Monday, June 29, 2009

News Flash-- Miss Grumpy Won Over

Tonight was my last cake decoratig class. I have officially passed Wilton Basic Cake Decorating. I am going to miss this class. I am going to miss our teacher- the funny little man that he is. I am going to miss having an excuse to bake a cake every week. Tonight we are enjoying red velvet cake covered in roses;)

Indeed I learned a lot in my cake decorating class, but I was also reminded that a "Cheerful look brings joy to the heart". It is so easy to get caught up in negativity, but being a positive presence CAN be contagious too- it just takes a bit more time. Katie and I had a great time together. We laughed a lot and teased one another. We also teased and encouraged those around us. We won the class over. The only one we didn't think would cross over from the dark side was Little Miss Grumpy on the end of the table. Every week she walks in late and keeps the teacher late as she keeps working despite instructions to clean up. Every week she looks at every one with a scowl on her face. Every week she makes snide remarks and snippy comments.

Well tonight- she left the dark side behind. She became Little Miss Chatty and even seemed to enjoy herself. And wouldn't you know- she's a cute girl when she smiles. Gotta remember folks- cheerfulness is like medicine. I guarantee you this lady needed a heavy dose. I hope she signs up for Level 2 in the fall. Maybe we'll end up friends.

Proud to be me

This is my blog and I am entitled to my opinion, so here is my rant:

I will not apologize for being feminine. I will not apologize for being a stay at home mom and one an occasion or two you may have found me barefoot and pregnant in my kitchen. I am okay with that. Here is the thing, I am so glad that I get to make choices in life, but if I make a choice (as I have) to be in a role that is more "traditional", who are you to criticize or assume that I was forced to make that choice. Excuse me? Just because I am an intelligent person does not mean I have to use my intelligence in the work place; I am pretty sure my kids can benefit just as much from my brain as a work place. I don't know why it is so cool to deny feminity or to assume girls who are very feminine are dumb. To me, this is giving credence to the ridiculous assumption that men are better than women. NO! I am a girl, a girly girl and I am proud. Being more masculine would not make me "better". As a matter of opinion, I think that girls that deny the feminine aspects of themselves and criticize the femininity in others are wounded and have believed a lie that being masculine is somehow better.

I am glad that I grew up in a generation where I could choose to do anything...but I am sick be of people then assuming that I should do everything in order to be something. I believe that traditional roles are traditional because men and women tend to have certain bents. I believe that I was uniquely created as me; and darn it if I am going to be something else or apologize for who I am. I don't need to do anything to be great. I am "great" because God created me, and I challenge you to show me one place in scripture where God created something or someone and said, "oooo- that one... not so good." He gave me the the body and personality and gifts he deemed to be the right package. I refuse to surrender to the idea that I have to try to rewrap myself in some fallible humans ideals and disguise myself as a different "acceptable" package.

So...that being said I will continue to make the choices for myself and my family that are best for us. Trusting God to show us what is best, of course. I don't need to fit into anyone else's definition of cool. I just don't, and I may not be so nice anymore when people challenge our choices. We just may look like a very traditional family and you know what- we are so cool with that. We are going to do what we believe God wants us to; His is the only other opinion we care about. Yes, I may someday have loads of children- I am cool with that. Yes, I may soon drive a minivan- I am cool with that. Yes, I may someday move to the burbs and I am cool with that. Try calling me a sell out again- I dare you. You might just need a lesson in what this "weak" woman is made of.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend Quandary

I love the weekends. Marc is home and we get to be together as a family. Yet, our weekends are usually way too busy, and so we are working on calming down and having more down time together. The problem is that most everything we do is "good". It is hard to know what to say no to and what is most important. The blessing of the curse of Phin being a very difficult baby was that we were forced to say no to most everything and we really just focused on keeping our family sane. It was a very hard time, but in retrospect a very good time for our family bonding. We need to figure out how to preserve some of that for the present and future.

We also need to figure out what is "normal" on the weekends. Because Marc is home, I tend to check out on the weekends in terms of household chores and such. I get off my rhythm and almost always find myself starting the week behind. Perhaps we should divide up domains and have set "responsibilities". He is tired too, after all. I can't expect that he'll do everything when he is home just because I am tired. The problem is that I guess I must expect that on some level because when I look at the home that looks like a tornado went through it, I tend to blame him atleast in my head, even if I know enough not to speak those words aloud.

Maybe it isn't important to keep it together on the weekends, maybe it is more important just to focus on fun. Maybe....but then why do I feel my anxiety rising and find the hairs on my arms standing up when I try to sit down to chill on Sunday evening.

Yes, the weekends are one of my favorite things and yet the bane of my existence all at the same time. They are a puzzle that we need to figure out- though I am glad we can figure it out together. I expect we won't net out at a perfectly kept home on Sunday or a perfectly wrecked one. Hopefully together we'll be able to find the balance of fun and work so that our home is a restful and rejuvenating place for ALL of us! At the very least, I would like someone to be able to stop by unannounced and not be mortified by the condition of our family room...then again does anyone stop by unannounced any more?

P.S. Just for the record, we are totally fine with unexpected guests...buck the system, throw out social expectation and stop by anytime.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I've got the creepy crawlies

Apparently, I am awesome. Everyone wants a piece of me- My 8 month old, My 2 year old, and my 32 year old. There just isn't enough awesomeness to go around.

My son is attached to me emotionally and lately wants to be constantly attached to me physically too. This is quite flattering in some respects; it is nice to be liked. On the other hand, it is driving me crazy. I am so over being touched. I am so over hearing whining and crying every time I walk near my baby. I am so over the back ache from toting around 25 lbs. on my hip while attempting to cook dinner. I would like to leave a room without leaving a trail of crying behind. I have to get things done, so sometimes he just has to deal...only he doesn't deal. He cries- hard. I am frankly tired of feeling anxious because my baby is crying. I wish he understood that I'd love to leave the dishes alone, but if I did, eventually we'd have nothing to feed him with. I wish he understood that I have to put him down in order to mix the bottle he is fussing for.

I don't know how long this stage will last. My oldest child didn't really go through this. She had some separation anxiety at 18months, but nothing like this. I just want to use the bathroom in peace. I just want him to enjoy all the lovely toys he has.

I think his biggest problem is that he is frustrated that he can't go were HE wants to go. He sees Ava and I walking around here and there at will and he is angry that he has to sit and wait to be moved. I guess I can see how that might be a little frustrating. So now I am wondering if this stage will be over when he gets the ability to move...that will be nice. OH but that will also be a nightmare. My son has so much energy, I can only imagine what he will do with motion and that energy;)

I think God gave be a break the last few months. He knew I was at a breaking point at 4-5 months and gave me a nice, relatively easy baby for a little while...apparently only to rest up for what was to come- THE PRESENT;) I think I might go insane and I can get the shivers just thinking about being touched. (yes, poor marc;) As they say, "This too shall pass." In the meantime, please excuse me if I dodge your high fives, shake hands like a limp fish, or give crappy hugs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet the most recent

Today I officially entered the world of super couponing and I am STOKED! I attended a supercouponing class last week. It is like a game. I was intrigued. I mean, why would I NOT want to save crazy amounts of money for my family....or for me to spend elsewhere;) Coupons are like free cash that I was not using.

I started to plan my list on Monday and I got a little overwhelmed with all the new information. I am a smart girl, but I was getting a little cross eyed at all the notes I was making. No worries, I called my superstar, super frugal friend Nicole and asked for help. Today she accompanied me to Jewel- yes she is a very good friend. I had my list and my coupons. She gave me moral support and pointers. WOW! Today I spent $80, I save $162 dollar. That's right- you read that right. I AM A SUPER SAVER. Get me a flipping superhero costume- I am awesome.

Talk about a shopping HIGH! WHEW! I am still flying and I've been home for hours. What is even better- it is all stuff we buy normally. YIPPEE! We just might be able to buy a minivan soon after all;)

Does this get me one step closer to supermom status? Supermom's definitely use coupons.

P.S. Yes, there are quite a few of you wondering how the heck this happened. It really is like a game- working the system for all it's worth, but doing so completely within the system- no poor ethics here. If you want to try to learn more, there are LOTS of website that tell you exactly what to do. is the website of the woman who taught my course- it is awesome. Join the supercouponers of america;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Only Part of June Cleaver I resemble is the "Cleaver"

Before becoming a mom, I pictured myself as someday being a June Cleaver of the world- a mom who is organized, peacefull, soft-spoken, wise, well-kept, etc. As the title of my blog clearly indicates, I am simply a poser, a wannabe. I am not a bad mom. I am a pretty good mom, actually, but I am an imperfect mom.

While I know I am imperfect, I still find it difficult to deal with sometimes. If I was perfect, I would be God- He is pretty good at being Himself. The thing is I just hate when I fail at this parenting thing because it affects these precious little impressionable children. I could give myself an ulcer if I meditated on all the things my kids could possibly be in therapy for one day.

I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the radio today and she said, "Children are the Sandpaper for our Souls" (or something close to that) and talked about how God uses them to smooth us. According to her, the more difficult the child, the sharper the edges God knows we need smoothed. He uses them to grow us. I wouldn't call either of my children particularily difficult, but there are difficult things about each of them. Ava is very dramatic and very emotional. This can just push my buttons. I have been well rested lately....until this week. Being well-rested makes everything easier to deal with. This week, however, I am just exhausted. I find the whining, crying, poor listening, three year old behavior grating.

This morning I let her watch a TV show before summer camp. I don't know if anyone else finds this, but TV can just make her grumpy. ("TV sickness" a friend of mine calls it.) Anywho- she was in a ridiculous mood when she had to turn it off. Everything was a big deal. Every instruction was responded to with negotiation, etc. I found my fuse getting shorter and shorter and my temper smouldering within me. First, I heard myself yell "Stop, Stop now, get your socks on." I regretted it. I calmed becuase of the regret and tried a different approach counting to have her stop crying. Didn't work. I threatened- didn't work. She was in an emotional spiral and I did not like it- at all. She was whining about everything. I couldn't get a straight answer about what shoes she wanted to wear, but if I set out a pair it was hysterical crying. I found myself yelling, "What shoes to do you want to wear?" Whining, unintelligible response. "Try again". Whining intelligible response. "Stop! Tell me again." Whining intelligible response.

It was at this point the Holy Spirit stepped in and showed me how ridiculous I was making this situation. I am yelling (when I say yelling, I mean more of a stern, above normal volume voice- not screaming, but not pleasant to be on the receiving end of nonetheless) and expecting her to stop whining and give me a calm answer. Normally, this is our approach. If she is whining, I simply say, "oops, try again" and she'll smile and rephrase in a non-whining voice. But today, she wasn't in a "normal" mode, she was in an emotional spiral. My yelling was making her feel so pressured. She obviously was out of control emotionally and my added pressure was NOT helping her get under control. I took a deep breath and told her I would be back in five minutes; I told her to take some deep breaths and decide about the shoes before I came back.

It worked. She wimpered but was calming gradually. We got into the car and on our way to camp and I wanted to cry. Most of the time, my daughter has a pretty great, secure life, but for 5 minutes this morning, it wasn't fun. I don't think it made her feel secure or loved. CRAP! My stomach was in knots, I fought back tears. I was irresponsible and stayed up late last night reading and my daughter pays today. That is so wrong. I collected myself and I said, "Ava mommy was frustrated with your disobedience this morning and I needed to correct you so that you'll learn to obey and to obey without arguing with everything I say, but it is not okay for mommy to raise her voice. I have asked Jesus to help me with this and asked him to forgive me. Will YOU forgive mommy for yelling at you this morning?" She immediately said, "Oh yes, I forgive you mommy and I think Papa will forgive you too!" I started to tear up, grateful that not only are God's mercies new every morning and every moment, but Ava's are too.

I hope we have very few repeats of my temper loss, but God indeed used my daughter to further refine me today. He offered conviction and his forgiveness and allowed me to experience hers as well. Her love is, for the time being, unconditional; her heart is open and free and loving. I want to be as quick to forgive and move on as she is.

I guess I have some pretty rough edges. God knows just how sharp and how desperately they need smoothing. I myself was kind of blissfully unaware of this before I had kids. Now I am aware and the edges are glaring at me. I hate this refining process but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am so grateful to have a God who knows me better than I know myself. I am thankful that he isn't willing to leave me be to rot in my imperfections. He is refining me, making me more beautiful and more effective for his purposes. I trust that as I look to Him, he'll help me parent my kids. While I hate that the episode this morning happened, I am thankful for the Holy Spirit and for the reminder today that I need to daily spend time with him, learning from him and asking for wisdom and strength to be a wife and mom that honors and glorifies him.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad (who I am sure has never read my blog;O) and my fantastic husband (who daily reads it;) and all those other dads out there.

I am so fortunate to have had an amazing father. He taught me much about love. He made our home a secure place. He is someone I could only hope to be like some day. I am most thankful that because of him I grew to have a healthy view of what it means that God is my Father. I am so thankful that my dad is a man of character, service, passion, and devotion to his Lord and his family. He is truly one of the smartest most amazing men ever.

What can I say about my hubby? He's awesome. I knew on the day I married him that my life would never be dull. He is fun. He is loving. He is humble. I love the guy more and more every day. What I didn't know on my wedding day, however, is what an amazing father he would be. I am so grateful for the way he pours into our children. I love that he wants to teach them about Jesus and help them discover who God has called them to be. He is a servant who puts his family about his career, even though he is highly successful. I am so blessed to have the best teammate ever!

In a world, where many men are abdicating responsiblity and sitting back because some women are pushing them aside, I am proud to be surrounded by strong men, who are good leaders. I am proud that in leading they do not step on others. I love that I am respected and valued for who I am as a woman, but glad that my man is a true MAN. I have security because he is secure in who he is and more than that he is secure in who GOD is. I am so so so blessed and proud to honor these men today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sanity (or something closely resembling it) has returned

SO yesterday was pretty crazy- no doubt about it and I didn't sleep well last night after posting my blog entry. Am I an idiot to share my poop tale of woe with the whole world? Most probably...what's done is done. I am sure I'll get a poop joke here and there and maybe a few funny looks, but I'll survive. I had an incident in junior high where I sat in poop (not my own). It was at the time of "Helen Keller" jokes at my school; they called me "Helen Keller Surprise" for like two years. I survived that humiliation. Adults teasing is nothing compared to adolescents. Bring it on, my friends, bring it on...but don't come crying to me when something similar happens to you.

Today is not horrible at all- the sun is shining brightly. The basement has stayed dry and we indeed seem to have gotten through the ordeal with little damage. PHEW!

My poor daughters seems, however, to be caught in a circle of bum "luck". I forgot to mention that leaving dance yesterday she slipped climbing into the car (because it was so wet). She has a nasty dark purple mark on her cheek. This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I heard the most horrendous noise that all mothers instantly recognize as "INJURY IMMENENT". I followed the sound of Ava's wailing and found her on the floor in the bathroom. Again, she slipped because of water. This time because of her own mischief. Her forehead had a huge bump and despite immediate ice application, it is also turning a lovely shade of purple. I am monitorring her behavior in the event we might have some intracranial bleeding. I really am praying there is no indication of such a terrible event, but can't help wondering what they'll think of us as parents if we end up bringing her in to the ER. She has a right leg that is still hugely scabbed from a fall on her bike last week, a black and blue cheek, a knot on her forehead, and a weird tiny dot bruise on her tummy of unknown origin (perhaps she ran into a pencil?;). Anywho- I am assuming we just need to call this time her "suicide stage" and hope she comes out of it in one piece. Poor kid!

She actually did have a decent day despite her early fall. She started soccer this morning. Marc had to bribe her to participate. She is in a shy stage and as I learned from our swimming lesson debacle she doesn't like to be stared at or not know how to do something. Marc bribed her with ice cream, she gave it a try, and loved it, apparently proclaiming, "I can do this!". We seem to have a little athlete on our hands. I may never be a full fledged supermom, but I just might be a soccer mom- minivan and all. (I add the minivan comment because I pray for one almost daily-yep, that is what I have become!)

Phin had music class during her soccer class. It was rather uneventful. He loved it, as most babies do and I loved the one on one time with him. The only humorous aspect of the class is the reaction I get when people realize his name is, indeed, Phineas. Now we picked that name because of it's meaning and biblical significance, but do people not read magazines? Julia Roberts named her son Phineas (a fact I neglected to tell my husband, much to his chagrin later on;). Sure I myself thought she was weird four years or so ago when I read it, but like anything it becomes less weird with time. My son is adorable, chubby, smiley and yes- his name is Phineas. No, he won't hate his name because he will not be a dork named Phineas, he will be a cool kid named Phineas and all your kids will be envious that they too don't have such a unique sounding name- so quit looking at me like I am insane and show your baby how to shake his/her maracca.

It's naptime 'round here, so I am going to go find my spot on the couch and curl up for a much needed snooze. To think yesterday looked so bleak, but today I even have time for a nap! (AND I have Portillo's Chocolate cake in my fridge for an afternap snack;)

Friday, June 19, 2009

If it wasn't my life, I might not believe it...

Thanks for everyone who so kindly pointed out my incomplete blog entry from yesterday. I have a really funny list of "Have you ever?"s in my mind, but was unable to even type a single one before being interrupted by my children yesterday. I meant to save the post, but some how must have published it.

After attending a "Super Couponing" seminar yesterday with my frugal friend, Nicole (a seminar that was AMAZING FYI!), I came home attempting to correct my tarnished blog. I turned on my laptop and received a message that the computer was "unable to locate hard drive". I was sure it was some small, correctable error until my husband said, "NO! NO! NO! Don't do this to me!" and received "the blue screen of death" from our 6 month old laptop. Hopefully, the guys at Best Buy will retrieve our coveted files and thank God we always buy those warranties, cuz they'll give us a new laptop for free. But let's all admit this is a PAIN in the butt! The whole process will take a week or two. Annoying.

To top it all off, my son finally had a normal nights sleep last night (getting up only once) after a long week (he cut 5 teeth in 8 days- SERIOUSLY!), but my daughter was up. She was not only up, she was in our bed. I like to sleep in a good thunderstorm; three year olds, apparently, do not. She was afraid, I get that, we've all been a child who was afraid in the middle of the night, but once in my bed you'd think she'd be able to fall sleep. At the very least, could she be nice and lie still and PRETEND to fall asleep? NO! The rain and thunder were to noisy and she tossed and turned and tried to hug me. Why she had to share my half of the bed, instead of taking a third and allowing Marc to share too is beyond me. Why my husband could sleep soundly through it all is enough to make me...bite my tongue and be kind;) After an hour the rain stopped and I carried her back to bed. I had just fallen back to asleep, finally, when the storm once again reared it's nasty head. Really? Really? Ah yes- the joys of motherhood.

My daughter could have slept in, after all, she got no more sleep than I, but 6:30 came and she was bright eyed and rearin' to go.

We survived ballet and barely survived lunch out with friends (melt down from little miss sleepless). Phin fell asleep in the car within a minute or two and I was chattin' to Ava desperately trying to keep her awake because I NEEDED a nap as desperately as she. The dang expressway was not just slow due to continued torrential rains, it was stop and go, with way more stop than go. About 5 minutes into this excruciating crawl, my stomach became sick. I mean way sick. I was tearing up and there was no where to turn. I react strongly to certain fried foods, but at the ripe old age of 32 I know my triggers- usually. Apparently the fries at this place are fried in an oil I can't tolerate. I was SICK. I needed a bathroom STAT.

It was pouring rain, and I was stopped on an expressway. PANIC. I had no choice- I reached into my sons diaper bag and lined me undies in his size 5 pampers. Thankfully I did this without letting Ava see. Ava is potty trained within the last year and God forbid she realize that mommy is about to have an accident. That just can't happen. Oh my! It got worse and worse and yes, I pooped my pamper. It was horrible. I was almost crying- trying desperately to hold it together while Ava is saying, "something stinks" and against my principles I lied and told her my stomach was sick and I was sorry that my farts stunk. She bought it-

Needless to say it was a long horrible ride home. I crawled to the next exit and got off to take back roads home. I desperately chatted with Ava to keep her awake and sat in my own excrement. LOVELY!

I got home and when I opened the door, I thought the house smelled, but excused it I got my kids in bed and RAN to my bathroom to free myself of my hell. I took the best shower of my ENTIRE life and cried while I cleansed.

I went into the kitchen to get a much need Diet Coke and realized either I didn't wash well enough or the stench earlier noticed was of an origin other than myself. I quickly surmised it was coming from the basement and as I turned on the light to the stairs, I almost fainted. WATER.


We flooded once last summer and a years worth of blogging could not express the damage it did to our stuff, our pocketbooks, and our psyche! The problem was supposed to be fixed. ARGH!

I called the landlord and was forced to wait to survey the damage until his arrival as I don't own rubber boots and I am not settin' foot in water without knowing whether or not it is conducting electricity from some source or another.

I called my husband and sat down on the couch to breathe. Just as I inhaled I felt wet seeping through my drawers. This time- not my fault. My couch in the family room was soaked and all I had to do was look up to see that the skylight might as well have been an open convertible top. Leaking everywhere...WHAT?!

As I chatted and relayed my day to my friend, Dre and cancelled our afternoon play date, I looked down and to top it all off noticed a white spot under my toe nail. Now I don't know if it is anything, but because it has been a rough 24 hours, I am sure it must be a fungus or something. My nail is smooth and Dre tells me this can happen from wearing nail polish too much and it will
clear up after a little while left open to air. It better- otherwise I will freak out. I am just
imagining a gross growing fungus that distorts my beautiful feet (yes, I do like my feet).

I requested that my husband come home from work early. He agreed to do just that...after a 3:o0 meeting with the CEO. (It was 2:30 at the time, so it seemed reasonable.) You've guessed already, I am sure, that this turned out to LITERALLY be the LONGEST meeting of his life. He arrived home at 7pm. (I will pause here to let you know we traded funny sarcastic texts through out the meeting/waiting, which was a nice was to avoid being angry with HIM for something out of his control).

One can only laugh at such a day. Really it is ridiculous and hilarious and....OVER! Thank God. The water is already out of the basement and we'll check again tomorrow but it seems the steps we took after the last flood worked and nothing is ruined except the twelve pack of paper towels that was on the floor. Thank God we are healthy, my husband brought home pizza for dinner, and now we KNOW the sump pump isn't working properly, so tonight when the storm that is predicted comes through we can keep going down and resetting it. Sure that will mean we won't sleep, but with a storm and a three year old, we'll be up anyways.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sheepish Book Gathering

Today I took Ava to the library. It is the first trip to a library that she remembers. I think the last time we were in a library she was a few months old and sleeping in her infant seat.

I am sure plenty of people haven't set foot in a library in three years, but they probably aren't avid readers. I am. I have literally probably read 500 books in the last three years. Some of these book have been borrowed. Many were given as gifts. A good portion of them were purchased.

I know- everyone who reads this is sitting with his or her mouth agape. Why would anyone in her right mind not be utilizing her library? I obviously have not been in my right mind! (Explains so much doesn't it?!)

I found Chicago's libraries a little inconvenient at times because there are so many of them. Really I just didn't take the time to get to know the system. Skokie's library is amazing. We have lived her one year and I finally checked it out. I am a loser. It is awesome. Their kids section is HUGE and has so many fun play things in addition to books. Ava climbed and played and read and smiled.

Thank goodness that I have way overspent this month. We only went to the library because i knew my husband would kill me if I bought her a book today. Everytime we read Berenstein bears she looks at the back where all the other BB books are pictures and asks if we can buy the dentist one. Had it been 6/1 today, I would have spent $8 on this book. Instead my daughter got to experience the joy of hunting it down in the library and FINDING IT! I can't even explain her excitement.

I used to love the library as a kid too. I don't know when or why I got out of the practice of going. Too many hours spent trying to study in a library in college. (my college friends are laughing- I did say "trying" to study, guys.) I think I thought it was more convenient to go to a bookstore...ah no. It took me no more time to go to the library. I even got a Wii game for Ava to try - for free! AND their kids DVD section puts my sad little Blockbuster to shame.

Shame on me for wastin' money for the past few years. I have 6 months left in 2009. The library is now going to be our standard Wednesday outing. Everytime I am tempted to buy a book, I am going to put that money in an envelope, wait to get that book until I go to the library, and at the end of the year, mama's takin' her envelope shoppin'- for clothes this time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ava: "Mommy did you see that bride princess? She's pretty." (after seeing bride on a billboard)

Me: "yes, I did. Maybe one day we'll get out mommy's dress from when I was a bride and you can see my pretty dress."

Ava: "Is is white?"

Me: "yes, it's the one I am wearing in my wedding pictures."

Ava: "Did you get Mawrried?"

Me: "yes, who did I marry?"

Ava: "Papa. He's your husband, right?"

Me: "Right and I am his wife."

Ava: "I am a wife too, right?"

Me: "Not yet. You aren't married yet. Auntie Karla became a wife when she married Jason. Auntie Katie became a wife when she married Brian. One day you'll get married too and you'll be a wife."

Ava: "When I am bigger I am going to be a wife and Jason will be a husband."

Me: "Oh?! Are you going to marry Jason?"

Ava: "Yah, I think that is a good idea because he is like my best friend."

a few moments pause

Ava: "I don't want a baby in my tummy though. I am not that bigger for a long time." (notice this is second time she has said this to me- she must think pregnancy looks really uncomfortable or see's how much work Phin is and know she's not up for it;)

Me; "Oh no, you won't be that big for a very long time. You won't get married for a long time either and you won't have a baby until you married first. "

Ava: "that sounds great mom"

Monday, June 15, 2009


I don't know exactly when it happend, but I realized over the weekend that at some point, we adjusted to having two kids. We survived the horrible first few months of our sons life and we are now, dare I say it, thriving. I don't know when it happened, perhaps there isn't a precise moment, but I am so thankful!

At mom's group today, a couple moms with new second babies shared their struggles with lack of sleep, sibling jealousey, etc. My heart still ached with pain still fresh in my mind. What a difficult adjustment! Being a mom is sacrificial even with one child, but when you add a second (and third, fourth, fifth) you increasingly give away more of your energy and every spare minute you have. It is exhausting. In the beginning, it is overwhelming. I remember being told I would make it; I believed I would, but I remember wheeping, asking God how I'd get over the hump. I honestly didn't see how I would make it.

My life is relatively back in order. Oh, we are far from perfect around here (remember the name of my blog afterall;), but we are living- quite joyfully much of the time. God is good. I can't believe I am actually able to manage two kids and, though it is a struggle, find ways to perserve my sanity (cake decorating class, working out, and reading). WOW! Miracles happen folks and I am so proud to be a recipient.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I've Lost My Mind (or part of it!)

Do any other moms fear their mental capacity may be gone forever? I am so tired of having "mommy" brain! I read in a book that it isn't a real phenomenon, that during pregnancy women get more forgetful because they are so self focused during this time. I am pretty sure this author must be childless or is a man. First of all, this "mommy brain" thing lasts past pregnancy and secondly, I don't know when in my life I have been LESS self- focused.

I am pretty sure that lack of sleep is the driving force behind my missing brain; it is much worse after Phin and I spent the first 4-5 months of his life with no more than an hour and a half of sleep at a time. Reasonably, I was functioning only in survival mode. The problem for me lies in the fact that I am now sleeping decently- I could use more, but for the most part I get a 7-8 hour night consistently. My brain does not seem to be responding to this rest!

My critical thinking appears to still be in tact. My comprehsion also seems to have returned- I am, for example, currently reading War and Peace without difficulty, whereas 2-3 months ago I wouldn't have been able to focus enough on the book to keep track of it's many characters and infusion of french culture. My memory, however, is bad- bad, bad, bad. Oh I seem to be able to remember my husband's offenses- that little thing love is NOT supposed to do, but I can't remember where I put things or honor committments if they haven't been immediately written down. Maybe if I emotionally attach a deep feeling to every request or task, I'll remember.

If I could easily recall where the memory center in my brain is (as a good former neuro nurse should), I would wonder if I had a brain tumor or something; then again my friends claim to be in the same boat. It is frustrating! Yesterday, my mom gave me a 50% off Michael's coupon, that expired yesterday, to use on cake decorating supplies. I got in the car confirmed the date on the coupon and then looked up a Michael's on the GPS to stop on our way home. Somewhere in between looking at the coupon and finding the Michael's I lost the coupon. Surely I put it somewhere, but it is lost. I was so frustrated that I SEARCHED the car, my purse, like crazy. (Marc patiently waited outside the car with both kids for literally twenty minutes.) I didn't even car about the 50% off, but I was near tears. How could I literally forget my actions? Where did I put it? How could I totally forget within ten minutes?

Let this serve as a warning: first, if I forget something you tell me or ask me to do- you aren't special. I forget everything and I am sorry. Second, if I repeat a request with an angry or overly excited voice- i am trying out my new "attach an emotion" and see if you remember technique. Third, if I go insane from racking my brain to remember things (it literally hurts sometimes!), be nice to me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Memorable Visit

Sometimes a story is too good not to share....

Our wonderful friends from Taiwan are visiting the states for a month and we were fortunate enough to get to spend the afternoon/evening with them. Time flew by all too quickly and soon it was time for them to go. We wanted to pray together before the left, but as the time had gotten a little late, the kids were tired and less than inclined to play quietly while we focused on prayer. The answer- a little TV show and instructions to please be quiet and let us pray.

We were praying with a few interuptions, just minor and easily handled- success. We were almost finished when Ava comes into the room butt (buck?) naked...yes naked. Our friends were facing her and started to laugh as they saw her come in. That would be disruption enough, but apparently Ava feels completely comfortable around them. She knew she wasn't to talk, but needed to communicate her "need" to me. She turned around, bent over, and "daintily" spread her cheeks. No, I am not joking. She was showing me she needed help wiping her bum. Gross? yes. Hilarious? yes. Retold at her wedding reception? yes.

I am sure our friends will remember this visit for years to come....

Ava had her first dance class today. She'll be learning Ballet and Tap. She has asked to take Ballet for months, however, this morning when I told her today was the day she started getting nervous. I think a negative experience with swimming lessons left her a little shy about the whole "class" thing. Thankfully, we are taking dance with one of her best friends and she also was relieved to know the teacher was a "girl" (apparently she didn't dig the male swimming instructor?).

As soon as she got comfortable about the idea, she was excited. She was also quick to inform me that she already knows ballet (watching Angelina Ballerina has made her an expert apparently!), but that she does not what tap dancing is. When I reminded her of the shirly temple movies she watches at my moms she became BESIDE herself with glee, "I am going to dance like Shirley Temple on the stairs?!!!"

We arrived early because we had to buy tap shoes. I was thankful that a 11m seemed to fit okay even though she has a wide foot. We'll have to special order wides in the future...and I'm told they are twice as expensive (OF COURSE!!!). As I wrote the check I began to wonder if this little endeavor would be worth it!

It turns out- she and Julia are the only two in the Friday class. They have a private lesson for a class price. What a deal we got. This dance thing has to be one of the cutest things EVER. My daughter followed directions so well (so did Julia) and I was in awe at how quickly she took to Miss Jessica. She was eager to try each new move and so proud of herself when she "got" it. It seems dance is indeed in her blood. She constantly dances around the house and her dress up clothes are half tutu's and leotards. She excited to have new moves to practice. She's asked me repeatedly today if she gets to go to dance again next Friday. She especially digs the tap shoes (noisey wins). I think I may have to hide them between classes;)

I am relieved. I myself was nervous that we'd have a repeat of the botched swimming lessons (after all she loves swimming too and hated the lessons!). Not only does my daughter get to do something she loves, with a deal friend no less, but I get to hang out with Julia's mom for an hour each Friday. I think it just may turn into our favorite day of the week;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Diaperless Bag

Because Marc was working late last night, we went up to meet him for lunch so that the kids could see him a little bit. We had planned on going about noon, but when Marc called and said he Check Spellinghad to meet earlier because of a meeting, I was forced to rush to get out of the house. I "knew" Phin's diaper bag was set because I had packed it the day before, so I just made sure Ava's was adequately filled with water and snacks. I was so proud we made it up to his area by the designated time (2 minutes late, but still...I was proud). As I handed Marc his son to say, "hello!" , Marc said, "ooo, he's a stinky guy." (Let's pause here to take a minute to discuss the fact that I didn't notice. I have a sense of smell and can pick up most scents but since having children I fear that poop has become so frequently smelled it has a permanent residence in my nostrils and therefore I don't register new offenses.) Because our table wasn't ready, I decided to immediately change him in the bathroom.

Ruby Tuesday has this great "Family Restroom", so you have plenty of room to fold down the changing table without blocking the entire restroom for others or have an audience while you deal with your children's bowel movements. Let me tell you, yesterday, I was never more grateful for privacy! Let me forewarn you, this story needs details to adequately describe the events that occurred.

I opened Phin's diaper and had a little chuckle. The odor offender was a very small Hershey kiss still resting between his bum cheeks and the diaper was barely wet. Still, I did what I always do with poopy diapers, I use the front of the diaper to wipe down and remove most of the unwanted material safely into the diaper before wiping. It leaved the clean outside top of the diaper under the bum, while I wipe and then I change to a completely new diaper. I wrapped the diaper up in itself and tossed it into the trash can. I reach into my diaper bag; I could feel no diaper right away. What a pain! "They must be in the bottom". I emptied the entire diaper bag and there were NO diapers, as in ZERO diapers. I think I stood in shock for a few minutes before my brain started to examine it's options.

If my children were normal, perhaps we could do with gobs of TP or paper towel, but I give birth to super bladders. Sometimes they go hours without peeing and then Niagra Falls fills their diaper. I had extra clothes so I wondered if the TP, paper towel and clothing would keep it in well enough to just get a new outfit. But then what would I do if he peed on the new outfit too. There was no maxipad machine, otherwise, I would have had a embarrassing tale for my son's wedding reception. I quickly realized my only option lie wrapped in itself in the trash can.

THANK GOD the trash can had recently been emptied. I had to reach WAY in the bottom but the diaper was in there with one lone paper towel. Now remember the small hershey was not compact any longer. My "wipe down with diaper first" technique had smeared it onto the inside FRONT of the diaper. It would be one thing to put poop back down wear it came from, but I couldn't put it on his front- the bacteria might crawl inside and give him a UTI. As this diaper was my only choice I began to wipe...and wipe...and wipe it. Cleaning a disposable diaper just isn't easy, let me tell you. I certainly will make it on America's Funniest Videos if there is a hidden security camera in that bathroom! All the while I am desperately scrubbing my son is chatting and giggling, strapped to the changing station. Thank the Lord, he never "sprayed" me during his lengthy time of being uncovered.

I got MOST of the poo out, but the diaper itself had absorbed some, leaving the diaper a little brown and a little wet from the wipes. I wadded up gobs of TP to protect his pee pee from the poo and I rediapered him in the same diaper. I walked back to the table afraid he might still smell, though my nose didn't pick up said odor. Thankfully Marc took a whiff when asked and we were okay.

I made it home with out further catastrophe and gave my children both baths. I learned a couple important lessons. One- when family is in town, you have no clean idea how many times your child's diaper has been changed; with everyone desperate for a minute alone with Phin, I think he was changed more than needed. In the future I will always check the diaper bag, even if I filled it the day before. Two- when the odor offender is a small piece of poo still lodged in the bum cheeks, do not use diaper to remove. Instead use wipes and check to make sure new diaper is available before messing and tossing perfectly good one. Three- I couldn't help but think about sin as i desperately scrubbed poop out of Phin's diaper. How many times are we desperate to cover up our offense? God's diaper bag is never empty and when we confess and repent he is freely giving clean, dry slates. I wonder how many people were walking around yesterday with "spiritual" equivalents to Phin's diaper state. Gross, uncomfortable messes, when spiritual freedom is freely available!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Me: "Wow! This is the last time you'll wear that shirt sweetie, it's getting small."

Ava: "Why?"

Me: "You are getting so big."

Ava: "Like JORDAN!!!"

Me: "Yes, you will grow big and tall like Jordan."

Ava: "I dont' want a baby in my tummy though."

Me: "I am pretty sure Jordan doesn't want a baby in her tummy either."

Ava: "Yah- I don't want a baby like Jordan, you have a baby in your tummy. I am not THAT big." (note: I do not actually HAVE a baby in my tummy but she doesn't always use past/present tenses appropriately:)

Me: "You are right."

Ava: "My tummy is bigger though."

Me: "Oh really."

Ava: "Yep, when you grow your tummy gets bigger, right?"

Me: "Sure does."

Ava: "You are really bigger, mommy." if a mirror isn't a good enough reminder;) Gotta love kids honesty:)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Best Medicine

Laughter really is the best medicine. Marc and I sat up with our best friends bonding and laughing last night. I woke up refreshed and rejuvinated to face whatever today might bring. It was a pretty good day. We took our guests to Navy Pier and enjoyed the multitude of things it has to offer. My kids are sleep deprived, but behaved well, aside from a little clinginess- can't complain.

This evening I got "me" time. I attended my first cake decorating class, along with my sister, Katie. Katie has a good sense of humor. I know this is going to be fun. It is only four weeks long and already I know I am probably going to wish it were longer.

We have a funny Filipino instructor, named "Jay", I think. He was asked to repeat it and it sounded sort of like "Jay" both times. He is a masculine cake decorator, not quite like the Ace of Cakes, but you definitely wouldn't peg him as a "frosting guy" if you met him on the street. He seems to crack himself up and so we kept crackin' up too. It is just funny when someone chuckles after 50% of their sentences. Our class has 7 attendees and apparently about half of them don't share our sense of humor. It only makes laughing more fun and uncontrollable. I still keep laughing thinking about some occurences.

First "Jay" thought it was a level two cake decorating class and kept telling us it was okay that we came, he could teach level one, also. This is only funny because I don't think he even realizes HE is the mistaken one. I think he honestly thinks all seven of us signed up for the wrong class.

Second, today's class was a lecture and information session on what to bring next time. He started with three things we needed to bring and said, "and that is all" but by the end of class my "to bring" list is, and I kid you not, 23 items long. I am going to need a semi-truck to go back and forth to class, apparently. This "cheap" class is going to be one hefty price tagged hobby (like all other hobbies, I've tried).

Third, as he demonstrated how to fill a piping bag with icing (a very difficult tasK, apparently;), the bag sprung a small hole. The hole was unnoticed by all until he squeezed the bag to demonstrate the results of applying varying degrees of pressure. Frosting not only made a nice clean line on his parchment paper, it also shot out the side. This alone was a hysterical sight- both the squirt of pink icing across the room and the surprise look upon his face. The icing on the cake, however, (punny, aren't I?) was that he said, "Oh! I got a retard bag." I literally started snorting I was laughing so hard. We apparently did not sign up for "Politically Correct Cake Decorating." He loved that Katie and I found him so funny, but I don't think he gets that we were laughing at his audacity. I really think he has no clue that you can't say "retarded" anymore; it just isn't done...especially in front of a class.

Fourth, the best medicine of all- we have an extremely rude and less than intelligent woman in our class. She treated "Jay" poorly and seem unable to refrain from questioning his every move and commenting on every task. You've met this type of person. Nothing could possibly satisfy them. They know it all and want to prove you do not. I became the brunt of her "anger". She must have asked a zillion questions of Jay because he accidentally called parchment paper wax paper. When she so rudely stated, "just say which one we actually need for next week and quit confusing us (no one else was confused, FYI)", the peacemaker in me rushed to his aide with a, "It doesn't matter, they'll both work, they are almost the same thing." BOY was she angry! She answered not just once but twice with "NO, they are not. No, they are not." Okay, Miss Poopy pants, how about you bring both and let this class progress! (I didn't say that, of course, katie and i just looked at each other and smiled.)

My standing in her eyes was not improved when I broke out into laughter minutes later. Katie is to blame for this. As the woman asked for the millionth time how much frosting we are supposed to bring next week (I don't know if she ever "got it")- Katie leaned over and whispered, "I know the rule is that 'There are no stupid questions" but when the same question is asked for the twentieth time, you've got to wonder if the rule has exceptions." I couldn't control my laughter.

Thankfully, "Jay" loves to laugh and thinks we are delightful but the grumpy lady to the left doesn't find us so appealing. Really, I'll try to behave next week, but I'm torn. The whole class is just all the funnier by her grumpy presence and that of the completely unexpressive trio of women in the middle of the room. The "good" thing to do is try to love her and reach out to her, but mostly I am just hoping she obtains a sense of humor by next week- with Katie and I armed with laughter AND frosting, anything is possible.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sacrifice and loneliness

Being a mother of small children is difficult, everyone who is or has ever been in this life stage knows this to be true. Not only do you have to pour your energy into your children, struggle with making sure you discipline enough, but not too much, stay consistent, give hugs even when you feel like you might scream if one more person touches you, read books over and over again upon request while the child who does the requesting constantly interupts you with some aside, rock and rock and rock a crying baby and somehow willing yourself not to start crying too, slave over a meal only to have the majority of it end up on your shirt or the floor, wipe poopy bottoms, get sprayed by pee, clean up vomit somehow without vomitting yourself, SCRUB stains of unknown origin from clothes...okay we could go on and on with this list, but the bottom line is you do all that is required of you with little to no thanks and often with little to no help. I was blessed by being reminded this week, by my cousin's blog, that Christ called us to lose our life for his sake. I don't know if there is any calling that requires this more than motherhood! I realized today that what seemed like a little blessed reminder on Tuesday was actually preparing my heart for this weekend.

We have gobs of family in town for Phin's dedication. I was so excited to have everyone here. I don't know why I forget what having people in town is like- perhaps because my kids are still young and the hardship that accompanies it are new. It challenges me to the core. It is a glaring reminder that I am in a different life stage than everyone else. I am probably the only one that has very little fun. It is hard. See the kids everyone thinks are so cute, are mine. I am the one who has to take care of them- make sure they are fed and get adequate sleep in order that they remain so cute. About twenty minutes into everyones arrival, I had de ja vu. Everytime I am in this situation I realize my only identity at the moment is that of being a mom. People ask me about the children, but otherwise it is as if they don't know I have anything else to offer. After all, I don't work and can't just leave my children to hang out, so what else could I have to talk about? At Thanksgiving, I sat for hours holding a crying baby while everyone else played Wii. I like Wii, but people must assume I don't know how to have fun. NO one even offers to hold the baby and let me play. Perhaps they look at me and see the trade off would be a win for me and lose for them. People like to hold babies and pinch cheeks...for all of five minutes until something more "fun" comes along.

We go to dinner and I hear conversation going on around my husband and me, while we chat
with one another and try to entertain our children and keep them relatively quiet and well behaved.

This afternoon my children are napping. If they don't nap, they will not be pleasant this evening. They cannot stay home by themselves, so I here I sit. I am alone. 15 people visiting and I am alone. Why? I am not quite sure other than to guess it wasn't the most fun option and honestly when people aren't in this lifestage I don't even think they take time to think about it. Everyone else is either playing tennis or hanging at the park watching. I am home alone. I have finished cleaning up the home and in a short time will begin to set up for dinner. I have a sister-in-law who knows nothing about me (she's a newbie;) and I realized, she has only known me as a mom and I must seem quite boring. Does she think I don't WANT to be out with everyone? I wonder. Does she think I have no interests? I wonder if she looks at me and thinks I am just a stick in the mud who doesn't like to go anywhere? Does anyone notice that no one even asked what I was doing?

At one time I was voted class clown, I have a lot of interests and am quite intelligent, but that isn't what people see right away when they look at me. My homemaking can often "define" me in the eyes of others and while I love that I stay home and care for my children sometimes I want to scream "THERE'S MORE TO ME!".

Bottom line, motherhood can be lonely. Responsibility isn't always fun. I shed a few tears knowing I am unknown (not to my husband who would have gladly stayed home, but deserves himself to enjoy his brother). This season will pass and I'll wish it I had these little cuddlebugs to hold again. In the meantime, I have to surrender my life and along with that I have to surrender the temptation to care too much about what people think of me. Am I more intelligent if that is acknowledged by others, am I funnier? Heck no. I am who I am- I have wonderful people who do love and know me, but more than that I have a wonderful Savior. He has called me to raise two beautiful children. His opinion is all that matters and scrap what I said about being alone- He "will never leave me nor forsake me." He has comforted my heart. One day I'll be able to run off and have fun whenever I want, right now I have the blessed responsibility of caring for two people he created and is entrusting to me. Does that entail a lot of sacrifice- yep, but if this is the place he called me, I know there is no place I'd rather be- not even at the tennis courts right now.

One day someone else will be in my shoes, and having walked along this path, perhaps I'll be the one to take notice. I am going to be sure to ask them lots of questions, to find out who they are, to take time to make sure they are included and I'll be sure to tell them how God refined my heart, my desires, and my motives to make them more in line with His! Thank you God for wrapping your arms around me today, for Amy's blog post on Tuesday, and for your grace in teaching me gently that my security lies in you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do I Look Taller?

I've grown. Yes indeedy, I realized today that I've grown (at least in my view;) We have a busy, family-filled weekend ahead; and I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off and forcing my husband to do the same! Somehow in the last three years, I have gone from being an overachiever in re. to home management, events, and hospitality to being a simple achiever. At one time I would have been freaking out if my home was in it's current shape and my Mother-in-Law was arriving tomorrow; instead I sit typing my blog. I am proud of this change.

I don't think I have crossed the line into under-achievement, but I do think I have accepted my new reality. I have very limited time and quite frankly, I have limited energy. I have two children that need their mommy. I keep a clean home. I do my best to keep it organized and orderly, but it isn't perfect. Tomorrow my Mother-in-Law will arrive and my cleaning lady comes on Friday the MIL will see dust bunnies in the corners and scuff marks on my kitchen floor; she'll still love me and still adore her grandchildren.

The "old" me would have been freakin' out because my refridgerator should really be cleaned. Who knows what is baked on to the bottom of my oven, and let's not start to talk about the disorder in some of my cupboards. The "new" me simply has taken note, wished they were perfect, and shrugged her shoulders. Those things will get done at some point, hopefully before Phin starts Kindergarten, but let's face it, the "necessities" take all my time and energy. My bathrooms are not petri dishes, and my family has clean clothes. The old "me" would be scrambling with baking and meal planning. The "new" me, made a plan; and it includes zero cooking and lots of take out.

My children are healthy and happy; my husband is too. I guess I am more sure of who I am and less concerned about others opinions about that.

Don't get me wrong, I still hope to be hospitable and bless others when they are in my home, but I also know that if my son is crying the entire time people are here, they'll have to help themselves. I can only focus on so many things in life at once and right now, it's almost 100% on my family. My kids are highly needy at the moment, and my husband needs a little lovin' too. I can only stretch so far.

I realized today that I've accepted that, and it's cool. God has me in a great place, and I don't need to try to be here and everywhere else too. I need to do what He has called me to and not add to it. My hope is that when people leave this weekend, they won't talk about the cleanliness of my home but on the love they felt in it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Who stole the Bonbons?

Where did the old stereotype of stay at home moms only sitting around eating Bon Bons and watching Soap Operas come from? I mean, really, I wonder....usually stereotypes exist because there is some basis in reality. I would actually LOVE to eat Bon Bons and watch soaps for even one where are these moms and what am I doing wrong?;) If I take any time to myself, the cost usually out weighs the benefit. A nap, for example, is sometimes just necessary, but I awake to the same "to do"s with less time to do them.

I get tired and give myself pep talks more than I ever imagined would be necessary. I have to pray for strength, endurance, and patience multiple times a day. I get one area of the home organized only to find my three year old has un-organized a different one. I make to do lists and organize my week only to come to Tuesday (that'd be today) and wake to a cranky seven month old, cutting a tooth, who needs to be held 90% of the day.

AND why can I not get to sleep on time? At 4pm when I am exhausted and counting the minutes until Marc get's home (which isn't until 6 or after;), I always think, I need to go to bed at 8 tonight; after I get the kids in bed, it's like a new me. FREE TIME, MY TIME, TIME TO GET STUFF DONE....AYE! It's all so fun, until the next morning when Phin wakes up at 5:30 and I have to turn instantly into Miss Perky.

This is life as a grown up, I guess. Responsibility is, well...hard. I am working on "rejoicing in the Lord always." Loud music and a few dance moves mixed in with the chores help (though when you are dancing with a 25lb. baby, you pay for it later)...can't wait until my kids can REALLY help too. "For every job that must be done there is an element of fun"--won't they love it someday when I quote that as they are dusting and I am sitting on the couch eating Bonbons ...can't wait;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Needless Necessities

I have no secrets (I'm not that exciting, I guess) so as my dirty laundry was sure to make it''s way onto this blog sooner or later, I won't prolong the inevitable. I have a problem... I can't resist a good deal. This should lend to saving money, but more often than not I get my "LOOK AT HOW MUCH I SAVED" high off of SPENDING money. If we end up buying a crackerjack box of a house, let the record show- it is my fault. I overspend our budget "saving" money.

Today I attended the Wilton Tent sale with my frugal friend, Nicole. WHAT A SALE! Not only did they have Wilton cake stuff, they had Copco and Mario Bertali Cookware, TONS of bakeware, and Scrapbook stuff by Marth Stewart and EK success. The tent was the size of a football field and we money savin' mommas pushed our way through the crowds with all four kids in tow.

It was so much fun, until about 5 minutes before my husband got home and I realize I am going to have to tell him I spent $170 dollars (I KNOW!). He's a nice guy and really quite understanding, but the poor man didn't even know there was a tent sale today. A wise wife would have mentioned it...but I have the memory of a senile turtle at the present time.

He was so gracious; we've been married 8 years- he's been through such days before. Nothing shocks him anymore. His words, "Well, atleast you didn't spend $300." and "it's a new month, you can take it out of Miscellaneous funds." If he gets angry at all about this it'll be 30 days from now when he's closin' the books on June and realizes my "money saving" has caused us to put less money than planned in our house fund. (Yep, has happened more times than not).

My addictions are really so silly. I have often thought I need serious help, but I wonder what people would do if I showed up at a support group. "Hi, my name is Kim. I can't stop drinking Coke (despite the fact that it's making me fat) and I "save" too much money." Still, I know this stuff is a problem; I tend to spend more (and drink more [coke, remember?]) when I am tired or stressed. If my husband didn't make as much money as he does or if I drank tequila instead of coke, I'd need to be admitted to some program. Instead, I have these socially acceptable crutches...making them all the hard to get rid of.

I know it's all a matter of mindset. I have actually given up coke successfully during pregnancy. I can do anything I set my mind to...the question is when and how will I set my mind?

We're trying a new system (Dave Ramsey's inspired me) where we are writing down DAILY what we spend (help avoid the shock to Marc's system at the end of each month). We'll see if it works; I hope so. In the mean time I have three garbage bags full of goodies- new minimuffin pan, anyone?