball is the Devil!".

Friday, November 11, 2011


I am NOT a morning person and that makes mornings pretty painful. Before Baby A, I did the whole morning routine. Well, since she joined us the hubby has taken over mornings. At first things were going pretty well, but gradually they've gotten kind of hairy. We have two totally different approaches. I'm like a drill sergeant and he's more like a cougar. I'm very direct and upfront about what needs to be done and when. I don't think I'm mean, but I know that kids will run amok without clear instruction and I can't handle chaos. My hubby has a softer approach until crossed. It's almost like he lies in wait and then pounces.

In a perfect world everyone eats their breakfast, everyone can find their jacket, no one complains about their lunch, folders and backpacks are ready to go and library books are not left behind. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. I'd love to say that I always keep my cool. Unfortunately, I don't. Nevertheless, we keep trucking in hopes that one day all of our ducks are in a row. Believe!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Times Have Changed

Tonight JB has his fourth grade musical program and for the first time I found myself contemplating whether or not I should take my camera. My, how times have changed...
From day one, every detail of JB's life was documented. Though I didn't have a digital camera, I took a tons of pictures of him. For special occasions we had them done professionally. As first timers, we were duped into believing we needed a katrillion photos of our kid in weird poses with weird, artificial props. To this day we still find leftover pictures from those expensive photo sessions.

When MC came along, I soon realized how much easier it was to have one child looking at the camera, smiling with their eyes open and no crazy wardrobe malfunctions. With two kids...forget about it! Because MC slept the first nine months of life, our initial pictures looked more like JB posing with a deceased baby or a male baby doll. Eventually he woke up and we got a lot of really nice shots.

One year I was determined to have them take their Easter pictures with a live bunny. We searched for a studio with bunnies, scheduled the appointment, dressed, and the boys were terrified! Thankfully there wasn't any excrement, or excitement for that matter, because I wasn't prepared for rabbit pee or poo on their Eaton Easter suits. Needless to say they still don't have a picture with live bunny rabbits.

Eventually I decided it would be more cost effective to upgrade my camera and take their pictures myself. When you find yourself taking props, particularly your child's drum set, to the studio it's time to DIY!

Here were are with Baby A. I've already taken a million photos of her! Sadly they're among the 2,500 images I have on my digital camera. The problem with digital photography is, well...bringing the pictures to life. I'm so far behind with scrapbooking I should probably add that to my to do list. Times have really changed! Hopefully my younger two have enough memories in their memory albums to reminisce when they get older! If not, they can always ask JB to fill them in on the details. Oh, the burden of being the firstborn.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PC Woes

Although I have neurotic tendencies and am a pretty Type A person, I can't say that I have anxiety issues. That is until I'm forced to work with technology. It's hard to understand and even harder to explain. Let me be clear, I have basic computer skills and can use many different programs. Since learning to type, in middle school, I've always been able to type upwards of 60 words per minute (thanks in part to my extremely long fingers). Nevertheless, I have a severe reluctance to become a tech whiz.

I guess the first mental block has to do with personal preference. I'd prefer to write with a pen. Secondly, I tend to get comfortable doing things a certain way and resist unnecessary change. "If it ain't broke don't fix it!". I'm huge on systems and routines. Once I get in the routine of doing something a certain way, I stick with it unless I feel that it's no longer working even if it's not popular or trendy. Basically, if I'm the last person on the planet doing it I don't care as long as it's working for me. I guess that may sound a bit narcissistic, too, huh? Anyway…

Our desktop PC has been on the fritz for a while. The hubby has practically rebuilt it a dozen times and it still has boogers. Unfortunately for me, this time of year is the WORST to be without the computer. In addition to the boys' weekly homework, I use it often to upload pictures for sharing, blogging and ordering online.
With our desktop out of commission, we've had to use the Mac. I haven't used a Mac since college. I can type and do a few things online, but that's about it. I've had to learn how to open documents and attachments. Locating files and pictures is like going on a scavenger hunt.

Attaching the external hard drive, the weird mouse pad, all of the extra steps to complete each function.....I just don't like it! We were both in denial, but it looks like we're getting a new desktop for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Upcoming Projects

Since we started packing to move two years ago, so many things have been on the back burner. I'm so conformed to systems and procedures, I just couldn't imagine starting a project or updating scrapbooks and having to stop. I couldn't figure out the logistics, so I held off on starting ANYTHING. Any projects or ideas were "for the new house" and filed away.
Now that we've moved and gotten settled in, there are a ton of things I want to do, but Baby A is quite time consuming (in a good way)! Just doing laundry and caring for her takes the majority of my day. And of course nothing kills the creativity bug like sleep deprivation! Nevertheless, I'm determined to get some work done! I really want to go junking soon for inspiration. Until then, here's my project list:

Hang a vinyl wall saying
Decorate the game room
Make a menu board for the kitchen
Make a Christmas wreath
Decorate our master bathroom
Replace laundry room flooring with concrete stained floors (hired job, I'm not THAT ambitious!)
Update scrapbooks
Organize digital photos
Hang the boys' school artDecorate the boys' rooms themes: music, action figures/superheroes
Make a wine barrel lazy susan

Now that soccer season is over I may be able to tackle a few things on the list before holiday guests arrive.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Through the Storm

As I sit here typing and listening to the rain hit the skylight, I can't help but think of how fleeting storms are. No matter how destructive, they always pass. At the time, mere moments may seem like an eternity. But when the skies clear, the view is always crisp and crystal clear. In life, though rarely welcomed, difficult times are inevitable. No matter how bad things seem, they always get better. Nothing lasts forever; all things end. That truth is reason enough to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.
When I think of all the times I thought things couldn't get any worse, sometimes they did--but, they always got better (eventually)! In every situation my time and energy was redeemed. Every storm was deliberate and purposeful.
The bonus comes from taking a moment to reflect and learn a lesson. There's always a lesson! Besides, what's the point of having a clear perspective and not seeing anything?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Road Trip

This weekend we took a quick road trip. There was no Starbucks and no internet connection. I discovered packing with a newborn is much lighter the third time around. I learned a lesson in taking things in stride. I'm pretty sure I'll need a few remedial sessions on that topic!

The boys had a blast playing with cousins that they rarely get to see--old-fashioned, crawling on the floor, running laps around the house, playing. I resisted saying "no" to every request. They drank more gatorade than milk. They stayed up late and had a sleepover. They were in heaven!

Baby A did surprisingly well! She was doted on, passed around and cuddled the entire visit! She slept soundly and cooed loudly.

It reminded me of my childhood days in the country, when things were slower paced.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Exposure is HUGE! Not to the point of being over-committed or for the sake of being pretentious, but to establish a broad perspective. If you're only familiar with what's inside your box, that's all you'll feel comfortable with. That's all you'll strive to have. As a child, I was exposed to a variety of experiences and always made to feel that nothing was beyond reach. For eight years, I played the violin. I tasted caviar for the first time at a recital reception. When we took annual vacations, we visited as many historical landmarks as "fun"attractions. Of course, there are tons of things that I haven't done and places that I haven't been, but I'm thankful for exposure. Those experiences, in part, shaped my decision to become a stay at home mom: Nothing is beyond reach.

I try very hard to create the same type of experiences for my children. It's important for them to know how to conduct themselves and order from the menu in an upscale restaurant. At 9 and 7, they know the protocol for traveling on an airplane. When I overheard them say that only rich people rode in limousines, I had the hubby arrange to have one transport us from the airport to hotel on our next vacation. They were dumbfounded! We then explained that you don't have to be rich, you just call a car service. For the same cost of a cab ride, the boys were exposed to something new.

My hope is that providing them with a variety of experiences will help them become capable, confident and ambitious young men. The sky is the limit!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Write Because...

Well, it's Day 4 of the month long blogging challenge and I really haven't written anything insightful. I figured I should go a little deeper.
What's the whole point, anyway? Why do I bother writing?
I write to clear my head. It's that simple. At any given moment there are a billion thoughts going on in my head. I'm always planning, preparing, organizing and micromanaging family and personal business! I even keep a notepad and pen bedside because, depending on the season, I often do it my sleep.
As a child I was always with pencil and notepad in hand. I even have pictures to prove it. Over the years my writing has become more reflective and introspective. I journal for myself and each of my kids in addition to blogging. Though I prefer pencil over the keypad, just being able to document events and emotions is a special way to track maturity and state of mind throughout different life stages. When I look back on previous posts and journal entries, sometimes I'm amazed at the personal growth or accomplishments. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by the sentiments expressed. But I'm always glad that I took the time to document, because without that so many details like kids pronunciations of words and funny antics would be forgotten. Besides, self reflection is a whole lot cheaper than therapy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things I Hate!

I was shoe shopping for the kiddos when I saw the first offender. After a few seconds, I had a whole list of things that drive me nuts. I'm sure there are more, but these are my top 10:

1. Kids' shoes that light up
2. Lame' and Peau de Soie fabrics
3. Smelly things
4. When people chew with their mouths open
5. Burnt (charred) food
6. Pine scented candles
7. Shoes with dirty heels
8. Waking up to a buzzing alarm clock
9. 3-D movies
10. Dirty bath towels

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Most Eventful Time of the Year

I cannot believe it's already November! We've had a very eventful year and the most eventful time is yet to come. With Thanksgiving right around the corner I've written the menu:

Smoked Turkey
Cornbread Dressing
Wild Rice and Sausage Dressing
Roasted Root Vegetables
Yeast Rolls
Cinnamon Cream Cake
Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato Pie

As usual the hubby will smoke the turkeys and I'll do the sides and dessert. JB makes the homemade rolls and MC makes the cranberry sauce.
I've also written a menu for the week to accommodate out of town guests. I'm scaling back because I'll need to be able to deal with Baby A.
This time of year brings many traditions, so I'll need to be sure to take my vitamins and get out the list pad. Cookie decorating, gift exchanges, holiday outings, making gingerbread houses… all with a baby in tow. Not to mention that I still haven't bought the first Christmas present! I'm definitely operating in grace, because otherwise I'd be in a manic state.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Time and time again I've set the goal of blogging more frequently, to no avail. BlogHer is hosting National Blog Posting Month and I've decided to take the plunge and officially challenge myself to write every day. So here goes…

NaBloPoMo 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Someone slept a very long time this afternoon and it wasn't me! My cookie decorating skills are a little rusty, but the whole process was theraputic. I'll definitely do it more often...practice makes perfect, right?
I'll also definitely need to share the finished product otherwise I'll never lose this "baby fat"!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Tricks and Treats: Another Tradition

Two days after we moved into our home the doorbell rang. It was a neighbor, that lived two doors down the street, coming over with her twin boys to introduce themselves. That should have been a sign. Every day for the next week a different neighbor came by at various times of day introducing themselves and bearing baked goods-coconut cake, cookies, you name it; they brought it.
Coincidentally JB ended up in the class with one of the twins, which means every day our doorbell rings, followed by a request for the boys to come over and play. Fast forward to this week. I'm doing the usual afternoon routine: homework, dinner prep., breastfeeding, blah…blah…blah… and the doorbell rings. I go to answer and no one is there. Instead I find:

a box of goodies with a set of instructions. I've been visited by the Halloween Hob Goblin. I'm supposed to copy this sheet, buy three more boxes/bags of treats and surprise other neighbors. Then I have to post a copy of the sheet on my door so "he" doesn't visit again. Okay, I regroup and add yet another thing to my To Do LIst. The next day, what do ya know? I get Boo-ed! Essentially it's the same thing, but the instructions are a little different.

I'm all for traditions and holiday fun, but really? I have about a billion other, more important things to do on my To Do List. My holiday MegaList is three pages long and I'm still working on it. Normally I've already bought Christmas presents, but this year I haven't even started.

If my boys weren't here to witness the new tradition, I would have thrown it all in the trash and plead the fifth. However, I decided to be a good sport. I guess we'll be ringing a few doorbells tonight. Gotta love neighborly neighbors and the suburbs!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I have rediscovered my LOVE for potatoes! There are so many different ways to prepare this super tuber!

I love to quarter red potatoes, add a few cloves of crushed garlic, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, a few glugs of olive oil and roast them on a baking sheet or cast iron skillet.

Hash browns (skillet potatoes) are a family breakfast favorite. Diced potatoes and onions (heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika), browned, then covered and steamed over low heat until fork tender.

Extra large baking potatoes, baked in the oven on 400 degrees for an 1 1/2 hours.

….with cheese, thinly sliced oven fries (again with rosemary and olive oil), oven fried wedges (with skin), twice baked, potato skins…..

I've gotten carried away!

My favorite way to make potatoes these days is mashed. Maybe the cooler weather makes them irresistible, I don't know. I even prepare them differently depending on the entree. Chicken fried steak needs a hearty smashed version to hold up to the cream gravy. Sausage and grapes needs a thinner recipe because the entree is light and thinned potates go perfectly with the grape and wine reduction.

My favorite recipe:
Cube 4-5 potatoes and boil until fork tender. Drain off all water. Transfer to a heat safe bowl. Salt heavily. Add 3-4 tablespoons of butter (not margarine) and 1/4-1/2 cup of milk. Whip with a handheld mixer, adding more milk to get the desired consistency. Top with another pat of butter and garnish with parsley.


The L Word

The laundry is overtaking me! I'm sure there's a comic strip or cartoon out there that shows a pile of laundry with arms. Well that's how I feel these days. How can little people make such big piles of laundry? For starters…MC has a very bad habit of changing clothes 3-4 times a day, for no reason other than comfort or a "change of heart". Socks…I don't even bother matching them up anymore. We just have a sock basket.
Not only are the piles mounting despite my attempts to stay on top of them, I never manage to have clean clothes. How annoying to wash 10 loads of laundry and not have a single pair of clean yoga pants! (Never mind the fact that I have no intention of actually doing yoga.) Having a new baby just adds to the load. All the burp cloths, washcloths, receiving blankets…yikes!
I was excited to get a high efficiency washer and dryer last year. If only they came with a laundry fairy. Since they didn't I'd better get started on THE LAUNDRY. This afternoon we'll have what I call a BYOB party. That second 'B' stands for basket and I'm sure to get lots of boos!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Latest on Coco


Is this not the cutest puppy face you've ever seen? Coco is now a year old and Full of herself. She's still trying to figure out the little screaming person in our home, taking all of my attention. When I use my high pitched baby voice to talk to Baby A, Coco comes running. She even snaps and tosses her head side to side as if to will me to pet her.

Well today, all cuteness went by the wayside when Coco, being an opportunistic terrier, noticed the gate was left open and bolted through the neighborhood. The boys were out with her, but had stepped inside to get something. When they returned to call her in she didn't respond. When she didn't return for the sound of the snack bag rattling, I knew she was gone. I immediately went to the front sidewalk to call and shake the treat bag. I didn't see her, but I noticed two teenagers a few houses down. They were looking between two houses and patting their legs as if calling a pet. Just as I headed in that direction Coco bolted out like a bull out of the bucking chute. The more I called and followed, the more she ran. She was in a wild and crazed state darting from yard to yard, stopping just shy of the street. Finally the teens caught her by the collar, she was eager to "play" with them instead of responding to me. They held on to her until I got down there. When I got down the street Coco immediately dropped down, rolled on her back and cocked up her hind leg in a plea to avoid getting punished. I just scooped her up and handed her to my hubby, who met me down the street. Coco and her shenanigans…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Tradition

As far as I'm concerned fall is synonymous with pumpkins. We use and see so many pumpkins between October and Thanksgiving, I should wake up on Black Friday with a hangover. I decorate with them, paint them, cook with them, take pictures with them...the list goes on and on.

The first time I carved a pumpkin was for my preschool class. In the olden days, I sketched out the design and using a few kitchen knives and spoons I carved while bright-eyed 3 and 4 year olds watched in amazement. I've continued the tradition with my own kids. Every year at the end of October, we always carve pumpkins to display for Halloween. Last year I discovered carving kits complete with templates and a set of tools easy enough for small hands to use. The boys had so much fun choosing their own designs and carving their jack-o-lanterns I decided to use the kits again. We've had a very eventful past few months, so needless to say I wasn't exactly eager to carve pumpkins, but sucked it up for the sake of tradition.

First things first, I sent my hubby to buy the pumpkins. Side note: His only instructions were to pick two that were not blemished or rotting-extremely vague instructions for someone who doesn't carve pumpkins. For days, I'd walk past them and think about it, but I KNEW I'd have to get my mind right first. I finally took the plunge Thursday night, knowing I'd need extra hands to attend to baby girl while I was knee deep in pulp and pumpkin seeds. The boys finished all most of their homework and I set up our supplies while they were in the tub.

I opted to cut a hole from the bottom to make it easier to put the candle in later. Despite their eagerness to finish, they were (as usual) totally grossed out by the first step: pulp and seed removal. After a shoddy job of cleaning the insides, I got them started by tracing the templates and cutting the curviest areas.
JB chose a "Skelvis" design, which was a skeleton with Elvis' features. As we worked we talked about Elvis. He asked a few questions. I answered what I knew. Then he asked if I'd ever been to an Elvis concert. He asked about his death and based on his response, 'A lot of famous people had a heart attack. That's what they said about Michael Jackson. He had a heart attack.', wasn't satisfied with my "heart attack" explanation. I considered using that as a teachable moment to reiterate the danger of drugs, but I glanced at the clock and saw it was 30 minutes past bedtime and decided that could wait for another time.

I corrected a few "uh ohs" with toothpicks and my paring knife. Just as I was declaring what a BAD idea it was to start such a project on a school night, we finished. I rolled everything (tools included) up into the makeshift tarp of trash bags and cleaned up while shooing the boys off to bed. As they were climbing into their beds, they criticized their "horrible jobs" until I turned out the lights and placed a candle inside each jack-o-lantern. Just like a page from the movies, they smiled with pride and gave me a big hug before going to sleep. Those moments remind me why I carry on many of our traditions even when I don't really feel like it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Third Time's A Charm

Today my baby boy is taking his first field trip without me or his dad tagging along. He was super excited which is more that I can say for myself. Since I found out my hubby wasn't "selected" to be a chaperone, I've imagined all of the things that could go wrong while he's gone. I was convinced that he should just miss the class trip and we'd plan to go as a family (something we've done a few other times). Then it dawned on me, my feelings about the field trip were just like MC's feelings about sleeping alone in his new room. Every night for weeks he was terrified to sleep alone. We put a makeshift lock on his closet, because he was afraid a bad guy would come out while he was sleeping. We put night lights in all of his outlets. We even had his brother sleep in the adjoining bunk until he was asleep, before returning to his own room. Finally, I had enough. I insisted that he go cold turkey. He was still very apprehensive, but eventually he was okay. Today I'm going cold turkey. As I type, he's boarding the big yellow bus and headed off for an adventure. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Just as I anticipated, Baby A has changed my perspective. As a new mom, I quickly changed JB's clothes when he spit up. I walked him when he was cranky, rocked him to sleep. I carried a fully stocked duffle diaper bag every time we left the house. This time around, we wipe away spit up and definitely don't change clothes each time. Crankiness is entertained by the swing, as long as she's fed and clean. She's even learned to go to sleep without help. My revelations may seem like "no brainers", but it took me three times to lower my expectations and standards. I still get frustrated and overwhelmed at times, but when I look at my big boys I recognize the phases and stages that we've already been through. I survived that; surely I'll have the same grace for what's to come.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dinner Time Saver

While 7 months pregnant and preparing to move, I came up with the great idea to make freezer meals. I'd heard of the concept before, but never actually did it. The plan was to make just enough to be helpful when Baby A came and I was up to my neck in getting the new house set up, adjusting to the big boys' school routine and sports schedules. As if that weren't challenging enough, my recipe choices were limited. Obviously it had to be something that would freeze well, which means no potatoes or (cooked) ground beef dishes. I was also limited by crew's food preferences. After much consideration, I chose my recipes: lasagna, bar-b-qued beef brisket, chicken spaghetti, beef stew and chicken enchiladas. I opted to make a double batch of each. I bought my ingredients, freezer safe containers with lids and got started.

With all meals except the stew, I prepared the meals and froze them instead of baking them in the oven. A little planning was required because thawing each one out required 24 hours in the fridge plus time for the entree to bake. However, in crunch time that sure beat having to cook a meal from scratch. I added easy side dishes like seasoned rice, beans, salad and garlic bread and... dinner was served! We're down to our last two meals and I must say, I'm hooked. I was surprised that my guys enjoyed them considering they don't like leftovers. I will definitely be making more.

But, for tonight….beef stew it is!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Latest Craft

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While out shopping a few weeks ago, I found the cutest little, girly Halloween outfits. Tiny little tutus with striped leggings and embroidered shirts almost came home with me until…I saw the price tag. $30! Seriously? Not!

I politely went to the fabric store, spent about $7 and a couple of hours to create not one, but two orange and black tutus. I decided to share one with a friend. Baby A will look so cute in her first fall picture. I even found some cute black and white leggings to pair it with.

Because this was the first one, I chose a simple no-sew technique. I'll definitely make more. Next time I'll try sewing one and experimenting with embellishments.

Fall Favorites

Nothing says fall like football and pumpkin. For the first game(s) of the season, I usually make football treats in honor of our their favorite teams: sugar cookies, cupcakes, cookie cakes…the list goes on. This time I decided to make rice krispie treats shaped like footballs. Once our table was decked out with wings, chips, dip, party mix and sweet treats…I went shopping.

My all time favorite fall drink is a pumpkin spice latte. Most mornings I barely drag out of bed by 8. Nighttime feedings are brutal! I certainly don't feel like schlepping out to buy a latte. Enter my Krups espresso maker with frothing attachment…voila…instant pumpkin-y goodness! This is by far my favorite time of year!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Happenings

What a great weekend! Yesterday I celebrated my sweet baby girl. It was an intimate gathering, but very nice. We ate crustless finger sandwiches, fruit and cheese, deviled eggs, cake and drank sweet tea. Baby A got lots of nice presents, both practical and personal. We played one "shower game" that turned out to be harder, but funnier than I thought. Each guest was asked to write a personal letter to be compiled into a book for Baby A to open on her sixteenth birthday. Those messages really touched my heart! We had a great time socializing, eating and admiring Baby girl. Thankfully, she was a very pleasant honoree.

This was the first family gathering since we moved into our new home, so it was like a pre-holiday party as well. It's so nice to finally have the space to entertain and accommodations for overnight guests. Another (less sentimental) highlight of the weekend was garage sale shopping Saturday morning.
I'm in a mad dash to create a "man cave" upstairs for the fellas before Thanksgiving. Eventually we're going to turn it into a media/game room, but I'm getting a head start. I'm trying to be very deliberate in choosing decor, so that it all fits in when we do the construction side of the conversion.
Back to the garage sale... I scored two director's stools (Retail $80 each) for a total of $25! They even came with an extra set of seat covers.

Earlier this week I was able to find two film reels on sale in a local store for
$37. Originally I planned to order a pricey set from an online store. Instead I got an 80% discount!! Nothing makes me feel more like a hero than a great discount! Next on the list: a popcorn stand, mini-fridge, TV and a few over sized game pieces.

So with the weekend coming to an end and one family member still visiting, we're planning to relax for the evening. We'll attempt to carve pumpkins and maybe rent a movie before prepping for the upcoming week. My next goal: weekly re-caps. I have got to do a better job of blogging (and crafting) more frequently.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Time Waits for No (Wo)Man

As if I needed any excuses to get farther behind on my blogging……my computer is (once again) wigging out! No need to call Geek Squad, the hubster is a tech. genius in his own right and just as soon as college football goes off I'm sure it will move up his priority list. I've been diligently taking pictures and planning the dialogue in my head (that's how I work), so that when I finally get a few minutes I can upload them and type. So, here we are. It's Saturday; everyone's home and our schedule is relaxed, but …..oh well.

Here's what we've been up to:
We finished the first six weeks of school! Hooray….the boys' grades didn't disappoint! (We worked hard enough!)
We welcomed fall with apples and homemade caramel.
We were given a FREE piano. We were responsible for paying to have it moved and tuned…that's all!
Baby A is growing and thriving. I've already made several hair bows and am...ahem… training her to tolerate wearing them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

High Expectations

It's no surprise that I'm anal retentive: Type A. I obsess over most things and just (in general) have very high expectations, for others as well as myself. What's the error in that? Disappointment. If for no other reason, others will rarely value your expectations enough to meet them unless there are dire consequences. Thirty-five years later I know this, but can't fully accept it.
I know with my head that nothing short of heaven will be perfect, but that doesn't stop me from finding each and every imperfection along the way. Does that make me an unhappy person? I don't think so. The unhappiness, or irritation comes from resistance. And that, my friend, brings us back to my control issues. So, it's like one big perpetual cycle…round and round we go, where we'll stop nobody knows! Enough rambling. Maybe if I give myself that speech, it will sink in.

All things considered equal, today was a pretty good day. I'm getting back into the routine. This is the last week we'll have a relative in-house helping us get adjusted. I'm wondering how much cooking and cleaning I'll actually be able to get done when I'm flying solo. We'll see. I'm keeping our housekeepers' number handy in case I need to call them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baby A's Birth Story

We successfully wrapped up the second week of school. The week began and ended as any other week. We were getting back in the "school routine": updating the calendar, filling out forms, granting teachers' wish list requests, etc. I dropped the kids off at school Friday morning and headed to my weekly OB visit. The rest of the day I ran a few last minute errands. I picked the boys up from school and we were all looking forward to sleeping in over the weekend. The major areas of the house had been unpacked. Baby A's things were washed and somewhat organized. I got an early afternoon text message to meet friends at the pool, but wasn't up to it, so we just went home to hang out for the evening. My hubby picked up dinner and that was that!

I had just moved from the couch to the bed at around midnight when I started feeling contractions. I experienced a ton of contractions with this pregnancy, so I assumed they were Braxton Hicks (practice contractions). They weren't painful, so I found a comfortable position and went to sleep. An hour or so later, I realized that I was still having contractions. At this point I was a bit concerned because Braxton Hicks usually don't last. By the second hour of contractions, I figured this probably wasn't going be a false alarm. They still weren't intense or at regular intervals. I woke up my hubby and for the next three hours, he became the time keeper (between dozing off to sleep).

My sister wasn't scheduled to come into town until the following day and our person on standby was scheduled to be in a meeting for the day. Being the planner/multi-tasker that I am, I immediately started thinking about plan C. We have a local drop-in child care service that we use occasionally. Fortunately, they're open on Saturdays. I was unsure about the opening time, but figured once I got checked in to the hospital, B, could drop the boys off and come back.

At 4:30 (4 1/2 hours of contractions later), we decided to go to the hospital. We showered, gathered our hospital bags, woke up the boys and headed out. By 5:45 we were checked in and certain we would be meeting our new baby. Initially the boys waited in the delivery room with me. They were forewarned NOT to ask too many questions (we had already taken a sibling class complete with a hospital tour and Q&A time). They sat doe-eyed, either from anxiety or sleepiness, while I answered questions between contractions and had my vitals checked and fetal monitor set up. When the nurses prepped me for my IV, MC got a bit nervous and asked his dad if they could go to the waiting area. I was a bit apprehensive about them being unattended in the waiting room, but we were in a small local hospital in the wee hours of the morning--the waiting area was empty.

At my initial exam, the nurses were surprised that I was dilated to 7 cm. (of 10); they could feel the baby's head. They suspected delivery would be soon, but couldn't give me much more information. Since my water had not broken (as in previous pregnancies) and I'd been contracting for 7 hours now, with increasing intensity and no further progression, I (going against my gut) opted for an epidural. I have a love/hate relationship with epidurals, but I also have a ridiculously low pain tolerance.

My doctor was not on call for the weekend, but the staff paged her and she planned to come in for baby's debut. The doctor on call was finishing a c-section and would be in shortly to check my progress and/or break my water if necessary. In the meantime the anesthesiologist came in an quickly set up his equipment to give me relief.

More paperwork.
More questions.
Him: "Ever had a reaction to anesthesia?" "You're going to feel feel pressure." "Arch your back." "Hold real still".
Me: "Water just broke!" followed by "*&@%$!".
Him: "Okay, it's in. Just lay back."

I lay down and out comes baby. No doctor, no pushing, no whoopla...just crying.
(Side note: I'm secretly ticked that we'll be billed $2,000 for another useless epidural. I should've followed my gut. I digress.)

The nurse is screaming, "Baby on the bed!"

Baby's crying very loudly, so I know she's okay.
I go into my "just delivered a baby" zone and that's a wrap.

Doctors come rushing in.
My doctor finally gets there and they all laugh about the baby that "delivered herself".
For the rest of my hospital stay, all of my nurses asked about my delivery.
Apparently, it doesn't happen that way often.

Leave it to me to have TWO babies that deliver themselves. MC was also born before the doctor arrived. I'm left to wonder...What in the world does that say about their personalities? Should I be worried?

Backdate...Because I'm too far behind to Update

We're finally getting settled in. School has begun and baby girl is here. Although we're still unpacking, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It took about 11 weeks to sell our old house, which in this market is pretty good. We'd been searching for our new house for a while. Once we got a firm offer, we listed our three favorites homes on the market, scheduled all three showings for one evening and made our decision at the end. It was a lot like watching an episode of "House Hunters". Overall, we're happy with our choice. There are a few things that we settled on and a few things that we'll change, but for the most part we're pleased. We have a lot more space and that was the most important thing!

The boys have adjusted to their new school well. Everything is totally different: rules, procedures, size, climate...everything! Again, for the most's different in a good way. They've made lots of new friends and seem to like their teachers and that makes me happy.

Baby A is growing and changing daily. I guess I know to watch carefully this time around because I know how fast they grow up. I'm trying to appreciate this time, because you never get it back. We're readjusting to sleepless nights, but that comes with the territory. She'll sleep peacefully for hours on her tummy. However, since she's only three weeks old, that's not the safest position unless we're keeping a close eye on her. As soon as she gains more control of her little neck, you'd better believe she'll be on her tummy (if that means Mom gets more shut-eye)!

Hopefully we'll have boxes cleared away by Thanksgiving. I would like to have a nice and festive holiday season (just like you see in magazines), but I'm not making any promises. Besides we have an extra room for storage and three attic spaces, so if all else fails we'll shove the crap out of sight.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Amazing Grace

Where has the time gone? I can 't believe it's been two months since my last post! That's certainly not a reflection of uneventful days and weeks gone by. Summer is fading quickly. We only have two weeks before the new school year starts.
We finally sold our house! Next weekend we're moving, which means for the time being our home looks like Armageddon! We're living out of suitcases and trying to pack up the final odds and ends. The boys have been threatened within an inch of their lives not to break anything. The hubby is armed with a caulk gun for gluing any wayward areas. If this baby will just stay put for the next three or four weeks, we'll be home free. I will at least get to unpack the kids rooms and kitchen. Everything else can wait a bit. We'll have a few months before guests come for the holidays.
The only other time I've felt this calm despite insurmountable stress was on my wedding day. Hours before my wedding, my florist arrived with arrangements in tow. The only problem: she made the wrong bouquet for me. She was very apologetic and down right scared when I brought it to her attention. Instead of wrapping my hands around her neck and choking the breath out of her (like the usual me would have done), I just calmly asked her if she had the photo that I gave her. She did. I suggested that we just give the bouquet to my maid of honor and asked if she had calla lilies that she could put together to make my bouquet. She did and the show went on without a hitch.
In these situations, God grants me grace and peace to handle the situation. It's like an out of body experience. Whatever the case, I will accept His special gift and maybe one day, I can learn to live in that state.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer and Such

Summer is well underway and apparently it's synonymous with me cooking 24/7...not! I keep finding notes from one little person begging for banana bread. The other little person wants fried okra everyday. Can someone say sandwich? It's summer break for goodness sake.

Last week the boys went to soccer camp. It was only a few hours a day, but they came home hot, tired and very smelly! This week they're going to a local VBS. Getting rowdy for Jesus with 1000 other kids makes them nutso for the rest of the evening! Lord help us! Next week will be flag football camp. Throw in a visit from Papa and an anniversary dinner (that I hope I don't forget) and we're on a roll! We haven't started our academic review yet, and that should be very interesting considering how much complaining I get for all of my other requests and suggestions.

This summer I decided to use a monetary reward system. The boys earn mom bucks for doing chores and pay fines for disobedience. It was working until today when they lost $10 each (their entire earnings) for karate chopping each other to the floor in the grocery store.

Pregnancy is well...coming along. We're in the home stretch and I'm feeling big, hot and extremely tired! So many things need to be done and I just don't have the energy to even think about them, let alone do them. Back to school should be very interesting!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pregnancy: 10 Things I Wish I Knew The First Time Around

10. Go ahead and have caffeine. If your child is meant to be difficult, he/she will be regardless.
9. Save the "pregnancy card" until you really need it. People get tired of it really quickly!
8. Don't gain 75 pounds. Your baby will only weigh 8 (give or take a pound).
7. If you buy diapers, onesies, a crib and a swing, you're set for at least 3 months.
6. Don't regret napping. Soon those naps will be a distant memory.
5. Professional pedicures after 6 months are not a luxury. You may not see your feet, but everyone else does.
4. The mind really is the first thing to go.
3. Don't buy the "hormonal" crap. Whatever is bugging you now, always has, you're just less happy to deal with it.
2. Make the most of that expensive hospital stay and send the baby to the nursery overnight. You'll have plenty of time
together at home!
1. Maternity underwear is a necessity.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What A Mouthful?!

I think it's time for me to have a talk with the boys about decorum. It's time for them to learn that certain things shouldn't be said at all. Not to mention the things that they, as boys/young men, should NEVER say to a woman. I wouldn't want my grown, married sons to have to borrow our couch for the night.

* "Mom, what did you do to your hair? It's like you killed it. It's so flat and soft." JB "complimenting" my fresh relaxer
* "Your knee is so big, I can't see it." MC spying on me as I inspected my varicose veins
* "Is that what you're wearing? You need to put on pants." MC's opinion of my knee length church dress
* "Mom, I thought you were a ninja." MC after walking into a dark room where I was standing. Me: "I could be a ninja-a pregnant ninja." MC: "No, you would be a sumo wrestler."
* "Why don't we name the baby Itasbutae? Yeah, it sounds like It's-a-boot-ay!" JB's baby name suggestion

Friday, April 15, 2011

Social Butterflies

JB was invited to a birthday party tonight. MC and I tagged along because they were watching a movie that we all wanted to see. Afterwards, JB left with his buddies to go to the birthday boy's' home for cake and ice cream. Meanwhile, Coco was visiting with our neighbors because we had a few prospective buyers touring our home. While Coco played with the neighbors dog and swam (fell into the pool), MC and I visited a local pizzeria and Dad was at happy hour with co-workers. What a crazy Friday afternoon!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Need cupcakes? DIY

This was one of the March posts that never made it.

After making a special trip to a local gourmet bakery for my birthday cupcakes, I was very disappointed! Despite the shop being all the rage, the cupcakes were mediocre at best. I shelled out $12 for four, average sized cupcakes. One of which, was topped with a red gummy candy. I vowed to never spend that much on gourmet cupcakes again.

These are treats that I made for a social with my hubby's co-workers. They're not gourmet, but they taste as good as if not better than the ones that I bought. Not to mention, they were a lot cheaper!

What's Happening

What's new in our camp?

**The grasshopper has met his match--the robin! This week JB is in "boot camp". I'm just tired of the attitude in general. As a result, he's lost all privileges until further notice.

**Earlier this week, we were pleasantly surprised to see our baby in utero sans a penis! We're having a girl! I bought my celebratory dress yesterday and it's beautiful.

**Our house is back on the market and after only 6 days, we've had two showings. Hopefully we'll get an offer very soon, so we can get this show on the road!

**Coco successfully made it through another week with no potty accidents. Perhaps our last newspaper brawl brought her to her senses.

**I'm in the process of my annual spring ritual of finalizing summer plans. Since this summer will likely have me setting up a new home and about to explode, while enduring 100+ temps, I've enrolled the boys in numerous day camps. I still have to register for three more and two swim sessions. But as it stands, almost every week has been assigned an activity (that I won't be responsible for leading). There was a time when I would feel guilty about this, but under the circumstances that time is NOT now!

That's what we've been up to. Let's see what I'd like to be up to. Hmm...crafting, taking a trip to Canton, going junking, Scrapbooking....oh, well maybe one day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

I cannot believe it's been two months since my last post. I've been caught in the whirlwind that is life. The boys are growing and getting along well (most days). When I say "getting along", I mean fighting usually ends with laughter and peaceful resolution. The dog has settled down a bit. We still watch her like a hawk to avoid potty accidents. I'm not drowning in housework at the moment; I've almost found my way back to a system that works. I guess you can just call it all the calm before the storm!

Once again, we will try to move over summer break. We're planning to list our home earlier in the season and wait as long as it takes. Hopefully that doesn't mean too long, but we're prepared to wait. We are expecting to add our final member to our family early September, which means I'll endure the dog days of summer in my third trimester of pregnancy. This will be a first, but I plan to live in maxi dresses, sandals/flip flops and have plenty of cool drinks on hand. I'll probably also need to get a pocket sized bible to carry in my purse--girding of the loins will be a must!

This summer could very well make men out of these boys and put some hair on their chests! I've decided to (for the moment, at least) enjoy every quiet break that comes along. So, buckle your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride! Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Ant And The Grasshopper

Before I begin, let me say that I love my children dearly. I love them differently, but dearly. They both have their own unique personalities with their own strengths and weaknesses and I'm learning to accept that.
With that said...
The ant and the grasshopper fable suits my boys well! I won't name names, but it's very clear that one is very task oriented. Though he is playful, he knows when to get down to business. He can be depended on to get finished or make progress without a dozen reminders and warnings. The other is very playful, always enjoying an opportunity to act out a scene with his action figures or sneak in a few minutes of reading from his comic books. Let's say he has a real zest for life. He needs to be reminded to do things he full well knows to do (repeatedly) and is rarely prepared. It's kind of funny to watch, because they're from the same environment. No matter how many times I fuss, nag, yell, praise, redirect, correct, it doesn't change.
The challenge for me as we progress into a new stage of parenting is to accept it. The whole nature vs. nurture argument is right here before my eyes. Their personalities have been nurtured to a certain extent, but at their core many aspects of their personalities are innate. While I can help them play up their strengths and work on improving areas of weakness, I am not God. They are who the are, and that's who they'll be.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Proof is in the Pudding

If the saying is true, I've got dibs on the first bite! This was our first week back from Christmas break and it went pretty smoothly. I surprised myself; I was very productive. Slightly grumpy, but productive.

Piano lessons and basketball practice resumed this week. MC started piano lessons, and unlike his big brother he was eager to practice. He even requested that I make a piano bag for his books, "with pianos on it, that says, 'I Love Music!'" That gave me a warm fuzzy. It only lasted a few minutes, because they soon started arguing.

JB is entering the teasing and taunting phase. The phase that most likely caused an otherwise docile classmate to haul off and assault another classmate with a rock (to the eye) at recess. I don't like this phase. I especially don't like the permanent smirk plastered on the faces of little boys in this phase.

Returning to school also means homework hour resumed this week, as well. The dreaded homework hour, and it's literally about an hour, probably has me calling on Jesus more than the average challenge. The funny thing is, you'd think as a certified teacher I wouldn't have trouble with this. But, as with every other area of childrearing, I feel personally responsible for clearing the mud. The teachers usually only send home five minutes worth of homework, but when a child is able to whiz through that sheet yet give the "alien stare" when asked a question worded differently...Houston, we have a problem! I make a habit of pulling out additional work that either reviews or reinforces what they are doing in class. This seems to work, but like everything's a lot of work.

Nothing could have ever prepared me for all of the work that comes along with being a mother. This isn't a complaint...just a fact. I wonder if I will ever have another moment of rest (on this side of Glory). I hope to, one day, but realistically I know it may be a fantasy.

If the proof really is in the pudding, I want some velvety, mousse like pudding. I also want to be sure to get the first bite!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

All Good Things Must End

Well Christmas break is over. As we get geared up for the second half of the school year, I'm hoping for better organization and a better attitude. One can hope, right?
Our first week off was pretty busy, but our second week was slow...very slow. I'm glad we had the down time, even if it meant lots of fighting and complaints of being bored. Unscheduled time never hurt a soul!
Tomorrow I'm going to try very hard NOT to do a happy dance when I drop the boys off. Despite the never ending to do list, I'm going to have a me day! I think I'll see what's playing at the theater and maybe treat myself to a blueberry muffin (my favorite).
The theme for the year is: Make time for what matters most. Instead of bogging myself down in mindless busyness, I want to focus on what really matters. I once read that you should categorize issues in one of three categories: 10 seconds, 10 minutes, 10 years. If the circumstance will be insignificant in 10 seconds it's not worth another thought; 10 minutes, consider it; 10 years, it's worth fretting about.
I'm going to try to remember the 10-10-10 rule and maybe I'll save myself some grief.

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