Monday, May 31, 2010

My Happiness Project - Memorial Day

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

I am happy today, for the reason I take for granted every day. 

I am free, I live in a free country, I have freedom of speech, assembly, freedom of choice. 

I have all of these things because countless, nameless soldiers have gone before me to ensure that freedom.  They have died for love of our country, for protecting its freedom.  They still die today for that same reason. 

NOT ONE inconvenience in my life is more important than the men and women who have sacrificed their life to help protect mine.  Not one. 

So I am happy today for all of my blessings, the #1 of which is my freedom, guaranteed by others. 

Happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

6 word Saturday

Pool Opens Today.  Hurray!  Yippee! Yay!

Now go look at some others.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dear So and So

Head over to Kat's place to read more and write some yourself!  Totally cathartic. 

Dear Youngest:

104 temperature?  With 5 day of school left?  On Memorial Day weekend?  The day before Mommy's supposed to get her summer hair done?  You wound me, child.

Cuddles with sicky girls are extra nice, though, even if the timing is TERRIBLE

Dear Oldest:

4 days of school to go.  You can transition into summer without a major meltdown this year, I know you can do it! 

I know there are many changes coming.  We'll hold hands and take them together

Dear Husband:

When grown men play soccer, they are more likely to suffer injuries.  Simple fact of life.  Popping your ankle last Sunday could have been much worse than it is, and for that I'm glad.  But you're out from golf for how many weeks?  2?  3?

Some wives would be happy about this, but I'm not sure what to do with you on Saturday mornings.  Ohhhh, maybe we could take turns sleeping in until this little injury passes!

Dear Memorial Day weekend:

A little song for you.  Sing it to the tune of Barney's "I love you" song:
"I love pool.  Pool loves me.  But wearing my suit makes me panick-y.  Maybe a drink or two will make it all ok.  At least that's what I'll say today."

I shoulda been in show business. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shave A Dog - Freak the Family Out

When the groomer called and said I'd rather use the shaver than the clippers, I said, "You know best, does shaving her mean she'll still have hair?" 

She said yes.  And I suppose she DOES still have hair. 

Lilly on May 9

Lilly on May 21st

Oldest bawled and said she looked horrid, Youngest asked what happened to big Lilly and is little Lilly still Lilly, Husband said she looked horrid.

Me?  I found her antics much cuter when she looked fluffier.  But I'm still feeding her, taking her outside, and playing with her.  You know, like a mom.

Moral?  Never think a shaver won't create a noticeable difference. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Technical Question Tuesday

It's Technical Question Tuesday, where Missy puts something out there that she has no idea how to solve and asks for help. 

Today?  Spam comments.

Why do some posts attract more spam than others?  I have one post - cycles - that keeps attracting spam - which is so strange that it's the only one. 

What is it about a title that attracts spam?  And therefore, how do you title your posts to avoid it?  Or can you?
Can anyone help a girl out today?

Thanks so much.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Happiness Project - The Lost Edition

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

Today is an interesting day.  Last night, as millions of people know, was the Series Finale of Lost.  And it was thrilling, it was everything I'd hoped it would be, it was awesome.  But it was hugely disappointing too, though not in the sense that I didn't get answers or feel "ripped off." 

In the sense that I'm floundering today, thinking about how sad it is that Lost is no more from today forward.  Why does this make me so sad?

Because Lost was a mystery I could enjoy.  It was one that was thrilling in its distance from my own life.  It was a way to appreciate something without having to be the one coming up with the answers.  It was safe. 

We all have mysteries in our lives.  Some of them are quite difficult to solve and there's no clear answer.  Solving some carry a huge amount of responsibility.  Some solutions we pick may not be shown as the "right" solution for many years to come.  It's the old "hindsight is 20/20" maxim, right?  Some answers that seem good now, may end up looking colossally bad in the future.  Some painful solutions now that people are unhappy about may prove to have been the right, correct way to go - but not show that for awhile. 

We all have mysteries.  Lost was a big, big mystery for me that helped take away some of the challenges of my own myteries.  And I will miss it for that. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Puppy shaved.  Now rat-like.  Pictures soon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friendly Friday

I was invited to join a new Friday blog hop last night called Friendly Friday.  And because I'm feeling extra friendly today (and may not have had the time to do Dear So and So letters), I said, "Great!  Sign me up!" 

So head over to the Frugal Novice and sign up too - you might meet some new friends today.  We all need friends, right? 

Happy Friday!  And rest assured, if you friendly Friday me, I'll come follow you.  It just might take a day or two - we're having a little family visit this weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teddy and the Blankie

I've never talked about my children's loveys. 

Oldest has Teddy.  Teddy has, quite literally, been with her her entire life.  I put him in her crib when she came home from the hospital.  We now have three of him (Teddy in Triplicate), but it's always been the "old Teddy" she loves (or pinkish-gray Teddy, as she named him at 4). 

Teddy actually got himself in trouble for a few years and had to stay home.  He just couldn't control himself and kept "making" Oldest say bad things - like Poop, butt, toots, etc.  Bad ol'Teddy.  ;)

Youngest has blankie.  Blankie, you may recall, almost got lost in Florida in March.  I let her bring blankie in the stroller and blankie dropped out, unbeknownst to all of us.  When we figured it out, my Dad, Grandpa extraordinaire (or Bampy to them), retraced our steps all the way back to the beginning TWICE before eventually finding that blankie.  Thank goodness and thanks, Dad.  :)

You know what it is about their loveys that my kids love?  Their satin.  Teddy has a satin ribbon around his neck and blankie is ringed with satin.  Both girls stroke the satin to calm themselves.  The satin gives them comfort.

Teddy and the Blankie are the reasons my children are good sleepers.  One of my sisters still lies down with her daughter at night.  One time I was touting the lovey concept to her and she quipped, "well, obviously I'M my daughter's lovey!"  And it was funny, yet so true.  Had I not pushed the loveys, I don't know that they would have become the independent (from Mommy at least and that's what's important, right?), lengthy sleepers they did. 

So here's to the loveys.  One day, they won't want them anymore.  One day they will be embarassed by them.  When that happens, I will be happy to pick up the pieces of those lovey broken hearts.  They were an integral part of my kid's lives, so that means they will always have a special place in mine. 

Kinda makes me want a lovey of my own, something to calm the daily strife, the internalization of the challenges we face as adults.  Doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pics from the trip - a week late and thoughts on Canada

Canada was the bomb. We loved it. Except snow in May. The people are so friendly. Maybe part of it was our giddiness over our trip.

And Canada was beautiful. It's beautiful land, open and airy. We felt "free-er" there and I KNOW that has much to do with us "getting away from it all."

Here are a few pics:

Our view Friday night - pretty far away, no?

Post concert euphoria. 

Night 2 - front row, which was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!

Caught Jeremy's drumstick too.  No lie - he threw it right to us. 

I will tell you what Canada does have!  A HIGH cost of living!  It was noticeably more expensive.  And you know what else?  They measure every.  Single.  Ounce.  Of.  Alcohol.  It was fascinating, and no one could tell us why, either. 

But all in all, it's a glorious country and we fell in love.  With it and each other.  And Our Lady Peace, of course.

And then we came home.  To this:

Ahhhhhhhh, home. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Happiness Project - Are you an Abstainer or Moderator?

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

I've wanted to raise this topic for months, but it kept getting backburnered.  And it bothers me.  I don't LIKE the fact that our personalities sway one way or another. 

Head over to this post at Unclutterer.  Gretchen's raised it on her blog too, and it's in her book.  In a nutshell, Gretchen's assertion is that you are either an abstainer or a moderator.  Abstainers, in order to "stop" something, must do it by giving it up entirely.  Moderators, on the other hand, are easily able to reduce the amount of times they do something and don't have to give it up entirely.

I don't like this notion because I don't want to be an abstainer, but I think that's what I am. 

If I buy cookies, I will eat them all within a couple of days, "just to get rid of them and get back to behaving."

If I open a bottle of wine, I will finish it within two nights, "so it doesn't go to waste."

If I order a meal that has a huge portion size, I'll eat it all rather than saving the rest for later, "because it tastes good."

If I start a book that's good, I'll stay up late and ignore my responsibilities to finish it "and get back to my real life."

You get the point. 

I don't like this though, I don't think it's fair.  It makes me resentful of myself and I feel like it sets me up for failure over and over. 

I don't want to be this way, that the only way to "find happiness" is to avoid things that are bad for me.  Because sometimes, it's fun to splurge a little.  The issue is that once I start (with food, especially), it's very hard to stop.  And that's where the moderation thing comes in.  I want to be able to do things in moderation and it makes me unhappy that my history says I can't. 

But now, I've purchased a book called Women Food and God, and from what I can tell, she will be talking about how to become a moderator.  I heard it on an Oprah commercial.  I don't even watch Oprah, but the commercial was tantalizing enough that I Googled it and found out about the book.  I bought it Friday and am quite interested in its premise.  I'm hoping it helps me become a better moderator, because I'm getting tired of this all-or-nothing pattern I've established. 

So I'll keep you posted. 

And this is a good reminder that in my quest to find happiness, I'm still going through periods of unhappiness as I figure it all out. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Introverts, Extroverts and a BIG Announcement!

My friend over at Hippie Mommie did an excellent post about whether you're an introvert or extrovert.  Head over to her cute, fun and super peppy blog to read about it.  Then come back.  I'll still be here.  Really, I will. 

Ok, back?  Good.   

In learning about gifted children, understanding the concept of introversion and extroversion was key in our house.  We have two of each, so instead of beating my head against the wall with "the other two," I've learned to embrace their extovert-ism (is that a word?), which helps us all get along quite nicely around here. 

When we're all playing nicely, that is.  Sometimes I want to wrap up in my little introvert world and don't really feel like playing nicely, but that's a post for another day. 

Introverts vs. extroverts - it's a litttle like perfectionism - you think you know what it means, but not quite.  Being an introvert doesn't mean you love to be at home and being an extrovert doesn't mean you love being the life of a party, as hippie mommie just taught us. 

And . . . . big announcement!  Take a look at the SENG website. My first article at SENG.  I am thrilled, honored, and still wondering how in the world it happened.  But methinks me likes it! 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

6 Word Saturday

What a difference one week makes!

Let's see if I can get this one posted at Cate's place this week!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dear So and So

Wheeeeeeee!  Look at me doing the guest Dear So and So post today!  I am thrilled and honored that the great Kat at 3 bedroom bungalow is allowing me to be the Wo-Man today! 

So head over to her place to read them.  Seriously.  I worked hard on these this week.  I have new people to impress.  And you, faithful readers, won't be disappointed for following the link.  Kat is great, her blog is great, and My Dear So and So letters this week talk about rude phone callers, big butts and LOOMING SUMMER (say it with an echo, please).

Talk to ya later!  And if you just popped over here from Kat's blog to see if I'm really all that, I AM, I AM, I AM!!!  At least that's what I keep telling myself - you know, positive mental attitude is the first step toward . . . something or another - I'm not quite sure what, but I'm sure it's great! 

You click follow on mine, I'll click follow on yours.  ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bungee Jumping - Who Knew the Terror?

But once the terror subsided, WHAT A RUSH!

One minute is all it took, but I'll enjoy this video for a long, long time. Too bad I didn't have a video of running with the bulls and skydiving in my youthy-youth.

Our kids are like, "When can we do it?" We're like, "NEVER!" Just kidding - they can do it at an appropriate age, hooked to Mommy or Daddy. We're really open minded about our children getting special experiences that way. You know, when we can completely control the situation?

Husband did it too, but truthfully, the videos are identical, so I'll only bore you with one. AND it took 40 minutes to upload, for goodness' sake!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Technical Question Tuesday

HELP!!  I have a video of me bungee jumping I want to share.  How do you upload it to a Blogger account?

Anyone, anyone? 


Monday, May 10, 2010

My Happiness Project - the Hangover

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

I have a hangover today.  It's a happiness hangover. 

We got back from our little adventure yesterday.  You know, traveling 2000 miles to see a band?  In a word (and this is normally a word that I hate b/c it gets overused to the point of no longer having meaning) -


I will be boring you with the details all week.  Our impressions of Canada, what it was like to spend lengthy, quality time with Husband, the concerts, bungee jumping (yes, I have a video I will post). 

But I missed my kids.  SO.  MUCH. 

I won't pretend the first 2 days weren't spent giddily enjoying the adult time.  For example, flying on an airplane with only my own self to care for was wonderful. 

But by the time I woke up Saturday morning, I was aching for them.  I read a newspaper article (YES!  We actually lingered over the paper in the mornings) about a dying mother and the steps she'd taken to properly say goodbye to her children and sat bawling in McDonald's. 

It's the juxtaposition of happiness that Gretchen talks about in the book - sometimes things that make certain parts of you really happy, make other parts of you unhappy. 

So today I recover from the happiness hangover.  The rest of the week?  Details.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Super Sunday Series

Greetings from the slacking Super Sunday Series!  Look for a real Super Sunday Post next Sunday with links to a fellow blogger who did a great piece on introversion versus extroversion AND a link to an article written by yours truly for another gifted site.  It'll be all about cross promotion next week, friends!

See you then!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Go visit Cate too. 

Rocking out with Our Lady Peace. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dear So and So - to My Mother in Law

Head over to Kat's after you laugh at my antics this week.  And guess what???  I'm going to be guest poster at Dear So and So next week!  Oh, the pressure, the excitement.  I hope my week is deliciously bad so that my Dear So and So letters can be delicisously good. 

Dear Mother-in-Law -

Please don't hate me after reading the following letter about taking care of my kids.  I can't stress enough that it's meant to HELP you, not scare the living SH*T out of you.  So it's 10 pages and that seems long?  I actually edited it to make it more manageable.  Also, please still like me after taking care of my kids.  They love you.  They might not be able to help being a little freaky during their time away from Mommy. 

Then again, they may say Mommy, Who?  by the time I come home.

Taking Care of my children - a Small Novella by Missy

***Special Note: Everything scheduled for this weekend is OPTIONAL. It will help them to have the consistency of the routine, but if you decide to keep them home from school on Friday, or skip anything over the weekend, that’s TOTALLY FINE. But if you do decide to take them to school, picking them up loses the option of being optional.  The school can't keep them over the weekend.***

A. School

a. Drop off at Xam. Both girls.
b. Leave house around X (that is the goal, at least).
c. Have them get dressed before coming downstairs. Youngest can pick her own clothes within reason (crazy color combos fine, skirt AND dress not fine).
d. Youngest's underpants are in the drawer with the lamp – top drawer.
e. It is ok if you guys are late. They’re not sticklers about tardiness.
f. X or X can help you in case you need it. The girls both love them.
g. Youngest’s teachers are X and X, Oldest’s is X.
h. Youngest gets picked up at  Xon Friday – usually in her classroom – or the gym.
i. Oldest gets picked up at X – Thursday and Friday.
k. HoldYoungest's hand or carry her in the parking lot
l. Oldest takes a lunch – you can pack it or ask Oldest for help. She takes a milk, yogurt and crackers of some sort.
m. Youngest needs to take her backpack to school – it is pre-packed.
n. They both need to be signed in and out. Sign in is just writing the time by their name, sign out is writing the time and your signature. You are cleared for pick up.

B. Meals

a. You can plan to take them out for a meal 2 times. They love Panera, so that can be one choice. Another choice is Chipotle. Both are here in town - Panera’s on X Street and Chipotle is on X Street. They would love California Pizza Kitchen – if you know how to get there from here.
b. Breakfasts
i. Oldest usually wants toast with peanut butter and chocolate chips. She also likes to put Lucky Charm marshmallows on the squares (I cut them into 4 squares for her).
ii. Youngest is fairly difficult for breakfast, doesn’t really know what she wants, doesn’t like what you give her. She’s usually just not ready to eat. But she will do the same kind of toast as Oldest or lucky charms cereal with NO marsmallows.
iii. Both girls like hot chocolate for breakfast. Straws are in the corner cupboard, 2 to the left of the sink.

c. Lunches
i. Panera one day – Saturday or Sunday
ii. Peanut butter and jelly
iii. Yogurts
iv. Fruit
v. Crackers
vi. Soup (Youngest)
vii. Chips
viii. I usually let them have something sweet after lunch if they eat.

d. Dinners
i. Chicken nuggets and mac and cheese one night
ii. Out to dinner one night – Panera or Chipotle or California Pizza Kitchen
iii. PB and J one night
iv. Plain noodles with butter and cheese are fine too – Oldest would like that

e. Snacks are fine and dessert is fine. No more than 2 sets of fruit snacks per day.

f. They should clear their own plates. Take them to the sink.

C. Bedtime/Sleep

a. Youngest
i. Nap 1pm – she gets a diaper for it
ii. Nighttime - 8:00 to 8:15pm. IF she doesn’t nap, then 7-7:30
iii. Tinker bell jammies, with sleeves and legs rolled up
iv. Diaper for nighttime too

v. Routine
1. Sound machine on
2. Books – 2 or so
3. “cuddle” in the rocker, which is rock and talk for a few minutes. Sing three songs – Twinkle Twinkle, ABC and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Tell her when she has one minute left. Ask her if she wants her back or tummy. Make sure her legs are covered up and that she has blankie.
4. Door stays open unless she won’t stop calling you back with questions
5. Turn on her snowglobe music before you leave

vi. If Youngest wakes up during the night, it will be to ask for an extra cuddle or need to be covered up again.
vii. If she wakes up before 7am, tell her it’s too early and she needs to go back to sleep. Sometimes in order to make sure this happens without tears, I will tell her she can have a short cuddle then back to sleep. Sometimes she falls asleep, sometimes not, but I usually don’t let her get out for the day until 7:15-7:30

b. Oldest

i. 8:30-9pm
1. Have her potty, brush teeth and put on her own jammies.
2. I usually talk to her for a few minutes before bed
3. She leaves her door open too and her sound machine goes on also.

c. Oldest needs to be up between 7:30 and 7:45 in order to be ready for school on time. On Saturday she will sleep in pretty late. If you go to 11 mass on Sunday, she will sleep in that day too.

D. Activities

a. TV
i. They each get one show per child per day – less than 1 hour per show, weekend it can be a full length movie. I’m not going to jump up and down if you fudge this rule a little bit while we’re gone. Special treats with grandparents are ok. Just set the expectation up front. And neither one of them handle turning a TV off mid-show very well. Also, the more TV they watch, the more they start fighting. It’s an interesting dynamic.

b. Computer
i. Youngest is starting to get interested in computer. It’s a pain though, right now. Feel free to tell her she can do computer with mommy when Mommy gets back home.
ii. Oldest can do 1 hour per day (which is another reason to keep TV to one show per day).

c. Books
i. Best way to pass the time with these two. They’re all over the place.

d. Places to go
i. Library
ii. Conservatory
iii. Out for 2 meals
iv. Oldest has an art class on Saturday. Feel no obligation to do this. She can miss a week.
v. Playground  – watch Youngest on the high areas very closely – she’s quite a daredevil. You can put her in the stroller, Oldest can scooter there. Don’t take Lilly.
vi. See the Aunts and Uncles if you want – the girls would love it.

e. Crafts – in craft cupboard in dining room (old liquor cabinet) – both have access to it

f. We have a monster piggy bank activity they are saving to do with you – Oldest knows where it is.

g. Church Sunday – 8:30 or 11:00am

E. Lilly

a. Gets up b/w 6:30 and 7am
b. Take her outside right away – she will do potty and poo at this time. Back yard with the leash – walking her around in the upper area of the back yard.
c. She gets fed twice a day – right after she goes out in the morning and b/w 4 and 5pm.
d. Feed her ¼ to 1/3 cup food with a touch of water in it. Scoop some out of the big bowl into the little white bowl on the floor with the bowls.
e. She needs to go back out within 30 minutes of eating.
f. Water – keep in the bowl all day. None after 7pm. Helps with nighttime potty.
g. Sometimes she has accidents – you will find them in the kitchen for urine and in the living room for poo

h. Taking her out
i. 6:30am
ii. 7-7:30am
iii. Then every two-three hours for rest of day
iv. 30 minutes after she eats in the afternoon
v. Right before bed
vi. LIGHT – in the backyard for nighttime – gets turned on at side door

i. Where she stays
i. At night and when you leave, gate her into the kitchen with the gate and door. Close the gate at the side door too.

F. Miscellaneous

a. Working the TV
i. To turn the power on, press TV, then Power.
ii. To be able to change channels, then press CBL
iii. Oldest can help you work the DVR for their taped shows
iv. Shows that are off limits – Disney in the afternoon, Spongebob

b. General personality traits

i. Oldest
1. Likes to play alone in her room – if she’s having or has had a bad day, this can help get her to a better place
2. Extremely talkative
3. Knows house rules very well – can help you with anything
4. Knows where everything is in house – can help you with that too
5. Loves to read
6. Wants to do the right thing
7. Can get silly – and it’s hard to rein herself in if it goes too far
8. Very caring and nurturing with Youngest, but will get angry with her if Youngest goes in her room and gets in her stuff
9. If she yells at Youngest, Youngest will hit her – this is very upsetting to her
10. Losing dessert, TV time or Computer time, OR having to go to bed early all keep her in line if she’s misbehaving
11. Could live on liquids – small appetite
12. Still sleeps with her teddy
13. Will sometimes forget to clean up after herself, but is good at it when reminded
14. Biggest difficulty for her – unexpected change
15. Loves arts and crafts

ii. Youngest

1. Extremely independent
2. Wants to do many, many, many things by herself
3. Allowing her to keep her independence is a great way to get her to cooperate – “climb into your car seat or I’ll have to carry you into school.”
4. Likes to do call backs after nighttime bed – I try to limit it to two times - this is going to be the hardest time for her b/c she’ll be thinking about me in the dark – she might need extra cuddles – doing longer ones before bed might help
5. Ruled by her stomach – if she’s hungry, she’ll be cranky
6. Must have blankie in her bed – I’d encourage her to keep it there for safety
7. Potty trained – only needs minor reminders during day – if she says she doesn’t need to go, you can bank on that
8. Typically eats very little for breakfast right after she wakes up – so might not eat a big breakfast Friday morning
9. Likes to draw, paint, color, do stamps, read books, play little people, be active
10. Extremely talkative
11. Loves to help you do things
12. Gets up and down from her chair a lot at dinner time – she’ s much better in the morning and afternoon, so I don’t get overly upset about it
13. Will sometimes rock her chair – be careful, she can knock herself down
14. Likes “privacy” in the bathroom- as in, you wait outside the door for her – leave it open a little bit though
15. Will only wear skirts with almost any shirt, dresses OR jeans and either ballerina or hot chocolate shirt

c. Setting alarm at home
i. Information removed for safety.

d. Locking doors
i. Information removed for safety
e. Newspaper/mail
i. We get the newspaper daily – morning
ii. Mail comes n the afternoon

f. Cash for meals/gas
i. I’ve left an envelope on the kitchen counter with cash for meals, gas and incidentals

g. Computer for you – you can keep the computer on the whole time we’re gone, then you have access to your email.

G. What to do in case of emergency

a. Information removed for Safety

H. A Day in the Life

a. 6:30am – approximate time Lilly will wake up
i. Take her out
ii. Feed her
iii. Pack Oldest’s lunch
iv. Take her out again at 7:30 OR close her into the kitchen and take her out right before leaving

b. 7:00 to 7:30am – approximate timeYoungest will wake up

c. 7:30 to 7:45 wake Oldest up if school day
i. On Friday, both girls need to get dressed before coming downstairs
ii. Weekend, they can come down in their pajamas if they want

d. 8:00 breakfast – peanut butter, chocolate chip toast or cereal, hot chocolate

e. X – finish breakfast – get shoes, coats, close Lilly into kitchen

f. ********don’t stress if this takes longer than I’m predicting, they can get to school late! They can also help quite a bit.

g. X o'clock-  school drop off – Oldest can walk you to Youngest’s room. Ring the doorbell – Youngest usually wants to be held while waiting for the door to open and she will need a hug before going into the room. She might cry. That’s ok.

h. Take lilly out b/f you pick up Ingrid

i. Xo'clock – Youngest gets picked up

j. lunch

k. 1:00pm – Youngest's nap – with diaper. Read 2ish books first, then diaper, then cuddle in rocker. Sound machine on, give her choice of lying on back or tummy (she might choose side), cover her up, turn on her snow globe, leave her door open

l. Take lilly out during Youngest’s nap

m. 3:15 wake Ingrid up if she’s still asleep, can keep her diaper on, shoes

n. X o'clock– pick up Oldest

o. If Oldest has finished her work plan, she earns a trip to get something “desserty” – Youngest gets something too

p. 4pm – afternoon show

q. Feed lilly

r. 4:30 – play time, playground, etc

s. Take lilly out

t. 6:00pm – dinner

u. 6:30 – hang out, playtime, etc

v. 7:30ish – take lilly out

w. 8:00 – Youngest’s bedtime – same general format as nap, add Twinkle, Twinkly, ABC and Baa, Baa Black Sheep after book, at beginning of cuddle, leave door open

x. 8:30-8:45 Oldest – bed – potty, teeth, jammies, I usually hang out with her a little bit on her bed before turning out her light – have Greta check Squeakbot’s food and water before bed

y. 10:30 -11:00 Take Lilly out

z. Please don’t rue the day you ever said yes to this!!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We're Not Deadheads - Why Are We Doing This?

I've had moments where I've said to myself, "What are we thinking - traveling 2000 miles to see a band?"

This is really over-the-top, kind of Grateful Deadhead-like, frankly.

Then we listened to Our Lady Peace's Spritual Machines the other night and said, "Oh, yeah, traveling 2000 miles to see them really isn't that great a stretch after all."

Our Lady Peace intertwines our entire relationship.  They have been with us through defining moments of our lives, their lives parallel ours to a certain extent (in the sense that we've "grown up" with them - we are around the same age), and their lyrics call to us like nothing else we've ever heard.  Probably like the Beatles did for the generation immediately before ours. 

They are, without question, the most underrated band of all time.  And maybe that's good.  I'd be angry to see "plastic people" going around singing their songs without any concept of the depth to the words.

The music they were playing in our late 20's was hard-core, edgy, a little angry.  But when you dug beneath it, what you saw was uncertainty about life.  Who am I?  What am I seeing around me?  Why are things in life so unfair and is there anything to do besides be angry about it? 

Superman's Dead

I remember distinctly when Husband and I were on a road trip and had just left the strangest dinner of all time - a random steakhouse with an odd, odd, cast of characters around the table.  In our hooting and hollering about the hilarity of it, we totally forgot we were almost out of gas until we got 20 minutes down the highway and the "E" light came on.  We still had an hour to drive that night, we were in the mountains, and according to my Triptik (remember those?), there was only one place to stop for gas between where we were and where we needed to go.  Think Deliverance.  And the one gas station?  Completely boarded up and closed.  I got through it (one of my biggest, most irrational fears has always been running out of gas) by singing Clumsy.  More than once:

When Oldest was born and she wouldn't stop crying for months and months and months, it was so difficult.  I questioned so much about my life and whether I could even be a mother.  I eventually had to find a "happy place" to travel to when I paced the halls with her and she wouldn't stop.  That summer, Gravity was released.  When it got really bad, I would sing "Somewhere Out There" to her over and over, because I was so tired and it was the only song I could think of that lasted more than 30 seconds:

If you ever wonder whether your infant absorbs what they hear from you in their first year, take a look at this picture of Oldest singing Somewhere Out There at 3 years, 2 months, at someone's party with her Daddy.  Don't I wish we had a video of it?  She sang every word, right on tempo, all alone.

Their latest album was released in July 2009.  We drove 2.5 hours to see them in August, after winning a meet and greet contest.  So in August of 2009, on Husband's 8th concert and my 7th concert, we attended a sound check, talked with them afterward, took pictures, then came back for the show a couple of hours later.

That trip changed us, bonded us to each other and them even more than some of the others.  We were so worried that they might be jerks in real life and our image would be ruined!  They weren't.  They were so nice and they could have had 100 people to the sound check.  Guess how many they let in?  6!  We had real conversations with them.  We talked about raising kids.  Husband talked to the guitarist about different songs they both know.  I cried (even though I tried so hard not to - I wanted to maintain my "cool" so badly). 

That trip bonded us to each other because we had the chance to spend 5 hours in the car, alone, going to do one of our favorite things.  No TV, computer, chattering kids (who ARE our other favorite thing, you know).  Just quiet and each other. 

So I imagine when we learned they were doing a Canada-only tour of specialized concerts where they would play 2 nights in a row, do a full album set each night, followed by a regular set, it didn't take much thought to decide we were going.

Because really, if there is any way for us to bond, reconnect and reaffirm our love (besides through the children, of course), it's through our love of this band.  To travel halfway across north america to see them on our anniversary actually isn't that big of a stretch at all. 

The concerts will be my 8th and 9th and Husband's 9th and 10th shows. 

Paper Moon, on the latest album Burn, Burn is exactly why they mean as much as they do to us.  When I listen to the lyrics, it makes me say, "YES!  Doesn't everyone feel this way right now?"  If you listen to only one song embedded in this post, make it this one. 

Music has so much power.  It can heal you in so many ways.  Our Lady Peace does that for us.  They make us realize that all of these complex emotions we feel in life are not only OK, but important for growth.  If we didn't feel them, we'd be just going through the motions like many people in life do and that would not be ok. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The "Tomato" Drill

My children had a tornado drill at school on Friday.  According to Youngest's teacher, it was "traumatic."   

Apparently, the mere word "drill" totally freaks out Youngest and one other little boy in class.  So a loud fire drill is hugely traumatic, but even a quiet "just walk into the hall and assume the position" tornado drill causes all kinds of wailing and nashing of the teeth on the part of Youngest. 

So Friday was a tornado drill and Youngest was so distraught that the Executive Director of the whole place took pity on her and sat down behind her while she was in "tornado position," rubbing her back and trying to calm her. 

Youngest (2) was so appreciative that when she went back into her classroom, she asked her teacher if she could "write a letter" to the Director.  So she scibbled blue marker all over a paper and then the teacher wrote this letter, as dictated by Youngest:

Dear Name of Director:
I really liked it when you rubbed my back during the tomato drill.  You made me feel very safe today.
Love,  Youngest

Melts a mommy's heart, doesn't it?

If you have kids, have you ever been at school on a drill day?  When I am, it brings me to tears, watching the reality of our trust in the place we take our children every day.  We don't just trust them to educate, we trust them with their very lives in case of emergency.  To see how seriously they take this charge is overwhelming to me from the parent perspective.  And to think about "what if the real thing" did occur, how important all of these Drill Days would become is just mind-boggling. 

So today is Teacher Appreciation Day at their school.  And I will thank them here (and there) for teaching our children many life skills, not just academics.  I am blessed this year that all of my children's teachers view their job as more than a job, but a true calling to help each and every child reach their full potential and I am grateful to their dedication and selflessness. 

Thank you, Teachers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ticked Off Tuesday

Our newspaper just published an article about TV.  Among other things, it stated that the average family watches 58 hours of TV a week, add 20 hours per week to that if you are an African American family.

Is this amazing and unbelievable?  I really, truly cannot fathom watching that much TV in a house.  I did a little estimate of our own house and even by giving lots of leeway to weekend watching, this is what I came up with:

Me - Weeknights - 1.5
         Weekends - 2.5
Husband - Weeknights - 1
                 Weekends - 2.5
Oldest - Weekdays - .5
              Weekends - 1
Youngest - Weekdays - .5
                  Weekends - 1

Grand total  per week? 

Me - 12.5
Husband - 10
Oldest - 4.5
Youngest - 4.5

Grand total for all?  31.5 (pretty sure my math is correct there)

That's slightly more than 1/2 of the national average per family.  This article was only talking about TV, people.  Not screen time in general, by the way.  So it doesn't include computer or video game time. 

I've talked before about my disgust over these numbers and my horror and disbelief that they can be even accurate?  What in the world is going on with people's lives that they make the choice to watch almost 60 hours of TV a week?  If you are awake 16 hours per day, that means your TV is on more than half the time. 

No wonder things like obesity, diabetes, de-sensitivity to violence, laziness, lack of morals, very little family time, poor reading habits and skills and bad health have consumed our country in recent years.  No wonder other countries have passed us academically. 

We're too busy watching TV to even notice.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Happiness Project - the May Plan

It's Happiness Monday! I love My Happiness Project, where I decided to spend a year "finding" happiness with the help of Gretchen Rubin and her awesome book. Check out her website for more information. And buy the book! It's never too late to start your own Happiness Project.

May is for my love, Husband.  Poor guy's had to wait through 4 months to get a month devoted to him.  But that's ok:
  1. It was busy season.
  2. He didn't know what he was missing.
  3. There's a good reason I waited until May.  Read on.
It's our anniversary - we've been married 12 years this month.  It doesn't seem that long in the grand scheme of life, and it actually seems like just yesterday to me.  But if you put into perspective that we've been married for ALL of the school age years, it suddenly seems longer.  And more significant.  Worthy of something major, right?


May's Happiness Resolutions are:
  1. Buy Some Happiness.  I do this every month.  Gretchen spent a month buying happiness, but I decided to spread it out over the year because 1) I don't have unlimited cash and 2) I wanted to tie my buys into each month's theme.  This month's purchase is a trip for JUST US.  It makes me hyperventilate just typing this because it's so close in time now.  It's one thing to talk about it conceptually several months ago.  It's one thing to buy the tickets, reserve the room, get the passports, write out the notes for the children.  All of those "things" have ocurred over many months.   I've never left the kids (unless you count my hospital stay to have Youngest and 2 single over nights where we stayed within an hour of Oldest and were gone for 24 hours) and I'm a little terrified anxious tearful about it.   I know this will be good for us, it's what married couples do on occasion, right?  It just seems so far away and such a long time - 72 hours if you're wondering.  Good thing it's for a very good reason (in addition to the general reason of spending QT with my Swee-ty).  Come back Thursday for what we're doing on our trip. 
  2. Ask for time.  Instead of getting annoyed that he doesn't recognize when I need a break, just ask for the break.  Like right now.  They're at McDonald's having a grand old breakfast together and here I am tippy-typing on the computer in the morning, rather than at midnight.  Now THAT'S something that makes me happy and when Mama's happy . . . you know, everyone is. 
  3. Don't assign tasks - just do them.  Garbage, for example.  Sometimes I let it go for a really long time "just to see" how long it will take him to empty it.  Guess what?  I'm a lot more annoyed on those days than when I just take it out myself.  Really.
  4. Let him recover from busy season.  The guy's been working non-stop, 7 days a week for 3.5 months.  That takes some healing time.  And I need to let him have it instead of thinking of ways for him to give time to us. 
  5. Don't expect change.  Think of a way to live with it or work around it.  But he is who he is.  And in my life, he's fairly chronically late.  When I let it bother me, I get very angry.  When I look at the big picture and all of his awesome qualities, it's really not that big a deal.
  6. Make a list of his best qualities and give it to him
  7. Don't dump my insecurities on him (too much, at least).  This is tough for women, I think.  We need to talk, emote, get it out.  Sometimes we do it too much with our husbands and make them think we're more unhappy than what we are.  It's a balance, though, because some of the important things need to be discussed between a husband and a wife.  But does he NEED to hear every day how much the kids try my nerves from 4-6?  No, he knows.  And it starts to sound like I'm blaming him for not being here when I go on forever about it.  They're kids.  It's a tough time of day for them.  I'm not a bad mother for feeling exasperated by their antics during that time, so I need not emote about it to him incessantly. 
  8. Besides our trip, have 3 "just us" dates nights.  When Oldest was little (less than 3), we used to have date night every Saturday - with just the two of us.  Life has crept in on us in the last 5 years and now it's hard to get time to ourselves - there always seems to be a pre-arranged function to attend these days.  These are fine and important too, but we don't bond at them and it's important that we do.  We're both busy people, we need to keep our connections strong. 
So there you have it.  Feel free to mock me about my fear over leaving my kids.  I've been getting a lot of double takes when I share it's my first time. 

The truth is, though, I can't even remember what life was like before kids - lazy weekend days with nothing to do and actually being bored.  And while I sometimes want to get off the merry-go-round for a breather, most of the time I cherish this busy, busy life.  It's not going to last forever. 

There will come a day when we have only each other and our memories of these years.  It's important to keep our connections strong now so that we DO still like hanging around each other when the kids have gone.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

6 Word Saturday

Head over to Show My Face.  Lots of creativity there. 

May.  Busy as December.  Summer Looms.
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