#31 & #33 ~ In the spirit of health (both the mental and physical varieties)

It's been over a week since my last confession list update, but I wanted to make sure I had good news to report.  I have crossed not one, but two tasks off my list. 

#31 - Take my vitamin every day for a month.  Check!  I'm hoping that is why I've been healthy so far this "wintry" season.  (And I'm knocking on wood as we speak...I can feel a cold coming on out of spite.)

#33 - Take a mental health day.  For various reasons that I can't expound upon (in case *somehow* my boss is reading), I took off last Monday from work.  It was *lovely* to be home.  That is all.

As for the rest:

The November teacher treats were an assortment of cookies & brownies for Ben's teachers at school & Mission Friends, and pumpkin apple streusel muffins for Abby & Sarah's teachers at school.  Not sure what's on the horizon for December, but I have enjoyed all the baking!

I have SOOO many ideas for #67 (make 10 homemade gifts), but I'm afraid I'm running out of time!  (I mean, I still have 900+ days overall, but Christmas is right around the corner.)  Hopefully I can knock a couple out and report back on this after this week though it's not looking promising since we are going to be busy carrying Ben back and forth from CBC's Singing Christmas Tree (as we accomplish #36).

I'm in a bit of a panic over #70 (the advent calendar) considering December is only two short days away.  I need to figure it out and quickly!  I'm thinking my original idea is not going to pan out, seeing as how I can't seem to find any mini-bags to suit me.

In case you've been perusing my list (not that I expect any of you are), and you're wondering how it's possible to be in progress on #77 (patronize the local bookstore), allow me to explain.  I stopped by there on the way to pick up the kids one day, but didn't have a whole lot of time to look nor any cash in my purse.  So I will go back soon.  But I got a feel for the place and I LOVED it.  Can't wait to support a fellow Mercer grad's business endeavor.

We went to Carrabba's last Sunday night and instead of ordering my traditional Chicken Bryan and garlic mashed potatoes, I got an Italian Chicken Pizza with an Italian Salad.  It was a fantastic alternative to my usual.  So, #85 is two-thirds finished.  Now if we can ever make it back to Zaxby's...

If all of that seemed a bit frantic, then I got my point across!  'Tis the season.

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and that the season continues to be joyful for you all!

Swiss Miss will be happy to know...

  5 (22%)
  4 (18%)
Hot Chocolate
  6 (27%)
Hot Apple Cider
  4 (18%)
A specialty drink, tailored to my tastes
  1 (4%)
It's too hot for hot beverages
  2 (9%)

Votes so far: 22

The winner of the Hot Beverage poll is....hot chocolate, eeking out coffee by one vote.  I'm surprised, but not shocked.  I mean, it is just one vote.  What *does* surprise me is that a comparable number of people picked hot apple cider.   I love the stuff, just thought it was something my random mom always made. 

So there you have it.  Because you know you wanted to know which hot beverage the readers of this blog prefer.

The Mom List - Late Night Edition

A child cries from across a crowded room, but you know it's not yours.  Mothers just *know* the cry of their own.

In the process of making your own baby food, you take a taste test.  And another.  And another.  Pretty soon, you wonder if there will be any of those sweet potatoes left for your baby.  (Those things are darn good.)

Despite the ginormous feast of 30 different Thanksgiving dishes before you, there's still the fear in the back of your mind that your child won't eat any of it.

You ran out of tissues in your car, but found a spare pair of just-in-case panties in the diaper bag.  Sweet!  Instant handkerchief.

You bought some puffs for your infant, but find yourself rationing them to your older children.  Who knew puffs were so delicious and irresistible to three and six year olds?

Your living room has become a daycare center full of sleeping baby dolls covered in blankets.  After all of the baby dolls in the house are used up, your three year old moves on to lying dozens of tiny, green, plastic army men face down and covering them with the closest thing to a size-appropriate blanket she can find...dozens of wet wipes.

Consequently, it feels like you spend most of your life refilling wipes containers.

You religiously clip/maintain your childrens' fingernails and toenails.  Then one day you look at your own, and it frightens you.

Every winter/cold season, you think about starting a choir of coughers.  Surely someone would pay to listen to that, right?  The advertisement would go something like this:  Just park it on the couch at any given hour at night and listen to the sweet harmony of three children coughing in their beds.

Your six month old has started pulling up on things and instead of being excited you think, "Not already!"

You can always find a little person who is willing to be the official taste-tester of all goodies baked in your kitchen.

Flashback Friday - (Not our) Foreclosure

Before we bought the house we currently live in, Sam and I lived in a lovely starter home in the town just north of here.  I loved that house.  I still love that house and I think of it fondly whenever I remember it.  It had all the charm a home could have.  The previous owners had loved it and filled it up (with 6 children in 1180 square feet).  They begrudgingly sold it to us and we lived there for nearly three years of chaotic bliss. 

We lived there until we got jobs in a nearby city, at which time we opted not to commute and put the house up for sale on Easter weekend 2003 (knowing we were also a growing family, expecting Abby).  We sold it for an excellent profit at just the right time prior to the housing market crash to a young couple who for various reasons never moved in.  The couple re-listed the house for sale by owner to no avail.  It sat there for months.  The housing market crashed, they listed it with a realtor.  It sat there for years.  Finally, it went into foreclosure and went up for sale by a bank.  (We know these things through various contacts, and also through plain old-fashioned stalking techniques.)

It finally sold this fall after over three years on the market.  The final sale price was $63,000.  That is half of what we sold it for in 2003.  HALF, folks.

So, while I sit here thinking, "Shoot, I'd have bought it back for that price", I remember with warm fuzzies the memories we made in that home with Ben (who doesn't remember living there).  I remember the cozy living room with a wood-burning fire place, the blood, sweat, and tears that Sam put into installing the glass french doors in the dining room, the amazing backyard that we sodded ourselves, the landscaping over which we agonized, the awful red color of the laundry room that I was never motivated enough to paint over.  I remember taking down our neighbors fence while they were on vacation and putting it back up so there weren't big gaps at the bottom of it, and how I broke my big toenail doing that project.  I think about the invisible line in the front yard that Ben couldn't cross to prevent him from getting too close to the road.  I remember coming back from the FE Exam, and just swinging mindlessly for hours in the backyard.  All of it. Every bit of it makes me smile.

It was a good home, and while I love the house we live in now, that little house in Macon will always hold the title of "most special" in my heart.

At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that it was "just a house".  I sometimes regret that I let myself feel so deeply about such insignificant things.  I am not exactly sure when I became my mother, but here I am...an emotional basketcase...lamenting the foreclosure of a house I haven't lived in for three years that I only lived in for three years.

But it's not *FAIR*.

What's not fair, you ask?  Nothing is fair.  Life is not fair.  I think we probably all know that.

What we fail to realize is that life is not supposed to be fair.  We are not owed fairness.  However, we still whine and cry when, time after time, life wrongs us.  You know what?  That's life.  See above paragraph.

I know kids whine.  I've got three of them.  The most popular gripes tend to be:

1.  This is boring.
2.  I'm SO hungry.
3.  That's not FAIR!

I vividly remember my first lesson from my father regarding the subject of "fairness".  I was in middle school.  This was back when it was still permissible to separate classes according to academic ability.  Without trying to sound like this a brag in any way, shape, or form, I was in the highest academic group.  It just so happened that the people in that class were also, according to our teachers, among the chattiest of all the students.  We were constantly receiving comments from them like, "You guys shouldn't act like this.  You should know better.  Stop talking!"  It wasn't fair.  We were all 11 and 12 years old.  Sure we shouldn't have been talking, but none of the other classes were held to the same standards as we were, and it was just downright unfair.

One night, a few weeks into the year, I went home and complained about it to my dad.  I told him of the injustice, how the teachers expected better behavior from us just because we were the "smart" kids.  I told him that we were just kids too, and we couldn't be expected to be perfect all of the time.  He listened to my tirade, and then he did the unthinkable.  He sided with the teachers.  To drive the point home, he opened up his Bible and read me this verse:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~Luke 12:48

Zing.  Dad was right.  And so were those darn teachers.  Turns out, what wasn't "fair" to me, was the blessing (and curse to an 11 year old) of being able to discern right from wrong, and I was charged with following through on that.

I have a host more of things to say about this topic, but in the interest of getting back to work, I will simply say this.  Life isn't fair.  Sure, some people may be handed things on silver platters, but that's not the norm.  Not everyone is born in good health, with complete mental capacity, with a clear complexion, with the ability to articulate, with the use of their limbs, or even with limbs at all.  For those who seem to have it all, there is the burden of expectation and follow-through, and the moral obligation to do right by their successes.  We learn every day about loved ones and friends losing jobs, losing their homes, falling ill, getting kicked right in the butt when they're already down.  Sometimes in life, we think things are going great but then the poo (if you will) hits the fan, and then things are not so great anymore.  Life has ups and it has downs.  Sometimes it has a lot more of the latter.

How can you appreciate the sunshine if you haven't seen the rain?

It is important to remember that when things get tough, chances are someone else has been in your exact situation before and made it through.  It is even more important to remember that in the toughest of times, there is hope.  Even in the toughest of times, we fall under the blanket of God's grace.  Life is still better than we deserve.  I've said it before and I will say it until the day I die.  Thank God we *don't* get what we deserve.  The next time you think, "It's not fair."  Do me a favor.  Reconsider.

That's How Moms Roll - The List 11.18.09

You never realized the amount of kissing in Disney movies until your 3-year old started grabbing you by the cheeks with both hands and laying awkwardly long kisses on your mouth.

You know first hand how frightening it is to be woken up by a child staring at you from just inches away.

If you've lost something, you look in the crack between your bed and mattress first.  It seems to be a popular hiding spot for the kids.  The second favorite, unfortunately, is the trash can.

You have feigned sleep when your child walks into your room at 3am, so your husband has to be the one to return her to her bed.

Your kids never have anything to say to you until you're in the middle of a phone call.  And the more important the phone call, the louder they are.

You've debated with yourself over whether or not to call poison control.  For example, "Surely self-inking stamp pads made for children aren't toxic.  But this one is pretty old.  They didn't have the same standards back then.  On the other hand, she's already spit up, so it's probably okay.  I'll just keep an eye on her."  (Note:  The conversation in your head would NOT have been the same with Child #1.)

Your child's teacher is somewhat private, which makes you all the more determined to participate in classroom activities.

You really ought to know better than to wear a black shirt to work with an infant in tow.  You will make it as far as the daycare where you'll be adorned with a spot of spit-up or snot on your shoulder.  And there's just no getting that completely off.

You always end up with more markers than there are tops to put on them.

You spend most of your time picking up socks, marveling the whole time at the sheer number of feet your kids must have to produce that many dirty socks.

You start stockpiling food for the teenage years in hopes that feeding your bottomless pits (aka kids) won't force you to take a second mortgage out on your home.

A [Very] Little List Update - 11.17.09

While I am moving closer towards several of my goals, there's not a whole lot to report on this update. 

I'm quickly running out of November during which to send in baked treats or goodies for the teachers.  Ben has off all of next week.  That leaves the rest of this week or the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Guess I need to get my hiney in gear this week, but I'm feeling uninspired.  What is a good Thanksgiving "goodie" to take to someone?  I'm open for suggestions.  Another note on this, when I composed the list, I was thinking only of the schoolteachers.  For the month of November, in the spirit of gratitude, I'm sending something in for Ben's Mission Friends teachers tomorrow and his choir teacher on Sunday. 

#28 Complete a 30 Day Challenge on EA Active.  My first attempt was a failure.  I got to Day 20-something and pulled a neck muscle getting out of bed.  I might be 90 years old...the jury is still out.  At any rate, I couldn't move my head up or down for 3 days and didn't do any exercising during that time.  I'm back to Day 1, and I'm looking at it in a glass is half-full kind of way.  Those are 20-something days I probably wouldn't have worked out otherwise!  (Sad but true.)

#31  I'm plugging right along with my vitamin-taking.  By my next update, I should have crossed that one off of my list.  Hooray vitamins!  (Maybe *that's* why I haven't gotten sick this season yet.  KNOCK ON WOOD.)

#44 Tonight I wrote and addressed my monthly notes of cheer.  I want to print a couple of pictures of my kids to include in one of them to my grandmother, but I'll take care of that first thing in the morning.  Check and check.

#48  I completed my first anonymous act of kindness.  And that's all I have to say about that!

#55  I am *thrilled* to say that we have now read 32 of 63 Seuss works, pushing us past the halfway mark.  This is no small feat (says the woman who has read aloud 32 different Seuss works in a month and a half).

#70  Again, I'm running out of November, but while I was at my in-law's house this weekend, I thumbed through last year's Southern Living Christmas book and I was inspired.  If I can gather my supplies quickly, we'll be making this year's advent calendar out of tiny gift bags.

There's still time for Etsy shopping and homemade gifts, which I'm sure will be crossed off before Christmas.  But did you realize Christmas is just 37 days away?  DANG.  That's probably how I'll feel soon about the end of my 1001 days! 

To all the 101 in 1001-ers, I am thankful for you!  You continue to challenge me and urge me forward.  I hope you all are learning something about yourselves. 

What's the meaning of this?

Those of you who know Ben (or have read about him at all) know that he's a highly intense little man.  He was born thinking.  We used to joke because, as an infant, we'd put him in his swing and instead of looking at the red-nosed bears on the mobile, he would watch the joint where the swing met the support.  I think he's been cursed with an analytical mind.

I might be the worst mother ever, but after a while the questions get very tiresome.  Yes, I know I should be encouraging it.  He's just trying to learn.  So on and so forth.  I believe I've mentioned my lack of patience before.  I'm working on it. 

He started out with the questions early this morning.  Luckily for him, I was receptive to answering them at the time.  I'm not sure what got him onto the topic of name meanings, but that's what he was quizzing me about.  The meaning of our childrens' names played a large part in why we named them what we did, so I happened to know the answers.  So often these days, it seems like I don't have answers for his questions.  That's how you know they're growing up.  Anyway, here's how it played out:

Ben:  Mommy, what does the name Sarah mean?
Me:  It means Princess.
Ben:  Okay.  What does Abby mean?
Me:  Abigail means Father's Joy.
Ben:  How about Benjamin?  What does Benjamin mean?
Me:  It means Son of the Right Hand.
(A pause, as I could see the wheels turning in Ben's head.)
Ben:  So, does Samuel mean Son of the Left Hand?


For those of you who may care, Samuel actually means God has heard

The winner of lamest name meaning in my family of five goes to me.  Jennifer means "white".  How appropriate.

!!!!!!The results are in!!!!!!!

Which is it?
Exclamation Mark!
  6 (27%)
Exclamation Point!
  16 (72%)
Irrelevant. I don't use them.
  0 (0%)

I knew for sure this was going to be skewed.  Only I thought it would be in the other direction.  Really?  Exclamation point wins?  I thought everyone said exclamation *mark*. 

While wikipedia recognizes them as equal terms, it refers to it as "exclamation mark" throughout the article.

Perhaps I should ask what this is -?-.  Do you refer to it as a question point?  I rest my case.  :)

P.S. - Thank you to everyone who indulges me by voting in my meaningless polls.

Flashback Friday - The 1st Half Birthday

Today, November 13, is my precious little Sarah's 6-month "birthday".  She's half a year old?  Honestly?  I can't believe it.

She told me all she wanted for her "birthday" was a fever so she could stay home with her Mommy.  She almost got her wish....she had a *very* low-grade fever last night, but it went away by this morning.  We (meaning me, Sam, and her daycare teachers) think that she's most likely teething.

Six months is fun.  We started rice cereal (she hates it).  We'll move on to some *real* food probably this weekend.  She's crawling around like a champ.  She smiles more deliberately now, instead of just *all* the time.  Even though she's a very happy baby, she's stingy with her laughs.  Although if you tickle her armpit, she may emit a tiny, "heh".  Next on the horizon (if she's anything like her older siblings, and I think she is), she'll be pulling up, cruising, and walking before she can sit unassisted.  Dang mobile children.  I'm more than happy to announce that we are still nursing and that I don't foresee an end to it any time soon.  My goal is one year, and I think, nay, know we can make it!

On that note, I welled up a little this morning when remembering the day that Abby turned six months old.  I don't know why things went so differently with her than they have with Sarah.  It's likely a combination of experience, stress, attitude, and how I take care of myself.  At any rate, my goal with Abby was to at least nurse until 6 months.

The very day she turned six months old, I quit pumping at work.  It had become such a burden that I couldn't take one more day.  I wasn't producing enough for the next day.  I had no stash in the freezer.  I was setting my alarm clock for the middle of the night so I could get up and pump in order to have enough to send to daycare, and then praying that she wouldn't wake up and be hungry right after I'd pumped.  It was nothing but stress.  I'd tried all of the increase-your-supply tactics from Fenugreek pills (which made my sweat and urine smell like maple syrup) to oatmeal to binging on water.  Nothing seemed to help.  In retrospect, I truly feel that it was my anxiety that caused the dip in supply. 

On April 2, 2007, my husband sent me one of the nicest emails I've ever received that included these words:

Also, a BIG congratulations goes to you for making it 6 months exclusively breastfeeding.  That’s a major accomplishment especially for a working mother and I am very proud of you.  I am sure I have no idea how hard it was or just how much time you’ve sacrificed for such a self-less gift for our little girl.  I just hope some day when she’s a mother that she will know just how much you love her.  You’re a great mother and wife.

I still well up when I read it.  It feels like that was just yesterday.

Then I think back to when Ben turned six months old.  It feels like a decade ago that we were new parents.  (Well it *has* been six years!)  I looked up the pictures from March 2004 this morning, and it made me smile.  The ones I found were beautiful and sweet.  Even though we were new parents and working, full-time college students, we sure enjoyed that little boy.  He was such a breath of fresh air to keep our minds off of "all that other stuff". 

Life goes by faster as you get older.  It's a fact that makes me sound like a grandma with a walking stick, but it's true.  These last six months have gone by in a blink, as have the last 3 and 6 years.  One of my biggest regrets from high school and college is not having more pictures of just plain old life.  So, let that be a lesson I learned the hard way that you all don't have to.  Take pictures.

Then you'll never forget these memories:

1.  The time you realized that your son's head was so big that his arms didn't touch on top (when he was six months old).

2.  How you used to take naps together when he was 6 months old...because he needed them and you wanted them.

3.  The first time you let your 6-month old baby girl sit unassisted in a chair so you could take her picture (and how happy she was about it). 

4.  How she had that evil grin, even at her half birthday.

5.  How she hated her first bites of cereal.

Enjoy some of life's little moments today.

Thank you for reading, and hope you have a blessed weekend!

Hive Ho, Hive Ho...

Today marks the 9th day of Ben's hives adventure.  It's been a long road for the big little guy.  And even though I'm cognizant of the fact that his hives adventure is not nearly as stressful/interesting for any of you as it is for me, I'm sharing a few things that this experience has taught me.

1.  This little boy is a trooper. 

It's not that I didn't already know this, but Ben has been so amazing throughout the ordeal.  I know that he's itchy.  The Benadryl is upsetting his stomach.  He's totally freaked out when he looks in the mirror.  His friends at school are relentlessly curious about his affliction.  Despite all of that, he has not complained one time.  He's been so chill, that he's truly taught *me* to not be such a whiny butt over every little sniffle, ache, and pain.  Good job, kid.

2.  Roid rage is real.

On Monday night, he took his first dose of steroids to combat the hives breakout.  The doctor warned us that the medicine may cause "excitability".  Apparently, the effects of the Benadryl counteracted that, and he was in a state of drug-induced normalcy.  (As opposed to the zombie-like demeanor caused by only taking Benadryl.)  Or so we thought.  I've always heard about the "roid rage", but didn't quite believe it until I witnessed it in my usually-docile-exceedingly-patient-with-his-little-sister six year old.

Here's the deal:

Abby asked me where Ben was.  I told her he was in his room.  She walked in there and said, "Hey Ben!"  He immediately shouted at her, "ABBY!  WHY ARE YOU *DISTURBING* ME?!"  She just kind of shrugged it off and said, "I don't know."  To which he replied, "THAT IS *NOT* A REAL REASON!!!  GIVE ME A *REAL* REASON WHY YOU'RE IN HERE."  With that, she left, luckily unphased, and went on to play with her babies.  You have to understand how patient he is with Abby [the bulldozer] on a day to day basis to understand the enormity of this exchange.  

It happened again this morning on the way to school (about an hour after another dose):

Ben asked how many days until he was off for Thanksgiving.  I told him he had seven school days.  He screamed back at me, "I DON'T WANT IT TO BE SEVEN MORE DAYS!!!!"  Abby felt the need to choose this sensitive moment to play parrot and chimed in, "Seven more days, Ben!"  He retorted with an enraged, "ABBY, YOU THINK YOU KNOW *EVERYTHING*!!!!"

So yeah, 'roid rage is real, friends.

3.  Kids are not nearly as cruel as I thought.

At least not in kindergarten.  Yet.  I fretted over sending Ben to school the day after the outbreak, knowing full well (accolades to www.google.com) that hives are not contagious, could last for weeks, and were more of a nuisance than a true health concern.  The reason I fretted was because I was so scared he was going to be teased.  I know, I know.  Kids get teased.  Their skin gets tougher.  They grow as people.  But he's six.  And that makes me sad.  I'm not a coddling mom, but the thought of him being teased for a rash over which he has absolutely no control was heartbreaking to me.  It was especially alarming when it spread to his face.  I visited him in his classroom a couple of days later, and the kids were awesome.  Fascinated?  Sure.  Grossed out and mean?  Not even one tiny bit.  That'll teach me to be so cynical.

And for the looky-loos who want to see the hives (not for the faint of heart).  Here you areAnd anotherAnd just one more.

We still don't know what caused them in the first place.  We're guessing that the decorations (aka giant hay bales) in the lunch room for the highly anticipated Mother-Son hoe down taking place this Friday evening are preventing him from getting over the hives, as he flairs up every day after lunch.  Ben has weighed the pros and cons, and apparently opts for hay-induced hives over missing the hoe-down.  What can I say?  I'm flattered. 

I just hope they go away before first grade.  I hear those kids are brutal.

The Mom Things - Veteran's Day

You trick your kid into taking medicine by telling her it's candy.  The plan backfires when, days later at 100% health, she approaches you with a medicine bottle and dropper asking for more candy.

On a related note, you have another child who cannot be tricked or bribed, and you've had to resort to holding them down and force-feeding them medicine though tears and locked-lips.  It is truly amazing how strong small children can be!  And don't even get me started on the eye drops...

You never knew how passionately you would feel about things like diaper choices, public schools, vaccinations, breastfeeding, being a work-out-of-the-home mom, and about a zillion other things that prior to becoming a mother meant very little or nothing at all to you.

Your non-mom friends are less than thrilled when you try to discuss your childrens' excretions with them.  Whereas, qualilty, quantity, color, and texture of your childrens' poop, vomit, and boogers are freely discussed among your mother peers.

It makes you sad that people tend to only comment on your baby and blond haired, blue eyed child when out in public, even though the brown haired, brown eyed child doesn't seem to care one bit.  (Maybe it's because he already knows he's equally as precious as his baby sisters...)

When out running errands, you decide to grab lunch and opt for the Chick-Fil-A at the mall food court rather than the stand-alone one knowing full well if you go to that one it'll be at least an hour before you can coax the kids off the playground.

You wore dark sunglasses (*cough* umm, all day) to mask the tears when you dropped your child off for his first week of elementary school. 

It all of the sudden hits you like a ton of bricks one day that your three year old isn't a baby anymore.  In fact, she looks more like a teenager with her lanky arms and legs in her jeans, form-fitting t-shirt, and sneakers.  You wonder where you were when that transformation happened.

You've been faced with the dilemma of "the lost teeth".  So feel free to enlighten me.  What *does* the Tooth Fairy do with all of those teeth she collects?

When a kid goes missing in your house, the first place you look (and usually find them) is in the pantry.  Sneaking chocolate chips.

List Update - 11.10.09 (Super cool date, by the way.)

I'm going to be brutally honest.  Last week was rough.  I didn't do a whole lot of thinking about the list.  In the grand scheme of life, my week wasn't that bad.  I might be slightly dramatic, but it did wear me out.  So what if I'm a big whiny baby?  (Please don't answer.  That was a rhetorical question.)

While #14 (the bed-making one) has been crossed off, I'm happy to report that the bed-making has become a habit.  And I LOVE it.

As a reward for my rough week, I took a long, solo trip to Kroger on Sunday night.  (No, I'm not kidding.  Stop laughing.)  I *thought* that I'd accomplished #19 (Save more than 50% on a grocery order at Kroger), but I fell short.  I saved a piddly 42%.  It was a rather large shopping trip, so 42% is nothing to sneeze at, but I thought I was closer than that!  Sam (who honestly does more of the grocery shopping than me) did accomplish a 50% savings two weeks ago.  Tempting as it is, I will not steal that accomplishment from him and claim it as my own.  But I did save the receipt, so I can marvel at his super-shopping ways.

One thing I did manage to keep going was #31 (Take my vitamin every day for a month).  Hooray!  This is no small task for someone who just doesn't do medicine.

I am back to square one on #37 (Get up early enough for Church AND Sunday School for an entire month).  I worded that poorly, and technically, I was awake in time for both of them.  What I meant was that I wanted to actually attend both of them for an entire month.  This past Sunday, for reasons known as "life", I didn't make it to the first hour.

#40 (Begin and maintain a prayer journal) has already been a blessing to me.  To see and be able to recognize answered prayers is an amazing thing.

I went to the library last night and checked out five more Dr. Seuss books in an effort to accomplish #55.  We have officially read all of the Dr. Seuss books that we own.  We're up to 28 now.  Almost halfway there!  (And I still love him just as much.)

#73 (Host a party at the homestead) is possibly in the works.  I have offered to have the class party at our house this Christmas.  We shall see.  Fingers crossed!  I love a good get-together.  Come one, come all!

Aside from taking treats to the teachers, and sending notes of cheer, I plan to buy something on Etsy (#46) and make some homemade gifts (#67) in the very near future (what with Christmas being only 44 days and 13 hours away).  I also hope to tackle the advent calendar (#70) before December gets here and start the journal of quotes (#68).

I hope to maintain a paced enthusiasm in the spirit of the tortoise.

"Slow and steady wins the race."

Darn, she wasn't voluntarily napping.

I never really bought into that whole thing about "if they're being quiet, you'd better check on them".  See, Ben has always been an old soul, responsible and mature for his young age, and not at all mischievous.  I could trust him to be quiet by himself from a young age.

Then there was Abby.

That said, maybe it's intuition, but you know how when you haven't heard the kids talking to themselves, tripping over things, clanging two random objects together, etc etc etc, you feel the need to get up and see what kind of trouble they're getting into?  In an attempt to be optimistic, you imagine rounding the corner only to find them snuggled quietly in your bed, fast asleep.  Or reading to themselves.  Maybe even playing without making noise!  We've found with Abby, you can never check too soon.

Upon returning from the grocery store last night (a new Kroger even, it was very exciting for me), I found this in my bedroom:

That, friends, is a television completely covered in Mommy's Dove Deodorant.  In the same day, she decided to apply some of Ben's anti-itch lotion (that smells like Ben-gay) to her freshly bathed skin, cut open one of these things with scissors to get the little "toys" out from the inside, and help herself to countless pieces of Halloween candy. 

Another thing people say is that if you'd had your second child first, you'd never have had another.  It's too late for us to not have another, but I think there's some truth to that!

Oh Abby.  She definitely keeps us on our toes.

Edited to add:  Poor girl.  I just reread this, and let me say...we wouldn't trade her for the world!  She's nothing if not fun!

Let's Say Thanks

Let's tell our troops how much we appreciate them!


A Little Humor

I did something that brought a smile to my face...at the expense of my oldest...but he's not out surfing the web (yet), so I'm safe.  Just don't tell him.

Ben's had a rough couple of days coping with a mysterious bout of severe hives.  We concluded with some certainty that they had to have been caused by some sort of synergistic environmental reaction as a result of his field trip to the corn maze.

Therefore, I rudimentarily edited a previously posted picture to read as follows:

After all, laughter is the best medicine, right?

Hope you all have a healthy, blessed weekend!

Flashback Friday - My Other Half

Being a single-parent for 3+ days this week really opened my eyes to a few things.  In no particular order, here they are:

1.  Single parents have one of the hardest jobs in the whole entire world.
2.  I do not handle stress well.
3.  "Me time" is critical for sanity's sake.
4.  Sam is invaluable to me as a partner.

I'm sure there were others, but for the purposes of this flashback, I want to concentrate on #4.   

Sam and I are rapidly approaching our seventh (!!!) wedding anniversary.  I cannot even put into words how my life has changed in the past seven years.  I went from being a carefree, teenaged college student, to a wife, to a mother, to a fulltime employee and consequently working mother.  We have been blessed in so very many ways, and now, we stand as an imperfect but amazing family of five.  (When I say imperfect, I'm mostly talking about myself.  But we *all* have our moments.)

Sam is the perfect complement to my crazy self.  While I'm impatient, he's got he patience of a saint.  While I prefer to do mindless, tedious tasks, he's the thinker and problem solver.  I can never relax, and he can fall asleep at the drop of a hat (even minutes before he's slated to do a presentation at a conference for a group of peers...true story!).  When I try to bulldoze the kids into doing something, he slyly tricks them into doing it.  He loves to cook and I like to clean up.  I create clutter and he gets rid of it.  He manages the finances and I manage school lunches, permission slips, snack calendars, and outfits.  I am unable to formulate plans, and he can make an agenda like no other.  Should I continue?

When we met, I knew we were soul mates.  We can chat or sit in silence.  It doesn't matter.  We can laugh together, fight together, and get over it together.  Sometimes life makes it harder to do this as expeditiously as we would want, but that's how life is. 

I think back to our wedding day, and despite the fact that I fail to say it as often as I should, I'm so grateful to have landed in this man's life.  And even if our wedding pictures look like a couple of kids playing dress up, it was beautiful and perfect, and I will treasure the memory of it forever.


To my wonderful husband, thank you.  For your eternal patience with imperfect me. 

How to Know You're a Mom - Holy Cow, It's November!?

You thought that you could outlast your child when they got into repeat-themselves-over-and-over mode.  But you were wrong.  (As it turns out, they don't get tired of doing that.  They will continue on like that FOREVER.)

Sometimes you feel like your life is one big game of Telephone.  (For example you say, "Abby, stop being a bully."  To which she replies, "I'm not a bully [boy].  I'm a girl.")

Sometimes you just rub your cheek on your baby's cheek and breathe in, because there is nothing more intoxicating/de-stressing than the smell and feel of clean baby skin.  (And because you're a parent, it's not even creepy to say that.)

When going anywhere immediately after school/daycare pick-up, you come stocked with snacks knowing full well you don't want to be out in public when the blood sugar crashes.  Oh, and you brought some for the kids too.  (wink, wink)

You plan strategic routes through stores (when shopping with the kids) to avoid things like pudding, toys, candy, and anything fragile.

You do a cart check at the register to make sure your shopping "helpers" didn't add anything to the cart when you weren't looking.  Chances are...they did.

You think your kids are more beautiful/precious/cute than any other children ever.  Then you stop and think, "Oh no, what if they're not cute AT ALL?  And I'm just blinded by love?"  Then you come to your senses and realize that you were right.  They are, in fact, the cutest.

You swore you would never put one of those headbands on your bald baby girl...until you put on her Halloween outfit and realized that she looked like a boy without it.

In an effort to promote independence, you institute tolls/taxes on services provided to your children.  For instance, if they need help opening their fruit snacks, the toll is that they have to share.  (Because, let's face it, those things are tasty.)

When all else fails, a round of "If You're Happy and You Know It" provides a wonderful distraction.

Fringe [list] Benefits

When I got out of the shower this morning, Ben was awake (as opposed to me having to practically shake him by the shoulders while offering bribes of jelly toast and a cartoon).  When I went over to his room, he had "made his bed" (which entailed flattening out his blanket atop the fitted sheet).  When I asked him about it, he said it was because he noticed that I'd been doing it every morning and he "wanted to do that too."  CUTE!

Now I just need to convince him to make mine too.  (wink, wink)

While I'm here, a few more updates:

#4 Vote in all city and county elections.
I had an interesting experience during yesterday's election.  Long story short, I made my selections, pressed 'cast ballot', received an error that said 'ERROR, ballot canceled, see pollworker' and an ejected card, then saw the pollworker who then argued with me that my ballot was in fact cast. With 3 kids, I wasn't able to argue long. Evidently I was not the only person to receive an error after voting.  I thought about it all night long, and contacted the Board of Elections this morning.  I felt terrible for not pursuing it further on the spot.  I feel selfish for admitting it, but I just didn't have the energy with the kids in tow.  Now I feel slightly vindicated for at least reporting it.  To make matters more exciting, the race was so close (there was no majority won) that there is a runoff on December 1st.  I'll have another chance to make my vote count.  This time, I think I'll vote sans kids.  (But pat on the back to myself for taking an interest in local politics and being a responsible adult!)

#29 Convince my mother to schedule her mammogram.
This might well be the most difficult one on the list.  I know that she does not respond well to badgering, and unfortunately that's the best idea I have.  Last week, I sent her a heartfelt plea in the mail last in an attempt to appeal to her emotional side (if not for yourself, do it for your family, blah blah blah).  It wasn't a guilt-trip AT ALL.  ;)  No appointment made...yet.

#40 Begin and maintain a prayer journal.
I started it on Monday night.  I'm so looking forward to seeing how my prayers are answered.  

#90 Get Lost in a Maize Maze

Hip Hip Hooray for Corn Mazes!

Thanks to Ben's kindergarten teacher and the inability of the person she was following to read a corn maze map, I can say that I successfully completed getting lost in a maze of maize!  Hooray for field trips!

This was the first time I've ever been in a corn maze (sad but true).  It was the picture perfect day.  My cheeks even got a little pink from the sun.  Ben only fell in one mud puddle (HAHAHA), and managed to get a spot of it in the most unseemly of places.  (Seriously...click the picture to make it bigger.  Poor kid.)

#90 Check!

#14 and #18...check and check!

#14 Make my bed every day for two weeks before leaving for work. (15+/14)
Did it!  Done.  And I have to say, this one will continue on and on.  It takes zero time/effort to make the bed.  And if I'm already running late, 30 seconds won't make or break anything.  Plus, I get to come home to a bedroom that looks clean.  Hooray!  (Maybe morbid, but I always worry when my house is in disarray that I'll die and people will come to my house and be like, "Eww, this girl lived in deplorable conditions.")

#18 Sell something on ebay.
I was quickly reminded why I don't sell things on ebay.  The buyer was a total jerk.  BUT, I won't say mean things on the internet about people I don't know.  The point is that this thing....

...is out of my house.  Hooray!

Other list-related news:

I have revised the list once again.  I don't know if this is really "allowed", seeing as how I'm one month into it.  I guess it's my list and I can do what I want to (to the tune of "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to").

I removed the one about establishing a family game night after reconsidering how I would include the entire family in an undertaking such as that.  Not to mention, scheduling entertainment like that sucks the joy right out of it for me.  I have felt a conviction and feel that starting and maintaining a prayer journal is a more important thing to have on the list.  I wholeheartedly intend to have fun time with my family, and I hope that it happens more than once a month.  I just don't want it to happen because it's on a list.

#27  Reach two new "tens-places" in my weight.  (For instance, if I start at 480lbs, I need to get to 460.) (0/2)  I am happy to report that I am a mere 1.5 pounds from a new 10's spot.  Although, I admit the Halloween candy isn't helping that go away.

#34   Even when I'm pg, I can't remember to take my vitamin every day.  I have some sort of mental block against taking medicine/pills of any variety.  That being said, I'm on Day 6 of my vitamin.  No, I didn't start it at the beginning of a month, but like I said.  This is my list and I'll do what I want!

#55  We are plugging right along in the arena of Dr. Seuss.  We read #23 last night, putting us beyond 1/3 of the way through the list.

Now that it is November, I need to remember to do my monthly tasks (sending 2 notes of cheer and taking treats to the teachers)!

I hope that this exercise is equally challenging for everyone else taking part in it.  I've already challenged myself to grow and I love it!
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