Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Soooooooo Busy!!!

I don't even have time for this post! Work has me swamped, and's Christmas-time...what more can I say? I want to tell you all about the wonderful time I had last night working with families that are less fortunate, but it will have to wait. I want to tell you about how 98% of my Christmas cards are out, but that will have to wait. I want to tell you about how I have to have 6 dozen cookies made by tomorrow night, but that will have to wait.

I have work to do! Hopefully I can update soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Contest Winner and Update...

I'm sorry for the delay in letting you know who won the contest, but Jen from Sabbatical Mom won the $30 at! Congratulations Jen!!! Please send me your e-mail address and I will get you the info.

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I feel like I have been burried alive. On top of all of the holiday and work stress, I have two very sick kids. Ryan has pink eye on top of a really bad cold. He looks and feels miserable. Kylie has a stomach flu right now, and at 11:10 PM, I cannot see a bedtime in sight for me. 3 kids in her class threw up at school today, and she decided to join in the fun around 7:00 this evening. Unfortunately, she is on an every-20-minute schedule, so John and I will likely try to take turns getting 20 minute power naps with her tonight.

But in all of this, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that my kids rarely, and I mean rarely get sick. I'm thankfuly that my mom made us dinner tonight, and that they are here this weekend in case John and/or I contract this stomach-thing.

And I hope we don't get sick...we have John's office Christmas party tomorrow night, and then we have our house church potluck on Saturday, and I need to get a ton of stuff done this weekend...I have been praying really hard that John and I stay healthy, or at least that we get what Ryan has and NOT the stomach bug.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Good Night With Friends, Sick Baby...

This is the last day to enter the contest!!! Come on people…this is $30 free and clear!!!

What an evening…

Poor Ryan woke up sick yesterday morning. He was completely fine the day and night before, but woke up all congested and was just miserable and clingy the whole day. Thankfully, we as a family don’t get sick very often, so I really have nothing to complain about. But it’s still so hard when a baby is sick…it’s so hard to comfort him because he doesn’t watch TV, no matter how hard I try, and he just wants you to hold him, while standing up. Last night he was up from 2:00 AM - 4:00 AM again, only this time he was happy and playing in his crib from 2 - 3 (and constantly saying "dadda! Daaaadddddaaa!") and then whined himself to sleep from 3 - 4.

On a brighter side, our neighbors came over for dinner last night, and that was a ton of fun! With it being so cold outside, we never see them, and that’s hard to adjust to when we were used to seeing them every day during the summer. So the kids all played in the basement while the adults got to catch up. And Ryan even took a little nap, which made him feel a little better.

While discussing with my neighbor the next 2 ½ weeks leading up to Christmas, I started to stress again…I just hate how much there is to do! I still have to finish shopping, I have to wrap all of the presents, I have to get the Christmas cards out, I have to make more Christmas cookies, and we have a number of gatherings before Christmas where I need to make food or get a present ready. And it doesn’t help that I think I have the same cold as Ryan…I have had constant headaches and just don’t feel well.

I know I will get everything done…I just really hope to get it all done before Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Another fantastic weekend that ended too quickly!

But first…don’t forget about my contest below…post a comment to that post before midnight tomorrow night and you’ll be entered into the drawing for a $30 gift certificate to!!!

Friday evening my sister called me and said she was at the bridal salon and had found another dress that she liked better than the one she had picked out. So I ran over there and looked at it…definitely gorgeous and definitely made her happier! After that I rushed home for house church. Yet again, a fun evening with friends! I love that my hectic, stressful weeks end with a night with good friends and food :)

Saturday morning was a lazy morning. The kids played, and while Ryan went down for his morning nap, I actually laid on the couch for about a minute! Unfortunately, right at that time Kylie informed me that she was hungry for lunch. So I got back up and made everyone lunch :)

After Ryan’s nap, my mom, my dad, and the kids and I headed over to our town’s holiday festival. John’s company was doing a picture booth like they always do, so he was already there. This year it was nice having my parents there because the past few years they have been busy, and it has been just me navigating three kids through the absolute chaos!

The first thing we did was we went and saw Santa (I love this because we never have to go see a mall Santa because this Santa is awesome, takes his time, and we get great pictures!). Ryan of course screamed, which is good because I love that screaming Santa-picture! After Santa, John took the kids’ picture, and then we headed to the next room and did all of the crafts. The kids really have fun at this event each year…it just stinks because it’s so crowded, and there are so many small children and strollers, and no room to walk.

After we were done, we headed home and everyone took a nap :) After our naps we made some Christmas cookies and ate pizza. It really was a good Saturday! Sunday was church, and then grocery shopping and then just hanging out at home. After we cleaned up the playroom, the kids and I played a game of I Spy (the board game). If you have young kids I highly recommend this game…Josh and Kylie can play this equally well, and even I have a lot of fun playing it with them! Now it’s back to the grind of the week and stressing about getting everything done for Christmas. I’m about 60% done with my Christmas shopping and I’m waiting on a ton of packages to arrive. Once those get here, I hope to get some major wrapping done and hopefully be completely done the week before Christmas. That’s the goal anyway :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Lists and A CONTEST!!!

It’s no secret to those who know me that I love to cook. Part of the reason that I love to cook is because I love good food, and therefore, I love to make good food. It’s funny, I don’t enjoy cooking an easy mac ‘n cheese meal, because to me, that’s not “good food” (don’t get me wrong, that is a family staple in our house, I just don’t love cooking it). But you want pot roast with homemade mashed potatoes, onions and carrots? I will gladly whip that up for you!

So in the past years, my Christmas list contains many cooking items. Last year my list consisted of a wok, a Panini pan, a pasta machine, wooden spoons, a fryer, spatulas and measuring spoons. I received all of those items and have used them more times than I can count (except for the pasta roller thing, but that’s only because I haven’t taken the time to learn how to make pasta yet, but I’m dying to try!). And John’s gift to me last year? A set of three fabulous, hard-core knives. One of the best presents he’s ever gotten me, and it wasn’t even on my list! This year I have some cooking items on my list again, but not as many as I really don’t need many more items.

One thing that I would love to get some day is a whole set of good pots and pans. I was searching
cookware sets and drooling over the Calphalon sets. I’m very lucky in that I do have a bunch of Calphalon pans (all pretty much given to me at my wedding), and I love them. But not all of my pans are Calphalons, and sometimes those pans that aren’t make me angry :).

In the spirit of giving, the awesome people over at have given me a $30 gift certificate to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment to this post telling me what item you would love to have from by Midnight, EST on Wednesday, December 9th, and I will randomly pick one person to win the gift certificate!

I have browsed the site, and being the avid cooker that I am, everything looks so wonderful! I keep drooling over my Shun knives (seriously, if you ever want good knives, I LOVE them!) and hoping that maybe John will get me another one for Christmas. And if you want a good Panini pan, they have my Calphalon one on sale with free shipping! I have yet to make an actual “Panini,” but I use the pan all the time for grilled cheese! The kids even ask me to make it in that pan as opposed to a normal skillet.

So go to the site and look around…you will find some great deals! You can Christmas shop and maybe get yourself a little something too! And leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for the $30 gift certificate!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Quick Kiddo Update...

I’m really busy at work, which is unusual for December. Usually during this time I’m able to get everything ready for my busy time starting in January, clean up my office, and be able to take time-off guilt-free (of my own doing…not by anyone else). But this year is different. I’m working on a memo that is, quite frankly, draining me. It’s about a topic I just can’t get my arms around, and that’s so frustrating to me. I know that I will figure it out, I always do, but the road has been/will be bumpy.

So I’ll take a minute to give a quick kid recap and then I’ll dive back into the madness :)

-Kylie is the best big sister I’ve ever seen. She plays with Josh a lot, and hates it when he’s upset or getting in trouble. I can leave Ryan with her while I run and do something and know that she will watch him at all times and make sure he is not climbing the stairs!

-Joshie is adorable! His knowledge of sports never ceases to amaze me. He knows players, and rules, and teams and scores. Joshie knows his numbers a lot better than Kylie did at this age just because of watching so many sports! He’s also learning addition a lot earlier because of sports – his imaginary football games will have scores and we’ll work through what the new score is now that a team has scored a touchdown.

-Ryan is my buddy! Hearing “mamma” come out of his mouth in his high-pitched voice never gets old (even at 2:00 in the morning!). He’s a tough little kid…he bonks his head a lot and he’ll just sit there and rub it and move on. We have a little kids’ couch (made out of foam) down in the play room, and he likes to climb over the back of it and tumble down – he’s such a roly-poly! He has also mastered climbing up the little Tykes slide we have and sliding down. I can’t trust him completely by himself yet though…he likes to stand up and look over the edge :)

-Kylie is my little smarty-pants. We had her conferences and her reading evaluation put her at the level they like to see kids leaving first grade at. It’s no surprise as she loves to read and does it all the time. She does great on her spelling tests, and this week is her first week with two “challenge” words which are extra credit (holiday and thankful). She’s good at math, but not as strong as reading. Just about every other night John gives her a page of addition and subtraction problems as a timed test (this is what they do in school). She gets flustered and tells herself she can’t do the problems. I keep trying to work with her and tell her that she can do them, she just needs to calm down and breathe!

-Joshie makes me laugh the most. He makes the funniest faces when he talks, and he tells me “seriously” all the time. The way he pronounces his “Rs” is adorable and when he talks I just want to scoop him up and eat him! My worry with him is his weight. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but the kid is seriously skin and bones. When I pick him up I feel like I could break him. He doesn’t eat a whole lot…we make him eat his lunch and dinner, but it can be such a struggle. And just by watching him every day, I can see his caloric output is a lot higher than his input.

So that’s a quick recap…counting down until I get to spend the whole week with them after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas Cards and Jinxing...

Guess what the UPS man delivered to me last night? My Christmas cards! I’ve never, ever had my cards “done” this early before! So now all we have to do is run the envelopes through the printer, and they’ll be ready to go out. It will be such a huge relief to get those out…I always stress about getting them done, and last year they were mailed out on Christmas Eve!

If anyone wants a card from me, just send me your address!

As for the rest of my Christmas chores, I’m getting there :) I added a few more decorations to the house last night, and I ordered a couple more presents as well. I’m hoping to get some more ordered today during lunch. I really, really want to not have any stress as we get closer to the big day!

Another thing I realized last night is that I’m really good at jinxing myself…for some reason, as I was watching TV last night, I was appreciating the fact that Ryan sleeps through the night. I don’t know what prompted that thought, it was completely out of the blue. Well, as I’m sure you can guess, at 2:15 AM I heard my little guy whining. I went up to put his paci back in, and found him sitting up in the corner of his crib. When he saw me, he smiled and said “mamma.” He was ready to get up! I laid him back down and for 2 hours he played/whined/cried/played and finally fell asleep around 4:30.

So if you need anything jinxed, give me a call…apparently I’m super good at it :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009...

I can’t believe the long weekend is over :( It was so restful, and so relaxing, and we had so much fun!

The holiday started off with a short-notice viewing of the Rockette’s Christmas Show. My mom had wanted to go, so she took my sister, Kylie and I to the late afternoon show. Afterwards we all went to a very nice dinner out (Kylie didn’t understand why there were no kids menus).

After dinner we went home and hung out with the boys. The big thing that happened was that Ryan actually took a couple steps! He still has no interest in walking, but when he really wants something (like to come and see me), he’ll take some steps! Then the kids started up the movie Bedtime Stories, and part way through it my other sister arrived from Michigan. We went over the plans for the next day and all went to bed.

Thursday we woke up bright and early (I feel old, because just a few years ago, before kids, I had trouble dragging myself out of bed before the parade ended, and here I was up way before the thing even started!

I went downstairs and started making the traditional sticky buns, along with our new addition of homemade cinnamon rolls. Both of them turned out fantastic! We had enough leftovers that I’ve been bring the cinnamon rolls to work for breakfast, which has been an awesome treat.

We watched the parade and just lounged around, which felt so good! Around 12:30 we started making the food…first the appetizers which were going to be our lunch, and then the main dinner items. John got the garage all set up to fry the turkey and watch football. We were finally all ready to eat around 5:00, but no one was hungry! Seriously, all of the food was laid out on the island and no one wanted to eat. So a couple of us headed over to Michael’s because they had their cricut cartridges on sale. When we got back we all sat down and ate our wonderful dinner. After dinner we played Taboo, and it was neat because Kylie actually got to play a little – we had her on both teams and didn’t count her points, but I was so surprised at how well she did!

Friday we got up bright and early and headed down to John’s parents’. They were all going to the OU game, which started at 11:00. John’s sister, Kylie and Ryan and I wanted nothing to do with sitting out in the snow to watch a football game, so we stayed back at the house. John’s sister took Kylie to see a movie, and Ryan and I took a nap :) After the game we hung out for a little bit and then headed out to dinner. It was another great family dinner, only this time with pizza :) When we got back home, Ryan went to bed and Kylie and Joshie went over to my parents’ house (I think my dad was having withdrawal not seeing them for a whole day!), so John and I got to watch some TV and hang out together.

Saturday was another lazy day! I didn’t go anywhere, and we got to play with the kids a ton! That night my other sister came over, we got some Chinese, and watched the CBJ game and Night at The Museum 2.

Sunday was church, and then more playing and relaxing. We also went and bought our Christmas tree – we finally found an artificial one that we liked. So after my sister left to go back to Michigan, we got the house decorated. We only have a tiny little bit left to do, which is very different from the past years…usually it takes us forever to get everything decorated, but this year seemed so simple.

So that was Thanksgiving weekend 2009. I actually didn’t take too many pictures, which is strange, but I definitely had a great weekend, and I can’t wait until Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful...

I am thankful for so many things, but right now I would like to highlight the things that I am thankful for that are outside “the normal:”

-I am thankful that my kids are so close to my parents.

-I am thankful that my parents live next door some of the time.

-I am thankful that during the day, Joshie can go over and play at Grandma’s house.

-I’m thankful that the kids can freely and easily go back and forth between my parents’ house and ours.

-I’m thankful that my kids can spend the night at Grandma and Pappaw’s almost whenever they want.

-I’m thankful that my mom took Joshie and Ryan to see the zoo lights last night…I can tell they had a wonderful time.

-I’m thankful that at this time of year, a family dinner on a special day is not a super special occasion because we have them all the time!

-I’m very, very thankful for my family.

It’s interesting how your relationship with your parents changes over your lifetime. There were times that I really, really hated my parents. There were years that I counted down the days until I was 18 and could leave the house. And then over the second half of my life things got better. I think they realized that my strong personality was there to stay, and at the same time, I matured and learned how to communicate better. I think ultimately it came down to the fact that I was now an adult and I could no longer be told what to do, so compromises were made and there was mutual respect.

It’s also interesting when you think about the annoyances of parents (or in-laws) – it’s so easy to get upset and annoyed with them over things…especially now that you are both adults and have to learn to compromise, as opposed to one person having the authority to make you back down. BUT!!!! These are the people that made you who you are…or who made your spouse the way they are. Somehow, those quirks and characteristics helped mold you/your spouse into the very person they are today…whether it was good teaching, or you acting in the opposite direction because of how much you disagreed with them. Either way, if you at all like who you are, or you love who your spouse is…so much of that came from the parents.

And for that, I’m very thankful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

There Comes a Point When You Will Exhale...

Whitney Houston had a song in the 90’s titled “Exhale.”


Sometimes you’ll laugh
Sometimes you’ll cry
Life never tells us, the when’s or why’s
When you’ve got friends, to wish you well
You’ll find your point when
You will exhale

I remember hearing that song, and wondering if there would ever be a point in my life where I would be able to “exhale.” The song came out when I was a junior in high school. At that time, I had a long-term boyfriend, good grades, did gymnastics, and overall, life was pretty good…but I still didn’t feel like I could “exhale.”

I had forgotten about the song until last night. For some reason it popped into my mind and I started examining my life and wondering if now I could finally “exhale”…I mean I love my life and I’m so happy…but I’m still not sure I can “exhale.”

I feel like at any moment a crises could come up…right now everything seems to be aligned fairly well…we are part of a fantastic church, we have fantastic childcare, John and I have great jobs, we all have great health, etc. But any one of those things could be pulled right out from under us…and I would have to take a big breath and hold it again…until everything was resolved.

But as Christians we shouldn’t live that way. I definitely stress over things way too much…things that are completely out of my control. My stressing about these things does nothing but harm me, so I need to learn to let them go and give them to God. I need to learn to live my life as a constant breathing pattern…with equal inhales AND exhales.

So with that, I’m exhaling right now. I’m letting God take control of my life and I’m just breathing…which is what I was supposed to be doing the whole time. It’s kind of like Lamaze classes for childbirth…you go to class and learn how to breath so that when you’re the in the heat of the pain, it will come naturally to you**. So I’m practicing, so that when the next “crises” comes up, exhaling will be natural for me.

**While I did take childbirth classes, I opted (OK, really I begged) for the epidural. Is there an epidural option for life?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Relaxing Weekend!

What a glorious, glorious weekend!

Friday started with an awesome surprise rendezvous with John. Since I had been out of town, and he had worked until midnight on Thursday, we just hadn’t had any time to talk, let alone prepare for house church on Friday. So John called me up and told me to take the afternoon off so that we could get ready for that night. So we met at Panera, and we ate lunch and hung out and planned that evening’s activities for 2 ½ hours! We just sat there…and talked…and had so much fun! Then we went over to Best Buy to look at some gifts that we want to get the kids for Christmas. It was seriously one of the best afternoons that I’ve had in a long, long time. So many times if we have time off, our first instinct is to run home and be with the kids. But it’s so important to take time as a couple…and it’s awesome to do something you used to do before you had kids that you took for granted.

Friday night was house church and it was a ton of fun. We didn’t have a baby-sitter, which was not so fun, but other than that it was good to dive even deeper into marriages and grow closer as a group.

Saturday we “relaxed.” I say that lightly because I still did laundry all day, and we cleaned up a little, but overall it was relaxing because we didn’t have to go anywhere. I put up our Christmas lights because the weather was gorgeous (high 50’s and sunny), and the kids got some good outside time. The only downside to Saturday was that Ryan never seemed to be in a great mood. I realized later that’s because he’s got his other bottom teeth coming in.

Sunday was church, and it was our turn to teach the preschoolers. For the first time in months we didn’t have anywhere to be yesterday, so we actually got to stay after church and talk to people! That hasn’t happened in so long! It was nice because there was a birthday party in there after us, so they were blowing up these huge jumping things, and they let the kids jump on them for a while.

After church we went home and took a nap :) Ryan had a much better day…he was so much fun to play with! I made chicken wings and French fries (both extremely awesome, although our house now smells like a fast-food joint from the fryer), and in between batches we were all playing football. My parents were over for dinner and I just had a happy, “full” feeling that made it the perfect end to the weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Alone Time With Each Child...

The one thing I was always worried about with having multiple kids is not being able to give good one-on-one attention to any child after the first. You see it in almost every family, including my own growing up…my poor sisters didn’t get hardly any alone time with either of my parents, let alone both of them together…it’s just a fact of life. When you have your first, at least for us, every waking second was spent with that child. Taking them with you places was a piece of cake and fun…we took Kylie grocery shopping, out to dinner, shopping, etc…you name it, she went with us.

But once Josh came along, life got crazier. Having two kids was a lot more difficult to take places…one was in a carrier, and the other needed to be buckled into a car seat every time. And at home, one needed constant watching, while the other wanted constant attention. And then once the third came around…forget it! We were officially outnumbered!

But surprisingly, I’m very happy with how we have been able to give a good amount of one-on-one attention to each of the kids, at least by one parent. Take last night for example…Kylie and Ryan had gone to bed, but because Josh had taken such a good nap, he didn’t go to bed until I did, and even then he came up in my bed with me to snuggle. He and I were able to talk about some very important things (why we celebrate Christmas and Easter), and we were able to get in some good snuggle time. And since he’s the first boy, John spends a lot of alone time with him…watching sports on TV, playing hockey or football in the playroom or outside, and going to CBJ games. While they do those things, Kylie is usually off reading or playing school, and I’m able to have some one-on-one time with Ryan…playing with him and laughing with him. He still goes to bed pretty early, so once he’s down, Kylie and I are able to read together or play school.

So thankfully, so far, we have been able to make each child feel important and not just lump them all together. But it’s not easy…it has definitely taken a conscious effort on our part! It would be so easy for me to just plop in front of the TV when Kylie’s playing by herself and Ryan has gone to bed. And as tempting as that is, I know there will plenty of time for that in about 10 years :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NYC Recap...

Phew! I’m back and it feels so good to be home!

Despite being up for 20 hours on Monday, and checking into my hotel room only to find it was under maintenance and having to go all the way back down and get another room and move my stuff, and sitting through some of the most boring presenters I’ve ever heard, and despite having a long day yesterday with more all-day speakers and then traveling home, I had a good time in NYC :)

This is the official "ball" that will drop New Year's Eve 2009:

We walked to Rockefeller Center and partially saw the tree – they had it covered by scaffolding and we missed the great unveiling by one day! And Shakira was giving a concert on the ice rink, but we didn’t stay to see it because no one knew exactly what time she was going to be there and we were hungry!

Rockefeller Center:

My hotel was awesome (even though the service was not so great), and the conference was really good (although, like I said, some of the presenters could use some public speaking lessons). I had an awesome view out of my window, got to meet up with an old friend, and then got to go shopping sans kids and have a very nice dinner with my boss. I really had a good time and honestly, except for having a hard time shopping because I kept feeling like I didn’t have time to just be browsing (is that what having kids does to us?), I was able to enjoy myself and really appreciate the “me” time. My boss and I actually walked through Saks 5th Avenue where we stopped at several cosmetic counters and over-enthusiastic girls kept trying to sell me $200 eye cream. Do you know the last time I did that??? I was in college!

The view from my hotel room:

While at first I was sad to leave, a couple of things happened that made me happy to get on a plane and return to my Midwest city:

1.) I realized that NYC people, in general, are rude (when compared to what I'm used to in my Midwestern state)! I especially saw this as grown men cut in front of me in the drink line at lunch. I said something to my boss, who is from the east coast, and she told me it’s normal for them to do that. So I guess if everyone is from the city, then it’s no big deal, but for this Midwestern girl, who spends so much time and energy teaching her kids to be polite and not cut in front of people in line, it was a shock!

2.) I had the worst cab ride ever back to the airport! This guy honked his horn for no reason (no one was moving, so there was no where for us to go), almost hit several people, and kept slamming on the breaks. I felt so sick by the time we got to the airport!

When I got home last night the kids were so excited to see me! I got a ton of hugs and kisses. Ryan surprised me…he smiled and put his arms out for me, but then he just wanted to watch and play football! The kids loved the presents I got for them…Joshie got a lot of my conference freebies – a football, some golf balls, and some pens and paper. I got Kylie an American Girl book – Meet Molly, who was my favorite American Girl when I was little and read the books (although back then there were only 3 girls, now there are a ton!). I gave Ryan one of the little stress balls I had gotten at the conference.

Kylie and I read some of her book (what a difference a year makes…I had gotten her the Meet Kit book last summer and it was still pretty difficult for her to read, but she is flying through her Meet Molly book!), and then I put them all to bed. I started preparing for our house church on Friday, and then I realized that I could hear Joshie moving around a lot upstairs. I went up to check on him and he was wide awake! I guess he’s been taking super naps during the day, so he’s not tired when Kylie goes to bed. So I brought him down, he ate a snack (a whole pack of carrots and a whole big granola bar!) and he watched some football. After a while I told him I was going up to bed and he told me he wanted to snuggle with me! He never does that…he always wants to stay down with John. So he and I went upstairs, and he wrapped my arms around him and feel right asleep. It was pure heaven for me!

So while the trip was wonderful, I’m OK with not going back for a while :) I do hope that the next time I go back I’m able to go with John. He and I would have so much fun in that city! Someday…probably when an $800 hotel bill for 2 nights doesn’t scare us anymore :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have had a great time here in New York so far...the conference yesterday was informative, and then last night I got to meet up with a friend from college. We went to a fabulous, local restaurant where I had the best fried chicken I've ever had!

Today it has been more conferences, and then the whole thing will end at 3:00. Then I will get to go out and explore the city. The view from my hotel room is Times Square...I can see "the ball" (you know, the one that drops on New Year's Eve?), and all of the TVs light up my room. The weather here is great (especially for November)'s sunny and in the mid to high 50's.

Tomorrow is another conference and then I get to go home. I miss the kiddos, of course, but the excitement of being here has helped me not think about them every second :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Tomorrow morning (at 6:00 AM to be exact), I will be on a plane headed for NYC. I have a conference there for three days, and then I'll be heading home.

I'm excited to travel...I only get to about once per year with my job, and what better place is there than New York City? But I am going to miss my kids a am I going to go three days without seeing them?

I'm hoping that I will be so busy with my seminars and then site-seeing that I will forget about missing them, but I doubt didn't work last year :(

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stop and Enjoy...

The other day I was behind this car that was going slower than I wanted to go. I was in a hurry…I had gotten held-up at work and I was going to be about 25 minutes late relieving our nanny. And I’m never late for her…I respect her time, and even though I had called her and told her I was late, I still felt horrible. But anyway, this car was going the actual speed limit…not even 5 MPH above. I noticed that an older gentleman was driving the car, and I immediately realized he probably didn’t have anywhere he had to be anytime soon…he didn’t have a nanny to get home to, or kids. Then I thought back to what my life was like before kids…it didn’t matter if I needed to stay late at work…I don’t think I would have even called John if I was only going to be 25 minutes late…I would have to be an hour late in order to warrant a call to him.

Then I started to think about the future…I wondered how it would get back to how it was before kids…will it happen gradually? Will all of the kids get older and soon they would be old enough to care for themselves and not need me to call or rush home? Or will it not happen until my youngest leaves for college and all of a sudden…BAM! No need to call home because no one is there to answer the phone.

These experiences remind me that this time will go quickly, and whether it is in fact gradual, or all of a sudden, my kids will be gone before I know it, and I will no longer have anyone to rush home to (OK, I will have John, but I’m sure he will welcome the opportunity to stay at work since is adores what he does so much).

The trick is trying to find a way to slow down and appreciate the time…any suggestions? I’m desperately trying…but as all of you mothers know, days are filled with routines that involve school, work, homework, meal-cooking, cleaning, and other normal activities. Along with the normal annoyances that kids bring that I will one day miss (there will be a day that no one asks me for juice warmed up with warm water).

I’m scared of my future without kids…I think that’s why I want a lot of them, so that when the youngest finally leaves the house, I really will be too tired to be sad :) I know that John and I will have fun…we have all kinds of plans for retirement, which is why we started having kids so young. But a huge part of what defines me is being a mom, and while I know I always will be one, the importance of me gradually dies down as my kids get older.

So I pray that I remember to stop and enjoy more often. And that I stop trying to hurry everything up, because I know that I’m quickly approaching the point in my life where I will desperately want everything to slow down.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Front Porch Monday, Front Porch Wednesday, Whatever The Heck it's Called Now...

Last night was a crazy good night!

I got home and Kylie and Josh were CRAZY! They were so hyper! But it was so good to see Kylie feeling better…she had gone to school and had a fantastic day.

I made dinner while Ky and Josh played tag with occasional breaks on the couch…our house has not been that crazy loud in a long time :)

After dinner the kids and I made cookies and then the kids got ready for bed. Joshie really wanted to watch the end of the hockey game, but it was “go to bed early night” (aka, front porch Monday moved to Wednesday), so we let him watch it up in his room (we have a TV in there because it is more of a guest room because he sleeps in with Kylie 99% of the time). Kylie slept in there too, but was asleep within 5 minutes of lying down.

So John and I used our “front porch Monday” time to work on the material for our house church on Friday. We are studying the book “Men are Like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti,” and this week we are reading about how men process life and how women process life (men in boxes like waffles, and women in life-connections like spaghetti). We are also reading about how important communication is, and how important listening is to our communication. We came up with some activities for the couples to do and with some real-life examples from our marriage to use in order to help get some of the points across to everyone.

We had a lot of fun doing this, and as a result, didn’t end up finishing up and going to bed until 11:30, which is super late for me lately!

I love working on this stuff with John…I love having projects with him. We used to do a lot of projects before we had kids…we would do everything together. We would paint, do yard work, shop, etc., but once we had kids, obviously someone has to stay back and watch the kids, so there aren’t many things that we work on together anymore. But this is a big project, and every week we’re forced to work on it together, and I think it’s really helping to strengthen our marriage even more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


People who know John know that he is a bit of a neat freak. I honestly can’t remember if I’ve talked about it at all on here, but most people that know us has heard me complain about it more than once.

He has always been super organized…when we first got married he kept every “important” paper we had in a neat place, and he always paid our bills and kept everything super organized. But as far as actual cleaning, I was the one that was crazy about it…my kitchen floors always had to be spotless (I always wanted to be able to walk around without shoes on and not get my socks dirty) and I didn’t want dust anywhere. We would often fight because I felt like I was spending so much time cleaning while he was watching TV.

And then we had kids, and I relaxed a little. I knew that kids make messes and get toys out, and I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with everything all the time. Thankfully when Josh was born, we finally bit the bullet and hired someone to clean our house because it was just not getting done.

And then we moved, and John went into overdrive. I know psychologically it was the new house…he wanted to keep it nice and take care of it. I have since realized that this is an area where he feels success in (which is extremely important for men to feel in order to be comfortable and happy in a relationship). Unfortunately, he seemed to be getting progressively worse.

For a while, he vacuumed almost everyday. Then he went and spent a ridiculous amount on a vacuum (trust me, a dyson doesn’t even come close). He believes that since the kids have a playroom, there is absolutely no need for any of their toys to ever leave that playroom. He steam cleaned the kitchen floor almost daily, and the toys of Ryan’s that are in the family room were always pushed back neatly against the wall.

We were back to having serious conflicts, only this time it was me trying to get him to lighten up and him trying to get me to help him out more. I can’t tell you how many times we fought about this…and I feel like he expects so much of the kids! I mean they are just kids, right?

So we’ve talked and talked, and I think he understands where I am coming from, and I understand and respect how he feels. Making the kids clean up their playroom each night is not a lot to ask. And I definitely don’t want to raise slobs, so after discussing it with him I completely agreed that the kids need to learn how to clean up after themselves. And I make a lot more effort to keep all of my stuff picked up, even though if I lived by myself the stuff would stay where it’s at. And John has lightened up on his cleaning. He only cleans the floor about 1 or 2 times per week, and only vacuums once a week or every-other week (which is still in addition to the bi-weekly cleaning we have done).

BUT….I am spoiled, and I realize that every time I talk to any of my friends. Every morning when I leave for work, the dishes are all done, the counters are clean, and the whole main level is picked up. I never have to worry about inviting people over because our house is almost always clean and picked up. And nothing is ever shoved anywhere…you can always open our closets without fear of anything falling on you :) John really does a fantastic job of keeping our house clean and comfortable. I know that I am super lucky to have such a great husband!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sickness in the House...

Yesterday I had to leave work and go pick Kylie up from school. She had a fever of 101.9 :( I talked to my nanny and she said the boys had just fallen asleep, so instead of having her wake them up to go and get Kylie, I went and go her and worked from home while she relaxed on the couch.

What surprised my nanny, John, and me was that the school said she couldn’t come back to school the next day. Now I know daycares have this rule, but school? She actually still feels a little under the weather, so I wouldn’t have sent her anyway, but so many times with kids they are sick one day and completely fine the next day…and to miss a day of school? A day of learning? It just doesn’t make sense to me…

I guess I just don’t understand when this “rule” stops…I mean, had Kylie not gone to the nurse’s office yesterday, no one would have known she had a fever, and she could go back whenever she wanted to. And think about middle school and high school when you went to the nurse’s office…no one took my temperature…I just laid down and waited for my mom to get me…no one told me I couldn’t come back the next day. Because in high school, I would have loved it if someone said I couldn’t come back because I had a fever.

I just don’t understand the whole fever thing…kids are walking around contagious with all kinds of things all the time (think back to how you got chicken pox!), but heaven forbid a kid has a fever, then they are forbidden from the building for 2+ days. A fever just means your body is fighting the sickness – so if the fever is gone the next day, and the child is better, why on earth can’t they go to school?

I know there are people out there that are super “anti-germs,” and while I can’t really empathize with them (germs are all around us and I truly think we have gone too far, eliminating the “good” germs with all of our antibacterializing***), I can respect their thoughts. But kids are in school, breathing on each other, touching each other, and germs are all around. It’s a fact of life, kids spread germs.

And the funny thing is, I’m the complete opposite of a germ-a-phobe, and my kids are very rarely sick. They usually only get 1 or 2 colds per year, and they are exposed to other kids all the time. So I wonder how much all the hand-washing and hand sanitizer using is really doing for all of those people that are really paranoid about it?

These thoughts are so random, but when you have a child that loves school, it’s hard when she has to be home. Even on the way home yesterday from picking her up (looking miserable and coughing), she started crying because she couldn’t go to school today.

***This is my thought for normal, healthy children. I know that there are kids out there with underlying health conditions that make normal childhood illnesses much worse and more difficult to handle, and my viewpoint for my family would definitely be different if my children fell into this category.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Gorgeous, Fun-Filled Weekend!

What a weekend!

The weekend started Friday night with Kylie and Joshie heading over to Aunt Mimi’s for a cousins’ sleepover. They were really looking forward to this!

After the kids left, I took Ryan over to my mom’s house, and then John and I finished getting ready for house church. We practiced the little “skit” we had planned, and around 6:30 people starting coming. We hung out and socialized and ate wonderful food for about 45 minutes, and then John and I introduced the book that we were going to be studying. After that we all watched Father of the Bride. After the movie people stayed around and talked some more…it was so much fun hanging out with the people that were there! After everyone left we went and got Ryan and watched TV before going to bed.

Saturday morning Ryan had me up at 6:45! I hadn’t fallen asleep until 1:00, so I was a little tired :) But he and I played while John slept and I had so much fun! I’m so thankful to all of our family members that take Kylie and Josh at times so that Ryan can get some one-on-one time with us…I know third children usually don’t get much of that, so I really appreciate the alone time that I do get with him! Later that morning he went down for a nap and John and I were able to get a ton of stuff done around the house…it truly is amazing how one child seems so easy when you’re used to having three around!

Kylie and Josh came home at lunch time and finished the scavenger hunt that my sister-in-law had set up at our house. They had such a fun time at their sleepover!

Kylie, Ryan, my mom and I headed to the outlets so that I could get the last few things the kids needed for winter. John and Josh headed to my uncle’s house in the woods for some game-watching, four-wheeler-riding, gun-shooting male bonding.

Ryan didn’t fall asleep until we were halfway to the outlets…I should have known this was a bad sign! Kylie on the other hand slept almost the whole way there, which was surprising since she doesn’t take naps anymore.

Once at the stores, my mom helped out a ton by watching the kids while I shopped a little for me and for the kids. She took them over to the playground and desperately tried to get Ryan to nap (he never did). The great thing was the weather was gorgeous! It was in the mid-60’s and sunny! We ended up leaving around 8:00 and the kids were exhausted!

Sunday we got up for church, and on the way there Joshie complained his belly hurt. He said it again when we pulled into the parking lot, so when we got out I loosened his pants (this usually fixes belly problems). Within a minute he was throwing up. So I took the other kids into church to get them settled and get the kids’ room set up (we were teaching that morning). John came in and he taught the kids while I took Ryan and Joshie home. It was strange…Josh was fine…he hadn’t eaten anything (except for 3 oreos…his normal Sunday breakfast at Pappaw’s), and once we were home he was starved. He ate some crackers, took a nap, and then ate lunch and was totally fine! Ryan slept for over 2 hours, so it was good that we went home so he could sleep.

Sunday afternoon was Joshie’s last football game :( Thankfully, the weather was so extremely beautiful…70 degrees and sunny. I wore a short-sleeved shirt and used my blanket to sit on instead of to bundle up with to keep warm :) It was the championship game, and they were playing the only team that had beat them. Making it more important to win was the fact that this team played dirty. In this age group, the coaches are the quarterbacks, and their coach would stand up and act like he was going to pass (every time) and then hand it off to a kid that was by him. That was how they won earlier in the season. So this time, the Browns were prepared! Our defense just stood there and waited after the ball was hiked, and it paid off because they won!

The boys got a medal, a certificate, and a trophy that said “Super Bowl Champions.” Joshie would not let go of his trophy, even when he was trying to eat his snack!

After the game the kids played outside and we talked to the neighbors for a little bit before heading inside. Josh had convinced John he needed more silly string, so John took Kylie and Josh to the store. Kylie went because she was going to get “big girl soaps.” We’re trying to get them to take showers up in their bathroom, instead of in ours, and one of the things hindering that was the Kylie used my soap (she didn’t want to use “baby” soap anymore). So she came back with Pantene shampoo and conditioner, and Suave Cherry Blossom shower gel. John said that she had to smell every one before picking which one she wanted.

While they were at the store, Ryan and I got to play for a while. He had just woken up from a 3 hour nap, so he was in such a good mood! He and I played and played, and then at 8:00 he finally wanted some dinner. By 9:00 Kylie and Ryan were in bed, and Joshie and John were snuggling on the couch together.

It was a wonderful weekend, and while it was a little more busy than I had hoped, we all had a ton of fun!