Friday, April 30, 2010

Personality Plus

I get such a kick out of seeing my little girls grow up.  They are three little girls growing up in the same house, with the same parents, and the same rules and they couldn't be more different from each other! Each has her own "look". I suppose when we pose for a family picture you can see the resemblances. My husband has a more fair complexion complete with reddish brown facial hair, hazel eyes, and freckles and I have olive skin and VERY dark hair and eyes.  And our girls have one or more of our traits but the mold is definitely broken after each one! :) I'm so excited to add a new little princess to our court and I am daydreaming regularly about what she will look like.  The girls have been doing that too, they each want her to look like them!

Even in temperament and personality they are so different from each other. To illustrate: This morning on our way out the door to take Jordan to school I noticed that we'd left the house without her book bag. Off-handedly, I said "Jordan, what about your book bag?" She was half way to the car and turned to come back up the steps. We had plenty of time this morning so I wasn't too annoyed about having to go back into the house to retrieve it, BUT I got a little scattered thinking about grabbing the bag before the burglar alarm would be armed.  I opened the door, grabbed the bag and never once thought about the dog escaping, just as I was grabbing, he was running--out the front door, off the porch, down the steps, and across the street.  In the first seconds of this morning madness I couldn't help noticing my little girls and really watching the differences in their reactions to this unexpected occurrence.  I had a feeling that the dopey dog wouldn't go far, but he was very excited about the new front yard stimulus and the wind of freedom blowing through his ears and that's why he wasn't listening as I commanded him to come back.  Here's what the girls were up to: Jordan immediately began apologizing. Ever the people pleaser, she was convinced that had she not forgotten her bag, or if she had only raced up the front steps to shut the front door the dog wouldn't be roaming the block freely.  Ava stood on the sidewalk shouting at the top of her lungs "KINGSTON! GET BACK HERE!"  Take charge Ava would not have this doggy disobedience.  Livi was standing on the steps, stunned and crying. I'm sure the thought of Kingston never returning was too much for her little noggin to handle.  Pathetically frozen, and heart broken, the tears were flowing freely. "It's not your fault, Jordan. Ava, get into the car and get buckled. Mommy will handle this. It's okay, Livi, Mommy will get Kingston back." I wrangled him back to the front porch in less than 60 seconds.  But just as my foot hit our front step the alarm began to scream.  GREAT! I let the dog's collar go so I could disarm the ear bleeding screech (second time this week it's gone off!) Kingston was off again! But this time I coaxed him into the van and he got to ride with us to school. Fun for all!! Except now I've got Boxer fluff all over the passenger seat. Oh well. 

Such is the life of a 8 month pregnant, stay at home mom with three little girls, and a lovable boxer who only listens sometimes.

I just keep thinking about the girls reactions. It could have a little to do with their ages but I think their responses are so typically them and it's interesting.

Slightly off topic, but too cute not to share, I took a video of Olivia last night (she didn't know I was filming her, which makes it all the more priceless) after dinner. It's another glimpse at her personality which is so lovable, huggable, and randomly kissable.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

T Minus 5 Weeks!

So where have I been?  It's nice to know that I have some "real life readers," that is people that I personally know, who are wondering when I am going to post next!  Really I'm flattered and I apologize that I haven't been able to post every day.

With less than 5 weeks until baby number 4 arrives I am nesting like crazy, which leaves little time for anything else.  That, in combination with preparing the house for the market, has kept me offline for most if not all of these last days.  With my trusty phone in hand, I've been able to quickly post to Face Book or do any other Internet perusing that I need to do in 15 minutes or less, but they have yet to perfect "blogging by phone."  So actually sitting down to the terminal is a real treat.  The only thing that brings me here today is that I needed to check on a few things that I couldn't do from my phone!

We are planning to meet with a realtor this week and make the final preparations for posting our sign and getting this ball rolling!

The girls and I have been going through toys together.  A ton more would be gone at this point, but I figured I should let them have a say as to what stays and what goes.  It's hard to get the three of them to agree unanimously that something should be tossed, so concessions have been made. We are halfway through the project and I have two large garbage bags to toss...If I can come out of there with two more, than I will be thrilled!

I mentioned in my last post or two and, wow, I've really embraced this method of housekeeping and I have to say my house has never looked better for longer.  I used to be a marathon cleaner, which means that the dust rags, mops and Windex really only came out when I knew I had company arriving within the next 48 hours...Thanks to Flylady, I would happily invite you in if you showed up on my doorstep. I didn't think this was possible with three little ones who always seem to be trailing me with dirty clothes, toys, and crayon pictures of rainbows, flowers, and princesses. I can still see places that need decluttered, but at least now I feel like I have a plan of attack and I am not so overwhelmed with the everyday tasks--planning meals, making beds, turning over a load of laundry, that I can't get to these areas that have been neglected for far too long.

In other news, the dog has been given more freedom!  Usually, crated at night, we are trying to eliminate the need for the "decorative" 2 1/2 x 3 foot crate in our dining room.   We will need to move it when we show the house.  I like having the crate around, because lets face it, the dog can be a little pesky and it's nice to be able to put him in there to get him out of my hair.  Also, not everyone who comes for a visit wants to contend with a 70 pound, bum wiggling boxer drooling on their pants or trying to sit in their lap! He's doing okay...although he knocked Olivia off the porch and into what's supposed to be my garden and she got a nice goose egg and cut on her forehead and scrape on the side of her eye!  I've also seen about 5 chewed up toys laying around this week and have countlessly yelled "LEAVE IT" as he tries to sneak off with another Barbie to nosh. But that's what we get for organizing the toy room this week I guess! Once everything has a place, it might get better...or he could just move on to shredding shoes, or crayon pictures of rainbows, flowers, and princesses!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Almost There

Well...things are running smoothly at the house, except now I can't seem to find the time to update my blog...So my schedule and routine are something I still have to work on.

We had a crazy weekend! The girls and I spent most of it at my parents house where the above video was taken...which is just TOO cute for words so I had to share it!  As I've mentioned we are preparing our house for the market, again. And I have been nesting like crazy so things are slowly but surely becoming decluttered.  The Front Steps are replaced!

Our hardwood floors are finished!  They went from ugly, dirty, stained dark green carpeting to this--after a good sanding and stripping of old stain:

 To This--an even more thorough sanding:

 To this-- Our finished project!:
I am very thankful that I have a hardworking and handy husband who takes on these projects! It's nice to have someone around who isn't afraid to "do-it-himself".  We've saved a lot of money with all the work he put into both of these projects, on top of knowing who to ask to get the job done right. And we just have a few more painting projects to finish to be ready.  The painting and decluttering may push our original May 1st deadline back, but I'm feeling okay with it.

In other news, I've agreed to co-lead the Daisy Troop at my daughter's school. I figured, I'll have three others who will most likely make their way through Daisies, so why not get involved?  We'll see how I like it come next fall.

Happy Thursday, dear readers!  I hope to not leave this blog hanging so long between posts! Off to pick up the girls from school!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Awakening

Let me share something with you:  A quarter pound worth of chocolate Easter cross after 10pm + An episode of 20/20 about a creepy, murderous kidnapper = THE worst nightmare of my life.   Couple that with the fact that I am rolling through my 8th month of pregnancy (when dreams are at their most vivid) and it is a complete disaster.

I know better...but I like to have a snack before bed...we ate a late dinner, so I HAD to wait until around 10:30pm to eat it. Besides, Jim had nodded off on the couch and I was bored.  

I thought maybe the chocolate would keep me up, but I didn't have any trouble falling to sleep. Since I started Flying at, my days have been full and productive and I have definitely been tired by the time bed time rolls around.

The dream started off innocently enough with me heading off to a late night appointment at the hairdresser (My Aunt)...For some reason her salon was more like a doctor's office than a salon, but I thought nothing of it as I was asked by the receptionist to give a urine specimen. She handed me a small cup and off I trotted to the bathroom and when I was heading back I was walking through a semi crowded Mall Court.  I was trying to hurry with my eyes glued to my capless specimen so that it wouldn't spill. All of a sudden Jordan and Ava were trailing behind me.  I got that "mommy feeling of dread" as I was trying to prod the girls to move in front of me so I could see them, wishing like hell that I had eyes in the back of my head, or at least that I could dump the stupid pee cup that I was balancing.  To top it off I had to stop at the ATM machine!  I could hear the girls gabbing and fighting behind me as I made my necessary transaction trying to speed things up. Just as I finished up there, I turned around and the girls had vanished! Panic set in as I scoured the mall court. I began shouting for the girls hoping that they were only hiding somewhere, playing some kind of game with me.  But they never reappeared. Frantic, I rushed back to the salon where my Dad and Aunt were waiting for me. I hurriedly told them that the girls were missing. A search began. I remember viewing a video of my MAC transaction that had been taken. The grainy black and white surveillance showed my annoyed face, pinched sourly as I punched buttons on the machine.  The girls dresses flitted in the background but you couldn't see their faces. One minute they were there and the next they were gone.  I visualized some creeper luring them away. 

No one told me that they were gone for good, but I knew.  At the end of the dream, Jim was with me, driving me home in a convertible. I could tell he was super angry with me.  I felt SOOOO guilty. In my dream, as we drove through the city with the top down, I began to wail and scream and cry out my guilt.  Asking WHY? Screaming for God to intervene. For my babies to come back.  It all felt very futile and very real.

At 4:20am, I awoke.  My chest was heaving.  I was having what felt like a panic attack (although I've never had one of those before). Jim jostled awake, "What's the matter?" "I had a...horrible dream." "The baby is fine. You said she was moving so much yesterday," He consoled. "It wasn't the baby; it was the girls, Jordan and Ava."  I started to sob...a less loud and dramatic version of what I had awakened from. "What happened??" "Some creeper took our girls away from me. I wasn't watching. One minute they were there and the next they were gone." Jim's arms were around me, but it didn't matter. I still felt the guilt burning a pit in my stomach. My throat felt like a stone was lodged in it. "It was only a dream. Thank God it was only a dream." I muttered. But it didn't feel like a dream. I physically felt like I no longer had my girls, I no longer knew where they were and I felt like I wouldn't be getting them back.  I had to keep telling myself that it was a dream, focusing to slow my breathing, wiping away the tears that were stinging my eyes.  I leapt from the bed and into the girls' room. They were peacefully sleeping, safely, soundly. I touched them both to make sure they were real.

Back in bed, I couldn't, did not want to, go back to sleep. Jim suggested, "Go get on your blog. Read your book" He held me until his breathing became slow and even again.  I picked up my book and was thankful to have the diversion.  By 6:00am I felt better. The book took my mind off of everything.  I eventually fell back into a dreamless sleep.

Later that morning, Ava came into the bedroom, excited to see her dad (and me) and happy to get the day started.  Jordan followed behind a little later. I lay with them both snuggled at my side, holding them, kissing their hair, telling them each that I love them, thanking God that I have them, and praying for the strength and guidance to lead them through this jungle we live in.  Asking for His protection.

Olivia slept in this morning, but she got her hugs and kisses too. 

Even though I know it was a dream I could feel the pain, and the guilt, that loosing them would cause.  Mom's need eyes all around and I keep thinking to myself:  How many times have I taken my eyes off of them for a second or been so consumed with something else (that isn't important) and didn't even know where they were?  I think I sometimes take their safety for granted.  But of course, with anything, there has to be a balance. The problem is, where do you strike the balance between safety and over protective sheltering?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Kick"ing It My Way: How I've Found Myself--The Long Version!

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a "kick" person. When I see or hear something that speaks to me I immediately begin to incorporate it into my life in the hopes that I can bring about a positive change in myself or my surroundings.  I get razzed a bit by my family...and sometimes they might think I'm nuts...but usually I'm flying too high to really notice or let anything bring me down.

When I graduated from college and got my first "real" job, the bills started rolling in. It was time to pay off my $80,000 education (in the late 90's I attended a private liberal arts college).  The credit cards that had practically been given away in the hallway outside of the cafeteria were now begging for attention.  Somewhere along the way, I decided it was time to make a budget! I plotted out my expenses vs. what I brought home each week, tried to squirrel away 10% of my check and funnel it into savings, and kept it all written down in a spiral notebook that I would consult each week (day, hour, minute...okay 30 seconds).  I kept track of when payments were due, how much I paid, balances on credit cards, fun money. I knew where every cent was going. 

The problem is, that I was so gung ho about the "budget book" that I literally took it everywhere I went.  I mean EVERYWHERE, not just to places where it might be reasonable.  I took it to the store, I took it to camp, I took it to my parents' house for dinner, I took it to church (I did leave it in the car). I mean when I went to sleep, there was the budget book, when I woke up it lovingly greeted me. It was nothing short of obsession....never know when a question will arise about the finances! I was so afraid of financial disarray those first few years. I was afraid that I wouldn't have money to pay my bills. I was very scared to spend frivolous money on myself (Some people love to shop...I hear all the time about "retail therapy"... that is NOT me! Shopping for me is stress inducing.) If it is in the budget I'm okay with it but if I have to rob Peter to pay Paul I get very nervous. 

So the budget was taking over my life...but thanks to it my husband and I could afford to pay for the majority of our wedding and honeymoon ourselves and all the bills were paid off before our first anniversary.  I'm proud of that. Nowadays I still have the budget book (a different notebook) and it really hasn't changed much except now there's more money coming in, and more bills going out!  BUT, I don't carry it with me. I look at it once a week, on Friday when the bills get paid, and that's that!  It makes my life easier. I tried once to use a Quicken program or turn my budget book into an Excel Spreadsheet...but the book is what I love. Pen, Paper, and Numbers. Something to look at, feel with my fingers, and think about, but no longer something to obsess over.

Also, the "budget book" somehow emblazoned me with the title of "My Family's Financial Guru" two different siblings have asked me to help them implement "the budget" in some form or another into their lives. Another one likes to ask me for tax advice and the other has occasionally asked me money related questions about saving, investing, buying a home...etc.  I'm not a money $80,000 education didn't get me a degree in Finance. It was English. But thank you budget book, you changed me and made me better equipped to handle the money ups and downs in life!

Another "kick" of mine is food related.  A couple of years ago, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and something in me clicked. I started to research some local farmers and I joined a CSA near my home (that's community supported agriculture).  I am interested in gardening, but have yet to produce an abundant vegetable garden. I think about eating organically, growing my own food, supporting local farms etc.  I saw Food, Inc. a few months ago: a documentary EVERY American needs to force themselves to view. I found an organic beef farmer who is also local and I am anxiously awaiting my first box of beef (to arrive in a short week or two!).   Yes, it is currently more expensive to make these choices...but I feel better about them. This is money that I don't mind spending! I would rather spend money on stuff like this than on medical bills, that's for sure.  If you want to hear more of my rant on food, click HERE. This is a "kick" in progress...I've got a long way to go...but so does the rest of this country!

Yet another "kick", combines food and money.  It's called The Grocery Game.  It's a game to help you save money on your grocery shopping by combining weekly coupons (that come in the mail or Sunday paper) with grocery sales so that you are able to stockpile items that you use in your home when they are at the lowest possible price at the store.  I was way into this when I first started and while I built my stockpile, and lovingly became dubbed "My Family's Coupon Queen." But whatever, the proof is in the pudding:  An average weekly grocery shopping trip in the year 2008 (when we were a very new family of 5) cost me WELL over $200 per week.  I think I have some receipts that go as high as $240.  And then there would be the additional costs of having guests over for a birthday party or celebration.  Now in 2010, I spend $140 or less on a weekly basis.  I've been able to cut my grocery bill by at least $60 a week. That's $240 dollars a month, people, and that isn't chump change. I'm sure I could save more, but I can't let these things become obsessions. I try to efficiently clip my coupons for the week, make my lists, and shop. One stop shopping is an essential time saver for me.  I don't run to 2, 3, or 4 different stores a week (remember I hate shopping). I go to one store. Once a week (or twice if I didn't plan well enough). I'm proud to know that even though I don't make money outside of the home, I can use the money that my husband works so hard for wisely and my family is never wanting for something to eat...FOR SURE!

I also got into a fitness "kick" after Ava was born.  A culmination of events brought me to a place where I realized that I was more than just a mom. I deserved to feel good about myself. I deserved to pamper myself on occasion. So it meant dusting off the treadmill and walking, then running. It meant lifting weights, doing a little yoga now and then. I'll always thank my cousin, Cari for motivating me.  She started to take her physical fitness seriously just before me. She dropped a bunch of weight. She looked younger. Happier. No longer run down. The woman had 4 kids at the time (now she has 6!). I thought, if she could find the time to do it then so could I. And I did. And I lost 20 lbs which makes a big difference on a 5'1" frame!  She is still going strong. I've taken a break to add two more to my brood...but you can bet after I get the okay I will be back on track--literally--soon after our newest little one arrives!

Blogging has been a lot of fun too...and you could say it's a "kick."  I just can't wait to see where this journey takes me. I've only just begun this year and I have had some positive feedback from people I know...and a few I don't know and it is really motivating me to keep this up!  I love to write.  and write. and write. And that's how we end up with mile long posts...but anyhoo!

The latest "kick" has me clicking over to  I am not by nature a neat and organized person. I never made my bed growing up. I shared a room with my sister, Angie, at one point and we didn't need a line of tape running down the middle of the room to tell who's side was who's (although we did do that once, so my mess would contain itself!). My side was clutter clutter clutter and hers was neat and tidy, usually. In college, thank God, I had a roommate who was like me and together we lived in clutter and creative chaos.  To anyone else it looked like a dump, to me it looked like life. I was too busy, too tired, to caught up in my old ways to change anything about it.  Procrastination was my middle name. 

I still don't really care about clutter. I don't judge others for it.  But now I recognize that I live with someone who doesn't appreciate it, feels hemmed in by it, stressed by it, degraded by it.  So I think it's about time I grabbed a hold of it. I do appreciate the beauty of a made bed, now.  I like sitting in my living room when there aren't toys on the floor. I like cooking in my kitchen when there aren't dishes already in the sink. I hate looking at piles of laundry.  So I've dived in at and already in 6 short days there has been some major progress around here!  I never thought I lived in a dirty house..."lived in" is what I called it. Creatively chaotic.  Slowly a couple of years ago,  I transformed the house so that the main living areas present as: Neat, with a few little piles here and there, and major chaos going on behind the scenes (like in the basement, closets, under the bed and on  low lying shelves!)  Now I am planning to change that. This is more about time management, prioritizing, not procrastinating, and taking baby steps than it is about cleaning my house. I love it because it is making house keeping (a major part of my job as Stay At Home Mommy) more manageable.  And as a side affect of my "kickieness," I am telling everyone about it!   I'm sure the new nickname will be "Clean Queen."  A side note: Thank you, to Janene (again), for posting as a link from your blog.  She's my blogging buddy and you can find her at Perfecting Imperfection!

I love the feeling of diving whole-heartedly into something new.  It makes me feel happy, healthy, and alive. It's so much better than drowning in a pile of debt, a pile of fat, a pile of boredom, a pile of clutter...whatever it is that needs changing! 

My advice is to remain open to what God (the universe) puts out there for you to see.  Be open to new things and to changing your old ways.  Ocean waves pounding on the shore seems like a constant...but underneath them there are ever changing and shifting sands.  Nothing feels better than letting the waves crash on your bare feet--feeling sand and water moving, pulling.  Be open to it! Here's to what's changing in your life...Let's KICK it!

P.S. I should probably get on a "kick" of editing myself...but this is way too much fun for me. So, if you are still reading--Thanks! And be sure to post a comment! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In The Technological Abyss

Oh blog world, how I've missed you!  Last Friday, my husband decided to try to get his PS3 to hook up wirelessly to the internet, and after hours trying this and that and not really knowing what the outcome would be, we lost not only our internet service, but our home phone line as well!  UGH! We had a tech come out today and fix everything up and his word of advice to me was to not have my husband mess with anything...which would be funny, if it wasn't so frustrating!

My husband is a sharp tack. I consider myself to be an intelligent woman.  I like to figure things out for myself (so does he).  I usually play around with something having to do with the computer and can figure it out, or I at least have the wherewithall to look up some help on line.  Technology just changes so fast though!  It is really hard to keep up.  Since graduating college, so much has changed. I feel like I'm just treading water in the technology pool.  I usually call my younger sister when I'm in a jam. With 8 years between us,  and less time between her and her college graduation, I figure that she probably has more of a handle on today's latest tech stuff...but even she can't always answer my questions.

I'm staring at my router which is hooked up to two other thing-a-majiggies, which is hooked into my antiquated computer, which is somehow responsible for running my phone lines and wireless internet connection too, and it is bothering me that I have no clue what they are, how they work, or what they are  actually doing...And believe me I don't care enough to have to pay someone to teach me!

We are throwing around the idea of purchasing a laptop...and I've been dreaming about a new camera...but it is so intimidating to even walk into Best Buy and look.  How the heck do I know what it is that I need, let alone what I want?...And I'm sure I will sound like a bumbling fool trying to "intelligently" discuss it with a sales associate who is almost half my age and knows 4 times as much about all of it as I do!

Talk about feeling old...

How does a "regular" person do it?  I don't want to get so far behind that in a few years I have no clue what my kids are up to/in to in this crazy technological world we live in!  I remember laughing at my mom because she had no clue how to use a VCR, or even a remote control...but I'm headed straight down that same path!

So feel free to leave your opinions about the latest and greatest in laptop technology, or vent your own "techie" frustrations to me. I'll be taking copious notes!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Follow: Something's Missing...

Friday Follow

First order of's Friday! So it's time to welcome all of my new and returning readers from Friday Follow. Thank you, welcome, and I hope that you find yourself feeling at home and get that "kindred spirit" kind of feeling here.  I am quickly turning my love of writing for myself into a nice little blog to share with family and friends and I am so happy to have YOU here reading and commenting on my posts!

Welcome Face book friends!  Thanks for stopping by too! Feel free to spend some time and catch up with me here!

With that out of the way...

Something's missing...and I don't mean that in some philosophical way. I mean something's missing.  I'm going to blame it on pregnancy (it becomes a clever scapegoat for all sorts of things...didn't get to putting the laundry away, I'm pregnant.  Kids haven't had a bath in a couple days, I'm pregnant. Dinner isn't cooking, I'm pregnant. I'm late for a very important date, I'm pregnant. I'm napping at 2pm, I'm pregnant...the farther along I get and the bigger I get the better this one works!).  One of the crazier and more annoying side effects of pregnancy is forgetfulness.  Really, check the pregnancy books, it says so. I'm sure my children outside the womb may have a little something to do with it too...

I have left my keys hanging in my front door at least three times. I have left the doors to my minivan open at least twice. I forgot to get Jordan to a Daisy meeting once. I forgot that I volunteered to help with Ava's preschool Easter party.  I forgot I had a third child (ha ha, I didn't really. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention).

There are a few things missing around here right at the moment that are making me a little crazy. I try not to let it bother me, but every time I look at the two empty cases for the Nintendo DS games that cost $30 dollars a piece I start to go a little batty. They are most likely, under the couch, at the bottom of one of two toy boxes, or eaten by the dog. Why do they have to be so damn small?!?

Our digital camera is missing (again).  I took the battery out to charge it, left the camera sitting next to the charger on the nightstand in my bedroom. It stood for one day. The next day, gone.  The girls had been in my room.  Ava said she put it into the armoire...I checked, no camera. Everyone agrees that Olivia had it last.  Well trying to get Olivia (my 2 year old) to conjure up an accurate memory of the sequence of events is like asking a goldfish to do the same thing.  I got the following answers from her, Kingston had it (the dog), It's under the bed (no it isn't), It's in the toy box (could be, but I hate looking in there so I haven't checked yet), I threw it in the garbage (very likely, she threw out a DVD we had on loan from the library and I had to pay $17 for it about 6 months ago!)  I would have rummaged through the garbage in the bathroom, where she most likely made the dump, but I had already emptied it on an ambitious cleaning spree the day before (and of course I didn't notice anything amiss).  I'd like a new camera. Just throwing that out into the universe.  A nice one please.  I'm using my phone as a camera right now and it really drains the battery...

And speaking of the library, we have a library book missing. I'm on my second renewal (trying to buy time to find it).  We took out four books and one is missing. It was Ava's pick: Hands Are Not For Hitting (I did get to read it aloud before we lost it).  I'm a little suspicious of Ava...because as I've mentioned in previous posts she's been quite a handful lately.  Could she have deviously hidden it from me in an attempt to make me forget that her hands are really NOT for hitting?  (She's being a little "pushy" lately)...No, I'm reading into it a bit much...but I do see the irony in all of this.   No one can tell me where they have seen the book last. It could be: under a bed, under the covers of a bed, eaten by the dog, at the bottom of one of two toy boxes, or in the garbage. Take your pick.

I hope that I don't have to wait for the arrival of our beloved 4th born to recover these lost items, my sanity, and my memory...but just in case, at least I'll have this blog to remind me of what's gone missing in my life!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, April 8, 2010

40 Days and 40 Nights

I had a couple of people...okay, ONE person--my buddy over at Perfecting Imperfection, ask me to blog about what it was like to give up Facebook for 40 days.  So, here it goes!

I'm usually not into "giving things up" for Lent. Lots of people do chocolate, or coffee, or fast food, or some other favorite food items.  Others add something extra like taking more prayer time each day, adding in 30 minutes of exercise, mending the fence with someone they've been at odds with etc...all for the glory of God. You get the picture.  The point of Lent--for those who need a little schooling in the area--is to take time to enter the "desert of life." Give up the non essentials and even experience a little bit of time without the essentials too, so that we can get in touch with the suffering Jesus.  We are asked to Pray, Fast, and Share.  (That's Pray AND Fast, not "Pray Fast" as Jordan originally thought!) This time of praying, fasting, and sharing is asking us to draw closer to God, and to contemplate the sacrifice Christ made for us so that we may fully appreciate the Glory of Easter.  No, it ISN'T just about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts.

I digress...As I said I'm usually not into "giving things up." I like adding to my plate, and usually I choose the extra prayer time, or something similar, to add to my Lenten Journey. Alos, being pregnant this lent had me wanting to keep the chocolate and other sweets handy. But this year, a glaring, time consuming habit was staring me in the face (book)...heehee, just begging to be dropped for a while. 

So, come Ash Wednesday I decided this was last log in to Facebook. No more secret stalking.  No more first-thing-in-the-morning-what-is-everyone-from-who-knows-where-doing checks.  No more commenting wittily on friends' status updates. No more trying to think of a comment provoking status update of my own.  No more mind numbing, time sucking games and apps.  I was going cold turkey.

And, light bulb moment:  It was wonderful!  I did miss it for the first couple of days, but after that I only gave it a thought here or when my sister called so I could talk her down (She gave up FB too): She wanted to log on and memorialize Corey Haim's passing in a fitting status update.  I told her to get a grip. :) The Facebook World would keep on spinning. And then there was the time when I wasn't the absolute first to congratulate my cousin's wife about her pregnancy news after she posted a sonogram picture.  I found out from another sister after she saw it on FB. And then I felt a tiny pang when I would get an e-mail that someone from my "Mommy Group" had posted on FB about the next get together and I had no way to really chime in on the thread.  But I resolved that one by keeping in touch with a few friends who were still "logged on." 

Other than that I didn't miss it.  I enjoyed the free time that I had...and I worked on my blog a little more, started to scrap book, spent more time outside with the kids when we got the nice stretch of weather (that we continue to enjoy), and just didn't think about it.  

I do like Facebook. I logged back in on Easter Monday, but it doesn't have the same hold on me for some reason.  A friend of mine gave up coffee for lent and she was so excited to have her first cup on Easter morning, but when she took that first sip she thought, this isn't as good as I thought it would be... She realized the next day that she made herself  a cup of "decaf" accidentally. That's kind of how I feel about FB.  I'll still log on, maybe not daily, update my status, point friends to my blog, comment here and there but no where near as much as I used too. And say goodbye to the "extra caffeine."

I've learned that Facebook is fun, at times addictive, a nice way to connect or reconnect, but it is not a substitute for living life...even if I am a stay at home mommy with no big people to talk to during the day!

Side note, as a family we also gave up TV for one day a week. You may have seen me mention "No TV Monday."  Well, that's a keeper too. It was so great to not have the TV on for a solid 24 hours.  We totally did not miss it!

Don't be scared to unplug.   It was a wonderful experience!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

An Answered Prayer

This is a prayer that was over 7 years in the making.  And it was quite simple:  Open my husband's heart and eyes to you, Lord. Not that my husband is some kind of heathen, he isn't. It's a prayer I pray for myself and for my kids AND for my husband.  And this past Easter I got to see the fruits of this prayer.

Let me go back...I am a cradle Catholic. After a brief (and necessary) lapse in my religious practice during and shortly after college I decided to begin practicing again. Especially as we prepared to bring a little one into the world, I began to realize that spirituality is a very important part of life on Earth.  I wanted to be able to pass on my faith to my children and not feel like a hypocrite. My husband was an out of practice Methodist. He was baptized, but to my understanding, had given up practicing at a young age.  He would attend church with me on occasion but not habitually. I didn't see a desire in him to convert and I never pushed the issue. One thing that I didn't do was roll over with him on Sunday morning. Instead, I made it a point to try to make it to church each week, with or without him, usually toting the kids along as well.

There may have come a time when my husband became angry at God.  A normal response for many people  when horrible things happen in our lives.  His mother taken too soon to see all of her grandchildren.  One of our children experiencing a long and unexpected NICU stay after birth.  Another daughter born with the same problem (only a minor case). 2 miscarriages in the past 13 months.  I hardly expected a change of heart to come from my husband after all of that. 

My take on these hardships is a little different: one of Acceptance.  Hardships come because we live in an imperfect world.  Hardships teach us something and make us stronger. It isn't always fair. It isn't always right. And it isn't God's fault.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I never pushed Jim to change his mind/heart. I simply prayed and I try to live the life of a faithful Christian, hoping that he'd hop on board in his and God's own time. 

I was super surprised this last fall when Jim expressed an interest in joining the Church.  As our kids get bigger, he was starting to see that questions might begin to rise up in our children as to why he doesn't do what the rest of the family is doing. 

Thank goodness for Sister Valerie. She is the nun who is in charge of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) in our parish and she has truly been a blessing throughout the process. She worked with Jim one-on-one, bending her schedule to fit our busy one so that he could prepare to receive the sacrements this Easter Season. She was open to his questions, never judgemental of his feelings. She simply guided him through the process by sharing her own faith journey and encouraging him.

At the Easter Vigil Mass, Jim was confirmed and recieved The Eucharist for the first time (along with two other men and 2 other women--who were also baptized).  The 3 hour service was completely moving, at times breath taking, and truly for me a glimpse at God's majesty and glory. 

We truly had something wonderful to celebrate this Easter! 

Here's Jim before his big day:

You can almost see his halo! :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Accidental Incident

So much to blog little time.

I am way behind on my blogging, both reading them, and writing them. It was an eventful week last week.  As much as I anticipated the rest, contemplation, and slow-down of Holy Week, just the opposite is what I got. I had to find peace in the little spaces between all of the rush rush and hubbub that took place last week.

It started with the busiest first half of the week I've had all year so far.  Plus, as I mentioned HERE I had a holy terror to deal with! We are still in the process of learning how to deal with our precocious 4 year old, but I guess that's what parenting is, a process. 

Speaking of the precocious 4 year old, we had an "accidental incendent" involving her last Thursday.  My husband was on his way home from work and I was busy readying the girls for the Holy Thursday.  I had washed their faces, got them re-dressed and had finished up their hair with just enough time to spare so that I could press my dress and freshen my makeup.  I was supposed to have my feet washed at the service so I was really honored and excited to be a part of it! 

I was upstairs ironing when I heard a commotion downstairs and Olivia started crying...I knew it was something more than just a little bump or a cranky toddler cry so I rushed downstairs to see what was going on.  Livi was lying on her stomach crying. Jordan was standing at the front door (as a lookout for her dad...we were going to play an April Fool's Joke on him, in the midst of everything else that was supposed to be going down in the next few hours) and Ava was hiding her face as she layed on the couch.

The story that I got out in bits and pieces was that Ava was on the couch, Livi crawled up to tickle her, Ava didn't like it and "kicked her off" and then she whacked the back of her head on our slate and metal coffee table and went down. As I was hugging Olivia and consoling her I noticed blood on my hands.  GREAT! She had cut herself. I ran for a towel and icepack and tried to figure out what to do. Of course I wasn't dressed either!!!

15 minutes later when my husband walked through the door, I was still holding Livi who was starting to fall asleep at the time.  I was still in just a bra and underwear too! Her bleeding cut had slowed down/stopped by then but I was concerned about a possible concussion...especially since she was falling asleep on my lap.  We decided a trip to the E.R. would be best just to be on the safe side.

As soon as we walked in, I knew we probably didn't need to be there...Livi was back to her old self again. Evidence?  Here's a pic of her showing off her bracelet:

She was very spoiled by all of the hospital employees. I mean she was the cutest thing to walk through the door all day I am sure!

She even got a book and a stuffed bunny from the doc that checked her out!

She was fine. Didn't need a stitch. Didn't show signs of a concussion.  But of course we found it out too late to attend the Holy Thursday Mass.  When we got home her sisters (and daddy) were waiting with pictures they had drawn for her and I could tell they were really worried about her and Ava showed remorse and seemed very sorry for her actions. 

I was disappointed about missing having my feet washed, but I guess the point of the ceremony is to remind us of Jesus' humble service to us and how we are to be servants to one another.  I just got a different reminder of that on Thursday, I suppose.

I have more blogs to come that will include:

Our Easter Celebration
Giving up Facebook for 40 days

Happy Monday!


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