29 gifts for 29 days: days 7-8

Yesterday was the first day so far I had a tough time with 'consciously' giving. It was my 37th birthday and all day long I was receiving messages from friends and family wishing me a happy day. Before I knew it, it was evening and I was still trying to think of something to give which wouldn't require me to leave the house. You see, my birthday was spent in my p.j.'s on the couch, reading. Sure I got up to use the 'facilities', eat, interact with the family and a few other minor acts. Sort of my gift to myself.

Day 7:

Finding myself downstairs on the computer, I decided to send an email to Maddi's previous art teacher and share with her the stop-motion video Maddi made. This particular art instructor is wonderful, and truly believes in developing the creative side of our children's minds. She uses play and reaches deep into her big bag of tricks to encourage the students to explore their imagination. As I thought she would, this teacher responded to my email by this morning. She praised Maddi for her hard work and told me: "Thank you. I rarely get the opportunity to see my students' progress after they have graduated from my classes. You made me smile!" Yes!

Day 8:

Today's gift was much easier. The grade school where my younger two children attend was holding vision and hearing screenings today. The PTO contacted me and asked if I could come in and help with the testing. No problem! This is why I am staying at home full-time instead of working an outside job. Last year I would have politely bowed out, knowing I had limited time to offer. This year I was able to help out and I even agreed to volunteer tomorrow , as well. I absolutely love giving the gift of time.


29 gifts for 29 days: day 6

Today presented a difficulty in giving, as it was a huge day of gifts being given to me. Gifts of support, gifts of love, gifts of prayer for me, my spouse and my children, gifts of thanks .......... for 4+ hours straight! The Arise Cry Out event was spectacularly awesome. Yep, those words about sum it up.

I did manage to sneak in a chance to 'give' while at the assembly. The coordinator of the local chapter devoted endless hours of her time and talents in preparation for this day. I am certain she was up early and checking off her to do list while wondering what else she could manage to squeeze in. I volunteered weeks ago to arrive early and assist with the last-minute details, but that was something I 'signed' up to do ...... not a deliberate, intentional gift. So, while my friend was speaking to and answering questions from guests at the end of the day, I swiped the keys from her purse. I quickly gathered all of the signage, leftover goodie bags and set-up supplies and took them out to her car. When I was through cleaning up, I had intentions to take the keys back to her and offer to take her out for lunch. When I found her, she was deep in conversation with one of the last guests, so I made the decision to hand her the keys and wave a quick goodbye. The greatest give I could give her was some much needed alone time to take a deep breath and allow her mind to replay the day ........ without interruption or conversation.


When I arrived home, the kiddos were deep in play and hubby was putting the finishing touches on my birthday cake for tomorrow. Madison asked me to come take a look at her newest stop-motion short film and once I saw it, I knew I was going to share it here. My almost 12yo baby girl is going places, I tell ya!


29 gifts for 29 days: days 4-5

I am loving this opportunity to spend some time each day in thought of 'giving'. Have you checked out Cami's Site?

Day 4, Thursday 11/12:

gift today was broccolli. Yes ....... yes it was. And thoughtfully, so; I might add. Our elementary school's PTO arranged for a meal to be provided for the teachers and support staff on the day of conferences. Volunteers are requested to bring certain items to the teachers' lounge and the PTO staff throws it all together and has the food ready for the staff when they have a break between parent meetings. I signed up for 16 cups of warmed broccoli to add as a garnishment to baked potatoes. Yum. I am proud to be part of a group who takes care of our teachers.

Day 5, Friday 11/13:

Tomorrow morning, 11/14 from 9am-1pm, I am attending a world-wide day of prayer for children and schools. Our local chapter of Mom's in Touch has organized a host site to provide a comfortable location for prayer and gathering to watch a 4-hour DVD previously recorded live in San Fransisco last month. Millions of mothers all around the world will gather for 24 hours of continuous, thoughtful prayer to fulfill the MIT Mission of "impacting children & schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers to pray."

This is going to be a wonderful day filled with prayer!

My gift this Friday is to put together 5 floral arrangements to decorate the registration and welcome tables for our local event. Our area coordinator is overloaded with all of the duties necessary to put together this event, so I called her earlier in the week to see how I could help lesson her work load.

I am thrilled to be a part of this event and even more happy to be able to bring 'something to the table', ........ literally. Here is 1 of the 5 I will be completing by the end of the day.

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. You?


29 gifts for 29 days: days 1-3

Do you ever have a post idea in mind and avoid sitting down and writing it because you want it to be 'just right'? I have wanted to start documenting my journey of 29 gifts in 29 days, but keep putting it off even though I have already started gifting. Why do I want to be able to say
just the right thing and use just the right words? Perfection syndrome? Ha! I don't seem to have that problem in any other areas of my life ........ case in point: keeping my home p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y clean.

Let's just begin. To read about the journey from the author's perspective, travel off to 29 gifts and read about how Cami Walker and others are choosing to give rather than focus on the negatives in their lives.
Monday: I was shopping at my favorite discount grocery store, Aldi's, when I made the conscience decision to give. This store is located in an urban setting and attracts all types of personalities and 'walks of life'. I often wonder what people say about me! Anyway, I was returning my cart when I noticed and older woman coming out of the store. Her cart was overflowing with groceries and two small children were hanging off either side of the railings of the cart. I noticed her sack on the lower shelf was going to take a tumble, so I ran over and up-righted it for her. She didn't seem to notice, but she did start talking a mile a minute about how her husband was working and she had to bring her young grandchildren with her and how difficult it is to shop with them. "Oh, no" I thought. I just wanted to help her out a little bit and be on my way! I did not want to stand there and listen to her woes. Just let me give my 'gift' and walk away already!

Ah, the teachable moment. The woman was asking me for my time and attention, not for help with her task. Could I give her that? Yes, ..... yes, I could. I listened to her story for about 5 minutes, one filled with complaint for life. When she stopped to take a breath, I jumped in and told her how wonderful she was for being active in her grandchildren's life, for taking care of them, and for being strong enough to take the kids with her to shop!

The woman smiled and then introduced me to her grandchildren in the most proud way only a grandmother can. I smiled back and told her to have a wonderful day. Gift in disguise!

Tuesday: I gave 2 gifts on this day, not to be overly ambitious, but because I had the opportunity to do so.

My first gift of the day was to my wonderful family practitioner. I had an appointment for the dreaded 'annual', and wasn't feeling too excited about fasting until 10:30 in the morning ...... read NO COFFEE ...... or by having to don the paper gowns. Remembering a story I heard having to do with annual appointments and glitter (sorry, tale for another day), I decided to give my Dr. a little laugh, or gift of laughter. I took a purple Sharpie and wrote, "Good morning!" on the inside of my upper left thigh. Then I took a blue Sharpie and wrote, "Be Gentle" on the inside of my upper right thigh. When I got to the office, I was asked to leave a sample for testing. On the plastic cup, I wrote my name and then "Have a great day :)". Well, the nurse needs a laugh, too! Oh, and did I mention the nurse told me my Dr. had a med student with her for the day? Yeah ..... nice. Okay, two laughs for the price of one.

The student prepares for the examination and when the time comes, lifts my paper gown to begin.


Then, "Um, Dr. ______?" My Dr. peeks over from writing her notes and quickly grabs the gown and pushes it down. Her hand is covering her mouth, so I can't yet read her reaction. She proceeds to scoot the stool back, gets up, and stumbles over to face the wall. I'm confused at her reaction until I notice her shoulders are shaking. Whew, she DID find it funny.

She turns around and tells me "In all my years, No one has ever done that. Thank you for making me laugh today. I won't forget this."

Then she asked to take a picture with her cell phone. (um, NO!!!!) "Can I bring a couple of colleagues in to look?" (um, DOUBLE NO!!!) So she settled for being able to tell the story.

As for the med student, I wouldn't be surprised if she withdrew her application for residency.

My second gift of the day was more 'typical'. I met with a good friend who also happens to be coaching me in a business pursuit (more on that topic later .... much later) and brought her my library copy of 29 Gifts. I still had 2+ weeks left on the loan and trusted her to read it and then return it to the library. Along with the book, I printed off 4 inspirational bookmarks since I know she reads several books at a time. Her gratitude and smile were a wonderful gift to receive.

Wednesday: I am giving myself a gift today. Permission to ask God to take away my anger. Or, am I giving God a gift by handing him my anger? Or, is God giving me the ultimate gift of forgiveness? Whatever it is, it is a gift-fest with God and me today.

I will continue to write about my gifts, but not necessarily an 'every day' posting. Or maybe and everyday posting project ...... I have not yet decided.


I got that groovy feeling

You know the feeling ....... when everything is back in its place. Tasks are effortless and the systems set in motion at the beginning of the school year are working amazingly well. Birds are singing, children are behaving and the cure for all cancers has been discovered. Well ....... maybe not the children behaving well part.

Yes, I must admit life is good. I am even enjoying Mondays! Sure the weekends are great, but there is something about the quiet of the house after the hubby and kiddos go off to work and school. I always think I am going to plunk down on the couch with my coffee and channel surf until my eyes glaze over. Instead, I feel a rush of energy to get the house back into shape after a weekend full of fun. Sometimes I turn on music for inspiration and company, but more often I find I enjoy the lack of v-o-i-c-e-s. My coffee may get cold and the television as well, but my dishwasher is empty, the laundry is humming and the floors are cleared of clutter.

In other news, I just finished reading this book by Cami Walker. I will be writing more about how I am going to do my own 29 days of gifting. For now, take a moment and go and see what this book is all about.



Growing up, my mom was the queen of lists:
  • Grocery lists, Meal Planning lists, Saturday Morning Cleaning lists, Gift lists, Daily To Do lists, Packing-Bags-For-A-Trip lists, Chore lists, New Clothes for School lists, on and on and on.

As I got older I, too, made lists. Not as many lists as my mom, and certainly not in her nice handwriting, but lists nonetheless. I felt good when I would write the the list (all organized, sub-categorized, color coded) but would soon feel a knot in my stomach as I looked at the finished list. Do I have to do it in that exact order? What If I need to add something to the list and I don't put it in the right category? What if I don't complete the things on the list in time? What do I do with the things on the list left over - transfer to another list? Or, heaven forbid I LOSE the list. I might as well just curl up in a ball and weep ........ the day is ruined.

I am embarrassed to say it has taken me years as an adult to let go of The Lists. Yes, they have their place and can be a great organizing tool, but they are also very intimidating ...... for me. Isn't it time I grow up and not allow inanimate objects to hold me back? My mind is constantly creating ideas of things to do, but I am finally realizing I don't get half of them done because I set those ideas to pen and paper, in a list, and I loose inspiration.

What if I stop writing lists? Will the earth tip off it's axis and implode? Will I ever accomplish anything if I don't have a list in hand? No ....... then Yes.

Oh, how the brain imprints what we see as a child and then interprets as something we have to do as an adult. The benefit of being an adult, however, is we get to decide how we want to live. The reason we fall back on 'what we know' is because we haven't made an ACTIVE decision to behave otherwise.

Well, I am making an ACTIVE decision to not make lists. Yep ........ no more lists to tie me down!

So how will I get the information from my thoughts to reality? Free-form writing. Just like back in creative writing class. Remember? You take a blank sheet of paper and just start writing ideas ...... free form ...... in no order ...... random. So much nicer to look at, in my opinion. I can use colors, drawings, different papers, the computer, make collages, basically whatever I feel will inspire me to move forward.

Like taking a deep breath and letting go of something holding you back. Who knew it could be something so simple as a list?!?!?!

Using randomness to create order

back to edit SEVERAL typos and missed words. Yikes!



  • Why does the coffee maker slow down when I need that cup of goodness right NOW?!
  • How is it possible I can feel so much joy and the next moment be drowning in darkness?
  • Why is my body changing as fast now as it did in puberty?
  • How is it food tastes better when eaten with my best friend?
  • Why do I miss someone who doesn't speak, smile or even recognize me yet?
  • When did the tables turn to parenting my parents?
  • Why are things made now so inferior to things made years ago?
  • How can I inspire my children to reach for their dreams if I don't show them how?
  • When did my children loose their 'baby' smell? I mean, exactly when?
  • Where did my oldest child's wisdom and creative spirit come from?
  • Why did I not realize sooner the value of a great girlfriend relationship?
  • What changed to make us a society concerned so much with consumption?

I hope I never stop asking questions. Inspiration lies in the answers. I think my coffee might be ready now.


happy halloween

And, this is the last day of the month AND the last entry of my month of daily blogging! Yeah! I did it! I only had to 'make' myself sit down to write a couple of times. The rest of the time I sat down, opened up the page and the words/subjects wrote themselves. I don't think I will continue blogging on a daily basis, but this exercise did get me back into the habit and reminded me how much I like to do it. Win-Win.

For today, I will post the obligatory photos of my kids in their Halloween costumes. They Trick-or-Treated last night, as our community hosts a 'Beggar's Night' from 6-8pm on the day before Halloween. Why not on Halloween night? Who knows. Just something strange that we just go along with and not question.

Ben - aka a Storm Trooper (3 sizes to big, but hey .... borrowers can't be choosers)

Ellie - aka a spotted horse (Maddi's old costume I added a couple of things to make it unique for Ellie)

Madison - aka Hippie Chick (got a 2nd use out of her themed outfit for school earlier in the week)

Total Spent on Halloween Costumes = $1.86 to add felt and some more yarn to the horse costume.

Total amount my kids wanted me to spend on store bought costumes = $75.00

Total amount of time they wore their costumes = 2 hours.

THAT is why I didn't want to spend money!!!!! I do feel bad for saying no to them, but it's not like I didn't have another option for them. Since the school district doesn't allow Halloween parties (so no costumes worn to school) the only time they would have them on would be for trick-or-treating. I hope the money saved now won't have to go for therapy later.



I am beginning to believe my daughters were born without empathy. During the '
episode of the ear canal invader' yesterday, the girls were ............... well, being snitty and selfish. It began with Maddi texting me letting me know she was ready to be picked up from school. I called her to let her know Ben just accidentally stuck a BB in his ear and could she walk home (under a mile, here folks) or see if a friend could give her a ride. I knew she was home when I heard the door slam, bags dropped and her stomping into the living room to assess the situation.

Comments from Maddi:
"Why did he do that?"
"Is it stuck" "
Why couldn't you just put him in the car to come and pick me up?"
"Did you call Dad?"

Comments from Ellie:
"I didn't tell him to do it!"
"What color is it?"
"Is it something of mine stuck in his ear?"
"When can you paint my nails?"
"I'm hungry. What's for dinner."

During all of this chatter I was holding Ben, calling Dave, performing minor surgery, seeking advice from a friend .......... in other words; I was a LITTLE BUSY HERE, GIRLS!
The girls took the hint and made themselves scarce until daddy walked in the door. Suddenly the chatter picked up and then they wanted to know what daddy was going to do about it. Five people crowded in the bathroom ........ with sharp object and vacuums within reach.

Then it happened. The comment to send me over the edge:

Maddi: "When are we going to the library? I have to return my book tonight and I want to look around for a couple more."

:: blink blink ::

She said this as Dave and I were leaning over the tub trying to hold a slippery-wet-5-year-old-boy still while we shove sharp instruments in his ear.

:: blink blink again ::

Not to be outdone by her older sister, Ellie slips quietly out, then bag in a while later with a note for daddy.

If you are unable to read 2nd grade writing, here is the translation:

Dear Dad, I have not
had a good day. I've missed
you a lot today. More than you think
to. Every second of
the day. Even when you are
home right now. All I want
is to spend time with
Love, Ellie p.s.
I hope you can
spend time with me.

Bust. my. heart. open. Then, get very angry. Really? Right now? Do you not see your brother in the tub with the squirt bottle in his ear? I know, I get it. Kids express what the feel when they feel it and how they feel it. As parents, though, we can't meet the needs of all of our children at the same time. We have to step back, evaluate the situation and see what needs to be taken care of first. I thought Dave and I were doing pretty good with this step. I mean, the plastic BB had to come out before Maddi went to the library or Ellie received some attention from her daddy. Right?!

Dave and I looked at each other and locked eyes. Without saying a word out loud, the conversation began: "We're in this together, right?" "You got my back, right?" "If you don't yell at the girls I won't yell at the girls" "Did you take the trash out?" Oh, wait ........ not that last one. But definitely the first three. We were united.


  • Ben's ears are clear of all foreign objects
  • Ellie got her fingernails painted and a snuggle with Dad
  • Maddi went to the library to return her book and grab some new ones
  • Dave went to sleep at 9pm; worn out by all of the action
  • I tore apart my bathroom searching in the crevices of make-up bags and baskets hoping to find a Valium. Defeated, I resigned myself to a cup of ice cream and some time spent with my nose in a book.


things not to put in your ear canal

Elbows, knees, pencils, Barbie legs, insects, batteries, Lego's, Star Wars light sabers, buttons, grass, plastic BB's, electrical cords, spit wads, camera memory cards, school buses ........ the list goes on and on. Sometimes, however, as much as we teach our children to keep things out of their orifices, nothing beats trying it out anyway. Yeah, this story is personal.

Earlier this afternoon I was working on the computer (okay, really I was playing the facebook bejeweled blitz and doing mighty well) when Ben so rudely interrupted me to say he had something stuck in his ear and it was hurting. When I tried to ask what it was, this was his response:

Ben: "I didn't do it on purpose. I really didn't. This small little ball got in my ear and just got stuck there. I didn't push it in or anything. I think it is really going to hurt!"

I grabbed a flashlight and observed the damage. I am proud to say I only asked him "WHY?" about 7 times. Sure enough, I could see the intruder firmly planted in ear wax, deep inside the ear canal. If you know me, I got a little excited about the prospect that I could whip out my tweezers and perform minor surgery. I love to pick, scrape and suction things from my children's bodies. Kind of like those monkeys who pick the fleas and ticks off other monkeys.


The tweezers didn't work. I called Dave and calmly told him what had happened. He jumped on the computer at work and searched Google for the best way to remove foreign objects from the ear. As long as it is not a bean (beans sprout quickly in a warm, moist environment ..... like an ear canal) it was deemed safe to try a couple of home remedies before heading out to the Urgent Care cesspool of germs down the street. I placed Ben on the couch and waited for Dave to come home. Then I got antsy and called a friend for validation that I shouldn't be freaking out and calling an ambulance. She agreed it wasn't an emergency, and gave me a couple of suggestions to remove the object. Then we switched topics and laughed about stupid things we and others have done when we were little. Friends rock.


Dave got home and had a look-see. Since he is a Geologist, he happened to have a hand-operated vacuum pump in the trunk of his car. He also grabbed a couple of coffee straws (thin diameter) to use at the end of the hose. MacGyver has nothing on my hubby. The end result was not enough suck to work, but too much suck might pop the ear drum, so the household vacuum idea was out.

Now might be a helpful time to show a diagram depicting what we saw:

You would think it would fall right out, but remember, ooey gooey ear wax was holding the ball in place. We put Ben in the tub and used a plastic bottle with a fine nozzle to shoot warm water into the ear. Surely the wax would loosen up, melt away and release the ball. Maybe we should try again. And again.

By this time I am out of ideas and decide to call the Urgent Car cesspool of germs down the street and let them know we are on our way. As I am getting off the phone, Ellie comes running into the kitchen screaming "It's out! It's out! Dad got it out!"

Whew. Co-pays and deductibles averted.

Apparently the water flushed away the wax, but Ben's ear had a little ridge holding the ball from falling out. Dave fashioned a 'hook' out of an ink pen cartridge and use the inside cartilage of the ear as a brace to get the hook behind the ball and pop it out. Bada-bing-bada-boom. Crisis thwarted.

Tomorrow I will tell you about how Ben's loving and caring and concerned sisters reacted to the 2+ hour ordeal. For now, I am going to pretend it is bedtime and ignore any requests requiring a thought process.


something old something new

Something Old:

Maddi-girl's school is hosting 'Red Ribbon Week' and is creating themes each day to spread the message of say no to drugs. Today was Hippie-Dippie-Trippie day, which when you think about it, seems oddly paired with a no-drug message. Mads explained it as "say yes to peace, love and happiness .......... say no to drugs." Okey Dokey

Instead of going out to the Goodwill or Salvation Army store, we opted for the homemade look and style. Some white fabric triangles sewn into the slit of the pants provided the bell bottom pants and leftover white fabric turned into a headband. Maddi and her trusty Sharpies colored the peace signs over the blank canvas and viola, instant hippie.


Too school for school, man.

Something New:

I decided to add Maddi to my calling plan, and cancel the KaJeet subscription. The service is great, but I was tired of monitoring 2 accounts and the limitations you can place on the phone become irritating when you need to dial an unexpected number. In addition, Mads has proven responsible for the phone and I decided to let us both upgrade. She is now the owner of a new to her cell phone with texting capabilities, and I am have a shiny new Samsung Reclaim. Did I really need it? Heck no. Did I have to pay for it? Heck no. Did I sweet talk the salesperson into switching my number to the new one along with syncing my contacts/photo/schedule lists on my old phone? Heck yes. Did I waste copious amounts of time today playing with my new techie toy? Heck yes. It's nice to have something new every once in a while.

For updates on baby mighty mouse, visit my sister's website M & M's


blue squirrel, blue squirrel ....... what do you see?

What .......... don't you see?

I see a blue lawsuit staring at me!

True Story: A family walks into an I-Hop and while enjoying some yummy pancakes, a balloon 'artist' saddles up to the table.

Balloon 'artist': "What will it be young man?"

Boy says: "I would like a blue squirrel, please."

::several huffs and puffs, twist and turns later:: TaDa!

Younger brother snickers and says (with a lisp) "Mom ...... that thquirel has a penith." HeHe

This story was graciously donated by a good friend. Such a good friend that she brought over the blue squirrel so I could photograph it, knowing I would want to write about it. Hm ...... methinks she knows me TOO well. HeHe


day in the life

Monday, 10/26/09

5:45am - Wake up, drink coffee, check email & Google Reader

6:30am - Empty dishwasher, Make Lunches, set oven to CLEAN, wake up kiddos and get breakfast going

7:00am - Start laundry, gets kids dressed and backpacks filled

7:35am - Take kids to school

7:55am - Switch laundry, get dressed and ready for the day (yes, I drove my kids to school in my p..j.'s, but I don't get out of the car), second cup of coffee with breakfast, pay bills online

9:00am - Go to Aldi for main grocery shopping (spent $94.61), Head to Wal-Mart or items not at Aldi (spent $42.28 including 2 pair of jeans for Ellie) Go to specialty store for birthday present for friend

11:30am - Home to unload & put away groceries, clean out residue from oven, and eat a quick lunch of last night's leftovers while reading Sunday paper. Switch laundry

12:30pm - Prepare five hour stew for dinner, clean up the kitchen and wash the floors

1:15pm - Watch latest episode of Project Runway on the computer. Switch laundry

1:50pm - Divide the school lunch groceries into single serving baggies

2:25pm - Drive to Library to drop off books and pick up 2 on hold.

2:45pm - Pick up Ben & Ellie from school

2:55pm - Empty backpacks, clean-out lunch bags, sort school paperwork, snacks and talk about the day, switch laundry

3:30pm - Sort mail, bills, general big people paperwork. Made 6 servings of Jello, switch laundry, pull refrigerator away from wall and vacuum/wipe floor, mess around on the computer

5:10pm - Dave home with Maddi, put away laundry

5:45pm - Prepare biscuits, finish stew, make gravy. Family sits down for a nice dinner

6:15pm - Clean up dinner with Dave

6:30pm - Bath. All. By. Myself.

7:00pm - Computer to Blog and check email, Google Reader and Facebook

................... intend to get kids in bed, lunches made for tomorrow and lay in bed and read. Night Night!

p.s. - This is an unusually productive day. My power nap on Sunday afternoon provided me with extra energy for today.



It is Sunday night.
Tomorrow is Monday.
Hubby is home from traveling.
My sister had her baby.

I have to keep reminding myself of these four things because I am feeling discombobulated. Out of sorts. Floating.

I hope to get a good nights rest and wake up well rested. My wish for tomorrow is to hop back into the family routine and feel 'in the moment' for the duration. Too much to ask?


paying it foward

Years ago when I was on pregnancy induced bed rest, friends and family were there for me at every turn. I was overwhelmed with the selfless acts of kindness and wondered how I would ever pay them back. As time went on, I realized I would never have the opportunity to pay back the same generosities, but I could pay it forward to others in need.

The past couple of days I have been with my sister, her husband and their baby daughter, Megan ....... otherwise known as 'Mighty Mouse'. I refilled water cups, laundered clothes, grabbed food, tidied up the hospital room, wrote down gifts and the names of the gifters; basically all the little things that can fall to the wayside when a new baby arrives. As a new mom, you never want to ask any more of people than you are already receiving. Guests come bearing presents, food and offers to help out in any way, so you graciously accept what is given.
You feel tremendous guilt if you ask for more ......... so being able to provide that 'more' to my sister was fabulous.

I am so blessed to have the availability of time and the understanding of my husband & kids to allow me to pay it forward, just a little bit. I have so much more to 'pay', and am excited to explore other ways to keep the kindness going.

By the way, both Megan and Jess are doing great. Megan has earned her nickname because she is so small, but extremely mighty. She is under the lights for excessive bilirubin levels but is off all supplemental oxygen. Jess is running out of her adrenaline high and will need some extra snoozes for the next couple of days. What a true blessing their challenges are so small giving the circumstances.


two posts in one day

Only something miraculous could cause such an event. One has:

Megan Elliot arrived this afternoon by emergency C-section. My newest niece is a tiny 4 lbs 4 oz and 6 weeks early, but is healthy and strong. My super-powered-strong sister is recovering and celebrating her release from bedrest. I will have to get the final day count from her, but I think is was around 80 days, with about 3/4 of those days spent in the hospital. I cannot express how proud I am of my sister for doing everything possible to make certain Megan spent as much time in the womb as she could. I have always referred to my sis as a Rock Star, but today she earned the title.

I will be meeting the little pumpkin tomorrow, and will have photos to share soon.

Welcome to the world and happy birthday Megan!!!!!!

feeling the sarcasm today



ode to George

Facts about our family cat:

Name: George Francis Allen Abu (insert our last name)

Born: May 1992 ......... yes, he is 17 years old

Adopted by Dave & Amy, pre-marriage: December 1992

Weight: 8lbs, fluctuating by .5 a pound or so, ever since he was grown

Talents: Fetches beer bottle caps and brings them back to your feet to throw again

Nickname: Claw-less Ball-less George.

Loves: Catnip, Tuna from a can, the salt off of pretzels, hiding under the sheets while the bed is being made, warm bodies and laser lights

Loathes: High pitched noises, cleaning out his ears, the smell of his poop (he runs at full speed from the litter box after he has done his business), an empty water dish

Misc info about George:
  • George has never been kissed, or anything else for that matter. I feel a little sorry for him, but he doesn't seem to mind. He has witnessed carnal actions by his human caretakers, however, but doesn't seem to care that he has missed out.
  • George completely ignored Maddi when she was born, giving her a sniff and a sneer upon meeting. When Maddi was 3 and we moved to Iowa, George ordained himself as her personal protector and rarely left her side.
  • If a member of the family leaves a blanket or piece of clothing on the floor for too long, George will pee on it. He only started this behavior since he has aged, so I am giving him grace about it rather than rub his nose in it.
  • George vocalizes his desires in several different manners.
  1. A loud, long 'Meooooooow' means the door to the laundry room is closed and he cannot access his litter box. Or, he needs his water bowl refilled. Now.
  2. "Puuuuuuurring" like a lawn mower means he is happy and you better not stop adoring him.
  3. Short frilly "mews" means he wants the tuna bits left over in the can. Now.
  4. A loud, low-pitched "MOW" sound signifies he has gotten outside and eaten grass recently and presently needs to expel it from his stomach. Now.
  5. And, finally A most recent discovery of which I am a little nervous to admit. Last night I picked him up from Ellie's bed and he said "Mom" ......... clear as day. (or night, as it was) So, what do you think of that?!


do as I say, not as I do

How often is this message relayed to your kids? Not in a literal sense, although I have found those words slipping from my tongue from time to time. More often the message is relayed through actions. Actions our kids witness. Actions our children will someday choose to emulate or decide to go against.

Example: Living in Iowa, Maddi will be eligible to receive a learner's driving permit at the tender age of 14. As in 25 months from now .......... eek! Because, ya know, she needs to drive the tractor through the fields before she feeds the chickens. All before the butt crack of dawn.

She is already observing the rules of the road as she rides shotgun in the miniature van:

Statements and Inquiries by Maddi directed towards me, the driver.

"Why didn't you use a signal when you turned, Mom?"

"The light was yellow and you sped up, Mom. Aren't you supposed to slow down, Mom?"

"Shouldn't you always have both hands on the wheel, Mom?"

"You shouldn't talk on the cell phone while driving, Mom. I heard that on the news."

At first I was irritated and told her to respect her mother and button her lip about my driving style. Come on! It's bad enough when Dave is sucking in air through his teeth when I stop too closely behind another vehicle. Now I have to answer to my daughter? Shouldn't she be in a 5-point harness in the middle of the back seat playing quietly with a board book? Who told her she could have opinions ...... let alone express them?

After checking my pride at the door, I realized she is simply observing, not trying to imply I am a bad driver. In an other words, grow up and be the parent, Amy, because THIS is a teachable moment.

So help me if I ever hear one of my kids say this

Which get's me thinking; what ISN'T a teachable moment?

Remember the first time your little cherub faced toddler said a swear word? Exactly one second after you did. And, remember watching your 'little mommy' put her dolly in time-out because the dolly was naughty? These moments are funny because you realize she is simply imitating adult behavior, but at what point is she actually digesting the information? When will she use that swear word appropriately and intently?

If I really sit and think about all of the things I do that I don't want my children to repeat, I get overwhelmed. How can I be perfect all the time? How can I be the perfect role model? When can I give them the perfect answer? The answer is never, because perfection isn't real. I certainly want my kids to know THAT!

So, I will strive for better. I will remind myself I am a teacher, as well as a parent. I will explain to Maddi my mistakes so she can learn to do better. I will take the mature route and hold myself accountable for my actions, because being a parent is my number one job. I may not have fully realized that when Dave and I first decided to have kids, but I cannot let ignorance be my excuse.

How will I cope with the pressure?

I will find time to be with my hubby so we can swear, drink, smoke and make out in a car like we used to ......... before becoming parents.


ten guilty pleasure

Today I will let you in on my ten guilty pleasures. In return, I would like for you to share one of yours in the comments.

1. Internet Window (browser) Shopping. I love to find new stores and products online. I also love to visit tried and true online stores. I browse, I salivate, I even go so far as to put items in my Shopping Cart. Then, with a click of an exit button I leave the store, empty handed. Uncommon Goods is a spot I can browse for hours.

2. Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Major yummy-ness. So yummy, in fact, I might make on of these just to make my enjoyment last even longer.

3. Watching Project Runway. This is a wee-bit more difficult now as we have canceled our digital tv service, but I searched online and am able to stream past episodes from here. I like to pretend I will be talented enough someday to be on the show.

4. People Watching. I haven't done this is a while and I must put it on my to-do list. Walk around the shopping mall and just observe the wackiness.

5. Chewing Gum. And, popping bubbles. It is so not lady-like, and I can't stand it when other people smack their gum, but I LOVE to do it. I am loving Orbit's new Pina Colada flavor.

6. Reading Books. Yes, I consider this a guilty pleasure because I am not reading for business ...... just pleasure. I am loving the Goodreads site so I can keep track of what I have read, & more importantly, place books on my to-read list. If you sign-up for the free service, don't forget to add me as a friend so we can share titles!

7. Not Sharing. Once you become a mother you have to share your body, food, drinks, space, privacy, clothes, spit, friends, DNA, ............ EVERYTHING!

8. Good Coffee. Unfortunately, this usually equates to a Starbucks run. Hey, I live in Iowa ....... my selection is limited.

9. Product Packaging. Um, hello? And, look at you, cutie. This one is a work of art. Oh, and one more. It's like getting a 2 for 1. The product AND the beautiful package.

10. Magazines. Ya know, little books. At least I am getting my fix at the library verses buying one at the store or paying for a subscription. My favorite? This one.


because it's fall

Today is one of those days I am regretting posting daily. So, because it is fall, I will post photos of Elle and Ben playing with the fallen leaves. Maddi was inside with her friends, so she did not partake in the annual jumping into the leaf piles, but no worries. We have 3 big trees and countless opportunities to make more piles.