Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

What I am thankful for today:

*As I write this, it is my favorite night of tv shows.  Kevin's at a movie with a friend so we're DVRing the ones we watch together, and I'm snuggled in my blanket ready to watch my Greys and Private Practice.  Ahhhhh....

*We have an AWESOME steering team (the leadership team) for MOPS next year!!!!  I am so happy to be working with such amazing women, I just love them.  What a heart they have for other moms, that they would give of their time and energy so other moms are blessed.  MOPS is Mothers of Preschoolers and we meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at HOPE - we have maybe 50something or so moms, and we have full hot breakfast, speakers and there is childcare provided - you can't beat it!  Let me know if you want more info - you can google MOPS and find one near you! (ok advertisement over. I could go on and on - I LOVE Mops!)

*This week had its ups and downs, but tomorrow is Friday and the weekend looks fun.  Tomorrow night is Family Fun night at HOPE with "Olympic games" and pizza.  Saturday is breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Applebees with HOPE friends, and Bailey has her first softball practice and game!!!  Sunday we hope to see the new Hop movie, the girls love going to the movies!

*The girls had great report cards.  I'll tell you, report cards are different than when I was a kid - remember the S for Satisfactory?  And Taylor doesn't get checks or letters, she has a booklet, practically, of where she is measuring up with all her goals -- I haven't even gone through the whole thing yet, but from skimming it I didn't see any red flags jump out.  And of course Bailey's teacher wrote she "is a joy to have in class."

*Bailey was diagnosed with strep AGAIN on Monday, but I am happy to say she is on the mend.  I was really concerned this morning when she woke she was coughing - I asked friends and family to pray - and not ONE cough since she came home from school.  Praise God! I would be devastated if she was ill for her dress rehearsal for choir concert this weekend and her first day of softball.  And selfishly, I really enjoyed my time with her, extra snuggling, reading, movies and Wii.  She's my little girlfriend.

*The girls and I had a really fun time going to the Disney store to pick up Tangled.  Their grandparents had bought it ahead of time, which came with a $20 off coupon when you spend $40 - so I let them pick out 2 "no reason" gifts.  We had such a good time, and Bailey did really well - she usually has a terrible time with choices, takes forever, and practically hyperventilates.  But she chose a coloring set which she whispered to me, "Do I have to share this with Tatie or can I hide it?" (she doesn't have to share it) and Tatie chose a Rapunzel soft dollie.  Once we got home Taylor wanted to cut the doll's hair like in the movie and I had a very interesting hour of trying to talk her out of it and explaining the hair wouldn't grow back or change color like in the movie.

*Tatie lost her 2nd tooth tonight!  I was so proud of her for not crying, because it came out unexpectedly, while she was horsing around with Kevin.  And I was proud of myself for not crying, because my baby's getting so big :(

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whatever Wednesday - the man who offered to pay for my milk

I wanted to share this story, really so I don't forget it.  It reminded me that there is human decency in this world, because it is easy to see all that is indecent.

I was at CVS several weeks ago, buying milk and toothpaste.  The milk we needed, the toothpaste I was getting was because I had a coupon, making it free.  Anyway, I go to pay and give the coupon first, and it wouldn't come off the bill.  It wasn't expired and it was the right kind, it just wouldn't work.  I rifled through my purse to find another coupon for it bc I thought I had one.  Seeing a short line form behind me, I told the cashier to forget it, I don't want the toothpaste, but could I have my coupon back.  The cashier wasn't on my wavelength, and was going to get the manager to come over, and I said a few times, "no, please, just take it off, I'll come back."   Anyway, the man behind me said, "I'm sorry to butt in, but can I treat you to that milk."  I didn't understand, and then his eyes told me he thought the problem was that I couldn't pay for the milk.  It took me back - I've never had anyone say something like that to me.   I quickly explained I meant the toothpaste, and that I didn't need the toothpaste, and I definitely had money for the milk!  He said, "well, I wasn't much listening but I see the 2 gallons I figured you have kids at home and in this economy, we gotta help each other out, ya know?"  I thanked him several times, and said I hope he finds someone who needs him to treat them to some milk.

How many people go out of their way on a daily basis for others?  How many people surprise a stranger with random acts of kindness?  Doing so takes thought, time, and sometimes not knowing their reaction means taking a risk.  I remember one time taking a meal to a neighbor down the street who had just had a baby.  I didn't know them, I just saw the stork sign.  While my little ones napped, I made a full meal and when they woke I put them in the double stroller and walked the meal down.  She opened the door, gave me the strangest look, and took the meal with a quick thanks.  I walked away wondering if she really might throw it away by the way she looked at me.  But I knew in my heart that I was doing something I should.

Treating others with respect, kindness and grace is a gift you give yourself, too.  Doesn't it feel good to know you're making a difference in someone's day - maybe even their life?

I don't know that man who offered to pay for my milk - but someday I really hope to be in a situation where I am behind a mom who might need me to pay for her milk, diapers, whatever.  And I promise, I'll tell her I'm paying it forward, and that man's kindness will be honored.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tummy Tuesday

So I didn't have my WW weigh-in on Saturday bc we went to NYC to see Lion King.  We tagged along with my MIL's middle school classes, my mom also went.  It was a wonderful day, complete with an L&M donut in the morning, and a gyro for dinner.  Hmmm....

How am I doing.  I am staying the same, based on my home scale.  Emotional eating is still very much a part of my life.  Last night I ate 3 Thin Mints only because I was watching Last Song, which made me sad, and I needed a pick me up.  I wanted it, so I did it.  Okay, it might've been 4 Thin Mints - I was eating out of the box and only stopped because a friend called me and I had to get up to answer.  If I could figure out the secret of what it takes to WANT something in a particular moment and yet NOT fulfill that desire, I would immediately start to shed.  And begin a multi-billion dollar empire I suppose, as I know I am not alone, by a landslide.  Someone who doesn't understand what I am talking about, would suggest eating sugar free jello instead, or exercising during tv instead of eating.  That really doesn't have anything to do with it, and yet I can't fully explain it.  Self-indulgence, self-protection, self-sabotage all rolled into one...I don't know.  All I know is that I do eat sugar free jello and exercise to tv sometimes.  But then there are these other times, when the thought of me in a bathing suit still isn't enough to deter me, and I overeat.  WHY.  Like I'm saying, I don't really know.  I guess it's similar to any addiction - why would a smoker smoke, even knowing they could die from lung cancer.  Why would a drinker drink, even after his spouse has told him she'd leave with the kids if he didn't stop.  Is the liquor, are the cigarettes that strong?  Yes.  It's so sad, isn't it.

So with each day, I am trying.  Trying to make food choices that are good for my body, trying to move more, trying to understand myself.

Mommy Monday

I have realized over these last several years of being a mommy that there is a lot I do for my girls I am proud of.  I know I love them unconditionally, I take care of them, I would die for them.  With just 2 years of being a social worker before having children, it was still long enough to meet several women who just did not feel this way.  They did not have that "maternal instinct."  Whether it was because of how they were raised themselves, or something actually missing from their heart and soul, they put their own needs first and did not place any (or the appropriate amount of) importance on their children.  Abortions, drugs and alcohol while pregnant, neglect, abuse...the list could go on and on unfortunately.  Now, I do not want to sound judgemental here.  Every woman has her own story, and mine includes being raised by a mom that taught me how to be a mom myself.  I am blessed for that, and I realize that many women didn't have a mom to model appropriate behavior to them.  Financial, physical, emotional, spiritual needs not being met as a child means a woman has a lot to overcome not to repeat that cycle with her own family.

All that being said, I have also realized that while I am a "good" mom in many ways, sometimes I really drop the ball.  Whether it's yelling at the girls because they're fighting and not sitting down with them to work on a resolution peacefully...whether it's turning on a movie for them so I can sit at my laptop instead of doing something with them...whether it's rushing Bailey through her homework because I don't feel like actually teaching her.  I know, isn't that awful?  There are times I feel just down right lazy, and tired of good parenting.  I know, that's awful too.  I read of how friend's or family's kids know things like all the states names, and I feel bad about myself, knowing I don't take the time to teach them that.

Becoming a mom has opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't know about myself.   One thing I have learned is that I always do "better" when I am intentional about my day.  It sounds odd, but actually writing, "play with girls on the floor with the dollhouse" on my to-do list means there's a much greater likelihood I'll do it.  And over time, some things I have had to write on my list have become habits - like praying for our day with the girls before Bailey goes to school.

Maybe if I write "no yelling" on my list everyday, I won't do it as much.  Actually, I have tried that here and there over the years, it doesn't really work.  I don't yell at them a lot but I do yell.  Sometimes quite  loudly.  I truly think if I had just one child I would hardly ever yell, because most of my yelling happens when the two of them are going at each other and I can't take it anymore.  I would think it would be quite calm and quiet with just one child, I just can't imagine that I would "need" to yell hardly ever.   And truly, before I make myself appear like a barracuda, I don't yell all the time!  But I wish I never did.

So for today -- ok, no yelling (this morning doesn't count, 'cause I already yelled at Taylor for following Bailey around the house, singing at the top of her lungs bc she knew it was annoying), I'll play a game with the girls, and I'll read them each their favorite books - which of course are long ones :)  They'll love it, and I'll feel like a "good" mom.  And that's a really, really great feeling.

Spirit Sunday

I didn't get a chance to go to church on Sunday, since B. was sick.  Is sick.  So I haven't had a chance to listen to the sermon on podcast either.  So this week I can't steal Pastor Jeff's ideas...booo....

So I thought I'd tell you my favorite Scripture, and why.  It is the Lord's Prayer.  Growing up, I learned this prayer early on, and we recited it every week in our Presbyterian church.  But I never dissected it, never meditated on it, never felt it.

When Bailey was a baby, as I have said before, I lived in fear of her CF rearing it's ugly head.  I'd hold this precious, rosy cheeked, beautiful baby on my lap and wonder when she'd get sick.  How old would she be when she needed to go to the hospital all the time, like the children I read about on the forums.  Would she be able to keep up with her friends, would she stand out as the "sick kid."  Worst was when I thought - for a second at a time, because it was too unbearable - what if I have to say goodbye to my child.  The average life expectancy is in the 30's...and even though she was a young baby and that was years and years away, it filled me with a feeling I can only describe as the devil.  It is the worst feeling I have felt to date -- and it wasn't even real.

That fear can still sneak up on me at times.  I love reading the Lord's prayer because it reminds me of ONE DAY AT A TIME.  "Give us THIS DAY our DAILY bread..."  Isn't that interesting that Jesus uses day twice in one sentence?  It must be important!  The whole prayer itself gives me a sense of peace, but this in particular confirms that we are not supposed to get ahead of ourselves.  I believe God wants us to prepare for the future yes, but I also believe He wants us to be "present" in THIS day.  If we are worrying or too focused on the future, how can we live for Him today?

I was not honoring God by being so fearful about Bailey's future.  I was not giving Him room to be glorified by how well she was doing TODAY.  I was not praising Him for her health - I was pleading with Him to not take away her health.  I am thankful that I am not that same young scared mommy I was when Bailey was little, I would hate for her to see me like that.  Instead, I stand firm on God's promise to prosper us and not harm us, to give us hope and a future.  (that's Jeremiah 29:11 - the verse I have hanging over Bailey's bed).

I encourage you to ask God to point you towards a verse that you can return to over and over again as a source of peace, guidance and love.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sales Saturday

I'm too lazy to get up and find my receipts from ShopRite, but after 2 trips this week I spent around $37 and saved around $140.  This week I will hopefully not spend that much, it's a slow sale week.  I have to go to ShopRite instead of another store because I have $49 in catalina money and there's no way I am letting that go to waste!  I'll use it towards milk, produce, eggs, bread and lunchmeat.  Those are things I have to buy every week.

Ok so here are a few more tips for you.

*There are more ways to get coupons other than just printing them off the internet and getting the Sunday paper.  You can buy coupons from different sites (legally, you're not buying coupons, you're "paying for someone's time to cut them") or you can do things like Cellfire and text coupons.  Cellfire's website has different groceries listed - enter your cell # and birth year, pick your grocery and then you click the coupons you want to save to your store loyalty card.  The great thing about this is that you can use a regular paper coupon on top of that.  Target has text coupons - you load coupons onto your cell phone and show it to the cashier when you check out.

*Speaking of Target, you can "stack" a Target coupon with a Manufacturers coupon.  Meaning, if you go to and print out the coupons you select, it is a store coupon.  It says "Target coupon" on the top.  When you pay, use that and also a like coupon that says "Manufacturers Coupon" at the top.  ie - say Target has a $1 off of 2 Kraft cheese products coupon, and in the paper there was a Manufacturers coupon for $1 off 2 Kraft.  That's actually then $2 off of 2 products...wait for a sale where they have Kraft cheese at 2 for $3, and you get 2 products (like string cheese, shredded cheese, etc) for $1.  A good price!

*When there is a good sale - even better, a great sale - buy enough to last your family for at least a few months, unless it can't be frozen or is perishable.  Of course this means trying to get your hands on a good number of coupons for the same product and also having the space to store it.  Don't be a hoarder and get all crazy, but buy what your family will realistically use.  This really saves time and your budget - you don't have to run to the store and you bought it at a much lower price.

*Make a list of everyone who you buy for at Christmas and throughout the year for birthdays.  As items are on sale - especially if you have kids and they're invited to a lot of birthday parties! - buy it.  For instance, at Christmas time, Target had a great Hasbro games sale and there were Hasbro games coupons online that I printed off.  I bought a bunch for a few dollars each (like Twister, Operation, etc).  Actually, post Christmas clearance is a great time to load up on your kids' friends' birthday gifts for throughout the year.  A great way to see what is on sale without being at the store ('cause then you'd probably buy stuff you don't need!) is to subscribe to coupon blogs like A Thrifty Mom, Couponing to Disney and Living Rich with Coupons.  They're my faves.  They do a lot of grocery store coupon match ups, but they also let you know when there's random great deals, like getting 2 years of Redbook magazine for $5.  Really!

*Eating out at restaurants is another way to use coupons.  Or if you don't have a coupon, try to go to a place that has a 2 for $20 deal or something like that.  Out with the kids, try to go on a night when they eat free - shows you what restaurants and which day of the week they offer free kids meals.

*Groupon and LivingSocial are ways to get basically what is a gift card, for more money than you paid for it.  For instance, speaking of eating out, I bought a $30 gift card for Pasta Pomodoro in Voorhees for $15.  I also bought a $200 Groupon for $95 to a local hair salon for a cut and highlights, and a Living Social deal where I got 2 movie tickets through Fandango for $9 total.  Every day these sites have a different deal.

*Look at saving money like a part time job.  It's easy to get frustrated with keeping up, cutting, printing and organizing coupons.  I remember when we spent HUNDREDS of dollars a month (and I don't mean a few hundred) on groceries, toiletries, toys, renting movies and random things like printer ink.  I save as much money now as I would make at a part-time job and I love it SO much more!  I can do it when I want, for as long as I want, as much as I want...and at home with my babies.  Well, they're not babies anymore which is why I have time.  :)  You mommies of little ones take heart if you'd like to coupon but the thought of breastfeeding and scouring the circulars at the same time doesn't sound appealing to you.  Or even feasible.  You will be able to someday...and every little bit counts.

More tips next week :)  If you ask me a question, I can try to answer!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flash Back Friday

Tomorrow we are going to see Lion KIng on broadway in NYC.  My MIL goes with her classes every year - she is a middle school gifted arts teacher - and for the last few years we have gone too.  This will be Tatie's first year, we're so excited for her, she will love it.  She loves musicals - at Christmastime we went to see Les Miserables at the Papermill - she is Eponine when she sings along to the soundtrack.  She empathizes with the characters experiencing great tragedy.  I don't know why, she just likes them the best.  Bailey of course, loves whoever is closest to a princess.

Anyway, every single time we go to anything like this, I think of my dad.  He loved music, he loved plays....well, if they were good.  I laugh thinking what he would say listening to our kids choir at church.  The kids try, and they are all so precious, but it is what it is - a kids choir.  It hurt his ears to hear music if the "intonation" was off.  Or if one person sang louder than the others.  And it hurt his eyes to see someone tapping their foot - he said true musicians keep rhythm inside, they don't need to tap their feet.  He just was so terribly opinionated, because he valued good music so much.  And he was good - amazing, actually.

Music was the love of his life.  He loved his family - but we had a lot of stress in our home, and he had a lot of stress growing up too.  Music embraced him.  Music only made him feel good.  Choirs throughout all of Jersey wanted him, and he had special solo engagements too.  He could play almost any instrument, and we had many - even a baby grand piano and 2 upright pianos.  I know!!  But that's how much he loved music.  Unfortunately, as much as he wanted my brother Andy and I to follow in his footsteps, he wasn't a good teacher and both Andy and I really dropped our involvement in band and choir as soon as we were able to.  My dad wanted us to practice for hours, and it was very hard for him to hear us mess up.  Which of course we did.  Both Andy and I love music now - albeit in very different ways!  I wish I could tell my dad how much I love music, how I value it in my life.  I put my Chopin on every morning.  I'm trying to raise my girls to love music too, and they seem to, especially Taylor.  I wonder what Dad would say about Tatie belting out her showtunes, without a care in the world for "intonation."  I guess it doesn't matter what he'd say - she wouldn't care about that either.

He would have loved going to see Lion King with the family.  I'll think of him tomorrow.  I wish he would've had a chance to be a Grandpa, I really believe he would've been a good one.  But this much is for sure -- if he had tried to correct Taylor, they would've gone head-to-head, I think she may be just as stubborn as he was.  But he would've been proud of her - and of Bailey - and that much is for sure too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Top 10 things I love

I don't know why I'm into top 10s...I really don't. But here's another.

Top 10 Things I Love

*Disclaimer - don't feel bad if you're left out...on any given day there's a good chance I could leave my own flesh and blood off this list.  Nah...never.  But you get what I mean.

10.  Reliving memories.  I'm very sentimental - so much so that it's actually difficult for me to see home videos.  Weird, I know.  But I love a good story, or laugh about something that just a family or friends share.  It makes me feel all warm and cozy.

9.  When I get something new done to the house.  I know, something so materialistic shouldn't be on a love list, but since I spend hours upon hours inside my house every day, I love when we finally renovate something.

8. Even though I do spend those hours upon hours inside my house, I love being a SAHM.  It hasn't been all romance, but I am thankful every day to wave my girls off to school and be here when they get home.  When they were little, I was especially grateful, that with Bailey's CF and Tatie's SPD they could stay with me.  I am thankful to be home on their snow days and take care of them on their sick days.  I know that I'll get a job soon, and money will come (right?!).  But these days of being able to take care of young children, are so fleeting.  And more so when they were little than now, but they thought I was their world, and I hung the moon.  That was the best feeling.  Well, when they weren't screeching at me. And you know what kid I'm talkin' about.

7.  My family -- I don't mean Kevin and the girls, although of course I love them, I mean my mom, brother, and Kevin's side too.  We love each other, and look out for each other.  Namely, my mom is precious to me.  She loves me more than I think anyone else does.  Really.  She would do anything for me, and has.  She genuinely "gets" me and wants the world for me.  She still babies me when I'm sick.  She would ALWAYS have my back, even if I'm wrong.

6.  Speaking of family, my mom has a large family (she's one of 9) and my dad had a pretty good size too (he was one of 4). So I love family get togethers.  I love seeing my Uncle John - although it's somewhat painful - because he reminds me so much of my dad.  His eyebrows, the fire and animation of his eyes (only a Hiscott could really understand that), his passion for nutrition and helping his family understand what's good for them. I love seeing my mom's sisters, because of the incredible bond they share with my mom.  I love seeing my cousins, a lot of them call me Brynnie and I love that.  I'm especially close with one cousin and we try to see each other at least once a year and her children are close with mine, which I so appreciate.  Because they don't have any real cousins yet of their own...Kevin's brother and my brother are taking their sweet time.

5.  My friends - of course.  I am so blessed to have wonderful friends - a few from Toms River, where I grew up so they are my roots; a few from my 4 years working at Great Adventure - they're so fun; a great group from college who I will always love dearly and saw my start with Kevin, and now an awesome group from HOPE, our church - they have known us only as a family, and they love my whole family.  I LOVE having friends.

4.  Living in America. Sure, I get disappointed in the politics, or frustrated when Bailey's CHOP bills loom over me, but there is NO other place I want to be.  How blessed I am to be here, how blessed!!

3.  My children.  They are my heart, my loves.  My greatest achievement...all that cliche stuff.  But truly, I couldn't imagine loving anything more, than my 2 girls and what being a mommy has meant to me.  I ADORE them.

2.  Kevin Andrew.  He is my best friend, and so much more (duh...we've got 2 chillens).  Every single day I love it when he walks through the door.  When the kids were younger, I thought it was because I would throw them at him.  Literally..."Catch Kevin, here ya go!  The big one hasn't let me put her down all day and the little one won't nap, they're all yours!"  But really, I just feel better when he's around.  He's my teammate.  I really like him most of the time too, which helps.  I feel very fortunate that God blessed me with a loving husband and caring father of my babies.  And as I write this, he's out there making the money - which he then hands over to his 3 girls - you can't beat that.

1.  My God, my Creator, my Savior.  I love the Lord.  Perhaps the best compliment I have received all year was being called an "unapologetic Jesus lover" by a friend.  Oh yeah I am!  I am thankful to believe, thankful to feel the love of Christ alive and moving in my life...and in the lives of my family.  It doesn't mean my life is perfect - far from it.  It means I have a relationship with Jesus that is more than going to church or reading the Bible.  It's an ever-present presence of peace, grace and joy in my life...even when I am under great stress.  I know that Bailey's CF won't be cured tomorrow, or that Tatie may always have difficulties I wished she didn't.  But my faith allows me to have hope for tomorrow - that no matter what, God will work all things together for a greater good, even if I don't understand it.  I love believing.

And if you actually read this whole post, it must mean you are a dear one to me, so I love you :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top 10 things that make me laugh

Amanda - this is for you.

Top 10 things that give me a chuckle.  or a snort.  or the kind of belly laugh that makes me pee.

1.  Movies like Hangover and 40 Year Old Virgin.  I especially love to see them with Kevin and friends whose laughs I like.  You know what I mean.

2.  Speaking of Kevin, he's hilarious.  Thank God for that.  I don't know if we could have hung in there - at least happily - over the years if the man couldn't crack a joke.  He is REALLY funny!  He does stupid stuff like talk to me through our dead dog, who calls me bitch a lot.  I know it's weird but it works for us.

3.  Taylor's smokers laugh is my favorite sound in the whole world and I can't help but laugh when she does.  She has polyps on her vocal cords from her infancy/toddler years of crying (no I'm being serious - we took her to an ENT, who put a thing down her throat.  She literally screamed so much she got polyps.  He estimates they'll be gone by adolescence).  Anyway, her voice can get hoarse easily, and her laugh is deep for a 5 year old.  I LOVE it.  Deep love.

4.  Going out to dinner with my "work" girlfriends.  We worked together as social workers for 2 years and here it is, what, 9 years later and we still get together somewhat often.  They crack me up!  My one friend always has a hilarious first date story, we keep telling her to write a book.

5.  When we're on vacation with Kevin's side of the family, we call ourselves the Butt family.  Because we are loud, obnoxious..."that" family.  It could be embarrassing if it didn't crack us up.

6.  Thursday night tv - Office, 30 Rock - I LOVE Liz Lemon.  "Ugh they forgot my onion rings.  This place can eat my poo."

7.  Ree Drummond - she has that blog, Pioneer Woman...I love reading her blog, even just her recipes.  She makes everything funny.

8.  My childhood friend Kimmie, we have so many memories of making each other laugh.  We're both married with kids now, so we're boring.  But we have our memories.

9.  Speaking of friends, I have several friends that every time I see them I laugh.  Not 'cause they're funny looking, 'cause they're all babes.  But the way we talk, we just end up laughing.  I love those kind of friends.  I also love the kind of friends that make me think, cry, talk...I just love friends basically.  Love.

10. The family stories that if other people heard they'd think, so what, but between family it's hilarious.  Like when my mom yelled at us when Kevin and I took the wrong exit on the way to OBX but then the next year SHE did the same thing.  And then was so mad she wouldn't talk to us.  We couldn't stop laughing, I couldn't speak.  We love that story - and really, it's lame.  Or how about when Bailey was little, like 2, and she'd cry unconsolably every time we'd laugh.  Or anyone would laugh - like people at the next table at a restaurant.  And it just made us laugh harder, she was so cute!! Her little lip out, her huge brown eyes all watery...bless her.  We laughed at her.

So that's what gets my goat.

Thankful Thursday

Some things this week I am thankful for:

* I love being a MOPS coordinator, but it's a lot of work.  This week we didn't have a MOPS mtg or leadership mtg, so I really appreciated the break.

*Girls are relatively healthy.  Tatie has a cough that's still lingering, and Bailey has a booger problem that's still lingering, both otherwise ok.

*My husband is having a successful week at his job.

*Everyone I love is safe.  That's not something to take lightly in this world.

*I finally got caught up in getting my pictures developed.  Next up, getting them in the albums and labeled.

*As I write this, Curtis Stone is on the tv.  He's dreamy.

*I moved on to World 6 on Wii's Super Mario.  This made my children proud of me.

*On Saturday we're going to see Lion King on broadway with the girls in NYC - we're so excited!  And equally as excited for the Olive Garden lunch, a family fave.

Much love to all - here's to being thankful!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whatever Wednesday

This is totally random, but it's what I feel like saying.

So there.


1.  The sound of people kissing.  If it's on tv, I have to mute - I can't stand it.

2.  Any kind of bug.

3.  Dirt, cat hair and dust.  They plague me and I'm sick of it.

4.  My kids crying for no reason.  Well, I'm sure they have some kind of reason, even if it's something like just getting their way.  Regardless, the sound annoys me.

5.  Bad drivers.  Drivers going 25 in a 45.  Old people that don't have a clue, they should be playing bridge in old-people college (what I call assisted living), not driving on our roads.  Drivers on their cell phones, not paying attention.  My husband.  WAIT - I didn't just say that, he'd kill me.  He's not a bad driver.  He just doesn't drive how I do, and I'm better....

6.  People who give my children dirty looks.  Hmm - this may make my "Top 10 Things I Hate" instead of annoy.  After over 7 years of getting some looks, I take it more in stride now, but it still annoys me.  Who do you think you are, get over yourself.

7.  The sound of gum-chewing.  (I must have an auditory processing disorder or something, I am realizing how much certain sounds annoy me.)

8.  Judgemental people.  Kind of goes with #6 but it's that annoying to me.  Perhaps I judge the judgers, oh well.

9.  Bumping into things.  I have a smaller house than I'd like, and I feel like I am always trying to squeeze past something, or try to create more space somehow.  I AM grateful for what I have but when I see people that have these big, beautiful homes with things like a WALK-IN CLOSET, or a bathroom with 2 sinks, I have house-envy!!  And that annoys me, about myself.

and for the final, annoying annoyance...

10.  When my tv shows aren't new episodes.  Parenthood - I miss you.

Posts to come:

Top 10 things I hate
Top 10 things I love
Top 10 people that inspire me

Any other ideas for a Top 10?

Tummy Tuesday

So even though I have a few readers, I started this blog really for myself.  I love writing, I love "venting" on paper.  Easier than handwriting in a notebook.  I have entries I've never published, and a few I have I thought twice about, but wanted to be honest and let it fly.  I figure if I have these feelings, someone else does, and maybe that person needs to read about someone that's just like her.

Here's honest and I'm letting it fly.

I gained .6 at my last meeting.  Not doing so hot here.  When I joined WW I was so pumped up, and had visions of myself shrinking before my very eyes.  And your eyes.  So I am embarrassed to admit to you that I am not losing weight.  Since New Year's I've dropped 5 lbs.  I am happy to have those 5 lbs off, but so far from where I hoped to be by this point.  The worst part is not that my pants are not looser, but how I feel about myself.

Someone who has never struggled with weight is probably wondering, so what's your problem?  You want to lose weight, just do it!  I hear you.  I say it to myself.  

I am going to keep at it though.  I LOVE the Weight Watchers meetings.  I love our leader Kathy, she "gets" it and is so encouraging and wise.  The group is great.  Although I have been lax in the last 2 weeks, this week I have been tracking my points -- even when I have to write down that the peanut butter cookies I ate were probably 4 points each.  Oh but they were fresh out of the oven... I had 2.  With a glass of cold milk.  Yum.

So you can see that this is going to be a very, very long road for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mommy Monday

True confession.

I never make my kids eat vegetables.  I have been "making" them eat fruit every day, but I never make them eat a vegetable.  I have tried "tricks" which has resulted in the following:

*After mixing sweet potato puree into mac and cheese, both girls boycotted mac and cheese for about 6 mos.  This was bad for 2 reasons - 1.  It is one of their main dinners that is easy to make and they both like and 2.  They actually eat the "healthy" kind of mac and cheese (whole wheat, organic - most of the time).

*Taylor has projectile vomited when I lied and said an asparagus spear tastes like a green french fry.  This really was one of my poorer choices, again for 2 reasons - 1.  She knows I'm part-liar and 2.  She was very wary of anything green...I don't know why I just wrote "was" - she still is.

*In including my kids in helping me make dinner, which the experts claim will liken them to eat more veggies, my kids later refuse to eat said dinner, because "I know what's in that, and I'm not eating it."

*We tried growing our own vegetables, which again the experts said will liken the kids to eating them.  Not only was our garden a flop, but Bailey especially was relieved, because she said it'd be really disgusting to eat a vegetable that grew in dirt.  I explained that they all do, and she added this information to the mental checklist she has, "Why I Hate Vegetables and Never Want to Eat Them, Ever.  Ever."

*For awhile, I was including a small serving of veg on their plate with dinner, saying they had to eat that small serving.  "Making" them.  This resulted in both girls dreading dinner time, which I really didn't want.  And by dreading,  I mean full-on screaming, crying, pleading when I started fixing dinner.

SO...I am not a "good" mom that feeds her kids veggies.  I don't put it on their plate, and I don't make them eat it "so they can have dessert."  I just put it on the table for Kevin and I to eat (I'd say enjoy, but my late-in-life-veggie-eating-husband wouldn't attach the word enjoy to vegetables ) and I offer it to them each time.  They do eat fruit - not all fruits but several, especially in smoothies - and I give them a multivitamin.  My hope is that if I continue to offer it, one of these days one of them (and then the other one, who wouldn't want to be left out) will say, "ok, a little."  Kevin, who never ate veggies growing up, now says, "ok, a little" when I offer him the maybe they'll be like their dad.

In the meantime, I'll keep cutting up bananas and scooping out applesauce.

Spirit Sunday

I really should take notes during Pastor Jeff's sermons.  Why don't I?  Because I am already overwhelmed by paperwork in this house, and I try not to bring any more in when I can help it.  But I always end up regretting not writing down certain things he says - I have a terrible memory.  Really terrible.  What was I talking about...

Pastor Jeff's sermon.  He is continuing his series on evangelizing, and he shared this clip.  PLEASE give it a chance - it's a bit lengthy ( a few minutes) and this man (a comedian I think - he looked familiar but I don't know him) tended to repeat himself a few times.  Although, actually, what he repeated I found pertinent to his story - it affected him so greatly, he kept saying it.

Anyway, I wanted to share this with you.  PLEASE give it a chance !

Interesting, right?  I want to make clear that this man is still an avid atheist, he has not converted to Christianity.  I checked out other self-made videos of his and these are his words, "My name is Penn Jillete and THERE IS NO GOD."

But how fascinating that this man, who so adamantly believes (for now, or perhaps for the rest of his life) in no God, also believes in evangelizing.  He called it proselytizing.  And it really struck me.  Yes, I do believe it is my duty as a Christian to share my faith, through as many avenues as possible.  I try to reflect my beliefs in my words and actions, within my family's behavior, through my role as MOPS coordinator, even on this blog and FB.  But do I approach strangers?  Never.  The closest I get is to say, "God bless" to someone.

Just really thinking about this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sales Saturday

I am pleased with how I did this week at the grocery.  I only went to ShopRite, but I stopped by twice, on my first trip I spent $19.55 out of pocket, and saved $121.71.  My second trip I spent $1.83 and saved $14.96.  No trips to CVS or Rite Aid.

More and more I am having friends and even strangers at the store ask about couponing and how to do it.  I've said it before so pardon if I'm annoying, but I LOVE the website Living Rich with Coupons - she's on FB too.  I am so thankful for her site, it makes couponing much easier for me.  But here are a few random tips from me.

*Don't even start "couponing" unless you are interested in it.  Once you get a system down, it is not too bad, but it is time consuming.  If you know you'll hate cutting/printing/organizing coupons, don't.  Instead, pay a lot more attention to your circulars.  These come in the mail usually on Thursday or Friday.  I used to be so annoyed and now I can't wait to get them!!  Anyway, look through the different ones and circle items your family needs or wants that are a good price.  The store that has the best sales gets your business that week!!

*Buy coupons off Ebay.  For example. a week or 2 ago, there was a coupon in the Sunday coupon insert (out of the Sunday paper) for "free or up to $3 off" any size Purina One Beyond dry cat food.  We have 3 cats so I view this as a hot coupon.  I have several from my coupon friends and ones I got myself, but I also ordered 40 off of Ebay.  This cost me almost $15, but the value of the coupons is $120.  This cat food has a long shelf life, so I can store them in my garage easily.  My ShopRite will not let me get all 40 at once, and I wouldn't want to clear them out like that anyway - so over the next month I will get cat food every time I go to the store, in groups of 4.  Most stores put a limit of "4 like coupons" in one transaction.

*If you are close to a neighbor that gets a Sunday paper, ask if they use their coupons and if they don't, would they mind giving them to you.  One of my neighbors bless her heart, cuts out what she wants and then hangs the rest of the circular on my door in a bag.  I also get coupons from my in-laws, my fake sister-in-law, and my couponing group of friends.  Your couponing pile will add up.

*View coupons as money.  First of all, most grocery stores double the face value of a coupon - .50 off becomes $1, etc.  Wouldn't you pick up a $1 off the street and feel good about it?  Same with saving $1. Every little bit adds up.

*Find a good way to organize your coupons, and a good time to do it.  I personally have a coupon binder.  It is a large 3-ring zippered binder, filled with baseball card sleeves and dividers.  I picked it up from Staples and I call it my baby.  TMI?

*Keep track of your savings, it motivates you.

*Menu plan and if you can, designate a morning a week (or evening, whatever) to prepping your meals. Chop veggies, shred cheese, etc.  Even make the whole meal.  What does this have to do w couponing?  First, plan your meals around the sales.  Pork is $1.49/lb?  That's a great price.  Buy a huge tenderloin (around $15) and cut it up into sections - you'll probably get at least 4 meals out of it for a family of four. I AM a family of four, but 2 out of our 4 won't eat pork - so for us we get at least 6 or 7 meals out of it.  I will freeze most (yes, I am blessed to have an extra freezer in my garage - an investment I think is a great idea for couponers but mine was free!) but also have BBQ pork or pork fried rice that week.  Second, you save money by not having 5pm roll around and you don't care what it costs to order take-out, you are NOT doing one more thing that day by making dinner.  Been there done that - and still do.  But less often.

*Sometimes it pays to stop at an extra store that week.   Farmers markets, drugstores, groceries.  Yes, time is money, but if you save $50, spending an extra hour and 1/2...and buy exactly what you need and want...that's time well spent.  Same with couponing.  If you spend 2 hours a week, but save $60 - that's $30/hour.  Not bad, right?

*Ok I already said something along these lines, but that's how important I think this is - if you want to get into couponing, get a friend who wants to do it too.  It is so much more fun.  You can share coupons, tell each other about deals, meet up at a diner while you go organize or cut your coupons.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flash Back Friday - Taylor Elise's birth story, and then some

I found out I was pregnant with Taylor on February 4, 2005.  Bailey was 16 mos old and we hadn't decided yet what we would do about having future children.  Because of Bailey's CF diagnosis, we didn't know if we should (there's a 25% chance any time we have children that they'd have CF) - but I definitely wanted more, so perhaps we'd adopt.  But I wasn't feeling right, and the next day I was going dress-shopping for my best friends wedding so I thought I should take a test before I ordered a dress.  I wasn't even late yet, but there were the lines on the test.  I took it while little Bailey was in the bathtub, and I remember looking at her and being so happy she'd have a sibling, but I was also very scared.  I felt guilty that I hadn't prayed enough before conceiving that our next child wouldn't have CF.  I know that's not how "God works" but I felt that if I had prayed, and our child still had CF - God allowed that to happen.  Kind of like it took the blame from my hands.  But if I didn't pray and it happened, I allowed it.  Does that even make sense?

I called to tell Kevin in a panic - this was the second time he received the news we were expecting this way.  No balloons or cute "you're a daddy" t-shirts for him -- he gets his crying but laughing, scared but also happy wife on the phone.  Oh well.

I threw up just as much with Taylor as I did with Bailey - and FYI, with both of them I still gained about 40lbs each.

I felt best at night, so before going to bed I'd have a full meal - my fave was grilled chicken sandwich, cheddar cheese on top.  Fries on the side - way on the side so they didn't get mushy.  With black rasberry ice cream, whipped cream and extra cherries thank you very much - or should I say thank you Kevin, he was my go-to-boy.

Everyone needs a go-to-boy.

We found out we were having a girl and I was so happy!  I always wanted a sister, so I was so happy the girls would have each other.  I remember asking Kevin if he was disappointed and he said, "How could I be disappointed when I love Bailey so much?  I will love another girl just as much."

Have I mentioned lately that I like him.  He's rad.

During this pregnancy, I saw a specialist again bc of the blood issue and now also bc of the CF possibility.  At every ultrasound - like once a month - they (because it was a practice, saw different peeps all the time) would ask me over and over to get tested and I kept refusing.  I found it offensive that they kept including, "You still have time to persue all options."  Finally I told them to write it in huge permanent marker all over my folder that I was NOT getting tested for CF and I would NOT have an abortion.  So disgusted.  Why didn't I want to get tested?  Because it didn't matter.  The mutation that Kevin and I have combines to create a mild mutation, so there is nothing in utero or after birth that needs done.  I would just worry, so why do that?  After Tate was born we had her blood tested and found out she is a carrier of my gene (thankfully the mild one) but doesn't have it.  Praise God!

So about this blood issue -- before I was ever pregnant, I got tested for something called Factor V Leiden, as it is a clotting disorder and my dad died from a Pulmonary Embollism.  They determined I had Factor V - which was upsetting bc you think about your own mortality, you know?  They weren't treating me for it, and wouldn't unless I was pregnant or as I got older, but told me not to take birth control hormones.  So that explains these 2 babies I have -- because ALL other forms of birth control in my opinion, are the "you can run but you can't hide" variety.  With Taylor I was even more shocked than with Bailey - truly to this day, I think it's a miracle she's even here.  But it only takes one little guy to make his way through somehow...

I'm getting sidetracked.  Anyway, I got retested after Tate was born for Factor V bc I was having no issues.  I don't have it.  Then last year I took yet another test bc which test was right?  I do have a blood thing but not FV.  I'm glad I was wrongly diagnosed, bc perhaps wouldn't have the 2 children I do, so I view the mess-up as God's hand at work and I am SO grateful. So, so grateful.

So here she is.  I was scheduled for a C-section bc after my hell having Bailey, I didn't even want to try a V-bac.  Her delivery was smooth as silk.  I had her at Virtua and I loved everyone I dealt with.  The anethesiologist  was someone I wish I could move into my house -- she sat at my head the whole time and spoke softly to me and stroked my forehead.  I loved her.  I miss her.

Anyway, this time I got to see my baby be born.  They lifted her out and I was sobbing, I was so happy. They brought her to me and I got to kiss her and I remember saying to Kevin she didn't look like Bailey.  I remember looking at her ears and was so happy that she had Kevin's ears bc I don't like mine - Boo has Kev's ears too.  And Taylor's chin dimple was even deeper than Bailey's!!  They finished me up, cleaned Taylor and about an hour later I had her in my arms.  I remember I kept looking at the clock and asking Kevin to ask again if she was done, I wanted her.  She was a great nurser, and bc Bailey had stopped nursing before I wanted her to (at 5mos and there was no wooing her back), I had really looked forward to feeding her.  Both my girls roomed in with me, and I didn't like them being out of my sight.  ALTHOUGH with Tate, on my 3rd day I let the nurses keep her while I napped for just a bit bc I had no visitors and I wanted to rest up before leaving.  I should've rested up more.

We got home and all was fine for like a day.  Then she started screaming and didn't stop until yesterday. No I'm just kidding -- but she screamed A LOT.  We thought she had colic, then after 6 mos they started testing her for things that could be wrong.  We had her x-rayed, we took her to a gastro dr, and an ENT just to name a few.  Fast forward until she was over 3 and she was finally diagnosed with sensory disorder.  Our life changed dramatically, and I will forever be grateful to Sensational Kids for our start in the right direction.

Taylor Elise is a joy in my life, to put it mildly.  In her short 5 years she has taught me so much.

I think I'll keep her.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday.

Today is St Patricks Day.  That's all, I don't really have anything else to say about that.  Because my brain has become mush, I don't really recall the historical significance of it - I think it was a good reason though so Yay Irish people.  Go you.  Or something.

So even though it's not my thing...I DID wear green and I DID like to see everyone enjoy themselves.  The girls had a good time at school, the kids at the park seemed happy, you FB friends were eating green pancakes and corned beef (never had it).  Everyone likes something to celebrate, even if the majority of the people don't even know what they're celebrating.

Or do they all know, and I'm the only dumb one.  Hmm.

Anyway, here is my thankfulness list.

1.  Tatie had a playdate this morning, and Bailey had a playdate after school.  The girls and I also decided we're going to have a Tanged party when we get the movie, and they can each invite a few friends.  One of my New Years resolutions was to do more things with friends - for the girls too also - and I feel like we're actually living up to that one. 

2,  Kevin is doing well at his job, which we are very grateful for. 

3.  This weather!!

4.  This weekend Kev and I are going to AC for the day with Kevin's brother Scott, and his girlfriend.  Who I love.  So it'll be a really good time.  This is our Christmas present to each other - instead of buying gifts, we choose an activity.  And then on Sunday we're going to a middle school show of Beauty and the Beast, so lots of fun.

5.  Another normal day.  With seeing what the Japanese are enduring, vacuuming and laundry seems pretty damn privileged.

6.  Taylor has off from school tomorrow, I'm looking forward to palling around with her in the morning and then in the afternoon we have a playdate planned, so more fun-ness!

7.  Tonight I took a walk...and even jogged some.  I know, I can't believe it either!!  I stopped after a bit -  I didn't want to scare the children playing if I passed out clutching my chest outside their house.

8.  Private Practice is new tonight, I'm watching it right now.  Perhaps it has contributed to that whole brain-mush thing I have going, but I don't care.

9.  Taylor was really coughing and snotty yesterday morning, but seemed pretty good today.  Bailey has also been doing better with her breathing and coughing.  Yay!

10.   I have fresh sheets on my bed.  The good kind of sheets, because my mom saw we had old, torn sheets and she took pity on us.  Before you think we had nasty sheets because we be po', that's not why.  The girls each have 3 sets of beautiful, soft sheets.  But when you have a few bucks, it's always easier to spend it differently than buying the high thread-count sheets.  But they are so worth it, thanks Mom!!

Bonus #11.  My mom rocks.  She not only gave us luxurious sheets, when she comes to visit me sometimes she makes our bed.  And throws in a load of towels.  And straightens up the girls rooms.  And scrubs my stove.  Well, that she does because she can't stand how nasty I let it get, it hurts her eyes. Anyway, you get the gist -- she still mothers me.  And THAT is awesome.  I love her.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Whatever Wednesday - a bit early, cause I knew you were waiting

For some reason, this new year I have been thinking a lot about the kind of person I want to be.  I don't know why - maybe because I have more time with Bailey being in school full day and Tatie half day.  Maybe because I feel like I lost myself over these past 7+ years as a Mommy, so I am starting over.  Maybe because I'm sick of me, so I'd like to change me a bit.  For whatever reason, I'm thinking about it.  Not doing too much about it yet, but thinking. :)

One thing that bothered me when I first started thinking about 'the kind of person I want to be' is that pretty high up on my list is "thin."  Would being thin define me?  I actually really do believe it would.  I have been heavy for so long that being thin would remarkably change my life, and I think, family and friend' perceptions of me.   Putting aside what I would want to DO as a thin person - truly, to help others who struggle with their weight, I would LOVE that - I think BEING a thin person would truly change my life.  Instead of weak, I'd be strong.  Instead of slow, I'd be fast.  Instead of hating myself, I'd love, would I?

I am trying to embrace a more peaceful, accepting spirit for myself.  I am trying not to self-talk in such a negative, punishing, hurtful way.  But how do I get around the fact that when I look in the mirror, and I'm not "the kind of person I want to be", I still have to live with me all day?  So because I'm not thin yet - and won't be for several months at the very earliest - I have automatically somewhat failed?

And what about all of the other attributes I want to incorporate into my life.  Selflessness, peacefulness, generosity, kindness, Christ-likeness.  When others see me, I want them to want what I have - - the love of Christ alive in my life!!  So WHY is that farther down my list than being thin?!  Why do I spend 10x more time on this, than the characteristics GOD wants me to display?  I believe yes, He wants me to be healthy and "thin" is part of being healthy, but I am embarrassed that I spend so much more time obsessing over my body and not as much time on my heart.

I'll never be perfect, ever.  But with God's help, I'm going to continue working on 'the kind of person I want to be.'  But with some extra emphasis on the whole package, not just the size of my ass.

Tummy Tuesday

Ok so here it is, my weekly weight update.  I had my WW meeting on Sat morning and lost .2 lbs.  Not 2 lbs, .2.  I was very discouraged, and almost cried.  But then our leader gave a great meeting and I was uplifted, which I was grateful for.  Kathy (leader) said something I loved - "Your body doesn't always get the memo that it's supposed to be at it's lowest weight of the week at weigh-in."  Because the day before my home scale had said I was down and I did good that day so I didn't get it!  I am actually looking forward to this week's weigh-in, I think I'll be happy with what I see.  My weight didn't come on overnight - it was years of half a pound here, quarter of a pound here.  So I really have to let go of a quick-fix mentality and settle in for a long ride.  But the months, the years, will come and go anyway - so why not be losing weight at the same time, even if it is little by little.  Better than nothing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mommy Monday

This pic is from a few years ago.  Last week the girls were home with me most of the time, as Tatie had off for parent-teacher conferences and Bailey was sick for a few of the days.  The time with them reminded me of when it was just us, every day all day.  Playing, painting, puzzles.  Dress-up, Dora, dollhouses.  Baby Einstein, bubble baths, baking cookies.  

It was also crying, screaming, time-outs and more crying.  They cried and screamed and had time-outs too.

Yeah, this kid definitely cried, screamed and had time-outs.

This kid not as much...but trust me, LOTS of drama.

Anyway, it has been really hard for me to think about this coming September, when Tatie will probably be in school full time.  Our district has 1/2 day kindergarten, but the CST will probably recommend she go for "regular" 1/2 day kindergarten, then spend another 1/2 day in the special services class, so she can continue her speech and OT without missing out during class.  She has become SO enjoyable, I really love my time with her.  She is a riot!  And so sweet, my little girlfriend.  Her first few years of life were SOO stressful, so this time is so precious to me.  I always get mad at myself when I spend the morning cleaning or doing chores instead of spending it with her.  She likes the time alone to do her dollhousing or coloring, but it's like a clock ticking that is running out of this time with her at home.  

What will I do with my time when they are both out of the house for 7 hours?  I'd like to work part-time, I think that'd be perfect.  I am wondering if I will be really sad.  I know it's just a transition, and I'll get used to it - I certainly have gotten used to Bailey going to school all day.  But as much as I am dreading the silence of the house of little giggles and playing, I am dreading feeling useless.  Kevin thinks I'm nutty - he's looking forward to having some more $ come in, and enjoying the kids getting older.  He's looking forward to their softball games, swim meets, choir concerts.  He doesn't miss diapers or 3am feedings.  And 3am "what's wrong with the baby...she's crying but not hungry, wet, teething.  Is it an earache, a tummyache"?  I don't miss that really either, and I am looking forward to watching them continue to grow and learn.  But there's this part of me that is sad.  Will I feel like this for the rest of my life?  

I feel very blessed to have had this time with them at home -- even with all of the crying, sceaming and time-outs.  I wouldn't change a thing.  There were times when it was stressful - or when I spent one too many hours a day in a kitchen I hate - that I wished I was working.  But those moments were fleeting, and not a week has gone by that I haven't thanked God for Kevin's job and for my husband, who's such a good provider.  Kevin would take such joy in me texting him a picture like the one from above, of the kids playing at the mall.  He never came home to a bomb of a house and asked what I did all day.  Instead he side-stepped the Barbies and bouncy balls and immediately started helping with the kids.  He also helping in the middle of the night! Kevin made the gig of me staying at home easier, which I so appreciate.  

So when I get sad that they are growing up, I want to thank God that they are growing and healthy, and thank Him for all the many moments I had to enjoy with them as little kids.  Aren't they so cute?

Spirit Sunday

At HOPE, Pastor Jeff is in the middle of a series on evangelizing.  I love series!! Anyway, he referenced James 1:19 during his message -

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

Um....I am slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to become angry.  Especially with my family.  This is to think about another time, but why are we sometimes much nicer to strangers than our own loved ones?!

So I keep thinking about this verse.  When I think of the people I am attracted to, they embody this verse.  Calm, patient, friendly, good-listening kind of people.  I tend to be loud, talkative, and I can get pissed off rather easily.  I don't want to be like that.  When someone speaks to me, I don't want to interrupt and start chatting away...I want to listen completely, and say little especially if the person is sharing something stressful or hurtful.  With my children - or Kevin - I don't want to fly off the handle when they do things like ignore my requests for them to clean up.  I want to speak calmly, and enforce a discipline if necessary - not with Kevin :) - but not raise my voice.  Oh if I could go one day without raising my voice!!

Anyway, I am going to be more mindful of my tongue. Yes, I know how to listen and sometimes I can be a "good listener."  But not nearly enough.  Especially if I am close to the person.  And I want to really bite my tongue when it comes to yelling at my girls.  I don't want them to grow up to be yellers, and I don't want them to have memories of Mommy screaming like a lunatic because they are fighting over who gets to be Cinderella.  Again.  

So far today so good -- but then again, Kevin has been out of the house since 6:30am, the girls and I slept in a bit bc of the time change and then Bailey left for school at 8:45.  Tatie and I got along wonderfully and I have been around no one else.  But still...I've been very pleasant. :)

I have about 9 hours left to my day...hoping I can keep it together and treat my family - and any friends I may talk to - like the lovies they are.   And if they piss me off - which they very well might - I think I'll lock myself in the bathroom, turn on the fan to drown them out, and try to reflect on that verse.  Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sales Saturday

So if you remember, I had a - lofty - goal of only spending $100 for groceries and eating out in the month of March.  I had - I don't have the sheet in front of me but $150-200 to spend in reward dollars at SR and drug stores - so that helps a lot of course.  BUT I have realized over the last week that goal can stand for groceries, but there's no way I'll make it with eating out.  Already we've spent I think around $75 - not counting the Chinese take-out Kevin bought using coins he had from his car.

That's a true story and I loved him for it.

Anyway, we still have a few nights eating out left on the calendar so it's a dead deal.  We ARE using gift cards cashed out from reward points on our CC for 2 of the nights, but still.   I'm expecting that we're going to spend $100 on eating out ALONE - so maybe $200 for both?

SO for the groceries - I spent $11 the first week of March, and this week I spent $32 OOP, rounded up.   Next week I hope to have another $11 week instead of the $32!  I have $50 to spend at SR in next week's rewards and I don't need much else besides produce.  Chicken is $1.69/lb so I am buying some of that too.

There does seem to be a few good deals at the drug stores but I used up my reward dollars so I don't think I'll hit them up bc we don't need anything.

It's fun making financial goals but I read something this week that is SO true!!  A blogger wrote about how she and her husband spent $10 each weekday on coffee, etc and cut that out completely BUT at the end of the year they STILL had no money in savings.  They just took that money and spent it on other things!!  They could've had a few thousand dollars!  So part of my financial goal, is to actually SAVE that money.

I need to become more organized...and I'm thinking my lists on post-its and our summer-savings jar isn't what the financial gerus have in mind.

Flash Back Friday - Bailey Caelyn's birth story

A friend posted a note on FB where she gave her child's birth story.   I loved reading it, so here we go with mine.  She posted a short and sweet note...mine will be verbose and tiring.  But if you're still reading my blog, you know I'm not a short and sweet kind of girl.

I got pregnant with Bailey when I was 23, not quite 1 1/2 yrs into our "5 year plan."  I was taking 2 grad classes and working as a social worker.  That morning, I freaked in, I took a pregnancy test, got into the shower and peeked out at a couple of flaming lines (I think it was laughing at me too) and promptly fell.  As I was sitting on the shower floor, I immediately felt guilty, what if I hurt the baby already.

Mommy guilt is a pervasive, nasty thing...but more on that another time.

Kevin and I went to LabCorp for a blood test, and by that evening I was praying it would be positive for sure.  The nurse called to tell me, she said, "Hi Mommy" and I started weeping (no surprises there I'm sure).  I was so happy...I had always wanted to be a mom, so what if it happened faster than we thought.

I had assumed that because I had always wanted to be a mom, for some reason I would have a great pregnancy.  I have NO idea why I thought that, and at around 7 weeks I started getting sick...and it didn't stop.  I was sick almost daily - sometimes several times daily - throughout the whole thing  I threw up in a hairdresser's sink, I threw up all over my MIL's books she had stacked on the floor, I threw up in the car...many, many times.  I was so sensitive to smell, and it could make me sick before I even knew it.  Brushing my teeth meant getting sick, every time.  It was not the worst thing in the world by any means...I knew how blessed I was to be growing a baby with no problems except for getting sick.  But it was difficult, and I counted down the days until I could have the baby.

We found out we were having a girl, and I was over the moon.  I had thought it would be a boy because of the tons of boys on Kevin's side, but here it was a girl.  I was so glad we found out so I could plan, and I rubbed my huge stretch mark striped tummy and talked to my baby.

We took 12 weeks of Bradley classes, where they try to prepare you for a natural childbirth.  I didn't want to bury the placenta or anything, but I really wanted to be "present" for her arrival, and in the off-chance the drugs would do anything to her, I didn't want to take them.  That is $250 I wish I had back...but actually, the classes were really nice because for 1/2 hr of the 2 1/2 hr class, Kevin had to do a "relaxation exercise" with me which I LOVED.  Massage and slow, quiet talking.  But not only did I take drugs, I ended up with a C-section...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I was being monitored by a specialist because of a blood clotting history in my family, so at an ultrasound a few weeks before my due date they realized my amniotic fluid level was low.  I had to come back the next day, and it was a lot lower.  But I didn't feel like I was leaking any, I still don't know what happened.  Anyway, they had me check in, and induced me.  The baby's head hadn't even dropped, I knew from my reading ('cause that's what you do when you have time to kill before a's probably the last book I read) that if you're induced, you have a much higher chance of drugs or a C-section.  Fast forward 36 hours of hell, and at 10:53 pm Bailey Caelyn came into the world by C-section.  They had to take her out, and I'm glad they did.  Thank God for medical intervention.  However, because of all that vomiting I was telling you about...literally ON the operating table I got the dry heaves, and I couldn't stop.  So they actually knocked me out, and to this day I am still devastated by that.  I didn't get to see her come out, and I was out for over an hour afterwards.

Kevin knew I'd want to be the first one to hold the baby, and he didn't let anyone except him hold her until I could.  When I woke up, all I could think to say was, "my baby, my baby..." and I still remember how desperately I tried to appear awake, so the nurses would let me hold her.  Kevin gave her to me, and I just told myself, hold her strong, don't drop her...I was so weak.  I looked at her in my groggy state, and started crying and couldn't stop.  She was SO beautiful, so perfect!!!  I couldn't believe she was mine!  She had a dimple on her chin, I remember noticing that.

I don't remember who took her away, but after some nurse shoved my boob into the baby's mouth, Bailey got passed around the visitors and I slept.  I'm also sad I missed seeing their reactions to seeing Bailey for the first time.  But over the next few days at the hospital I really enjoyed seeing family and friends love on her, I was so proud.  Kevin was so gentle with her and with me, I was very happy.

Bailey did have jaundice, so after we got home, the next day we had to go back and she had to spend 2 more days.  I had delivered her at Kennedy, but she was admitted to Virtua with her jaundice - what a difference!!  The nurses at Kennedy were not kind, I really didn't enjoy the environment of that hospital. Virtua bent over backwards for us, so that made it easier to be there.  Bailey was in a light bed, with little goggles on her eyes.  I was so hormonal, and I just couldn't stop crying that Bailey was not being snuggled by me, she was in an incubator.  I remember reminding myself though, that if this was the worst of it, I was so much more fortunate than many, many families.  There was no reasoning with my hormones though and I was SO happy when we were cleared to go home.

A few days after that, I got a phone call that Bailey's heel prick test when she was born showed she may have Cystic Fibrosis.  I was laying on the floor with her, and I remember sitting up, and asking what that was.  She didn't explain it, she said before we jumped to any conclusions Bailey had to be tested.  I looked it up on the internet (the beginning with my love-hate relationship with Google - although at that time was it Yahoo or something?)  and freaked out.  The next few days I licked Bailey's arms continuously (that used to be an old way to test for CF, if you could taste the salt on the skin) and waited for the first test results for the sweat test we did - they had taken a band and put it around her arm, which had painless electrodes or something, and then they measure the salt content in the sweat.  It came back borderline, as did the next THREE tests.  Finally they did a genetic blood test and she did have CF.  They didn't do the blood test right away because there's over 1000 mutations and it takes longer.  I remember the nurse from CHOP telling me that if her child had to have CF, Bailey had the most mild mutation and she'd want that.  I remember yelling into the phone, "who would want their baby to have a disease that could kill her?!"  She was such a nice nurse, I just took it out on her.  I wouldn't put Bailey down for days, I cried many tears onto her pretty little head.

Hmmm this has turned into much more than a birth story...but it all flows together in my head to me.  What I learned from Bailey's birth and then her diagnosis, is that life does not turn out the way we plan all the time!!  Sometimes it's worth grieving over, sometimes you have to move on quickly.  I wish I had moved on quicker, during Bailey's first year of life.  What a precious time that was, just me and this chubby, pink, HEALTHY baby...and so often I thought of the birth that wasn't what I wanted, her diagnosis that scared me to death, and whether or not we should even have more children.  I wish I could go back and hold that sweetheart of a baby and just ENJOY her more.  She was such a dollbaby.  Every day she'd take her afternoon nap on me, I loved it.  I'd nurse her and she'd fall asleep, the 2 of us in my Lazyboy.  She'd wake up hot, with her sweaty head on me, and look at me with her huge brown eyes and smile.  How many of those naps did I pray to God and beg Him for her health, instead of thanking Him for how healthy she was.  I was so scared.  I DID take much joy in her, but some of my joy was taken away by fear.

That season of fear in my life passed, and I am thankful for that.  I am thankful for the health Bailey has...and of course, I am INCREDIBLY thankful for her...a gift from God.  We say our babies are the best gifts we never asked for.  Both of them came to us as a surprise, and I can't imagine having any other 2 children but Bailey and Taylor.  They are daily reminders of how God knows what we need SO much better than we do.

Tatie Tot's story next week...I know you're on pins and needles waiting.  :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

What I am thankful for on this rainy day...

*Both my children are home with me today.  Tatie has off bc of parent-teacher conferences most of the week, and Bailey has a cough so I'm letting her lay around, get extra breathing treatments and try to get better.  When they are home with me in the middle of the week I feel like it's how it used to be, the 3 of us all day.  I DO romanticize the past...what I wouldn't have given then for a break!!  But for today, it's nice.  Mostly.

*My family ate a healthy breakfast together this morning at the table, we were laughing and nothing spilled.  I love when that happens.

*All of the laundry is almost done.

*Tonight is my favorite tv night...if it's reruns I'm turning it off, no watching Seinfeld or anything.  But if they're new shows, I'm snuggling in with my blankie and lovin it.

*Tomorrow morning I'm seeing a friend I haven't seen for 7 years.  Even though our visit will be short, I am really looking forward to it.

*For dinner we are making homemade pizza and playing a game, it's always a pretty good time.  Well, until one of the girls win and lords it over the other girl...that's not fun.

*I'm going to go take a shower now, and that's going to feel awesome.

Whatever Wednesday

So I am changing the "No Worries Wednesday" to Whatever Wednesday.  More freedom and longevity I think.

But I am actually writing this on Thursday, as my Wednesday was really busy.

So I am going to confess I don't think I've ever made it through a whole season of Lent with giving something up.  I didn't grow up doing anything for Lent, and it's only been something that's on my heart these last few years.  But I always choose something truly sacrificial, and then can't make it because the truth is I'm addicted.  I'm not addicted really to anything in particular, but addicted to giving myself what I want when I want it.  Ugh that sounds so negative, but it's true.  And in the process I'm a bear to live with, because how long can Mama go without some coffee.  Not long.  I'm sure the kids were wishing they knew how to make it and then pour it down my throat.

So this year, I am doing something more do-able, but still sacrificial.  I am giving up eating past dinner.  What I want to pair that with - although I am not "giving this up" because I KNOW I couldn't make it - is to give up some tv time as well, so I can spend more time on things that matter.  Time with God, in prayer and reading, catching up on my albums, doing nice things for others.  Not cleaning.

I am praying I make it through the Lent season - it will be hard if we eat early, as I really hate going to bed very hungry.  I forgot to yesterday, but I'm going to explain Lent to the girls and ask if they'd like to add or take anything away.  My suggestion will be reading the Bible together every morning or evening....we do that often but not daily, and most times without Kevin who's working.  But I want it to be all of us, that would be so nice.

Many blessings on your season of Lent as we prepare for honoring the Lord's sacrifice for us.  Thinking of what he did for us certainly puts in perspective our tiny little sacrifice for Him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tummy Tuesday

I was dreading writing this post bc I have not been doing well with my diet.  No shocker there, and that's the part I hate the most...the feeling I have about myself.  I did not go to my WW meeting this past Saturday bc Tate had to go to the Dr and my mom couldn't come over...except I could've made it work, I just chose not to.  My home scale said I was about a pound up.  AGAIN with the excuses, it IS that time of the month for me, so I had that in my back pocket.  But the truth is, I haven't been trying the way I should.   Some days are better than others, I just wish I was doing better.  

I'm anxious to get weighed in this coming Saturday, but excited to go to the meeting.  I really like the leader and the group that meets...they're all very "real" and supportive of each other.   This is going to sound CRAZY, especially since I have only lost a few pounds!!  But I would love to be a WW leader someday.  I DREAM of victory, of conquering this beast that's on my back, this weight I've carried all these years.  I dream of being able to encourage others so that they can have victory too.  But this dream seems so far away...especially at this slow rate.

So that is how I am doing...I appreciate any prayers.  God knows this is a stronghold in my life, and He longs for me to have victory too.  And I believe He wants me to help others, I really do.  But how can I help them when I haven't helped myself?  And how do I help myself when I don't make the right choices?  But another part of me knows that for me to really be able to share my testimony and encourage someone with a lot of weight to lose,  it won't happen overnight.  I have to learn and face these trials, and retrain myself how to handle stress without turning to food.  The more I learn and grow, the better I'll be able to give of myself, and have someone believe that I truly understand where they're at.

Thank you for your encouragement.  I will let you know how I do at Saturday's weigh in!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mommy Monday

A mommy moment, brought to you courtesy of Bailey Caelyn and Taylor Elise.   Or the cats - Maela, Oreo or Cocoa.  I don't know who is responsible...and you'll see why in a minute.

So last week, both girls were home with me Friday.  Tatie had off anyway, but she did have a cold so I would've kept her and Bailey had a cold too.  They were laying around, tv, Leapsters, I took the opportunity to go on a cleaning binge. All was fun and games (except for the fun and games part) until I was changing the sheets on Kevin's and my bed.  I heaped the blankets on the floor, changed the sheets and then was putting the blankets back on, when I see GOBS and STREAKS of what looks like poop all over the blanket.  I smell it (that's what moms do when they're not sure if maybe it's chocolate that a little one snuck and ate hidden in a blanket) and ascertain it is in fact poop.  I call to the girls and ask them if either one had an accident in Mommy's bed.  They say no, and laugh hysterically at the thought of one of them letting loose on a bed.  Not convinced, I make them lay out exposing their heineys, to see if there is any remnant of it on their cute little cheeks.  After pinching their cute little cheeks because I can't help myself - which spurs Taylor to tell me off, stating it's her heiney and I can't have it - I am confident I need to move on to the cats.  After several minutes of searching and 3 cats looking at me like I am defiling them, I am now completely stumped.  All 3 cats and both children seem to be in the clear. 

WHO SHAT THE BED?!  I wonder whether I should call Kevin, but I decide his manhood means more to me than questioning him on whether or not he took a dump on a blanket.  Plus, he wasn't sick or anything, so I can't believe it was him.  That leaves me.  And I didn't do it.  I am 100% sure.

So I still don't know who did it, and I am still thinking about this great mystery.  I'm just thankful I found it when I did, instead of at 11pm that night, as Kevin and I pull the covers up around us.

It would've been a mood killer, for sure.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spirit Sunday

So to kick-off this new thing of "Spirit Sundays", I figured I'd start at the beginning and give my testimony.

But I can't take too long, Kevin's giving me the evil eye bc the girls are in their beds and he wants to watch a movie.  127 hours.  So I have to move this bus along.

Growing up, my family regularly attended Sunday service at a large Presbyterian church.  My dad sang in the choir and for several years, Andy and I did too -- and bell choir.  (Try not to look at me different.)  We had some friends there, and for the most part it was a positive experience for me.  The few years I did youth group was fun too, until it wasn't.  Anyway, I remember my dad telling me we were "Christians" - he was fixing the skylight in our family room, was on a ladder.  I remember looking up, and telling him so many kids at school go to CCD, and church on Saturdays, not Sundays.  They get to stay later at the sleepovers, not leave for church.  He looked down at me, and said, "We're Christians, not Catholics.  There's a difference."  But I never really did understand the difference, until I was older and realized we didn't have rosary beads, pray to anyone but God or Jesus, and we didn't talk about Mary all the time.  It was fine by me to not be Catholic as I got older - I sang for a few years on Saturday afternoons with my dad and Andy for a Latin mass at a Catholic church, got paid too!  It seemed they took church very seriously, and there was a lot of standing and sitting.  Being "Christians" seemed easier, less intense, less guilt.

As a family, we said "grace" before meals often, but that was the extent of our prayer time together.  Our family endured many difficult years, and I prayed in my room, begging God to intervene somehow.  My brother did too.  When I was young, I remember being non-impressed, as God did not seem to help us.  It made me feel small and unimportant.  I didn't not believe in Him - I just didn't trust Him, or really, love Him.

In researching colleges, I spent a weekend at a Christian college in PA, right down the street - literally - from the home my dad grew up in.  It was a beautiful campus, and it appealed to my parents because it wasn't too far away and my grandma (who really, was disinterested in me and I was not close to, but still) was right there in case I needed her.  I didn't.  But after spending the weekend, I fell in love with the school - everyone was so friendly, it was small and close-knit, it had classes I was interested in, and I loved the area.  It made me feel good.

My first day at Eastern, I was scared out of my mind.  My roommate, who ended up becoming my dearest friend, my maid-of-honor at my wedding and we roomed together all 4 years, was different than me.  As in, I think she had not one but several Bibles, and posters on the wall professing her faith.  I brought pictures of my friends from home with beers in our hands from a summer party.  I didn't know what I had gotten myself into - but after a few weeks she and I overcame our fear of each other, and started to talk.  Really talk.  And I made wonderful friends, most of whom had a strong background in faith.  We had a blast, but they taught me, too.  I listened and sought God, and during my freshman year, I asked Jesus into my heart as a believer and follower.  I have loved him ever since, and I am raising my girls to listen and seek God also.

There is still so much I don't know or understand.  I will die not knowing or understanding - and that's ok with me.  It has nothing to do with my belief.  To some this may seem ignorant or uneducated - to me it is simply faith.   That's not to say that someday I may struggle...I feel that my relationship with Jesus is still a relationship where there may be hard times.  But every day I give thanks for what I have, and pray for protection for my family, and guidance for our day.    To pray brings me great comfort, to place my day, my desires, my fears, at the feet of Jesus so I don't have to go through it by myself.   I can't watch my girls while they're in school - but He does.  I don't know what their future holds - but He does.

I understand how people don't believe in God, Jesus.  It makes me sad, but I understand.  For anyone reading this, if you are not a believer, I hope you have an experience - the sooner the better! - that changes your mind, your heart.  I pray you feel the love of God alive in your life.

That actually was the short version - hard to believe, isn't it. :)