Friday, December 30, 2011

NOW that I'm Jinx-Free!

(Christmas, 2011!)

Sooooooooooo! That whole thing about life's challenges propelling us forward... YES. It is THE best way to look at it - as it usually does prepare us for our future, besides. I believe I've finally found the ideal drop-in child-care situation!!!!!! HALLELUJAH - sing with me (hall-le-eee-lu-jah!) I know I'll depend on this more in the summer months - as I become busy with processing wedding photos again - and so - I've already got the littlest one enrolled for the remainder of this winter season. I'll choose a day when the older girl is in school for the day, and drop off the littlest lady at the new spot for the day - freeing-me-up! 

It's drop-in care with no commitments or minimums, is affordable, and through a well-renowned school district nearby! WOOT! My biggest hang-up with delving into this was trusting the people who would be caring for my kiddos. Now that this hurdle is no longer in the way - bring it on! It's an answer to my prayers - as I not only need this time for my brain to occasionally have the luxury of functioning without interruption, while enabling my internal energy-stores to be re-charged, but I need it for keeping up with life as well.

I was chatting with a close family member (who doesn't have children, but has experienced some of the 'trials' with us when we were young, and our children) about having found this diamond-in-the-rough. She congratulated me on locating this, and recognizing that I need this for myself. While it may deserve a pat-on-the-back in some regard (since I know that many wouldn't realize or accept this need), I reminded her that ANY parent "needs" this opportunity. I am a free-spirit, with perhaps a greater overall need for time to myself... but all parents need time away from their beloved children to be better parents. Quality over quantity! 

Let's get one thing straight & clear: I ADORE my babes! I've been dreaming about being a "mother" since I was old enough to convey that message... and I'm grateful beyond words. I'd do nothing differently, and wouldn't change it for the world! My priorities are creating a meaningful and lasting bond with these amazing people whom God has entrusted to me. I LOVE the fact that I can be home with them, while also thriving on a part-time career (2 now!) that I also thoroughly enjoy - also contributing income toward the family's goals. With that said, it doesn't change the fact that my brain needs a day to function on a regular basis - without constant interruption. I don't really think that's asking too much. I think that many parents would agree. In fact, I know of many who choose to work outside of the home so that they have greater balance. That is their prerogative, and to each their own! But for me, I knew I wanted to be their full-time care-giver. It's a truly FULL-time job (as in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!), and I do require a tiny bit of 'vacation' in there - to listen to my heart and rejuvenate! So now - I can look forward to that no matter what is going on. I need not depend on one person to provide that luxury any longer. This is a hurdle-overcome! 

TIP: Sometimes we need a gentle "nudge" or push in the right direction. So heed that, and do what you gotta do!
A QUOTE: "Be real, Be free, Be happy." ~ Unknown
WHIDFML: Spent the week both girls were at home for holiday break doing special projects with them! That's for another post :)

"Twas the Night Before Christmas...

and all through the house... little creatures were stirring and making noise with their mouths. They acted as though they had never been taught, the prims and the propers of misbehaving-not. They screamed and they wailed, and they stomped and they cried... until mommy and daddy were fit to be tied. We damn-near imploded from the adrenaline and fatigue, until at last, we were able to intermingle some glee. We survived the hours leading to the holiday family-affair, and finally, at last, joy so fleeting and rare. Mommy and Daddy were sure not to cave, and little sassy girls now remembered just how to behave. Though cookies and treats were off-limits that night, the girls learned to enjoy other Christmas delights.

All of the Christmas spirit that was building-up inside of me, was abruptly consumed when Christmas Eve arrived in all of it's child-hysteria-laden glory. AH. Did I SERIOUSLY jinx this shizz yet again via pre-blogging?!? What THE??? The entire day... (entire... read "ENTIRE") was filled with visions of Prozac, Chocolate, and Wine dancing in my head ;) 
Bus seriously - we hadn't experienced that kind of hysterical crying and outbursts in ages - and never in such consistent succession - and by BOTH children at once! Adelyn literally cried and screamed (and not just howling - SCREAMING) for over an hour after her nap. I was ready to catch a flight to the Bahamas right then and there, yo. [Or Delaware. Or ANYwhere.]
Evidently, they got that all out of their system. Every year I think, "Ah - this will be a good year for _______________!" (Insert preferred event, such as "Christmas"...) As they get older, they don't necessarily get "easier", per say. Their challenges (and yours) simply change and evolve! And so - I too must continue to change and evolve with the times. So be it. For the record, Christmas was good overall. We didn't have to rush all over creation, and we had spaced things out quite well. And it was fab having a church service on that Friday eve! Bonus. Another bonus? The girls and I got a reindeer-pulled sleigh ride before the service! It was Donner (a GIRL-reindeer!) and Blitzen. There was no snow this year (yet another bonus - though a white Christmas is always welcome...) They had placed wheels on the sleigh! Hahahaha - good memories nontheless. 

TIP: While threatening to take away 'treats' on Christmas Eve may seem 'strict' - if you'd lived in this house for 10 minutes that day, you'd agree it was necessary! And, if we were taught one thing in our Love & Logic class - it was consistency (also meaning: follow-through). Once that 'threat' was made to attempt to control the ensuing chaos, and the chaos did continue to ensue, it was then required that no treats be doled out to the offending children. I think it was a quite fitting lesson, actually - and one that they chose. We gave them the option/ the warning. It wasn't heeded, and not by our account. 'Twas their choice to disregard our authority... again.
A QUOTE: "Let`s be naughty and save Santa the trip." ~Gary Allan
WHIDFML: Convinced myself that blogging is not going to jinx me any longer! I'm seriously not allowing anything (or anyone with ill-wishes) to negate my happiness! Always been very independent, and will continue that trend - thank you very much! Happiness stems from within. Your attitude about the things that you cannot control really do affect your reactions to things. You can choose to be happier. While we all have moments, and bad days - your choice to resolve your issues in ways in which you are able, help propel you forward through life's challenges, and enable you to grow on a spiritual level.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So today, I got to spend a great deal of my afternoon enjoying a massage. YES! SOOOO relaxing. I totally was ready to just revel in that moment (all 80 mins of it!!) Deep breath in... and exhale... ahhhhhhh. I freaking LOVE the Aveda Institute! Then, I ran some errands, picked up the neighbor girl from school for her momma, and spent the evening listening to Christmas tunes, surrounded by candle-light (still am) ;) - and wrapping gifts! Ahhhhhh. SO interesting too, how I had merely 3 minutes to browse the magazine while I sipped tea awaiting my massage appointment... and yet I took in just enough - something to blog about! It's so integral. It was discussing the way we as a culture are programmed to use every waking moment to do something "constructive" - and how much we need to just take the time to really BE. How, you may ask?? Well, by doing... (ready for this??) NOTHING! Yep. Nada. Nilch. Zilch. No-thing. NOTHING! It referred to this as a "novel idea". Indeed! It started to go into further detail about the how-to's and the benefits of such 'activity' (or lack thereof), stating that our medical personnel refer to this as "Constructive Rest". Hells-yeah! Cheers to that! Oh my gosh - how I wish I had stolen that magazine! ;) hahahah. But seriously - I wish I had at least asked to borrow it, so I could finish that ever-enlightening column that I had barely begun. But I think the overall concept was brilliant enough... don't you? 

TIP: I didn't let my mind wander - AT ALL today while enjoying my momME-time... This massage COMPLETELY revitalized all of my senses! I kept just focusing on my breath, relaxing, the music, and the serenity... Well-deserved, much-needed, and well-timed. Tomorrow (Thurs) is our "Friday" - since Joel is off on Friday this week. AWESOME! Can't wait to spend the day with the fam at the MOA - soaking in the holiday glimmer adorning the digs, and just doing a bit of window-shopping (the best kind), and people-watching, lunch-feasting, and exercising - all-in-one! NICE. Then, onto reindeer-watching (and a possible sleigh-ride if enough snow remains from this recent smattering) prior to the Christmas service at our church! Bring it.
A QUOTE: K - actually - - 2 qoutes!! 
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."  ~Ovid
"No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it."  ~Harry Emerson Fosdick (Woot!)
WHIDFML: Ummmmm... this entire post!!! :) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This is Christmas....

This is Christmas to a 3-year-old:

Any Questions??

So, she set up a Christmas 'tea-party', and invited Santa and his "friends" to the celebration. So cute and innocent - and yet this scene is so terrible.... Terribly funny, that is! Addie has a weird thing about naked dolls. All babies, princesses, & Barbies are de-clothed regularly. Not sure where it stems from, or what the motivation may be - but Santa and his sheep don't seem to mind. ;) 

The best part? 
She happened to set this all up in front of a depiction of the manger-scene. KIDS!

TIP: If you kiddos don't like milk, try Chocolate flavored almond milk. Super good. You can even add Ovaltine to make it extra-chocolatey, and enhance with some more vitamins in that process. What the hey?
A QUOTE: "The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live." ~George Carlin
WHIDFML: Inspired by my fave gal-pal, I'm fixin' to start some mediation. I'll start with 10 mins/ day - and just free my mind and breathe! Yeah, baby! Diggin' on that New Year's resolution~

Salsa Authentica

We visited the local Mexican restaurant recently to enjoy a celebratory dinner. It was a good day, and I was feeling especially up-beat and light-hearted. This disposition seemed to readily feed into the giddy-mayhem that unfolded during our meal. Luckily, we were seated in the LAST booth on the far end of the restaurant.... since we somehow missed that boat named "I eat out at restaurants - just with kids now". (Those who follow my babblings know what that is referring to!) While one child is shimmying to the authentic Mexican jive, exclaiming, "My boobies are moving!" - the other boogies-out a big-girl-sized-fart, promptly announcing, "My spooted!" All I could do was laugh, while Joel attempted to 'shush' them to no avail! Somehow, this was all funnier yet when sipping an authentic Margarita on the rocks! Yes, the real-deal does tend to treat me right. For the record, I was already in a good mood, as described above. Taking kids out in public, and enjoying an adult beverage only enhanced that mood! Until we meet again - Adios!

TIP: Tall booths make for decent sound barriers. :) 
A QUOTE: "I feel a blog coming on!" ~ ME
WHIDFML: Decorated for Christmas!!! Gosh, I feel organized.

Patience is a Virtue...

Patience... I have come to realize over the years that I have more than I give myself credit for. The problem lies in dealing with repeat episodes of, say, drama, over extended periods of time that don't encompass a solid break for me... and wallah - the patience is worn thin. It's to be expected. I haven't been able to consistently count on my highly-appreciated and not only desired, but truly required mommy-days for a number of months now... It's been hit or miss... a day here, a day there... Much more scarce than I've grown accustomed to. Even when I can manage to talk myself out of 'stress' psychologically, I can't seem to stop my body from experiencing it. Son of a! I darn-near missed out on the opp to merely wrap gifts without the eyes of the recipients nearby. That would have been a slight bit stressful, indeed. My 'back-up-plan' retired just before the summer months. I had gone online to seek a new back-up plan, and I couldn't find anything. I reluctantly decided last Wednesday to make a point of devoting some of my extra-valuable and fleeting time to trying this again. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were multiple ads offering part-time/ drop-in care options! It must be the difference between summer and the school-year, I reasoned. Makes sense! I have renewed hope again - and 3 emails out to various prospective part-time care-givers. I also have 2 more phone numbers stashed in the case that the emailed nannies don't fit the bill in some way, or reply to my queries. IN as much - I actually have the name given to me by the previous 'back-up' day-care lady back in June! I never did call her, because I knew absolutely nothing about her. I felt like the squeaky wheel (that would be me) was simply receiving some grease when this number was given to me. But maybe it's meant? Who knows. I do know that I am "meant" to have some designated ME-time... to regroup, catch up on things, and just - BE. I need that to recharge. When I don't get it consistently, I start to get a little jumpy - even with the hubby. Me-time isn't a selfish thing. It makes me a better me - and a better mom and wifey too!
I'm definitely not wired to go without this time for too long! 
Time to find some new- new chosen family once again! Life. Gotta keep changing right along with it, right?

TIP: Don't just 'settle' when it comes to recharging your batteries. When challenges arise, find a solution. Get creative and you can solve nearly any prob! (That's a snippet from another fave quote!)
A QUOTE: "Life's problems wouldn't be called 'hurdles' if there wasn't a way to get over them."  ~Author Unknown (Did I already use this one?? I may have, but I think I'm thinking of using it on FaceBook previously!)
WHIDFML: Sipped on some Eggnog - blended with Kahlua'. Mmmmm. It's a seasonal thing!

Laugh 'Til You Pee!

So if you've been following me - you probably already know that I'm determined to try snowboarding this year. Nothing major - I surely won't have the necessary skill to go beyond the bunny-hill! But I still want to try this! Always have. So - we're making it happen. This is major motivation for me to consistently work-out at home. It seems to be working pretty well. I mean - you know you're working your abs ultra-hard when you are jumping, lifting weights, and laughing at America's Funniest Home Videos on the TV! Now that Tom Bergeron (sp?) hosts, (and not that annoying-ass that used to ruin the show altogether for me) - I can watch again. We had it on during my power-work-out, and it amped things up that much more. So much more, that I PEED my dang pants! Whoah! I mean, not full-blown, but when you laugh that hard, and you're already in the midst of exerting yourself - I dunno - what can I say!? Must be working! Another good sign... I bowled a freaking 206 last time I subbed!! Double-WHOAH! Woot-woot!

TIP: Laugh, jump, lift, bowl, do... 'til you pee! That's how you know you're doing it right.
A QUOTE: "Peeing your pants is the coolest." ~Billy Madison 
WHIDFML: Enjoyed some GLUTEN-FREE Gelato, compliments of my mom and dad! O.M.G. 
And, it's some more motivation for those work-outs!

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Inching Near!

So, as Christmas draws near, I have rather gracefully handled a few minor impromptu set-backs... They interrupted my super-duper-uper-shmuper (Sid the Science Kid, anyone?) Holiday-Happies - but only briefly. [I swear, I blog, and it jinxes things! Hm... Gonna haveta figure that one out.] On those otherwise happy notes came some unexpected fun as well. For example, I joined my MIL on a trip downtown for a concert. We saw The Blenders - an outrageously talented acappella group - mix it up for Christmas. They are funny too :) Bonus. At one point during the show, they sang Where are You Christmas? For those who aren't familiar - here are those lyrics, as found online:




 It was rather poignant - as it represents how I'd been feeling about this season for the past few years - as I adjusted to motherhood, and family changes, and things that just made this particular holiday feel less meaningful and less joyful. I'm so pumped to be past that now! But I do still wish - since ."...we have all changed, and that changes Christmas too..." that we could implement some new adventures and traditions into the mix as well. Some families exchange gifts, others go on vacations together. Either way - you spend bucho-bucks... So why can't we just eliminate the commercialized side of it, and make some new memories together, instead of pummeling one another with unnecessary (albeit, usually well-liked and enjoyed) THINGS? I hate to sound ungrateful for the goodies my fam has handed out to me and mine... I just wish we could turn it into more than 'gifts'. Turns out, the family isn't really so interested. Shocker! Anywho - I did succeed in talking the girls into making our regular 2-generations-of-sisters annual Christmas shopping outing a new experience - at least for this year. (Hopefully more!) Rather than going to the same place, and spending frivolously, we are making it into a little girls'-get-away! Duluth, here we come. It'll be at a time when we can enjoy seeing the place all decorated for the season, and spend a weekend just relaxing, and surely still getting in some shopping I'd wager. So that way - everyone is happy! Sadly, sis seemed to want to push it toward the cabin in the future. They just don't get it - I wanted us to do something "different". Getting drunk and crashing at the cabin isn't my idea of a good time or exciting holiday memory, but that's her issue to work out. Anyway - I've decided that no matter where the rest of the peeps in my life stand, it's most important how I create holiday memories with my immediate family - Joel and the girls - and we'll be sure to do what's meaningful for us. I want them to have memories of being with the family - -but I don't want the emphasis to be on getting presents. Fine line to walk in this culture, but I'll try my best. It's all I can do! Cheers to non-materialistic traditions!!

TIP: When your heart beckons - if others look down on you for following it - that's their prob. Do what's meaningful to you! Your heart will thank you. And, experiencing things regularly that don't cost tons of cash can teach your littles to appreciate more about this season than simply 'getting gifts'. Presents are a fun part of it all for the kids, but it shouldn't be the most important goal. Rebel against society's push to spend, spend, spend... F that!
A QUOTE: "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." ~Buddha
WHIDFML: Celebrating my b-day with a massage tomorrow afternoon, whilst the littles retreat at Grandma's! Ahhhh... I think if I received a gift certificate for a massage every season, I might think-twice about this non-gift-thing ;) ha!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Naked & Pretty... Awwww

It's not really what you might think... It's more about one of those mommy-hurdles, in fact. But - the blow was softened by the sweet voice of a 5-year-old. 

I awoke early to my alarm - to make sure I could jump in the shower and be out again by the time the girls got up to get ready for school. It's one of those rare, glorious moments of mommy-solitude. Warm water to wake me up on a cold day... A chance to just come out of sleep-mode - and be alone for a few minutes. Or not. Just as I closed the door, the littles found me - and they weren't really in the mood to allow me such luxury. So after asking everyone whether or not there was any need for use of the facilities, I set off once again to attempt this 10 minutes of wake-up time. They assured me, after much prodding, that they were certain that no one needed to use the toilet. Alas, in my infinite wisdom, I managed to lock the door to the room where I stand naked and wet, and craving a moment to really just  shake that sleepiness (and cold) from my tired bones. (I don't do well with mornings.) But no. Someone has to knock on the thin piece of wood that stands between my 10 minutes of solitude for the day, and the two little people who make a full-time job out of ensuring that I get no more than 3 minutes of solitude in a given day. I ask what the trouble might be, to which I receive an urgent request to use the potty. "Poop or whiz?!?" I shriek in a "how dare you" tone... "Poop!" Damn. Had it been pee, I know that girl with the bladder of steel would have been waiting patiently until I completed my shower. After all, I did ask them, 3 times to be sure, whether there was a need for this - prior to starting the morning cleansing activity. So, I toss down my robe across the floor, and reach out my dripping arm to unlock the handle on that lovely piece of privacy-inducing wood. I'm feeling a little drained, and a lot frustrated at this stage... but that soon dissipated. How could I remain frustrated when that sweet little voice from behind the shower curtain proceeds to tell me, "Mommy! You're sooo pretty - even when you're naked!" Those silly words beget smiles, and smiles beget happy-vibes. Kids. They drive you up a wall, and then cushion your fall as you're about to lose it. There is something integral about that. 

TIP: Remind yourself of their innocence. It helps you stay calm ;)
A QUOTE: "Being pretty is a full time job that's why I'm only part time..." ~Unknown 
WHIDFML: Finished this - and now - I must rest! ;) Until we meet again.....


Myla: "Mommy, you're peeing again?? You're weird!"
Me: "Yep. I am weird. But it's more fun to be weird... 'Normal' is kinda boring."
Myla: "Yep! And you are WEIRD!! But - you're still pretty - even though you're weird."
Me: "Hahahahahaah - Well, thank you!"

TIP: Let 'em know early-on that it's okay - GOOD, actually - to be yourself, even if people think you're 'weird'.
A QUOTE: "To be great is to be misunderstood" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
WHIDFML: Laughed - really really hard. (I may have snorted. But that's between us.)

School - is for Playing!

Adelyn's Quote: "My don't learn in my school... My just play." 
(How cute is that?!) Well... little does she know how much she's learning... and it's well-disguised as play!

Here is a follow-up Quote from Anita Wadley - a poem called "Just Playing":

When I am building in the block room, please don't say I'm "just playing". For you see, I'm learning as I play, about balance and shapes. Who knows, I may be an architect someday.
When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for the babies, don't get the idea I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play; I may be a mother or a father someday.
When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, please don't let me hear you say, "He is just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.
When you see me sitting in a chair "reading" to an imaginary audience, please don't laugh and think I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.
When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, don't pass it off as "just play". For you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.
When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some "plaything" at my school, please don't feel the time is wasted in "play". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be in business someday.
When you see me cooking or tasting foods, please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "just play". I'm learning to follow direction and see differences. I may be a cook someday.
When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don't say I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.
When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say, "I just played", please don't misunderstand me. For you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I'm preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is play.

~Anita Wadley 

TIP: We are conditioned by our culture to push all kinds of engaging things onto our kids, to force this sense of 'learning'. But, often just letting them be kids and use their imagination is the best training they can receive for their futures.  
WHIDFML: Signed up to join Myla on a field-trip in the near-future. Her first one, and she really wanted me to volunteer to come along. So Grandma is going to help out with Addie that day, so I can tag along!  

BAD Puppy!

Addie loves her puppies and kitties. She carries around one or more throughout the house with her on a very regular basis (the stuffed variety.) These toy pets are generally very well-behaved. (My favorite kind of pet, actually.) One day several weeks ago, near Halloween, she had one stuffed puppy poised slightly above her mini-pumpkin, while making raspberry sounds (spitting sounds - through her lips). Suddenly she bellowed, "He's a BAD puppy! You go over there because you're BAD." I asked her, "What did he do??" She replied, "He pooped and whizzed on my pumpkin!" K - I damn near peed my own pants laughing about that one!

TIP: Buy a Sham-Wow. A little off-topic, but those freaking Sham-Wows... they really do work! Myla had donned her velvety white "snow-fairy" costume as we were about to embark on a night out for kiddos in the neighborhood a couple of weeks prior to Halloween.... Of course, she had a hankering for some grape juice right about the same time, wouldn't ya know? Indeed, she did spill a slew of it down the front of her dress.... just as we were about to walk out the door. I couldn't believe it. After expressing my disdain, I went into super-hero mode - and somehow a vision of the amazing Sham-Wow I thought I'd definitely been scammed into purchasing at the local state fair one year, began to beckon. As it turns out - the thing IS amazing! It's like magic!! I dampened it slightly - per the instructions embedded into my mind for just such emergencies - and dabbed & squeezed it all along the spill. Slowly - right before our very eyes - the grape juice disappeared - transferring onto the Sham-Wow! What the?? It's like a super-sponge... and literally took GRAPE juice, out of WHITE velvet material. I will never disrespect the Sham-Wow again!!
A QUOTE: "All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." ~ Samuel Butler
WHIDFML: Gave myself lots of extra shut-eye whilst my bod fought off this 3-week long cold. I never get sick like this. I guess I can say I was prepared for this to happen once the girls began school. Sleep won me over during that stretch! So be it.


So - there was an opp for Myla to try some little tykes soccer recently - for very cheap. I'm so grateful for the 'very cheap' part. She's little, and we didn't really know the extent of her level of interest. It seemed an ideal chance to have her give it a go - and see if it lead to a love of the game.

Well.......... Not exactly. She enjoyed tying some things, and liked being in the practices/ class with the other little kids... But while they were running around chasing a ball around the gym during a mock-game ~ she was standing on the sidelines twirling and pirouetting! HA. I think we'll stick with dance classes for now! We can give sports another go in the future. She is our little princess, that one.

Dance classes are a great way for them to get in some indoor exercise in the winter, and they can usually be in the classes together. Yep. I think it's time to locate some more dance classes.

TIP: They won't know until they try. Neither will you.
A QUOTE: "A lifetime of training for just ten seconds. " ~Jesse Owens

WHIDFML: Found some delish new gluten-free cookies at Trader Joe's... no baking required. WOW! Bring it.

To Leave, or Not to Leave....

So - I found myself hustling after dinner to clean up some things, and I was about ready to put on my shoes to head to bowling night with the girls... It'd been a number of weeks, and I was really honestly in a social mood - as it were. But I got delayed. Joel had to take care of something quickly before I could leave the girls in his care... So, he disappeared to do his thing, and I continued to clean up random dishes in the kitchen and put away left-overs... and clean up the girls a bit. Then, they decided that they wanted MOMMY to make their toast. Addie loves a good butter-sandwich. (Yes - I said butter.... just butter.) Myla wanted some jelly toast. I have to carefully peel away the crust, and place just the right amount of condiments atop the kid-friendly pieces. It was high time I showed daddy just the way to go about this - in case he ran into such things whilst I was away.

Just as I was grabbing my boots, the phone rang. So I set them down to answer. It was aunt Debbie. She was calling to kindly inform me that one of my very favorite Christmas classics was on in about 10 minutes - "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Dilemmmmma! Okay. I guess, not really. I mean, I did consider the fact that I hadn't been to bowling in weeks - but then I considered some other facts. A) - This happens once per year - and I'm liking the tradition of watching these classics together as a fam. The girls revel in the experience - and I know we're making good memories for them that will last. B) - I gave it my good ol' rocking-chair-test: When I'm ripe, and rocking in my chair on the back porch, which would I be more proud of having done? Yep - you guessed it... It'll bring a smile to my face to recall having spent that time with my kids and my guy - just soaking in the holiday-happies and creating tradition. (Er - passing on tradition!) C) Coincidence that I kept getting delayed?? Probably not. Things happen for a reason... and D) The clincher - I asked the girls if they wanted me to stay and watch it with them... They screamed with giddy-glee and it was a resounding "Yes, yes, yes"! Following this - the girls were tucked in for a night's slumber, and Joel and I got to just relax and hang out while watching a favorite new netflix series: Paranormal State. Freaky-deaky, mysterious, intriguing.... We are totally psyched about this one. He seems genuinely interested in doing good with his knowledge on the paranormal. Plus - I got in a good work out. I'm determined to snowboard this year! Gotta power-up first!

I have to say I'm soooo glad I didn't commit to full-time bowling again this year. I like the flexibility that comes with occasionally subbing, and just dropping-in to hang out and have a drink when the mood strikes. The thing is - this year I've been busy, but I've also been really kind of a home-body! I enjoy being here with my fam. I do enjoy getting in some girl time and just hanging out with friends up at the alley - but the fact that I want to be at home more, I think this is a good thing too. So - I'll go when it works out, and I'll stay when my heart tells me to stay :) There. Figured that out! Easy-peezy, as Myla would say.

TIP: When faced with a decision, do what feels right - what means the most to you. Happiness will naturally ensue.
A QUOTE: “If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” ~Robert Fritz
WHIDFML: Joel and I are planning a mini-getaway this winter sometime - to a luxury retreat, and a chance for me to attempt snowboarding over a weekend! Can kick that off the ol' Bucket-List soon!

"Feeling the Joy"!

So - one of the reasons I am addicted to the Grey's Anatomy series, is because they relate everything that goes on - back to 'real life'. It's like - things people actually go through are highlighted through the dramas that play-out on this show. It's kind of genius actually - and it sucked-me-in from the first glimpse I got - - a random few minutes while flipping through and happening upon a re-run one night a few years back. Since then, Joel and I have caught up on all of the episodes, and are fully in the loop. The only thing I hate about this show - is that I cry following damn near every episode! But, it's also why I like it... It has some real meaning behind it - stirring up some emotion! I am not a TV person - or a movie buff - so for that to occur, it definitely says something about this show!

So there was one particular episode recently - where one of the main characters was repeatedly reminding those who have been under his wing for some time now, to 'feel the joy'. It's cool, because this guy was feeling some regret, over not putting enough emphasis on his relationship with his wife - who is now struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer's. Needless to say, he's taken on a better approach to life - and is really taking-in the moments. The little miracles every day - are more meaningful to him. He's learned to recognize them, and revel in them. I can SO relate to this!

Joel and I were both terribly guilty of being 'planners' for a number of years. Always dreaming and thinking about "one day" - all of the things we plan to be doing, etc... Some day... But then we realized, we don't know what the future holds. We don't need to have "all of our ducks in a perfect row" before we start really enjoying life. That's not to say that we shouldn't still dream. Oh yes - please do! But live right now too. If you're too focused on tomorrow - your moments of joy are passing you by today. That was what this character in the Grey's Anatomy episode was reiterating to his colleagues. It was pretty cool to see it playing out on the screen. Joel and I gave a high-five to each other - as we shared how glad we both were that we are truly "Feeling the Joy"!

TIP: enJOY life. Feel the Joy!! It's right in front of you. Live it!
A QUOTE: “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” ~ Unknown
WHIDFML: Shopped online for Christmas. Click click click... Ding-dong. I'm done!

More Reassurance? Sure - why not?!

Hey - I'll take all the reassurance I can get! I was reading an article in "Working Mother" ~ and there was a special survey done about the choices we make as parents. To work, or not to work? To work part-time? Stay home?? Work from home?? Stay home and then go back to work later??? Anywho ~ the bottom line or general consensus was that all of us moms ~ regardless of our working status ~ at least occasionally question our decisions. AND, that most mom's felt guilty about not doing enough for themselves. Hello! That's what the basis of this blog is all about. Having a family should mean including the new 'littles' in the mix - not losing yourself in the mix.

Moms question things like, "Should I be spending more time with the kids?" "Should I be working to bring in more income to the family??" "Should I go part-time?" The article discussed some general ideas behind the topic, as well as some specific interviews with moms in each category. While I could relate a bit - I was reassured on two levels: 1) I do sometimes worry that the girls see me as being "on the computer" too often... and so hearing these stories - and their fantastic advice - resulted in a sense of 'it's not just me, and yes - I'm doing the right thing for our family..." But also - #2 - I haven't been putting too much emphasis on any one aspect of our lives (particularly, I'm not over-working) - as I found it kind of hard to relate to most of the other women's concerns overall. 

The most admirable advice? Remember to focus on the good things you're doing - rather than the struggles or the challenging times. For example - if you've been behind on a project, and spent more time than you would have liked to admit in front of the computer - don't dwell on it. Instead, call to mind the times when your children needed your attention, and you stepped away from your desk to give it to them. The time you put into their well-being that day should count more than the time you feel you squandered for working. Kind of a nice light-bulb moment for me! I thought I'd pass it along~ 

TIP: Focusing on the good is a good practice ~ for any topic! 
A QUOTE: "The ideal situation for a parent is one that no one has - having a fulfilling job that requires you to work three days a week.  It's better for the parents, because they get to spend time with the children and also have a source of pride and achievement - and income - outside the home." ~Tina Fey
WHIDFML: Dabbled in some paid-advertising online - which will hopefully result in a few additional wedding photography gigs in the upcoming season! Now I just need to find a new back-up plan for mommy-days... since my previous back-up retired. 'Tis a goal.

The Most Wonderful Time... of the Year!

I'm just so pumped-up about the Christmas season!! It's been a few years since I'd felt this gleeful about it. I was feeling a bit of distress in past years - with the girls both so young, and our trying to adjust to life with little kids, on top of transitioning into visiting just one side on Christmas Eve, and the other on Christmas Day. While it was a bit of a weight-off ~ to only have one place to go each day ~ it still felt a bit like you were 'missing out' on something. This year, however, the girls are really into it ~ and starting to understand and appreciate the meaning behind it all! The four of us have been an even more tightly-knit family in the past couple of years, and we're beginning to really embrace our own celebratory traditions, in addition to those annual family-gatherings.
We're exposing ourselves to more adventurous outings, and we have to make a point to fit in all of the fun family-moments we have planned for the holiday season! I'm putting more emphasis on that family time again too ~ especially now that the photography season is winding down. (Ah - I love the fact that this slow-down correlates with the holidays. I can't begin to tell you!)
And I really can't begin to express how thrilling it is to soak in the romance of Christmas with little ones in the mix who are equally as excited!

On our list this year (so far): 
~ Decorating the house the weekend of Thanksgiving, by a cozy fire, in tune to the Christmas music. (The girls have their own 5-foot pre-lit trees to decorate, and a grand collection of ornaments that continues to grow! They LOVED it this year!!)
~ Not one, but 2 Advent calendars that they can participate in, to count down the days 'till Christmas, and reiterate the story of Jesus' birth.
~ Visiting Santa at the local mall - where you are allowed to take your own photos! (YES!)
~ A trip to SantaLand on Macy's 8th floor!! 
~ A trip to see a play - Cinderella - coming up soon! [Last year, mommy took Myla to see the Nutcracker - and she loved it!]
~ A trip to walk the good ol' Mall of America ~ and witness it in all of its decorated glory. Not so into the commercialism aspect - but rather - the decor and ambiance, and just window-shopping for fun/ a good walk indoors during the cold months. (Surely this year will require a trip to the rides... as we won't be able to hide it from them any longer! But alas - no strollers either this time. Woot!)
~ An evening drive all around the 'hood to take in the gleaming lights against the snowy surrounds. [The girls love keeping their eyes open for those decorations whenever we are on the go! Soon we'll dedicate a night to checking out the best of the best! I think hot cocoa and cookies, and Christmas music are also in order...]
~ Various projects that mommy has been planning for their week of Christmas break from school!! ;)

TIP: Think like a kid this time of year - it's extra special when you can share that joy with the babes! 
A QUOTE: "Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect." ~Oren Arnold
WHIDFML: Also started what may turn into a new annual tradition with 2 generations of sisters (one day - it may be all 3 generations - with my girlies when they get bigger!) Rather than going out amid the chaos and shopping for the holidays together - this year we are taking a trip to Duluth for a weekend... Soaking in some relaxation, as well as the view of that Great Lake in icy action, the city all in lights, and some quality girl-time! Saweeeet!

Superhero Status...

Is it a bird? No. Is it a plane?? No! It's - [wait for it] - the Amazing..... "Throw-Up Girl"!!

Say what?

You heard right. This title was lovingly dubbed me by my 3-year-old during her recent bout of the stomach flu. I know she means well... but I'm not sure how I feel about this. (Her sister, either). See, this is because I'm, you know, the throw-up girl... or - she who maintains charge over those who throw up. Daddy simply can't handle it - even the thought of it - let alone holding a bucket underneath the faces of those struggling to keep their stomach contents to themselves. And so - it rests upon my shoulders - in its entirety. Lucky me. I suppose, however, you could concur that this does boost the job into superhero status - - when the man of the house can't handle it - - and I can?? Yep, that settles it. I'm officially a super-hero! ;) [Well, I am to those sweet girls who still need love and care - even when their bodies don't cooperate.] This could be a fun (and rather disgusting) Halloween Costume some year! Ha!! Hahahaha (evil laugh). 

TIP: Keep buckets beneath beds at ALL times - to better avoid laundering 3-loads worth of puke-covered bedding in between vomiting sessions. Lesson learned.
A QUOTE: "I don't hide my feelings, but when it comes to illness, I guess I don't panic. My father was the same way. I'm the provider for the family and the caretaker. If I panic, who is anybody going to run to? " ~Curt Schilling
WHIDFML: I made a trip to the Good Will shortly following Halloween - and I picked up the entire family's costumes for next year for a grand total of $36!!! Hello clearance! What are we going to be?? I be givin' you a bit of a clue here on me map, matey - ARrrrghhhh!

Writing For Joy....

And writing for ja-jing! (Yay.) As my mom puts it, "I just knew that creative-writing-award was going to get you somewhere!" Aw, diggin' the support! Well - as it turns out - I submitted some product reviews for an online company from which I'd ordered some party supplies, in the hopes of possibly winning a gift certificate. I ended up winning myself a job! Even better :) 
Now I work from home, part-time, flexible hours, and get to do some creative writing for income! It's a great supplemental income for the fam - particularly during my slow wedding-season. But - between that and my busy season this year with photography - I haven't been on this forum in quite some time. Today allowed me a tad of extra time - so I'm taking advantage of it to get caught up. I have a growing list again, of some funny mommy-moments that I surely don't want to risk forgetting. So - hang on - 'cause here we go! 

TIP: Follow your heart, and keep the faith - and you will move toward things that mean something to you. Doors will open!
A QUOTE: “Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.” ~ Unknown
WHIDFML: Learned to keep a pretty darn good balance - and figured out some things for myself for the next wedding season as well - allowing me more time. Yay!