Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Madness and Mayhem and Illness

My last few weeks have been extremely busy and crazy full of madness, mayhem and illness. Here are the highlights:

On Friday Dec. 10 we closed on our house!!

On Saturday Dec. 11 we pulled out all the carpet down stairs. The floor under the carpet in the bedrooms is beautiful!! The floor under the carpet in the living is a disaster! It is completely destroyed! After attempting to fix it we decided to cover it with more carpet.

On Wednesday Dec. 15 we replaced the carpet.

On Thursday Dec. 16 we started moving our big furniture over.

On Friday and Saturday Dec. 17 and 18 we made the big move to our wonderful, amazing, beautiful new home!! I started attempting desperitly to unpack enough to make a nice Christmas for my family. We had only bought half of our gifts assuming that we could finish shopping the week before Christmas.

On Sunday Dec. 19 we had dinner at my in-laws and met my brother-in-law's new girl friend. She is a wonderful and sweet creature. I like her already!

On Monday Dec. 20 Lulu started throwing up. She spent all day throwing up and having diarrhea. The next several days where consumed with trying to help Lulu feel better.

On Wednesday Dec. 22 we bought our tree but only got lights on it. We did not actually decorate it until the very last minute on Christmas Eve. I actually think I like it that way. We might buy our tree earlier next year but then decorate it as a celebration on Christmas Eve and light it after Christmas Vigil. Lulu spent all night throwing up again.

On Thursday Dec. 23 we had our phone and internet hooked up. We decided to go with Cox. Cox has a deal where you get their full bundle for the first two months for free! Therefore we have free cable for two months! I did not think we would really use it but it has turned out to be very nice for this Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we had a wonderful dinner at my in-laws. It is tradition to have Fettuccine Alfredo and potato soup on Christmas Eve at their house. My completely amazing sister-in-law made me Buche De Noel and peanut free, gluten free muddy buddies!! It was wonderful!! At this point Lulu had not completely recovered from her virus but I thought she was past throwing up. I was wrong. We where up all night with her throwing up again. Apparently she stole a cookie and it was too rich for her recovering tummy.

On Christmas day we spent all day watching Hallmark Christmas movies on our cable. We sang a lot of carols and opened what few gifts we had. We did not have a big meal because Lucy couldn't eat it. After she went to bed Tom and I did make a small feast for the two of us. It was amazing to eat! We had been sneaking food all day so that Lulu would not see us and beg for stuff she could not have. That meant neither of us had had a real meal all day and were starving!

On Dec. 26 Tom started throwing up and having diarrhea.

On Dec. 27 My completely amazing, sweet, and wonderful mother-in-law met me at my apartment to help me finish the cleaning and gathering the last few items we left there.

Dec. 28 (today!) Tom is sleeping in extremely late; Lulu is still grumpy like she is recovering; Eliza has started running a low grade fever; and my mother-in-law and I are going to finish the apartment and turn in the keys.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Moving Day

Tomorrow is moving day! I am working hard on finishing the packing!! I spent all week dusting the house (I have never seen a house so dusty. I literally had to scrub from ceiling to floor.) So far I have the kitchen and living room PACKED! That leaves finishing the bedroom, office, and bathroom. I will get there before you know it!

Starting tomorrow I will live in a house that is on the ground floor (NO MORE STAIRS!), it will be bug free, and it will have it's own washer and dryer! I could not ask for much more in a home!

Oh this house also has a huge yard, four bedrooms, a great living room, and a garage with attached workroom! Life does not get much better than that! I just have to survive the move!

Now back to packing! Pray for me and my family please!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Always Check the Diaper

Last night Lucy woke up and started crying, I mean wailing on the top of her lungs. I got up, I found her pacifier and gave it to her. She kept wailing. I gave her her favorite blanket. She kept wailing. I laid with her for a few minutes. She kept wailing. In frustration I went to bed leaving the wailing child. Tom woke up. He tried everything he could think of. Finally she went to sleep.

She woke up an hour or so later and repeated the cycle. We did this maybe three times. I was about to lose it when I noticed her diaper on the floor next to the bed. I picked it up and put it back on her. She laid down peacefully and went back to sleep. I should have checked her diaper earlier.

Our House!

On Friday we signed the papers, put the down payment down, and now we own a house (and a mortgage)! After signing the papers we went straight to the house and entered our new home. The feelings of joy and excitement are indescribable!

In our excitement to start making it "ours" we ripped out the carpet.  In the first bedroom the wood floor underneath are amazingly beautiful! It just needs buffed! The second bedroom same story! We where dancing for joy! Then we pulled out the living room....

In the living room someone painted the bottom of the carpet with glue, went crazy with a staple gun, then nailed it to the floor. The wood floor is destroyed. The glue has turned into a black tar that will not come up. First we tried scrubbing it off. That got some off but it did not do anything to the worst of it. Then we called a floor specialist who told us to use paint thinner. The paint thinner added an awful odor to the house but did not do help any more than just scrubbing did. Then we tried sanding it off. The tar is so thick it destroyed the sandpaper. I have now heard there is a way to get it off. first you spray adhesive remover on one square foot, let it soak for a  few minutes, then you scrape it off. After you have done this to the entire room you sand it and re-polish it. joy!

You can imagine how upset we where. After deliberating and discussing it we decided to buy a new carpet. We are getting a hypo-allergenic carpet that does not require the pad. Tom and a friend are going to put it down with double sided sticky tape (a floor specialist told us that works). We are simply going to cover up the problem, move in, and deal with it when it is not 8 to 22 degrees outside (that is yesterdays low and high).

The best part of owning the house so far has been watching Lucy. She has been so excited to have space to run! She has run and run and run and run... you get the picture. Yesterday she was so tired when I put her to bed she was asleep before I finished singing to her and she slept in this morning!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Hey all!
I know it has been a long time since I posted. It looks like we are going to close on the house on Dec. 10!!! YAAYY!!!! I am SO excited!!!!!!!! That means TONS of packing and preparing though! I just got back from my family's house 485 miles away, we started Advent on Sunday, Tom's birthday is this coming Sunday, Christmas is around the corner, and I am stressed! That means I will not be on here very often but I promise to drop by and write a short note here and there to keep you updated on how everything is going!

Until then God bless!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

my neighbor showed me this recipe and I love it! Just in time for Thanksgiving!

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup water

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 tsp. salt

mix dry ingredients. add other ingredients and mix well. Add nuts if desired. Pour into well greased 9x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Or use mini loaf pans or muffin pans work well too. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Busy Week!

This week has been extremely busy! I have a feeling life is not slowing down for quiet a while. I am going to attempt to catch up on here as fast as possible:

8) Eliza had her 6-month check up this week! She is 14.4 pounds and 25 inches long!

8) Eliza is sitting up and crawling slowly on her own!! Big changes are on the way!

8) Lulu still loves being a big sister. When Eliza wakes up in the bassinet Lulu says, "Uh oh! Uh oh! Zizzy NOT happy!!!" She then runs to the bed room, climbs up next to the bassinet and pats Eliza on the back until I pick her up. She also loves to give her big enthusiastic hugs and occasionally she tries to pick her up. (I try to discourage that last one).

8) After watching Lulu for a day my MIL asked, "How does she move so fast? One minute she is running the water full blast in the bathroom and the next she has pushed a chair all the way into the kitchen, found a butter knife, and is attempting to carve a piece of the rice crispy treats!" It actually made me feel better. I have been wondering if she moved exceptionally fast or if I was just not used to keeping up with 2-year-olds.

8) We had the house inspection! It went very well! There are very few problems with the house. Tom is going to spend today over at the house painting some exposed wood on the outside of the house so that our Appraiser doesn't slow the loan process when we file for FHA.

8) I have the bedroom and kitchen mostly packed for moving! Before you know it I will be ready to move out of this place! WooHoo!!!

8) We discovered our bugs are German Cockroaches. The hardest kind to kill, found most frequently in apartment buildings, and the second leading cause of air allergies (the first is pollen). No wonder Lulu and Tom have had such bad allergies!! I can't wait to leave the bugs!!!!!!

8) After today Tom will only have two more Saturday classes left for this semester!!!! Next semester it will be evening classes during the week! I much prefer evening classes to losing my whole weekend to school.

8) I figured out how to really good gluten free pumpkin bread and white bread this week!!!

8) Next week we make the 485 mile trek to my home town for Thanksgiving!!! I can't wait to see everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eliza is Sitting Up!

Yesterday I was changing Lulu's diaper while Eliza rolled happily on the floor. Suddenly she rolled up into a sitting position! I was SHOCKED! So was she! Eliza looked so completely stunned and startled that she actually knocked herself over a few seconds later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saving Money While Grocery Shopping

Yesterday in my Small Successes post I wrote that I had cut down on my grocery bill. It occurred to me that this is something we all struggle with and maybe we can exchange tips on how to cut down on that darn grocery bill.  Here is a list of tips I have heard/applied.

1) Go grocery shopping once a week. If you run out of something write it down but go without until the next weeks grocery shopping trip. This has helped me a great deal!

2) Make a menu plan. I try to make a menu. Most places I have read on saving money say make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack menu plan for the week and stick to it. I normally only do dinner and breakfast. In my house we have the same thing for breakfast for a week or two at a time. Snacks is usually fruit and maybe some crackers or homemade bread/cookies. Lunch is normally leftovers from dinner. I have been attempting to implement menu plans. Some weeks I do a good job and some weeks I fail.

3) Make a list of everything you buy on a regular basis and keep it on the fridge. That way you can mark next to an item as you run out of it. Then when you go grocery shopping you can make your menu and look at what you have run out of on your list. It makes it quicker and easier to keep track of everything. That way you don't over buy or under buy. I have started making a list but have yet to put it on the fridge and use it.

4) Cutting coupons. I must admit I don't do this. I have a SIL who is a pro at this! One day she came in and said that she had matched a coupon with a sale and had bought a tube of toothpaste for free! I have never been able to do that.

5) Shop at alternative and cheaper places such as Aldi's or Sam's Club or a farmer's market. Two of my SIL's have had great success at finding what they need from the grocery store for much cheaper from Aldi's. Tom does not like Aldi's so I have chosen to shop from Sam's Club. This means buying in bulk and once a month but I kind of prefer that anyways. I go to the grocery store for a very limited number of things. I also love shopping farmer's markets! You can get fresh fruit and vegetables for much cheaper and much fresher than the grocery store. I buy all my meat from a farmer's co-op meat market once a month. I spend $40 on meat and have plenty for a whole month! It is MUCH healthier, leaner, and fresher than anything I have ever seen at the grocery store.

6) Set an amount that you can spend on groceries each week and don't exceed it. I try to only spend $25 each week. I know some people who take only cash with them to the grocery store so that they cannot exceed budget. I haven't done that yet. I am pretty successful so far at keeping the bill $20 to $25 a week.

What have you tried that has helped you cut down the grocery bill?

Small Successes

Danielle Bean at Faith&Family Live says,"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." My successes this week are small indeed but happy ones.

1) I made a big thing of Granola and bought yogurt so Lulu and I now have a healthy breakfast to eat each morning. It is also a lot cheaper than buying cereal at the grocery store.

2) This Saturday marks 6 months of breastfeeding! Yesterday I introduces rice cereal. Eliza ate it but didn't seem to enjoy it. I took my MIL's suggestion of taking a scant 1/4 cup ground up rice (or rice flour) and cooking it down with 1 cup water like it was pudding. Then you can you put it in serving sizes in an ice tray and freeze it. It is a little thick for Eliza so I mix it with a little breast milk.

3) I did all my grocery shopping for the week for $20! I am trying to cut down on the budget so it is VERY exciting that I can get away with that little and still have everyone very satisfied.

Bonus) My kitchen is very clean!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Know Your Tired When...

Recently I have been exhausted and so I have decided to revisit some of my funnier mom moments induced by sleeplessness. These are in no particular order and some of them are really old.

8) You put a size 4 diaper on my 5-month-old and didn't notice.

8) You chew out your husband for sleeping longer than you.

8) You daughter dumps a whole bag of chips in the living room and you don't care as long as she is not bothering you.

8) You put one daughter on the floor to play while you rock the other to sleep. Only you rock yourself to sleep instead and wake up to the older daughter hugging the younger one in your lap.

8) You put your vitamins in the refrigerator then can't find them the next day.

8) A stranger in the grocery store walks up and ask what your daughter's name is and you suddenly can't remember.

8) You call the doctor's office to schedule a well-visit then suddenly don't remember which child you where calling for.

I am sure there are more funny moments but I am too tired to remember them. What funny moments have you had induced by sleeplessness?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lulu's First Sentence

Lulu spoke her first sentence!

Right after we had returned home from mass Tom sat down and Lulu started to attempt to climb into his lap. Tom looked at her and said, "Sweetie I can't pick you up. I need to put on clothes." Lulu grabbed his shirt and pants and said, "Your wearin clothes!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shout It Out Loud (small successes)

On Faith&Family Live they believe "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." I have two not-so-small successes this week.

1) I bought a house!!! Our bid was accepted on Tuesday! We will close around Dec. 10. I started packing yesterday!

2) I completely took over running the budget this week! Tom creates the budget and makes the major financial decisions, I run the day to day budget and pay all the bills. With Tom's help I have created a much better system for keeping track of our finances.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

HOUSE!

As you know, we have been living in an apartment with three flights of stairs, bugs, and no laundry facilities. We have been looking for a house for over a year. We really really want to buy a house! A few months ago we found a house that we thought was "THE" house. We put a bid on it the same day the owners decided to take it off the market. Both Tom and I went into a depression so we stopped looking very hard.

In the last few weeks I got the itch to look again but Tom was not ready. Well... last Sunday I was bored and felt drawn to my computer. I got on realtor.com and start looking through the houses in our price range. "THE" house popped up! It is 1,475 square feet, 4 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage with a work room attached, HUGE back yard, and great neighbors.

I became very excited! Tom agreed to go look at it. He became very serious about it and started the loan process. I decided to drive over and look at the outside of it. It looked like no one was home. I drove into the driveway and started looking around the front porch. There was a welcoming mat with my home state football team on it! I looked at it and thought, "I am home." At that moment a little old lady walked out and said,"May I help you?" Needless to say I was very embarrassed.

We finally got to look at the inside of the house. There are a few things that will need fixed or updated but for the price it is an amazing house! This house is much nicer than anything we anticipated buying. The couple who currently own it are from my home state! They have lived there for the last 40 years. This 80-year-old house has only had two owners. It has been well kept and looked after.

It didn't take us long to put in an offer. The couple countered our offer. We countered their counter. They countered our counter. In our minds the house became smaller the problems became bigger. We looked at our bank account that would completely disappear if we bought this house. I started panicking. I insisted of looking at it again before we signed. Seeing the house again was like a breath of fresh air. I thought, "Ok we could do this. But I really really want to be completely sold. Lord please sell me on this if this is Your will!" At that moment the neighbors pulled up.

They are a nice couple around our age with a daughter who is only 4 days older than Lulu. They told us all about the neighborhood and the park near by. The wife told me that she had been praying that someone with kids would move in next door. Then she looked at Lulu and said, "You can come make sugar cookies anytime you want!" To me she said,"Knock on my door if you every need or want anything." I thought, "Ok. We are buying."

Tom's moment of "this is the house" was when he was talking to the couple who currently own it. They told him that the AC is only 2 months old. They also said, "We where hoping you would buy this house the first time you came to look at it!"

We signed the contract! Now we have a months worth of paper work and packing to do. The closing date will be around Dec. 10.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mother-In-Law of the Year Award Goes Too...

My mother-in-law (MIL) is one of the most amazing people! She is a certified nurse who is on call for all of her grandchildren 24/7/. She is willing to babysit any time I feel I need it. She cooks dinner for the entire family once a week. She is perfectly willing to assist in anyway: at the doctor's office, babysitting, doing laundry, the list goes on and on.

What always amazes me is her perfect willingness to do my laundry! Lets be clear: I have never requested she do my laundry. I live on the third floor of an apartment complex with no washer and dryer. After Eliza was born my MIL said that her baby gift would be to do the laundry for the first six weeks after the baby came. Well Eliza is now 5 months old and she stills does my laundry on occasion.

Let me begin at the beginning. You see after Eliza was 6 weeks old I started taking my laundry to a laundry mat. This proved to be difficult but not impossible. Somehow my MIL had a sixth sense of when I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the laundry and she would call me and ask, "Can I come pick up your laundry and wash it for you?" What a question!

Well one Sunday my MIL and one of my sister-in-laws (SIL) approached me and said, "We don't think you need to be going to a laundry mat." They explained that they where nervous about Lulu playing on the little play ground and getting sick with flu season approaching. It also didn't make sense to them that I should spend all that money on my laundry. They proposed that once a week I go to my SIL and do laundry while Lulu plays with her children and once a week I take it to my MIL's house. Now the original plan was that I would do it at my MIL's house but that is not how it has worked out. If I look a little tired or if Lulu seems slightly out-of-sorts then she sends us home (which happens most weeks) and finishes the laundry, folds it, and returns it to me. Talk about the most amazing laundry service!

I wish there was a way to properly thank her for all of her help! I don't know how to let her know how much I greatly appreciate everything she does for my family.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cuteness Is

Cuteness is...

when Eliza tries to eat her toes!

when Lulu chants the cheers for our favorite football teams!

when Eliza giggles while being tickled!

when Lulu jumps! She get ready and then pops straight up! She gets so excited and proud of herself!

the way Eliza sticks out her tongue and curls it up!

when Lulu tries to help take care of Eliza by "helping" change her diaper or "helping" wipe up spit up!

when Eliza gives big grins to everyone who looks her in the eyes!

when Lulu sees her daddy and giggles/screams/gasp with excitment!

When Eliza lays on the floor with her arms and legs out like she is flying! We call it the "Super Baby" pose.

when Lulu wants to "help" me cook!

when Eliza tries to sit straight up and winds up doing crunches! She does manage to sit up in the bouncy seat!

when Lulu starts dancing!

when Eliza laughs at Lulu!

when Lulu wakes up talking! She will excitedly tell you all about something! She points and makes excited gestures but I have no clue what she is saying!

when Eliza looks adoringly at people! (Especially her father!)

I could go on and on! I love my children!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Utter Fail Night

Last night was one of those nights where everything that can go wrong did. We borrowed a pasta maker from my sister-in-law to see how homemaking gluten free pasta would work. I thought, "Lets not do it tonight. No one slept well the night before, we are all tired, and if we wait a day then I can be lazy and clean the kitchen for such an event tomorrow."  I underestimated how excited Tom was for the experiment. Despite my objections he showed up from work early with a bottle of wine VERY excited to make pasta.

Fail. I should have cleaned the kitchen.

Lulu is always excited to have her father around AND she is always excited to watch cooking. She could not understand why we where getting upset when she attacked the very precious spaghetti noodles. She just wanted to watch and help her daddy! I tried to entertain her and keep her occupied but was unable to do so.

Therefore I decided to take the girls to the park. I got them both ready, got the huge stroller down the stairs, and started walking. Then I realized it was a lot colder than I expected. I had Eliza in short sleeves and did not bring a blanket. Lulu's cough got a lot worse from being outside.

Fail. Again.

Once Eliza started to turn blue and Lulu started coughing uncontrollably I brought them home. That didn't take long. I wrestled the girls back up stairs just in time to hear Tom let out a strangled cry, cover his face, and run out of the kitchen. Curious I went over to the sink to discover that he had not been able to find the calender and had attempted to drain the noodles but accidentally dumped two hours worth of work down the drain. Literally. This is man who never loses his cool.

Super duper utter FAIL! If I had emptied the dishwasher he would have been able to find the calendar then the whole problem could have been avoided.

We loaded the girls up and went out to eat. After we got home I put the girls to bed then spent my night cleaning the kitchen instead of sipping hot chocolate and enjoying my husband.

With every failure there is a lesson learned. Here is what I learned:

1) Never abandon your cleaning routine. It will come back to haunt you.

2) Don't do big cooking experiments when everyone is exhausted.

3) Always check the tempture before going outside.

4) Keep a positive attitude. I spent today undoing the damage of yesterday. I took Lulu to the doctor and got a prescription to help with her cough. I cleaned the whole apartment. I remade all the pasta and made a lasagna. I also made a pound cake (Tom's favorite) to make up for the previous evening.

Today was a success day!! But that is another post.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christmas is Coming

This is my 60th post, I have had 100 comments, and almost 1,000 people visit my site since I started it on July 9, 2010. I find this frankly amazing!

In an earlier posts, Traditions and Traditions Continued, I talked about trying to get Christmas ready early this year. I wanted to bake, buy gifts, and plan decorations BEFORE Advent. That way I could take the stress out of Christmas. Well.... I am getting there sort-of: I have one batch of cookies in the freezer; I have found all my Christmas ornaments; I have my Nativity Scene and Advent wreath found; I bought my Advent candles; and I have two of my gifts bought and most of the other gifts planned.

I need to find a way to speed up the process. Otherwise Advent will get here and I will only be half ready! I think organization is my problem. I have an ever changing list of goodies that I am going to make. My husband has made some request but I have never made the cookies he is talking about so I need to find the recipes. What I keep reminding myself is that by simply having this much done I am ahead. Everything I do now makes me more prepared than I was in years past. Hopefully this week I will be able to do more to make a wonderful Christmas for my family.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bugs, bugs, and more bugs

Tom and I have struggled with a small infestation of roaches in our apartment. I loath, despise, and abominate roaches! I always have. When I was younger my little brother and I tried to kill one by cutting off it's head. The ugly roach jump and ran at us with no head! I have hated them ever since.

We put out bug traps... no help. We sprayed... no help. We had a professional termite company spray... no help. Then one night I was in the kitchen and I saw four of them run under the fridge. I complained to Tom and ask him to buy more bug traps for behind the fridge. A few minutes later I walked back into the kitchen only to see an army of roaches flowing out from under the fridge! I hit full panic mode. I grabbed the closest thing to me, my rag in the sink, and started mopping them up while I yelled at Tom, "ROACHES!!! ROACHES!! EVERYWHERE! HELP!!!!"

Once I finished having a panic attack and the roaches stopped running out from under the fridge Tom said, "I wonder...." He pulled the fridge out there where thousands upon thousands of roaches!!!! He took one look at my white knuckles, pale face, and big eyes and said,"Take Eliza and go!" I took a very hot shower while Eliza played in her bouncy seat. Tom sprayed all the bugs, vacuumed them up, disinfected the area, and pushed the fridge back in place. Tom is my hero!

I still put new bug traps behind the fridge and under the stove as well as keep bug spray in the kitchen. Tom hates bug spray because he says it goes everywhere. I love it because I don't have to touch the bugs to kill them. I keep disinfectant wipes in the kitchen for when I do spray a bug.

The bugs are not 100% gone but I only see about one a day now. I don't think I will be satisfied until they are all gone but I am greatly relieved that they are slowly going away!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Winter

Winter is by far my favorite season. I love everything about winter! I love bundling up to go outside in big coats and sweaters, getting all cold and coming in to warm sweets or hot chocolate. I love watching the snow fall silently and beautifully. The world being blanketed in pure white. It is so much fun to have a snow ball fight, sledding, or making angles in the snow. I love watching little children discover the snow! I love going outside all bundled up slipping and sliding on the ice getting into the car and blasting the heater in an attempt to warm up.

I love Christmas time. The world takes on an upbeat happy attitude. It is considered the "season of miracles" or the "season of good deeds." It is when everyone goes out of their way to do something nice for someone else. More people volunteer to help out at soup kitchens, or buy gifts for complete strangers. Everyone is walking around with a list dreaming of the perfect gifts for their family and friends.

I love having my own home in the winter. It is the place where I can make the winter magic happen! For my children I have a constant supply of warm treats and free flowing hot chocolate. I have Christmas music constantly on and a party every time it snows.

Call me crazy but I already have my sweaters and coats waiting! I can't wait for winter!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two-Year-Olds Are Not Your Enemies

Dear Little Old Ladies at Church,

My child is not purposefully being disruptive in church. She is not being badly behaved. She has a cough caused by allergies. Please stop giving me the stink eye. My two-year-old is not harming anyone, not yelling, not jumping all over the pew, she is coughing that is not something she or I can control. If you think her cough is disruptive to your prayers then you should try holding her and praying.

I don't know what planet you are from but here on earth two-year-olds can't chew gum. Please don't offer her any! Even if you think it might help her cough. She doesn't know how to chew it. What you have accomplished by offering her some is making her  squirm more because she now thinks someone has offered her candy and her parents have turned it down.

Please remember that even though she is only two she has feelings. She understand most of what people say. So when everyone is shaking hands in mass at the Peace Be With You, please do not, do not, (I repeat) DO NOT turn your back on her and whisper to the person sitting next you, "Don't shake her hand!" She understood you. She felt the full impact of your words. You didn't notice because you turned your back. You didn't see her eyes well with tears or her bury her face in her father's shoulder for the remainder of mass.

It is hard enough for a two-year-old to be well behaved for an hour in mass. Please don't make it harder for her! If you think having to sit in front of a two-year-old is hard try sitting with one.

Thank you and God bless.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Super Heroes

I almost never (actual I can't think of when I have ever) stopped and thought about super heroes. Who are your super heroes? What makes them a "super hero"? This past week I discovered a show entitled "No Ordinary Family" it is about a family who are suddenly gifted (is that the right term?) with super powers. I, on the other hand, this week have felt like I was either losing it or the greatest survivor ever.

After watching the show while holding a screaming child, wiping my other child's nose, and attempting to massage my sore shoulder I decided mothers are my super heroes. The women who stay home with their children, build homes, teach love, clean house, know all the ends and outs of their children, stay up all night with a sick child, do tons and tons of laundry, run errands, attend every single activity and event their child is in, teach the faith, teach how to pray, reads the same book over and over and over, this list could go on forever. These women display a kind of strength and love not celebrated enough in our society.

These women do not merely keep house. They keep a home. A home is the place where you learn what it means to love, what family is, you learn what it is to be comforted/you feel safe, you learn what good food taste like.

Mothers put everyone's needs above their own. Often opting to buy their children clothes instead of updating their own wardrobe. Comforting a sick child all night instead of nursing their own cold. Buying their child that toy they have been wanting instead of getting that item they have needed/desperately wanted.

Yes. These women are heroes. I hope to be worthy of being counted among them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Small Successes

Each small success adds up to one big triumph. So with the Fath&Family lets celebrate our small accomplishments!

1) I Survived! On Monday morning I woke up with stuffy sinuses and my right shoulder and neck in severe pain. On top of that both girls also had stuffy noses. Fall allergies where making its first ugly showing in a big way. On Tuesday I took both girls to get their immunizations. By that night they had developed coughs and my stuffy sinuses where almost beyond enduring I realized that it was not allergies but head colds! I did not get any sleep that night until after 2 am as I took care of my two very uncomfortable girls. On Wednesday we survived. The three of us all slept off and on all day on our big blue recliner. We read lots of books and watched several movies. To make matters harder this week there have been emergencies/problems at Tom's work so he had to work late all week. I survived!

2) Despite illness I have kept the apartment mostly clean and put dinner on the table almost every night! My kitchen is not as clean as I would like it and my bed is not made but overall I have kept it fairly clean. The only night I did not cook was Monday. Other than that I have still put dinner on the table.

3) I won an award for my blog! Kate gave me my very first award for my blog!! She is the best!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Utterly Adorable

I would like to write down for prosperity sake some of the uber cute things my children do. I thought I might share it with you!

:) Lulu has a big blue stuffed lamb that she has dubbed "Me-me!" You can say, "Go kiss Me-me!" And she will run over to the lamb and give it a big kiss. One day she grabbed a blanket and covered the lamb saying, "It's old! It's Old!" (Meaning "It's cold")

:) In the morning when Lulu hears Tom get up she will run with excitement to the back of the apartment. If he is in the bathroom then she will wait patiently for him to come out then squeel with joy and give him a big bear hug!

:) Sometime when I stand Eliza up Lulu will get extremely excited and start dancing up and down clapping her hands. Then she reaches over and hugs Eliza! After a while Lulu will grab Eliza's hand and try to lead her around the room!

:) Lulu will sometimes grab a burp cloth and pretend to wipe spit up off of Eliza. She will then go around the room wiping up invisible spit up.

:) Eliza has started reaching and grabbing toys! I have been excited about this development but Lulu keeps stealing Eliza's toys....

:) Eliza's first two teeth came in last week! She is chewing on everything! But be-warned: DO NOT LET HER CHEW ON YOUR FINGER! Those teeth are sharp!

:) I started Eliza on rice cereal! The first time I gave it too her she was confused by it and actually started screaming. I was very depressed because I had spent a good while pumping and getting it ready only to have it royally rejected! I will try later when she is not tired and see if things go better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Small Successes

At Faith&Family it is their believe that "It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." I must admit that this week I don't feel very successful so I am going to have to stretch a little to come up with some "successes."

1) I have kept my apartment picked up. I have figured out a system to cleaning that keeps everything picked up with only 15 minutes of work a day. I do 5 minutes in the morning then I set a timer at night for 10 minutes and I can clean the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom in that time.

2) I am going to celebrate the feast of the Holy Rosary tonight! I made cookies to make an edible rosary! Now some of the cookies crumbled so I am actually about a decade short but it will look like a rosary that we eat.

3) I accomplished all my errands in one afternoon. I loaded the girls up and went to the bank, Sams, WalMart, the grocery store, and stopped by my in-laws to pick up the laundry I had left there. By the end of the afternoon the girls and I were exhausted but it felt good to know that I did not have to worry about errands for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Air Show

Every Sunday Tom and I go for a drive after the family dinner at my in-laws. The kids normally drift off to sleep and Tom and I chat. It is our "alone time." A few weeks ago things did not go as planned... they where better!

We stopped and got drink as we drove because Lulu just was not interested in sleeping. Then we started noticing something strange. People parking their cars and walking to the edge of a field and staring at nothing. The farther we went the more cars parked and the more people sitting out starting at an empty field. Then there where policemen on motorcycles driving slowly up and down making sure cars parked completely off the road. Filled with curiosity we stopped and I jumped out to ask what in the world was going on.

It was an air show! The air show was supposed to take place on Saturday but was canceled due to rain. To our great surprise there was a parking spot open in a very close parking lot with a nice field to sit in and watch the show! As we sat there people around us where talking about how they arrive at 11 am to secure a good spot (it was 3:30 pm). We where amazed at our good fortune! The show started a mere 15 minutes after our arrival!

Tom had been to several air shows before and therefore knew what to expect. I had never been and was as excited as the little kids waiting! Finally it started. I didn't know air planes could do those things! Lulu loved it! She quickly learned the words "AIR PLANE!" We even had a fly-over and the sound of the air plane plus it being so close made everyone jump. Lulu and Eliza freaked out but I think we all loved it (well not Eliza but she didn't understand what was happening).

The surprise air show made for a perfect Sunday afternoon! Lulu points out every.single.air.plane now. I think we might try to plan to attend the next air show.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Messes

Today as I cleaned house I kept cleaning and cleaning but nothing felt cleaner. The living room never looked picked up, the kitchen remained a mess, the dining room mysteriously grew new piles, I felt utterly defeated. Then I realized that I had a little busy bee following me around undoing all my good work to the best of her ability!

If I picked up the living then she got out her bucket of toys and carefully pulled them out one by one and threw them all over the room. If I picked up the dining room then she found a stack of mail and threw the letters one by one. If I cleaned up the kitchen then she got out a thing of animal crackers and threw them on the floor one by one. My little sabatour almost had the best of me one thing at a time!

I called my mother almost in tears and told her everything. My mother laughed. She thought it was really funny! After a minute I realized it was funny and I needed to not take myself so seriously. Then she said, "Lulu is just trying to do what you are doing but she doesn't realize that you are not just moving things around you are actually accomplishing something."

I came a decision that I was going to put an end to the sabotage! I picked up all of her toys and put them out of her reach! Then I proceeded to vaccuum and so on. I did return the toys when I was through cleaning.

I learned two good lessons today through that. 1) Don't take life (especially house cleaning) too seriously. And 2) Involve or distract would-be saboteurs.

Happy feast day St. Therese! My patron saint!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that." Over at Faith & Family they make a list of three small successes for that week. Here are my three:

1) Tom went and put tags on our suburban! This means that we actually have two usable cars! The success for me is that Tom goes to work at 7. I can still make it to mass at 8 without having to rush around and get everyone out the door at 7. I am also able to go visit friends, go do laundry, and so on without worrying about if I will have the car that day or picking Tom up after work.

2) My laundry is mostly done, folded, and put away! I have moved to a twice a week system thanks to my amazing wonderful mother-in-law(MIL) and sister-in-law(SIL)! Last Sunday my MIL and SIL approached me and said that they did not think it was a good idea for me to drag both girls through a laundry mat during flu season. They proposed that I do a few loads during the week at my SIL's house and a few loads on Sunday at my MIL's house during the weekly Sunday dinner. NO MORE LAUNDRY MAT!!

3) I have a friend! I am going to go visit another mom who has three children. Her second is two-and-a-half and her third was born the same week as Eliza. So perfect ages to be playmates with my children and we have a lot in common to talk about! I have a hard time making friends so it is wonderful to have another Catholic mom to talk to and visit with!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Discoveries

It is amazing to watch young children learn grow and discover new things. They learn when we think they aren't paying attention. But if you stop and think about it in a year they learn how to talk, walk, climb, and express themselves. By the time they turn two their personalities are becoming fully developed (sometimes to the chagrin of their parents).

Lulu has discovered books this week. I have always had books available for her and I have read to her but she has not shown much interest...that is until this week. Now she can't get enough of them! She is constantly bringing me books to read but she does not want them read just once. If she could convince me to read the same book five times in a row she would! I actually did read the same book five times in a row once thinking that she would get tired of it and move on. I quickly discovered that she could sit there and listen to me read the same book over and over and over and over and over ..... until I finally got sick of it. I have to remember to look up a toddler book program at the local library!

Eliza has discovered she has toes! She loves to lay on her back and hold her toes. She gently rocks from her side to her back holding on to her toes like she just made the greatest discovery in the whole wide world!

She is also learning how to sit up! With a little assistance from Mommy or Daddy she can prop up in a sitting position and sit there for a minute before falling over. It is amazing to think that in a month or so she is going to be sitting up by herself and crawling.

I think the most amazing part about watching both Lulu and Eliza discover the world is their zeal for life. Everything is fascinating and awe inspiring. Their sheer joy for life keeps me looking at the world with their eyes and finding a new awe for the simple things.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Red Truck

This past week I have been all but absent on the internet due to lack of sleep. My two beautiful little angels decided to tag team sleep both during the day and at night! I was so exhausted I only got the minimal amount of stuff I needed to do done.

I did however have some rather great excitement last week! Tom and I have been a one car family. It has been difficult at times but we made it work. Last week was one of those weeks where I desperately wished for a second vehicle. The laundry barely got done, grocery shopping never happen, Tom and I where playing musical cars and we both felt like we where losing the game. Then one day Tom texted me from work "Would you like a free suburban?" "Would I WHAT?"

My sister-in-law and her husband have a friend who was desperate to get rid of their big red suburban. It was a 1996 Chevy suburban. There are a few small problems: the AC doesn't work, if you park on a sharp incline it leaks transmission fuel very slightly, and the gas meter is not reliable when it gets past 1/4 tank. Except for those problems it is in great shape! We talked to a mechanic who told us that the AC is fixable and the transmission might be fixable. Worst case scenario we don't take long road trips in the summer and never park on sharp inclines. Best case scenario both are fixed and we have a great car!

We talked to an insurance agent if we do a few small things like take an online drivers ed course so that we qualify for the "good drivers" discount then it will only cost us $3 a month to insure.

Tom has declared that he finally has his "big red truck" and he is driving to and from work. I have our small Impala that I would rather have anyways and we are both happy! No more juggling cars! No more haggling over who gets the car on what day! No more trying to decide if Tom's errands for his job can be put off  or if my errands are more important i.e. I will not have to count underwear no more trying to decide if I can wait another day or two to go to the laundry mat!

With any luck this big red truck will last us a few years until we can afford a newer car! I have discovered that when I feel like everything is hopeless God provides something to remind me how blessed I truly am!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adventures in Potty Land

A while back I told you I was going to venture into the scary world of potty training. For a while I simply had a potty and talked about what the potty was for. I must admit you lose a certain amount of your dignity when you catch yourself saying multiple times a day, "I am going to go potty. Mommy puts her pee pee in the potty." Lulu found in interesting but was not motivated to really try it.

My mother and my sister insisted the problem was I bought the blue and white potty instead of the pink potty (the blue potty was $9.50 and the pink was $16).  My mother sent money for me to buy Lulu a pink potty and pretty panties. I complied and bought the brightest pinkest potty I could find and Tinkerbell panties! Lulu LOVED the panties! She kept trying to put them on. Finally I relented and took that very scary step in potty training: I took off her diaper and put on panties!

At first everything was going really well. She went in the potty a couple of times but not a whole lot came out. She had kept her panties dry and I knew putting her back in a diaper would be a fight. I decided to swallow my fear and take her to pick Tom up from work. Everything was going fine. I even took her to the potty while there but the big potty scared her so she didn't do anything. Then right before we where going to leave she crawled into one of the empty school lockers and was playing happily. Then she closed the door and got very quiet. I should have known. She went all over the locker! I wanted to sink through the floor right there!

The next day I waited as long as I possibly could before putting the panties back on. Finally I gave in. Again everything was going fine. She even took herself to the potty! She only went a small amount though... again. I was experimenting that night for dinner. I was making Lasagna for the first time in my life! I even made the noodles! Lulu came up behind me and unleashed the mother load right as I was about to open the oven.

I have decided she needs a little more time before she is ready for potty training. I have put the panties away for now. I will pull them out again in a month or two.

Library

I have not taken Lulu to the Library in a while. Last time I took her there she was more interested in running in circles yelling than looking at books. Yesterday, Tom took Lulu  to the Library. She walked into the children's section and her eyes grew big, her mouth dropped open, and she exclaimed, "Books! For me!" I will be looking up a toddler program at the local Library.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Small Successes

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, Faith & Family encourages moms to do exactly that. Here are my three small successes:

1) I planned out my Advent and Christmas traditions. Every year so far Advent and Christmas have not gone as I would like and have been completely unplanned. I decided to take charge this year! I am working in advance to take the stress out of the season and put the fun back in!

2) I threw a stress-free birthday party for Lulu!! This is huge! I planned a party in-advance, I did all of my prep work in-advance, and because of my awesome new cleaning systems there was no real stress cleaning! I had all my in-laws over and did not stress about how my house looked, how dinner was, or anything!

3) I created a menu plan for the week, I only went to the grocery store once this week, and I figured out how to plan enough in advance to only go grocery shopping once every other week!! No more last minute trips to the grocery store! No more scrambling to figure out dinner at 4:00 pm! No more stress over the grocery bill!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Traditions Continued

After remembering my favorite childhood traditions, talking to Tom about his favorite childhood traditions, and thinking about the traditions we have always wanted to do we have come up with a general idea of what we want Advent and Christmas to be like. Here is our list of traditions that we wish to do:

ADVENT

1) Start finding and setting up decorations after Thanksgiving so that we are ready on the first Sunday of Advent. We will start with only an Advent wreath and Nativity Scene and slowly add decorations throughout Advent so that we put up the final glory touches on Christmas Eve. Our hope to add a wow factor and make Christmas seem magical.

2) Advent Wreath. We would like to follow the tradition of lighting the advent candles every Sunday in Advent and having on our table as a constant reminder of what we are doing. In my family we used the same prayer service every year. In Tom's family they used a different one each year. I like the idea of only having one that we use each year and it is something that over the years the children kind of start to memorize. We have yet to find a prayer service that both of us are satisfied with.

3) The night before the feast of St. Nicholas we will hang stockings and put small religious gifts in them. When the children open their gifts we can discuss everything St. Nicholas did in his lifetime.

4) Feast of the Immaculet Conception is Dec.8 I have no idea how to celebrate this properly. Any ideas?

5) Feast of St. Lucy we will make fresh bread and have a nice breakfast feast.

6) We plan on putting up the Christmas tree between the third and fourth week of Advent but not light it until after Christmas vigil.

7) I have thought about doing an Advent calendar or some sort of prayer/count down to Christmas. What have been your favorite thing to do?

CHRISTMAS

1 ) Christmas Vigil followed by an "after vigil party" where we will have a cheese and meat tray (from Swiss Colony Catalog), nuts (peanut free from Nifty Nut House), and a homemade sweet.  This is when we will light up the Christmas tree and open our first gift.

2) Christmas morning we will have a big breakfast with cinnamon rolls.

3) We will light the Christ candle either at the after vigil party or Christmas morning with a small prayer service.

4) We plan on opening up our gifts slowly throughout the 12 days of Christmas.

5) There are 12 days of Christmas not 1 like most in our country celebrate. We hope to make all 12 festive and not have that after Christmas day let down that everyone seems to have. We plan on doing this by have very nice festive meals and desserts every night throughout the 12 days. We will also not open all of our gifts on Christmas day but spread it out over the Christmas season.

TREATS

To be able to pull off having treat all 12 days of Christmas and have our home feeling like it is overflowing with Christmas joy we need to have lots of treats that are not stressing mama. I think the best way to accomplish this is to have a list of treats that we want to have and start once a week in October baking/making mixes and putting them back or freezing them. Here is the my first brainstorming list. This is not my final list some of these may go, some may be added, I don't really know. My goal is to make a list of the sweets we are going to have and a schedule of when they are going to be baked.

1) chocolate chip cookie dough frozen so that we can have fresh baked cookies whenever we want them.

2) Brownie mixes

3) Chocolate Pecan Pie

4) Coconut cream praline pie

5) Chocolate pie

6) cake mixes

7) Kettle corn

8 ) Puppy Chow (peanut free version)

9) Fudge

10) Toffee

11) Cheese cake (does homemade cheesecake freeze?)

12) Sugar cookies

13) Petite fours? Tom want to try making them but I am not sure we can pull that off.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lulu is 2

Two years ago today I was laying on a hospital bed exhausted and weak and completely overwhelmed with joy! I held my little girl for the first time! I remember my father coming up to the hospital and picking up my 5.15 pound little beauty and saying, "She is perfect. Absolutely perfect." That is all he said. Over and over. His comment echoed my thoughts exactly she was and is perfect.

There are not words to describe my feelings. It is nothing short of a miracle to watch that tiny creature grow. She went from being a tiny tiny baby who could barely hold her head up (she did hold her head up the day she was born) to now she is a running, jumping, talking, dancing, full of personality little girl! I find something new to marvel at each day. Everyday she does something that completely catches me off guard and makes me smile. It might be a new word, a new conversation ability, an act of great generosity from one so small, an act of comfort as she runs to her sister, it might be how big her smile is or how bright her blue eyes are. There is no end to the things to marvel at while watching a baby grow into a toddler, a toddler into a little girl.

Her favorite things are ice cream, swimming, going to the park, anything pink, Tinkerbell, dresses, shoes, and anything Daddy is doing.

I love her more than I knew one could love. That is all I can say.

I love her.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lulu and Eliza

I have to stop and take a moment to write down the cute moments between Lulu and Eliza:

8) When I hold Eliza in a standing position Lulu comes running over very excited! She gives her a quick kiss on the head then she grabs Eliza's hand and holds it for a few moments. Lulu normally becomes distracted at this moment and tries to lead Eliza over to some toys.

8) When Eliza is laying on the living room floor Lulu will lay down next to her and chatter away!

8) When Eliza is in her bouncy seat and starting to fuss then Lulu will sit next to her, kiss her, and show off whatever toy is nearby.

8) Eliza loves to stand in my lap and smile at Lulu! She get the biggest grins while watching Lulu play.

8) Eliza HATES her car seat. She screams and screams! From the back seat I can hear Lulu saying, "Shhhhh! Shhhh! Zizzy sad!"

8) When Lulu realized that Eliza is in her bassinet Lulu will climb onto my bed and reach over into the bassinet to pat Eliza.

8) Lulu loves to run over to Eliza and kiss her! She does it randomly all day.

8) When Eliza starts screaming we will tell Lulu, "Do you hear Eliza? She is sad! Why don't you give her a kiss?" Lulu will promptly run off and give Eliza a big slobbery kiss.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Traditions

For the last few years Advent and Christmas snuck up on me. I would turn around and suddenly I needed to be decorating and wrapping presents but I wasn't at all prepared. The traditions I wanted to maintain where either forgotten all together or done haphazardly at the last minute. This year I am determined to take the stress out of the season and put the fun back in!

I am starting at a simple baby step of day dreaming; remembering what it was like when I was little. Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas. A time of joyful preparation for the coming of Christ. My family would always do an Advent Wreath. A wreath with three purple candles, one pink candle, and a big white candle in the middle. We would clear our dining room table with candles and turn out all the lights in the house so the only light was from the candles. My father would ask us what the candle for that week stood for (Bethlehem, Prophets, Angels, and Shepherds) it was always a contest to see who could remember first. We sing a song, then Papa read a passage from the bible, followed by a prayer, then we would sit around in the candle light singing all of our favorite Advent hymns. At the end Papa would say, "Ok, blow out the candles!" And we would all rush to see who could blow out the most candles.

During Advent my mother would bake all kinds of goodies. The house always smelled of fresh bread, cinnamon, and nutmeg! Some of the goodies she froze for Christmas, some of them she wrapped for presents, and some of them she put into baskets for Christmas caroling. Every year my mother would ask us who we wanted to carol. We would make a list of old people, sick people, lonely people, and of course our cousins. Then one afternoon we would load all of our baskets into the car and go caroling. I can remember one little old lady who would cry and say every year, "Christmas is here!" I greatly enjoyed the tradition but I don't think my siblings appreciated it as much once they reached their teenage years.

After a month's build up finally Christmas Eve would arrive! On Christmas Eve we would go to my grandparent's house for a huge potluck with all my my mother's extended family. There where uncles and aunts everywhere not to mention an army of cousins. We would romp around on my grandparent's farm and cause all types of havoc! There would be a huge gift exchange, tons of food, mischief of all kinds, my grandfather always had a fire that made the house WAY too hot,  and eventually we all headed home tired. My parents sent us strait to bed to rest because we always attended midnight mass.

I love midnight mass! It is so neat to make our way to the church in the dark of the night and enter into the beautifully lit church. I could go on and on about midnight mass but that would be getting away from the point of this post.

After mass we would come home to find that gifts had magically appeared underneath the tree. My parents had rolls of unused white news paper so there would be stacks of white packages with our names on them. We would pull out one of my mother's goodies that she had put back. After eating we would all go to bed completely exhausted.

On Christmas morning my mother would make the most amazing cinnamon buns! The house always smelled amazing! Everyone would partake in the sticky goodness. While eating our cinnamon buns we would have our last prayer service with the advent candles to light the big Christ candle. We would leave all the candles lit all day until they melted down. Prayer was followed by gift time! My father would hand out each gift one by one and we would watch as everyone opened their gifts. It was always wonderful to watch someone open a gift I had got for them and see the look on their face!

Later on in the day was the big Christmas feast! I always loved helping with the dinner preparations and setting the table with the best China and silver. We would have turkey, homemade dinner rolls, potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce (my personal favorite), and many other goodies!

When I think back to how magical and wonderful our traditions where and how my parent's used them to teach us about our faith I can't wait to make my own for my children! I hope I can do as wonderful a job as my mother in making the season magical for my children!

What where your favorite Advent/Christmas tradition growing up? What are some of your favorite traditions that you do today?

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Know Your a Mommy When...

1) You catch your daughter's spit up and think "Why the heck did I just do that?" Only to do it again a short time later.

2) A "good nights rest" is 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

3) You know how to type while holding a child.

4) Your main conversations center on bodily functions such as bowel movements.

5) You say things such as "Mommy is going to go potty. Mommy and Daddy put their poop on the potty."

6) A "date night" is when both kids go to sleep early and you curl up on the couch together or bake something new in the kitchen.

7) Your life centers around nap time and bed time.

8 ) You look forward to the evening when your husband returns so you can carry on a conversation outside of three word sentences.

9) The only movie you watch is Tinker Bell.

10) You seek out other moms to commiserate with/get advice from even if that is only online.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Small Successes

"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph." That is the philosophy of Faith&Family blog each Thursday.

1) I took Lulu out everyday this week even if we only walked to the park. Everyday we went for a walk or shopping or something out of the apartment. Living on the third floor without an elevator it is VERY easy to come up with excuses not to leave.

2) My laundry is done, folded, and put away! This is quite a feat seeing as though I have to get it down three flights of stairs, watch both girls at the laundry mat, then get it back into the car, drive home, and ask my sweet amazing husband to carry it up the stairs.

3) I have kept my home picked up! I have continued to use a morning and night routine to keep my home looking nice.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Your Brain Stays in Bed

Do you ever feel like you body got up but your brain didn't? This morning I woke up late and had approximately five minutes to get myself and the two girls ready and out the door in-order to drive Tom to work. I needed to do laundry today and I didn't want to wait to do it until later in the week.

After I dropped Tom off I went home and ate breakfast, did my morning routine, got the laundry ready, and left for the laundry mat. I opened the door for Lulu to climb into her car seat then I put Eliza in. All the way to the laundry mat Lulu and I had this conversation:

"Mom! Mom! Mom!"

"What Lulu?"

"Mom! Mom! Mom!"

"What Lulu?"

"Dayee! Dayee!"

"Daddy is at work."

"Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Finally we arrive at the mat. I parked the car and turned around just in time to see Lulu jump out of her car seat.....yup. I forgot to buckle her in. I slumped over my steering wheel and said a prayer of thanksgiving that I had hit my brakes hard or done anything that could have caused injury.

Once inside I put the laundry in the washers, I get them started, and Lulu runs up to me with a poopy diaper. I get my diaper bag and start to set up to change it only to realize that instead of grabbing one stack of Eliza's diapers and one of Lulu's I grabbed two sets of Eliza's diapers. After a couple of minutes of trying to call my mother-in-law to find out if she had any diapers at her house I had to face facts. I needed to change Lulu's diaper and there was no way to get one except to ask another mom for one. I walked up to a complete stranger with red cheeks and said, "I-have-a-strange-question-to-ask.-What-size-diapers-does-your-son-wear-and-can-I-have-one?" Thankfully the mother was very sweet. She laughed and told me she had done something similar not too long ago.

After acquiring a diaper I started to change Lulu's diaper; I realized diaper rash cream, that I had so carefully set out to bring, had been left at home. At that moment if someone had said, "There is a nice brick wall over here for you to beat your head up on." I would have said, "Thank you!" and proceeded to do just that.

My day did start to improve with the assistance of a little caffeine and ultimately it ended with a very nice picnic is the park. But I would say that today was not one of my better showing and I am certainly not a super-mom!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camping Memories

Growing up almost every year my family went camping. We were a home-school family so we always went right after school started. That way we ALWAYS had the whole campsite to ourselves. These camping trips where magical.

The week leading up to it was filled with anticipation. My mother would pull out ten pages of lists (ok slight exaggeration but seriously they were LONG). She pulled out bins of all of our camping stuff. There where long tongs to roast marshmallows with, water guns, the green camp stove that only my mother could start (I think I saw the exact same camp stove in a Coleman museum), plastic sleeping bags that where not that comfortable, the big green tent my parents always slept in and we where never allowed in, the small orange tent that either the girls or the boys slept in each year, I could go on and on.

Finally the day of the trip arrived. We would stuff the car with all of our gear and whatever my siblings and I wanted to bring. With five kids and two dogs the car was stuffed to the brim. Finally we would pull out with great excitement... only to pull around the block because we forgot something. One time my father, right after we had finished packing and most of us had climbed in, pulled out without my mother and drove around the block. When we asked him why he had done that he replied, "Just saving time."

We always camped by the Buffalo River. It is one of the most picturesque places I have been to. Getting up that first morning and seeing the fog rise to reveal beautiful rock formations, towering lushes green trees, the river peacefully flowing by, it was magical. Mama would start the camp stove to make the morning coffee and eggs. Someone always found the left over red embers of the fire the night before and got a small flame going. After breakfast you could go swimming, hiking, exploring, or simply sit around the campsite and read and enjoy.

At some point during the day all five of us would go for a swim and play "Callabunga." It was a game we made up. All of us armed with water guns would split into two teams. Whoever could yell the loudest would scream out "CALLABUNGA" and we would all start firing, splashing, and causing as much mayhem as we possibly could! I think the goal was to slash and make as much noise as possible. Someone would always go under the water and pinch my sister to watch her jump and scream and start looking for a water snake.

When the sun set my father would gather wood and start a fire, my mother would turn on her camp stove, and we would roast hot dogs and make baked beans for dinner. We would sit around that fire until late into the night. Talking, laughing, singing old Southern Gospel hymns, roasting marshmallows, and snacking on the plethora of goodies my mother brought. She always brought twinkies, Little Debbie Snacks, cookies, and all those things we never had at home.

To this day I can close my eyes and see the campsite and the river. I can feel the gentle breeze, hear the water and the crickets, I miss it. Those where the good times.

What where some of you favorite summer memories as a child?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Good Morning Eliza

This morning while I was preparing my morning cup of tea Tom yelled across the apartment "Hannah! Are you watching this?" I thought, "Uh oh. What has Lulu gotten into now?" Lulu had climbed up onto the bed where Eliza was sleeping and had wrapped her arms around Eliza. Lulu was cheerfully babbling away to her sister! I didn't mind Eliza being woke up by such a great show of affection and love from her older sister.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mother's Helper

Lulu is a very sweet little girl who wants to help me with everything. The unfortunate thing is that she normally causes mayhem instead. I spent half of my week house cleaning and half of my week cleaning up after Lulu's attempts to help. I get extremely frustrated then I stop and remind myself that she wants to clean! This is something I can nourish and use in the future. SO here is how I have decided to look at things:

I find it really cute when she hands me each dish from the dishwasher one-by-one-by-one… turning a five minute job into a 20 minute job.

I appreciate her wanting to help me sort. While I sorted the linen closet she pulled every single baby sheet, blanket, burp clothe, and bib out of the dresser.

I greatly enjoyed her attempts to help me clean while I vacuumed. I vacuumed the den while she tried to pick up the dining room and dumped an entire bag of chips all over the floor.

She couldn’t quiet help me de-clutter but not for lack of trying! While I de-cluttered the book cases she emptied all her and her sister’s clothes out of the dresser.

I was thankful at her wanting to help keep things picked up. When she spotted the shirt I had left out to wear later on in the day she decided to put it away for me..... in the diaper pail.

She successfully pointed out the areas I had over looked in my house cleaning. She tried my patience by trying to be helpful. She ultimately taught me patience and how to take the moment and make it a learning moment for both of us. By doing so she has taught me to be a better housekeeper and mother. I find that I am constantly learning.... and Lulu is often my teacher.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Conquering Mt. Washmore

Things did not go as planned this weekend and as a result my laundry did not get done. I had over a weeks worth of laundry to do; going to the laundry mat was not an option is was a necessity!

Unfortunately, Tom did not have the opportunity to take the laundry down the car before he left for work. This meant I had to it somehow. I had successfully avoided the experience of doing this by myself for a full year. I strapped Eliza into my Bjorn carrier, dragged three full bags of laundry out of the apartment, and made sure Lulu made it out and onto the stairs ok. One bag is a sturdy tie up mesh bag so I simply dumped it on the stairs and let it roll down. The other two I carried while Lulu carefully walked down behind me. I had to count the stairs for her so that she would keep going and not get distracted by the big blue laundry bag rolling in front.   Once down the stairs I carried one bag at a time to the car and loaded it into the truck while Lulu climbed in to her car seat.

Finally we arrived at the laundry mat. I grabbed a rolling cart and loaded everything onto it. I worried about the cart tumping over from the sheer weight of everything. Thankfully the cart, the baby, the toddler, and I all made it into mat. While I pushed, pulled, loaded, unloaded, chased a toddler, and cared for an infant I started to attract the attention of the people around me. They watched me in amazement while I was completely focused on my task at hand and completely oblivious to anyone who was not my child.

One lady walked up to me and said, "How do you do it? I only have one kid and I can barely keep up!" A gentleman approached me and stated, "You deserve a reward!" Everything was going fine I until I hit a snag. When Eliza gets tired she either needs to eat to go to sleep or she cries for several minutes before falling asleep. I was on a deadline and HAD to finish quickly so letting her cry in the carrier while I bounced, shushed, talked, and folded was the only option. At this point a young man approached me and said, "Hi! My name is Brandon. I am from a big family. I would love to help you! Please let me do something." I muttered something about being fine just a little rushed and thanked him for his kind offer. To my surprise he stayed close by and watched as I pulled clothes from the drier, folded, chased a toddler, bounced, shushed, and attempted to care for my infant.

Finally Eliza fell asleep. I finished folding and carefully put everything back into my laundry bags and loaded them back onto my tired cart. The young man would not let me leave without assistance so I gratefully allowed him to put the clothes back into the truck of my car for me. As we walked out about five or six people waved bye to Lulu who happily waved and blew kisses to all her adoring fans.

I was happy and thankful to have conquered Mt. Washmore and now I am home with clean clothes.... until next week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

House Keeping and FLYing

As a mother of two very young children in a very small apartment and naturally being a disorganized person house keeping has not been my strong suit. Don't get me wrong! I have never had a home so messy that you stuck to things or weren't able to find a seat but you would never call it clean.

My husband came home one day from a busy/hectic/overwhelming day.  He looked around our less than clean house and stated that he was completely overwhelmed. Something needed to change. I agreed. I felt like I would never be able to wade through the stacks of stuff that I needed to.

I made a resolution: I decided I was going to find a solution! I was going to be a better house keeper! While perusing some blogs one of the ladies mentioned on her blog that she loved the "FLYLady." She stated that her house was much cleaner and house work never overwhelmed her anymore.  Intrigued I Googled it.

That was just over two weeks ago. I no longer have dirty dishes, my bathroom always looks nice, you can walk through my bedroom, my living room always looks like a nice place to sit, I could go on! The FlyLady's concept is if you have a routine then it will get done and everything can be done in 15 minutes.  Her hope is that with her program you will learn to FLY "Finally Love Yourself" by taking care of your home you will be able to take care of  yourself. With my timer and my new routines my house is always a nice place for my husband to come home to. Just ask him! He loves it now! And so do I!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eliza's Grand Entrance

Eliza did not enter the world as calmly as I would have liked. I had expected from my many doctor appointments that the her entrance was going to be simular to Lulu; quick and without incident. I was wrong.

Two weeks before my due date my doctor checked me and said that everything was progressing quickly and I might deliver that week. My doctor sounded so positive that I was going to have a baby I decided to call my mother and ask her to come into town early. A week passed and nothing happen.

I went to my doctor who was surprised that I had not delivered. As she was checking me she said, "Uh oh." Then she asked when my last ultrasound was. I informed her it was during my second trimester.  That from a doctor is almost as bad as "oops!" or "Interesting." She informed me that Eliza was breach and I needed an emergency ultrasound to confirm.

I felt really bad for Tom after I called him. No father-to-be wants to get a call from a hysterical wife who says, "Can you get off work early? I have to go to the hospital something is wrong with the baby!" He met me at home and we headed to the hospital where it was confirmed. The baby's bottom was on my left hip and her head was in my right ribs.

The next morning we went back to the doctor who informed us that we could either schedule a c-section or have an inversion. I opted for inversion. The first chance to get on the hospital schedule was in one week on Monday morning.

On Wednesday afternoon while I was taking nap I felt her kick, push, and rumble around very painfully. I thought it was odd and wondered if she was trying to flip but I pushed it out of my mind and continued with day. That evening I felt her kick again only this time it was in my rib cage. I was scared to get hopeful but I felt sure she had flipped.

Thursday morning I woke up and felt a strange pain in my hips. Similar to the pain I had felt just hours before going into labor with Lulu. I asked Tom to keep his cell phone with him at all times.

My mother and I decided to go to the laundry mat and do my laundry. While we where there I kept noticing odd pains. I was getting jittery and nervous. We returned home and my sister-in-law with her three kids dropped by to visit. While they where here I started having contractions but they where not strong. I started praying it was not labor because I wasn't positive she had flipped yet. I also didn't tell anyone because I was did not want any false alarms.

An two hours later the contractions had not gotten worse but where coming steadily. I called and told Tom what was going on. He came and picked me up to go to the hospital. Once we arrived and checked in the on-call doctor check me and said, "I think the baby is still breach. I will have to perform an emergency c-section." As I hyperventilated he went to get an ultrasound machine to make sure. To his great surprise and my relief the baby had flipped!

As they where about to move me to a labor room I went into full hard labor. Transition hit hard! Three hours of hard labor later and beautiful Eliza joined. 9pounds 6.9 ounces 18.5 inches long.

Hopefully my next labor will go as smoothly without the pre-labor panic attacks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Potty Training Begins

For the last week Lulu has come and told me every time she has needed a diaper change. I decided this meant it was time to introduce potty training. Today is day one. I must admit that the very idea of potty training scares me. Everyone has a horror story! "So-and-so's 4-year-old still can't poop in the potty!" "So-and-so's 6-year-old still has problems with going in the potty to the point they had to take him to a doctor!"

My mother told her daughter-in-law several years ago "Don't ask me for potty training tips. I felt like a failure five time." My sister-in-law looked at all of us and thought, "They all look potty trained me!" (We where all in college at the time) Now that my sister-in-law has 6 children she confessed to my mother that she now understands what mama meant!

Knowing what all the other moms have gone through before me I am entering this slowly. Today I introduced her to the potty. I have let her play with it, sit on it (with her diaper on), and she have discussed what it is for. I am letting her make peace with the potty.

Lulu has to make peace with things before she will try them. For example at the beginning of the summer she would not get into the pool. She screamed and cried in terror at the very thought. Then one day we where there along and she walked around it twice talking to it, touching it, and ultimately making peace with it. Now we can't get her out of the pool!

Maybe tomorrow she will sit on the potty without her diaper.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Bad Mom Day

Today is one of those days when I did not want to get out of bed. I stayed up too late last night waiting for Tom to return home from work. School starts on Wednesday and Tom is (as all teachers are) extremely busy. It is rainy, cloudy, dreary day outside. I have a headache and I simply do not feel like doing anything.

Instead of being a good mother and taking Lulu somewhere today, giving her nutrituos food, cleaning house, and all the other "good mom" things I should be doing. I have allowed Lulu to eat as many chips as she wanted and watch a movie. I have lazed around the house ignoring my chores and responsibilities.

I have spent my time day dreaming about fall, winter, and snow as I wait for cooler weather. I even put on a nice comfy sweater and have been tempted to bake a dessert that smells of cinnamon. I have not baked though because that would mean actually doing something.

Maybe this afternoon tomorrow I will go back to being a good mother and house wife. Ok after Lulu naps I will do something otherwise I will feel guilty about my "bad mom" day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting to Know You

The past two days have been so busy that I have not written anything. Tom is gearing up for the school year to begin on Wednesday. He is going to teach history as well as technology and be the IT Coordinator.

Yesterday I helped him clean his classroom. I have never seen so much dust! It did not look like anyone had dusted in two years. After spending a couple of hours wading through dust I had a severe allergy attack. I am still brain dead and trying to recover from the massive dust overdose.

I decided instead of composing a great post I would link up with the MannLand5 "Getting to Know you"
1. What kind of athlete has the hottest body?


Dancers. Don't try to tell me Dancers aren't athletes.



2. Are you a planner or a procrastinator?


It depends on what I am doing. I am normally a procrastinator but I am working very hard on becoming a planner.



3. Diet or regular (soda)?


Diet. I hate the taste of regular. It is too syrupy for my taste. (Don't hate me!)



4. What's your one "must have" for Fall?


A comfy sweater and a cabinet full of tea!



5. What's your favorite fast food restaurant?


I guess Wendy's because they have GF items on their menu making it actually possible for me to eat there.



6. What do you think is the sexiest profession for a guy?


I have never thought about it.



7. Did you wear braces?


OH YES! I wore them for years! I have had everything done to my teeth that you could think of  and a few you have never heard of.



8. Would you rather have a guy that's super sexy or kind?


Kind. Good looks only go so far. Thankfully though I didn't have to choose.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Small Successes

The Faith & Family website every Thursday host link up for mommy bloggers to celebrate three of their small success of the week. I thought this was a great idea! So here are my three success:

1) I took the girls to the park four times this week! Up and down three flights of stairs, walked three blocks, for 30 minutes of fun in the sun. This adventure has to be done in the early morning before the heat hits so it also means I have to be organized in the morning.

2) I cooked breakfast everyday this week! My husband is starting a new diet and he needs to eat breakfast. I dragged myself out of bed to fix breakfast for the family before he went to work.

3) I kept my house picked up and cleaned up for the most part! My house normally is slightly messy but this week was much improved thanks to the help of Flylady!

Trip to the Park

Since I have figured out how to maneuver an infant, a toddler, and a stroller down three flights of stairs trips to the park are a becoming part of the regular routine.  It starts with me announcing to Lulu that we are going to the park. She promptly takes off her shoes and puts them away then climbs into bed as though I had just announced we where going to the dentist.  After I wrangle her out of bed and get her shoes back on we march (rather slowly) down the stairs. Once outside Lulu's attitude evaporates. She loves the out doors! She loves to hold my hand and run beside me as we make our way to the park three blocks away.

Upon arriving Lulu makes a b-line for the swings! Her favorite part about the park is swinging. Unfortunately there are no little kiddie swings for her but she loves the big kid swings (and she holds on very well). I once tried to scare her off the swings by making it go higher than I thought she would like. It completely backfired on me! She LOVED it! Now I can never get her off them!

Ok that is a bit of an exaggeration. She does normally head for the slides at some point but she spends very little time there. Oddly enough her favorite thing to do if there are no other kids around is to try to climb up the slides instead of going down them.

If there happens to be other kids there then she is in heaven! She runs around watching them. Occasionally comes over to me and tells me something very seriously in her own language. The other kids play very nicely with her although sometimes the boys get a little weirded out when she wants to hold hands.

Once it is time to leave Lulu has a meltdown of great proportions. I always feel terrible about it when other children are present. On the walk home Eliza rides in the seat of the stroller and Lulu rides in luggage area. I don't have a double stroller and she is too tired to walk home. Desperate times call for desperate measures!  I always take a couple of bottles of water with me and she sits contently (once she has calmed down from the disappointment of leaving the park) drinking her water.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sleep Training Update

A little while ago I posted "Sleep Troubles" I focused on the problems I was having with training Lulu to go to sleep on her own. After several nights of tears, wailing, and having to put her back again and again and again we finally succeeded! My beautiful little girl goes to sleep in a room by herself!

Before we went to my mother's house her bedtime was between 8:30 and 9:00. Later than I wanted but I was just happy she was going to sleep so well. At my mother's there was no bedtime. With my four nieces and nephews there I knew there was no point in putting her to bed before them. She simply would not go to sleep if she could hear them. I don't know what time they where going to bed but I was lucky if Lulu was in bed before 10.

This complete upheaval and destruction of her bedtime worried me. When we got home my fears came true. The first two or three nights she went to bed at different times, we where back to wailing and constantly getting up, I was at my wits end having to do it over. What I didn't realize was that since we had already done it once the second time only took a couple of nights.

Then came the true blessing! Once she settled into a new routine she now goes to bed between 7 and 7:30! She gets up around 7 and takes a two hour nap in the middle of the day! I used to envy mother's who got their children to sleep early in the evening and now I am one of them!! I just keep praying this new routine last.

The 6 step routine goes like this:

1) She gets ice cream if she went to bed nicely the night before.

2) she gets a bath.

3) she says good night to everyone.

4) She walks to her room and crawls into bed!

5) I pray with her.

6) She goes to sleep!

Now that is a good night routine!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting to Know You

1. Do you think mustaches are sexy?


No. I like beards though.

2. What's the last concert you've been to?

I honestly don't know. I can't say that I have really been to that many concerts.


3.  What was your favorite 80's sitcom?


I don't have one. I was born in '83 and my parent's didn't let us watch t.v. growing up.

4. Were you named after anyone?

My first name is biblical. My middle name comes from a family who helped my parents when my father was in grad-school.
5. When you buy new clothes, do you wash before wearing?

Normally. There have been exceptions.
6. If you didn't blog, what would you do with your spare time?

I don't spend hours blogging so not much more. Maybe read more?

7. What is your favorite department store


I don't really have one. I don't like to shop. Although Dillard's is where I have bough most of my nice clothes and therefore the most likely to be my favorite.
8. If  you were to get Laser Hair Removal..where would you get it?

ummm..... Not something I have thought about.

Swimming with Lulu

At the beginning of the summer Lulu hated the pool. She screamed in pure terror every time we took her to the pool. Everything about the pool scared her: the water, the other kids, splashes, and ripples. Well, one day we were there with no other kids present, she walked around the pool, pointed to it, talked to it, and eventually decided to get in. She loved it so much we could not get her out of the pool! Since then it has been a different story: she LOVES the pool!

One day Tom was swimming with her when another family showed up with floaties. They loaned her one and she loved it so much we could hardly separate her from it. Needless to say we went to WalMart and bought her one. She leans forward in her floaty and kicks propelling herself forward and she even turns!

Friday, August 6, 2010

August

August means the beginning of school. It is one of my favorite months of the year. As the wife of a teacher it means teacher training, in-services, setting up the the classroom, and preparing lessons. For students it means buying books, pens, finding your classrooms, figuring out your schedule, and (if you are college student) moving into your dorm room.

All of this hustle and bustle is full of hope for the new school year. Teacher anticipating what students they will have and how the school year will go. Students eagerly waiting to learn, looking up which teachers they will have this year. It is the first time you look at a school schedule and start dreaming about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I really miss being a student. I want to go hunt out a note book and fill it with blank paper to fill with notes from my classes. I want to go sharpen a pencil and buy a new pen. I want to go buy my new text books and start flipping through them.

I find that I still make resolutions for the start of  school like it was New Years. I dream of keeping a cleaner house, being more organized, packing my husband's lunch, attending all the school functions this year, getting fit, getting everyone on a sleep schedule, and so on.

I may not be attending school this year but I find the same anticipation and hope still exist. I still look forward to the beginning of the fall semester and what it will bring. I might even buy a new pen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Small Success

Every Thursday blogging moms join up on Faith & Family website to celebrate three small success they accomplished this week. I thought this was a great positive thing to do! So here are my three small success:

1) I figured out how to get up and down the stairs with a stroller, an infant, and a toddler! This opens up so many possibilities! I can take walks, take the girls to the park, and so on.

2) I took the girls to the park twice this week! Yup, up and down three flights of stairs with both girls and walked to the park three blocks away.

3) I completely cleaned my kitchen! The kitchen looks amazing! I even cleaned out the fridge! I love the look of my kitchen!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Everyday Challenges

Everyone has a challenge that they have to overcome. Some challenges are real while others might be percieved but it doesn't matter if it is real or perceived. It is still a challenge that has to be overcome. In motherhood these challenges are constant: sleep training, potty training, discipline, creating a rhythm to the day, getting them to eat healthy, starting solid food, the list goes on and on.

The mother challenges that consume my thoughts have been nothing compared to my most daunting challenge: three flights of stairs. I live on the third floor of an apartment complex with no elevator. Suddenly simple task become Herculean challenges! Try getting an infant, a little girl, a diaper bag, and the groceries up the stairs at once. You quickly realize you are much stronger than you thought.

I have discovered that I am a stronger person both mentally and physically than I ever knew.  I have come up with multiple coping strategies and developed the arm strength of a teenage boy lifting weights (ok...maybe that is an exaggeration).  I grocery shop once a week when I get home I carry Eliza in one arm, up to six bags of groceries in the other, and hold Lulu's hand with the arm that has groceries. As I trek up and down with Lulu I have gotten in the habit of counting them by doing so she stays interested and continues to climb. The laundry and garbage is taken up and down the stairs by my loving wonderful husband!

I have wined and complained about the stairs to everyone! It is a great trial! Then I realized one day that I am lucky that is my huge challenge. I don't have a special needs child and am fighting the system to get her what she needs (like my brother and sister-in-law), I am not facing a huge breast tumor right after giving birth (like a friend of mine), my marriage is not on the brink of disaster, my car works, my computer works, we are all healthy, I have a loving family, and an amazing husband. My worst trouble is three measly flights of stairs. I count my blessing every day all 25 steps!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blank Minds

I have not written a post in several days because I was out of town visiting my parents. For some reason my mind is blank and I cannot think of anything to post about. I find this very strange because I have just been at my parents where crazy things are always happening but forming all those events into a post seems almost impossible.

Do I talk about the fact that my mother was keeping four of my nieces and nephews while their parents vacationed in Hawaii? My nieces and nephews range in age from 14 to 7. The 7-year-old is a special needs child and keeps everyone on their toes. The morning we where leaving I woke up to find her coated from head to toe in poop counting my pills (she did not take any). She is generally a very happy child with a good nature and a stubborn streak. The 14-year-old fell and broke his arm while I was there. The three oldest love to play Uno and Connect 4. I am getting quite good at those games! But not nearly as good as they are.

Do I talk about how my mother wound up arranging a mass, celebration, and showing of Mother Theresa's relics at the last minute? The Missionaries of Charity (the order Mother Theresa founded) has a house near my parents. My mother has been involved with them for years and the sisters declare that my mother is better than calling 911.  Mother Theresa's relics were taking a tour of the USA. At the last minute that added one stop and left my mother with a week to plan the whole event. They expected three to four hundred people to show up and wound up with twelve thousand.  I arrived a couple of hours after the even ended. My mother (who never drinks more than one glass of wine without going to sleep) had already drank a couple of glasses of white wine when I got there before going to bed she drank seven more.

Do I talk about my deaf aunt's troubles? My mother had the joy of trying to explain to my aunt in ASL that her AC was broken and the water to her house had been turned off. My mother had to convince her to stay somewhere else for a few days while my uncles fixed her house troubles. My aunt the next day came in contact with something that she turned out to be allergic to and broke out in welts.

After my aunt left my mother turned to me and said, "Ya'll joke about this being Grand Central Station but I don't live in Grand Central Stations because Grand Central Station is not this busy!" I quipped back, "No mama, you don't live in Grand Central Station you live in a minor emergency room." She did not seem to appreciate that.

Do I talk about how my parents fawned over my children? Papa held Eliza almost the entire time we where there only relenting to give her up when she needed fed or changed or someone else managed to pry her out of his arms.  Both my parents loved watching Lulu happily run around the house amusing herself. They kept thanking me for bringing the girls down for a visit.

They particularly loved bedtime. My father usually fed Lulu ice cream and delighted at her looks of sheer joy each time he offered her a bite. One night Lulu did not want to go to bed. At the mention of bed she ran to her grandmother's protective arms. I walked up and said, "If you go to bed nicely without a fuss then Daddy will take you to an Ice Cream Parlor tomorrow." Lulu thought for a minute then responded, "OK!" Jumped off her grandmother's lap and happily went to bed.

I could go on and on about the happenings at my parent's house for it is strange, crazy, and always busy place. For now I think I have written enough.