Friday, December 31, 2010

this is not a year in review

It seems like everyone in the blogosphere is doing a "year in review" or "resolutions" post today.  I wasn't planning on posting anything today.  But I'm waiting for a sugar/water mixture to turn amber, to complete Salted Caramel Brownies.  So I guess I might as well share a couple quick things.

I don't really have any strong sentiments about 2010, which I guess is good and bad.  It was a year.  It had it's ups and downs.  A lot of challenges,  through which I tried to learn to rejoice and give thanks and count all things joy.

I quit making resolutions a few years ago.  Because I never fully keep them.  I usually have new goals and intentions.  This year is no different, but I won't bore you with them tonight.

What does matter to me, more than anything is family.  My husband, my girls and our extended family.

This was our 3rd Annual New Year's Eve trip to our favorite ice cream shop.  The first time we went, I was very large with child and we were in the midst of renovating our house so we could actually move in.  I really hope this is a tradition that lives on.  When our girls are teenagers and want to hang out with their friends, I hope they love this enough to come with us and then get on with their plans.

(my niece)

Happy New Year's everyone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

random Christmas moments

I need to blog these before I forget them, because you know this is my cyber baby book.  Maybe I should get out Lily's baby book and actually write something in it before her 2nd birthday in a month.  Quite the overachiever I am.

We've had a great Christmas.  Full of family and love and fun.  The kids actually slept until their normal wake-up time, which was nice since we were up until about midnight the night before, wrapping gifts and hanging with my sisters who are in town.

A sidenote here:  if you have sons, for the love, please teach them to wrap gifts.  As a spent a few hours the past two nights wrapping 100% of our gifts, I wished that my husband was adept at gift wrapping.  He typically bribes one of my sisters to wrap my gifts.  This year, we only got each other one small gift since we need to spend a little money on our house.  I requested a book from him.  {i know, if you clicked on that link, you aren't surprised}  I insisted that HE wrap my one gift.  Which he did. 

And when I opened it this morning, it was still shrink wrapped to the cardboard with the invoice inside.  He claims he wanted to disguise the gift.  The one thing I SPECIFICALLY asked for.

So mother's of sons, please teach your offspring to wrap gifts.  So that they can join in on the hours of wrapping at Christmastime.  It will be a huge blessing to their future wives.  I may actually start a free community class for men, teaching them to wrap gifts.

I won't bore you with the play by play of the day, but these are the moments I want to remember...

Gracie falling in love with two more dogs...which she promptly named after the dog we had for three days, and our friends new puppy whom she loves.

Gracie & Lily getting their groove on to Justin Beiber with their cousins.

My nephew and daughter attacking their grandma in joy because they got gifts they really wanted.

After shooting off a new marshmallow gun, Gracie put one hand on her hip, the other hand in the air and said "I'm awesome."  Yes baby, you are! 

Lily...well, she was a wreck today.  She just didn't know what to do with herself!!  It was a lot of commotion that she didn't necessarily understand, and she was mostly interested in what everyone else was getting.  I purchased just two items for her stocking stuffers.  She doesn't understand it all anyways.  The baby bottle I bought broke and I had to throw it away.  I felt bad that there would just be a ball in her stocking, so I decided to put a toy cell phone in that she's been playing with for a few days.  My sister found that hysterical.  Hey--just being resourceful.

I stopped myself from putting the kids leftover Halloween candy in their stockings when I realized I hadn't bought any for them.  I should have just done it.  Miss Rose expressed extreme disappointment tonight that Santa didn't bring her any candy, but he did bring candy to her friends. 

Mind you, we don't do Santa in our house.  She's only learned about him from friends, TV, movies and the like.  But she has decided he is real, and she gets angry if we insinuate otherwise.  It's like a personal offense to her.

Before bed, as the nightly meltdown was occurring, she said the toe socks she got in her stocking were stupid and Santa shouldn't have bought them for her.  Bean said "hey, don't say that, someone had to spend money on them."  To which she retorted, "nobody bought them.  Santa's elves SEWED them."

Oh my.

These are the moments to remember though.

We were so blessed to be able to give, to our children, our family, our friends.  And so blessed with what we received as well.

Merry, Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family, to yours!

Here's the card we sent out this year! 

With Love Blue Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.
Our fabulous card from Shutterfly

And one more!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the ghost of christmas past

I had this great idea to do a 12 Days of Christmas series, sharing family traditions, Christmas stories, holiday favorites and the like.  But this pesky thing called life got in the way and time ran out before the words flowed from the keyboard.

So I thought I'd do a couple.  I'm thoughtful like that.  Because I know you find these random stories about me interesting.  [I know, I flatter myself.]

This got pretty long.  I don't usually like to read or write long blog posts.  But they happen.  Just warning you.  Maybe it makes up for the lack of posting as of late.  Happy reading!

As a young child, our Christmas celebrations were very small and simple.  We went to a church that was very conservative and discouraged the celebration of holidays.  However, when Christmas was just a few days away, my parents would decide they needed to celebrate in small fashion.  Until I was about 10 years old, that was Christmas.

Sometimes a small tree.  Sometimes no tree.  I have several ornaments bought on Christmas Eve for our tree.  Because money was always tight, often my dad would find an abandoned Christmas tree lot a day or two before Christmas and we'd give a lonely tree a home.  This became a very fun family tradition as I got older, that we even carried on after my dad had his stroke and couldn't go out and get trees with us.

My mom always put an orange, a nut, and a quarter in our stockings.  Tradition from when she was a kid.  I don't remember any gifts.  I'm sure we got them, probably few and small.  But nothing stands out.  I wasn't sad or disappointed.  I knew no different.  The traditions we had, were what made the holidays fun.  One year, we didn't have stockings, so my mom set everything out on plates for us.  Just our regular dinner plates, but we loved it!

My brother's birthday is on New Year's Eve.  One year my dad took us to Toys R Us on his birthday.  I'm not sure if the intention was to buy him a birthday gift, or to buy everyone something.  All I know is it was his birthday, and I walked out with a Cabbage Patch Kid named Lynette Georgette.  Yes, I remember her name.  In fact, I still have her and her clothes although her shoes are long gone.  I also have her birth certificate. 

One time, I was attempting to clean marks off her face with alcohol or nail polish remover and I accidentally wiped off part of one eye.  But my aunt who is an artist repainted the eye for me. 

When I was 9, we returned to Southern California where my parents were from (I was born & lived in Washington until then) and Christmas was celebrated on a bit of a grander scale.  With four kids and a stay at home mom, gifts were not the focus.  We also now had family around us to celebrate with and aunts, uncles and grandparents to bestow gifts.

In fourth grade our family was marked by my school (my brother was in second grade) as one who could use some help for Christmas.  Days before the holiday, a load of gifts was delivered along with stuffed stockings.  They were simple, cheap stockings.  Someone had cut pieces of ribbon into pieces to form our names and ages, then taped across them.  We had those stockings for years.  Actually, decades.  Only recently did we finally get rid of the last ones.

Santa was never a part of Christmas in our house.  We all eventually learned the story, but my parents didn't give us gifts from "Santa."  However, growing up my dad's house didn't have a fireplace so my grandpa made a fake fireplace, that ended up being passed down to us.  Every year we'd haul it out (it moved to probably 4-5 house with us), buy new "brick" paper for it and hang our stockings with care.  It was really hard to part with it when it was time for my parents to downsize, but we have such great memories!

We've had years of plenty.  One year was "Disney Christmas" at our house.  My dad had a paper route (which we often helped on) in a well-to-do area and the homes were very generous with tips.  I happened to have a thing for Mickey Mouse.  One sister loved all things Winnie the Pooh.  There were many Disney Store boxes under our tree that year.

We've had lean years.  Probably more of those.  It's always been the thought that counted in our family. As we've grown into adulthood, that has faded a bit.  I'd like for it to come back though.  It's too easy to get caught up in material things, in having the latest trend, in getting the hot item that year.  One of my good friends was blessed to always get the biggest ticket items for Christmas.  But my family had a lot more fun.

There was great emphasis on choosing gifts for one another.  We had an annual trip for many years to a local mountain town where we shopped for one another.  When we were young, my grandma took us shopping at the drugstore every year for my parents.  We had a $5 limit per parent.  If we wanted to spend more, we had to convince a sibling to go in with us.  Then we'd climb back in my Grandpa's Pinto and at their house we'd wrap gifts and drink eggnog cut with milk.  Oh the memories.  I miss them, especially at Christmas.

I've been more purposeful in my Christmas shopping this year.  Partially in an effort to stay on budget.  But also, to make sure I get gifts that are meaningful and will be used.  An inexpensive or sale item that gets frequent use is of greater value than something that costs more, just because it's trendy.  I wanted to get gifts my children would actually play with.  Too many times I've picked up things I thought were cute or fun, but really didn't fit them.  I hope I've done well.

I want to have holiday traditions with my children that are fun and memorable.  I don't know if we've established those yet.  They are still young though, so there is time.  I want my children to look back at Christmas' past and remember the family togetherness, the laughter, the meaningful gifts.  I don't want it to be only about what was under the tree.

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been about family for us.  Family and food.  Good, home cooked food.  Except for See's Candy. That's a must also.   Well, the last few years we've been getting tamales for Christmas, from one of the best Mexican places in town, so I think that counts as home cooked.

I hope these are the holiday traditions we are instilling in our children.  Just writing this was a wonderful reminder of why the holidays have been important to me growing up and I need to focus more on these aspects with the girls.

I'd love to hear a special memory or favorite holiday tradition you had growing up!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

frazzled & fragmented [running through my head]

It's been too long since I blogged.  I miss this space when I don't get to visit.  Life feels fragmented right now, and I'm frazzled.

When I got home from work today, the security screen was unlocked and the front door was wide open.  At first I was freaked out and entered the house calling "hello" waiting for the boogieman to pop out.  Sure I had a baby on my hip, but I have strong legs and I could have kicked him and defended my children.  My mom said there were no contractors here today.  The best explanation is that I was concerned about getting the kids to the car through the rain, planned to come back and lock the house, but promptly forgot.  Major FAIL.

We have too much furniture.  The addition of a Christmas tree is suffocating me.  Our last house was the largest living space we'd had and we bought a couch and love seat, in addition to the comfy chair and love seat we already had.  It was perfect for that space (dual living rooms).  But now our home is smaller, and we own it.  The chair has a home with my sister currently.  And we have one too many love seats. 

Bean mentioned the idea of selling the set, and getting a couch to match the original love seat we've had.  It is our favorite.  In the meantime, we may need to move a couch to the garage before I go crazy.  Yes, those things can make me go crazy.  Even though next week we will take the tree down, and bring the couch back in.

I am not ready mentally for Christmas.  I've done all the major shopping, with the exception of one item for Lily and stocking stuffers.  But things have been so fragmented with moving out last week, being home now, but still not settled.  We've still barely been home.  I have yet to wash laundry from last week.  The rain doesn't help because we have to go outside to wash clothes.  We don't wash them outside.  That's how we get to the garage.

I want to bake.  I want to fill my home with yummy smells.  I want to bring goodies to my neighbors and my co-workers.  I need to watch White Christmas.  I have more Christmas cards to send out.

Tomorrow is my last day in the office for a week and a half.  Which is good.  As a pastor though, rarely can you fully disconnect.  Hopefully I can get enough done tomorrow that I will be able to mostly disconnect.

I'm working on not coveting this holiday season.  Bean and I aren't really doing gifts for each other this year.  Our gift is the house.  There were a few items that we weren't able to stay within the budget on (because you can't really find an entry door for $100) and if the contingency money written into the contract runs out, we'll need to pay the difference.  If not, there are many things we need for the house.  Well, things we want, but things that will help make this a home to be proud of, a complete home.

There are plenty of things I want.  Plenty of things that people around me seem to have or be getting.  But nothing that I need.  I want to be content.  I want to be thankful for what we have and that we are staying the course to pay off debt and stay within our budget.  But I will tell you, coveting is very difficult to suppress. 

Although I struggle wanting the ideal Christmas (decor, baking, gift-giving, Advent, Jesse Tree, discussions with my children), I'm thankful that this year the main focus is on family togetherness.  There is simplicity.  There isn't much distraction.  Kind of like the night the Savior was born.  Simplicity out of necessity. 

I have rambled enough for one night. 

Hopefully I'll remember to lock the house tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fit Friday: when fitness doesn't happen

If you've been following me on Twitter or read my blog a few days ago, this has been a crazy week.

We received a grant from the housing commission to do some upgrades on our home.  It's a huge blessing since we are getting new windows (to replace the originals from 1954), new countertops and a new sink, new tile in the bathroom, some new doors and more. 

But due to lead content in old paint, we had to move out for a week.  We've known for a few months this was coming, but there is only so much prep you can do.  We've been staying in a 2-bedroom apartment with my mother-in-law.  She has been so gracious and a wonderful hostess.  But it's a 2-bedroom apartment.

We've also had several evening events and commitments this week.  Along with Bean working two evenings.

There hasn't been a lot of exercise happening.  Not for lack of desire, because with all the stress it's been the thing I wanted most.  But I can't get up early and run on the treadmill nor can I do a DVD because it's a 2nd story and even walking across the floor is noisy.

There has been a lot of less than healthy eating.  Part of the deal is that we got a food allowance for the time away from our home.  Which is great because we've just bought convenience foods and eaten out as necessary.  But I happen to like eating my "boring" foods that I eat every week.

Fitness has not been happening.  I'm not even going to get on the scale for a few weeks.  My body feels ok, but I'm sure I've gained a bit just from the abnormal diet.  Which means once I'm back to my normal diet, the few pounds will drop off.

There are times in life, that fitness and healthy eating are next to impossible.  Yes, I could have made some different decisions about my food, but it was better for my state of mind to just go with ease. 

As long as everything goes according to plan, we'll be back in our house tomorrow night.  We have a lot of settling to do since a lot of furniture had to be moved, counters cleared etc.  But we'll be home.  In our own beds.  In our own rooms.  With the kids having their own toys.

I WILL be back to fitness next week.  I will get up early to run (even though I've slacked off a bit with the early mornings).  I will eat my fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein.  Oh, it sounds so refreshing just writing about it.

Unless you are a professional athlete, times like these are going to happen.

The key though, is to love your healthy routines enough (which means establishing ones that you love) that you are excited to get back to them.

Crazy as it is, I look forward to that 5:30am alarm on Monday, the concrete floor of the garage, the old creaky treadmill (thanks Sandra, I'm giving it lots of love!) and sweating out this past week.

How do you get back on track after a difficult week?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the mom I am

Thank you so much for your supportive and encouraging comments on my last post.  Unfortunately moms are one of the most competitive communities.  Which is such a shame because each mom is different, each child is different, each life is different and you can't really compare how this all plays out.

So today, I want to toot my own horn.  Because we worry about offending others, because we don't want to brag, because we don't want to sound stuck up or snobby, we don't give ourselves enough credit for the mom we are.  I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else.  I'm not looking down on anyone who's made different choices in their life.  We are each unique and individual.  That's okay, and it's good.

This, is the mom I am.

I am a working mom, who managed to bring my babies to work with me until they were 6 months old.

I pumped the life out of my boobs, in order to provide my children with that precious liquid gold, until they were one year old.  A drop of formula never crossed their lips.  (although I chose to supplement with a little bit of organic whole milk the last few months before they turned 1, when my supply started to dwindle)

I wear my babies, and my toddlers.

I rear-face my children until they are close to two years old.  (well, not my first daughter, but I didn't really know better at that time)

I insist on some form of protein at almost every meal.

I co-slept with my babies, even though I thought I never would. Everyone got more sleep that way, and I cherish those memories of their tiny bodies nestled in as close as possible to my body.

I let my children eat their share of candy and treats, and they even drink Sprite at restaurants.  (in their eyes, this makes me very cool)

My sick children sleep in bed with me, even though the idea of sleeping in their infectious germs gives me the creeps.  (so far, I rarely get their illnesses)

I ignore housework, a lot, so that I can cuddle on the couch with my kids.

I let them lick the spoon, and the beaters, and wipe the bowl clean when we bake.

I put them to bed on time 75% of the time, because everyone is happier that way

We listen to a lot of worship music in the car and the house.  We also listen to the radio and fun dance music.

I burp and fart.  Hey, girls need to do know it's okay to do that stuff too.  Although there are times we emphasize manners too.

I bring the older girls to church with me sometimes, at 7:30am on Sundays, even though they wreak havoc in my office and run through the hallways screaming (you think I jest, I don't, they really do).  Because how often does a mom get to bring her kids to work with her.

I wake up early (sometimes) to exercise, so that I don't have to miss precious time with them later in the day.

When I get home from work, I gather my children to me, like a mother hen gathering her chicks, and we soak each other in.

This, and more, is the mom I am.  The mom I am proud to be.

Your turn now.  Toot your horn in the comments!  What makes you stand out as a mom?  What are you proud of?  Nothing is off limits!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the mom I'm not

I have quite a long list of blogs that come into my Google Reader.  This gives me great reading material as I unwind before bed.  I rarely read every post in every blog.  I love finding a blog where I have something in common with the author, maybe they are also a runner, or they have all daughters, or another working mom.  Sometimes I have nothing in common with them, but I enjoy their writing style or their take on life, or their life journey is fascinating. 

Sometimes though while reading blogs, I'm overwhelmed by the mom I'm not.  The mom I wish I was. 

I am not the mom who is doing anything related to Advent with her children.  I wish I was.  There are so many wonderful and easy ideas out there.  But finding the time to put it together, and having an opportunity each day to do it with the children--just isn't something I have the energy for.

I am not crafty.  I don't often do crafts with my children.  I don't do a good job decorating our home.  I see things I like.  I read blogs with great do-it-yourself ideas.  But I'm not a crafty mom.

I rarely get to volunteer at my daughter's school.

I have spent very little time teaching my almost 4-year old letters and numbers.

I laugh at my kids when I should probably discipline them.  I yell when I should be patient.  I don't follow through with consequences.

These, and so much more, are the mom I'm not.  It's easy to be disappointed in myself. To think I should try harder, do more.  Make more an effort.  Be more selfless. 

Yet, I can't be defined by the mom I'm not.  By the mom I think I should be. 

Because I am a mom who is helping provide a good future for my children.  And working is a huge dynamic in my mothering.  My heart is to be home with my children.  I believe one day, that will happen.  But for now, I believe I'm doing what God wants me to do.  My parents never owned a home.  We usually had cars that broke down all the time.  My parents weren't able to contribute to my college education.  I love my parents dearly and I loved my life.  But I have the opportunity right now, to set my family up differently and I don't want to waste it.

I am a mom who loves my children deeply.  My favorite thing is to be with them.  They are my priority.  Yes, I take time for myself; I run, go out for girls nights, rare date nights with my husband.  But these things make me a better mom, and I try to do them in such a way that has the least impact on my kids and my time with them.

I may not be crafty or good at imaginative play, but I will sit on the floor and let my kids crawl all over me.  When the baby is crying, I'll hold her.  When Gracie is grumpy, I cuddle her.  When Miss Rose is exhibiting bad behavior, I'll first shower her with love and affection, because often that solves the problem.

I just love being a mom, being with my kids.  The mom I'm not, doesn't define me.  The mom I'm not, doesn't matter as much as sometimes I think it is.  That's not the mom God made me. 

Someday, I hope I have the time and energy to learn to be more crafty.  As my children get older, we'll get to do more things like celebrating Advent and nightly Bible reading.  I have to remind myself, they are young.  There is time.

My kids don't know the mom I'm not.  They just know the mom I am, and I know they love me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

which way is up?

I am so incredibly disoriented in life, it's quite pitiful.

I love my routines and patterns.  My kids thrive on them as well.  Our life is never wrapped up in a box with a nice bow on it--but 50-75% of the time, things go as planned.  Some semblance of routine is required to keep us on track with the demands of a working mom, a first grader, two little girls and the rest of life.

All that has been thrown out of the window in the last several days.  Some was expected, some was not.

Last week, Bean got the opportunity to work some hours at his former part-time job at the church.  It's short-term, but you can always use extra money, right?  Especially this time of year.  Especially when I unexplicabely broke a tooth last week and now have a temporary crown and will go back next week for the permanent one.  Which will necessitate getting a new custom-molded mouth guard which prevents me from clenching my teeth at night, most likely a stress/tension related habit.  But I have TMJ and am prone to headaches, so this mouth guard is a must for me.  And it's super sexy when I talk with a lisp at night to Bean.  Just ask him.

Anyhow, this means that Bean worked 5-6 hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  In the midst of holiday extravaganzas and other such busyness, which I navigated on my own so that he could work.  That was the unexpected, for which we are thankful though.

The expected was moving out of our house last night, for a week.  The fact that it was expected, didn't make it any easier.  So much couldn't be done until the day of or the night of.  It was pointless to do much to prepare, which of course made me freak out in my head the last few weeks.

At 4:30pm last night, it began.  I packed for myself and the kids.  Clothes, toiletries, anything we might need.  We got dinner, and bathed all the kids early.  Headed over to his mom's apartment, where the kids proceeded to bounce off the walls for about thirty minutes, before we put them to bed.  His mom likes to keep her house quite warm.  We were broiling. The kids ended up sleeping in their underwear.  We are having an odd heat wave right now.  But still.  It was hot.  And she was wearing a sweatshirt.

Bean and I then returned to the house to gather the rest of what we needed.  We also had to clear the floor, tub and vanity of the hall bathroom.  We moved furniture away from windows (which are all being replaced). We had to clear off every surface in the kitchen (new granite countertops, whoo-hoo!).  Technically since there is lead abatement involved, we aren't supposed to return to the house until it's cleared.  However Bean was trying to convince me that it would be easier for him to return after work hours each night, to get what we needed for the next day.  He's a raging lunatic sometimes.

Last night, Miss Rose & Gracie slept on a queen Aero Bed, I slept (kind of) on a twin bed and Lily was in a pack-n-play.  Bean slept on the couch.  None of us slept well.  Miss Rose said she woke up every time she moved because the Aero bed was noisy.  Lily woke at one point and was crying, so I brought her into bed with me for a bit.

It's just odd.  Everything is out of sorts right now.  And like the title says today, I have no idea which way is up, what time it is or what day it is today.  The normal organized chaos of my life has become very unorganized chaos. 

We are so thankful to my mother-in-law for opening her home to us, for Bean's grandma moving out for the week to give us a bedroom to spread our stuff out.  The other option was staying in a residence hotel in a less than satisfactory part of town.  This is much, much better.

Hopefully, the novelty has worn off and everyone will be good and tired tonight, and sleep well.  The chaos continues though, because we have a holiday dinner to attend.  Miss Rose will stay with Grammie so she can go to bed on time.  The little girls will go to the home of a co-worker for the evening.  Since Grammie watched the kids all day while I'm working, we didn't want to stick her with them all again tonight.

*Sigh*  If you see me, in person, or in the interwebs, please show me which way is up.

I may not find it again until Sunday or Monday.

{but, I am doing my best to still choose joy because it's all for a reason, for a purpose and we will return to an upgraded house, for which we've barely had pay anything}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

fit friday: holiday

The holidays are upon us!  Christmas is just two weeks away now.  Parties, events and holiday cheer are in full effect!  Co-workers are bringing in baked goods.  Schedules are full, meaning life is hectic and nutritious eating and exercise are not always on the top of your priority list.

We all know how easy it is to gain weight during the holidays.  Even just a few pounds can have a great impact on how you feel both in self-esteem and physically. 

My goal is usually to maintain my weight during the holidays.  If I have a losing goal (which it seems like I always do, because I'm always above my ideal weight) I put it on the back burner.  You'd think with all the running I did for my half marathon, I would have lost several pounds.  But if you've ever watched the Biggest Loser Marathon episode, those who train hardest usually lose the least weight.  I'm okay with that.  I am proud of my half marathon accomplishment and I have no regrets.

There is one very easy method I use to attempt to maintain my weight.  It's easy, but it does take discipline.

I do my best to eat normal and nutritiously for as many meals as possible each day/week etc.  I eat my oatmeal or cottage cheese like always in the morning.  Basic lunches and balanced dinners; healthy snacks.

When an event or special food comes along, I will indulge a bit.  I try not to overeat in these instances, but I enjoy the food.  I enjoyed tri-tip, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and pumpkin mousse at a dinner on Monday.  I ate some pumpkin cake on Wednesday.  Today was a "normal" day.  I ate well today and I ran.

I feel like this approach is balanced.  It works for me because if I deny myself too much, I'll over-indulge.  And if I don't stick to my normal foods as much as possible, I'll eat way too much!

That's how I deal with all the extra calories at the holidays.  How do you do it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

What do you do?

What do you do, when your almost 2-year old decides yelling all the time is meaingful communication?  And by yelling, I mostly mean yelling the world "no" over and over.  And by yelling, I mean REALLY LOUD.  What do you do, when she thinks it's funny to not come when you call?  And she just looks at you with a smirk and says no.  And when she does this all day long?

What do you do when your 3-and-a-half year-old is obsessed with potty talk and actions?  As in, pulling down her tights and panties to moon her dad, completely out of the blue.  (and to our knowledge and her confirmation, she hasn't ever seen this, she just felt like it).  What do you do when she instead of giving you a goodnight kiss, she sticks her booty in your face and says "kiss my butt" even when you don't use the word "butt" in your house.

What do you do, when your first grader only has negative remarks and responses to just about everything in life?  Even though her life really is quite good, she can only see the negative, which usually is what she perceives as negative.  Or sometimes it seems like she fabricates negativity, just for the sake of being negative. 

What do you do?

Oh, did you think I was going to answer the question?

I wish I could.  I wish I could answer these questions.  Because they plague me.  I do my best to deal with each situation.  But it's exhausting.  And my punishments, the consequences, at the moment, don't seem to make a difference.  My days and nights are filled with yelling, booties and negativity.

Welcome to my world.

Even so, I like my little world and the little people that live in it.  But oh they are challenging.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

balance part 2: sometimes, you gotta do nothing

This is Part 2 in a brief series I'm blogging on finding balance in your life.  Check out Part 1 here.  I said I would post the next part the rest day.  But I lied.  Or actually, life just got in the way.  But nonetheless, here's more.  There is at least one more post to come, maybe two.  I'm verbose.

Remember the pie of each day?  Every day how you spend your time is going to vary.  Your priorities are going to change with the needs of your family and the demands of life.

Guess what?

You can ALWAYS be doing something.  You know.  You've been there.  You collapse onto the couch after you get the kids down for a nap, or down for the night.  Staring you in the face is the laundry yet to be put away, the dishes piled in the sink, the empty lunch bag that needs to be filled for the morning.  There is always something to do.  That something sometimes is fun or entertaining.  But it's still something.

But, you can always be doing NOTHING.  The few moments to check your email or bank balance turns into two hours on Facebook and blog-hopping.  (of course I've never done that, just heard it can happen)  The housework and household management piles up.

Balance is know what to do, when to do it and when to not do anything.

Things have to get done.  Picking up the living room, having a semi-clean kitchen and making my daughter's lunch the night before make for a much smoother morning in our household.  That doesn't mean those things are always done every night.  But most nights they are.  That's something that does need to be done.  Like I've said before, there are other things I don't worry about as much.  My dresser is piled high with random papers, keepsakes and paraphernalia.  But that's not something I feel pressured to take care of.

You know what your hot buttons are.  You know what your husbands hot buttons are.  My husband detests a sinkful of dirty dishes.  On a Saturday when our family is home most of the day, he probably does dishes at least five times.  No joke.  I don't care as much about dirty dishes.  I'd rather they pile up and then I'll do them all at once.  But because I know how Bean gets with the kitchen, I almost always try to have the dishes done when he gets home from work (on the days I'm home).  If I choose to do nothing, he immediately goes to the kitchen to wash dishes when he gets home from work, which sometimes annoys me.

But some days, if I've been on a big outing with the kids or done a lot of errands or maybe I'm just exhausted, I'll let the kitchen slide.  And Bean lives.  There are days that I choose to do nothing that can wait.  Because it's right for that day.  Because I want to snuggle my kids on the couch while we have downtime and I need to just lose myself in mindless reading or television.

That's balance.

When I lack balance in my life, when I do too much or when I don't do enough, I pay the price.  I crash on the days I'm off.  I spiral downward.  Bean loves when I use that phrase.  It's not a good sign.  By the end of my workweek, I'm a mess.  I have no motivation to do the things I need to do or should do.  I don't eat right.  I don't exercise.  One negative thought turns into about 1,000 and all of the sudden I'm finding every little thing wrong with life and it's the end of the world.  I may appear to have it all together, but this really does happen.  Inside, I'm falling apart.

When I have balance in my life, I am happy and fulfilled.  I find joy in the small things, even if the big picture isn't what I would like it to be.  The things that are un-done don't bother me.  I am thankful for the blessings in my life.  I can see the blessings in my life.  I recognize the value of eating well and exercising.

If you stop to think on it, you can probably identify similar patterns in your own life. 

What happens when you lack balance in your life? 

What does it look like when you know what needs to be done, when to do it and when do not do anything?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I don't think I could love her more.

Friday, December 3, 2010

al rescate {oh gracie #2}

Gracie is a fan of Go, Diego, Go.  She is an animal lover.  Where the girl is, some sort of stuffed animal isn't far away.  Right now it's mostly dogs. 

(this dog is actually a real one...but can you see the love on her face?  it was halloween, hence the dress.  however, such attire isn't that uncommon for her.)

Gracie is also frequently constipated.

I know, big topic change here.  Stick with me.

A few days ago Gracie was in the bathroom again, trying to work things out.  It had been a few days since things had been worked out and her tummy was hurting.

Me: "Did your poop come out?" 

Gracie: "NO!  My poop is stuck.  I think someone needs to rescue it."

(she rocks outfits like this all the time.  notice the two different colored gloves, among other fabulous-ness) 

Oh Gracie!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hello out there

I'm writing this on my phone with a baby on my chest. Lily has a slight case of pneumonia. But that still means she's been running a fever for 3 days and is pretty miserable.

She's slept with us some or all of the last several nights. Her fever is finally coming down. I'm not sure if her refusal to continue sleeping in her bed right now is due to not feeling well or a new habit.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, but it's been back to the daily grind this week and last week already feels like a distant memory. I am now counting down to our family time at Christmas.

My goal is to have our Christmas shopping done in the next week. We have to move out on the 12th for a week while our windows are replaced as well as other work in the house. Christmas will be a week away when we move back in. I want to enjoy the season and rush around.

I've been reflecting a lot on the verse in James that says "Count it all joy when you face trials of any kind." Everyday has trials. They come in all shapes and sizes. The challenge is to count them joy.

Joy when the kids make a mess again.
Joy when the checking account is running on empty.
Joy when we are kicked all night by a sick baby in our bed.
Joy while we wait on God to move mountains.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

This is a season of joy. And even when faced with trials, I want to count each and every one joy.

You all can hold me accountable.

(and I confess I'm struggling to count the baby who won't sleep in her bed, again, a joy. But, she will only be this young and small once. And I do love cuddling her.)

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