Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm confused too!

For some odd reason, that I still have not gotten a straight answer for (but then again, who have I really been asking?) we had our trick or treat on Saturday night.

Which was really fine by me. I'd rather have it be on a non school night.

The weather turned out to be much nicer than they had predicted.

And please forgive me for the multiple shots of my Little Bo Peep, but I just couldn't help myself when she started posing like she was a dang super model.

In her $17 Wal Mart costume. That she put on 8:30 that morning. Can you say, drive your mother crazy?!

With her free Bath and Body Works 2 1/2 year old lamb.

But she was really workin' it. And I loved every minute of it.

Before we headed out, I made pigs in a blanket. And broccoli. Everyone had to eat one piece of broccoli before they were allowed to eat any kind of candy. And for some reason trick or treat night screams pigs in a blanket. What can I say?

Before we headed out, 3 different neighbors came TO US to deliver special treats because they were going to be out for the night.
My kids made out like bandits. One brought fancy cut out cookies from a gourmet bakery. Two others brought BAGS full of full size candy bars for each of the kids.

There are now two separate stashes. Because, seriously, there is so much candy from just the special deliveries that my kids would have to go to Weight Watchers just from finishing those alone.

My kids were SO FIRED UP to get out there, that once the first clock in our house said 6:00, we were out the door. Mostly because they were driving me freakin' crazy and I couldn't stand it one minute longer.

About 45 minutes into the night, these two needed a sit down break. Their pumpkins started to get so full that they all needed help carrying them by the end.

In fact, during the home stretch, Olivia declared, "I am NOT getting any more candy!!!"
Good thing, because there literally was no more room.
(Here is one of the crazy items in the *special stash*)
Note to self, someday when my kids are grown and out of the house, put together special treats for my neighbor kids. It will make their whole night!!!

The kids were allowed to pick 2 things from their buckets to eat last night. They were no dummies! They all went for some of the biggest and best items.

Today they were allowed to pick 2 more treats. From here on out, I'm going to put it all in one heap and ration it out from now until next Halloween.
As for me, I've done pretty well keeping my hands out of the treat bags. Weigh in is tomorrow and I'm hopeful to be in at at my goal weight again. Being back at the meetings has been great motivation for me!
Hopefully your trick or treat was filled with sweet surprises too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's a doggone shame

Once upon a time there was a girl. She married a boy. She begged for a dog. She cried for a dog. She might have even manipulated her boy into getting her a dog.

She really had wanted a Basset Hound. Or a Bull dog. You know, one of those funny looking, lazy kind of dogs. But the boy wanted a dog he could run with. Throw balls to. Wrestle.

They compromised- because the boy and the girl believed that is what happens in a good marriage. What did they know?

They got an English Springer Spaniel from a nearby breeder. With lots of accreditation's. Lots of papers. Proving there were no diseases in the family. Good hips. Good hips were very important to the boy.

They brought the dog home and named him Baxter.

Baxter was a unique canine. Because God created Baxter to hunt and the boy and girl do not hunt, Baxter took it upon himself to hunt bugs.

Over the years, Baxter has stolen many a loaf of bread. He has been kicked out of several doggy day cares. He has been banned from family functions. Baxter is well known at the kennel. As is the boy and girl's credit card. Baxter is not only a member of the family, he is an investment.

A very expensive investment.

Several weeks ago, not long from Baxter's 7th birthday, he began to limp. The boy and girl were experiencing some financial woes and delayed getting the limp diagnosed. Because sometimes the boy and girl believe that ignorance is bliss.

Once things began to turn around; it was time to face the music. The very loud music.

Because although Baxter has lovely and healthy hips, he had a torn ACL (the girl was later told that is a muscle in the knee.) Baxter has made the girl smarter.

So this year, instead of a lovely beach vacation on an exotic island somewhere, the boy and the girl will be enjoying a new knee in their canine. Because once again, their investment has increased and their vacation fund has not.

The boy now knows he should ALWAYS listen to the girl in the first place. Because the Basset hound would not only have 4 great knees, he'd also be invited to Christmas with the family.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Because the Amazing Race is on

And I have my priorities.

I't's been too many days to do an appropriate update. Stuff I don't really feel like talking about (not because it's bad, but because it's too old) and stuff you probably don't feel like reading about.

So... instead of me going on and on... here's the good stuff.

A bunch of cute kids.

Consider it my gift to you.

I hope you have had a good weekend.

We did.

But now I'm ready to settle in.

And watch some tv.
Catcha later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Show off

Back at the beginning of June, I was about to drive up to Hospice to visit my mom. I was just about to hop in my car and Steve was going to hold down the fort with the kids. I checked my email one last time. There was an email from my friend Chelsey. It basically said she had come across an Amy Grant song that reminded her of me and my mom. I just couldn't look at the lyrics at the time. I shut the email down, hopped in the car and away I went.

I got about thirty minutes from Hospice and I decided to turn on the radio. I pretty much don't listen Christian radio (don't hate me, or leave ugly comments. I just don't care much for the stuff they play on the radio.) But I felt like if there was ever a time for Christian radio, on your way to visit your dying mom is one of them. No joke, the second song that came on to K-Love was that Amy Grant song. Okay, Lord, you have my attention. Here are the words:

Better than a Hallelujah

God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of the night
better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkard's cry
The soldiers plea not to let him die
better than a hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than a hallelujah sometimes.

The woman holding on for life
the dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a hallelujah sometimes.
Tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
are better than a hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are
the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than a hallelujah sometimes.

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are
the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than a hallelujah sometimes...

(then a bunch of repeating words and stanzas... but you get the gist of the song.)

Needless to say, that day in June, I was a tearful mess. I felt the Lord was near. I might have even laughed. Because you can run from something God wants to tell you but, He'll hunt you down and find you somewhere on I-75 northbound and make you listen.

Today, the kids and I were on our way to Kroger. (Which is another post all unto itself.) When we got in the van and I was backing out I thought to myself, "Lord, I'd really like to hear that Amy Grant song." I've been missing my mom a bit more than *normal* since this past weekend when we were up in Toledo. So I turned on K-Love (again, this is not normal for me. Meaning, I have no idea what is even popular and what is not.) They are in the middle of a fund drive and I thought about switching stations. By the time I got to the main street, second song in, no joke... the Amy Grant song came on.

I just burst into tears. Guess what, God cares. He wanted to bless me. You want to know something even crazier??? When I asked all the kids to quiet down so that I could hear the song... THEY DID. I, of course, was crying. Not so much for missing my mom, but more for realizing that God probably planted that thought in my mind to desire that song and then He showed off.

Now that's better than a hallelujah sometimes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Class is our middle name

I finally made my way to the attic this afternoon and brought down my 3 Halloween decorations. I have a scarecrow, a pumpkin tin and a decorative bowl that we will fill with candy the night of trick or treat. (Oh, and a candy corn table cloth... is that a decoration? If yes, then I have 4!) A few weeks ago I did manage to get some delicious smelling candles from Bath & Body Works and I filled a few vases with faux (a fancy word for fake) apples and pears. Making the fall-i-fiaction of my home complete.

Since we painted the downstairs and I've de-clutterd (a bit) I've wanted to keep the decor classier. Minimalistic, if you will. Plus, I've never been one to really decorate for Halloween. I've always said, I will support my children in dressing up and hauling in unhealthy amounts of free candy, but I don't really celebrate the *holiday.* There are many opinions out there, but that's just the way we approach it. One thing is for sure: I do NOT like having ghosts and witches in my house. So we stick to pumpkins and scarecrows and things that are more fall like.

When I brought my three decorations down and spent my ten seconds decorating, you would have thought I was mother of the year around here. There were three little kids dancing around the living room, jumping up and down and chanting my name (mommy, not Elizabeth) at the top of their lungs. It was so fun.

Now I see how a parent might get suckered into buying one of those inflatable Dracula's for the yard! Don't hate me if we have one by the end of the week. Because class is in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, October 15, 2010

When you're right, you're right

Well, I did it. I thought I'd let you know that I followed through. I stepped on the scale at the meeting and found myself 2.4 lbs over my goal weight. I plunked down $12 which is my consequence. I'm all about natural consequences with my kids. Guess I'm not better (or worse?) than them. So, I've got my nose to the grindstone.

I sat through the meeting. I actually love meetings and remembered why I love going. There was nothing new said. Some of the same old people were sitting there from six months ago when I went to the meetings. Some thinner. Some not. It's just good to be around people who encourage each other to live healthy. Or try to.

Or not. I sat in front of some women who were apparently new-ish. They seemed to be three friends in their late 50's or so. One has lost 11 lbs in 3 weeks. One 9 lbs. And the third was moaning and groaning about how she hasn't lost any. Then for the next 20 min. before the meeting started, they mapped out their plan to go to Applebee's after the meeting. I secretly listened in as they read their print off menu. There are actual WW options on the menu and is a fav place for people in the program to go.

But I had to laugh when they were trying to figure out how they could possibly work some of the worst options into their allotted points for the day. Finally, their discussion ended in a "Screw it, I'm having what I want!" by the lady who hadn't lost. All this and the meeting hadn't even started. They actually gave me motivation to do this thing, and do it right. I don't have $12 a week to just blow.

The topic of the meeting was, "What is hard about sticking to the program." Hilarious. If there was a topic I needed to hear, it was this one. It was a good reminder that everyone struggles. That this is not a diet, its a lifestyle. I've been lazy but I am one choice away from getting back on track.

So, I'm thankful that its a new day. That I didn't let things get too out of control. And that WW gives you 35 extra points a week to do whatever you want. Maybe I'll join them next week at Applebee's ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The post I don't want to write

Yeah, there are some posts that are fun to do. Some I feel compelled to do. Some that come to me spur of the moment. Some that write themselves. Then, there are some, like this one, that I've been thinking of writing for some time but run from. I guess mostly because if I put something in writing its for real. Its out there. I can't take it back. And although this one isn't terribly deep, it is very personal. So where better to go public than on the internetz?!

I'm struggling with my weight again. (I say again like it's not a daily battle since the age of 10! ha.) But I have to say that since my mom died, I've been out of control. And while some may say they don't *notice* the scale doesn't lie, gang. And neither does my heart.

I am an emotional eater. Take for example the summer of 1998. I was the leader of a group of 20 college students for a summer trip to China (my first experience there and my first experience internationally, period.) I needed to be in control yet inside, I was totally out of control. Culturally. With the language. Being in charge. The food. Homesickness. Annoying college students. You get the picture. One of my most irrational fears was that I wasn't going to like the food and that I would go hungry for the 6 weeks I was there. So every meal I would find the dish(es) I liked and pig out. Here's the ironic thing: I basically LOVED everything I tried. I gained 15 lbs in 6 weeks. It was shocking.

While I was pregnant with my kids I gained 70lbs. each time. Some was water weight, granted, but NOT 70 lbs. I think because I couldn't do somethings and was limited, I treated myself. And treat myself I did! So after Turner was born, I started immediately with Weight Watchers. It was a lifestyle shift and it worked for me. I lost all my baby weight and got down to a weight that was even less than when I got married. I was able to make "Lifetime" status (you hit your goal weight and maintain it for 6 weeks) and got to start going to meetings for free. I did that for nearly 2 years.

I was pretty proud of myself. It was a healthy pride at first. Then I'm pretty sure, somewhere along the line it turned into a sinful kind of pride. "I can eat whatever I want." "I've licked this thing." "I know what to do to stay at a good weight." I was even handing out advice to others. Gag.

Enter my mom's death in June. Welcome back, emotional eater. I've totally fallen off the wagon. Feeling sad? I deserve a little treat. For a few months I've been teetering on the edge of my goal weight but have done nothing I'm *suppose* to. Track what I'm eating. Drinking water. Eating a balanced diet. Going to meetings. What I HAVE been doing is ignoring my reality. Making up excuses. Hoping my issues will just go away.

Last month I decided not to weigh in because I wouldn't make it under my goal. Then I'd have to pay until I got back down. So, I told Steve last week that I was quitting. I made it 2 years. It was stupid to "pretend" since I wasn't really doing it.

That didn't sit well in my heart. But the bigger issue? I feel like I've failed. I've let myself down. I've let others down (who? I'm not exactly sure, but that is the lie I hear in my head.) Frankly, I'm embarrassed. But I'll be more embarrassed if I let this go another 20 lbs. When I have to buy all new clothes. When I can't keep up with my kids.

So tonight, I'm biting the bullet. I'm going to a meeting. I'm going to weigh in. I'm going to realize that my weight will be far above what it needs to be. I'm going to have to go and weigh in - and pay- every week until I get back down to my goal. And I'm going to have to be humbled by the fact that I am in need of help. That I have a struggle. That I need God's help. That I need to run elsewhere when I'm feeling sad.

That I am human.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making it up as I go along

Here's the thing:
For someone who's been an only child their whole life, raising three kids is a challenge! Take for instance, birthdays.
When I was growing up, birthdays lasted a week. There were family parties, friend parties, swim team parties. I didn't have to share the spot light and because only one birthday a year rolled around, OF COURSE it was a big deal. But I'll remind you, once again, I was NOT spoiled!
So for me, trying to figure out how to love and indulge but not over indulge my three darlings is proving to be tricky. This whole birthday party thing is wearing me out. Thankfully, this year, with Quinn it was a no brainer.

He turned 3 on Sunday and the one thing over the past year that has really shown to be *his thing* has been Toy Story. Buzz Lightyear, To Infinity & Beyond, the whole 9 yrds.
So when Toy Story 3 came out this summer I secretly thought to myself, "That would make a really fun birthday party. I hope it comes to the dollar theater for his birthday."
Well, as *luck* would have it, it moved there a week and a half before his birthday. So I decided to invite four of his little friends to join us. As it turned out, only 2 could make it for the movie (the other 2 joined us for cake and presents later.) It was a hit. The kids were glued to the movie. And it only cost us twenty five bucks. Not bad for a kiddie party.

I should mention, I was able to keep my cost so low because my good friend, Susie, made Quinnie's cake. It was adorable and good and home made. We devoured it until an inch of it's life!

Because I'm just lazy enough and didn't want to clean my house just to re-clean it, I decided to do cake and presents at the mall that is right across the street from the dollar theater. It worked famously. We chose a table right next to all of those mall kiddie rides that I never let my kids ride. They still didn't get to ride them, but Steve spent substantial time shaking each ride to make all the kids think they were riding them. (Should I be proud or ashamed of that?)

Up until this weekend, we've only had girlie dress ups. After the party we came home for about an hour before we had to head off for church. Just enough time for O to try on her new Halloween costume. She's going to be Little Bo Peep. I guess Quinn decided to join in the dress up fun. I cracked up when the came bursting through the door in their gowns.

So it wasn't a moment too soon when Quinn opened up one of his presents from Grandma and Papa. Thank the Lord, it was a Buzz Lightyear suit. He looks adorable (who knew Buzz was made in China!)
My guess is, Grandma and Papa were getting a bit nervous seeing Quinn dress up like women and needed to step in. Thanks!

And does the look on Turner's face not say it all?
"When the H*LL is my Birthday Party?"
I have to say, all in all Turner was a trooper with all the attention and gifts going to his brother.
Yet another bridge to cross as an only child. What is the sibling protocol? DO you have to share your birthday toys with your siblings?
If you know the answer to that one, I'm all ears.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Randomness

I just ate a Pez candy. Then I wanted to vomit in my mouth. Did they used to taste better or is it when you're a kid any form of sugar tastes good?

Whomever said, "You can only count on two things in life: death and taxes." CLEARLY was not a mom. He forgot to add unloading the dishwasher and folding the laundry. Why is there never a day off from those things?

I hate taking my kids to the store this time of year. When did Halloween stuff get so scary and so life like? I have to avoid an entire section of Target. How about a little more kid friendly next year, huh Target?

I found out today that hernia's are not just for the 81 year old men out there. I guess 38 is the new elderly 'cuz I get to have surgery November 4th. At least I'll get to milk the *no heavy lifting* thing for a few weeks. Speaking of laundry and dishes...

Steve and I have been in a Halloween party famine the past few years. This is our year to feast. In addition to trick or treating with the kids we've been invited to 2 different costume parties. The pressure is on.

My Alpha Phi BFF's are in discussion about a giant 40th b-day celebration. (We are still a year+ out, but with so many ladies, some married, some not, some mommies, some not- it's gonna require such advanced planning.) I'm actually getting excited to turn 40. Shoot, I already have a hernia. I might as well be 40~

Quinn turns 3 on Sunday. He is excited. He wants a Woody and Buzz Light year toy. He calls Pine cones "Pine corns". He needs a haircut. I like him.

Turner asked me to play cars with him this morning. So I did. It made my heart happy.

Olivia is beautiful. Inside and out. Her eyes melt me. Her servant heart melts me more. I like her too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spoiled Rotten

Over the years God has blessed me with really good friends. In college there was a group of us who were super tight. We were sorority sisters (hold the jokes, please!) and dear friends. After college, I moved to NYC where I had some amazing friends that I worked with. One, in particular, a roommate who endured the not so mature me and two ladies who trained me on the job. God bless their souls, there surely are crowns in heaven awaiting them. (Again, they dealt with the not so mature me.)

I moved to China where, by the nature of the beast, living in a foreign country and being a foreign student will FORCE you to bond with people- for better or worse. Friendships there were tried and true. And will be life long.

Since being married, I've found making friends a touch more difficult. Maybe because my time is not my own. Having kids allows for exactly no full conversations, unless I'm totally alone with my friend or locked in my bedroom and on the phone. And, yes, I DO fully recommend an inside lock on your bedroom door. Not for obvious reasons, but more so, that you can get a freakin' second of silence during the day.

With that said, over the past 3 years I have been involved in a small group of other moms through my job that has been AMAZING. We call it a growth group. Sounds stupid, I know. But actually, it is a gold mine. We get together every other week and we talk about areas in our lives that need improvement. Matters of the heart that need to change. Practical situations that need addressed. Tweaks to our lives and schedules that need to be made.

We've grown to know each other so well that often the growth plans ebb and flow from our discussions and are even better than the ones we've come up with on our own. We laugh. We cry. We sometimes even cuss. We are real. We are safe. We are vulnerable. We are encouraging. We confront. We change. We celebrate.

Most of us are moms with young kids. One friend is a mom with 3 teenage daughters. She is our great equalizer. When we're all, "If I have to endure potty training for one more month..." she's all, "Wait 'till they get their period." You better believe it stops us dead in our tracks and helps us embrace our reality. Then we get side tracked with funny period stories for an hour. (Hey, we're growing, what can I say?)

Some years I've worked on my complaining. Some years I've worked on my organization. Some years I've worked on my pessimism. This year I'm still trying to figure it out, but I think I might try and grow in my love for writing. A gift that God developed in me at a young age and set me on a course for during high school and college. Then I digressed.

I don't know what this means for me as far as a plan. Hopefully my girls have some ideas! I love keeping this blog as an outlet for my writing. I'm just wondering if there could be more. Is He pushing me out of the nest? I don't know. Quite frankly, it's less intimidating to think about working on my organization. Buy an organizer and away we go.

I'm thankful for my growth group. My friends. My accountability. I'm thankful that we are committed to not staying the same. I hope you have friends in your life that are committed to the same purpose.

What is an area YOU would like to grow in?

Monday, October 4, 2010

A whole new world

Well, we did it. Yesterday afternoon we made our way to Disney Princesses on Ice. Steve stopped by the box office last week to buy tickets. It saved us nearly $20 to go and get them ourselves. They'll soak you on those *handling fees*. What the heck are those anyhow? Seriously, what do they have to *handle*? Anyhow... because Steve went in, he also had the lady find us the BEST seats that our low brow money could buy (we're talking cheap seats people.)
Well, Steve done good. When we went looking for our seats, I couldn't believe how close he got us. You can see the ice and the castle behind O. That was taken from our seats. We could actually see people's faces and make eye contact when they waved. (Shoot, up until now... I didn't even know people in shows had faces!)
There are a few things I learned while going to Princesses on Ice. First, I learned when you go to a show that involves ice and ice skating... it's cold. Really cold. You should wear socks. And bring a blanket.
I also realized I have an internal struggle with *being a good parent.* There was ALL kinds of crap you could buy your kid. There were light up wands. Light up wands that spin around. Light up wands that spin around and are fans (NOT recommended for an ice show, especially if you didn't wear socks!) There were snow cones in commemorative princess cups (once again with the freezing cold, what the heck are these people thinking?) Cotton Candy available with a crown complete with Mickey Mouse ears. FOR TEN DOLLARS. Seriously, $10 for cotton candy. What the flippity flap? I nearly broke down and bought popcorn. But it was $7. You could also get your child's photo taken with a plastic Cinderella for $20. And the line was a mile long.
My internal struggle sounded like this, "Gosh. Look at all these people buying stuff for their kids. It's all crap, but maybe my daughter is missing out. Maybe I'm just a cheap skate. She would be happier and like me better if I got her a light up wand that spins around and makes her really really cold during this really cold performance." But then reason would chime in, "Yeah, but the real treat is coming to this show, not all the trinkets. She has a million wands at home. If she got one that spins around some one would end up losing an eye when Turner got a hold of it. Plus, for the $7 box of popcorn, we could go and buy dinner out somewhere. And it would be good. You are a good parent if you don't fall for this stuff." I literally battled the ENTIRE two hours we were there.
Thankfully, reason won out.
Olivia did amazing. She never asked for anything. She didn't even ask for popcorn. She enjoyed the show. Oooed and Ahhhed at all the appropriate places. She sat on my lap the whole time and thanked me on my way out. We had a great time together.
We even stopped at the mall on the way home for pretzels and icees (for only $5!) and were better for it. But it was so interesting how those inner voices arose in me. I want to spoil my kids. I want to love my kids. I want them to have the best. And I think yesterday she did.
Unlike the situation 7 seats down our row. About 10 min. before the show started this guy and his 11 year old daughter sat down. Within 5 seconds the dad spilled his ice water all over the floor under his seat. He then proceeded to mother f this and that quite loudly. I was really glad they were far enough down the row so O couldn't hear it. Seriously, you are at a KIDS show. Watch your mouth, dude. Then he tried to get the snow cone guy to clean up his mess. Goodluckwiththat. Then he bawled out the usher, took it upon himself to move up 2 rows to some really nice seats and when questioned about it he said, "I shouldn't have to sit in ice water the whole show." (He forgot to include that HE SPILLED IT HIMSELF.)
My guess is it's probably because his parents bought him popcorn and and a bunch of balloons at the circus when he was 7!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Debbie Downer alert

Its not been a load of laughs around here. Therefore, my impromptu bloggy break. I've considered sitting down to write a post and honestly I've been all, "Well... I'm taking the death of O's teacher unusually hard." Or "I've got a hernia that I need to have surgery for." Or "Olivia left the door open a bit and it was so dark upstairs that I ran into the corner of the door with the left temple of my head and now it hurts to chew, breathe and in general- live." Yep. All clever posts indeed.

I was going to post all of the funny moments from my mountain top experience. The mouse that surprised me in the shower. The shower that, in fact, came straight from the Sharper Image catalogue which, unless you have an engineering degree from a really good school, you can't actually work. Or the Hillbilly wedding you can have for only $75. But it seems I may have lost my sense of humor this week. Gone. If you find it, please send it back.

Tonight is the visitation for Mrs. Hatton. Steve and I are going. I know it is the good and right thing to do. But honestly, I'd rather run into the corner of a door with the left temple of my head. I was in the shower this morning and I started thinking about those last days at Hospice with my mom. Then I had to just shut it down. The thinking. The sadness. Hmmm... that's probably great grief advice, right? But honestly, I'm finding it hard to do it *properly* with 3 needy kids around. All the time.

Well, this has now turned into the post I didn't want it to be. So I'm going to sign out.

Do you need a good, positive, up beat note? (I know I do.) I'm taking Olivia to Disney Princesses on Ice this weekend. Not exactly MY dream come true. But it will be for her!

Have a great Friday.