Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Given the choice, I'd take the seasick crocodile

^Dr. Seuss, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

I have always loved the Christmas season. I remember from a very young age sitting in the floor with my mom as she pulled out our treasures. There was the little manger scene with the tiny baby Jesus. My ornament from my first Christmas, with a tiny little baby and my birthday engraved. We have a Rudolph that has to be assembled every year, and has stood guard by the tree holding a variety of treasures: bows, pinecones, and one special year a puppy. I never got tired of laying on the floor under the tree and watching the lights twinkle. That was one place where magic could be seen.

Growing up in a small-town, country church I played every part in the Nativity. From a sheep to Mary holding my favorite baby doll, and Angel and caroler, I did the part. The songs of Christmas are my favorites, and the only thing I can still play on the piano after 6 long years of lessons (sorry, Mom.) Nothing feels more spiritual to me than a Christmas Eve candle-lit service with my family in our church home. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

I moved into my own first home the year Parker was a baby. I was a Martha Stewart wannabe (pre-prison) that kept Hobby Lobby in business. I collected village scenes, made snowflake curtains for all of my windows, had linens for the beds and throw pillows for the living room. Christmas music played around the clock. There was always (at least the smell of) cookies baking and cider warming. My home was especially home-y at the Christmas season.

Traditions became especially important for us to establish for our son. A schedule for when the decorations could go up and when they had to come down. We had rules for putting the star on the tree. Routines for opening an advent each day. Readings that were planned and purposeful. And my favorite, exchanging one special ornament on Christmas Eve, a way to forever document an important time or experience of the year past. These traditions were important to me. I wanted my children to grow up and know that when they came home, it would FEEL like Christmas. I wanted something to pass on to them in their homes so that there would always be a connection between how the season felt when they were growing up, and to have their fond memories etched so deeply they would recreate them for posterity.

Since then, my home has changed. My family has changed. God has blessed us in so many ways. and in all of these changes, I lost my Christmas spirit.

I have thrown myself into chairing our county Angel Tree project for the last 3 years. Because I have been so busy bringing Christmas to other children, I told myself my kids would learn about giving. We didn't have time for all of our to-do.

And my kids are little. I mean, I have all of those extra-special ornaments, why would I put them out for the kids to break?

And because we are hunting and camping and traveling through the time when I would normally take my stuff out. And because work is busy. And because I am in school. And because I have to finish laundry. And...

So last year I took Parker and Kaden to Wal-Mart and let them buy one of those pre-lit trees and pick their own ornaments. We didn't pull out our snow globe collection or our stockings. They were happy to decorate and proud of their creation.

Today I was at my Mom's house, and she pulled out a pink tree that she had bought for Maddie's room. I was putting it into the van and jokingly asked her if I could just put it up and call my Christmas decorating done. She didn't crack a smile and Parker informed me we could not have just a pink tree. I think it was then that maximum Bah-humbug guilt set in.

I am looking. I am desperate to find that will to put those special touches back into the holidays for my kids. We have been so diligent in talking about the season as the celebration of the birth of our Savior. I just haven't shown them the magic in celebration.

So I am going to get out my tree and special ornaments. And we will hang stockings and watch the snow fall on the manger. And we will cuddle on the floor with hot chocolate and watch the lights twinkle. Because that is what we do in my family. It is what I want my kids to remember. And it is what I know I will love again as soon as we do it and I see the sparkle in their eyes.

I am looking for my twinkle. Because I want to see them sparkle.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Doing As I'm Told...

So for two mornings this week my kids have gotten out of their beds with giggles in their voices, put on their clothes with much-appreciated little instruction, and beat me to the car. This is quite an accomplishment as I have been known to leave them at home for lack of all of the above.

This morning was extremely flawless. Before I realized it we had dropped Maddie off at the daycare, and were pulling up into the school parking lot. The empty school parking lot. Because we were there before the doors were unlocked.

With this extra time to kill, the boys and I headed for Sonic for 2 corndogs (a breakfast food?) and a large diet Coke with cherry. On the way we started talking about why we were afforded this priviledge on a random Thursday morning.

"Well, guys, when you do things that you are supposed to, then mornings go easier. Everyone is in a better mood, there are no tears, we get where we are supposed to be in time. And when all of those things come together, then we have time for better-than-normal treats. We get something special."

As I was I was spouting these words of wisdom, I started to think about how God must regard His children in these same ways. We know what we are to do. We are supposed to do it with kind hearts and words. But often we get in the ways of ourselves, making our paths harder and less enjoyable. And for what reason? Not because we feel better in the end. And not because the outcomes are better.

I don't understand why my kids make things harder on themselves. I don't know why they argue and hurt each other over things they really don't care about. I don't understand why I have to tell them the same things over and over again, just to be frustrated that they aren't listening or obeying. I'll never get why they would rebel intentionally to not receive a reward that is so freely given. I don't know why I haven't thought about seeing these things in me doesn't hurt and confuse my Father like it does me as a mother.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not on the same page

Tonight I was in Walmart, by myself for about 30 minutes killing time while I waited on a friend. It occured to me that Walmart and I see the world through different eyes.
For instance:

*Changing a price from 12.97 to 12.00 does not equate "Clearance."

*A sign $14-Can't be beat. Now that just isn't true. Cuz it can be beat. $13. $12. $5. Those all beat ya, $14!

*Putting milk in the back of the store does NOT necessarily mean I will walk to that back corner to buy milk picking up impulse items along the way. Because if I have my kids and they are being like my kids are, we will LEAVE with no milk and eat our Cap'n Crunch out of ziplocs on the way to school. Don't push my buttons.

*Who's idea was it to put pet items in two seperate sections? Because if I need cedar shavings for classroom guinea pig, why should I look in the dog/cat section then have to cross the store to the second for smaller pets? Does PETA recognize the discrimination there?

*I would rather have no greeter than a grumpy greeter.

*Self-checkers are great if they don't keep telling you to place item in the bagging area. Because sometimes you are buying a get well card and it is in the bagging area.

So there. Officially time to kill became too much time on my hands.

Monday, September 21, 2009

To Flu or Not to Flu...

How am I gonna get to an answer if I don't understand the question?

So Maddie has had this icky fever + dry cough + achiness + vomiting. After consulting my medical degree and experience (Google) I decided that a day of sitting in the doctor's office is in order. Because Mondays are generally slow anyway.

We went to our favorite family doctor who is not in our town. We see the ones here for cuts, like trophies to the head, or shots. But when I feel some serious lab work is involved, over the river and through the woods we go.

Upon sight of Maddie walking into the office we were ushered to the back of the office. Like not a waiting room. Like my little girl had green polka dot skin with purple stripes. Because she did look that pitiful.

Of course the usual...flu test, x-rays, temp taking...yadayadayada. Then...

Doc: Okay. I want to show you something.
Me: ~hold my breath and stuttering, not easy to do at the same time.~
Doc: Here is the information and official release from the CDC and Arkansas Childrens Hospital about the H1N1 virus.
Me: ~still holding, wide-eyed~
Doc: Now, as a guideline they are not testing any children for flu this season. They are treating flu like symptoms as the flu because children under 3 are having false negatives on their flu tests. So if you went into a clinic at children's they would just say Maddie has the flu and treat her as such due to her age and the fact that she has EVERY.SINGLE.SYMPTOM.
Me: ~wanting my mommy~
Doc: So, you have a choice. You can take her results as negative that she doesn't have the flu. We can treat the symptoms as flu-like. Or, we can treat her as they would, assume she has the flu and act accordingly. It is really your decision.

Okay. I digress. My decision? That's why I come to you! I want you to tell me what to do so I can make her feel better. And I promise if it is antibiotics I will give them till they are gone. Really. I will not leave the bottle a 1/4 full in the fridge shelf until it develops into a super-medicine that could cure evil.

I asked if we could take the easy road, treating the symptoms for a few days, see if it got better, start the tamaflu if not. But NO_O. We are within that 72 critical hours for the medicine to have effect. Stupid virus with its timetable.

So I am home with my daughter and her flu/not flu virus. And we are quarantined. And there will be ice cream eating. And I might even let her have some of it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am thinking that I am the master of saving money. I have plotted and schemed and budgeted. I will conquer.

Because we have fully discovered the realms of "Kids eat free" meals in our little town.

It all started with the Pizza Shack. It seemed such a good idea to take the kids there for food and fun on Wednesdays. Just a little nudge from the cheese and pepperoni fairy to get us through the rest of the week. We are regulars, as in we have our tables, the waitresses know our drink orders, the cooks throw in an extra thin crust cheese at our sight, and all of our friends know where to find us. It is like "Cheers" only with marinara instead of beer.

But there is this other thing about my kids being old enough to be involved in "stuff." Like the swim team, soccer team, boy scouts kinda stuff that keeps us out several nights a week. So my fellow swim mom/pizza shack friend in crime and I decided that in order to preserve one precious (laundry/dishes/homework) night of sanity we should change Pizza Shack Wednesday (PSW) to Pizza Hut Tuesdays. We are already across town, we are out and hungry. Makes perfect sense.

Except we did go eat at Pizza Hut on Tuesday. Then there was pressure from our regular PHW posse on Wednesday and I COULD NOT LET THEM DOWN. Then there is the Thursday arrangement with Fat Boys Barbeque.

Let me sum this up for you. I washed dishes this morning and all that entailed was cereal bowls and cups. Kinda sad.

But look at all the money I am saving by feeding my kids for free!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Rains Came Down and the Decibels Went Up

And that's just how it happened. It rained today, and there I was stuck inside with my kiddos. My 20 kiddos all inside those four walls. And they want to run, and they want to yell. And believe me, I want them to do those things, too. Just not inside my room.

Now, before it sounds like I am whining about my class, let me tell ya....I have a terrific group of kids. They are smart, and they are funny. They make me laugh all day long. But quiet...they are not. In fact, I am chalking their energy and enthusiasm up to adding to their sweetness and intelligence.

So today was a long day. And I am tired. And to top it all off, I have these other 3 kids that want to come home with me every day. And they are loud. And unfortunately for them, I yell back at them.

I'm starting to think I need a good pair of earplugs. But then I would miss all of those funny, smart things that make my day so great. What's a girl to do?

Pray for sunshine. At least from 10:45-11:30.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

There are no words....

I cannot even begin to tell you how overwhelmed with blessings I feel right now.

What do you say to a man who choses to be a dad? One that doesn't have to, but wants to anyway? One that takes all of the tough times that come with raising a son that has special needs and who resists him every step of the way? One that has raised a boy since an infant and wants so bad for him to be his son like he already feels he is? Thank you is not enough.

What do you say to two boys who are so full of wonder and questions? All of the why's and why not's and I don't understands? And the never agains..... Because they should not have to know the bitter sweet feelings that they do. Because they understand that they are so loved and wanted, but also understand loss.

It would be easy to say I felt alone four years ago. Just me and my boy and my big pregnant belly. But I never did. I knew that God would send me and those two boys the man that we needed. Because God is in the business of knowing that a little boy needs a man to help him grow. He did it for His Son, He would do it for mine. And He did. But watching that come to be, a man that loved me and my boys, who was not only willing but wanted to make a family with us, that is humbling. And to see him on that stand in front of the judge and our parents asking to be their father forever....well...there are no words.

So tonight I am just overwhelmed. And thankful.

So here they are! As Parker said, "More important than a birthday." Because they have a Father who loved them enough to give them a daddy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Fellow Americans....

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. _President Obama, September 8, 2009

So I haven't posted in awhile. Thanks, TB for not calling me out on it. But this hit me. And normally I would avoid this political thing like the plague. Not because I don't like politics-because I do. I wanted in the political ring until an unfortunate advising incident as a Freshman at HSU. But because it is uncomfortable for people with strong views. And strong views I got, of the blue-hued, which is not normally popular in my chosen profession. So I silently wave my right-wing flag in my closet as my peeps rally the red. I'm comfortable there in my nonconfrontational arena. But I digress.

Today our President spoke to our nation by reaching out to our future. He took the bull-headed by the horns, and told those kids that they are responsible. He promised that we (teachers, parents, and governments) are going to do our best to provide for them and their educations as they prepare for their futures. Then he told him that they have these tools available for them, but that the rest is on them.

And I gotta tell ya, I like it. I like that he "got real" with the kids about overcoming these issues that they face. He didn't sugarcoat anything or diminish the difficulties that they deal with every day. But he did say that you have to make the best of your opportunities DESPITE these things. I like that these kids are acknowledged for their trials, that he didn't tell them that they don't know tough times. Because they do. But he did tell them that they cannot crutch themselves on that excuse. That they have to learn to pick themselves up, dust their pants off, and get to the task at hand.

I was skeptical. I will REALLY be skeptical (negative) tomorrow when his whole healthcare speech goes down. But for today I agree and appreciate him taking the time to do what he has the opportunity like no other president before him....reaching out and sharing some hope for doing better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top Ten Reasons the First Day of School is like Childbirth

10. You really need heavy medication. Really.

9. Little bitty kids....big 'ol responsibilities.

8. Time seems to warp speed ahead and stop completely at the same time.

7. Paperwork. And piles of supplies.

6. Contraction-like, regular 5 minute tantrums.

5. Crying mommas. Sweating daddies.

4. The whole family shows up taking pictures.

3. Your body is physically and mentally exhausted, yet there is no sleep in sight.

2. Did I mention the medication?

1. Like childbirth and other traumatic events, you immediately suppress any memories of the day. Otherwise, could we really chose to go through this again?

****This post was co-authored by T.D., and per request of T.B. Love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ode to Red

Oh, Red. How Parker has coveted your hue on his walls.
How he has longed to see your bright color brighten his every day.
He has asked for you. He has pleaded and bargained for you.

Maddie's sweet pink room. One 2-year old all alone in a fabulously tinted girly room.
Two bigger boys sharing one tiny room with (somewhat) white walls.
Guilt as a mother for putting off the boys decorating for the much funner, sweeter palatte.

Red paint. Bought as a surprise while the boys are away.
Finally I have reconciled myself to the compromise of one brilliant red wall in the sea of brown.
Parker will be so thrilled when he comes home from his reunion.

Paint mixer guy at Walmart. With your smug expression and less than helpful demeanor.
You mix paint, my red paint, with all of the excitement that would come as watching it dry.
"Here you go. Hope you like it." And I did like it. Just enough for one wall.

Overflowing plastic bags of painting supplies. Carried precariously into the bedroom.
Time to get started! Bags settled and organized. Husband reluctantly spectating.
Now to pour the paint.

Lid not tight. Flying red paint! Arching rainbow of red soaring across the room.
Red paint on toys. Red paint on mom. Red paint on carpet.
Red on dad's usually calm face.

Toys moved outside to dry. Woolite on carpet. Mom in shower. Clothes in trash.
Finally paint on the wall. The fabulous red paint that is now less appealing.
Until it is finished. Beautiful. Decorating tips of 7-year old a hit!

Except for the 1x2 blob of red paint on the tan carpet.
Which will be cleverly disguised by a bed. Or a rug.Or toys, which will be yelled and fussed over. "Clean them up!" Alas, the floor will never be clean.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Good Mom...'s my guilt list (for today.)

A good mom.....cooks real dinner every night.
I....have the "kids eat free" schedule of every restaurant in our vicinity down, and we are involved in their schemes way too much.

A good mom.....has all of the laundry neatly folded, organized, and put away.
I....have clean clothes. And they are either folded on my bedroom floor or shoved into the kids overflowing drawers. Let's not even talk about ironing. I don't know where mine is.

A good mom.....has super fun activities and crafts planned out for her kids to keep them happy, busy, and engaged in meaningful activities.
I....let my kids play their DS. and the Wii.

A good mom.....takes her kids to the park and catches them at the bottom of the slide, pushes them on the swings, and digs in the sand.
I....take a book. I give them a dumptruck and a shovel and tell them to play.

A good mom.....covers her kids in sunscreen, even on overcast days, because we all know how easily they can burn.
I...well....Maddie is a little pink.

A good mom....never raises her voice at her kids, and for heavens sakes would NOT spank a child.

A good mom....sets a good example for her kids, keeping her cool and remaining calm even when the lady at McDonalds is rude and messes the order up.
I....might have made an ugly face or even fussed a little bit.

A good mom....sits by the side of the pool while the oldest has his swim team practice.
I....needed to run to Wal-mart.

A good mom.....knows that arguing between parents is best done behind closed doors.
I.....was loud right in the middle of the kitchen.

A good mom.....loves her kids more than anything else in the world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Kaden-bug

Tonight I got in from Conway at 10:45. I came into a quiet, dark house, and was ready to sit down and feel all pitiful about the hours I am spending in this summer class and to decompress all of the pressure of a HUGE upcoming assignment.

I turned around and this is what I saw:

Isn't that the cutest thing that goes bump in the night? He is my little night owl, and I love when we get this special time-just me and him.

So Kaden is my guest author tonight....

Mommy: What is your favorite thing to do?

Kaden: Um. play. my playing is that I like to play with Spiderman and a ninja turtle.

Mommy:What do you like to eat?

Kaden: um. Pizza. I like to eat chicken. That's silly, ain't it, mom?

Mommy: Tell me about your family.

Kaden: Momma. She works so hard. Daddy-I like to play with him. Parker-he likes to play with me. And Maddie. She likes to play with me and eat pizza with me.

Kaden: Is there anything I can say to you?


Kaden: What kinda animal is a giraffe? And what's a squirrel?

Mommy: How old are you?

Kaden: three. There's gonna be a cake on my birthday.

Mommy: What kind of cake?

Kaden: Spiderman. Stop! I need the balloons. And it has Spiderman on it. Maddie would like Tinkerbell instead of Spiderman. Or I would like Spongebob cake. Okay?

Mommy: What kind of present do you want?

Kaden: A game. A Dora game. It's easy.

Kaden: Can I push the story?

Mommy: Sure. Here you go...push a few....


Mommy: Kaden, why are you so sweet?

Kaden: Because I like you.

Mommy: I think you're special

Kaden: God made me that way. Duh!

And off he goes!

What a sweet boy. He has been special in so many ways, and he always brings a smile to my face. I have enjoyed every single minute of being his mommy, and I can't believe he will be turning four in a few days.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Where have I been all my life?

So I haven't posted in about 5o years. Not because I haven't wanted to or haven't had much to say. Mostly because we have been super busy, and because I have been procrastinating. And painting. So I have possible lost all my readers and this will go out to the blogosphere known as posterity. That's okay, because after a few (gulp) months, my first post is going to be about reality shows. Because I'm deep like that.

I promised myself that after last season of The Bachelor I would NEVER EVER EVER watch that show again. I hated how he broke her heart right on tv only to go on and get with the girl she shoulda chosen anyways. I don't even care who I was rootin' for (Melissa) I thought it was a shame that ABC exploited feelings that way. It was dirty and I was done.

Until The Bachelorette. And, y'all, I didn't even care for her on The Bachelor after her silly hot dog test. But due to lack of quality summer programming, here me and bff TiVo go for another round. And it has not disappointed.....

The guys with the foot fetish....CREEPY!!! Why in the world would you keep around a man who gets all googly-eyed over your feet?!? He can't even hold a conversation with her without drooling. And I have been concerned that they would make it to the fantasy suite date, and there they would be...her, creepy foot guy, and Dr. Scholl's all behind locked doors. Yuk.

And by the way...she lost one of the top guys last week due to his boss being unsympathetice to his search for love. On national T.V. While the business was crumbling around him. Times are tough, buddy. In this economy, can we afford to lose a quality employee because we can't do without him while he searches for his one true love on a game show? He must not understand the word "recession."

The next great guy she let go tonight because he is "too perfect." I hate it when a man is too great! I see her point...what if they got married and he didn't put his underwear in the floor? Or if he cooked and cleaned up dinner? "You sleep, darling, I'll get up with the baby in the middle of the night because I know are exhausted and I appreciate you." Not on my watch, buddy!

Now she is left with Wes, whom I loved from the first episode because of his down home southern boy charm. It gets us everytime, doesn't it? He whipped out that gee-tar and sang her a song. And I swooned with her. Too bad since then he is outright telling everyone but Jillian that he is in it to win it....and by it I mean a recording contract. Not her. So I guess my whole point here is why can't someone tell her. To me, if the idea is to show that the show could produce true love, then let her in on his dirty little secret. Is there not a cool Paulette-from-Legally-Blonde inspired hairdresser on the set that can give her a sideways glance and a dirty shake of the head? Oh, but to be that stylist!!!


On a sadder note, I am heart-broken by what I saw on Jon and Kate tonight. I have watched them from the beginning when they were interesting because they were young and poor and struggling. I gritted my teeth when she started getting a little bossy and diva-ish, and was feeling more and more distant from them as they moved on to WAY greener grasses on the other side of a perfectly landscaped and manicured security fence.

What has happened in their marriage is awful. I watched tonight with more sympathy for Kate than someone outside of a situation like that could understand. I felt her pain as she talked about her kids not becoming a number. I understood how she feels like her life is taking a course that she didn't chose and she is being forced along for a ride. My heart broke for her hurt at the anger she is receiving and the inability to make it better or know her full role in it. And that she wants so badly for her children to be okay through it all.

Divorce is such an ugly word, one that I hate to use or have attached to me. No matter how long it has been or how happy and unbelievably blessed I am right now, I will always feel like the word implies I failed. Or I didn't try hard enough. It is something that I deal with every day, and something that I try so hard to protect my children from.

I am happy that she knows there will be better days. Because there will. There are.

In closing...

So...if you don't comment and tell me who your favorite bachelor is, then I will know that I have been abandoned. And it may be another forever before I post again.....

And if you don't have a favorite bachelor...I don't know where you've been!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretty hilarious in that not-so-funny kinda way

So today we had a pep rally at school for our big testing that will happen over the next couple of days. It was fun (even if the wind was whippin' AND we were facing the wrong way sitting uphill-not easy.) Highlights include moms with pompoms, a friend dressed as a 5'2 koala bear (and her little bear friend whom I was sure was gonna bolt for it any minute,) and a rousing cheer from the pre-k classes..."Do your best (clap) on the test (clap.) And please don't think I'm kidding when I say that we spent an intriguing 10 minutes figuring out how many claps to include. Better yet...that totally never happened. I'm kidding.

My favorite part of the program was our speaker, a local university president (who has the sweetest family, one of which I will forevermore claim as my own can't have her back.) During his speech he encouraged our students to do their best (clap...on the test...clap) because that is key to going to college. And if you want to be any number of things, pro sports player, doctor, lawyer, cheerleader (insert loudest applause here???,) or a teacher, then you will have to finish college.

Here's the punchline....wait for it...wait for it....

"A person who has a college education, on average, will earn ONE MILLION DOLLARS more than a person who only has a high school diploma."

I am anxiously awaiting my check.

Because according to my (terrible, four time flunking algebra) math, I will have to work 24 years to earn a million. And that's just counting MY million, not minus what I would have been making had I started a trade. And especially not if it is a million more than the boatload of money my hairdresser makes. Add all that up, and I would have to work an estimated FOREVER before that all added up just right.

And you know people don't go into education for the money. There are totally intristic rewards that I benefit from every day. Touching young lives, making a difference. Yada, yada, yada. But seriously...millions?

FYI...When I asked about my pending fortune, I was informed that according to data, the average for someone with a master's degree (which I will hold come December) is 1.6 million. I am already spending it.

As a consolation, I get to have the summer off (weeeelllll, kinda, after all of those workshops and prep for the next year,) and there is that little thing called spring break. Plus, all of those handy shopping days at Thanksgiving and Christmas-you know the ones where I spend my fortune.

BTW...Our fabulous teachers have worked tirelessly prepping the kids for the big tests. They have trained the kids on how to be their best that morning....lots of sleep, big breakfast, etc. Parker told me this morning that he needs a breakfast with real food. Not a honeybun or Little Debbie. He wants bacon. I swear, sometimes you wonder where they get all of these extravagent ideas.

Cooking. In the morning. What's next, brushing teeth?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break Lottery

Scenerio Number 1:

My family and I are leaving early this morning for Disney. We will be spending a glorious week in a fantastic hotel with pools and playgrounds and lots of amenities just for kids. We will be hangin' out with the big mouse and buddies, wearing ears with our names written on them, riding til' we puke, and laughing so hard our bellies hurt. We will come back tired, happy, with bags full of fun souveniers and lots of quality pictures for scrapping.

Scenerio Number 2:

My mom is keeping the kids for a week. This time tomorrow Brad and I will be at a swanky resort in Mexico. We will be eating at fancy restraunts by ourselves, no kids or ketchup or fights over the red crayon. Our drinks will be protected from the tropical sun by tiny umbrellas. We will sit on the beach at night and listen to waves crash on the shore. We will bring back sunburns and the most perfect of shells that we picked up while we walked hand-in-hand down the beach.

Scenerio Number 3:

Three of my best girlfriends and I are headed to Bliss Relaxation Spa for moms. We are flying first class to our getaway, where we will be pampered to no end. There will be massages. There will be manis and pedis. Our skin will glow from the most exotic of facial ingredients. We will come home to our families relaxed and beautiful, ready to take back our homes and whatever the kids and men did while we were gone-because it is worth it.

Scenerio Number 4:

We are hanging around our house this week. It is 10:00 and everyone is still in their pajamas. I have a couple of serious dates with the closets and the storage shed to do the old seasonal/sizes switcheroo. We might fish. I might take the boys to the movies. We could be eating pizza at some point. Noone is making bedtime. There is lots of Wii going on. And I am halfway through my second crazy-to-be-reading teen vampire love story (I started the first one last week.) It is pretty much anything goes. No big being us in our home. of these resembles our break. What about you?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March-Makin' me-Mad(ness)

Here it is. This time of year when basketball reigns in our home. Yippee.

I love me some Razorback basketball. We always try to make it up for a few games, and I will find myself callin' the Hogs with the rest of them.

But the Hogs are done this year. And now I my t.v. has been taken hostage by these other teams. Why is it that I can't make myself look at the games where there are colors like orange or green, no redeeming Razorback Red anywhere on the court.

And when Brad is into something, he is devoted. He doesn't watch much t.v. during the year-unless intermittent spells of the outdoor channel count as watching (it doesn't to my mind it equals Nyquil.) I am allowed almost complete remote control (HA!) to my Grey's Anatomy or (regrettably) The Bachelor following. Pretty much he is an outside hunting, fishing kinda guy. Except for when the brackets come out and he totally loses his mind.

So now I only see his eyeballs when he stupors to the kitchen for sustenance. And it is remarkably quiet around here as he isn't on the bottom of a self-induced three kid dogpile. I guess a bonus was that I went to dinner and a movie with two friends last night, and I don't think he ever noticed I left the house. Not to mention I know this will all be over soon.

But if I hear the squeak of overpriced athletic shoes on a highly waxed wood floor one more time I may scream. It is literally the sound that keeps me awake at night and is haunting my dreams.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I totally caved...

So everyone has been going gaga over these silly vampire books. Now, I love trashy reading as much as the next person, but I was determined not to cave. Not when my teenage cousin told me I had to read it cause it is, like, the best book ever, and that guy is so hot. Not when all of my ADULT friends with fabulous taste (generally speaking) jumped on the bandwagon. I shall overcome.

And like just about everything else I ever said in my life I wouldn't do, I bought the book. Just the first one, and only because it was on sale and I needed something totally indulgent to read over spring break. And because I am feeling really left out of the hype and I like to be "in the know."

But I WILL NOT be one of those people who are coming into work in the morning with bloodshot eyes, a reading hangover with all of the tell-tale signs. However....I have only started reading it yesterday, and I am already a good ways through the book. And I will probably want to watch the movie after reading the book, but only to compare literature/cinema versions. Possibly I will want to read the next in the series if I have time over spring break. Because, after all, who doesn't want to be swept back to her sultry teenage years full of rainy northwestern small town life filled with hotty vampire love? I know it will take me back...I can relate.

Are you a reader (or will you admit it?) Do you get the hype? Even more you have the next book?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lessons learned in the Target checkout...

So there are many valuable lessons to be learned in Target. Target really knows how to put on a sale-once they decide they want it out of there, they don't play. The best bargains are found on the back endcaps of each aisle. If you really like something but have an aversion to paying full price, give it a week or will be yours at a much more reasonable cost. Sometimes if something is already marked down, you will be delighted to find out that it is even less. Popcorn and a coke is less that $1.25 in the snack bar. The knowledge is endless.

Maddie has this baby. It is her thing, like Linus and his blankie. The baby is nothing special, something her Mamaw gave her for Christmas. I don't know what the appeal is, but this is the toy that stuck. It isn't cute. It used to make these creepy noises like it was possessed, and would even cry while it was alone in the crib. She loves this thing, and I don't mean kinda. She has toted the baby all over our house, on vacation, to Nana's. She even gave it a bath one night, which took care of the freaky sounds. Nevertheless, it is her thing. She loves it. We have come to call the baby Betty. As in, Ugly Betty. Not nice, but .....

She is seriously attached to this thing, and because I have waited for a little girl to wear bows and play dolls, I want her to have a pretty baby, one that I can put away as an heirloom one day to lovingly give to my grandaughter. This ain't that baby. So I have bought other dolls just knowing that she will find one that is nicer to tote around. She hasn't taken my bait.

Recently we have become afraid that something will happen to Betty, and Maddie will never sleep again. They have this whole bedtime routine. Maddie gathers her with her pacie and blanket, then tucks her in just right before she lays herself down. She is the first thing Maddie looks for when she gets up in the morning. Last week she cried to walk over to Papaw's, then made Papaw walk her home to get her "Bebe." We don't know how we would survive if Betty became lost or dismembered, and she does have two older brothers so that is entirely possible.

Yesterday Maddie and I had a girl's shopping day to Duck Duck Goose and Target. I was so proud, because she had a list of what she wanted to look for, and I am not kidding when I say that she came up with "shoes" on her own. Bestill my heart. We were shopping around Target when she spotted from across the aisle "my Bebe!" Only this one was clean, complete, and moved with the creepy noises. She would not let go. Daddy and I had talked about buying a spare "in case." Meet the newest member of our family...Betty the Second.

So we put her in the buggy and headed for the checkout. The girl who was checking had to pry the baby out of Maddie's hands. I jokingly said, "I don't know what's up with this baby. We are buying our second one because she is so attached to the first one. And she isn't even the cutest baby...I don't know why she loves this baby so much."

The checkout girl with all of her wisdom looked at me and said, "That just goes to show you that she doesn't decide who to love based on looks."

Whoa. Who new I was being so superficial about baby doll selection?!? So I paid for the baby, and we took her home. I won't say for sure, but we might be looking in the ol' baby name book for something new to call our little ones.

Have you ever had important life reminders in the most obscure places? Any suggestions for names?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello, my name is Amy, and I have a problem

I am an addict. I have invested far too much time and money into my vice. It has kept me up nights, caused me to spend money I don't have, and robbed my children of hours of my awesomeness.

So I quit. Cold turkey. Last year I decided, "I cannot keep this up. I am the mother of three, a wife, and a professional. It is not in my character to let something like this consume my thoughts and my free time." That's it...I'm done. Forever. And being the strong person that I am I haven't caved in over a year and a half. I haven't even touched the stuff.

And y' life is comfortably boring. I am totally talking about scrapbooking!

So seriously...I was too far behind, had too many little kids, not enough space. Yada yada yada. Blah.

Then I ran across this amazing coupon from one of my favorite photo sites. Shutterfly is so easy to use, has fantastic quality items, is super fast, and gives great coupons. I'm hooked. I have spent hours making beautiful albums for my mom and mom-in-law. I made an amazing book about our beach trip, full of fantastic memories and wonderful pictures. I couldn't have been happier. That was it! No more stealing a day here and there to haul out all of my JUNK to spend sleepless nights while my kids are tucked in cropping out detailed spreads. I could do online in hours what I would NEVER get done in real life.

And I was pleased with this and myself. I felt so saavy and smart. Then one of my great friends invited me to a scrap party at her house. Knowing about my affair with digital scrapping, she suggested I bring my laptop and put together albums while she and the girls gut and glue. I was so cocky when I ran into her in Hobby Lobby the night before. "So...buying supplies? I guess I don't need to, huh?" ha. haha.

Brad loaded up up my car with my homemade snacks and laptop bag. That was it! No dragging suitcases full of equipment from under the bed. No pulling tote boxes from closet shelves. "I am so smart!" I think to myself smuggly. "Why in the world would anyone mess with all of that when they could do THIS?!?!"

So I got to her house. She had cleared me a super comfy corner of her sectional for me to curl up and "scrap" away. We ate, we talked, we looked at each others' books. Time to get this thing rolling.

Only....They were sharing papers and gadgets and stickers and trinkets. And they were discussing layouts and colors. And there was all of this talk about your own handwriting for your kids to keep. Sheesh!

And I miss my cutters and punches! I long to flip through papers and stickers and real photos. Not to mention I have scrapped hundreds of boy pages, and now I finally have a girl to create layouts about! Did you know that there are glittery papers? Come on, now! I need me some of that!!!

So I went home all caught up from being 3 years behind on 3 kids (which combined with our family album is, like, 12 years in scrapbook talk.) But I was also sad.

So after thinking it over, I have decided that my Shutterfly album is going to be beautiful. It is even better because it catches me up. But as for me and my house...we need mom-made books. And now that I am not so far behind, perhaps I can keep up? I may even fanagle my way into getting to go to the famous scrapbook weekend. I figure that if I can make myself work on books regularly from now on, I won't get so far behind that I feel like I can never get it done.

Besides...even if that happens....Shutterfly will always be there!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Puddles and Pig-tails

So I have this marvelous idea...not so original, but much needed (I think.)

I am kinda the garage sale queen. I love getting up early on Friday mornings in the summer to search side roads for bargains. Especially bargains that are in the form of clothes for my kids.

I don't think I have to tell you how expensive it is to outfit a kid-much less three. And surely you know our country is in the middle of a financial blurp right now (have you bought groceries lately? A gallon of milk? Yikes!)

And there are so many moms in town that have their kids dressed in the cutest outfits. Outfits that I envy and hope to find at yard sale prices someday.

Anyhoo...I was thinking about my growing pile of kids clothes that my own can no longer wear, combined with their never ending need for new things (that will soon be outgrown.) Combine that with the prep time required to properly host a sale of my own...and here I am back to my fantastic plan.

I am thinking that a huge Arkadelphia Mom's Shop and Swap would be so much fun. I have been planning it out in my head for months, and have finally come to the conclussion that it is totally do-able.

How awesome would it be for all of us great Arkadoo moms to get together on one Saturday to sale all of our kids' clothes, toys, furniture, and bedding at one location? Think Duck Duck Goose without complicated tagging systems, distance, and someone making money off of your items.

So here is what I am thinking....after hours of driving I have a plan!

One weekend we all pitch in a nominal fee (probably around 10-15 dollars to cover expenses and advertising.) Every one hosts their own mini sale at one location. Your stuff, your prices, your hard earned moolah....and maybe a few fantastic finds for your own kiddos in the end. Of course, for all of you super talented moms with businesses, you could peddle your goods there, too. This would be a great way to provide for our children while saving and making our families money.

I really think this could be super successful...and fun. I also think this is a worthy project, but I need your input. If you would be interested in selling at such an event (and sellers would get to shop first!) then give me some feedback in the form of a comment. Pass this on to your frugal minded friends. Enough interest and we'll give it the old mommy-saving-money try.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not my fantasy spa weekend

One of the "quirks" of my master's program is unconventional scheduling. Being aimed at teachers who CANNOT take a break in the middle of the day in the interest of higher education, most classes are scheduled one night a week, a ton are available online (or mostly online with a few meetings.) I am enrolled in two such courses, but in a lack of reasoning I enrolled in three graduate courses this semester. Because what else do I have to do?

This third course in particular is mostly clinical experience, logging hours weekly targeting one at-risk reader. Except for the face-to-face meetings which are held over three weekends. So tonight I headed up for my first weekend that shouldn't count as a weekend. And since I am getting this degree at UCA, I being in class from 4:30 til 9:30 on Friday with a brief nap before returning to a full day of sessions on Saturday seemed a little much.

My brilliant plan was to come up on Friday and stay in Conway overnight. Secretly I was romancing the idea of a night alone. By myself. No fighting, whining, crying. No begging for one last drink or snack before bed. No having wait for one little person to fall asleep before I could shut my eyes only to awaken to another crying to get into my bed.

Just me, with a People magazine, dinner wherever I drove through (no happy meals or ketchup needed,) drifting peacefully off to sleep and waking to the same tranquility. Bathroom all to myself, having to only worry about getting myself fed, ready, and out the door. Yeah, right.

Last night Parker and I had a talk about where I would be going and why. There was discussion about behavior and possible a bribe with a new movie he has been waiting on. Because, y'all, I am not above a good well timed bribe. Right as I got to the part about, "Mommy has to be away for one night, but I will be back the next afternoon..."

So after Parker's pitiful looks and moping, combined with Brad's worries of having all the kids all by himself (and you can't blame him-see above,) everyone woke up this morning with a great idea. WE ARE GOING WITH MOM!!!!

Because Brad didn't want me to have to stay by myself. Because my hotel has an indoor pool and we haven't been swimming in months.

yay. great. i am so excited you are going.....yippee.

My blissful, relaxing few hours turned into vacation madness.

But, seriously, we are having a pretty great time. I guess my professor thought we looked tired after only 3 hours, so she let us go. And the kids had already eaten, so I got to pick where I wanted to go without their influence. Now they are happily swimming away, getting along. No crying. No running and wrestling and tearing up the house I just cleaned. And breakfast is on Comfort Suites in the morning, so no cooking or dishes.

This might not be so bad after all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Minding my own (business)

I am a mommy and a teacher at heart. This gives me three really important ?gifts?
1. I am really (good at faking) patient.
2. I can multi-task with the best of 'em.
3. I want to mama everyone.

It is really the last one that gets me in trouble. I have this need to fix things for people. Even if the things are out of reach of my fixin', need to be fixed by the person themself (even if they would be happy for me to take over,) or are just flat out none of my business. And even if the item at hand is none of my business...I generally have an opinion, especially if it is someone important to me and I KNOW I AM RIGHT!!!

So there is a person right now that I love that is making a tough decision. I am not talking about which socks go with those shoes. I mean one of those life-altering, forever changing, once you made it you can't go back kinda deals.

Technically it is none of my concern. But as a person who is almost 30 and is still going to school because I changed my mind about what I want to be when I grow up, I want her to avoid those kind of errors in judgement. I want her to make this decision based on what is best in the long run, not what is easiest right now. Because, as some of you know, you just can't go back to certain parts of your life and take a do-over. Especially after the majority of your choices turn from what will I do to what is best for me and all of the little people who depend on me.

I was blessed to work for a wonderful person a few years ago who gave me possibly the best advice of my life, applicable in almost every situation..."You can't always say everything you think." And right now I am trying to practice that preachin'. So I am turning it over to the One in charge, because I know she listens to Him too, and she is His business. Not mine.

But I do love her, and I am praying for her. Because I want her to be and do all that she is and never settle.

P.S. You know who you are....So now I guess my opinion is outta the bag...but you are always in my prayers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I was a winner...if only for a day

So I am a faithful blog follower of about 10 fabulous ladies (as seen in my "Who I'm Keeping Up With" scroll.) I love to log on and catch up with my friends-some real-life pals, and others only in bloggy world. Big Mama is one of my favorite pretend buddies-I think she is just hilarious, and I have been inspired by her scarf-tying.

side-tracked note: This week I implemented "Scarf Tuesday" at LEP, because we are always on the cutting edge of trendy as primary teachers, and this particular "in" didn't involve Hannah Montana or anything sparkly. Except for my AMAZING sequin blue scarf that had no takers...fuddy duds. And because it is so fun to hear C.S. make brilliant statements, like, "You didn't tell me outright it was Scarf Tuesday. You could have spelled it out...S-C-ARF..."

Anyhoo...I was bopping along my blog catchin-ups the other night when one of my faves posted a contest for some of my books and a Target gift card. Bliss. Dutifully I entered (along with about 500 other readers.) Sunday I logged on to read the results, and BEHOLD!!! Amy with a gmail address is the grand prize winner! I am Amy! I have a Gmail address! I am already spending my $50 in my head!

The only problem was that the winner was picked by random number generator, and the comments weren't numbered. And there were about a kazillion Amys posted. Hmmmm......

Wishing. And hoping. And thinking. And praying. Planning. And dreaming.

Checking my inbox every 10 minutes for a long 20 hours or so.

I am Amy. I have a gmail address. So does another Amy, and she is the winner. I am super happy that someone in my name family won the big prize (the second place winner was also an Amy. Who'da thunk it.) Either way it was very exciting to have won something, even if I am not bringing home the goods in the end.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My classroom, the barnyard

Three days inside will turn four year olds into animals. That is a fact. Three days inside with a hint of snow...puleeze! Just hire me on at the zoo. Crazy with a capital Prozac!

So we have watched the weather and speculated on what might come of days out. We have been stuck inside our classroom looking at each other for 7 hours a day. We have played with forgotten toys, made new games, done TONS of crafts, and passed our time as productively as possible. The expiration on productivity was yesterday around 11 a.m. when every toy became a projectile, and even my sweetest little one was looking kinda "Lord of the Flies." Time for sunshine!!!

So my kiddos have the complete capability to turn to animals. But today we had the pleasure of adding to our normal, everyday barnyard hubabaloo. We had a pig in the room.

One of my little girl's dad had rescued a piglet after hunting down mama...images of Bambi gone bad. Being a sucker for baby animals (we raised a litter of baby rabbits inour class last year,) and for exposing my students to any possible experience, we asked to have the pig for a visit. The visit turned to a day-long pig sitting adventure.

This little piggy went to school. I am not talking about a Wilbur kinda swine. I mean a wild hog, soon to be boar with tusks, kinda fella. He was probably all of 3 pounds and still on the bottle, but boy could the little guy holler. He squealed and squeaked and grunted. We bottle fed him, and even took him outside to recess on his tiny leash. He spent naptime visiting other classes-apparently his schedule wasn't the same as the kids. Good times.

The best part for me was the other kids on the playground. They ran quickly up to him hollering "puppy." He would grunt or squeal, then they would get this priceless expression on their face, first of shock, then of bewilderment at what was this tiny beast, and why would a teacher be carrying it out to play.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a Girl!!!

So being a mom of boys is great. They are happy eating off the floor. They can't wait to get outside. And they LOVE their mamas. I believe in my heart that boys are easier to raise (except for potty training.) At least until they are teens. This is partially because I was a HORRIBLE teenage girl, and I would send my daughter to a boarding school if she even thought about some of the things I did.

Boys are great, but secretly (or not so) I have always wanted a girl. Someone to dress up, look pretty, play nice. After Kaden was born, I truely thought I was done right up to the surprise that is Maddie. I was surrounded by boys. At the school where I worked all of the teachers had boys (lots 'o boys.) Girls were this mysterious creation that existed only in theory for us. Even laying in the ultrasound room I wouldn't believe that I was having a girl. I didn't paint the nursery. I didn't buy lots of pink ruffle socks. I just didn't think it could happen.

My father-in-law made the comment the other day that when I had Maddie I said I would have her in pink and a dress every day. "And you have!" Weeelllll....what else was I to do? After two boys in blue, spiderman costumes and dirty socks, I needed a little girly in my life. Brad swore that I was gonna make her hate pink before she was 2.

Turns out I haven't scarred her! She is turning out every bit as pink as I wanted her to be. We disappeared the other day, and were found quietly playing babies in her room. She will be two in a couple of weeks, and already her playtime is spent rocking dolls, singing them songs, and patting them, whispering, "Shh..." Such a little mommy.

She is also my little shopping buddy. Her first word...and I am not kidding....was, "Shoes!" We love to sneak away and look for pretty things. Turns out dressing a girl is not only more fun, but also more expensive. Boys are easy: shirts and pants. Blue and red. Girls.....oh, my. Dresses and skirts, and bows and ribbons and ruffle bloomers and matching shoes.....we could go forever. Thankfully I have a great friend with a little girl who loves to pass cute clothes on to Maddie. And we love us some hand-me-downs.

Now...having a girl is great, but I wouldn't trade my boys for ten bow-wearing, doll-toting little ladies. I have said that if we were having another I would want him to be another boy. Because girls are sweet and soft, but....I love me my boys, too, in a very no muss, no fuss, mama's boy kinda way.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frugal...Shouldn't that be a four letter word?

So I have been spending time this week catching up on blogs that normally get passed over in our frantic fight to survive the battle that is our children. Thanks to all of the little angels adding so much to my life, I was endowed with the gift of Strep Throat. Me, as an adult who is never sick thanks to the immune system enhanced by my petri dish-like surroundings, found myself in the doctor's office Wednesday with a sore throat. So ridiculous, and so only the beginning of the fever-aches-chill cycle that would be my week in review.

Any-hoo. Found myself at home ALONE for the first time in, like, 8 years. Kaden and Parker tucked safely away at school, and Maddie at daycare, with my Mom running interference and night duty. Totally on my own to wallow in my suffering.

And that's just what I did for Wednesday and Thursday. Literally didn't move out of the bed. By Friday my heavy antibiotics and pain killer had finally hit the spot, and I began to feel like myself again. Like myself who hadn't read, saw, or talked to ANYONE in days. Like myself who had barely been coherent long enough to be sure I was taking the correct drugs and to use the bathroom. Like myself who (gulp) hadn't seen what my loving husband had refused to see in his man-blurr of unknowingness about how the house gets messy and his random trash and food and laundry here and there has nothing to do with it...........I digress. Breathe and count. That's better.

So I emerged from my strep/fever/drug hibernation and entered what I had feared to be a battle zone of fast food wrappers and dirty socks to find that...he had cleaned house! He had washed dishes AND taken out the trash, and since the kids were gone there was no clutter. OH NO HE DIDN'T!!! Oh yes, he did.

I had a good portion of my kid-free, finally feeling alive, sick day left to entertain my VERY BORED self. Which is a completely wordy-haven't talked to anyone in days-way of telling you that I have been catching up on my peeps.

Apparently there is some movement to be frugal. Now I like the sound of this, and we all can afford to save a little money, and the holidays are over, and REALLY we already have too much.

But seriously. These folks are airing their dirty pocketbooks and posting day-by-day plays of what they are spending! I am aghast (and totally entertained and inspired and disgusted and intrigued.) And, well, hooked like I am a toothy-smiling, tank-top and scarf wearing bachelorette about to ride a blimp.

There is no way I am anywhere evolved enough for this kind of public confessional. I think first I would have to get a grasp myself on how much I spend myself. Not that it is a lot, because, well I am a teacher and you know how we roll. But it is often, and daily. And, well....I am kinda the debit card queen. Please don't tell Brad-you have no idea how organized he is about his banking and financing. We are not only talking separate bank accounts. We have separate banks, people.

So my newly-well resolution will not be to stop using my card on bubble gum and the RedBox. It will not be to (this almost seems inhuman) avoid Target. But I did see a few things I like, especially about meal planning and shopping, as well as cooking meats and freezing in meal-sized portions to cut down on cooking and clean up times. I'm all 'bout that. And I really have hated the whole "I don't know what to cook" feeling, and that it seems like we have the same meals over and over again, and I know I have done better in the past.

So thanks for inspiring me. I can't believe how amazing and controlled and organized you all are. And good luck to everyone in their endeavors-they are worthy. And if any of you feel the need to confess or air your my guest. Because as you know, the most dramatic "Bachelor" ever will not air until Monday night. Plus I'm still not well enough to make it to Target.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wii are family

Santa was gonna bring Parker a Wii for Christmas. He looked high and low, beginning in November right until Christmas Eve. A Christmas Wii miracle was not to be found.

When Santa left Kaden his ridiculously expensive Ford F150 riding toy (with working radio,) and Maddie woke up to find her Rose Petal Cottage, Parker tried to act excited. "Oh, a guitar..." Could you blame him? The two little ones were on stimulous overload, and he looked like he was one step away from coal...which, in theory, is really what he sould have gotten.

We still wanted him to have the Wii, but if he knew about the plan he wouldn't have stopped until it was purchased and playing, and since we didn't know when that would be it remained our little secret. I have stalked out Walmart and the game store here in town, but always seem to miss them as they come in. How is it that there could be twenty people in Arkadelphia who want a Wii and happen to be in Walmart in the first hour they are on the shelf? Cause apparently that's how they go...super quick.

Today we went on a Wii hunt. We started out headed towards Little Rock with clear intentions: do not come home without a system. Malvern was the first stop, and even though they didn't have one ate the game store there, he happened to be on the phone with the Hot Springs guy who had just gotten in six last night. "Hang onto one for me. I'm on my way right now!" Brad was beginning to think I lost my Wii mind by the way I was rushing him, but when I got there he had my one left. The rest had sold during our 20 minute drive. CRAZY!

So we brought our new toy home (after everyone picked out their own game.) We have spent the night driving, bowling, and hunting. I have two revelations thanks to Nintendo:

1. I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader.
2. My kids find great joy in knocking us out.

So we are a Wii family. If you meet me driving down the road, move over a couple of inches because my eyes are bloodshot and swollen from staying up until 3 a.m. with Mario. And my arms hurt too much to move from I boxing my children.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ain't Nobody Sleepin' Round Here

We have been having the most terrible time around our house with sleeping. No one is sick. No one is hurt. No one is having bad dreams/worried/afraid/stressed. Just no one is sleeping. And tonight I pinpointed the culprit.

Due to Parker's need for order and scheduling, our bedtime routine could be written on stone tablets. Baths, snacks, brush the pearly whites, tuck in. Everyone snug as a bug by 8. It is that simple and story book perfect. Until the lights go out and I close the door. Apparently that is when the party starts.

On weekends and holidays I have to admit our rules are pretty lax. Same schedule, same routines. But the boys are allowed to take a toy or book to bed as long as they stay in their beds and keep the noise to a low roar. Somehow our adjustment to back-to-school has been harder than usual, and as a result no one is sleeping.

Bedtime goes as usual. Prayers, talking about the day, discussing crucial upcoming events (like toy day @ school-arg.) By 8:30 it sounds like Ringling Brothers is holding try outs in our house. There is thumping. There is bumping. There is fighting and crying, and the other night I was actually opening the door just in time to see a body fly from the top of the bunk onto a pile of all bedding on the floor. Good thing they were cushioning because the sheer look of terror on that 2.2 second drop was enough to break a bone.

So we have done everything. Threats (followed through, thank you very much,) earlier bed times, taking away part of the ritual (snacks!) We have talked about why we need sleep until we are blue in the face, and I even got them up extra early one morning so they could see how tired they were. Doesn't matter. We are still rockin' every night until PAST 11!

Tonight I was past exhausted, and had resolved myself to the idea that you can make someone do a lot of things, but you can't force someone to sleep. I don't even know why you should have to-they don't realize how much they will covet that rest later in life. So the only thing I knew to do was to seperate the little darlings. Kaden was exhiled to the couch. The little precious is so rowdy-such a little fireball of a guy. Within minutes...M.I.N.U.T.E.S...he was out. Checked on Parker...out. So finally tonight after being dog tired for days the house is quiet before midnight.

Now I can't sleep...I think I have become used to the steady thudding from the boys room.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Return After Break Fairytale

Once upon a time in a magical land far away there was an enchanted primary school. This school was full of amazingly brilliant and lovely teachers. Teachers in this school had endless ideas and resources, were supportive and encouraging of one another. They loved their coworkers and children, and reaped benefits mentally, emotionally, and monetarily from their rewarding career.

This school, like many others, provided teachers and students with much needed and deserved vacation breaks. During these breaks, pajamas were standard attire, and hot chocolate and cookies flowed. Teachers transformed into mysterious beasts called "moms," and were able to cook whole meals for their own families. Things were beautiful.

After two blissful weeks, teachers and students prepared for school by enrobing themselves in attire previously neglected-pants with real waists. As the lovely educators pulled on khakis and slacks they discovered that sometime in the sugar cyclone elves had sprinkled magic shrinking powder onto all real-waisted wardrobe items, completely neglecting stretchy "workout" pants and pajama bottoms. These teachers were now not only brilliant and lovely, but imagined themselves magicians as they tried to accomplish the impossible...put ten extra holiday pounds into previously snug-fitting pants.

Teachers returned to school one and all admittedly relieved to find their friends had been visited by the same band of elfin intruders. Before they became too comfortable in their rolling chairs and heavy winter coats, however, they were assaulted by one unnamed assailant (Nurse Jo.) "We are starting a new weight loss program today for all teachers. It will be great!"

Really. Nothing quite like weighing in weekly, keeping food diaries, and having others give you that guilty look as you walk down the hallway with your one miniature Snickers...really JUST one.

Not to mention the joys of food diaries, point exchanges, and exercise logs.

There was even mentioned not to beat yourself up for sinning. Jeesh.

So the exceptional teachers gathered their strengths and talents, banded together, and ...

stepped into the dungeon of the evil Scale Dragon. Because individually they are amazing. But together they can get through this. And for the pure entertainment that comes through this kind of support. Like...

"I'm gonna do this, but I am not starting until I finish the pan of brownies I made last night." or

Hearing a whole group of kindergarten teachers discuss the dietary exchange of a beer or glass of wine to replace food. or

A well timed snort and grunt after hearing, "Don't forget, you need to plan for exercise." and my favorite...

"Wow! Cucumbers and Jello are free! That's all I'm gonna eat!"

So...And they all lived happily ever after? Whatever happens, we are all in this together!