Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am here (also Thursday Thanks #23)

Bible study at my church - "When Wallflowers Dance" by Angela Thomas

My apologies for the wildly askew photo (I think I'm channeling a bit of Esbee here). Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here. That things are OK. But that I'm taking some guidance from today's lesson, part of which included the suggestions to "choose to stop the chaos" and "choose to restore order."

I daresay it's been a full month since I've posted regularly. Life has been rich and full. The children are thriving in their new school. I have been busy with church and work commitments, extracurricular activities, and shuttling children from here to there. I haven't posted the first photo of Mister J in his soccer uniform. Of Miss M in her dancewear. Of a lunch in quite a while (though I pack them every night for school the next day). But trying to juggle all of the balls was wearing me out, so I've had to at least slow the chaos. I've pulled back from a few things - namely, the blog, email, and social networking. I've got photos I want to post, memories I want to document, and funny stories I want to tell. But for now, please forgive me for the lack of posts and photos.

I'm also choosing, in my case, to establish order. I'm trying to eliminate the clutter and disorganization in a pretty heavy-handed way around here. I'm trying to repurpose spaces and "stuff" in a way that makes sense for our family. It's going in baby steps, but the small victories keep me motivated.

I'm the midst of all of the de-chaos-ing and re-ordering, I'm taking a bit of time for myself. Not just doing the grocery shopping alone, but some real, adult time with other women in my Bible study. And here's my Thursday Thanks just a bit early.... I am so thankful for the women who are crossing my path as a part of this study. I am learning from them and connecting with them in new ways each time we meet, even if they are women I have known for years. In just a couple of hours a week, I am refreshed and energized in a way I'd forgotten existed.

I'll be back, though it may continue to be sporadic for a time. My goal is to complete some projects around the house, re-claim the calm that comes along with order and organization, and meet a couple of personal goals, including a return to more regular blogging.

See you soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

No words....

I think I just realized that we may be THAT Family....

Sorry for the scarcity of posting lately. There's plenty that I'd love to post, but time is not on my side right now. Hope to be back soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The "Kid Office"

One of the projects that's been keeping me away from the blog. Bins in the corner hold all sorts of supplies - paper (drawing, construction, coloring books), crayons, markers, glue, things to glue onto paper, stickers (regular and foam), pipe cleaners, and more. Each kid has a supply box on the table. Covered canisters hold regular and colored pencils. Still need a place to hold Mister J's homework and reading packets each week, a trashcan, and a place to safely store scissors and a pencil sharpener.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We are here...

...because the Wells Fargo stagecoach is in town (and because there was a break in the rain). It was a great opportunity to learn about the past, and we also found some nice little green spaces to run off some energy.

Nov 1, 2009 - here's a better photo, now that I've finally gotten around to uploading photos from my camera!
click to enlarge

And again with the wipers... (or Overheard #21)

On the way home from school in the rain....

Miss M (referring to the favorite topic of late): "Mommy, why you do that?"
Mommy: "To clean the windshield so I can see to drive."
Miss M: "I okay with the rain...."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Overheard #20

It's overcast today, and it was sprinkling during our drive to school this morning. Amidst the singing and other conversation was this exchange:

Mister J: Mommy, do the windshield wipers have eyes?
Mommy: No, they don't have eyes.
Mister J: Then how do they see the rain?

Of course, I explained to him that I control the wipers, but I was also struck by the reminder that there are plenty of things in our lives that are "everyday" to me, but are still waiting to be learned and explored by my children. Thanks, Mister J, for the reminder.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is it...

(my apologies to anyone who has me in their reader and hopped over only to find this:)

...Friday yet? That is all...

(Updates forthcoming.... Eventually...)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fill Up Those Empty Minutes

I know what you are thinking, "Who has empty minutes?" Many of my minutes are filled each day with brushing teeth, tying shoes, packing lunches, shuttling children to and from school and after-school activities, serving meals, brushing teeth again, reading bedtime stories, and tucking in children. Not to mention the errands and volunteer commitments that fill my time while they are in school, my (flexible hours, part-time) job, and exercise when I can squeeze it in. Of course, I do have some fun things - a weekly Bible study or an occasional meeting for coffee or dinner with friends. But, in the midst of all of the responsibilities of being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, I still end up with little pockets of time that aren't long enough to run "just one more" errand or do "just one more" chore. Or it could be the time spent waiting in the pick-up line at school - you know, before the line starts to move. (Sometimes I get there early - I'm an 'early is on time" kind of girl.) Now sometimes I need those empty minutes to just listen to the radio (adult music!), read an article in a magazine (if I remembered to bring it), or say a few prayers about what's on my heart. And sometimes - like yesterday - I need to clean the windows on the mommy-van. Yes, you read that right - I cleaned the windows on my van in the pick-up line. They were dirty and streaky, and I just couldn't stand it a moment longer. I arrived just a few minutes before the preschoolers came out to the pick-up line, so I jumped out of the mommy-van with a canister of these in hand ...

...and made quick work of the front windshield, and driver's side and front-row passenger windows. I also grabbed a couple of baby wipes and freshened up the dash and console areas. I figure of they can clean my kids' faces, hands, and bottoms, they should be good enough for the dashboard!

Did I look a little out-of-place? Perhaps. Was I embarrassed when I reached over the steering wheel and leaned, just for a moment, into the horn? Absolutely. Was I totally pleased with the clean windows when I was done? Definitely! The dust-free dash and crumb-free cupholders were a bonus!

So, tell me - how do you fill your empty minutes?

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, head on over to We Are THAT Family.

My previous WFMW posts

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Thanks #22

Fresh basil from the garden of a friend - it made some delicious pesto, which I am going to eat more of now that the kids are asleep. I only got to lick my fingers and then clean the blender and utensils when I made it, so this time I actually get to enjoy it.

Farmer's market corn - delicious with dinner, and I'm using the leftovers to try out a new black bean and corn salad. Update - It's tasty! Even better - the kids tried it, and if I send along some tortilla chips it might be 'kid-approved' for the lunchboxes.

Two free hands on weekday mornings - I am getting used to the new pace, and filled the entire four hours this morning marking things off of my to-do list. It was mainly on-the-go errands, so I still have a major to do list for in-the-house projects before company arrives this weekend, but anything done is worth celebrating!

A call from one of my aunts today - just to say hello, ask how the kids were doing, and visit for a bit before she headed in to visit with her mom (my grandmother) and before I headed to school to pick up Miss M. It's nice to have an unexpected break like that in the middle of all the 'busy-ness' of mom-ing.

The opportunity to peek in on Mr. J when I pick up Miss M from school each day. His class is usually outside, and most of the time I can see them from the pick-up line. This will change next week when the new playground opens, but for now it's a sweet part of my day.

The big smiles and excitement that greet me each day when I pick my kids up from school. I remember doing the same thing when my mom would pick me up from after-school care, and it's really an incredible feeling to be on the other end now.

Previous Thursday Thanks Tank posts

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Honest Scrap - My First Blog Award!

You'd think since this is my first blog award that I would have gotten around to posting it a bit sooner (I got it a week ago!). The first few days of school, combined with repurposing a room in our home, getting ready for company, and doing most of my regular 'stuff', too, has completely wiped me out! I have plenty left to do this evening, but I'm taking a break to finally post about the honor bestowed upon me by Lucy and Ethel - I'm to post 10 'honest' things about myself. Here goes!

1) I love roller coasters, but will not ride any freefall-type ride. I even like the super-fast, twisty, loop-the-loop rides, and I'll do it with my hands in the air, but I will not ride a freefall ride ever again. They scare the daylights out of me....

2) I like to read, but nearly every time I get into a book I either a) ignore things I really should be doing or b) stay up waaaay too late at night reading "just to the end of this chapter." I ambivalently await the next book in the Twilight series comes out (is that a word?).

3) Before I had children, I wore a size 9 shoe. After the first pregnancy, a size 9 1/2. After the second, a 9 3/4 would be perfect. Instead, I usually just wear a 10. A TEN. That's huge!

4) Unloading the dishwasher is my least favorite chore, yet the one that must be done - sometimes more than once. It was my daily chore when I was a kid, and since my sister is significantly younger there was no sharing of chores. I despised unloading the dishwasher. I still don't like it, but now that I'm all grown up, I understand why my mom asked me to do it every day. It's such a treat to find all of the dishes unloaded and put away!

5) I used to think the perfect job would be one where I could wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every day. Now that I can, I really don't like wearing jeans and a t-shirt - but I do it anyway. It's so easy, and I like my sleep more than I like shopping for 'cute' clothes. I am allergic to the mall.

6) I can't hold a pen/pencil in my mouth without gagging. I know, you've waited your entire life to know that about me. But, the point I really wanted to make is that if you loan me a pen, I promise I won't chew on it and then give it back. And I will give it back.

7) Since attending Financial Peace University last year, I have not only become more conscious of how/why I spend money but also more conscious of how many 'duplicate' things we have in our home. Of how many things can be repurposed (and thereby avoid purchasing more 'stuff' to fill our house). Of how easy it can be to impulse buy. I'm proud to say that we are (gradually) getting rid of the 'stuff' that clutters our home and our lives. It's so freeing!

8) I'm not a great housekeeper, mostly due to clutter. I want to get our home to the point that I can invite friends over on the spur of the moment, even if the house isn't 'perfect.' I realized the importance of this when my son started asking to have people over for playdates - and I didn't feel like I could say yes. (Hopefully the ripple effect of FPU will keep up the changes around here.)

9) If my husband didn't help me keep up with technology, I am sure I wouldn't have a cell phone or know how to sent text messages and tweets. I might not even have a computer at home, a blog, or know much about Facebook. In that case, I might also be caught up on my scrapbooking!(Actually it my mom-ing gig that's slowed me down there....)

10) If I could do anything (you know, if time, money, family, and other commitments weren't an issue), I would go to medical school. It wasn't anywhere on the career radar when I was in college, and I do love what I used to do, but I'm a professional student at heart, fascinated by the human body and how it works (except for eyes - ick. Sorry, Dr. G!).

Now, the best part of getting this award is not getting all of this honest scrap off of my chest - it's that I get to pass the award along to a few other bloggers! I'll pass it along in the same 'no-strings' fashion that Lucy and Ethel passed it on to me. Friends, I would enjoy reading if you choose to participate!

Heather at Beyond the Belly (a truly honest look at mommy-hood, poop and all, by my IRL friend)
Jane Anne at Gravity of Motion (my sweet bloggy friend, also mom to a peanut-allergy kid)
The Smitty Family (currently taking a blogging break, but a lovely blog nonetheless)

Thanks to all of you for reading, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for Thursday Thanks Tank! Oh, and stop by those blogs I mentioned - you will love them, too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


These were on clearance at Target today, but I succeeded in simply looking at them and moving on. I do love school/office supplies. I also picked up some paper in the scrapbook aisle, looked at it, and put it back. Yay, me! I did pick up some clothes for Miss M - most of it on sale. I love stocking up on the basics (especially long sleeve tees) at sale prices!