Thursday, April 30, 2009


I jogged along one of the local greenways this morning. The sky was overcast. There was a light fog still hanging in the treetops. A misty rain cooled the air. And I smiled.

I could hear the birds singing over the sounds of The Dave Matthews Band and The Eagles keeping me company on my iPod. I watched rabbits and tiny squirrels secreting away found treasures as they searched along the path I followed. I ached to explore the geocaches I knew were hiding nearby, but I stuck to my plan for the morning and pushed myself just a bit harder than I had on my last run.

It seemed easier today - day seven of my new fitness routine. Perhaps because the sun wasn't beating down on me. Perhaps because I wasn't pushing a jog stroller filled with 31+ pounds of preschooler. Perhaps because the exhilaration of being outdoors made it fun to push myself just a bit farther than I thought I could go.

But the most important part of it all? I smiled. About exercise. About sweating (ick!). About being outdoors, near nature. Each of those, for me, is its own accomplishment. I'm not an outdoorsy girl. I'd like nothing more than to cook and scrapbook and craft all day long. Indoors. With air conditioning. But none of that is going to help me be fit and healthy enough to chase my kids in the backyard for hours on end, to ride bikes when they are older, or to just have the energy to do whatever fun thing it is we want to do.

I'm opening myself up here. Telling you about my 'secret' new hobby.

My son asked me, as he scootered along beside me on my first or second run, why I was running. I told him that I wanted to be healthy enough to be able to play outside with him and not get tired. That's just one reason, though. I also want to take off some of the pounds I've added over the last several years. I don't like the way I look in a mirror, and my mind's eye sees me in a totally different body. The body that I want back. Yet another part of the story is that I want to be a better role model to my kids. We are turning off the tv (and computer, and video games) and going outside more. We have joined a pool for the summer, and the kids will be taking swim lessons. We will be buying a lot of sunscreen this year. No matter. That cost is just a small investment in what's hopefully going to be a lifestyle change around here.

I'm learning to run and I'm having fun. I never imagined I'd say those two things in the same sentence. And never, ever, with a smile.

I have a goal in mind, but I'm not quite ready to share it publicly. I'll keep you posted on the ups and downs (as I'm sure I'll have some of both). For now, the clouds have moved on, the sprinkles are gone, and the sun is shining. It's time to unplug and get outside!

Thursday Thanks #7

Pardon me for missing a few weeks. It's not that I haven't had things to be thankful for, it's that I haven't found - no, MADE - the time to post about them. In the brief time I have this morning before I move on to other things, I CHOOSE to post about what I'm thankful for this week.

1) A great run jog this morning. Those of you who know me in real life are thinking, "What?!?" Go ahead, it's ok. My husband probably thinks the same thing. I'm really trying to lose some weight, and gym memberships just don't work for me. Since I just told everyone I know, and some folks that I don't, perhaps I'll be sticking to it now. I've run 4 times since last Friday, and this morning was the best one yet (probably because I wasn't pushing Miss M in the jog stroller, but I still smiled when I noticed the improvement).

2)Learning how to use the strikethrough font in Blogger. I'm sure it's just some html code, and lots of people smarter than me already knew how to do this.

3) That my husband resurrected my laptop. The freedom to work anywhere in the house is such a luxury. The time when it wasn't working was a reminder of how many things I take for granted every day.

Of course there are many more, but right now I need a shower. Then I have to go pick up the kids from preschool. Then lunch/quiet time for the kids/work time for me.

You know, I'm not the best writer out there. I don't have the best 'thankful' list. Most of my things are material things. I'm hopeful that this practice will help me dig a bit deeper. Once I get past the material things, I can't wait to see what I find!

Noah's Road

Please pray for Noah, for his family, and for his daycare provider.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nota Bene

Hi, Readers! Just a quick note to let you know I've added a BUNCH of posts today. I've dated them on the day I should have posted them, so keep scrolling down (and click "Older Posts") if you want to be sure you've seen them all.

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh - and another note - this is my 200TH post!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why My Daughter Won't Be Eating Dinner Tonight

This little snack of Mini-Wheats, Nilla Wafers, and Rice Krispies ruined dinner. She opened the ice cream cones, but didn't actually eat one. Guess she got full before dessert....

Busy Thursday!

It was a busy day, but we also had a lot of fun! After dropping Miss M off at preschool...

Painting with her teacher, S

we headed downtown to the kids' new school for Mister J's kindergarten assessment. He had a great time, and we saw some familiar faces - something we weren't sure would happen since it's a magnet school (admission is by district-wide lottery). Once we finished there, it was back to the preschool for a special event - an ice cream social and guitar music to help celebrate Week of the Young Child. The kids enjoyed the ice cream, and we all enjoyed trying to dance and keep up with the motions to the new songs we were learning!

Pre-ice cream - notice the lack of chocolate syrup drips on my children

Mister J found a friend to dance with and got away from us in the (small) crowd. Miss M stayed close and I was able to get a few pictures. She was a little slower to warm up to the dancing, but eventually made her way through the crowd to find her big brother.

While Miss M took an afternoon nap, Mister J and I turned these...
into these! With the addition of a soccer ball, we are bowling in the backyard!

I can't take all the credit for the idea, but I do love that we were able to take some 'trash' (which we would have recycled) and reuse it to make something fun without spending a dime! It took a little trial and error to decide just how much sand to use (1/2 cup per bottle, in case you were interested), which was part of the fun.

Lest you think our sandbox will run out of sand, we have plenty left over from the sandbox birthday party of '08.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Windy Wednesday

We waited through several days of alternately wet and windy weather to get outside and play again. On this particular evening, we got out my old (-fashioned) balsa wood gliders. I have two, and we opted to play with the bigger one.
We had lots of funs taking turns winding up the propeller, launching the glider, and being the 'chaser' (as Mister J titled the role). We had a little 'blowout' and had to replace a rubber band in the middle of our play. Not to worry - I had a spare! As we were wrapping up for the night we had a major crash that resulted in the disentegration of the wing. Oh, well! I'll be keeping an eye out for another glider (the smaller glider just doesn't compare to this one...) and for a better place to play - one a bit more wide open than our backyard. This was definitely a lot of fun for 3 out of 4 of us - Miss M opted to play in the sandbox.

Recession-Proof Yourself....

That's one way to curb your spending @ Costco...

ENT Follow-Up

Miss M had her follow-up with the ENT today. We went to the clinic at the hospital - and got to wait in one of the coolest waiting rooms ever. It was divided into several sections, each with a few books, a toy large enough for kids to share, and a tv. We also had a restaurant-style pager to let us know when it was our turn (yes, it's a large office with many doctors and several specialists). Miss M thought the pager was a remote - it was funny to see her try to change the channel between shows! When she couldn't get it to work, she asked me to change the channel!

Over to the left in the photo are some large glass panels - the 'hallway' on the other side has one wall made of large fabric panels. There are photos and videos projected on to the wall, chairs where you can sit and watch, and spotlights that project images on the floor, as well. On the far end of the hallway is a model train (inside a plexiglass case) that kids can use switches to control. A.Ma.Zing.

One of the nurses had to come get us because it turned out our pager battery was dead. On the walk back to Dr. E's office, she commented on the flowers on Miss M's jacket. Miss M replied, "It matches the flowers on my shirt." The nurse then looked at me and said, "You have your hands full, don't you?" Um, yeah. Miss M also picked out her own shoes that morning - sandals in spite of the chilly weather. I'm learning to just go with the flow on the clothing issues - Miss M can be ... particular.

When she got on the scales to be weighed, I learned that Miss M has topped 30 pounds - she's big enough for a booster seat now! Thanks, but I think I'll use the 5-point harness for as long as I can....

So, how'd the visit go? Miss M has had a bit of a cough post-tonsillectomy, which I brought up with Dr. E. It's a dry cough, and we only hear it when she wakes up (usually in the middle of the night). I wasn't sure to worry about it or not, and part of me expected Dr. E. to say that Miss M might be doing it for attention (having learned during her recovery period that it really got our attention - and extra snuggles, and cups of water in the night, and...). That was not what she said. During Miss M's surgery, since she has a history of croup, Dr. E took a look down M's windpipe and took a sample of the fluids she found there. As it turns out, Miss M was having some reflux issues. With the tonsils out of the way (they had been causing some aspiration - pathology found some fat molecules in the fluids from the bronchoscopy), the products of (what we think is) reflux are causing her some irritation, leading to the cough. It's posible that there's still some inflammation causing the reflux, so we have an antibiotic for 4 weeks and Prevacid for 8 weeks (both starting now), and a follow-up with the ENT at the end of 8 weeks. At that time, it may be possible to discontinue the Prevacid, we will just have to wait and see. Otherwise, all is well - her ears and throat look great.

When we scheduled our appointment with the secretary, she offered Miss M a sticker. Miss M asked for two, but I made her pick one. On the way out of the office we went past the nurses' desk - and the nurse who originally took us into the exam room offered Miss M a second sticker. Oh, yes, I will certainly have my hands FULL.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #6

I didn't write a Thursday Thanks last week. I was totally overwhelmed with a busy week, and to top it off, my husband was out of town. To say that last week was crazy was an understatement. So, for starters, I am thankful that my husband is home! (Yes, only a few days late, but still thankful since this week is rather busy, too!)
I'm thankful for the visits with family we had over the Easter weekend.
I'm thankful for a broken arm that was only a broken arm, though it could have turned out much worse (love you Memaw and Grandpa H!).
I'm thankful for my Circle friends at church, and the time we spent together this evening (I was feeling rather in need of some fellowship, and tonight's meeting was productive in so many ways).
I'm thankful that my Thursday plans have fallen through. I'm disappointed for sure, but I know that this is an opportunity to knock out a few more to-dos on what I anticipate to be a very busy day for my part-time job. (Meg, I'm still checking my calendar to see when we can reschedule!) Both kids will be in preschool, so I should have a very productive morning. In turn, that allows me to spend more time with them, completely focused on them. It should be a great afternoon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Big J

My trusty laptop - the one I use to sit on the back porch and work while my kids play outside - is apparently in need of some MAJOR TLC. Nevermind that I have a desktop available as well, I'm disappointed about the laptop. (I know, you are wondering exactly where I'm going with this since it's a Thanks Tank post.)

So, rather selfishly on this point, I'm thankful for a husband who has enough knowledge and skill to FIX IT. This particular instance is just one reason I have to be thankful for him, though. Some other reasons I'm thankful for him -
  • He takes care of the 'trophies' that our cat sets at the foot of the garage steps
  • He encourages our son to pick up earthworms and do other stuff that Mom is just not quite cut out for (but I'm working on it!)
  • He works full-time and runs our business as well - so I can be the part-time-work-from-home mom I never dreamed of being, but suddenly knew I wanted to be when our son was born.
  • He is the financial 'nerd' to my 'free spirit' - even though I know most of you reading will have imagined the roles reversed. I'm a free spirit with control issues, so I can see how you would be confused.
  • He thinks I'm beautiful, no matter what and even if I don't - and tells me so.
(6/13/10 ETA - I found this as a draft post, and haven't ever published it until today - though I kept the original post date.  I'm not sure why I never posted it, but I know my hubby deserves this credit, so I'm publishing it today!)

tiny item, BIG HELP

There's a lot of stuff in my mommy-van. Two car seats, random toys, a local map book (but why, now that my phone has GPS?!?), a half-roll of paper towels, a double-sized beach blanket, and more.... Why all that stuff??? Well, that's certainly a post for another (slow) day! However....

There is ONE tiny thing that makes a HUGE difference for me. I keep a baby emery board in the door handle of the driver's door (you know, the place you grab to pull it shut when you get in - mine is more of a 'cup' than a 'handle' I suppose. Anyway...). I am constantly chipping my nails, and - especially now that I have braces again - it helps me kick the bad habit of biting my nails to try and 'fix' them. I try to fill those small pockets of time (waiting at preschool pickup, waiting at a stop light, waiting at a drive-through...) with little tasks. Sometimes I make a phone call, sometimes I review my calendar/to do list/grocery list (not while I'm driving, of course!), sometimes I say a prayer, and sometimes I file my nails since I have an emery board handy!

Check out more Works for Me Wednesday ideas at We are THAT Family.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

What a lovely day! Sunny (as you can see from Mister J's squinty eyes), not to hot, not too cold. A perfect day to celebrate! It was Miss M's first time (well, first since she was still a tiny baby) in "big church" and she was very well-behaved. Well, except for when she got too loud and we had to excuse ourselves. Oh, and except for when she launched a pencil over the edge of the balcony into the (ahem) full pews below. We managed to keep the giggling and snorting to a minimum, as did the folks seated nearby.

After church, we took a short drive over to see some of our family. My mom was here for the weekend, as well, so we had a nice (huge!) family celebration. BIG kudos to my cousin, A, who had special Easter treats for the kids, helped them dye Easter eggs (another first for my kids), and also helped with the Easter egg hunt.
Miss M still splashes just a bit too much, but my cousin A is extremely patient!
This was my attempt a an 'artsy' photo of the egg-dyeing fun.
Mister J initially declined to dye any eggs (there was another boy there who was just a bit older, and Mister J was enjoying the companionship. The other 6 children were ALL girls).
The Easter goodies from my cousin A, who was so thoughtful and careful about getting 'safe' treats for Miss M!
Miss M modeling one of her goodies from cousin A.
And, they're off! No children were harmed in the hunting of these eggs. Really. They might have gotten a little dirty, though.
Miss M got a little preoccupied with checking the contents of her eggs, and wasn't in much of a rush for the hunt. However, we encouraged her to keep looking and not open the eggs until we could check the contents for any unsafe candy.

Yes, I have two pictures of Miss M looking for eggs, and none of Mister J. He was always rather far away, and a bit too fast-moving for me to get good snapshots.

Hope you had an enjoyable Easter, were able to spend it with family and friends, and enjoyed a bit of time outside if the weather was nice!

Friday Surprise!

There was a tiny scheduling mix-up on Friday, but what a pleasant surprise it was! Grandpa R drove up to help us with a special project for Mister J. We needed to till up some space for a garden. You might remember how much Mister J enjoys planting things and watching them grow.
There used to be a wood-bordered bed here that contained an overgrown rosemary bush when we moved in. Grandpa R and Big J removed the rosemary, the wood border, and various rocks and other trash, then expanded the bed a couple more feet to approximately 36 square feet.
They were assisted by Mister J and Miss M, who got a wide berth while they wielded their garden tools of choice. The small rake seemed to be the most popular with the kids, so we had to enforce a strict sharing policy.
(Now you see why she needed her hair pulled back! Admittedly, a bit fancy for gardening....)
We learned about earthworms today! Mister J's look is a little bit "ick, I'm holding and earthworm" and a little bit squinty from the glare of the overcast day. We had an interesting discussion about the good things that earthworms do for the soil. I'm not sure if he's more excited or less excited about those worms now....

Mister J is very excited about picking out what we'll plant, and has a few ideas of his own (watermelon, orange tree, and other ambitious selections). I'll add more photos as we plant the garden, as it grows, and when we achieve our first "harvest."

She Sat Still for This

Big J couldn't believe it. I was totally thrilled by it, since I had long hair for SO many years. Miss M seemed to really like it, and let me do it again the same way the next day.


The kids really enjoy a show called Word Girl on PBS Kids. And they love to play outside. Here's what happens when Word Girl and backyard fun collide....

Mister J is pretending to be "The Butcher" - a villain-type character who "butchers" words and shoots food (meat products, of course) from his hands.

Here's Miss M performing her interpretation of Word Girl. You're only missing the part where she yells, "Word Up!" to fly away on her next adventure.
Here's Mister J "looking smart" - this is his interpretation of Professor Two-Brains, I suppose.
And Miss M also "looking smart" - though I think she looks more bored than anything.

If you think those character names are silly, try these:
Captain Huggy Face
Chuck the Evil Sandwich Guy
Lady Redundant Woman (my favorite!)

And did I mention that Word Girl is from the planet Lexicon? Oh, go ahead and giggle. I sure did!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

It's true what they say about too much of a good thing. It can be bad for you. Just ask Miss M.

Two things that you can have too much of:
Actually, if you truly have a question, skip Miss M and come straight to me. I am the one that had to deal with the bad thing that came afterwards....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Accidental Vegetarian

I was having a salad for dinner a few nights ago. It was 'leftovers night.' I'd taken a leftover steak, sliced it, reheated it a bit, added it to the top of a pile of lettuce and veggies, and topped it with some bleu cheese dressing and croutons. (Yes, it was good! Just ask Big J, who had his doubts, but was pleasantly surprised.) As I was eating my salad, Miss M pointed to my plate and asked for a bite. I pointed to a particular bite of the salad (you'll understand in a moment), and she confirmed that, indeed, it was the bite she wanted. I passed her a bite of the salad, which she put in her mouth and immediately took back out. Why?

"That's meat!" she said with disdain, handing it back to me.

Big J and I were surprised that she'd asked for a bite of meat, but after reflecting on the events, it occured to us that she may have thought it was a crouton since I had some pumpernickel croutons on my salad. But the point of the post is this:

How is it possible that we have a child who, for the most part, will not eat meat?

We eat meat at nearly every meal. If we eat fish, we typically serve chicken nuggets to the kids*. Miss M ignores them. I think I have served two (evening) meals without meat in the last year. At Chick-Fil-A, she eats the fruit and the waffle fries (I'm a fry kind of girl, so I can't blame her for that....). She will eat lunch meat, but that's not the healthiest thing out there. Neither are McNuggets (sorry, Mickey D's), and she'll eat about ONE of those out of a Happy Meal, followed by all of the fries, of course.

Last night, we had fettucine alfredo. She ate more than Mister J, I think.I offered leftovers of that for dinner tonight, and she wolfed it down - along with about 1/3 of a bag of steamed edamame. She can put away some edamame - even shells it herself! I'm comfortable with the amount of protein she's getting, but I still wonder...

How did we end up with an almost full-time vegetarian in the family?

*Miss M's allergist hasn't given us the OK to introduce fish into her diet. And, if we are giving her a chance to eat chicken nuggets as an alternative, we feel Mister J should be allowed to eat them as well.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Break, Day 4

aka "Happy Birthday Daddy!"

Big J's birthday was Thursday, and the kids helped me bake another carrot cake. They are great helpers in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cleaning up....

(By the way, that's not cake batter - they are licking the cream cheese frosting off.)

They were very proud of the end result, breaking into a spontaneous round of "Happy Birthday" before we even got candles on the cake. While we started with traditional candles, Mister J insisted upon having either the correct number of candles or using number candles to show Big J's actual age.
Miss M has already asked for a carrot cake for her birthday, too. And I'm already excited about baking another one!

Spring Break, Day 3

Yes, the kids are still in their PJs. It was Spring Break. And it rained for most of the week. But ignore that part, OK? Look at the project, y'all. They are planting some flowers that MeMaw sent to them when I was visiting my Dad last weekend. Mister J loves planting things and watching them grow, so he was very excited. We are checking it daily and watering as needed. If all goes well, additional photos will follow in a couple of weeks!

For parents of daughters...

Wow - this article makes me nervous about raising a girl. I'm not a girly-girl. I don't have an extensive 'beauty routine' - but she's sure to learn it somewhere, isn't she? There's always going to be a little girl at school or in the neighborhood who does all of these fancy things, isn't there? I hope that I'll be able to teach my daughter about natural beauty - the kind that comes from the inside and doesn't need makeup. (Have I ever told you that my husband still prefers me without makeup?)

Friday, April 3, 2009

My favorite aisle in Target. (Sorry you have to turn your head to see this - I was SURE I took it horizontally. Will have to practice more....)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #5

So much to be thankful for this week!

I had a great weekend at my Dad's - even though I missed the kids!

Had a fun day geocaching with the kids on Monday!

Got to spend some time with my blog this week. And, apparently folks miss me when I don't blog! Well, maybe they miss their fix of kid pics - but that's OK too! Felt very special when I got some requests to start blogging again!

TODAY is Big J's birthday! Love you, sweetie!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oh, my! Just love this! It's at Costco for $16.99. May have to spend some of my birthday money....

(Remember I told you I had a new trick - this is it! I sent this directly to my blog from my cell phone. Cool, eh?)

WFMW - Backwards Edition

In addition to being a Backwards Edition of WFMW, it's also my first WFMW post! So, here goes!

My dilemma, the one for which I NEED YOUR HELP, is this:

How can I get both of my kids to look at the camera (preferably with smiles) at the same time?

As you might have noticed if you follow the blog, I have a hard time getting Miss M to look at the camera. Mister J was a ham early on, and tolerates me now. Miss M has always, always had her own plan when it comes to smiling for the camera.... My scrapbooks and I appreciate your suggestions!!!