Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thank Goodness for DVR... - The place for profile layouts, flash generators, glitter graphics, backgrounds and codes
Myspace Stuff

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year. My husband and I had plans for people to come over, but unfortunately AZ has a slight fever and one of their kids has a rash. My how kids are so unpredictable. I doubt I make it to see the ball drop this year since AZ was up most of the night last night. We may just watch a movie and record the New Year's Eve shows. Maybe we'll watch those shows Friday or Saturday night and celebrate the New Year with friends then. Thank goodness for DVR.

Have a safe, happy new year. Good-bye 2009. Hello 2010!

My Very 1st BLOG AWARD!!!

Oh my gosh, I'm as giddy as a school kid when summer break begins! I got a BLOG AWARD! Yay! Thank you so much, Once Upon A Mommy!

I guess there are rules when you get an award. A little like Pay It Forward I guess. So here are the rules:

~Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
~Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
~Link the nominees within your post.
~Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
~Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Now, drum roll please, here are my winners -
Goodness And Mercy Mom at Goodness And Mercy Shall Follow
Amanda at Imperfectly Beautiful
Samantha at Mama Notes
Heather at Freebies4Mom
A Thrifty Mom at A Thrifty Mom
Christie O. at Baby Tea Leaves
Ruby at Growing up BLACKXICAN
Tammi at My Organized Chaos
Shannon at The Mommy Files
Melinda at The Hippie Mommy with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Thanks again! And congrats to MY winners. Have a great New Year.

Thrifty Thursday #6

She Saved had a post on how to get a FREE Talla Sales Tiger Plush Toy, so I signed up for that. My kids will love that, as will I. We'll add that to our WHO DEY collection. Yay!

I won that FREE pair of LEE jeans by becoming their fan on facebook. I originally heard of this contest from Freebies4Mom. Thanks, Freebies4Mom!

Striving to be my Best

I absolutely LOVE Christmas and all that magic and excitement, but I do NOT like the mess that comes with it. The post-holiday-clean-up seems to last as long as the pre-holiday-rush for me. I took all the decorations down yesterday, and stripped the tree of the memorable ornaments that made it so special and beautiful. I've found places for new toys, though I feel I'll need to start putting some away for donation piles. That part gets tricky because of my daycare and the age range, though. I'm feeling the need to regroup, which for me equals dusting, vacuuming, laundry, etc. I feel the need for getting completely back into routine. My routine will be new, though, because I've started watching a 3 month old baby. Yes, I am a little nutty. So, now I have my 3 & 1/2 year old and almost 2 year old, two other almost 2 year olds, and a baby in my care full time. New routines are a must with the new baby here now.

Along with regrouping and regaining a routine, I'd like to start on my goals, and OK I'll say it, resolutions for this upcoming year. I'm going to be brave by putting it all out there, and I'm hoping some of you are as equally brave and help hold me accountable.

Goal/Resolution #1: Lose this baby weight. Do I really have the right to call it baby weight anymore? My youngest baby is almost 2 years old for crying out loud. I'll call it my, I'm-too-lazy-to-work-out-and-lose-the-weight-I-gained-while-I-was-pregnant weight. Now, I gained over 50 pounds with both AZ and WC. I lost everything after AZ was born and before getting pregnant with WC, but it hasn't been as easy losing the last 20 or so pounds after WC. I guess it's true that "your metabolism will slow down when you turn 30." BOO! Therefore, I am on the hunt for a fun way to shed some pounds. I have the treadmill in the playroom now, so hopefully that's at least a starting place. I'm also looking into some fun weight loss challenges that I've come across on some of the blogs I follow. I haven't decided which I like best, but here they are. The first one is The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, and you can learn more about that one HERE. The other one I'm considering is called Body After Baby. I found out about that one HERE. I've also considered doing the tapes, yes that's VHS tapes, or DVD work outs I have. I highly doubt I'll try the P90X again, as that is at LEAST an hour everyday. Who has that kind of time?

Goal/Resolution #2: Continue to save money using coupons and sales, and get even better at it. One thing I LOVE about the blogosphere is that soooo many women out there are extremely generous in sharing when they find a deal. Some blogs will actually match up stores sales with coupons, making it extremely easy to find great deals. Thank you to all of those wonderful blogs. The Kroger I shop at actually shows me on the receipt the percentage of my savings. I'm hoping to save above 30% on EVERY shopping trip.

Goal/Resolution #3: Become better acquainted with our finances. So, I'm saving money shopping and finding deals, but where is that money going and what is it doing? I'm going to take over the bills and finances for a while to figure all of this out. Yes, I'm adding another thing to my plate.

Goal/Resolution #4: Send out greeting cards for birthdays and anniversaries to friends and family. What is better than getting a card from a friend or family member on your birthday or anniversary. It's always nice to know that someone out there has remembered a special occasion for you. I used to be pretty good at sending out cards. I made this resolution a couple of years ago, and was pretty good until about April/May. The next year I was even better, getting cards out until around Septemberish. This year I am determined to get cards out from January-December. Wish me luck.

Goal/Resolution #5: Spend more time doing FUN things with the kids. My husband and I were just discussing last night how we'd like to each have one-on-one time with each kid, as well as go out and do fun things as a family. This is going to be a fun goal for us, and I certainly hope we are successful with this one. I hope I'm successful with them all, but this one is really high on the priority list for us.

Goal/Resolution #6: Find some quality "me" time. Seriously, this will be way too much information, but I was just in the bathroom doing my business with both of my children in there. AZ was sitting across from the toilet while WC was on my lap. Yes, my lap! Come on. I need a few minutes to myself, kiddos. The mom's group I am in will definitely continue helping me on this journey.

Goal/Resolution #7: Decide if I want to become a member of our church. I feel that it's such a commitment to the church, and I just want to make sure that I am prepared to contribute and become a member of that community. I REALLY want to get the kids baptized. AZ is 3 & 1/2 and WC is almost 2, and I know that their faith will be in their hands when they get older, but I'd like to do this for me I guess, to participate in the ceremony of dedicating my children to God. I already know they are His, and they're on loan to me, but it's in my heart to do this.

Goal/Resolution #8: Stop sweating the small stuff. Start looking at the BIG picture. So what that WC has pulled out all the VHS tapes from the cabinet and is making a mess right now. So what if my dear husband leaves his dishes on the counter. Is it really that important? My OCD personality says, YES. CLEAN IT UP!! I need to relax.

The perfectionist in me could continue to make goals/resolutions until my fingers cramped up from all the typing, but I am going to stop here. Although I find faults in myself so easily, I know no one is perfect. It doesn't matter that I know this, I will continue to strive for perfection. I want to be my best, and how will I know what my best is unless I continue to push myself.

What are your goals/resolutions for 2010? I wish you, and myself, luck in accomplishing and achieving all our hearts desires for this upcoming year. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Free sample of Enfamil Formula

This is for readers who happen to have new babies who may or may not want formula(it always has a far off expiration date) or readings who are currently expecting. So, JK and KK. Or maybe for readers who would like to get this for donations. That could be any of you.

I read at A Thrifty Mom that you can sign up by midnight on Dec. 31st to get a free sample of Enfamil Baby Formula. Go HERE to print your certificate.

I figure I will put some of my blogging to good use and tell you about some of the awesome giveaways I find. I'll always link you back to the original blog I've found the deal on, and you should check them out.

Wednesday's Weekly Wishes #5

Over at Coupon Clippin' Mommy, I've entered a giveaway for 100 Postcards from Uprinting. I wish to win these, but they wouldn't be for me. I'd use them as invitations to something special, like JK's baby shower. ;)

Another wish this week is for me to win another giveaway. This one is at Frugal Mom Knows Best. We all know how much WC LOVES him some Thomas the Train. Well this give away is for Thomas and Friends Splish Splash Splosh DVD! How perfect is that?

As always, I wish for more sleep. AZ was up a few times last night. And of course WC was up and ready to go at 6:30 this morning.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

Calm...that's what I think our Christmases are right now. Christmas 2008 wasn't a flurry of excitement for AZ or WC because she was just 2 & 1/2 and he was only 10 months old. I was certainly hoping for more excitement for Christmas 2009. Here's what we got:

Christmas morning AZ wakes up and comes into our room. There's definitely nothing unusual there. After she's done going potty, I say to her, "Who came to our house last night?" Her response was, "Uma and Papa." Me: "Who else came to our house?" Her: "Uncle C, Aunt K, DG, and AL." I'm guessing we need to talk Santa up a little bit more next year.

After WC woke up, we all headed downstairs. There were no squeals of excitement from the kids. I think I was more excited for them to see Santa's gifts than they were. And of course, after they saw the awesome tool bench and tools, they didn't want to open anything else. I felt like it was a chore to get them to open presents this year. Of course they LOVE everything they got, and they are so darn cute playing with one another, but the magical excitement and happy squeals didn't happen this year.

And if the last couple of Christmases are the calm, bring on the storm. I'm ready!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Free Graphics - MySpace/Xanga/Friendster

Friday's Funny Phrases #3

While at a holiday gathering, AZ ran into an early twenties guy who was wearing VERY ripped up jeans with long johns underneath, which is obviously a fashion statement that shows just how old I am because I don't get it. Anyway, she looks up at him and says, "Your pants are broken. You need to fix them."

On the drive home from said holiday gathering, AZ gets the sniffles. Snif. "Boogers, leave me alone." Snif, Snif. "Boogers, leave me alone." Snif, Snif. "Boogers, LEAVE ME ALONE." Snif. "Mommy, my boogers won't leave me alone."

At dinner, I was desperately trying to get AZ to actually eat something other than macaroni and cheese. She had mashed potatoes, that I know she likes, along with mashed potatoes, lima beans (yeah right), 1/8 of a cereal bar, and a slice of cheese. Begging her to try a bite of mashed potatoes because I KNOW SHE LIKES THEM, she looks at me and says, "Mommy there's a baby coming out of my belly. Look. The feet are touching." What? "I'm going to touch it in my belly button." Hee, hee, hee, hee. My silly girl.

Alright, so it's not a saying, but I thought it was funny - I heard WC rummaging in a kitchen drawer. The next thing I know, he's run out into the family room yielding a chop stick like he's Harry Potter. He must be my little wizard!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thrifty Thursday #5

I LOVE guacamole! I could seriously put it on anything. So, I was thrilled when Frugal Racing Fan Mommy posted about a BOGO Wholly Guacamole. Yay! Combine that coupon, found HERE with the $1.00 off coupons from Sunday inserts, and I'm set! They're normally 2/$5 at my Kroger without coupons or sales, so at the very most, I'll pay $1.50 for two on my next trip. LOVE it! Thank you Frugal Racing Fan Mommy! Edit - They're on sale at Kroger for $1! I'm getting 4 for FREE!!

CVS has a great deal for me this week. I can score some Nivea Body wash for free, or make money on it! They will cost $5.99, but I'll get $5 cash back with register rewards, AND I have a $2.00 off coupon found HERE. I found this deal through Couponing For 4.

We all know how much I LOVE my coffee, and of course I need coffee creamer to go with it. I've heard from multiple bloggers, and signed up to get another FREE pint of International Delight Coffee creamer by registering on their facebook page. Thanks to Coupon Clippin' Mommy, Couponing for 4, Frugal Racing Fan Mommy, Freebies4Mom, A Thrifty Mom and MomsbyHeart.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday's Weekly Wishes #4

I wish kids were born sleeping through the night.

I wish to leave the world a better place for my children.

I wish for a mini-van, and a maid, and a good nights sleep, or two.

I wish for everyone to be kind, generous, and thoughtful of others this holiday season and ALWAYS.

I wish for hearts of those far from family to be comforted, mine included. I wish for all stomachs to be satisfied, all bodies to be warm with shelter, and all hearts to be filled with love.

I wish for a White Christmas.

I wish to find the beauty in everything.

I wish to stop and savor every second of every moment with my precious children and husband.

I wish to be the absolute best that I can be for my kids, husband, family, friends, and myself.

I wish for peace, in our hearts, in our lives, in our homes, in our world.

I wish for less tears of sorrow and pain, and more of joy.

I wish everyone felt the love and grace of God in their hearts.

I wish for everyone to have a WONDERFUL Christmas, enjoyed with family and friends, and with everyone happy and in good health.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Husband is my Hero

How pleasantly surprised was I when JD took over some of my to do list?! He made dinner and 3 meals to be frozen. Wow! What a big help! Make Meals to Freeze: CHECK!

He FINISHED his Christmas shopping, though I'm the only one on his list. He wrapped his gifts for me and helped with my huge pile, too. So now all the gifts are wrapped. Yay! Wrap the Presents: CHECK!

All of us sat around the table last night icing the Christmas cookies. AZ's cookies are so funny. They have a glob of icing somewhere in the middle of the cookie, with a mound of sprinkles on top of that. WC didn't ice one cookie, as he kept eating them as soon as one hit his plate. Decorate Cookies: CHECK!

I just may have time to finish cross-stitching my Christmas stocking after all.

My hubby is the BEST! And to top it all off, he did it BEFORE he read about how stressed I was.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mommy's Merry Madness and the Crazy that comes with Christmas

With only four days until Christmas, I feel my inner Grinch coming out. My to do list is ever-growing, and while I slowly mark one item off, two more items seem to appear. And I don't really feel like I could not do some of these things since I think they're all important.

I've got another baby to look after in my daycare, bringing my total to a 3 & 1/2 year old, three 1 year olds, and a 3 month old. I think I may be going mad. I had to bring out ALL of my old baby things, wash them, set them up, and try to train my kids to stay away from them. I may hurt WC in this process, as he is as stubborn as I am, and he REALLY wants to touch everything. At this very moment, he's swinging the baby swing, saying "Baby KT, Baby KT." OK. He wins.

My kitchen is going to be my permanent place of residence for the next day or so as well. It seems that we've depleted the stock of frozen meals I've prepared, so I have a TON of meat in my fridge waiting to magically be cooked into meals and frozen. At least I will have 4-5 more entrees to add to my freezer. I've also baked FROM SCRATCH 3-4 dozen cookies that are waiting to be decorated with the icing, also made FROM SCRATCH. I don't really have Christmas memories of cookies being made and decorated, but my husband does. I think those are times he treasures and holds dear. I hope our kids will have the same fond memories of cookies. I know AZ really liked getting her hands in the flour and using the cookie cutters to make the cookies. I hope I'm making good memories for her.

And I did finally get all of the Christmas packages together and mailed over the weekend. I also got the Christmas letter written and copied, Christmas cards done, envelopes stuffed, and all mailed out, all 75 of them. Whew! Now I have a mountain of gifts to wrap. I actually do enjoy wrapping and making packages pretty for the recipient, but the looming deadline is quickly approaching.

The Christmas stocking I am cross-stitching for myself just may NOT be done in time for this Christmas. I've made one for everyone else in my family throughout the years, so I'd like one to match, but it seems that I just may not have time to finish it.

I hate that I feel so much stress right now about Christmas because I LOVE giving gifts to friends and family. I LOVE seeing my kids excited about Santa and snow and toys and lights and the tree and everything that has to do with Christmas. I LOVE that they think Christmas cookies and candy canes are so yummy. I'm REALLY looking forward to them seeing the candle light service at church. I'm REALLY looking forward to their amazement that the magic of Santa brings. I'm REALLY looking forward to spending time with my in-laws and sharing a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with everyone. And I'm REALLY looking forward to having our annual Surf and Turf dinner with my husband on Christmas night.

Christmas is a magical time, especially for kids. I WILL pull out some magic of my own and get all of these things done, and more! And, dag-gone-it, I'm going to do it and be Merry about it. Good-bye Grinch. And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday's Funny Phrases #2

While in the car listening to Christmas tunes, AZ says, "Mommy I like this Tinkerbell music."

On my way to change WC's poopy diaper, I say to him, "WC, Did you poop? You're stinky." AZ replies, "I think he ate his boogers." She's so stuck on boogers making poop. It's funny.

Snuggling with AZ, I had to get up and make dinner. AZ says, "I need another mommy to snuggle with."

WC is in a new phase where he likes to look at me and say, "Bye-bye." I'll walk into his room when he wakes in the morning. Here's a typical morning conversation with him.
Me: "Hi Buddy. Ready to get up?"
He'll look at me and ask, "Daddy home?"
Me: "No. Daddy's at work."
Him: "Bye-bye."

When WC was done eating dinner:
Me: "Are you all done? Do you want to get down?"
Him: "Bye-bye."
Me: "Are you done, WC? Do you want to get down?"
Him: "Bye-bye."
Me: "Stop saying bye-bye."
Him: "Hi."
My almost 2 year old definitely has a sense of humor.

AZ told me last night that she touched JJ the Elf. Now, JJ will lose his magic if you touch him. I told her that if he loses his magic, he will not be able to go see Santa. She says, "But I will miss him." How sweet!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thrifty Thursday #4

Freebies4Mom always comes through for me with GREAT coupons. I got a coupon for $.50 off Driscoll's berries. Kroger will double that to $1.00 off, so this is great! AZ and WC LOVE Driscoll's more than any other brand berry out there.

I haven't done a whole lot of shopping lately...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday's WEEKLY Wishes #3

I've updated the title, as I may add more wishes to this post as the week progresses.

I wish to get A LOT done this week to get ready for Christmas.
TO DO: wrap gifts, finish shopping, mail out of towners' gifts, write Christmas letter, stuff and mail out Christmas cards, buy stamps for Christmas cards, get groceries for Christmas dinner menu and for Christmas cookies, CLEAN MY FILTHY HOUSE, make Christmas cookies with AZ and WC, and I'm sure much much more.

I've entered a giveaway at The Bragging Mommy for a Harmony Juvenile LiteRider Youth Booster Car Seat. This could be perfect timing as AZ just hit the 30lb mark. You can read more about the booster seat HERE. So, I'm wishing to win this giveaway.

After looking at Nickels-n-Dimes, I've entered another giveaway, sponsored by Sage and Savvy It is for a DVD of The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout. I'd love to win this giveaway so that I could either lose a few pounds, or give it to an unnamed relative who LOVES the show.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The ULTIMATE Parents

I came to the realization shortly after AZ was born (3 & 1/2 years ago) that God was the ultimate parent. I mean, I always knew God was wonderful and knew He gave his only son for us, but when I became a parent, I felt that I had a lot more understanding of what God sacrificed for us. He let his child DIE so that we could be washed of our sins. I have cried countless tears over this fact.

Listening to Sunday's sermon, I was reminded that Jesus also had a MOTHER. Why had I never thought of her loss? She watched her child be tortured and killed right before her eyes. What a strong and faithful mother Mary must have been!

I often wonder if I'll know when to let go of my children, as Mary had faith and knew when to let go of Jesus. When will I know it's OK for my kids to make their own decisions, even knowing that they'll get hurt from them? Mary was in an exceptional position. She birthed Christ!

My hopes are that I can be the type of parent that God wants me to be for my children. I want to do my job for Him, so that my children may grow up to do what they're supposed to do for Him.

Faith is tested on a regular basis, but I pray that I am able to be just half as faithful as Mary was. I know my flaws, and I cannot say for certain that I am even remotely faithful enough to watch my children be sacrificed. I pray my faith is never tested in that way.

From Sunday's service on, I will forever remember what God AND Mary did for Jesus. I'm so grateful that Mary was strong in her faith to God. And forever thankful to God for all He has done for us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Children, My Family, and God's Wonderful Work

I have two children. AZ is almost 3 & 1/2 and WC is almost 2. So why is it that there are some days when I look at them as if they are little aliens that have invaded my life and home? You'd think that I'd be completely used to the idea that I have two children, but I swear there are some days when I am still SHOCKED that I am a parent! I cannot believe that I am this lucky.

My kids are their own little people, with their own personalities and distinct traits. But you know what? I am blown away, sometimes, at how my children remind me of my childhood or some of my siblings.

For example, AZ likes to run on her tippy toes. And why can't I just say tip toes? It's always TIPPY toes. Anyway, it always reminds of my sister JK. As does AZ's laugh. Her laugh warms my heart, not only because the sound of laughter coming from a child is priceless, but because it makes me think of my aunt KK, sister JK, and I laughing with one another. I'm so happy she has our Woody Woodpecker laugh.

Sometimes WC will try to take off all of his clothes and run around naked because he sees his big sister do it. And I totally let them run around naked, laughing their heads off, because it brings back memories of my sister again. (She's going to kill me for publishing these memories, but they are precious to me.)

And whoa is me because WC definitely reminds me of my brother JAD. Some of his facial expressions are DEAD on. I remember when my brother would get into these giggle fits. His laughter filled the entire house, and it was so contagious. It makes me smile remembering him like that. He was a little on the dramatic side. Even if he was getting ready to lay over our Daddy's knee, he'd comically roll his eyes and entire head on his way. WC rolls his eyes and head like that.

I am truly in awe of God's work. He gave me the two most beautiful and wonderful children who fit perfectly into my puzzle called life. He has blessed me, and He continues to amaze me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday's Funny Phrases #1

Kids say the darnedest things, right? Well mine does, or at least AZ does. So, I thought it'd be a fun thing to write about what my kids say sometimes.

This one's not so funny, but it definitely shows AZ's growing up. After me not letting her do something she shouldn't do: I need a new Mommy. You're not being nice. That one actually hurt some. Am I going to be in trouble when she's a teenager? I think so!

I was cooking dinner last night and AZ started dancing. I'm a booty shaker, Mommy. Really? Where is she hearing these things?

Water makes pee, and boogers make poop. Can you tell AZ eats her boogers still? It's so gross, but I guess she has the general idea.

These are only a few things I remember her saying this week that stuck with me. I'm hoping I'll get better about writing all these things down and putting them out there for family and friends to see and laugh about. If you have kids, what's the funniest thing they've said lately?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

JJ the Elf Used All His Magic and Saved My Night

Who is JJ the Elf, you ask? Right now, seeing as I feel well rested, he's my HERO! JJ the Elf is our Elf On The Shelf. He's named JJ because my nephew has an elf named Jack. Well, AZ figured ALL elves were named Jack. I didn't want an elf named Jack, though, because of my babysitting, so he's Jack Junior, or JJ. We've adopted him from Santa, and every night he uses his magic to fly back to the North Pole to report to Santa how AZ and WC behaved for the day. Will they be on the naughty or nice list for the day? He waits for all of us to sleep to use his magic and then returns here, always hiding in a different spot. AZ is excited to find him every morning.

Well, twice now he's come back to hide in her room. However, he'll only hide in her room if she goes to sleep that night without any fussing or crying. And, if she wakes up in the middle of the night to go potty, she has to go back to her room, and not come into Mommy and Daddy's room. Afterall, she has to keep him company.

Ladies and gents, this has worked now BOTH times he's hidden in her room. HALE-FREAKIN-LUJAH! He can hide in her room every night from now until Christmas if I can get some sleep. Hopefully he'll continue using his magic especially for me. *sigh* I'm going to miss JJ when he leaves.

Thrifty Thursday #3

With the amount of soy sauce I use for marinades, I am very thankful to The Coupon Scoop and Freebies4Mom for posting a good deal on Kikkoman. I'll be saving $1 on two bottles of soy sauce, and getting 2 completely FREE bottles.

Also, thanks to Freebies4Mom,Coupon Scoop, and Coupon Geek for me winning $10 from Victoria's Secret. I was so happy I won, too, 'cuz Mama needs a new bra and some new undies. Sorry folks, but it's true. I had to join Pink Nation, and since I am a new member, I also got to print a coupon for a FREE solid tank with any pink purchase. Woo hoo!

I also got two completely FREE lunchables last week, as well as 2 completely FREE pints of coffee creamer. I got the International Delight coffee creamers free by becoming their fan on FB. Yay Facebook! So far I've tried caramel macchiato, and it's good. I'll try the white chocolate mocha flavor next. I found the $1 off lunchable coupons online and Kroger had them 10/$10. That equaled two free ones, friends!

That's how I've been thrifty this week.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday's Wishes #2: I keep adding wishes. The title should be THIS WEEKS Wishes!

This week's wish is for a couple of different things. First off, and probably the most important, I wish for uninterrupted SLEEP. For some reason, and I have never had this really happen to me before, I could not fall asleep on Monday night. Is that what insomnia is? I tossed and turned until after 2am. Then of course AZ was up for an hour between 4:30am-5:30am. I finally had JD get up and help her the last time around 6:15am. Why is it that my 3 & 1/2 year old is unable to sleep through the night, while WC, who's almost 2, seems to have no issues with sleep? I think he must have my sleeping genes, and AZ must have her daddy's. And last night AZ wandered into our room no less than 3 times, with me having to get up and take her back to her room every...single...time. So, my biggest desire at the moment, hands down, is sleep - like, bear hibernating for the winter, uninterrupted, deep, fulfilling, restful, sleep.

On to my next wish for the day - I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to have my body back. I know that I can't really complain too much since I haven't done a whole lot to get my pre-baby body back, but it'd be nice to wear all of those clothes that are just hanging in my closet, literally collecting dust. *sigh* After AZ was born, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight without trying too hard. Unfortunately, even though the weight (all 55lbs) was gone, my body was not MY body from before. Then I had WC, and I still have about 10 lbs(from the 50lbs) to lose. Did I mention he's almost 2 years old? I tried doing the P90X program for a while to get back into shape and build some muscle tone, but that lasted all of about 2 weeks. That work out was HARD, and loooooong. So, I'm really hoping to win this contest for the EA SPORTS Active More Workout game for Wii from the blog My Organized Chaos.

I also entered a give away for some books at Coupon Geek that I'd love to win for AZ and WC. They always love new books!

The Mommy-Files is also hosting a giveaway for a Curious George ChristmasCD. We have watched the Curious George Christmas movie that came on PBS already 2-3 times. I would love to add the CD to our collection!

And another giveaway I've entered is from Couponing For 4. I'd love to win a Norpro Nonstick Cake-Sicle Pan. How much fun would AZ and WC have eating cake on a stick?! And now I could have cake on a stick? EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER ON A STICK! Think about it.There's meat on a stick, hotdogs on a stick, lollipops, popsicles, cotton candy, and now cake! This is so much fun!

And saving the best for last - I wish and pray that my Aunt KK has a smooth labor with no complications either tonight or tomorrow. I am THRILLED to be getting a niece/cousin!!

And those are my Wednesday's wishes. Actually, this week's wishes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mommy's Madness...Loving the Holidays and all the Madness they Bring!

This time of year, from right around Thanksgiving through the New Year, is a whirlwind of chaos for just about every woman out there. It's definitely that way for me this year.

Thanksgiving was something special this year for me, as I cooked my first ever turkey with stuffing and a chocolate pecan pie. And that's pronounced pee'can. Now I don't know how all those other women out there handle making those turkeys every year. EW! I was so not a fan of giving that dead turkey carcass a bath! It's hard enough giving my kids a bath sometimes, and I birthed them. But seriously...I had to BATHE the turkey. Gross. After I got over the astonishing fact that I was going to have to then put my hand inside that turkey's body and remove things, everything was smooth sailing. I was very fortunate to have my sister-in-law and mother-in-law make all the side dishes, so no one was stuck in the kitchen all day. How fabulous was that! And all the food was delicious!

Another first for me this year was experiencing Black Friday. All I can say is, "HOLY MOLY!" That was insane, like Mardi Gras insane, but with a much better outcome full of great deals. Now that I have run full force into the money-saving world of coupons and blogs, I began my Christmas shopping quite a while ago. I've gotten some really great deals on gifts this year. So, in that aspect, things are great! I think I'm done shopping (mostly) for ALL the kids in my life, and that's quite an accomplishment all in itself. It's these darn adults I'm struggling finding gifts for. No matter, it's the thought that counts, right? And besides gifts, Christmas wouldn't be the same without all the music and decorations.

We put our Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving morning, as we started a new tradition this year for the kids. AZ and WC each got a Hallmark ornament that sort-of represents them this year. AZ got a Mickey Mouse ornament, and WC got a Thomas the Train ornament. I'm hoping that every year, they'll unwrap their new ornaments after Thanksgiving dinner, and those will be the first ones on the tree. As a mom to young kids, I'm excited about the family traditions I get to start with them to make their memories of holidays special. In fact, I know what AZ's memory this year is going to be...lights, or the lack thereof.

A few days ago AZ was playing at her cousins' house, and when I picked her up it was dark out. She was fascinated by all the Christmas lights and decorations everyone had, with "Beautiful!" and "Wow!" coming out of her mouth after every turn. Then we pulled into our house. Ladies and gentlemen, let the disappointments begin. "Mommy, our house is not pretty," she said. My girl wants lights and decorations outside. Who can blame her? I like them, too. So we go inside and the first words to Daddy were, "You did not put up lights outside, did you, Daddy?" She may be obsessed. So, I decided to try and help her out.

I made a special trip to the grocery store for 50% off Kellogg and Keebler items, as well as 50% off all Christmas decor. ($118.63 worth of items down to $49.07I might add). So anyway, I thought, Score one for Mommy because I'm getting my girl Christmas decorations. Well, as things turned out, I only got 2 red bows to tie on the outside lights and a light-up polar bear because by the time I got to that aisle I was tired and the kids were fussy.

Well we got home and I immediately decorated the outside with our new items, but AZ was NOT impressed. "Where are the lights, Mommy?" Aunt KR even tried to help me out and told AZ our house was so pretty. AZ's response: We don't have lights. Needless to say, I'm off to get outside lights to decorate our house. The holiday madness has begun!

Thrifty Thursday #2

It's amazing how many FREE or nearly free items you can get if you're looking - or if you're subscribed to the right blogs.

Thanks to Nickels-n-Dimes, I got yet another awesome Christmas gift for someone so I can't say exactly what I bought, but I ordered a personalized gift from Seventh Avenue, and would have spent $33.80. Instead, I spent $13.80 for the gift, counting tax and shipping. What a wonderful world of savings!

I ordered a FREE 2010 calendar from Oriental Trading thanks to She Saved. It's probably not going to be as cute as something I would have picked out and paid money for, but at least this will insure that I won't have to suffer through a World of Warcraft calendar for next year. I'm definitely thankful for that.

I also scored free bath products by becoming a fan of something on facebook. I've gotten a TON of coupons and free things for becoming a fan of things. Facebook is turning into a discount/coupon lovers dream land!

Moms by Heart showed me how to get a FREE Aveeno tote bag. I'm all about taking bags with me to the grocery store. Every little thing I can do to help Mother Earth is at least something. Using her site, I also signed up for a FREE SC Johnson gift basket. How nice is that!

The moms group I'm in had a coupon swap last night, too, and I got some awesome coupons from that. I'm looking forward to the deals I'm going to get from those.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thrifty Thursday #1: My Latest Money Savings Adventure

Since this is my first entry for Thrifty Thursday: My Latest Money Savings Adventure, I'm going to talk about all of the great deals I've had so far this month. And I couldn't have done them without all those bloggers out there (note the buttons on the left side of the screen) who help match up coupons with sales. So THANK YOU to them!

My grocery store had a Mega-sale event, and I went in with so many coupons and match ups that I was stoked to see how much money I was going to save at the end of the trip. The cash register receipt is literally longer than I am, all 5'5" of me, and I had so many coupons that a manager had to come over and put a key in the register to show it was OK. I saved $279.75 (45%) that trip. A week later I went in and saved $71.59 (41%), not great, but considering that I won't need to go grocery shopping for 2 or more months(except for milk and produce), this is all FANTASTIC!

This week I got a great deal at Target, thanks to LittleMissKnowItAll, and got some items that I will not name because I'm giving them as Christmas gifts, though I'm tempted to keep some for myself. Anyway, before coupons and rebates, the total was somewhere in the $40 range, and after coupons and rebates, I only spent $8. How awesome is that!?!

So this is just the beginning of my journey with money saving adventures. What are you saving money on? Hello...hello...hello? Anyone out there...out there...out there?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday's Wish #1

Lately I've been tossing around the idea of bringing a bit more structure to my blog. I know you're thinking, structure? You? No way! (Did you note my sarcasm?) Anyway, I think I'm going to start posting some of my wishes on Wednesdays, thus the title "Wednesday's Wish." I'm also considering other weekly posts that will probably have content containing things about being a mom, "Mommy's Monday Madness" and my adventures of money saving, "Thrifty Thursdays - My Latest Money Savings Adventure." If you have any ideas or suggestions for me, please chime in!

So, for my first Wednesday's Wish:
I am hoping for a sunny day this week or weekend so that I have the opportunity to take good pictures of my kids for our Christmas cards. (HUGE shout out to Freebies4Mom for the chance to get 50 free Christmas cards!!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letting the Green Tea Take Me Away

During the absolute chaos that is my everyday life with my 3 and 1 year olds, and the other 1 year olds I watch, I'm often reminded of the phrase, "Calgon. Take me away."

It's during these moments when I'd like to sit in a quiet house, probably during nap time, and drink a hot cup of green tea with honey. I began drinking green tea in 2005 after I suffered through a miscarriage. It became my daily ritual - I'd come home after work and enjoy a cup of hot green tea and honey. I guess I stopped drinking it when my heart was mostly healed. I say mostly because a heart never fully heals from that kind of loss, but it does mend. It just leaves a scar. And until recently, I hadn't thought of that ritual of drinking green tea.

I won't say that my heart needs healed again, but with being a mom, wife, and day care provider, it's fairly easy to forget who I am or to wrap myself up in those roles. By beginning my green tea ritual again, I'm hoping that I'll be able to sit down, relax, and reflect about myself and how I can improve while also admiring my strengths and accomplishments. It's the latter part of that last sentence that I struggle with the most. What mom/wife/working woman/female doesn't?

So here it is: Breathe in. Breathe out. It's almost nap time, (HALLELUJAH) and I'm about to let my green tea take me away.

Ok, so I may have two cups since WC just managed to rip off two keys from the laptop keyboard and then get the cat's pooper scooper while I tried putting them back on.

Tip of the Day: You may want to buy stock in Liptons.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Show me the.....

I am going to toot my own horn here for a bit. I am so proud of myself. Never in a million years did I think I would get excited about going to the grocery store to see how much money I was going to save. What has my life become that grocery shopping is my excitement?!

Last night after work I went to my local Kroger to get our week's worth of groceries. I had 50+ coupons, and the sale was AMAZING! I saved more than I spent, for the first time ever, and that's with having to buy items that weren't on sale and without coupons. My savings was $153.83!! TOOT TOOT!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Super Dookie Son

There are some things in life that no matter how hard I try, genetics is just going to win. I cannot fight the stubbornness or natural curiosity in my children any more than I can fight my son being a lefty or my daughter constantly having "toot toots". These things I knew. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the similarities between how my children play together and how I played with my aunt, uncle, and siblings as a child.

When I was little, there was a time I remember when my brother was hysterical. (He still is). He had an infectious laugh and a heart and sensitivity bigger than a house. (He still does). But there is one signature move of his that my family and I will never forget. We used to pile up pillows and blankets, and my brother would climb onto the bed and belly dive right onto the heap of cushions, yelling mid-air, "Super Dookie!" And we would all crack up. I really don't know why I still find this so funny, maybe it's the same reason AZ laughs every time she goes "toot toot," but I giggle when I think of Super Dookie.

Now, if you know my son, you know that he's a couch destroying machine. The other day he piled some couch cushions together, climbed on up, and belly flopped right onto those pillows and cushions. In my head, I yelled, "Super Dookie!" and I couldn't help but smile. Do all boys go through a Super Dookie phase, or is it family genetics? Either way, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will forever connect my son and my brother with Super Dookie.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Spectacular Day to be Mini-Me

I had a WONDERFUL Sunday. I already knew that I'd be getting up early, as JD and I had discussed the night before. So, I decided to make the most of it, and made a very large, almost Super-Southern sized, breakfast for my family. I made bacon, eggs, toast, sausage, and sausage gravy (for left over biscuits we already had). If there were cheese grits it would have been perfection. But it was a very nice breakfast, if I do say so myself.

JD had to skedaddle out after breakfast to go help some friends move. He is a much better person than I, that's for sure. Well, I got the rest of us ready for church after breakfast clean-up, and off we went.

I absolutely LOVE the fact that my girl just walks right into her Sunday school classroom. It made things a little easier on me, especially since my boy is her complete counter-part. I could hear him crying the entire time I walked down the hallway, until I turned the corner. There's a reason I always take the pager, though, in case he REALLY needs me while I'm in church. I know he pretty much gets held for a solid hour at church, but that's OK with me. He is a snuggly little guy.

After church, we came home to find my husband cutting the grass. What a nice surprise he was home - and NOT sitting in front of the computer when we walked in the door. Instead, we came in, finding he had vacuumed the entire house. And, he'd thrown in a load of laundry! What a great husband I have!

So, the kids had lunch and took a nap, well AZ had quiet time in her room, while we started watching the Bengals game. WHO DEY! 4-1 record and #1 in the division. It was a good game.

The big game was followed by even MORE fun - we went to Shaw Farms for the pumpkin patch and activities. The kids had so much fun! We walked around for over an hour, and it was the cutest thing. There were little scenes with pumpkin people, like the Wizard of Oz and Cinderella, loads of little houses and mazes the kids ran through, and all sorts of farm animals. What a blast! AZ was so happy she got to bring home a little pumpkin. And I was so happy we got to bring home take-out! Little Caesar's was delicious.

Through all of our running around and day of adventure, I learned something. My daughter is an awful lot like her mother. She's independent as she walks right on into her Sunday school class, she's stubborn since she won't take a nap (though I KNOW she doesn't have the sleep gene I have), and she's my little backseat driver - yes JD, I'll admit it. With every stop light, she lets us know if it's red or green, shouting "Red means stop!" or "Green means go." While turning right on red, she told her daddy, "Be careful, Daddy. Red means stop." She's turning into quite a little mini-me.

It sure would be nice if every Sunday could be as fun and exciting as yesterday was. I'd be willing to make huge breakfasts every weekend, including the grits, if family fun and adventure were a part of that package. What a FABULOUS Sunday with my husband, son, and mini-me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Own Mini Terrorist

I was very lucky to have my daughter first. Because, Lord help me if I would have had my son first. I may not have made it to kid number two had that happened.

My son is a handful. More like a thousand handfuls, to be precise. You think I am exaggerating, right? Well I can assure you that I am not. It recently seems that my son's sole purpose in life is to keep me on my toes and busy. He's a climbing, biting, couch destroying, cabinet door opening, computer turning off, death defying machine.

Some time around his one year birthday, he fell and hit the leg of a rocking chair, resulting in a trip to the ER and a stitch in his eyebrow.

When he was 14 months old, he opened the oven door one night after dinner was over and badly burnt both of his hands. He still has pretty bad scars from that, which are treated at least twice a day with an ointment. I've prepared myself for the fact that he may have to have surgery later to take the scar tissue off his palms.

At around a year and a half old, he climbed out of his crib. I walked into his room where he was supposed to be in his crib and his sister was supposed to be playing, and found him playing and her in his crib. How in the world did that happen!? So now he has a tent over the top of his crib - perfectly designed to cage the animal within. Except it has to be zipped entirely or he can open it and climb out.

And just last weekend, he fell down 5-6 wooden stairs - with not a bump or scratch to be found. I really think his guardian angels must work over time for him. He probably has more than one. I mean, I know how tiring he can be.

So on a daily basis, he destroys the couches, climbs on the dining room table, turns off the computer, tackles his sister, dumps food on the floor, and is my own real- life mini terrorist. And because I love him as any mother loves her child, he'll always be on my top most wanted list.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My New Favorite Night Time Ritual

The last few nights in my home have been full of giggles and fun. No matter how the events of the days have unfolded, and the last few have been a royal lump of mess, at least the nights have been lovely. My daughter has discovered the art of playing hide-and-go-seek. It has turned into a really nice family-time activity after dinner and before the night time routine begins.

It usually starts with me hiding. AZ will count to ten, sometimes hitting the teens, which she jumbles into a ball of cuteness. And instead of "Ready or not, here I come," she says, "Twenty nine, here I come." It almost always makes me smile in my hiding spot.

When she finds me, after going room to room yelling, "Mommy, are you in here?" it's her turn to hide. She always turns to Daddy to help her. And no matter how good the hiding spot is, while I'm finding her, she comes out of her spot, or starts laughing. Last night, while finding her, I said, "AZ, stay in your hiding spot until Mommy finds you." She replied, "OK, Mommy," thus giving up her hiding spot.

And WC is getting in on the action, too. He helps AZ find me, and helps me find AZ. And he laughs just as much as the rest of us. I love these moments we're having as a family. And this time is quickly turning into my new favorite night time ritual.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Few Cents

So, I may be addicted to saving money. I don't even know how it all started. I mean, shortly after AZ was born, I started getting the Sunday paper for the coupon inserts. I fell out of habit of using the coupons, and we stopped the subscription. Now, I follow at least 2 different blogs about saving money and go to 3-4 different online coupon sites to get coupons. And occasionally, I'll get the Sunday paper if there are going to be good coupons in them. Now I go to the grocery store and save 20-30% of my bill. I saved $76 off my last grocery bill using coupons and matching up sale items. I buy sale items sometimes in bulk, and put my meats in marinade and freeze them. I have at least 10 frozen meals, consisting of pork, chicken, tilapia, salmon, chili, or stew, in my basement freezer. When did I start paying such close attention to grocery store fliers and cooking in bulk?

Well somehow this money-saving thinking has seeped into a permanent compartment of my brain. AZ needed some pants and long sleeved shirts for this season, as she's grown multiple inches since this time last year. But I hadn't even left the house yet when I decided I wasn't going to look at clothes that weren't on sale or clearance. We walked out of the mall with 3 pair of adjustable waist pants, 7-8 long sleeved shirts, a reversible down vest, 2 packs of undies, and Christmas outfits for both kids for about $80, spending almost half of that on the Christmas clothes. How did I turn into this person?

It just really makes me happy to save a few cents. It definitely adds up. Got any ideas on how I can save some cents when getting a minivan? :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Carpe Diem

I love music. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I am definitely missing being in a choir and singing. I LOVE to sing, and I do it all the time. Does Ring Around the Rosies really count, though? I am by no means a singing superstar, but I really like it, and I'm slightly talented at it. (Thank you God and genetics!)

However, the new church I am attending, the church I am loving, has a praise band during my service. It does have a choir, but it's not something I see participating in, seeing how it's for the other services. I'd change services, but I really enjoy listening to my pastor, who only does the 11am contemporary service. So what do I do? I'm contemplating finding a choir in the city, but I'm such a chicken shit.

I should try to be BOLD and just put myself out there. I was in various choirs for 8 consecutive years. I've sung in two weddings, though I'd cringe if I had to hear it play back. I was in an elite group that got paid to perform. I even sang back up twice, in a bar, on open mike night, for a real singing superstar. (He has 4 CDs out and has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance, and the Real World. He even told me I was good.) So why shouldn't I try to be bold and find a choir? Why should I be scared? I mean, the worst case scenario is that I never try and wonder. Or do try and get turned down. Either way, I really should do something.

I mean, it's not like I'm wanting to make a career of it. Or be discovered. Or become rich and famous. It's just something I miss doing. Singing makes me happy, and I believe in my heart that I was given this talent, though a small one, for a reason. It's time for me to reclaim part of me. So, this is me, seizing the day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

3320 Days


How much of our lives is just spent waiting? At least 30 minutes in line at the post office, that's for sure. I'll bet I have the slowest post office on the planet - wagers anyone? Anyway, there's waiting in the grocery store, waiting for phone calls, waiting for our kids to reach milestones, and, if you're a woman, waiting to feel like a man. Yes. You read that right. I'm ready to feel like a man, damn it!

Now, I know I am not like many women out there in most regards, but I think most of us have this one in common, believe it or not. I don't remember when I first heard it, maybe in high school, but somewhere along the line, I heard that a man is in his sexual prime in his late teens and early twenties. Yet women have to wait until their thirties to enjoy this aspect of life to its fullest. Well, I have been 30 years old for 330 days, and I still don't feel like a man. There may have been a two week period when I was 29 and pregnant with my son, when maybe I had a glimpse of feeling like a man. Afterall, I was growing a little man inside my body. But since then, like Shania says, "I feel like a woman." How much longer am I going to have to wait until I think about sex every 7 seconds. (Yes, I know that's a myth, too.) But seriously, I wake up everyday wondering, is today the day? Nope. Is today the day? Nope.

I guess I have 3320 more days to figure out if I will hit my sexual prime during this decade of my life. Lord, help my husband if I do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is Me - With No Apologies

I am so lucky to be married to a man who lets me be me, who lets me continue to grow and change while loving me all the same. At least that's my hope.

I am excited that I am growing in my faith as a Christian. I have recently, like within the last few weeks or month, really started diving back into Christianity and my relationship with God. I find myself eagerly looking forward to Sundays, so I can get to church. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I adore sleep. Adore isn't even a strong enough word for it. Sleep could be my very best friend. I LOVE to sleep when I am able. But I now find myself hopping out of bed Sunday mornings so I can go hear a sermon from a Pastor I really enjoy listening to. I haven't been this excited about church since I was 14 years old. So, this will be the first Sunday I am taking the kids with me, and I really hope they enjoy themselves as much as I enjoy the messages. And yes, my daughter is getting preschool and Sunday school all in the same week, and I think she'll love it. I'm a little anxious about the kids being in different rooms, but I know that they'll either be completely fine with it, or they'll get used to it over time.

My husband has also been graciously letting me spend money to decorate our bedroom. And our room will be just the beginning. But I am starting to really love my bedroom, and I think all people should love their bedrooms. We are 99% done with the painting in our room. I may need a 3rd coat of yellow for the vanity nook area, but I'm OK with how it is now. I'd also like to paint our bathroom the same gray that our bedroom is now. The main color scheme of my newly decorated, yet incomplete, bedroom is gray,yellow, black, white, and burgundy. Black and white bedding that has yellow piping, a gray and yellow pillow (I need to get more pillows), a soon to be burgundy headboard and burgundy curtains, a black, burgundy and cream colored area rug, and either two black chairs or a black bench at the end of our bed. I know you can't see inside my head, but it's going to be bea-utiful.

And I can't redo the master bedroom without redecorating the kids' rooms. My daughter wants pink walls, so two different shades of pink will go on the walls. Her room will have a large butterfly theme going on. She loves butterflies, and it must be genetic since I love butterflies, but she LOVES them. I'll be excited to do her room. She'll move from a toddler bed to a double bed when we do her room as well. Have I mentioned that she's growing up too fast?? My son's room will be pretty easy, with 3 walls painted either a blue or green, with a striped accent wall. His should be easy.

So that's what's been going on with me. Making my house a home (after living here for a year now), and personal growth. Like Joyce Meyer said - "This is who I am, and I won't apologize for it."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And they Grow, and Grow, and Grow

My girl is starting preschool this week. Is she really going to be starting school? I can't believe she's old enough to leave me twice a week for 3 entire hours. Her excitement is bubbling out of her daily as her countdown to preschool begins. She's ready. With her new school bag all decorated with butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, and her name in pink, she's ready. I'm not sure my son will know what to do with himself while she's gone. They are the funniest and cutest little creatures to watch, and I adore how they entertain one another. And though they squabble as any other siblings do, it's evident that they love each other more than anything (except maybe Mickey Mouse).

They are growing up too fast. School for my girl and sentences for my boy. He said “I love you” for the first time last weekend. It melted my heart, right there in the middle of the post office. Then a couple days later, “I fall down,” and “I get down.” Then there was, “I find this.” Is he really just 1 ½ years old? I cannot believe he's growing up so fast. They both are!

I know one day I am going to blink, and they'll both be in college or getting married. I pray that I am able to be in each moment between now and then. I love seeing each milestone and the new and wondrous things they discover so often. They amaze me. Every single hair on their heads, word out of their mouths, smile on their faces. They amaze me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Finding those moments

Everyday life is really just living moment to moment. Finding those really good moments that will get you through the rest of the everyday nothings and pull you out of those slumps you slip into far too easily. And really, how often do you find those great moments. I've been lucky to have a few. I have two wonderful kids who are the loves of my life – though it's amazing I don't strangle them everyday. And I'm married to another love of my life – though sometimes I feel like strangling him, too! But finding those other moments is tough sometimes. They don't just fall in your lap, and everyday busyness and business can often camouflage some really good moments. Hearing my kids playing ring around the rosies and crack themselves up at the end is priceless. With all those “asses, asses. We can all fall down” and everything. But the really good moments are there. Everyday. My life really does revolve around my kids. And for the moment, I'm ok with that. There's too much I would miss out on if I wasn't with them every moment of every day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mother's Guilt

Guilt. By Webster's definition, well Wikipedia really, it means “a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes - whether justified or not - that he or she has violated a moral standard, and is responsible for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.” Mother's guilt. Multiply regular guilt by a million and you're still not even close.When I became a mom, I never realized exactly how much mother's guilt I'd feel. I didn't really even knew that it existed. Yet now, on a daily basis, I feel it over even the simplest things. Are my kids eating the right amount from the food pyramid? Am I interacting with them enough? Am I teaching them enough? Reading enough? Taking them outside enough? In my head, the answer to all of those is no. It's amazing the amount of guilt a mother feels. And you cannot possibly comprehend it or even begin to fathom, unless you are a mother. Sure you may be able to relate to guilt, but not mother's guilt.How do you draw the line between having some alone time to make yourself a better person and being a good mom? It's really hard. I was very blessed and fortunate to be able to go with my mema and aunt to Japan for almost two weeks. It's something I had always wanted to do, and knew if I didn't go then, I'd never get the opportunity again. My husband was on board with help from his family, and off I went. It was an amazing and literally a once in a lifetime opportunity, but man did I feel bad for leaving my kids. Not a moment went by without their being in my thoughts. Thanks to today's technology, I was able to see them on my laptop almost everyday. Fighting not to cry every time I saw my babies was a difficult battle, but mom's are strong. Stronger I think than any one else in the world. Our mom strength begins the moment we find out we're pregnant. We're strong enough to get through morning sickness and still go on with everyday tasks. We're strong enough to carry and grow another human being inside our bodies while our skin stretches and organs move and joints give out. We are strong enough to push or undergo major surgery for our babies to be born. Then we are strong enough to protect our babies from the world and everyday dangers. Strong enough that our kisses make their boo-boos feel better. Our hugs make them feel secure and safe. Our presence makes them happy. We are strong enough that even though we have an overwhelming about of mother's guilt over the simplest things, we push through for our kids. We're strong enough to put our kids first and ourselves last. We're strong enough to exist on hardly any sleep, loads of coffee, barely showered and teeth brushed, with no make up and living in our pjs everyday. We are strong. We have to be. We are moms.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


In my life before kids, my life when I was really not alive at all while thriving at the same time, I was an elementary school teacher. I *loved* my job. Not many people can say that. But I LOVED what I did - enriching those little lives and filling their brains with school and life lessons. Teaching them how to do well in school and in life. That's what I tell myself anyway. But that life has been put significantly on hold. I have two kids of my own now. Two little bodies and brains and hearts I fill with something everyday. And let's not forget their stomachs. My picky little eaters.

My oldest, AZ, is 3 going on 13. She was born and my life changed in an instant. All new moms will say that, and well, it's true. My world got so much more focused and got a million times bigger in a single minute. Fifteen minutes after midnight to be exact. So many new things to worry about and protect her from. While watching fireworks from my labor and delivery room, I should have known that she'd come into my life like an explosion! Six days after she was born, I noticed a spot just above her belly button, that gross umbilical cord still hanging there attached. I thought my baby was bit by a mean old spider. Turns out she had MRSA and had to spend a week in Children's Hospital receiving IV antibiotics. Not a huge thing, considering some babies there were having open heart surgery, but a big deal to me. And only one friend of mine, a teacher friend, came by to see how we were doing. ONE. I should have known then that EVERYTHING in my life was different. I naively went into having a baby thinking that she would adjust to my lifestyle. Nothing had to change - except everything did. Little did I know that she would become THE most important thing in my life. I mean, I knew I would love her and all, but I was not first anymore, or even second for that matter. I came third, after AZ and my husband JD. My needs no longer mattered. Somehow my friends didn't understand, or care. It took a long time for anyone to come visit. While we were able to go out to dinner with her while she was young and without a schedule, the moment she got a bedtime, it became difficult to go to restaurants. And there's the begin of the friendship decline. Oh well. Who really cares? I've got the most beautiful baby girl now.

Well, actually, now I also have a beautiful baby boy. WC is a year and a half and a holy terror. I say that lovingly. And yes, my children are only 19 months apart. Not highly recommended, but we make it work. The kids get along wonderfully and really do love each other. They seemed to have a connection since we brought Wyatt home from the hospital. And speaking of hospital, not a SINGLE friend came to see us when he was born. Granted we were having a record breaking blizzard, but still. Come on. Anyway, he definitely keeps me busy. We've been to the hospital more times for him that we have for my daughter, that's for sure. He's had stitches in his right eyebrow, and badly burnt his hands one night after dinner when he opened the oven door. He's healing well, but we go back to Shriner's next week for his burn check up.

They always say the first year is the hardest after you get married. Well that's NOTHING compared to the first year after you have a baby. And while that first year after AZ was born wasn't easy, it was a breeze compared to the year after WC was born. I really suffered from a depression after he was born. I wasn't sleeping, and really hated my life. I felt like, and still do feel like, a prisoner. I am accepting the fact that I will not go back to teaching until WC is in full time elementary school. But that no sleep, taking care of two babies, and I say babies because AZ was still a baby, moving, not being near any of *my* family takes a huge toll. I love my life - don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade a second away from my kids. But I desperately look forward to one day when I can have a glimmer of a life of my own. And those friends I had pre-kids, we're definitely not close anymore. More acquaintances now. And with me watching other peoples' kids from home, I'm a prisoner. No way to leave during the day, all errands on Saturdays, no time for play dates or mom's groups. They say that having kids changes everything. They're right.