Thursday, May 31, 2007

Check this out...

13 Things I WON'T be taking this weekend...

This weekend I am taking a short trip to see my sister and help her with out with some things. I figured if I was actually going to be of any help that I should probably not bring any little guys with me. My husband has graciously agreed to this scenario (even though that means he will be the sole caretaker of the little guys for 4 whole days). He is a GOOD MAN. He also cleaned the house today when I took the kids to a playdate at the local pizza playplace...I didn't ask him to do this...he just did it because he thought it would make me happy...he was right soooooo right!

Okay, enough bragging on my husband, but you must give credit where credit is due.

So, I need to pack for my trip. I'm excited because packing for this trip will be so much simpler than packing for most trips because of the lack of little guys and all. So without further ado, here is my THURSDAY 13. Read 'em and weep ladies!

1) Diapers (although I may take some wipes because they are pretty handy)
2) Toys (except for any leftovers that may be hidden in my purse somewhere)
3) Board Books (I might take one with actual paper pages).
4) Toy Story DVD's (silence and grown up music will be the only sounds I hear on this trip)
5) Fruit Snacks (I'll probably snack on something more grown up like chocolate)
6) Sippy Cups
7) Ear plugs (just kidding, I've never really done that...but I am mentally noting it for our family trip in June)
8) Stroller
9) Pack and Play
10) $$ for Happy Meals
11) Carseats
12) an inordinate amount of stuffed animals
13) Sanity...oh wait I will be taking that ;-)

Even though I will appreciate the solitude on the drive, I will miss my younguns and my man. Richie actually asked me if I would forget him...NEVER! Please pray for safe travel and a safe and easy weekend for my fam.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Roomie!

I wanted to say "Happy Birthday" to a very special person in my life...my "roomie" (aka Dee Dee, Mimi, Kindred Spirit of the truest form!).

Here's a blast from the past in your honor...

Ode to Papa John's
By Mimi and RN
(circa 1993)

Through the rolling hills of Milligan
Drive the men we love
That deliver not freedom
But pizzas, and cups.

Oh how we love our Papa John's
The pizza that delivers us from
All hum-drum.

Beware Pizza Hut, Domino's, &
Pizza Inn

For Papa John's will do you in!
Through snow, sleet, rain, and hail
PAPA JOHN'S WILL PREVAIL!!

Love you roomie! Can't wait to see you soon.

Sing it with me...

O-A-O-A
O-A-O-O-AH
WAH-HEE-HO
WAH-HEE-HO
BOOTSCKWA!

Miracle of Miracles and Random Thoughts For a Wednesday Evening

Write this down! I, like Shelley, went to The Black Hole today and stuck to my list! I only spent (you better sit down for this) $23.90! Okay, okay, it may be because I was only there 2 days ago, but I think I could be heading towards a positive trend here. I didn't have 3 kids or a personal unshopper with me...I am PROUD...can you tell?

I think you all may have thought I was kidding about Richie and the Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit Scented Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap with Green Tea Extract and Shea Butter. Not so...he seriously loves the stuff. I caught him several times today taking a special trip to my bathroom to wash his hands. I laugh about this whenever I think about it. I really can't complain, though, because he IS washing his hands and he is a BOY...so I think I'll just go with it and stock up on the stuff.

Now, I am actually a fan of the 100 calorie snack packs...so don't get me wrong. I really like them, but I also had a realization today of just how ridiculous this concept is. We are actually paying them MORE money to put LESS product in the bag! I can see why the people who come up with these things make the big bucks.

And finally...as if we didn't have enough emotional milestone moments last week Daddy decided it was time to add one more. We have officially moved William to a big boy bed. Atleast Rich allowed me to partake in this milestone with William. He actually put Richie to bed for the first time in his Big Boy Bed without me (collective GASP from all of the Moms reading this). Hard to believe, but painfully true ;-) It brings back memories almost as painful as the 4th grade spelling bee, but that is definitely a post for another time. William made the transition like a pro. He both went to sleep and woke up singing "God is bigger than the boogeyman..." I wish I had a sound clip of this because it was possibly the cutest thing EVER! I'll leave you with a pic of the sleeping babe...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This is NOT a Paid Advertisement

I just went to wash my hands in the bathroom and my Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit Scented Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap with Green Tea Extract and Shea Butter was MISSING (cue suspenseful music, please).

This soap is my new "happy place". It smells and feels so good. Also, it was given to me by Janelle's sweet L because she loves her Kindermusik teacher so much!

Upon further investigation, I realized that mysteriously in it's place was the children's foaming handwash (sorry to not be so specific with naming it, but it is not as SPECIAL as my Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit Scented Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap with Green Tea Extract and Shea Butter).

The Nancy Drew in me came out and I began to question my oldest son as to the whereabouts of my Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit Scented Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap with Green Tea Extract and Shea Butter. Immediately I detected a note of guilt in his face.

I questioned the accused..."Where is Mommy's soap?"

With a mischievious grin he responded, "But, you like our soap!" (which was true until I started using Bath and Body Works Pink Grapefruit...okay, you get the picture)

The little stinker SWITCHED them! Apprarently I am not the only one in my household who appreciates the finer things in life.

As I hastily returned my little bottle of heaven to it's appropriate place of honor (AT MY BATHROOM SINK), I stated (very graciously I might add) that he may visit it there!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Black Hole, Part 2

Not to beat a dead horse, but after my most recent trip to the Black Hole, I feel I MUST address this issue again. Seriously, there needs to be a twelve step program.

I'm thinking of starting a business where people can hire someone to accompany them to Target. Kind of like a personal shopper only they talk you OUT of buying things. I think it could be profitable.

Here are some things my personal shopper might say...

"Step away from the cutie patootie ice cream bowls." "Yes, I know they are only $1 and have polka dots, stripes, and girly colors, but you don't need the bowls OR the ice cream"

"No, you may not buy the 100% organic sheets, the ones on your bed are not THAT toxic."

"Eyes straight ahead, you came here for BREAD and MILK, the Market Fresh food is not that special...it is just in really clever packaging."

"Absolutely, under no circumstance may you 'take a shortcut' through the baby girl clothes section...you don't HAVE a baby girl and if you did it would only mean that you would spend even more money in this God forsaken place."

"Yes, the coffee does smell tantalizing, but it is Starbucks now or Retirement later!"

I could go on, but I thought it might be fun to hear what YOUR Target personal shopper might say to you...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rainy Day

Call me melancholy, but rainy days actually don't get me down. I like them. I feel like I should apologize to Sarah for this statement because she is all about sunshine, but the truth is I love a good downpour and if there is a little thunder to go along with it...all the better. I guess it is kind of like a good cry, cleanses the soul. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to sit outside on the carport swing during a rainshower. I don't have a carport swing these days, but if I did you better believe I'd be sitting out there now...drinking it in...the mist on my face, the sound of thunder, and the smell of rain...a welcome retreat.

Summertime

Do you know the song?

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy, fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high...". It's by George Gershwin and from the musical Porgy and Bess. I sang this song for my Junior Recital in college. I love this song.

I found myself humming it as I was driving away from my last Kindermusik class of the year. It's finally arrived for me...summer.

My body's natural response to this realization? Crash mode. I remember a similar feeling of relief when I finished my last final of the year in college...sang and played the last song for juries, turned in my last paper, finshed the last essay question. Finally, I could relax, release the stress, sleep. Peace...rest.

As I was pondering this today, I came to a sad realization. This feeling of peace and rest is available to me anytime, yet I rarely take advantage. I choose to only have circumstantial peace instead of the peace that passes ALL understanding ALL the time.

Foolish girl.

True peace is not circumstantial. It is freely available to us all the time...anytime...in the arms of our Maker.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28&29 (NIV)

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

13 Thoughts About Richie's Preschool Graduation



1) It is hard not to cry when you see your oldest baby walk in the preschool door for the last time.

2) It is also hard not to cry when you realize your youngest baby will be walking in that same door very soon.

3) It is not wise to give the video camera to your wife who is only 5 feet tall.

4) If you do give the camera to your wife who is only 5 feet tall, advise her NOT to try to and climb on the pew to get a better shot.

5) The Discovery Channel should consider a documentary on the spectacle of parents trying to capture the perfect pic of their preschooler on Graduation Day.

6) Graduation buddy pictures are the cutest!





7) Diplomas have many uses!



8) It is wise to bring more than one pack of fruit snacks for your 3 year old during the ceremony.

9) If you do not bring enough fruit snacks for your 3 year old during the ceremony, your video footage may be kind of erratic in parts.

10) The words "We Are Here to Graduate" go very well to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

11) The best seat in the house is behind a cute baby!



12) When your child composes his own message to his teacher on the card, the result is priceless.

13) A wonderful teacher is a gift from God!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Girl

Tonight we were riding in the car and the following conversation took place...

Richie: Mommy, when I grow up I want to marry you.

Rich: Mommy's already taken, she's married to me.

Richie: Yeah, but you're older than Mommy so you'll die first and then I'll marry her!

Me: Well, you can't really marry your Mommy, but I'll be your girl until you grow up and find another girl to love.

Richie: No, you'll always be my girl!

Update on David

Just got a call from Dixie and Jim's brother is doing just fine. He was driving a dump truck at the time and the truck went down an embankment. David went through the windshield. After tests and observation, the following has been determined. All of the CAT scans and MRI's came back CLEAR he has NO internal injuries, NO broken bones, NO brain injury. He has a few stitches and a concussion. They are planning to keep him overnight for observation. Praise and Glory to God for He is GOOD!! I know Dixie and Jim send their love and thanks for the prayers lifted up on their behalf!

Pray for David

I just received a call from my friend Dixie. Jim's brother was involved in a serious car accident and has been lifelined to the nearest hospital. Please join me in lifting Jim (Dixie's husband), his brother (David), and family up in prayer during this difficult time.

Party Time!

Will's party turned out to be a hit! The day started off unsure because when we woke up it was raining and the majority of our party plans were out of doors. The party was held at a local kiddie amusement park. It has just a few rides that are just right for Will's age group and a cute party room. It is a really good deal and a REALLY easy way to throw a party. Plus, one of the rides is a train so that went along well with our Thomas the Tank Engine party theme!

By the time the party started (about 10am) it was just a drizzle and they were willing to run the rides as long as it didn't downpour or storm. I wasn't sure how the kids would react to the rain, but it didn't phase them one bit!

We started off the party riding rides for about 45 minutes, at that point it started to rain a little harder so we moved the party inside for cake and snacks. We sang "Happy Birthday", but William was a little hasty and blew the candles out as soon as they were lit. He was really loving the attention! The kids enjoyed snacks (Chex Mix, Pretzels, M&Ms, Skittles), Cake and juice. After all 14 party guests had fallen into a sugar coma, we moved back outside to ride a few more rides before the time expired on their armbands. Well, that's the party in a nutshell, it was loads of fun and I think fun was had by all. I know William certainly enjoyed his special day.

After the party we told William he could have his pick for eating lunch out. He picked Panera...gotta love that kid! We had a nice lunch there and then retired home to open presents. He received some wonderful presents from his buddies!

After that, as you can imagine...a nap was well overdue and he willingly went to bed because he was "tiwed". He woke up just in time to get ready for Richie's Tball game which ended our action packed day! I've attached some pictures below for your viewing pleasure ;-)



Even Sir Topham Hatt came to the party!



Our Little Engineer



The train on the cake was a wind up and when you let go it traveled along the track!



Some of the party guests



Richie's a little wet from the rain, but HAPPY!



Peekaboo!



A smile to melt your heart...



Will with a few of his "girls"



Teacup Joy



What a windfall!



What do Sir Topham hat and Yoda have in common? Nothing, but Will just had to try on his new Yoda costume from L.

That's all folks...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Rose by any other name...

Last night as we were preparing for the party I got the video camera out to check batteries, etc. We actually just got this video camera back into working order (it has been out of commission for about 2 1/2 years...yes, that's right...most of Will's life). Thankfully, my husband has access to a video camera at the college or Will would have little to no video record of his first 3 yrs of life.

Anyway, the tape in the recorder was full so in order to label the tape I had to go back and look at the footage to see when it happened. First, I looked at the end which was Christmas 2004, Will was about 7 months old and Richie would have been almost 3 1/2. Richie's voice sounded like Will's and this of course made me cry. I didn't have much time so I decided to review more of that footage at a later time and figure out what was on the first part of the tape. The first thing was a park play date I had with Jen, Dixie, and Janelle. I wish you guys could have seen it because it was when L was a baby, but none of the other babies had been born. Do you remember that one REALLY hot day at the little park over by the public preschool? The footage was hilarious because The boys were all sitting on the blanket and L was laying there as well and we were all like, "No! don't fall on the baby", "We don't pull the babies hair", "Touch her feet, not her hands!" I think you had to see it, but it was pretty funny.

I guess I should preface this next part with the information that when Will was first born we first named him Seth William. I remember thinking the first time Rich called him Seth, that it wasn't right, but I was too anesthetized to say anything. Once I was coherent I said "I don't think he's a Seth, I think he's a William". Moving on with the story...after the playdate at the park the footage went straight to the day Will was born. Okay, the day before your baby turns three (when you are already emotional) is not a good day to look at this type of footage. Needless to say I was sobbing as it played, that is until I heard a funny thing. It was when Richie was meeting his brother for the first time. I hear Rich say, "Richie this is your brother Seth, can you say 'Seth'?" Richie then says "Set". The video then cuts to my Mom holding the baby and saying "This is my new grandbaby, Seth". We are ROLLING with laughter at this point. Just when I thought I had recovered, the video cut to some of the first footage once we came home and Richie is holding Will on the couch. Rich asks him "Who's that you're holding?", Richie says, "Set, I mean Will". I thought I was going to pee my pants. I'm sure this is not coming across as funny in this post, but I kept imagining Will watching this footage someday and wondering who in the world this "Seth" baby is! I had almost forgotten about changing his name and didn't realize we had video footage of us calling him Seth. Too funny.

By the way, Janelle, you know that visit to the hospital you keep talking about? The one you accuse me of not remembering? There is no video proof, so I guess it is your word against mine ;-)

In closing, Will's birthday was absolutely fabulous today. We had a great time! I hope to post all about it with some pictures (hopefully) tomorrow!

Beauty is only Skin Deep - Part 2

If you haven't already seen this, check it out. You'll gain a different perspective on how we should compare ourselves to the media's version of beauty.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I wish I had a picture...

I wish I had a picture of the "Are you serious?" look on Rich's face tonight when I asked him to keep Will up until after Richie and I got back from Target. Why, you ask? Because I didn't want to miss putting him to bed on his last night of being 2! Mommy Nostalgia!

The Black Hole

Target is a black hole where all money goes. Can I hear an AMEN? I don't know what happens, I think they have mind control going on in there. I walk in with the complete intention of letting my 5 year old buy a $5 birthday present for his brother and I walk out with an $85 cart full of things we "need". I keep thinking I'll learn, but it happens every time.

Time Flies

Today Richie had his last day of preschool. He graduates on Wednesday and then he'll be a Kindergartner! This has been such a great year for him. He is sooooo ready socially, emotionally, and definitely academicaly for this new step. Mommy? Well, she's another story. I felt like crying when I left him this morning. I am thankful, though, for this year that I have had with him and for the summer ahead...swimming, tballing, traveling to see family and friends, having pancakes for breakfast, Celebration City...yep..oodles of fun ahead!

Tomorrow Baby Will (as he has been affectionately called since birth) will be 3 YEARS OLD! Another tug at my heart. Every Mom has a different year that does them in...for me it is #3. When they turn three there is just no baby left, William is a little boy and there is just no denying it. Ugh! We are having a Thomas the Tank Engine Party for him, he is very excited! On Thursday we take him to preschool round up. He starts 3 yr preschool in the fall. Can he possibly be big enough for that? I'm just not sure, but again he is more than ready. He will attend the same preschool and have the same classroom and teacher that Richie had, so he already knows the ropes! William also gets to play Tball (biddy league) this summer, this will be the cutest thing ever, I'm sure. We're still trying to locate baseball pants that will actually fit him. He already has a pretty fierce hit, though. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures.

In other news -

Richie has learned to flush the toilet. I threatened this weekend that I would take a nickel out of his piggy bank every time he forgot. I reasoned that he was paying me to do it for him. I only had to take 10 cents before he got the picture. Not enough to buy Mommy a pedicure, but atleast I won't have to smell urine every time I step into the bathroom.

Will has still had no luck depositing anything in the toilet, so no worries about flushing with him.

Still no word from B on the shed, if she follows her pattern we'll expect more ignoring until she decides to let loose on us again this time next year. I'm kind of hoping she'll pick me next time, because I'd like a chance to release some of the narrative I have in my head.

I need to close for now, because I can only postpone packing party goody bags for so long before I'll be considered a negligent mother. Pray for no rain since the party will be out of doors tomorrow. Because I am such a great party planner, I HAVE NO PLAN B! Great just as I finished typing that the heavens opened up with cats and dogs (rain)...on your knees people...PRAY!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chromophobia

Okay, I was going to share about my fear of color (like in my wardrobe)...I really have a hard time with this...I tend to lean towards black, brown, and when I'm feeling really CRAZY, blue. I thought it would be fun for us to ponder this together so that I could come to some self-realization about why I'm afraid of color in my wardrobe. So, in the spirit of being accurate in my research on the topic I googled "Fear of Color". Which by the way is Chromophobia or Chromatophobia (like the title of this post if you haven't figured that out yet).

However my own issue has now been postponed for discussion because you will never believe the supreme fodder I found for blogging on this website! You would not believe this list. SERIOUSLY!!!!!! People have ISSUES!

I don't mean to make fun, because I know a lot these things are real to people, but I can't help but list a few of my favorites...

Anemophobia - Fear of air
Geniophobia - Fear of chins
Consecotaleophobia - Fear of chopsticks
Homilophobia - Fear of sermons
Doraphobia - Fear of Dora the Explorer (just kidding, it actually means fear of Fur or skins of animals)
Arachibutyrophobia - Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
Pteronophobia - Fear of being tickled by feathers or fear of feathers

I'm not making these up...

Odontophobia - Fear of Dental Surgery (okay, who is NOT afraid of that?)
Optophobia - Fear of opening one's eyes (yeah, I have this every morning!)
Pediculophobia or Phthiriophobia - Fear of Lice (Jen!!!)
Eisoptrophobia - Fear of mirrors or seeing oneself in a mirror (some days for sure!)
Blennophobia or Myxophobia - Fear of Slime (I'm guessing none of these people ever worked on the Nickeodeon show "You Can't Do That On Television!")
Gynephobia or Gynophobia - Fear of Women (BOO!)

I've just hit the tip of the iceberg here. There are many, many more on the list, some I didn't feel it appropriate to mention in my blog. If you don't believe me, you can check it out for yourself at...

www.phobialist.com

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Beauty is only skin deep...

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

I wanted to preface this post with that Bible verse because I want to talk about beauty products, and I believe that if "the hidden person of the heart" is not beautiful it doesn't matter what beauty products we use.

Having said that, I am a GIRL and I love and have always loved Girly things. A LOT of those things have taken a back seat since I became a Mom, but I still love a fun new product that will help me feel a little better on the outside. Do you remember that giddy feeling you had when you were a teenager and you brought home the coolest new product to try from the drugstore (any guys reading this can now tune out, you should have already!)? I still get that feeling once in awhile, but as a busy Mom I have less time for trial and error sooooo I thought we could have a little fun and help each other out. If you have a blog you can respond there or you can respond in the comments section of this post. Here is what I want to know...

1) Your favorite low cost beauty product.

2) Your favorite beauty product splurge.

3) The one beauty product you can't live with out (no, Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream does not count unless you put it on your face!)

Here, I'll start...

1) Blistex Silk and Shine (the perfect chapstick...I use it under my lipstick)

2) L'Occitane Verbena Shower Gel (made with essential oils and feels like silk)

3) Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Lavendar Vanilla Blissful Body Wash (I use it as a bubble bath, it smells wonderful and lives up to its Aromatherapy purpose of promoting peaceful sleep).

Okay, your turn...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Post Midnight

Okay, how sad is it that I wrote "post" in the title bar of my blog and saved it so the time would say 11:49pm on May 18th even if I didn't finish it in that much time? I wanted my post to say May 18th because until now I haven't gone a day without posting. I just added midnight to the title because truth be told it is going to be well after midnight and May 19th before I finish this post and being the "rule follower" that I am I feel compelled to come clean about that.

Anywho, Richie is having his first birthday party sleepover tonight! How cute is that? I can just see them all in their sleeping bags, strewn about and exhausted from a fabulous party. Either that or they are still awake and our friends (the parents of the birthday boy) are contemplating Benadryl cocktails all around.

I'm having the hardest time coming up with a description of myself for this blog. You see at the top left hand side of the blog where it says "about me"? Well, you are supposed to write a general description of yourself and I have tried to do it numerous times and can't seem to come up with anything. Apparently I don't know myself very well.

I guess I should close this post before I have to change it to "Post 1am" because that's what I'm coming up on here. And I literally just found myself nodding off at the computer. I wish I had more to offer at this late hour, but I really don't...so I will be merciful to us all and say "Goodnight"!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Our "Happy" Visit

There is nothing like getting up, getting two preschool boys ready, and heading 20 minutes to the Dentist's office (with camera in tow) for your 3yr old's first "Happy Visit", only to find out that you missed it by 30 minutes (I really believe they put the wrong time on my appt. card, but I can't prove it). Now, I know it sounds weird, but my kids were actually excited to visit the Dentist (I know...we should get out more). Richie actually skipped down the sidewalk and Will said as we were getting out of the car "I Esited (Excited)".

Of course the very gracious and flexible (I'm being sarcastic here) receptionist "couldn't possibly" fit us in (even though there was NOONE, I repeat NOONE in the waiting room!) Does it not just drive you crazy when you are the doctor's/dentist office and there is obviously noone else in the waiting room or in the exam rooms and you still have to wait or make another appt. if you are a little bit late? Do they think we are STUPID? Do they think we can't SEE that there is noone else there? Aaargh!

I started to walk away and make the best of a bad situation, but as we were walking out Will said "I want to go to Dentist, Mommy, PEEAASE??? I'm not kidding, actually he said it repeatedly as I was trying to walk him out the door. And then it hit- you know - that "Listen Here, Mister" mode I've been telling you about? Okay, it wasn't quite that bad, but I was upset and I went back for what turned out to be a futile attempt to get us in. I think if I had unleashed my full power "LISTEN HERE, MISTER", it might have worked, but I wasn't sure at that point if I would want to come back.

Anyway I am sure now that we will not be going back. In my opinion if they wanted to keep our business, they could have been a little flexible and fit us in. All in all, I think Will's first experience at the Dentist's office was a positive one, probably even "happy" if you consider weeping and gnashing of teeth happy.

It's okay, though, because as we were pulling out of the parking lot, Rich came up with a brilliant plan, he said, "I know, let's give the kids lots of chocolate and soda today just to spite them!". Sounds like a plan to me, and while we're at it, pass Mommy the Java Chip!

13 Things I'd Like To Do SOMEDAY...

Here is my Thursday 13 for Janelle!

1) Lose the weight I gained while pregnant.

2) Lose the weight I've gained while taking care of young children. (Some days the only thing that really makes it all better is to down 1/2 a pint of Starbucks Java Chip ice cream).

3) Stop eating Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream.

4) Be a MOPS Mentor.

5) Return to The Garden Flat at Mount Pleasant in Kexboro, England. This was the name of the apartment we lived in while Rich was earning his Master of Fine Arts degree. And there literally was an english garden outside our door...beautiful! Come over for tea sometime and I'll show you the pictures.

6) Succesfully Potty Train Will.

7) Wade through the mountains of photos in my closet.

8) Learn to say "no".

9) Stop caring so much what people think of me.

10) Fulfill God's purpose for my life.

11) Have a blog as cool as Big Mama's

12) Find a new Dentist (I'll fill you in on that one later).

13) Sing Gershwin again...

I know, I know you were expecting things like "Climb Mount Everest" and "Swim the English Channel", but I only had 13 spots in my list! A girl has to have her priorities.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Shed Has Landed...

Yes folks, the shed is officially installed. And so far (knock on wood), no reaction from B yet. We have not seen hide nor hair of her since the OUTBURST. It seems we are back to "pretend like the neighbors don't exist B" as opposed to "crazy, psycho, cussing while wearing a Baptist Church Tshirt B". I'll take the former any day.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah...

Zip-a-dee-ay! My, oh my what a wonderful day!

The day has come! Rich is taking care of the kids all day so I can have some of that "me" time I was telling you about a few posts back. Kind of a late Mother's Day present, I guess. Is it bad that all I want for Mother's Day, Christmas, Birthday, and any other holiday that warrants a present is alone time (okay, and maybe a small stipend)? Forget the jewelry, the flowers, the cards, the dustbusters (Shelley!), and the blog design (Janelle - after all, I can get that for free...eventually). Time alone is what I really want. Please don't misunderstand me (especially the grandparents who are reading this)...I LOVE AND ENJOY MY CHILDREN, but as my good friend once said, "They can suck the life right out of ya!". Since this comes from one of the best and most devoted Moms, I know....it must be true.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tick Extraction

Time to put this narrative out into cyberspace so it no longer lives in my head. Will I ever again be able to think a day without penning a blog?

We were having an unusually quiet day at home (and when I mean quiet, I mean uneventful, not literally quiet because I have two preschool boys...quiet is NOT in their vocabulary). We slept in (if you consider 8:30am sleeping in - which these days I do), had a leisurely breakfast, watched some cartoons, and around about (well, I won't tell you the actual time because you might think I'm a bad Mom), I finally decided to change Will's soggy diaper...those new fangled diapers sure do hold A LOT!

As I was wrangling him to take it off I noticed something behind his ear. Oh no, it can't be. Is it? Yes, it is...it's a tick. Now, I told you a few posts back how I feel about spiders. You do know ticks are arachnids, don't you? They have 8 legs. After I recovered from the initial paralization, I tried to think of what to do. I had never removed a tick before, Rich takes care of all the arachnid killing around here. I called him, but there was no answer. I knew I could not do this on my own, so I called in for reinforcements. I tried to think of who I knew that had performed a tick extraction before. Now, I know that when I say her name, you are going to start feeling sorry for her. I know you're thinking, "Poor Dixie, can she have a more co-dependent friend?". However, I did call Dixie, because I was sure she would know how to extract a tick. Not only that, I was sure she would be able to calmly talk me through it. She has been through a few "crises" of her own, but that is a story for another day and another blog.

I wish I had a transcript of this call, because I'm sure it sounded a lot like a 911 call. I would try to write it out, but I don't think it would do it justice. Just imagine a 911 call about a tick with my voice as the panicked caller and Dixie's voice as the calm 911 operator. You get the picture.

Anyway, I did it! Will, had no clue what was happening. He was too distracted by his screaming, flailing mother. As I was flushing the tick down the toilet, he said "what's wong Mommy", "are you otay?" and then I heard him say to Richie "Mommy has an owie". He had no idea that I was freaking out because I had just removed an arachnid from behind his ear.

After that, I would have been able to let Dixie get back to whatever it was she was doing before I called (I didn't bother to ask, sorry Dixie!), but before we could close our call I needed a lengthy reassurance that it would be extremely rare for Will to be struck with Lyme or any other rare disease as a result of his tick bite. Phew!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Potty Training 101

I'm sure that title conjures up all kinds of images for you.

So here is the scoop. I would like to potty train Will, in fact I've made a few feeble attempts...but we have a small problem. He loves to sit on the potty (that's not the problem), but he has yet to actually deposit anything in it! He just sits there, happy as a lark, but DOES NOTHING! What can I do? I can't do it for him, because if I could I WOULD! I've tried everything I can think of. I've turned on the water, given him something to drink. I've tried putting him on it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, before bath, after bath, before nap, after nap, when his diaper seems dry. AAACK! If you can't tell, I'm getting a little frustrated. We have a disconnect and I'm not sure what to do about it. I guess I could try the old slumber party trick and dip his hand in ice cold water...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Let Me Tell You About My Friend Dixie...

My friend Dixie offers to care for my kids ALL THE TIME! She is amazing and selfless and cotinually impresses me with her servant's heart. I even try to talk her out of it often, but she insists. She always says that it actually makes her job easier, but I don't know if I believe her ;-)

Earlier this week I was talking about how Mother's Day is kind of a bummer for me because Rich is always attending commencement at the college and is gone all day. I think when your kids are older and more like upstanding citizens you actually want to spend Mother's Day with them. But when they are preschoolers you want to hear their little voices say "Happy Mother's Day", coo over the handmade cards, maybe receive a slobbery smooch, and then HIGH TAIL it out of there for some "me time".

Anyway, as we were talking, she offered to watch my kids so I could have a Mother's Day to myself. Now, let me repeat that. Dixie has two kids of her own and she offered to watch my kids as well on MOTHER'S DAY! That is the kind of person she is. Anyway, as usual, I said, "that is so nice of you, but I would NEVER ask you too do that!".

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon when I received a call from Rich's Division chair about the award he would be receiving at Commencement on Sunday (Mother's Day). He said they wanted to let me know so I could be there, but that seating was limited so they would be stretching to get me a seat. As I hang up the phone, I'm thinking about who in the world I'll be able to get to watch my kids on Mother's Day. I've tried this before and it is impossible. Everyone is spending the day with their mothers or are mothers themselves. And then I remember the conversation with Dixie.

With a very guilty conscious, I give her a call. "Remember that conversation we had the other day and how I said I would NEVER ask you to watch my kids on Mother's Day? Well..." Dixie, as usual was so gracious and didn't even bat an eye at helping me out with this. Isn't that amazing? She is a true friend. Dixie, I love you and I thank you!

The Secret

Okay, sorry to keep you guessing all day about "the secret", but I have been gone all day. No, I'm NOT pregnant! I know you all were thinking that was the secret.

The secret is that my husband received the Professional Excellence Award at the Commencement ceremony today! It was a secret, because it was supposed to be a surprise. It turned out to be a great surprise (I'm so proud of myself for keeping it). He had no idea that he was going to be honored or that I was there to see it! They bestow this award on a faculty member once a year for their professional achievements. He received a beautiful plaque and a medal that he will wear each year with his robe at Graduation. I am SO PROUD!

Add this to his other achievements this year...being promoted to Associate Professor and his art work being recognized by Christianity Today...I would say he's had a good year.

Congratulations Rich!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

10 things We Love About My Mom (Joanne) By: Rich and Alana

1) Her love for weeds (wildflowers)
2) Her energy
3) Her love for our kids
4) Her faith in Christ
5) Her Pumpkin Pie
6) Her selflessness
7) Her perpetual field trips
8) Her press cookies
9) Her packages
10) Her inquisitive mind

Happy Mother's Day! We love you!

"10 things We Love About My Mom (Lucy)"

1) Her Hugs
2) Her sweet spirit
3) Her Faithful prayers
4) Her love for my kids
5) The work she puts in when hosting our "crew" when we visit
6) Her Cooking (especially the mashed potatoes!)
7) That she keeps each of the grandkids for a week during the summer
8) When she listens to Gospel music in the morning
9) Her joyful praise when she is singing in church
10) That she buys orange cream bars for Rich when he comes to visit

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! We love you!

Miscellaneous Saturday

I guess I should wait until Monday for this and then I could title this post "Miscellaneous Monday" and that would be a much cooler title than Miscellaneous Saturday with its alliteration and all. Oh well!

Right now my husband is unloading "The Shed" to put in our back yard. I wonder what B will say when she sees that.

There is pee in the toilet. Why? Because Richie forgot to flush the toilet again. I've got to come up with a creative correction for that one...ideas, anyone?

When I went in to get Will after his nap, he was balancing precariously on top of the railing of his crib.

Now he is standing precariously on top of the arm of the couch about to jump.

It was taken last year, but this picture shows the side of Will who likes to climb on the railing of his crib and jump off the arm of the couch. What a turkey!



We went garage saleing today and I found THE CUTEST summer dress for $5. What's even better??? It fits!

Psst, I know a secret, but I can't tell you until tomorrow. Hee Hee!

Don't bother calling me because I WON"T TELL YOU WHAT IT IS...until tomorrow!

No, it's not "The Secret", just a secret...

Equal Opportunity

I've changed the settings on my blog so that anyone can comment now, not just registered blogger users.

Walk away from the laptop...

When it is 1:05am and you can't think of anything to blog...pack it up and go to bed.

I wrote that 15 minutes ago. It it is now 1:20am...I'm still here.

It is kind of like when you are up late watching tv and you flip through the channels looking for something to watch. You think if you flip through one more time you'll find something interesting. Okay, just one more time. Okay, this is the last time, really. But there was that episode of...STOP IT. Put the remote down! Turn it off! Walk away!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Things on my living room floor...

After writing my last post, I started to get up to get ready for bed (because it's after midnight) and took a look at my living room floor. This is what I saw...

empty wipes box
three pillows that should be on the couch
Richie's shorts
Cars DVD cover
MOPS Bag
3 decorative wicker balls that should be in the basket on the coffee table
orange ball, no two orange balls
white ball
sippy cup
keyboard with no working batteries
Richie's underwear
1,2,3 McDonald's "American Idol" toys...are those annoying or what?
soccer cleats
flip flops
toy car
scooby doo book
empty bubble gum bucket that Will wears for a hat

Scavenger hunt, anyone? And this is just what I can see from where I am sitting. Okay, getting up now!

Happy Feet

Long before the movie, Rich and I used the term "happy feet". Happy feet is a condition I get when something makes me happy. Here are a few things that give me "happy feet".

1) Hearing Will say "I lub you"
2) Seeing Richie's expressions when he watches TV, he gets VERY invovled!
3) Crunching leaves in the fall, I'm a little obssessive compulsive about this
4) An ice cold Coke from McDonald's (it has to be small or medium, the big ones aren't as good...not enought fizz)
5) Real letters in the mail (hint, hint for anyone who would like to oblige)
6) A soothing Chai Tea Latte on a cold rainy morning
7) Hugs and "Miss Alana!!"s from my Kindermusik kids
8) A clean house (too bad it only lasts two seconds around here, but those two seconds are glorious!)
9) My Mama's mashed potatoes
10) My Dad's hugs
11) Seeing my husband in his professorial mode
12) Breadstick talks with my sisters
13) Late night pedicures with my nieces
14) The look of adoration on Richie's face when he sees his cousin Ben
15) Grandparents, aunts, and uncles and there love for and interest in your kids (wish you were all closer!)
16) Seeing the unadulterated joy on Richie's face when he plays soccer, he literally does not stop smiling the whole time.
17) The smell of rain
18) Will's insistent "I not tiwed (tired)" when he obviously is.
19) Singing in harmony
20) Getting "real" with a friend
21) Social Suppers
22) My husband in a baseball cap
23) The sweet faces of sleeping children
24) God's amazing provision
26) The peace of Christ
27) Grace
28) A Good episode of 24
29) Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream (disclaimer: if you try this you WILL become addicted...kind of like blogging)
30) Summer time...we're almost there!

Not necessarily in that order. Okay so that was more than a few...I could go on and on. What about you? What gives you happy feet?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

There Goes the Neighborhood

Okay, I am going to try and do this in the most Christian way possible, but I feel I have to document this happening in our life and I also need to vent a little bit.

We have this neighbor, I'll call her B (that actually is the first letter of her name so I am not being mean). B has apparently had it in for us since the day we moved in (a little over a year ago). At first, I thought maybe she didn't hear us when we would say "hello" or that maybe she didn't see us when we would wave (I try to give people the benefit of the doubt that way). But after a year of not hearing and not seeing a person gets a little suspicious. I gave up after a few months and just pretended with her that we were not 10 feet away from each other in our yards or that there was not another person at the mailbox when we inadvertently met there. But Rich, being the kind, friendly person that he is still attempts to say "hello" to her. So, I'm not exaggating when I say that in a year, we've heard little more than a few "hmphs" from her. That is until last night.

Now you read in my last post that Rich has been preparing to put a shed on the back corner of our property. There is a part of her property that does not have grass and is dirt and rocks. That part meets up with our property and Rich is putting the shed ON OUR PROPERTY next to the dirt/rock part of her yard. So, last night Rich had some guy friends helping him put fill dirt in where the shed is going to be when B comes STORMING out of the house and proceeded to not just yell, but cuss my husband up oneside and down the other. Now, I was not outside when this happened (which is a good thing, because I probably would have launched into what my husband affectionately calls the "Listen here, Mister!" mode...but that's a story for another time). In other words, I probably would have not proceeded to stay calm and rational as my husband did. He put forth a valiant effort to discuss the issue with her...to no avail. This is what he was able to glean from the outburst. 1) She was upset that he had put some rocks on her side of the property line (in the dirt part). Okay, give her that...maybe he shouldn't have done that, he apologized and said he would move the rocks (and did so first thing this morning). 2) Something about diverting the flow of water onto her property? Again, the shed base is ON OUR PROPERTY. 3) Something about people who do work in the night are trying to hide something???? 4) Something about calling her lawyer and suing us???? 5) lots of choice words and name calling.

We sat in bed last night trying to figure out how we went from having a neighbor who doesn't acknowledge our existence to having a neighbor who apparently hates us and wants to sue us (just for the record I don't think she will really sue us, but who knows after that outburst). How do we get from here to there? I, trying to be gracious, said "I think B needs Jesus". My husband then responded that during her cussing fit she was wearing a T-shirt from one of the local Baptist churches. Well, make sense of that one if you can! I officially shake my head at this whole situation and now that I have vented my feelings I will try my best to love my neighbor and pray for my enemy, who sadly are one and the same.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Few Good Men

I just have to say how thankful I am for the supper club guys coming out to help Rich tonight. He is trying to prepare the yard for a shed that we purchased from the preschool. Those wonderful MOPS friends I mentioned a couple of posts ago come complete with wonderful POPS. GOOD PEOPLE!

The Wisdom of a Spider

Now most of you who know me, know that I am deathly afraid of spiders. Just between you and me I think that may be one of the reasons God gave me sons...two more spider killers in my world is not a bad thing.

Anyway, you know you may be lacking in mental stimulation when you feel the need to quote a spider from a children's book you've been reading with your child. But I think Charlotte might have something here...

In this excerpt Charlotte is talking about the way humans live as opposed to spiders...

"'They just keep trotting back and forth across the bridge thinking there is something better on the other side. If they'd hang head-down at the top of the thing and wait quietly, maybe something good would come along. But no-with men its rush, rush, rush every minute. I'm glad I'm a sedentary spider.'

'What does sedentary mean?' asked Wilbur.

'Means I sit still a good part of the time and don't go wandering all over creation. I know a good thing when I see it, and my web is a good thing. I stay put and wait for what comes. Gives me a chance to think.''

A little later in the book Charlotte shares another tidbit of wisdom with Wilbur that struck a chord with me. "Never hurry, and never worry." I think I'll try to take her advice more often...

The End of an Era

Today was a defining day. I had my last MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting of the year and my last MOPS meeting on leadership (atleast as far as I know). That is significant, because I have been involved in leadership with MOPS for four out of the (almost) six years I have been a Mom. I can't tell you what a privilege and honor it has been for me to serve in this way. MOPS is a phenomenal ministry (if you don't know about it you can check it out at www.mops.org) and has been a lifeline to me. I have learned to be a better Mom, wife, and friend. I have made incredible friends who I am now bonded to for life. I have had the opportunity to grow as a woman in leadership. I could go on and on...I really can't say enough about what this experience has meant to me. I thank God for the blessing and am excited to pass the torch so that other new Moms can receive the same blessing.

Don't cry over spoiled milk...

I uncovered (literally) a treasure on the counter today. A full half gallon of chocolate milk. No it was not fresh from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It was still where I left it after I got home from the preschool birthday party. I'm not sure how that happened, but it is really painful to pour $2.39 worth of quality chocolate milk down the drain (please don't tell my boys). It was the good kind of chocolate milk, too...full fat. Funny thing is, I actually went out of my way after preschool yesterday to put it in the refrigerator at my church while I took the boys to swimming lessons. I didn't want it to spoil in the hot car. How then did I leave it to spoil on my own kitchen counter less than a foot away from the refrigerator? Things that make you go hmmm...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Stay at Home Mom?

Sometimes I think the term Stay at home Mom is an oxymoron. Sure there are days that I stay at home to do laundry, clean house (oh yeah, and take care of the kids), but many of my days are like today trekking from one activity/obligation to another.

The day started off with a trip to Krispy Kreme (not a bad way to start the day, I admit) to purchase donuts for Richie's preschool birthday party. His birthday is actually in the summer, but they give equal opportunity to everyone so that even summer birthdays get to celebrate at school. Actually, before the buying, there was the task of deciding which variety to buy. Richie wanted the glazed donuts with chocolate and sprinkles, so since those seemed very birthday like I thought that was a good idea. And then the doubt creeped in...wait a minute...should I buy all the donuts with chocolate and sprinkles or offer an alternative for the children who may only like plain donuts? I didn't want it to be like the time I brought string cheese for a snack...I thought we were going to have a preschool coup d'√Čtat. Anyway, to thwart anything like this happening again, I thought it necessary to wake my slumbering husband for his point of view. He thought I should offer a second alternative and sleepily helped me figure out what the appropriate ratio of sprinkles to plain should be. What a man!

Wow, that's two paragraphs and I'm not even out the door for the day yet. I'll quicken my pace.

Anyway, after purchasing the donuts, we headed to school for helper/party day. It was my last preschool helper day for Richie since he'll be heading off to school next year. It was fun and the donut ratio worked out well.

After preschool we headed to swimming lessons. Both boys are learning to swim so they can hopefully be watersafe this summer.

After swimming lessons, we grabbed a quick lunch before Richie's music class. Yes, that's right...donuts for breakfast and fast food for lunch...a very nutritional day.

Currently the boys are resting before we head out for our last outing of the day, a Springfield Cardinals game (our local baseball team). It is a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) night. That should be interesting, a baseball stadium full of preschoolers!

Yep, that's our day in a nutshell...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I've Created a Monster

My friends are dropping like flies into the blogging world. It is all a part of my evil plan...AH, AH, AH (that is a sinister sounding laugh, if you can't tell).

A Kiss, A Hug, and A Squeeze

Some of you may be wondering why I titled my blog, "A Kiss, A Hug, and A Squeeze". Yes, I am entertaining the fact that anyone is actually reading this. If not, that is okay, too, because it is kind of like writing a letter (and never mailing it) or having a conversation in your head with someone that you are angry with. There doesn't always have to be anyone on the receiving end of things, it helps to just get it out!

Anyway, the title of my blog is in reference to the way I say goodnight to my boys each night. It started when Richie was really small. After the often lengthy process of reading books, laying with, and sharing our day, there comes a time when the inevitable is upon us...saying "goodnight". When we say goodnight the last thing I say and do is "Give me a kiss (kiss), a hug (hug), and a squeeze (hug again only harder)". Anyway, there's the story and I'm sticking to it. See below for the inspiration of all the kisses, hugs, and squeezes.


True Faced

I'm feeling convicted to share in a different way on this blog. I haven't exactly decided what direction I want to go with this. I thought I was going to go with a funny slant, but I have a lot more on my heart than that so I think will just take it one day at a time. I have a feeling when you read this that you will never know what you're going to get. But maybe that will keep things interesting.

So, I am reading this book called True Faced - (Trust God and others with who you really are) by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. It was recommended to me by my husband and it really made an impact on him. I am not very far into it yet, but I have to say it is a really interesting and convicting book. I want to share an excerpt with you. It is about the "masks" we wear. I think we can all relate and if you can't maybe you're not being honest? I know I find myself wondering from time to time how much of the life I'm living is really me, the me God intended, and how much is me, the me I'm pretending to be. The excerpt is titled...

The High Cost of a Two-Faced Life

"It is very expensive to wear a mask. For one thing, no one-not even those I love-ever gets to see my face. There are moments when some hint of the real me bleeds through, but mostly I just confuse them. Worse yet, I never experience the love of others because when I wear a mask, only my mask receives love! I sense I'm still not loved and self-diagnose that maybe my mask wasn't good or tight enough. So, I delve even more desperately into mask-wearing, convinced maybe the next one will present what you want and prove I'm worth to receive your love. And if that's not painful enough, get this. I also cannot give love from behind a mask, at least not love from the real me. The ones I long to love experience the cloying attempts of someone who doesn't exist.

Many of us just stopped on those last few sentences and sighed at the realization of wasted love and unecessary loneliness. But even all of that is not all of that. Mask-wearing thwarts our maturing, the very path into the dreams God intended for us. God designed release of influence this way on purpose, because immature people have an incredibly negative impact on those they influence. When we don a mask, we convince others that:"

-They too must live a two-faced life.
-They too must present an idealized person.
-They too must hide what is true about them.
-New life in Christ doesn't really work.
-They will remain stuck in their unresolved life issues.
-It is better to be unknown than to risk rejection.
-Self-protection is their only hope.

When we wear mask, we teach others:

-To live in guarded fear
-To live a life of comparison, envy, and jealousy
-To trade vulnerability for the veneer of safety.

So, we're not just actors. We are also directors in a badly styled play, teaching those we love how to pose and masquerade, memorize fake lines, rehearse expressions, and produce false tears on command.

Sadly, cruelly, our maskes deceive us into believing that we can hide our true selves. Not so. In time, others can usually see what we're trying to hide. No matter how beautifully formed, our masks eventually present us as tragic figures...because masks always crack or distort or buckle or unravel or wear through or lose their shape."

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Bear Underwear

Yes, that's right, they have underwear for Teddy Bears at your local Build a Bear Workshop. We held out for a long time, but we have now been indoctrinated into Build a Bear world, thanks to our good friends who hosted their children's birthday party there today. I have to admit, it is easy to get sucked in. Even I wanted to buy one of the cute sparkly purses for one of the bears, but neither Richie or Will would go for it. We are happy to welcome both chocolate colored bears, Cheetah (Richie's) and Brownie (Will's) to the family!

After the bear building we headed to our favorite local Mexican Restaurant (ironically it was also Cinco de Mayo). And when I say we, I mean all 30 of us (half the group being under the age of 7). There are really no words to describe the chaos that ensued...salsa dripping, chips obliterating, and drinks flying. And that was just at the adult side of the table!

But seriously, fun was had by all! Much love to the birthday boy and girl!

Blog Addiction

A new form of addiction has presented itself to me in the form of BLOGS. My good friend from college, Sara is my pusher and now my local Mom friends are my enablers. It is a good thing summer is upon us because I'm going to need lots of time for my new hobby.