Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crazy Napper

Mackenna is my worst child at going to bed (at nap and bed times). I blame myself for getting soft in my old age. Anyway, the other day I put her down for her nap and then proceeded to listen to her wreak havoc in her room before quieting down. When I went to check on her this is the sight I found:

I ask you, how is it possible to fall and stay asleep for a sustained period of time in such a position? I'm at a loss.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ward Halloween Party

After a week with an excess of tears and heartache, it was nice to enjoy one of my favorite nights of the year: the Ward Halloween Party. I do so love this event. I love to talk with my kiddies and my husband and come up with a theme that is pleasing to all. I love to wrap my brain around all the little intricacies of each costume and think of the best, easiest, and cheapest way to fashion them up. I know that there is nothing wrong with buying a pre-made costume; many mothers with better qualities than mine do just that thing. But, for some reason, I just can't. To me, making our Halloween fashions is up there with buying skim milk and whole wheat bread. It's one of the few things I feel really good about how I do as a mother. Weird, I know.

I also love the creative aspect of it all. I like to figure out how I am going to do it. I don't have to actually sew everything myself (this year, I only sewed Glinda from scratch). I like to find basics at the Salvation Army and then build from there--it's cheaper that way, I've found.

And, okay, I like the whole family theme/mom made our costumes thing because my kids say things like, "You're the best Mommy in the whole wide world!" when they see their costumes. I like to look at my family and see us as a team. Of course, each year I feel more pressure to come up with something even better for the next year. I get a little stressed and frazzled the week before the party, but it's all worth it, I think.

So, here are the kids before we left for the Trunk-or-Treat:

Maia as The Wicked Witch of the West, Mackenna as "Dor-fee" (AKA Dorothy), Marlee as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, Mason as the Scarecrow

The whole fam-damily: the kids plus me as the Cowardly Lion and Michael as the Tin Man

Dorothy's friends: Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rain, Rain Go Away

Ordinarily, I am all for a nice autumnal storm. I like a rain day here or there and goodness knows, we haven't had much of it around here lately. BUT...why must is rain when I am busily trying to spray paint and glitter-ify all kinds of accessories (funnels, wands, broomsticks, crowns, etc.) for our Halloween costumes? I just don't have the time for such things!

I thought I outsmarted the rain and sprayed Teensy's crown when the drizzle had ceased. Stupidly, I left the crown on the deck to dry and, of course, the rain recommenced. I blotted it the best I could and then brought it into the kitchen to dry. Of course, the air in the kitchen is really damp anyway and the glitter glue I spread this morning on the top of her wand still isn't dry. Please, pray for dry weather for me or our costumes are going to be dripping all kinds of silver Saturday night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busy Doing Nothing

That's a quick summary of what I have been up to lately. I haven't been doing anything major, but I seem to have little time on my hands. I haven't gone anywhere or done anything spectacular so I don't feel like I have very much blogging content in my life. I'll use this chance to make little snapshots of my kids.

Mackenna is sadly leaving cute babyhood and running full-fledged into the terrible two's. She is pushing anyone smaller than her...and some kids even bigger than her. Sometimes, she is downright mean! This is horrifying to me. I'm not sure what to do about it. I try to make sure I give her special attention and love to ensure that she isn't acting out because she feels neglected or something. Sometimes she is still my sweet angel and other times she is a real wild cat!

Marlee is so funny. I do cringe when I think about her being a teen-ager. She has named one boy in her preschool class, Tanner, as her boyfriend. This morning, when she was choosing her outfit for the day, she mentioned how she didn't want to change shirts because she wanted Tanner to see the one she had on. She's already dressing to impress boys?!? What's up with that? Then, tonight, after she took a bath and got her hair washed, I combed her hair. She put her tiara on (she's worn it all day--including in the tub) and then went to brush her teeth. I heard her startled gasp from where I was on the stairs. I rushed in the bathroom to see what was the matter and she said, "Oh, nothing's wrong. I just look so pretty like this." Are you kidding me? Where does this child come from? If this is four, I am seriously concerned about fourteen; that's all I'm saying!

I think the past two months have been the happiest of Mason's life. My sweet boy has always had a somewhat cantankerous disposition. He's never really found joy in much. It's always been hard to punish him by taking something away from him because he never cared about anything very much. Enter our new neighbors. He is so happy to play with their sons--especially Dallin. I think he genuinely has a happier disposition since he found the joy of friendship with these boys. I am so thrilled for him.

Maia has been working really hard on her school project on the giant panda. She's had to go to the library for three sources, take notes, write a bibliography and all that jazz. Now I have to go out and buy one of those tri-fold poster thingies for her to make a visual presentation of all her studies. She really shines in writing and speaking assignments in school. I love to read her work. It's always so good that I am worried the teachers will think that we, her parents, wrote it for her. It's so wonderful to watch her grow and mature, but I am glad she is still an innocent little girl. I took her to get her photo taken for turning nine and all she wanted was a picture with a fairy superimposed onto it. Even though they were more than I usually spend on my kids' birthday photos, I had to get a couple of them. I just don't know how much longer I'll have her still loving little girls things, you know?

So, that's a glimpse of my kids right now. They are each such beautiful and unique individuals; I am so happy to spend my days (and nights) mothering them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Love is in the Air

Tonight is Friday night and I'm home here sans spouse. He's camping with the Scouts. That's okay--last Friday night it was quite a different story.

I had a surprise weekend planned for my honey. Friday he got home from work and about 10 minutes later my sister, Amber, showed up. He wondered what was up and I told him that she was going to stay with the kids while we ran out to Chipotle. He was like, "Oh, okay." Of course, I had more planned than a $6 burrito, but I was playing it cool.

We had a great little dinner and chat. I told Michael that we were going somewhere else and asked him how much he wanted to know. He responded, "I'm liking the surprise aspect," so I just told him where to drive. Even when he saw the Bed and Breakfast in front of us, he didn't put it together.

We stayed the night at a really cute B&B called The Inn at Norwood. It was so fun. He was just so surprised! I don't know where he had been thinking we were headed, but it certainly wasn't to an overnighter. It was so enjoyable! We relaxed by reading a ton and taking advantage of the jacuzzi tub in our room. We even went to bed at 9:30! It was great.

Saturday morning, we filled up on our three course breakfast and then relaxed some more before walking through the Main Street Festival going on in Sykesville. Michael picked up some Apple Butter and cherry soda from a family farm booth. We strolled through a used book store and took our time perusing the titles. It was so nice!

After leaving Sykesville, we went for a walk around a nearby lake. The weather was beautiful as we strolled under the trees. It was quite lovely. Before long, it was time to go to "linner." We went to The Cheesecake Factory where I introduced Michael to the little bites of heaven known as Avocado Egg Rolls.

During the meal I mentioned that I needed to buy some new pantyhose for church on Sunday and that maybe we could run to Target after "linner." Michael said, "Well, it's your sister who's got our kids..." That's when I knew that he thought we were going home after our meal. I didn't correct him.

When we got back in the car after our quick trip into Target, I confessed to Michael that the reason we had had such an early dinner wasn't to relieve Amber, but to make it to the next, and final, part of our date: a live recording of one of Michael's favorite radio shows on NPR, The Prairie Home Companion. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I think he was really thrilled! His first reaction was, "How are we going to get there?" I quickly explained that it wasn't taping in Minnesota, but Baltimore.

I did tease him that we were going to be the only people there under the age of 70. And to be fair, that wasn't true; we saw 6 other people under 70 by the end of the evening. It was a neat show, though. We got to see Garrison Keillor do his thing and heard some fun musical acts, including Carole King. It was a great fun!

Finally, we came home. In the car on the way back, I made Michael rank various aspects of the 27 hours away in order of how much he enjoyed them. I was tickled at how high "the surprise element" ranked on the list (I bought the tickets to the show over 2 months ago and have been the perfect secret-keeper!).

It had been over four years since we'd gone away together and I am so glad we did it! I am so thankful for my sister, Amber, who totally spoiled my children (there are still cans of soda in my fridge left-over from their shopping spree at Weis) and took great care of them (including bathing Kenna after she stuck her hand down her diaper and pulled out a handful of you-know-what!) What a lucky girl I am to have a great husband with whom I can still have fun and a giving sister who helps me to be able to remember that!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good News!

In the last two days I have gotten great news from two of my siblings. I thought I'd share.

My little sister, Whitney, is engaged! She will marry her fiance, Shawn, on January 26, 2008 in the Washington D.C. Temple. I am so excited for her and can't wait for her to start her new married life (even if said life will start in far away Utah). I dream of her popping out babies so I can hold them and smell them when they are straight from the womb!

"The womb" brings me to my second bit of fabulous news this week. My brother, Adam, and his wife, Laura, are expecting their third baby. They live relatively close to me so the chances of me actually smelling said baby's newly-descended-fron-the-womb scent are much greater. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Life's been busy, but good. I have more to post, but no time as I get the kids off to school. Just had to get back on the blogging horse, as it were.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Saving and Splurging

For my dearest cyber pal, Sal, who asked me to do this. I've been mulling it over for days. It's a bit difficult to come up with ten of each, I think. For those who were at my Enrichment class last month, you might want to skip the saves and head right to the splurges.

Ten ways I save money are...
1. by being technologically ignorant. I don't have an iPod and, as previously confessed, do not even know how to download a song. From what I hear from friends, this saves me loads of money.
2. by being a late bloomer. I just got my first cell phone this year. It's a pay-as-you-go plan and Michael and I together spend about $30 a month on our phones. Also, I don't know how to text...maybe that goes with #1.
3. by clipping coupons. I read store ads and stock up on things when they are on sale and I have a coupon for them.
4. by "going green." I use those compact fluorescent light bulbs and when an appliance breaks, I replace it with an Energy Star one. (Okay, the appliance costs more, but in the long run it saves on my electric bill, right?)
5. by subscribing to the concept of "delayed gratification." For example, I had my eye on some shelves at Michael's and bought one each week for three weeks with a coupon from the newspaper. It took a little longer to get what I wanted, but I got it for less!
6. by shopping at the Salvation Army on Wednesdays! I feel really lucky that I live near a great thrift store where people obviously wealthier than I take their one or two children's hardly-used and sometimes never-used clothes. I love getting my kids jeans and pants there...and Wednesday is half-off day.
7. by being too impatient to shop with children. Surely, those women who actually don't break out into hives at the mention of taking their kids to the mall with them spend more money than I. Surely, they do. I am not good about taking kids in public unless it's to a kid place. The mall? Only to get their pictures taken.
8. by having children who don't really eat. (I'm stretching here--this is getting hard!) Tracy is amazed that when we have chicken for dinner, two breasts is more than enough to feed my little family of six (of course, it helps that Maia doesn't touch meat).
9. by only buying books that I know I'll reread. I live ridiculously close to the library and made this rule for myself when I moved into my house. This also saves on having too much stuff in my house--it's a double saver: money and space!
10. by buying my girls' dresses at the Kahn Lucas outlet. How did I ever pay more than $3.00 for a dress before I made this discovery?

Ten ways I splurge are...
1. by hiring a babysitter twice a month (once for Ward Temple Night, once for a "fun" date), sometimes more.
2. by buying good toilet paper. I am a complete T.P. Snob and I embrace it! I cannot scrimp on the quality of the material I use to clean my bottom. I can't and I won't and I don't apologize for it.
3. by joining the pool behind my house each summer. It may cost a little more than other pools in the area, but walking out my door with my barefooted children and arriving at the pool 60 seconds later is priceless to me!
4. by buying Christmas and Easter outfits for my children. I cannot resist holidaywear.
5. by buying Gala apples. Those things are nature's candy, I tell you. I have raised four apple snobs who won't eat cheaper varieties.
6. by having a fabulous amount of life insurance on my husband. If he goes, I'll be sad enough without having to be poor, too.
7. by being a car seat safety freak. I really do check the expiration dates on my car seats and throw them away and get new ones when the time comes. I realize that it probably doesn't matter, this whole expiration date thing, but I just have to follow the manufacturer's recommendation.
8. by buying ridiculous amounts of bows and ribbons for my daughters' hair. Just last weekend I was at the Kids Nearly New Sale looking for great deals on stuff for my kids when I was victimized by a woman who was selling adorable hair bows. One bow cost me more than Maia's Tommy Hilfiger and Mudd jeans put together. See the problem?
9. by ordering pizza when I've had a really busy or stressed day (but, of course, I always have a coupon when I order).
10. by keeping my Michael's car running. This poor car has been a complete money pit, but I cannot help but keep it going. It means so much to me that I don't have to wake up kids to take him to work or interrupt dinner prep/homework time to pick him up. It doesn't mean the same to him, but he begrudgingly humors me.

So, there you have it. The little ways I think I save and splurge on a regular basis. Please, share yours. I'm curious to see how many ways Tracy saves. Hee hee.

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill