The Last 1001 Days - Things that didn't make the list...but should have

Today, June 28, 2012, was an ordinary day.  The kids and I woke up late and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast around 10am.  They played on the waterslide in the backyard while I cut the grass.  Then we went to the dentist.  It was as ordinary as it gets...except that 1,001 days ago, I decided that today was going to be the last day I had to complete my list of 101 (mostly random) tasks.  So this seemingly arbitrary day carried with it the air of finality.  I opened the letter that I wrote to myself on Day 1 without much anticipation.  I remembered thinking when I wrote it that it was going to be very anti-climactic to read because I hadn't put down anything "profound."  That was mostly true. 

If you are reading this, you have reached the end of 1001 days.  You are now 28 years old.  Your children are 8,5, and 3.  Hard to believe, no doubt.  I hope that as you completed the 101 things, you learned a little (or a lot) about yourself.  Today, on October 1, 2009, you are stressing over trivial things like if the boys in Abby's class will want to wear princess tiaras [the next day was her birthday party at daycare] and if I'll get ANY sleep tonight.  Hopefully 1001 days from now, you'll be wound a little less tightly.  Congratulations for completing the tasks that you did.  As for the ones you didn't, evaluate that.  Do not forget to make these habits: hug more, say I love you more often, and leave the dishes in the sink.


1001 days is kind of a long time.  I can honestly say that I think I am less tightly wound than I was on October 1, 2009.  I don't stress out like I used to.  I sleep better.  I am contented, no matter what.  And I don't know if I give more hugs or say I love you more often.  Those things are hard to quantify.  But I do know that the dishes are regularly piled up in my sink.  And I spend some serious time loving on this family of mine. 

There were a lot of tasks that I did not complete.  As many as 40, but the official count has yet to be tabulated.  I'm not stressed about this.  I gave it a good go, and if the task is important enough, I'll get to it sooner or later.  For all of those 40 tasks that may or may not be important to me anymore, I "balanced" them (if you will) with some unlisted, totally awesome adventures.  It's been a rollercoaster of a 1001 day period - I wouldn't say the most tumultuous of my life, but it ranks up there.  I wouldn't have changed it for the world.  Before I get to the official count (sometime soonish), here are some of the things I did these last 1001 days....that were not on the list...in no particular order whatsoever. 

Adventures of Jennie 10.1.09 - 6.28.12

Rode a super-stylish mini "Go Car" all over downtown San Diego all the while Sam "beep, beeped" at everyone we passed

Carried and delivered our fourth blessing after being induced on the coolest due date ever (3.6.12).  Leah came out in the posterior position weighing 8lb2oz.  And I did it without pain meds - I knew I could.

Had a kidney stone shattered by lasers, Star Wars-style...twice.

Read more books than "just" 10:
Little Women
The Case for Christ
Family-Driven Faith
Well-Trained Mind (twice)
Redeeming Love
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Took over a dozen meals to friends with new babies or away husbands.

Helped Sam build a bombin' backyard playground.

Helped Sam build a set of bunkbeds so our girls can share a room...or, so all of the kids can cram together into the bottom double bunk...whichever.

Lost my job only to become a "permanent" stay-at-home-mom.

Paid off our debt on a single income.

Learned to listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit in my life rather than do my own thing.

In the process of that, decided to homeschool our kids, even though that idea was completely and totally foreign to me like...15 minutes ago.

Got involved at church by teaching four year olds in Sunday School and 2nd graders in VBS and attending Ladies Bible study on Thursday mornings.

Attended my first homeschool convention in Spartanburg, SC...with a 10 day old.

Successfully drove 4 hours by myself with the four kids from the beach to get to their choir musical dress rehearsal...ON TIME!  It helped that they were exhausted...

Went to Disney World, a place that's just as magical for the adults as the kids, if I might say so myself...

Dipped my toes in the icy Pacific Ocean for the first time.

Tiled the laundry room floor.

Drove my profusely bleeding child to the doctor for stitches without having a nervous breakdown.

Went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA, and Colonial Williamburg (twice).

Went to SeaWorld San Diego & the San Diego Zoo.

Made Chocolate Delight.

Hung out with some fabulous ladies in Atlanta for my first-ever Girls Weekend.

Successfully operated an edger and weed-eater.

Ate real sushi...the raw fish kind.

Procured super awesome free samples in the mail, including Philadelphia Indulgence (chocolate cream cheese) on dry ice and a Keurig coffeemaker and free K-cups for a year.

Learned to french braid (well - it's a start anyway, I'm hardly a pro!)

Stepped out on the Sky Deck of the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Went to Petco Park and saw the Padres WIN a game.

Rejoiced as Ben gave his life to Jesus in VBS.

And many more...

These next 1,001 days will bring about Sam's 30th birthday, our first year of homeschooling, a trip to New England, our 10th wedding anniversary, my 30th birthday, Ben's 10th birthday (what?!), and all sorts of adventures I can't even begin to imagine, provided we're blessed with each and every breath to carry us through them.  I don't know what the future holds, but if it's anything like these past 1,001 days, I'm ready.  And I am so willing.

What I was greeted with first thing this morning: Day 1001
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

The Things I Did Not Do

1000 days ago, I undertook a challenge to create a list of 101 unique tasks to complete in 1001 days.  Being the list-o-maniac that I am, it was the "perfect" challenge for me.  What I came to find out is that in 1001 days, the relative importance of line items is subject to change, be it a matter of heart, mind, or time.

As of this post, I am 41 tasks short.  I have until  tomorrow Thursday, June 28th to complete as many of the remaining 41 as possible.

I'll save some time and anguish by reporting to you today, the ones that will definitely NOT be taking place before said deadline.

#15 Organize a community/court-wide yard sale.
 Over the course of the past 1000ish days, I have taken countless minivan loads full of my-junk-that-might-be-someone-else's-treasures to Goodwill.  After doing some research on the amount of effort required for a meager return, I decided this was the better option.  It was also a good teaching moment for the children, as in "We're giving your toys to a good cause" instead of "We're selling your toys so we can get more money to buy other things we really truly don't need."

#22 Highlight my hair.
I'm not a vain person whatsoever.  In fact, I'm pretty sure "plain" is an excellent adjective for me.  I don't mean that in a demeaning way, just a fact.  I'm sure I'd look better if I did something to my hair, but at the same time, I decided that not too many people can say that they have never chemically altered their hair with color.  Someday, when the grays outnumber the browns, I'm sure I'll bite the bullet and dye it, but for now.  I'm good.  That's what I decided.

#27 Reach two news "tens-places" in my weight.
If you count the weight I gained and lost in pregnancy, then yes, I completed this.  Being that I am not back to pre-pregnancy weight, and it was that weight below which I wanted to go two more tens places, I'm considering this one an incomplete.  And barring a miracle, this is not happening in the next two days. 

#30 Play tennis with Sam at least 10 times, no matter how horribly he kicks my tail.
This one is just sad.  We've played one time in 1001 days.  And he kicked my tail.  Playing tennis with four children is...well...nearly impossible.

#42 Pay for the person behind me at a toll booth.
Missed my opportunities on this.  We have no toll plazas in central Georgia and all of our trips up "north", I just wasn't thinking about it.  

#44 Donate blood at least 3 times.
I used to be a faithful blood donator.  It seems that I've been pregnant or nursing for the past...eight years.  So it's been a while...when I wrote this list, I was neither...and since I missed the year before I became pregnant with Leah, I missed out on this entire task.  (Sam, however, has donated every 8 weeks since he began his job on base in 2006.  Pretty awesome, I think!)

#82 Ride a jet-ski.
I really haven't even had the opportunity to make this happen.  And I'm okay with that.

#83 Go kayaking.
When we were in La Jolla, California last year, we considered kayaking the coves with the "Go San Diego" card we'd purchased that would enable us to do it at a super discounted rate.  We called and basically you have to be an expert kayaker to do it.  When we looked at the water, we realized why.  It was intense!!!  We were sure to end up smashed into a sea wall or eaten by seals.  Ha!


#87 Meet at least two more WOHMs and two more LSMs.
These are two groups of "internet friends" whom I "met" online back when Abby was an infant.  The first group was for Work Out of the Home Moms, and the other was for Late September Moms (which Abby was supposed to have been).  Over the past five and a half years, we've managed to grow a close bond through the ups and downs of motherhood, working out of the home, trials and triumphs, you name it.  We've also arranged several meetups across the country.  I had the privilege of going to a few of these meetings in Baltimore and two in Atlanta during which time I met, in person, these awesome ladies who'd been such an encouragement to me.  As of the writing of this task, I have met two additional WOHMs, but no additional LSMs.  And that's not happening this afternoon, I assure you!

#92 Ride a horse...or at least sit on one.
True story:  I'm mildly afraid of and severely allergic to horses.  So this didn't happen...and it was pretty much all my choice.  Some things on this list dropped in relative importance.  This was definitely one of them.

I'll be back tomorrow or later today with a recap of the completed tasks about which I have yet to blog, and I'll include a new list of things I did instead of the specified tasks in the last 1001 days that are far more list-worthy and exciting than things like, "Growing my own pumpkins."  

Did you make a 101 in 1001 list?  How'd that turn out for you?


It's the most wonderful time of the summer...

Long before summer starts, the planning for Vacation Bible School begins.  I don't know the half of it, but the directors of VBS at Central Baptist Church are absolutely amazing - not at all unlike the Amazing Wonders theme that celebrates various natural wonders around the world. 

After months of planning, weeks of decorating, and I don't even want to guess how many hours of prep-work on the part of hundreds of volunteers, it all kicked off yesterday morning.  Now, over 700 children will spend five mornings learning about God's Word.

This, once again, is the reason I've been a little scarce in the blogosphere.

Our rooms are supposed to look like Victoria Falls...so we've been decorating -

This is the airplane Sam crafted out of a pool float.  (I'm so glad he's on my team...in life.)

Sarah's been decorating too.  Her toes.  With markers.  At VBS.  She found the loophole in the instructions from her teacher which were,  "Don't color on your skin."  She didn't say anything about toenails.  
Clever girl.  Bad...but clever.

It's been a full week already...and we're only to Tuesday.  It's hard to explain, but I'm feeling somewhere in between completely exhilarated and totally exhausted.  Tomorrow, the pathway to salvation will be presented to students in grades three and above.  Please join me in praying for all of these kids this week.

Lord God, we stand amazed by your power.  And we are grateful that You are always in control.  Please help the teachers at VBS as we shepherd these children this week and beyond.  Open the childrens' ears and their hearts to the message of your sacrifice and love for us tomorrow.  May lives be eternally changed through Your Will.  In Your Son's Name.  Amen.


My Grandfather's Clothes

My sister and I reminisced about my grandfather's sense of fashion (or complete lack thereof) the other day.  We shared an endearing laugh over his mismatched plaid flannel shirts and whatever pants he could find.  It was not at all uncommon for him to wear two completely different patterns on the top and bottom.  Half of his clothes were threadbare or had holes in them, but he wore them anyway.  I loved this about him.  He dressed this way for three reasons - (1) he owned the clothes and they fit, so he was going to wear them, (2) he was far too frugal and practical to spend money as long as #1 was still applicable, and (3) he just didn't give a flip.  Period.

The conversation shed some light on my own wardrobe situation, as I looked down at myself and realized the t-shirt I was wearing was four years old and I counted it among my newest. I bought it for $6 from Ben's school when he was in Pre-K so I would match his class when I went on field trips.  The gray yoga capris I was wearing are so worn you can see the elastic through the holes in the waistband almost the entire way around.  From the day I bought them at Sam's Club, I knew they were going to be, perhaps, my favorite article of clothing of all time, and so I could not wait to get back to Sam's Club to buy another identical pair.  That pair is in slightly less appalling condition with one addition - a brown spot that won't come out from spilling wood stain on my thigh back when Sam made Ben's bookshelf about five years ago.

The good pair's waistband - in all of it's elastic showing glory.  No picture of the worse-off ones because, naturally, they're in the washing machine right now since I wore them yesterday.

Poor things.  You can see daylight through them.

A lesser person might have tossed these by now, but oh no, not me.  I will cry real tears the day I have to part with these.

(Like the time my favorite orange Mercer shirt got a hole in the armpit so large that technically the sleeve could no longer be called a sleeve.  It just sort of dangled there.  We happened to be on vacation at the time, so Ben and I ceremoniously tossed it into the dumpster at our condo complex.  It was a tough day.)

Add this to the three styles of shirt (polo, scoop neck, and jersey)  I have from Kohl's in various colors each, a couple of pairs of jeans, and that just about completes my wardrobe (slight exaggeration, but not much...ask Sam).

I dress this way for a variety of reasons, not unlike my grandfather.

1.  I have unrealistic price expectations, which, if a piece of attire does not meet, I will not buy.  For example, in 1996, I bought a pair of jeans for $12.99.  So from that day forward, any pair of jeans costing more than that is, in my mind "a rip off."  Inflation?  No.  That doesn't exist in my mind.

2.  Aside from having to be practically free, any article of clothing I purchase must be comfortable.  I'm talking can't-even-tell-I'm-wearing-it comfortable.  It can't pull or bunch or squeeze unnecessarily.  This is why my closet is full of t-shirts, elastic waistbands, and flip-flops.

3.  I'm boring.  When left to shop for myself I buy solid colors, mostly gray and blue.  On a wild and crazy whim, I let Abby pick out a dress for me at Old Navy the last time we went.  It was pink and floral and loud.  I humored her.  I've worn it twice and never received more compliments in my life.  My five year old has more fashion sense than me.

4.  I am a creature of habit.  I love buying shoes, and I have an unconscionable amount of them.  But when it comes time to leave the house, I put on my same crocs flip flops that have walked a million miles and no longer have any tread on them.

Sam and I have matching ones.  We bought them the same day.  This is what the bottoms look like:

Sam's bear an appropriate level of wear, whereas mine are practically smooth.  I've bitten the dust in slick conditions wearing these more than once.  And yet, I can't seem to part with them. 

The point of this post?  I'm sure there was one once upon a time before it took me two days to write this post, and I went off on a few tangents.  Instead here we are, with me proudly showcasing my tattered clothing. 

I'm pretty sure my grandfather wouldn't have done that.

Do you have any weird clothing quirks?  How about a favorite article of clothing that will cause you to shed real tears when it finally gives out?  What kind of shopper are you?  Do you love buying clothes or wait for necessity to strike?  These are the things I am thinking about today...

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