Thursday, June 30, 2011

I actually completed something

Since 2007 I have been working on a Mother's Journal for my girls.  It is a book that has 12 chapters in it, labeled as the months of the year, and each chapter has several questions.  The mom writes her answers and it's meant to be something that her children could someday read.  Some are poignant, like "Tell me (meaning the child to whom you are writing) about the day I was born" and some are random, like "What is your favorite holiday tradition?"  I have answered questions here and if the kids were playing in the ChickFilA play area, I would do a few so I didn't pass out from boredom.  But it has taken me over 4 years to complete it -- a few days ago I answered the last question.  I am so happy to have done it, as I would have loved something like that from my own mom or grandma.  A few of the questions were really hard to answer, I saved them for last :)  I also had the girls answer a questionnaire I wrote (future blog post about that) and I enclosed that in there, along with a few of their drawings to me, too.

Not only am I pleased it is done, I am pleased I actually fulfilled a goal through to completion.  So often I flit from this to that, leaving things 1/2 done.  As I write this, the laundry is 1/2 done, the bed is 1/2 made, 1/2 the plants watered.  I just get distracted - or bored - so easily, that I leave what I am doing for later.  I do the same with my bigger goals...and I really want to work on that.  It feels awesome to finish something!!

So for the summer I have decided that I need to block off weeks at a time to work towards specific goals.  In July I want to spend 2 weeks organizing, labeling and albuming my thousands of pictures I am behind on.  Yes I am totally old school and I get all my pics developed and then I put them in those slip-in memo albums.  Someday we will have to buy a shed to live in out back, because the kids art creations and these picture albums will overtake my house.  Anyway, also for July I need to organize my paperwork.  Receipts, bills, insurance statements, etc etc etc...ugh I dread it.  I am planning on paying the children to shred a million pieces of paper.  I will give them each $5, and they will think they won the lottery.  I never pay that much.

August will be MOPS planning and back to school stuff like organizing closets, shopping.  September will be checking myself into the loony bin once Tate starts full time school.  Ok kidding but not really.  September will also be CF walk fundraising work.

It feels more manageable breaking my goals up into blocks of time, we'll see if my ADD can take it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Suck it in and stick it out

It's happened just as I expected it would...swimsuit season is here.  I'm knee deep in it.  I have not enjoyed the look of myself in a suit...well, ever.  That feeling has magnified - along with the size of my ass - over the years.  But when I had children I swore I would ditch my issues and get in a suit bc I wanted them to love the water.  I really love swimming - ocean, pool, waterpark, lake whatever.  I just hate being so vulnerable in something that is but a few yards of fabric over my stretched-marked birthday suit.

Every year at the end of swim season I breath a sigh of relief and then promise myself that next season, I'll have lost tons of weight and won't mind parading myself around at the pool.  It sucks when you promise yourself something and don't deliver.  But I have to remind myself, that if I was talking to my daughters, or a friend, about how they feel like something like this, I would encourage and not want them to berate themselves so.  I should treat myself as I would treat others, no?

So today at the pool, I really enjoyed playing with my girls.  We were there for hours, and swam, jumped, was a blast.  I would have missed out on it if I was sitting in a chair.  Walking by the few moms I know from the neighborhood wasn't my favorite part of the day...but I sucked it in, pulled my skirt down a bit (are you picturing it?  yes, it's a bathing suit like your grammy has) and held my head high.  I may not be the prettiest or thinnest, but my kids had fun with me.

I'm glad I'm sticking to at least one of my promises - wearing a bathing suit.  Perhaps one of these days I'll stick to the other, and enjoy a swim season without the stress of wondering how many ripples of thigh cellulite there are peeking out from my skirt.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer goals

These are a few of the things I want to do this summer:

*Catch up on my picture albums and labeling

*Make my mom a scrapbook of her wedding and honeymoon

*Sell the TUMI $500 giftcard we've had for over a year that we'll never use.

*Finish the couponing class business plan

*MOPS planning for 2011-2012 year.  Retreat in August.

*Touch up paint on baseboards/doors

*Clean out my closet and underbed

*Set up a scrapbooking station in the garage

Not to mention enjoy the girls and do lots and lots of fun stuff :)

Bad attitude

I am in a bad mood.  The top 5 reasons for my bad mood are -

*The children have really greasy hair bc my dear FIL was the one who gave them their bath after the pool last night.   I'm not sure where it went wrong, but their locks are seriously sad.  I don't know why it's bothering me, but it is.

*I checked my credit card activity and it depressed the *#%! out of me.  And now today Kevin's car is going in for the this next bill is going to hurt deep.

*My house feels like it's closing in on me with dirty clothes, wet towels, tons of art projects from their year at school that I haven't had the momentum to go through yet, dirty sheets and the regular dirt, dust, cobwebs and grime.

*Upon looking at myself in the mirror this morning with one eye peeked open (it's like when you watch a scary movie.  It's easier that way.) I surmised that my hair needs serious work.  Because of the cars bleeding us dry - and the kids expecting to eat, and who are we kidding, have money for the boardwalk -  it will have to wait.   I have a new appreciation for how happy my mom was when she would get her hair done a few times a year.  It feels awesome when you can finally go.

*I'm in a bad mood and I shouldn't be.  Which makes me feel worse.

Are you ever in a bad mood for no good reason, you're just POed and you can't shake it?

I'm going to have some coffee, get dressed, throw a load in and make a list of chores my kids can help with.  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chinese food is on it's way

If the title leaves a question as to my mood, I will tell you.  I love food (duh) and it is a comfort in my life.  I wish it wasn't, but it is.  And today was a long, very draining day and at almost 9pm I am really hungry and really ready to take a load off.  Which is where the Chinese food comes in.  Mmmm it will be so good and my couch will be so soft, and I am hoping something good is on tv.

So I woke up at 6am after going to bed at 2am = not enough sleep for me.  I had to get the girls packed up for a day away from home  - I had to bring the van in to be worked on and my MIL was going to bring us to ChickFilA, then the mall for a movie while she went to the dentist, then to the pool and tonight Bailey had her softball party.  Aside from my heart attack when I found out how much the van work was going to be, everything was busy but great.

And then we had the softball party.  It was held at a local ice cream place, one we had not been to before.

And that should have been Clue #1 that Tatie might have a hard time.  Clue #2 would be that it would be loud, Clue #3 would have been that she would be tired from the day and #4 would have been sharing Bailey.

So the thing is, Bailey is extremely social.  She ran into the ice cream parlor hugging her friends, laughing, immediately jumping in to the crowd.  Taylor took it all in for a second, said "Hey!!  I want friends too!"  and ran to catch up with Bailey.  Now that Bailey's age group is getting older, Taylor is starting to get looks when she hovers around Bailey or acts inappropriately.  Tonight she was so socially inept, and it broke my heart.  Made me sweat.  I got some looks, and that always feels worse than stepping barefoot in dog turd on a hot sunny day.

Just sayin.

Taylor was loud, obnoxious, had no manners, and kept trying to butt in with all the softball friends.  I kept trying to reel her in and have her hang out with Kevin and I, but she wanted to be with Bailey and "the friends."  All the other siblings were with their families, but there Taylor was, sitting at the big table, with me behind her, and every 2 seconds whispering another "Tatie, calm, shhh..."

It was exhausting.  I had wished one of us had had the foresight to know how it would go down, and just took Bailey to enjoy it by herself.  But it was a family party and we just didn't think.  Sometimes Taylor is spot-on with behavior, and nobody would know anything was different.  Then at times like tonight, you don't know what other people think...she has plenty of skills a "typical" kid would have, but she acts strangely enough to leave folks wondering.  Once in awhile I get into a conversation with someone who doesn't know her well, and by the time I say her diagnosis, I get, "ohhh that's it...I thought something, but didn't know...oh!"  And that feels kind of yucky, 'cause I know they're saying they could tell she was different but didn't know what it was.

Here's the thing though...if I wasn't worried what everyone else thought of her, I would be pleased with the fact that she wanted to be social!!  At the beginning of her journey, she couldn't have cared less.  Also, I was proud of Bailey, who not once shot Taylor a dirty look (like some of her friends did) or asked me to take Tate away.  Of course they fought all the way home, but at the parlor, I took notice of that and was proud of my sister-girls.

Well, the girls are asleep now, and Kevin just walked in with my hit.  When I go to bed tonight and think of the day, as I always do, I want to think about all the fun and nice moments we had today, not the moments that made me cringe or twitch.  Because guess what...tomorrow we have nowhere we have to be in the morning, and that almost sounds better than digging into some chicken and broccoli.  Almost.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top 10 reasons why I love summer

 10.  I don't have to be dressed by 8:30 to wait for the bus outside.   I am no morning person, and prying my fingers off my coffee cup to change out of my nightie is no fun for anyone.

9.  We eat lots of salads, sandwiches and grilled yummies instead of heavy comfort food that heats up the kitchen...and adds some poundage to my waistline.  The produce of summer can't be beat either - say what you will about Jersey but we have delicious tomatoes, corn and blueberries!

8.  It takes about 2 seconds for the girls to slip on a sundress and sandals, instead of the hour it takes to bundle them up in the winter.  Plus in our small house, all those hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, etc take up too much room and I love packing it away.

7.  The feel of the sand on my feet, the sound of the ocean roar, seagulls, the laughter of my children (when they're not fighting over the "prettier" boogie board).  The smell of the saltwater and the way it feels when you run (walk in my case) into the ocean, the coolness of the water after feeling the hot sun on your back.  The taste of pizza and ice cream on the boardwalk after you've been on the beach all day.

6.  Watching my girls swim - they are so good at it, and they love it.

5.  Pool hopping - we go to our neighborhood pool, Nan and Poppy's neighborhood pool, Nana's pool and any pool that will have us.

4.  When we return from said pools, my house is exactly the way we left it (dirty, but at least not trashed.  Well, not trashed like it is at the end of a long day at home).

3.  Putting the girls to bed a bit earlier if they are exhausted from swimming, or staying up later if we are out having fun.  It doesn't matter and that's what I love about it.

2.  No homework for Bailey.

1.  Vacation!!  We take day trips a few times throughout the year, but most of our vacation time with Kevin happens in the summer.  I love when he can wear his khaki shorts (I love me some khakis on that boy) and just enjoy the day, no laptop or phones.  The night before we leave for any vacation is the best - aside from the packing which I detest - because he is so excited, like a kid.  And we always have a good time!

Poppy even gets in on the fun.  Tell me that's not pure summer joy right there.

I spoil my kids

These two pretties had breakfast in my bed this morning, on a tray, watching cartoons.

They have no idea how good they have it, and I like it that way.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

So in one hour it is Father's Day.  Ever since Kevin became a dad, I don't dread it anymore, but I do miss my dad.  He loved to celebrate himself - I don't mean that in a bad way, he just did - so on his birthday and on Father's Day, I miss him a lot, knowing it'd be a big deal.   Happy Father's Day, Dad...wish you were here to swim with my girls tomorrow, to throw them around in the deep end.  They would have loved you, and I would have loved seeing you as a Grandpa.  I wish we would have had more time together, time to heal, time to enjoy each other.  You loved us the best  you knew how, and I am so appreciative of the life you gave me.  Love you Dad, and miss you.

I am glad to see that dads these days are seemingly starting to take a more active role in parenthood.  I know many, many dads who are not just present, but awesome.  And one of my favorite ways to see a dad being a good dad is how he loves his kids' mom.  Kevin, right from the start of my pregnancies, was a good dad by how wonderful he was to me.  Back needed rubbed?  He was my man.  I HAD to have a chicken sandwich from Wendy's?  He was my gopher.  Kid pressed the return-to-sender button and I'm vomiting again?!  He was my janitor and nurse.  I knew right away how great of a dad he'd be, just by how great he was being to me.

Kevin is no saint.  The man has a temper, he's obsessed with sports, he has 2 Blackberries (that's not his fault, one's for work, but they both get on my nerves) and he has a tendency to misplace things and forget stuff - often.  But he is a GREAT DAD.  He adores his girls.  He has a soft heart for them, but also wants to teach them right from wrong.  He has their back.  He is involved, loving, and a good example of the kind of man I hope they look for someday.

My dad really liked Kevin.  We were just friends when he died, in fact I was dating someone else.  The boy I was dating was a really nice guy, but my dad didn't think he was for me.  I think he knew we wouldn't end up together, and that makes me feel good, thinking he knew.  I wonder if he knew Kevin and I would get together.  He asked several times why we were just friends - he liked Kevin a lot but didn't believe in platonic friendships - especially at our age!  He even asked me if Kevin was "that way."  If you knew my dad, you could totally see him asking such a thing.  When my dad died - in November of '98, my sophomore year - it was Kevin I wanted to spend time with.  Not as a boyfriend, I just wanted to be with him.  All of my friends, bless their hearts, I know loved me and wanted to help - they hurt for me.  So did Kevin, but he would just be with me.  I didn't have to talk about my dad, we could just be ourselves.  He'd take me out to get wings, we'd take walks around campus, he'd tuck me in with a book he'd pick up that he'd thought I'd like.  I thought he pitied me, but that was really the beginning of our love story...and it happened when my dad died.  How different would it have looked if that wasn't our beginning?  Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like had my dad lived.  I doubt I would have gotten married right out of college...he probably would have wanted me to get my Masters right away, then get married.  If I had done that, I wouldn't have had Bailey, who I got pregnant with at 23 yrs old.  Everything would have been different...but how different?  I can't imagine my life without Kevin and the girls...and yet I do miss my dad, and wished he was still here.

All that to say, and it doesn't really matter.  I'm laying on the couch in my house that Kevin and I share with our girls, and I am happy.  My dad did die - and I miss him, sometimes so much my heart hurts.  Especially when the girls ask about him, or long for him.  And to this day, I can't watch a home video with him in it.  I fear the pain I would feel seeing him, hearing his voice - he was larger than life - would be too much.  But the ways he was a good dad, I have that with me, and I am thankful for it.  He loved to do things with his family - camping, vacations, nights on the boardwalk.  Nothing mattered more to him than family.  Not every man is like that...but Kevin is too.  He loves his family, loves providing for us, and enjoying life together.  My girls and I are so blessed to have him.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there.  May you bless your family with your strength, commitment, provision, and love.  May you be blessed with adoration, service, joy and respect.

And Kevin - thank you for being the best dad my girls could ever ask for.  From being there for me when I was pregnant to being there for them whenever they need you, day or rock our world and I love you.

Top 10 things you can do today to start saving money this month

10.  Don't go to the store.  I know, it's hard!  But, even with good deals - like the Groupon for $10 buying you a $20 credit to Old is probably a select few that could get out of Old Navy without spending past the $20.  You'll wander to the clearance, you'll remember your kids have no socks that match (HOW does that happen?!), you'll see an adorable baby outfit and remember you have a shower to attend in a few months.  When you're on a really tight budget and just can't spend money on something this month past the necessities...don't.  Just don't go.

9.  Write a list of things happening in the next month, that will cost you money.  Gifts for birthdays, graduations, anniversary parties, teacher gifts, whatever.  Being organized saves money because it gives you time to think of how you can give frugally - but thoughtfully.  Perhaps instead of money for the graduate, you can find a classic old photo of their family and frame it.  Or put together a college-essentials gift basket (that once you're a couponer would cost you pennies on the dollar, taking stuff from your stockpile).  You'll love giving a gift that means something, and not having to bust your budget over a giftcard.  I was mad at myself this morning that I didn't think of a gift earlier for my daughter's 3 softball coaches.  Cookies in the shapes of bats and balls would have been cute and except for my time, very inexpensive!  Next year.

8.  Try to make do with what you have.  Instead of replacing the shower curtain liner, drag the *&%# thing out to the deck and scrub it.  I know, that is not fun...but if money's tight, every bit helps.

7.  Take notice of your electric, gas and water usage and cut back, just a bit.  I'm the first to tell you my AC is crankin.  But at night, we turn it up a little, and when we're out, we turn it up quite a bit.  All the vents are closed downstairs bc we're not down there as much and it's 1/2 underground (we have a bilevel) so it stays cooler.  Use your toaster oven, if you have the kind that fits dishes, to bake.  Do a cooking afternoon and prepare items for the week that just need heated'll save not just a bit of energy, but your time.  If your kids are little, throw them in the tub together.  If you have a pool membership and they have showers, go ahead and bring the toiletries to the pool and have the kids get clean there instead.

6.  Use the library!!!  What a great place to borrow books, CDs and movies, all for free.  Plus, it's a cool place to be for awhile as a family in the hot heat!  Libraries also have free events like movie showings, book readings and crafts for kids.

5.  Look over your bills for cellphone, car insurance, cable, etc.  Make sure you have the coverage you need, and if you are overpaying, cut back.  We recently upped our deductible on the van from $500 to $1000, saving us $55 a month!!

4.  Cut your kids bangs yourself, shave your husband's neck, make the haircut last a few more weeks.  Doing this a few times a year could save you a big chunk of change!  Can you say date-night money?!

3.  Try to swap with a friend.  Does she have a hydrangea bush you can hack into to make a bouquet for someone?  Can you take her kids for an hour while she runs errands?  Swapping goods and babysitting saves major money.

2.  Look in your pantry and freezer and make a list of meals you can make, and what ingredients you still need to make them.  This saves you going to the store and buying ingredients for full meals, when you already have items you can work with.

1.  If you're making a trip to the grocery store this week, look through the circulars after you've made your list.  Whatever store has the most sales for your items gets your business - and that could save you at minimum $20 if you were buying typical weekly items like produce, lunchmeat, yogurt, meat, etc.  If you have started couponing, don't forget websites like Living Rich with Coupons that do the work for you as far as matching sales to coupons!

Happy Saving!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not normal

Today I was so happy to go to Bailey's class party to celebrate the end of her first grade year.  I love being in her classroom  - I love the way her face lights up when she sees me, she is so happy and proud.  I love seeing her participate with her classmates and I love feeling happy with her school experience.  Her teachers every single year, since she started preschool, have been perfect for her.  Last year we had an issue with a boy who was quite unkind to her, but that has been the only real negative in her public school time so far.   That same boy was in her class this year - I even scheduled a meeting with the teacher to let her know what had happened so she could keep her eyes and ears out.  Thankfully, he must have matured somewhat because besides a few comments over the year, he and Bailey got along well.

Anyway, today for the party, the kids made a craft, had a special snack and then played a game.  Us room moms were chatting a bit and watching the kids.  I thought to myself what a good looking class it was...and I thought back to when Bailey was diagnosed with CF.  I remembered one of my nights researching CF online (I did this for many, many nights...once in awhile I still do) I came across a blog of a young girl with CF.  She looked pretty good in her healthy pictures, albeit quite thin, but in her hospital pics she looked very sickly.  Also, a friend of the family, when hearing Bailey had CF, had said they knew a family with a few CF kids and those kids all looked sick, with a blue-ish tint to their skin.  She said it to say that Bailey looked so healthy, she didn't "look like she has CF."  But instead of making me feel better, or lucky, I felt like she didn't look like that...yet.  It scared me.  The pictures of the young girl in the hospital scared me.  I was already very, very scared of her dying prematurely but then I also started being scared of not just of her dying, but what her living was going to look like.   Would she be a sick kid?  Spend weeks a year at a hospital, like so many CFers?  When she was healthy enough to be in school, would she look different, and kids would be nervous to be her friend?  How much school would she miss being sick?

During Bailey's first several months of life, I had a million thoughts race through my head, how she would look didn't occupy many thoughts, but it was there.  I wanted her to be NORMAL and have friends.  I didn't want her to stick out, I wanted her to look like any other kid.  I wanted her to grow up in a happy home, having a happy childhood, stay out of trouble as a teen, go to a good college, marry a sweet, kind boy who loved the Lord and adored my daughter, have a job she loves, have a healthy, happy family -- down the street from me.  That's it.  Her diagnosis threw so many questions into that equation.  I didn't know what any of that would look like.

But what I have learned, is that none of us moms know what that will look like!!!  What I DO know, is she is a daugher of the King, Father God.  He made her, and knows her future.  The Bible tells me that He only wants good for her, to give her hope and a future.  And get this - I have realized something else.  Bailey's diagnosis is not something that is welcome to us.  It is a disease, nothing to be wanted.  BUT we have already seen how God has used that to be a blessing in our lives, and others lives.  I have written before - and if you know Bailey you have seen - she is a sweet, sweet girl.  She is empathetic beyond her years.  Just today during that class party, one of her classmates fell out of his chair.  He bumped his head a bit and was crying - I think mostly because he was embarrassed.  The teacher went to him quickly, and guess who else.  Bailey.  "Are you ok?  Are you hurt?"  My heart almost burst with pride.

Why would I EVER want her to be "normal" as I said before...when I can have BAILEY.  She is not normal.  And I am SO, SO thankful for that.  To a bystander she certainly looks normal and healthy - and I am very thankful for that, too.  She is the picture of health actually.  But I have come to understand that being normal isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Now I have a different "equation" that I want for my girls, both of them.  Sure, I want all of those same things for them...marriage, family, career.  But more than that, so much more, I want them to have character - love, strength, joy, compassion.  A fire for the Lord that is contagious.

Both of my girls deal with a challenge that some do not.  For Bailey it's the CF, for Taylor it's her sensory and anxiety issues.  Upon first learning of their diagnoses, I was devastated.  I did not know what that would mean for their future.  I still don't know, really.  But today, not only was I so thankful that Bailey "looks" so beautiful and healthy - "normal" - but I was also so thankful she is not normal. Not because of her disease, but because of the amazing little girl she is.

Thank you God, for being all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving.  Thank you for making Bailey as You saw fit.  Please forgive me for doubting you, for doubting your hand on her life.  I know your hand is there, God, I know you are holding her.  Thank you for that Lord, thank you.  Thank you for creating in her a heart of joy, compassion, love.  Please help me foster those characteristics in her God, help me to teach her and guide her towards what YOU want for her life, and what You want her to give to others.  Thank you God, that Bailey is not normal...and thank you for showing me You don't want her to be.  Amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


So I have figured it out, although it's not really news.  I HATE CHANGE.  Despise.  Detest.  Abhor.

It's scary to me, unfamiliar.  There have been some changes in my life I have welcomed with open arms, but if I am doing alright, I dread something different coming down my pike.

The last few days I have been a sourpuss.  I have gone through this before...when Bailey went to preschool, graduated from preschool, went to kindergarten, went to first get the picture.  I had thought that I kept my emotions to myself...well, of course Kevin had to endure me, and most friends and any family that came within 100 yards of me.  But I tried to do the whole, "I'm so proud of you, my big girl!  Look at you!", keeping my real feelings, "Please, stop growing!  Stop!  I am scared of what's coming, I am scared that you won't always look at me the way you do, I am scared you won't need me, I am scared we'll grow apart..." to myself.

But at the beginning of Bailey's first grade year, I am ashamed to say, I think I made the poor girl sick.  The first day of school came, she got all dolled up and we took pictures by the 'back to school' bus flag in front of our house...she got on the bus (yes I was crying - it was her first day of full-day school!)...and 2 hours later I was picking her up from the nurse's office.  She was warm and very tired she said.  I thought maybe it was a CF-related exhaustion thing and I babied her for the next day.  That weekend at church, I overheard her trying to console a little girl who didn't want to go to Sunday School.  "Honey, I was just like you!  I was so nervous about going to 1st grade, who would I sit with at lunch?  But it turned out great!  You'll love Sunday School."

Ummm....I realized right then and there I made my daughter sick with worry.  I had had a nightmare a few days before school started that she was in the cafeteria for lunch and no one would sit with her.  She must have heard me tell Kevin or maybe my mom (and as she heard that, she would've heard me crying and panicked).  Can you imagine?  Not one of my most stellar mom moments, that's for sure.   I felt terrible.  I had a really long talk with her out at a restaurant about it, and asked for forgiveness.  I told her also that I couldn't promise she'd never hear me be scared or nervous again, because we live in the same house and sometimes I feel a lot of things.  As she grows, I see her sensitivity and emotional side, and I can tell she will also not be able to shrug things off easily.

Well, I am pretty much out of my funk now.  I feel good.  Summer has almost officially begun, Bailey just has 2 more 1/2 days of school.  We LOVE summer and do tons of fun things.  I'm so blessed to be able to have them all summer.  Of course, more time at home means more frustration, anger, tears, time-outs...for all of us.  But every day, I am grateful I am at home.  As the time comes closer and closer for me to get a job, I am all the more thankful.  It helps that the kids are much more self-sufficient - I remember well the days of non-stop diapers, feedings, crying, tantruming - repeat.  They can still be pretty needy and tantrumy sometimes, but we have a lot of fun too.  They're at nice ages.

But I get it...they will keep growing.  I'm thankful for that really - it's means they're healthy.  I'm happy my moaning has least until next year.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"People who suffer as I do from nervous complaint shall have no pleasure talking, as I do!"

I have been ensconced in 'Pride and Prejudice' (the remake, Kierra Knightly) the last 2 days.  It's been 2 days because that's how long it takes me to watch a movie.  I love this movie.  I love the language, I love the dress, I love the charm of Mr. Bingley, the rambling of Mrs. Bennett and Mr. Bennett's love for her, I love Mr. Darcy's serious eyes.

I am watching P&P because I am trying to escape my head.  I am so pissed at myself that I bunked at all of 2 miles an hour, if that, into a trash can and broke my van mirror.  I am pissed that the van already needed a bunch of other work done so who knows what all of that is going to cost.  I'm sad at my daughter's preschool graduation.  One of my cats appears to be sick and has barfed and shat on the floor, of course on the carpet where it's harder to clean.  As I've written earlier, I despise with a deep, heartfelt hatred, my carpet so it's not that I mind that it's further trashed (it's like pouring mouthwash into a sewer, does it much matter?) but I am quite lazy, and I mind getting on my hands and knees to scrub carpet I'd rather tear out.

So basically friends, what we have here - even amidst this gorgeous weather we are blessed to have - is a foul, poor, nasty attitude.

I love Lady Katherine's hair in this movie.  I forget the actress who plays her, a handsome woman.  She's fabulous.  "Her ladyship demands it."

Yeah, I'm watching it right now.  Laid out on the couch like a beached whale.  Bra-less mind you.  Sorry if that was a put-off, just paining a picture.

Tonight Kevin and I are going to the Phillies game, where he has assured me it's going to be the game of a lifetime.  I don't know what that means...he went on to tell me why but I wasn't listening anymore.  That's the secret to my marriage by the way.

Kevin, if you ever read this, I love you and your expansive conversational tendencies.  It's one of the reasons why I fell in love with you.  And I am no mute to be sure.

So anyway, I think the game of a lifetime will bring me out of my funk.  And why am I in a funk anyway, with a family as wonderful as mine, with a life as blessed as mine.

"Put me out of my misery, marry me Elizabeth."

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's my pleasure

This morning I took Tatie down to the playground at the end of our street.  We are 4 houses from the end, so it's really close and a main reason why we bought the house.  When my girls were younger and home with me all day, sometimes I'd take them there twice a day...and there's even another playground across the street from that one!   We are really fortunate.  But until just a month ago, the one playground was really in need of an overhaul.  Rotting wooden playset, overgrown trees, tons of sticks on the ground.  Well, they put in an amazing new playset and really cleaned it up - we love it!!  Other neighborhood kids have been playing there a lot more since the overhaul, and it's been great for Taylor's socialization.

Well, today she was playing so well with the other kids I actually called the school and told them I didn't need her bus to pick her up and I would drive her, which bought her 15 more minutes to play.  Tomorrow is her preschool graduation and if you know me, you know I've been....contemplative.  A bit sad.  But mostly, very, very proud.  Taylor has come so far in her 2 years with Miss Cheryl and "team Taylor" over at our district special ed pre-k.  They have loved her, taught her, encouraged her, validated her, strengthened her.  They did all those same things for me, too.

Seeing Taylor play appropriately with another child brings such joy to my heart, I can not explain.  When she started at Rice (her school) I remember going to a CST meeting, and upon walking up to the school I saw a class file in from recess.  They were probably 1st grade.  All the kids were talking and laughing...all but one.  There was a girl lagging behind, all by herself.  I tear up just thinking about it!!  Oh I wanted to run over and hug her, take her to Friendlies and love on her.  I wanted to buy her a toy.  I wanted to see her smile...and I wanted to tell the other children, "don't you see her?  Why aren't you friends with her?"  And then, as I walked and ached...I thought of my Taylor and I almost fell over.  Would that be her?!  Oh please God no.  Please God, let her be NORMAL and let her have friends.  At that point in her young life - 3 yrs old - I chose her "friends" for her.  Playdates with church and MOPS friends.  Friends whose moms knew about Taylor, and would gently encourage their children to include her...and honestly, a lot of times she didn't want to be included.  "I play by myself, no you."  Playdates used to be so stressful - for her and me.  Bailey LOVED going to other people's houses, or having them to ours.  Taylor hated it.  If they were here, why are they touching all my stuff?!!!  Share?!  Are you nuts?!  Why is it so loud?  Why is your baby crying...make it stop.  If we were there, she would just cling to me, I called her my koala baby.  I was tired, she was tired...I felt beaten down, and she probably felt confused, pissed off, and sad.

But look at her now.  Look at her now!!!  Look at me now.   We're not done - works in progress.  Next year will be a big transition, for both of us, but we'll do it.  She is so strong, my little girl.  Strong and brave.  She is teaching me, every day, how to take on the world.

It is my pleasure watching my daughters grow.  What an honor.  The privilege of my life.  I am one proud mama.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Top 10 things that make me sad

Hmm a bit depressing of a title, eh?  Oh well, I feel like it.  It is my blog after all.

Tatie Tot, mad and sad...and petting mama's hair 'cause that makes her feel better.  Which makes me feel better.

1.  Anything being wrong with my babies.  I hate it.  Sometimes, I know that they will come out the other side, and will be all the stronger, or smarter...but sometimes it's just really, really tough.

2.  Thinking about my kids growing up.  Yes I know, I know...there is no avoiding it, "give them wings to fly" and all that crap.  But they're my babies.

3.  I don't watch or listen to any news...truthfully, I find everything out either on FB or Kevin telling me.  I just can't handle it.  Natural disasters, terrorists, abuse, does me in.  I don't live under a rock though, so when I do find out about something that someone else in this world has endured that is unjust or tragic, I feel sad for them.  And I thank God for my family's safety and comfort.

4.  On a completely separate note - and completely selfish and self-indulgent - I am sad that my favorite shows are over for the season.

5.  So this doesn't make me sad per se - but speaking of tv, I can't handle those Disney commercials!!  Oh my gosh - the music, the kids getting so excited, the parents' looks of joy - I want to be in Disney!!

August 2010, Chef Mickey.  Good times.  Make that awesome times.  

6.  Going to animal shelters.   I donate from time to time, and I just hope those babies get picked up by somebody awesome.  It's hard to hear the barking and meowing and not take a little one home!

7.  My waistline.  My thighs.  My backside.  My chins.  You get where I'm going with this.  It's not pretty.  But what's really sad is that when it was, I didn't know it.

8.  Commercial real estate where a farm once stood.

This picture has nothing to do with anything.  And Bailey was like, 3 years old here.  But it's one of my faves and I have no idea what she's asking for - maybe Disney?  I hear ya sister.  I think I am going to have to plant a big kiss on her sweet sleeping face in a few minutes...I mean really, how CUTE is she?!  God knew how much I love to gaze into brown he gave me 3 pairs of the deepest brown eyes you could ever see.  They melt me.
9.  Being far away from someone when I want to hug them.  That's achy breaky stuff.  Thankfully, my kids are right down the hall and I can love them up almost as much as I want to.  The school receptionist would probably look at me funny if I stopped by to call the girls out just for a I refrain myself.  Barely at times.  And then, 10 minutes after they get off their buses and are fighting already about who gets to choose the show they watch...I think, wow, school is nice.
10.  Missing.  Just that's sad.  When I miss someone, or something, wow that feels awful.

*Nothing depressing brought on the content of this post.  All of my loved ones are safe and sound, and we had a perfectly pleasant Sunday evening.

Coupon Crazy

So I have to be honest with you...couponing does take a bit of work.  I love it, and I get really excited about good deals I find for my family, or to give to others.  I take comfort in having a cushion of supplies - like detergent, cat food, toiletries.  I love knowing I have the makings for plenty of meals.  But shopping in this different way - of stocking up in addition to buying perishable items - takes time and effort.  I don't mind looking through the deals - I like it actually.  I don't mind the grocery shopping - I only go to 2 stores usually each week, and I have the luxury of either going while my girls are at school in the afternoon, or my local ShopRite has free childcare if they are with me.  I don't mind cutting coupons.

I DO mind organizing the coupons.  UGGHHHHHH.  Right now I am 2 weeks behind.  So I have a large baggie with lots of cut coupons, all mixed together.  It will take me at least a few hours to organize them into like piles (ie - cereal, yogurt, juices, etc) and then fill them in to my binder.  And because I have some sort of homemaker ADD thing going, I can't just sit and complete this task - I stand at the kitchen counter, coupons all spread out, and all day tomorrow I will take several minutes here and there and file some coupons.  It will annoy me, tire me, and bore me.

But I will do it, because I have figured that my couponing yields me some serious cash.  For a stay at home mom to earn anywhere from $20-$100/hr or more depending on the week, that is a good part time gig.  I don't actually "earn" it I guess, there's no money going into my pocket.  But there's a whole lot less money going OUT, so I count it as the same.

This week is a bit dry at the grocery stores, so I'll spend my couponing time organizing, and maybe an hour getting a bit of produce and spending some Rite Aids UP rewards that are about to expire.  And I'll hit up CVS to get their free stuff (soap and Bayer off the top of my head).  Good luck this week friends - and remember, a dollar not spent, or a dollar saved with a coupon, is a dollar in your pocket.

So what was this post really about anyway.  Well, I guess my point is - couponing is not all roses.  But it can be fun, it IS rewarding, and it's the easiest way I can think of to create more wiggle room in your budget.  Feel free to ask me a question that's been on your mind!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dr Zoomerman

Taylor has said for a while now that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.  She is FASCINATED with so many things - from the little hairs on caterpillars, to inspecting any of our boo boos with her magnifying glass - that I really believe she could be.  Plus, she is very bright, she likes working alone, she can sit for extending periods of time "working" (I know, right?!  I don't know why she can't focus when I give her directions, but give her "homework" and she sits tight) and for some reason, I can just really see her actually being a doctor.  This is going to sound awful - brace yourselves - but I do not believe my kids can just do anything.  I don't tell them that of course, but if they were to say they wanted to be President of the United States, in my head I'd be saying, "keep dreamin', kid."  Both my girls have different gifts and abilities, and as they grow I am starting to imagine who they might grow up to be.

I picture Bailey as a mom, first and foremost, and a doting wife.  Her husband will also have to dote though, because girlfriend is a tad spoiled.  But she is so loving, affectionate, and family matters so much to her that I can easily picture her with at least a few kids, either staying at home or in a profession like teaching.  She loves to play teacher and even has a little apron with letters and numbers she wears when she is "Miss Bailey."

As I said, I really believe Tatie could be a doctor someday, and this is what she recently said.   I asked her what kind of doctor she wanted to be, like did she want to help babies come out of mommies, did she want to look at peoples booboos in the hospital, did she want to look at x-rays (she's had a few, she knows what they are).   She said, "I want to be a Zoomerman doctor."  me - "Is that a dr that goes to the zoo?  Do you want to be a vet?"  Tate - "NO Mommy, a ZOOMERMAN doctor!" (She gets easily pissed off at me if I'm not on her wavelength).  me - "Taylor, I don't know what that is, I'm sorry.  What is it?"  Tate (looking at me like I'm dumb as dirt) - "It's the doctor that, you know, zooms in - gives shot, open wide, ok ok, and zooms out."  Kevin and I couldn't help but start laughing - which further exasperated her so we quickly composed ourselves, didn't want to dream-squash, but it was SO HER.   It was just so like Taylor to not want to spend too much time with the patients, she just wants to zoom in and out.

I miss the baby days (sometimes) but now that they are getting older, I love that the girls have these moments that are just "so them."  They are growing into themselves, and I love it.  It is so like Bailey to tear up upon seeing a baby carrier seat on a stretcher at CHOP yesterday - I did too, even though we both had no clue what was wrong with the baby - but that empathy she has is so acute, so strong.  I am careful to talk to her about such things, trying to have her not be a "burden bearer" - I love her compassion but do not want her to take on the weight of the world.  I didn't much talk to her about the natural disasters occurring, like recent Joplin, bc she would have been up at night with worry.

I love my sweet Bailey, and my Dr Zoomerman.  I look forward to seeing what they do when they grow up, but I certainly can wait to see - time is already going by fast enough.