Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of a Decade...

The 2000s. Almost over. Hanging out for another 14 and a half hours. When I was younger I thought for sure we would all be jetting around in Jetson air cars by this point. Why aren't we? And what about that transporter in Star Trek? At least we got the internet, right?

I would like to think that this past decade brought the lowest of lows that I will ever experience in my lifetime. Conversely, I hope to experience more highs in the next decade, but who wouldn't? The '00s brought the loveliest highs: the birth of my three children, the house we live in, the start of a our company. And the most unimaginable lows: the cancer and death of my sister, the death of three grandparents, the splintering of certain family relationships, my back injury and surgery. When I think about it, I lost nearly half of the decade to the first "low" when you combine the 3 year journey and subsequent emotional coma/post-traumatic stress syndrome I existed in for 2 years after. To say that I am ready for this turn of the calendar, the end of writing the mark of the year with a zero and another number is an understatement.

I have always seen this one night as some line of demarcation, as does most of the world. As if this one night, one page turn signals drastic change. One door closing on what was, the past that is never alterable except in science fiction shows. One door opening to what is to come. A time of unlimited possibilities, a blank slate, optimistically waiting to be written. In reality, you can pick any day of the calendar year for this, right? It is all a choice for change.

So what are my choices for change in 2010? I like to use the word "goals" as you can make an action plan, take steps to get to a goal. The word "resolution" denotes more of an immediate change or else you you face assured failure so I don't use it. Here is my little list:

1. To submit some writing samples for consideration to be published. I won't even go into actually getting published because that is out of my hands. I will start with this little baby step of submitting.

2. To commit to an exercise routine 2 days /week. I won't get into how much weight I want to lose or how tone I want to be. In the past I have ridiculously written that I want to run in a 10 k or try an mini-triathlon. Two days is an insanely simple goal. In fact, 2 days probably wouldn't even change my body shape, but I feel like it is reachable. I might like it so much that I will go for 3 days and gasp...surpass my goal. I would like to throw in tennis into the mix. My very short stint in 2009 (2 times) reminded me how much I love the game.

3. Take one course that will tap into my creativity, as if I can claim to have any to begin with! Maybe this is just a pottery class at the YWCA, who knows. But something small, short and a start.

4. To find a place of fulfillment, spiritually. Tough and uneven roads have been all I have found over the past 3 years. This is the toughest goal to create a plan for. I know what I need to do, but will it work? Will my heart be more open to receive and live out what is so challenging at times?

5. Finally, I want to find a place of contentment. My vision is to rise above the hiccups of every day life so that it does not cause injury to my soul. That is connected with #4 most definitely. But, more so, in my daily living. The fact that I have become a tooth grinder at the last half of this year saddens me. It can only be from stress that this has begun. My anxiety has grown leaps and bounds and the sources of it are just absurd, mundane, unimportant events that are normal, every day events for 99% of the world. Control freak. Period. Gotta change it. Steps include counseling, possible acupuncture and massage therapy, a visit to my dentist and of course, lots of prayer.

And, so that completes the list of changes I would like to make in 2010. May it be a blessed year for us all.

A check on 2009

Here were my goals for 2009, copied and pasted from the original post here. Let's see how I did:

1. To laugh more, enjoy life more. To be more spontaneous. FAILED and failed miserably.

2. To document my life more consistently whether in blogging, scrapbooking or other means. SUCCEEDED, I think by two blog posts!!! I did develop a scrabooking plan to get me current which has gotten me excited about my hobby again.

3. To serve others in my community. To find my place, my niche, which I currently don't have. FAILED, although I know for sure we did more for others this Christmas season, so maybe I started on the right path. It just took me a while to get here. Still don't have a consistent schedule though.

4. To find myself spiritually again. This became a little muddled in 2008. Note to self: future blog topic. FAILED, but we did take steps to change this in the latter half of 2009. New bible study in the fall, church visiting, etc.

5. OK, so this is silly, but well, I will still type it despite a very high probability of being ridiculed for it - to be able to play ONE song on the drums at the expert level of Rock Band. SUCCEEDED!
And, #6, Get rid of this squirrel! SUCCESS!

It was a mixed bag, but I am ok with it. Even in the failures, I see promise. Onto 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Birthday Tradition

We have had a birthday tradition in our family for as long as I have been alive. At least I can say that I don't recall it ever NOT being a part of our family. I am splitting hairs.

Anyway, every year, my grandmother calls each and every family members' names to the Birthday Contest on a local radio station, WMFR. The morning show, hosted by Max Meeks, airs every Monday - Friday from 5:30 - 9 am. When our birthdays fell over the weekend, my grandmother would call it in on the Friday before or the Monday after. I could write a blog post just about my grandmother's dedication to this losing endeavor, but will save that for another time.

The contest consists of a number is chosen "at random" from what sounds like a bunch of paper in half of a gift box from a local department store. The number is then "matched up" to the corresponding name on the list of people whose names have been called into the show. The winner receives a slew of gift cards to local merchants, including a cake from the Sweet Shoppe Bakery, a car wash from Twin Oaks and bar-b-que from Kepley's. It is nothing life changing, but certainly nothing to scoff at as a native High Pointian.

For 37 years, with the exception of the year I lived abroad, my name has been called into this morning show. And every year, I lose. I have never won this contest. Never. Ever.

I gave up hope in my early 20s. Year after year of disappointment turned my heart against this local station and its dj, Max Meeks. When I was younger I would get up early before school in order to hear my name called on the radio. Year after year, my number wouldn't be called. Year after year, the disappointment turned into bitterness. I was convinced the contest was rigged. I mean, really?Who loses a contest 37 years in a row?!?!?

To add to the rejection, my grandmother believes, erroneously, that somehow in this random drawing of numbers that you can "come close" to winning. For example, if #15 was drawn, and I was #14, my grandmother would exclaim, "Oh, you were only one number off. So close!" If only I had just put forth a little effort in being #15, you know, I might have made it!

We enter the year 2009. The only ones who have not won the birthday contest in our family are me and my father. Oh, and the irony of it all, my grandmother!!! So, in October, I get a call from my dad, early in the morning to inform me, no, make that goad, taunt and tease me, that HE won the birthday contest. To add to this insult, a month later, I was given the most disappointing of all news. Max Meeks, after 50 years of radio hosting is retiring! The end of the birthday contest is looming ahead.

My birthday: December 30th. His retirement date: January 1. It has all come down to this. My last chance, my last opportunity to put forth some addition effort to "be" that winning number and receive the coveted prizes. I hear they even have some facial laser treatment gift certificate now, which I could really, really use approaching 38.. Can I have hope? Can I dream?

Details to come tomorrow morning ...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

Glimpses of Christmas memories 2009:

"Warm milk! Santa HAS to have warm milk!" That was the shout of my Sadie as we entered the house on Christmas Eve. "The Santa watch" presented by the weather man on the local television channel showed that Santa was definitely in the Triad so the two girls who still believe were crazy to get home and get in bed.

Before going to dinner for Christmas Eve festivites, our little family of 5 gathered around the advent wreath while Jay read Luke 2, Christ's birth. We followed it by talking about the 4 elements of the advent - hope, joy, peace and love. The kids talked about how Jesus brings each of those to us. We ended this special family time by taking turns pray. I loved Sadie's in particular. She said, "God, please help Santa fit into our chimeny because it is small. And, God, please help us to put Jesus first as he is the reason we celebrate." I love how she prayed about Santa first then asks God to help us remember Jesus. Ethan contributed a great verse about Peace he had recently learned at school. Lovey Lily simply said, "I love you, Jesus." Sweetness.

At dinner with my family tonight, Lily was quite whiny and quite active. I pulled the Santa card. She promptly told me that I did NOT know how to get in touch with Santa. My uncle, hearing this little exchange, quickly entered a "Santa" number on his cell phone. I handed it to Lily, asking her what it said. "Santa," she said and quickly sat up in her chair and ate her green beans. Nice touch, Uncle Danny!

Christmas morning brought a wake-up shake at 6:45. We have had earlier wake-ups on Christmas morning, so I am ok with this one. Our tradition is that the kids must sit at the top of the stairs to wait for us to get the lights on, cameras ready, etc. We love seeing their anticipating faces. When we give the "Ok" they bolt down the stairs to their respective piles of goodies from Santa. This year brought new scooters to each of them - Lily got a plasma car which is propelled by moving the steering wheel; Ethan got a spark scooter and Sadie got a v-wing scooter. The various dsi games were also a hit. We (Mom and Dad) always get the exciting task of giving them clothing and this was no exception as each of the kids received snow bibs, gloves and long john underwear. I love how our kids feign excitment over gifts that don't hold a candle to Ninetnedo. At least they were very appreciative.

After opening and unpackaging the "goods", using a large garbage bag to try to confine the discarded wrap and bows, we got dressed and headed to Grammy's for the day. We stayed all day long which was a tradition I had at my own grandmother's growing up. The day included a lovely nap, lots of food and two large puzzles. We were obsessed with them.

Arriving home after dinner, we allowed the kids to play with their toys for a little while and then headed everyone to bed. A nice, laid-back Christmas Day during which we were able to reflect upon Him.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sweet mornings

Each morning, the little tip swish, tap swish of my little Lily's feet is my first indication that someone is stirring in my house. As she pitter patters into my room, she whispers, "Mommy,it is moooooorrrrnning time." I roll over, slightly pry my eyes open and find a little angelic face inches from mine. She smiles at me through tousled hair. Her warm, sleepy breath fills my face while she waits, eagerly for her first kiss and snuggle of the morning.

After 9 years, she is the only one who still "wakes" me up in the morning. The older two simply slink down the stairs, past our room and curl up onto the sofa in the the kitchen. There, the television is quickly turned on to slowly wake them.

I have been blessed with good sleepers. There were seasons, of course, where nights were restless, kids refused to stay in bed and it seemed we played a constant game of musical beds. I never knew where I would end up in the morning. Those days are behind us, thankfully, because I am one who thrives on 9 hours of sleep each night. Any less and I am a complete grouse.

This morning, she doled out her little lovies and then climbed into bed with me. She wanted to talk about the sky. "Mommy, look at the clouds. Aren't they beautiful?" I looked out the windows and through the trees. Honestly, it didn't look any differently that most mornings. In fact, I don't think there were any clouds in the sky. It was just a morning foggy haze. Nevertheless, we talked about the blues and the whites and what she saw in the sky.

Nothing significant about this morning. No life changing epiphanies. Just a little moment in time that I wanted to preserve before my Lily alarm clock ceases and she begins to walk by my room on the way to the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A facebook year in review

I had this ridiculous idea to copy all of my status updates from facebook in 2009. It took several hours (yes, a major time waste, but what part of facebook isn't), but then again,there were many things I had forgotten about and am glad I am preserving them here. I doubt that anyone would want to read all 10,002 words (yikes!), however it is a good survey of my life in 2009. I recognize that I wrote about my kids, their sickness, my cooking, my beloved tarheels and animals in our house entirely too much. At the same time, that is pretty much a quick snapshot of my life. Drumroll is my life in status updates (most recent first):

thinks it is time to turn off the electronic connections and get back to in person relationships. Turning off facebook for the Christmas season. Phone me if you need to reach me. Merry Christmas to everyone.

A study published Monday in The Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry has concluded that an estimated 98 percent of children under the age of 10 are remorseless sociopaths with little regard for anything other than their own egocentric interests and pleasures. AHA!

I just don't think this is what John Newton had in mind when he wrote this so"Amazing Grace, nor probably Jesus either when he was born. I could be wrong...trying to keep an open mind. Thanking God this is not my next door neighbor!

took Sadie to the dentist this morning. She had a great check-up, had a nice chat with the dentist. Took Sadie to school. Called Jay to tell him "no cavities" and then realized I walked right out without paying!!! Hope this scattered-ness is not a sign of the week to come!

is going to try my hand at peacemaking today.

Sadie, "When I grow up, I am going to have four children and I am going to give them Mt. Dew." Knock yourself out sister!

has a mental debate going on...If you live in the woods and no one can see you house from the street, just how much outside decorating do you do? Right now, there is a single wreath on the front door. Do I even bother with the other wreaths? Lights on the little evergreens by the door, or bag it all?

wonders just how concerned I should be that Sadie and her sleepover friend are giving Lily, "a complete make over." They are in my bathroom. Hmmmmm........

enjoyed a little social time with our Star Aquatics teammates tonight at Chili's. Well, except for when Sadie announced that she doesn't brush her teeth very often. Why, oh why, is this a positive statement to her? I do love that child.

Could it be? A squirrel just on the window sill of our bedroom and acted like he wanted to come in. Seriously. I opened the window and he just sat there and then scampered away. I am having flashbacks to last Christmas with the orphaned/pet squirrel.

still laughing and pondering the implications of Sadie's first sleep walking incident into our room last night at 10. She was clearly still asleep, mumbling, picked up the remote and started walking away.

While Christmas shopping on Amazon, I stumbled upon this. Don't ask me why I clicked on it - maybe the lure of 2/$20. Anyway, the reviews are hilarious and the suggested purchase package made me cackle out loud.

arranging scrapbook weekend at Whispering Winds. February 19-21. I need those interested to contact me asap if interested and for details. Google the above for details.

is very thankful for the rain boots she recently purchased, the hot water faucet/hose in the garage and grease cutter. Why? Because that is what you need when the dog gets tangled up in the turkey deepfryer still standing in your driveway the day after Thanksgiving and turns the entire thing over. If you love the smell of deep-fried turkey, come on over! We’ll be smelling it for days!

justified a slice of Jay's Dutch apple pie and real whipped cream for breakfast. It is a fruit, right?

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High. Psalm 92:1 Happy Thanksgiving!

heading out to my last real school Thanksgiving party - complete with Indian costumes. Lily chose her Indian name to be, "Bright Star." Here's to oreo and mini-moonpie turkey desserts since, you know, they were on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

just listened to Lily sing her own rendition/combo of Old McDonald, the ABC Song and Jesus Loves Me while in the bathroom. Several times she started a line over because she realized she was out of her vocal range and brought it down an octave. I couldn't help but giggle. These days are going by much too fast.

wants her children to serve others this Christmas. Help me gather ideas and compile a list. Let's hear them, friends! I'll start the list with Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. The more hands on, the better.

Crazy. Sitting here in bed while Jay is still recovering from Friday's surgery (he is asleep), Sadie is in between us with step throat (she is asleep), Lily is laying on the floor at the foot of the bed recovering from two late nights (she is asleep) and Ethan is reading his book for his book report, on my bed, talking about how tired he is. Sunday, 7 pm, and I think I am in the Twilight Zone.

wonders how Lily fell asleep in "A Christmas Carol" today; it was so loud! Ultimately, I was pretty happy with this fact since it had some pretty intense/scary parts for a 5 year old.

is taking Mr. Deviated Septum for surgery today. Then having Sadie's birthday party tonight while he is passed out in the bedroom on pain meds. Say a prayer for us all!

was just told by my insurance that their "new" reason for not covering my MRI is that my sister had her bc in only one breast, not bilaterally. Uh...last I heard it only took cancer in one breast to have the potential to kill you. Thank you, Milliman National Guidelines and actuary company.

is vacationsick for Florida sunshine. Blah!

Trying to change my's to incredible UNC basketball seasons to come! Roy stuck a fork in Coach K with recruiting Barnes! This one hurts K . . . both professionally and personally. Gotta love it! GO HEELS!!!!!

My last factoid and vent on this issue. Early detection SAVES lives - that is proven. Stage 1 survival rate at 5 years: 100%. Stage 4 survival rate at 5 years: 20%. Oh, and I might add that not one of the members of this task force is a bc expert. All the leading experts, hospitals, etc. are denouncing this "change" in recommendations.

Raise some noise, LADIES!!!! 301-427-1364. That is the number for the "insurance in my back pocket experts" with the USPSTF. Contact your representatives. This decision was made by "our" government. I don't think this is a "change I can believe in."

With its new recommendations, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is essentially telling women that mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives; just not enough of them. Roughly 15 percent of women in their 40s detect breast cancer through mammography. How are these two statements compatible? Angry? YES!

tried to rent a stroller on that last day at Disney (Epcot - the only time we needed one) and my card was blocked - suspicious fraudulent activity. Just checked with our bank and yes, someone was racking up some groceries at a HT and who knows what at a drug store in Raleigh while we were oblivious in Florida. Kudos to the bank for catching it.

is home again. I woke up in the post-Disney slump. Now, to download, organize and print pictures to start the scrapbook!

thinks we can skip the High Point parade this year after seeing Mickey's Christmas parade last night. Kids rode Thunder Mt. 3x without getting off - no crowds. On to Epcot and then home tonight. Boo hoo

We made it! Surprise was awesome, though it seemed to fully sink in about 15 minutes down the road. Animal Kingdom conquered today. Bad Mommy award today for letting Lily ride Dinosaur. Everest Rocked. Only waited 15 mins. max for anything, BUT it is very cool. Tomorrow should be warmer. Pics and video to come!

Happy 8th Birthday to my most phenomenally fantastic and crazy Sadie! Guess what?!?! You are going to Disney World! (But, shhhhhhh she won't know until 1:15. The suspense is K-I-L-L-I-N-G me!!!!)

To take the stroller or not to take the stroller...THAT is the question. We haven't used it in years. We are flying to Disney and Lily is 5. Help me out fb friends!!!

just worked out while listening to Music Choice's "Party Hits" on cable. For the life of me I can't figure out what criteria they use for songs they played in this category. Nothing said "Party Hits" to me. More like "Depressing Misses."

To the lady that rolled her eyes at my child's behavior this afternoon...I am just an imperfect parent, raising three imperfect children and that is God's design. If it bothers you, then take it up with Him.

T-minus 2 days. Going to start packing today. Keeping this secret is getting harder and harder!

is sitting down to go through 3 Friday folders. The waste of paper is astounding.

another day inside at a pool. Now, I have the joy of listening to Sadie sing the "diarrhea song." Thank you, Carpool Dad, for teaching this to my very impulsive and highly lacking in self-control child.

found it incredibly difficult to stay still in my seat watching "This is It." I should probably be slightly embarrassed by this fact, but the complexity of his music and the entire experience he wanted to create is still very amazing to me. He was a musical and dancing genius, regardless of his personal life.

will be channeling her former career self by leading a sales training meeting today. Should be interesting!

Sadie decided to help with dinner last night making something for us to eat before the main meal. Lily called it her "apple-tizer." I love a 5-year old vocabulary.

Lily, 5 announced that when she has a baby she will name it Sissy-Grace. Still laughing over it.

Thanks for ALL the Disney tips!!! We are staying in a house a mile outside of the park (we stayed inside last time). I have a character breakfast and Cinderella's Royal Feast scheduled as well as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas. We will take full advantage of fastpasses! Anything else?!?!?!

Please post your best insider's tip for Disney (besides the obvious, don't try to cram too much in it). T-minus 7 days...BUT SHHHHHHH - the kids don't know. It is a surprise!

A nerd, an angel and a robber...can you guess who decided to be what? Off to dinner, trunk or treat at GSB, then trick or treating with the fam.

survived another meet. Time gained, time lost, but most importantly...we finished. We are all settling down for a long nap today!

while waiting for Jay to arrive at Thai Chiang Mai for dinner, Lily decided to mess her pants. Highly frustrated after a day of moving and no clothes on hand to change her into, I told the other two kids to get in the car. Jay arrived, came into the restaurant and offered to wrap L in a towel, take the kids home, deal with them and let me wait on take-out.

every once in a while I am amazed, stunned even, at the kindness and thoughtfulness of others. My mom just called and she and my stepdad have offered to come over and help get us moved back into the house. Oh, how I love them!

tried to see some friends at market and only made it to two showrooms before sick child called. She just needed some rest, thankfully. Moving back up (to the top) tomorrow, swim meet on Saturday. Life is moving forward as usual.

never realized you can "bruise" your teeth. Hello vicodin!

Ok, so seriously, I do love my husband. At this moment, he is working with Ethan on his bug project and homework, giving me a little break.

My fb friends know the truth. Shared laptops in the basement only means one thing... Thanks, Jay.

I just keep being amazed at how smart, witty, gracious and good looking my husband is. He is just so awesome. I'm just so lucky!

Anyone ever had a pull-up put in the hamper, only to be put into a front loading washing machine? Then you know my pain. This might take days...

is nearly at the finish line. Yay! Here's to a long weekend by the fire.

I am pleased to announce that the sequel to, "The People that Live Under the Stairs," has been asked to reschedule its premiere to Wednesday. Yes, tonight. Entitled, "The Mole People," the sequel will play round the clock for the next 9 days, staring the Dumoulin family. Call me on my cell if you need additional information.

Final gross market discovery (I think #6): Long forgotten, self-titled "science experiment" of Sadie's - two ziploc bags on the covered porch table- one with the remains of apples and water, the other with the remains of apples and milk. Enough said.

think I can make it today, this day before market renters arrive, because Jay brought me energy food - Dutch chocolates and cheese! (Yay!) He also brought me some Dutch dish brushes and a new dustless broom. (Huh?) The irony of new cleaning tools does not escape me on this day.

Every time I move a piece of furniture, there is a marble underneath. I have a collected entire plastic cup full. Was this a bizarre Easter egg hunt gone wrong?

Missed my friends at bible study this morning!

Taking a deep breath, digging into the word and drinking coffee. Going to start this day off right!

Market people...what is the craziest thing you have done in preparation of market renters? I want to know if how over the edge I have become.

Just talked to Jay and his parents who are in the Netherlands. I love modern technology. Nice for the kids to talk AND see their grandparents using skype. Now hurry up and get home, Jay!

Happy to report that no one drowned at the meet today! The highlight was definitely the backstroke for both kids. Ethan is so me, the nervous nelly. Sadie could care less - just thrilled to be swimming - any stroke, any distance. Looking forward to the first official competitive meet (for them) in two weeks. My kids are better swimmers than me!

Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize had to be postmarked by February 1, only 12 days after Obama took office. The committee sent out its solicitation for nominations last September, two months before Obama was elected president. Huh? I want to understand this, really I do!

Home from Grandfather where the leaves were peak and FABULOUS! Great trip! Now, onto packing up for the kids first warm-up swim meet in the morn. They are both doing the 100 yd IM, plus three other races, and I am very, very nervous for them. Hope I can hide it and be the laidback mom I was not created to be.

is heading up the mountain today - Grandfather and Linville Caverns with the 4th grade! Hope no one gets motion sickness during the drive.

dropped Jay off at the airport. I was halfway home and his cell phone rang. Yes, HIS phone, sitting in MY car. Turned around to take it to him and enjoyed hearing him eat crow for all the "you are so spacey" comments.

Flashback on the cowbell brought me to this oldie, but definite goodie. Elizabeth, this is especially for you.

Struggling to stay on task today. Maybe I need more cowbell!

Alrighty then - rethink, replan, re-FREAK. Jay is leaving tomorrow for the Netherlands for a funeral. He will get back the day before market renters arrive. I was really praying for a different perspective this time around.

market cleaning discovery #2: small tackle box with one dark chocolate raisinette in each compartment. Not gross, just strange.

Hmpf. Next weekend's plans to the mountains just got canceled and I have kids out of school (halfday Thurs and all day Friday) and a house full of market guests. Need plan B...FAST!

For the love of florists around the world...can we revote on that class flower? If you don't remember it was a white rose, tipped in black and wait for it...wait for it...covered in silver glitter. BAM! Yeah, I know, I should just move on.

just realized that Ethan has a choral concert tonight which means a crazy day...guitar for Ethan, swim lessons for all three kids, dinner out and then back to school. Didn't sleep last night thinking about market cleaning and ridiculous schedules. Think I need to get an eternal perspective this morning.

Ledford people, what a great night. Now, get pictures up from the reunion. Give me an excuse to further procrastinate on the "Market Cleaning Freakout" of '09.
is excited to see my high school friends this weekend!!! Some are already rolling into town. Yay! Tonight - football game and Ham's, Saturday - family picnic, and Saturday night - living the high life at Grandover.

Just read an essay contemplating that the third child is a "career killer." When I look at my sweet Lily's face, I hardly think I have sacrificed anything, let alone committed a crime. Why is staying at home seen (in many circles) as negative, lowly, lazy and second-rate?

is humbly thankful for a changed Sadie this week, for a morning of peace and quiet at home, for clothes that I can clean, for closets full of provisions that I can organize and an abundant supply of food with which I can feed my family.

Salivating. Serious coveting here. Can we plan a weekend? Only 4 miles from the Scrapbook Superstore. WOW!

thinks that Ansley is pretty glad to have missed her 40th birthday today. What a ribbing she would have received. Now, she is in a place where age does not matter - Hallelujah!

victory is already assured! Yay!

just realized it is Kidstuff tonight at church and we have missed it. Wonder how long until the kids remind me?

had a fantastically productive day, but missed my usual scrapbooking gang. Also, I might have begun to accept the idea that I am not a scrapbooker, just a scapbook shopper!!!

trying to get things organized for scrapbooking for breast cancer in W-S tomorrow from 10 am - midnight! Woo hoo! Just wish packing up were easier!

I don't know why I can't let this go. It is just so bizarre. I only heard it on the radio. Curiosity led me to find the commercial on youtube. Even stranger. I miss the big hair. (Ric Flair commercial for the NC Lottery)

never thought she would hear Ric Flair (whooo!) and the NC educational lottery in the same sentence until she heard the commercial on the radio. He sounded really old and pretty pathetic endorsing his own signature ticket which gives you 16 ways to win - you know, the number of championships he has won. At least 5 times he said, "Whoo!" Say what!?!?!

I am in LOVE!

"The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him and leaders they can’t ignore Him. Herrod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn't’t crush Him, the new age cannot replace Him and Oprah cannot explain Him away!" Blessed to be His today.

wonders when parenting Sadie will get easier. I need some encouragement tonight, my friends.

a friend came up to Jay yesterday @church and asked how our anniversary was...I walked up in time for us to realize that we BOTH missed it. It was Saturday - 11 years. HOW SAD IS THAT!

is amazed at what 15 extra minutes will do for the entire family during the morning routine. What a delight.

is amazed at what a little rocker my 5 year old is! Loved seeing her rock out with Skillet. Priceless memories in what turned out to be a great day with the entire family.

was pretty excited about Carowinds/Chirs Tomlin/Skllet tomorrow until I saw the weather forcast and the time line of the concert. What was I thinking?

getting my "stuff" together, realizing I am to bring 2 dozen cookies (homemade) to school today, look for a costume for Sadie for Johnny Appleseed Day Friday and get something for Ethan's teacher. I realized I forgot strawberries to Sadie's class yesterday, am late on thank you notes from Lily, saw that we have an expired passport for one of the kids. The list never ends, it just maintains and grows, right?

just got the phone call...going to pick Sadie up from school. Guess she wasn't as well as she thought she was.

Yup. Should have known. No one is up screaming and crying tonight and now I can't sleep. Still, I'll take my insomnia over hurting children any night of the week.

Class of 1989...Word on the "street" is that 6 more people signed up in the last hour...YOU STILL HAVE TIME! Email me! Just think, more reminders! Yay for all of us!

Washington State, Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and from Charlotte to Wilminton...all representing at our class reunion. Today is the last day to purchase tickets. Don't live in regret!

Thanks, friends. As always the morning is better and you can see the light. I have a tough time watching my child screaming in pain knowing there isn't anything I can do. She had a decent night's sleep and we both lounged in the bed late this morning. Please pray that Lily doesn't get this.

can. not. deal. with. this. (Regarding Ethan in extreme abdominal pain)

thinks she just can't deal with another child in pain.

Ethan is at school today. It was a good night for him. Not so good for Sadie, though. She is home today. Thirteen days of sickness in our house. Wondering when I will get a complete, uninterrupted night's sleep again.

Well, Ethan did end up with pain last night, although it only registered an 8 or 9 with him and only lasted about 3 hours, so, we got discharged. Limited diet with a follow-up and endoscopy scheduled on the 29th. The doc listed several things that this might be the start of, but only time will tell. We are praying f...

and we are moving on a grilled cheese and chicken broth!

good night last night! Yay! No pain and he slept through. That is proving the theory about the inflammed small intestines/obstruction. He will go to xray this morning and then start on some clear liquids and see how it goes! Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts and offers. We are good right now.

we are here tonight. x-ray in the morning, compare it, then clear liquids to start. gradually move on to solids and then wait to see about pain. my guess is we will be here tomorrow night, too, because the pain tends to worse at nights. thanks for the prayers, thoughts and wishes. phone back up and running.

at Brenner's rm 824. Will be here at least through tomorrow.Theory - swollen lymph nodes are constricting small intestines, making food passage very difficult and slow. Backup of food waiting to try to pass is enlarging intestines. Very painful. Ethan cannot eat of drink to give his bowels a chillout. Cell phone ba...
thinks this is the toughest night.

could use some prayers. Ethan is still having major abdominal pain. We have an appointment with the Pediatric Gastroentrologist at Baptist on Tuesday. Just need some answers, but know there is a good chance we will never get any and just have to deal with this later onset type of colick. We are tired.

does anyone know how the gi bug lasts - this one just makes your stomach feel as if it has borken glass in it - very painful. It started with Ethan last Wednesday night and is still going on tonight. I really thought he was over it - any thoughts out there?

ok, so, I really need to start feeling better. It is very hard to have my routine/schedule off for so many days now. Oh, and Ledfordians - just buy your tickets already so we can stop with the reminders! :) Too many of you have told me your are coming and yet, you are not on the list...get it done!

is sick as a the bug from Ethan. It is terrible. What a weekend.

is going to slink down to the basement as soon as the kids aren't looking. Wonder how long I can be down there before they organize a search party.

will head to the pool, IF the kids get their chores and school work done.
praying for my Ethan who has been up two nights with terrific stomach and back pain. We head back to the doctor this morning at 10:45. We all need some sleep and a solution.

When was the last time you and your high school frriends were in the same room? Did you say twenty years? Then get your booty over to the reunion site and purchase your tickets...NOW! Don't miss out on a fantastic weekend!

feels quite vindicated. After arriving home from scouts tonight, Ethan sat me down on the sofa and said, "Mom, I admit it. I am addicted to my Nintendo. It is so distracting and all I can think about is that game." There is hope for my boy. Thank you, Lord, for showing me that bit of encouragement to start another day of mothering tomorrow!

is listening to Ethan doing some sort of weird, very loud beat box/singing when he is supposed to be doing homework. This, after he moaned and groaned about too much homework and not getting to play enough. Homework is still not getting done. I seriously don't think I am going to survive this year with him.

besides the Twilight series, what have you read lately that you would recommend? I am starting a "Books I Need to Read" list after abandoning it 9 years ago with the birth of my first child. Here's to exercising my brain again!

is stunned...the house is clean, the kids asleep, laundry folded, tomorrow prepared and a husband out of town. What is a girl to do?

is looking for a reputable plumber. Cough up some names, friends of fb!

is heading out to Charlottesville for the weekend.
now that school is back in for almost everyone, when are we having a scrapbook morning at my house? Who's in?

was reminded today that often our most difficult suffering leads to our greatest blessing.

felt a little overwhelmed at the Star Aquatics meeting tonight. Hopefully, it was really due to an overly tired kindergartener, Lily, who entered the room crying and spent the rest of the meeting whispering in my ear.

Most of all I thank God because with out cancer I would have not experienced all these blessings. Every step on this cancer journey He always gave me what I needed at the time I needed it. His faithfulness was never ending and rock solid. He constantly held me in the plam of His hand and I really felt His prescence." Continued below.

Just got DENIED by our new insurance on my breat MRI and was told, "We're sorry but your one sister who died is not enough to warrant these tests." Excuse me?!?!? Just how many women in my family have to die in order for this to be "ok" with you people?!?!? I am going to WAR! So angry I could spit! I already paid $...

has spent the morning in tears. Just sent my last one off to kindergarten. Eight years as a mom of preschoolers is over and now I am transitioning to the mom of a 4th, 2nd and kindergartener. Here's to a new season in life!

Working through some things necessitates a break from fb. Here's a glimpse. I'll be writing more on the blog so check in once in a while.

True holiness has at its root and overwhelming passion for the one true and holy God, not for rules, principles, or standards. This holiness is relational. God does not want perfect performances but loving persons; He is not a stage manager, but a lover. I need to get delve back into that relationship with Him and w...

thinks life is just too complicated these days...but that is probably self-created. I can't seem to say "no."

wants to express her deepest appreciation to all the kind words, thoughts and prayers to my facebook friends. Truly, they have been a comfort to me. I have said it before and will say it again...facebook is made for times like these. Thank you, friends.

The obituary I wrote for my grandfather. He will be missed. What a man.

is finishing the slide show for my grandfather's celebration of life and then
heading to the pool to relax. despite our saddness, I enjoyed hanging at my grandmother's house as a family for the first time in years. What warm memoires that house holds for me.

He is gone, gone from my sight is all. Others can see him and have welcomed him home. Please pray for my little Gram who has lost her husband of 67 years.

class lists came today - looks like Cashwell for Lily, Shores for Sadie and Bingham for Ethan. School starts in just over 2 weeks.

actually had a decent night's sleep at Hospice last night. The sofas are so comfortable there. My grandfather is one tough bird - will be going back later this afternoon. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, my friends.

has been at Hospice since 4 am, home to regroup, nap, and then head back there.
is continuing to cycle through a bad sleeping pattern. Hope it ends soon.

is waiting for that phone call.

had three butterflies hatch this morning. So cool to watch that transformation!
is getting ready to dive into the world of Sequence and Sorry Sliders.

is back home and thrilled with the spiritual growth in Ethan. He can't wait to go back next summer! Wow - Camp Lurecrest ROCKS!

is going to pick up her boy today! Yay! Can't wait to see him, hear all about his adventures and wash the one outfit he probably wore the entire time he was gone!

can't sleep. Am beginning to think that coffee I had tonight was NOT decaf. Someone is going to pay.

is trying to figure out how to tell the kids that for the second time this summer our beach trip is canceled.

is off for therapy at B & N.

thinking about scheduling a scrap night in the "room." Snake or no snake...who's interested?

is reworking her schedule for today to "forget" about the loads of laundry waiting to be folded. Will work at home for the business, tea at the O'Henry this afternoon with my two favorite girls and then pool time at the Elk's. Missing my boy.

believes that she saw a glimpse of where she doesn't want to spent eternity today as she spent two hours school supply shopping with her two youngest at wal-mart. Bought some storage containers for the scraproom hoping that Mr. Snakey Snakey would be in...

has ordered what is needed for school uniforms today and will head out for school supply shopping. Making my list and checking it off!

Jay is home. Yay! I got a t-shirt and something that, for me, ranks higher than a small box with something sparkly in it...a big hunk of Dutch cheese!

nothing beats finding three turtles with scotch tape covering part of their shells. Hmmmmm....only Sadie. just found a turtle in her laundry room sink. I'm ready to move.

is thinking about taking the girls to "afternoon tea" at the O.Henry this week. Has anyone else done that?

thinks that dropping your oldest at his first official away camp (not counting scouts where he knew most of the poeple) is very much like that first day of kindergarten. Lots of tears....from the mom.

will take Ethan to Charlotte today to catch the "camp bus," head back to HP to pick up Lily from a birthday party and then head to the swim team banquet. No snake in trap, yet. Though a little surprised that it is simply an open ended box (more like

a heading to the office this morning, the Elk's pool this afternoon and a dinner with a friend tonight. Snake guru coming tomorrow with trap and "snake away." Life is good.

really needs Critter Control to call me back. Does anyone have an "in" with someone willing to come catch a snake? Seriously.

Ethan told me that if I wore a bikini and you know, didn't have that wrinkly skin on my belly from having babies I would look 29. Uh, thanks, Ethan. I think. Heading to Moe's with the kids for dinner to fill up that wrinkly skin.

oh WOW! My sweet, sweet son surprised me by making me a pot of coffee and then bringing me a cup at the computer. He said it was just because he loves me. How can this not be the perfect start to my day?!?

So, Jay has left on his trip and I have been left with a garden snake in my house. I think there better be more than a t-shirt in his return luggage. Anyone want to come catch a snake?

is thankful she doesn't live in the land of medium like Karl, right, G?. Enjoyed a rocking night of RB and hearing about exciting plans for two good friends.

wonders if it would be totally cruel NOT to tell the person who is suppose do some work in the basement today about the snake. The snake is not all it is cracked up to be...caught a mouse in a trap last night. Who wants to come to my house?

is going to bed knowing there is a snake slithering wherever it wants in my basement and possibly up in the haning ceiling which is right below my bed. Don't think this is going to be the best sleep ever.

is completely freaking out because of the large, possibly venomous snake that was sitting on top of warm electronics in the basement. I just left a snare-wielding, pillowcase-toting, headlamp-wearing husband to search for the now missing snake. I will p

is working in the office today. At least it is raining.

just ate some yummy homemade strawberry ice cream made in the ice cream maker Jay and I insisted HAD to be on our wedding registry nearly 11 years ago. It is the third time we have ever used it.

is realizing that she would do just about anything to not have to fold the laundry on the kitchen table.

has discovered the addicting qualities of the game Sequence.

is finally home and YES the suit was found. We did have brief panic (had to leave the house by 7:30 AM(, but Sadie was able to locate it in a drawer where no other clothing is kept. Go figure! Good meet for the kids - some highs, some lows...and now BO

cannot find Sadie's black swim suit. Do I wait until the morning to ask her, risking the chance she doesn't know where it is and panic ensues? Or, should I potentially waste more time tonight searching for it?

is packing up to spend ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL day tomorrow at the Lindley Park Pool for the GSO City Swim Meet. Did I mention that it is ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL day?

wonders why some children seem to have been born with filters between brain and mouth and some have to be taught the hard way. Sigh.

just got back from a very last minute date night with the husband. Nice! Feeling a little more feuled up for tomorrow.

is seriously trying to figure out how Jay booked a trip to see the Tour de France on his birthday and visit his parents for a couple of days. Seriously. I better get a t-shirt.

has an hour and a half to get the house in order, laundry done, dinner/snacks/drinks packed up and get out the door for the last swim meet before City. And, here I sit on FB. Why? For the love of good time management, WHY?

really wishes FB had spell check for those that are poor spellers, poor proofreaders or for those most unfortunate, like me, both.

is packing for a day at the Elkl's pool tomorrow then onto a cookout and fireworks with the family.

just clued in that her child's behavioral issues might have been tied into a lack of sleep. She just slept 12.5 hours. Here's to a better day!

enjoyed a late morning with Jay and the kids Now, onto a day of summer reading, bowling, piano/guitar lessons and then swim practice!

is waiting for Jay to come home tonight! Yay!

loved seeing smiles and the great attitudes of my kids tonight after the swim meet. Sadie said, "I want to swim forever and ever and ever." Ethan said, "Actually, I can't wait to do it again." Elks' swim rock!

is so ready to hang up her "planner/coordinator" hat. Done. Finished. Over it!
trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my day since we don't have to go to

the pool for swim practice, no camps to shuttle to, no husband to schedule with and no sick children to heal.

is going to have paper and scissor therapy tonight. Ahhhhhh.....

is parenting solo again...for nearly a week. Say a prayer for me!

Ethan had his first guitar lesson today. We have been "delighted" to hear the sounds of something faintly resembling "Smoke on the Water" tonight. At least I think that is what it is...

is actually very sad and shocked that Michael Jackson is gone. "Off the Wall" was my first ever album purchase. How many times did we all watch that Thriller video on M
TV? Despite all of his utter ridiculousness of the past decade, I still expected ther

Ethan is home from his first overnight camp experience. All went to open his bag and see the filth within! The girls are crazy happy to have him home.

Sadie apologetically announced to me that she "accidently" let Lily use her toothbrush which she had just used. How soon is too soon to be tested for step?

decided to take Sadie to the doctor...confirmed strep throat. Her times last night don't look so bad in light of this news. She gave all her little body could give. (Can you hear my guilt?) Assuming her fever stays down, we will be back into the swing

despite recovering from illness, Sadie still pushed herself to swim tonight. Maybe I shouldn't have let her, but she at least finished her races. Tired and puny little girl on my hands.

is dreaming of July...nothing on the calendar and time to write, write, write.

decided to listen to my child for a change and believe her when she said she didn't feel well after falling asleep at the pool. Temperature: 101. Here's to a speedy recovery so she can swim in the meet tomorrow night.

will miss Ethan who is off on his first overnight camp for the week and Jay who will soon be leaving for Toronto again. Looks like it will just be me and my girls this week.

just left possibly the most fun wedding ever! And, I found the most fantastic and surprising dance partner - Ethan! What a dancer!!! LOVE IT! Now, onto Father's Day and packing Ethan up for Weeblo camp.

has a long, but fun day of "wedding" tomorrow. Eight dresses later, I think this is my last one as a matron of honor/bridesmaid.

way to go my little fish, Sadie! Improved times on 3 of 3 events and two ribbon placements! I think we have finally found her "niche."

is wedding #2 festivities begin today! What a crazy summer!

is trying to get everyone ready for the swim meet. Sadie is the swimming the flag across the pool tonight in front of a few hundred. What a risk taker. Video camera is charged and ready!

ahhhhhhh - Jay is home and the normal rhythm of our house is returning.

has had her ridicoulsly crafted schedule interrupted by a sick child and she is actually relieved. I would much prefer to be cuddling with a puny one than trying to maintain over-scheduled insanity.

is not too happy when the response to "So, when does it look like you are coming home?" is, "I am not sure." Wedding #2 is this weekend, so he HAS to be home by Friday...right?

is very ready for her husband to come home. Oh Canada...

taught the oldest two how to play "Clue" tonight - a lesson in patience and self-control. It was funny that Sadie kept saying "Cool Mustard" instead of Colonel Mustard.

An election won by means of censorship and arrests of journalists is not democratic.
Go Moussavi! The world supports you.

is ready to start book #2...just me and Edward tonight. Jay is still out of town.
8 am swim practice this ONE time only - it has to be C-O-L-D. But, at least the kids and I will get our pick of the chairs.

finally succombed to the Twilight rage.

had the car partially packed and got the call. No Pawley's. My poor friend's mother is in the hospital unexpectedly and it is not good. Prayers to my friend and thinking about my now plan-free weekend.

is packing the kids for Pawley's and Jay for Toronto.

Smacked, slapped and stunned into facing my advancing age.

is recovering. When did I become "old?"

is heading to Boone for a little girls' get away weekend with my stepsister before she gets hitched.

is trying to figure out why I waited until the kids got out of school to go get my car aligned/tires rotated and balanced. Hope Van York is prepared.

has never seen Sadie so excited about something than she was about swim practice tonight. She couldn't believe it when practice was over and announced that it was "just awesome!" Wonder if she will say the same thing at the end of June?

loves her husband for sitting out in the sun watching a baseball game which he was totally not interested in watching.

first day of summer and a great morning. Slept in until about 8, a sweet little peck on the cheek from Sadie to wake me up, and no fighting (yet). Hope this is a sign of what the summer will be like. I can dream, right?

thinks it must be a great day for Ethan - last day of school and his birthday all rolled into one. Turning 9 today and getting his first electric guitar. I think our house will never be the same. Earplugs...anyone?

Sadie asked me to "rememberize" a bible verse tonight and Lily asked to jump on the "champoline." The days of mispronunciation are nearing their end.
is overloaded.

thinks the end of the school year is a test of all mothers. The kids are over it, there are more deadlines for the moms than the rest of the year combined, plans for the long summer are not yet complete which adds to the panic-stricken mother. We also al

is having a great family and friends weekend. And, it isn't over! Yay!

getting ready to head to the dump. Let's just hope there are no mice in the bags who decide to bail during the car ride. It has happened before. Ick!

LHS Debaters (and other alum) passing the word, Mr. Hudson passed away yesterday. Four years of being in his classroom...lots of memories there.

wonders what it says that I broke a drumstick last night after finally getting the Wii to work. Angst?

Hmpf. 7:54 pm. Girls are in bed asleep. Boys are out of the house. Think I just need to blow off some steam...heading to the basement know it...ROCK BAND!

is preparing herself for BAWL FEST 2009 tomorrow. My youngest, Lily, graduates from preschool, thus ending 9 years of being a toddler/preschool mom. Let's just hope they don't play "My Wish" at the ceremony.

is outside, listening to the sounds of screaming and fighting by her children inside the house. This is not a good sign and the realization that summer begins for them in a mere week has not gone unnoticed. Sigh.

Ok - that is just terrible. Especially if you know how the Dutch pronounce the gr and sh sounds.

wants the name of the person(s) responsible for giving the "green light" to inserting KidzBob cds in McD happy meals. I am taking him/her out. Who's with me?

needs coffee administered intravenously this morning. Can not wake up.

has been a complete sloth today.

Four hair appointments, three flower girl dresses with matching shoes, 2 boys' suits with ties, multiple cameras = $$$. Memories from this day? Priceless.
thinks rock band is like crack cocaine.

wedding weekend #1 starts today!

Lily pranced herself in the house announcing, Sadie has a lizard and I'm going to get him a bandaid 'cause hims bleeding." I just don't want to know.

still long is this going to last?

has two children asleep in her bed, one child asleep on her floor, a husband out of town and a massively painful headache. That all equals one sleep for me tonight.

is looking for a dance camp for Lily this summer. Who is "in the know?" Hit me up with some info!

Is so excited that her (step)brother, wife, niece (yay!) and nephew (whom I have never met) are flying in today from East Asia for the wedding next week. First time we will all be together in over 2 years. I *heart* family!

had a dream where I was at my high school reunion and I was really, really short. It was a shock to me that everyone was much taller than I remembered. Weird.

had no idea so many people had snake in the toilet fears! Bet you will check twice today before sitting down.

spent the afternoon and evening with her 83 year old grandmother in the hospital.

She received another stint after a mild heart attack and is already asking when she gets to go home. What strength...what a lady!

doesn't think she will eat for days. PFChang's topped off with Ben & Jerry's = Gluteny. I must repent!

thinks that the slow, rhythmic breathing of a child sleeping must be one of the most heavenly sounds. It is putting me to sleep as well

took the girls to pick strawberries...strawberry jam, strawberry smoothies, strawberry shortcakes, strawberries and cream...ok, I'll stop. I sound like Bubba in Forest Gump.

and we're moving back uuuuuup! To the top. The market renters are gone and we're baaackkk. Yeah, we're moving back up... Sad that my kids don't get that reference.

showed extreme restraint when a little girl made fun of her little Lily, her glasses and her sometimes crossing eyes. GRRRRRRR! Mama Bear is in protective mode, especially because it made Lily cry.

learned that 8-year old boys can latch on to a "phrase for the day" and repeat it over and over and over. Shopping for a suit for Ethan today and kept hearing, "Canadian bacon." Can someone explain this phenomenom?

just saw "Art & Copy" at the River Run Film Festival. Very, very motiviating for creative types. Great flick! Seeing Jimmy Greenway was an extra bonus!

and family will be reprising their guest roles in, "The People Who Live Under the Stairs," beginning today and running through May 2. Call for show times.

I drink good coffee every morning, it comes from a place far away. When I am done, I feel like talking. Without you here, there is less to say. ...Missing her today...

thinks she is going to go insane. Sadie just found the "auto play" feature of her keyboard. It sounds like Liberace on disco. Imagine my luck..all while finishing up the house for market. Shoot me.

just realized I have feet the size of an 8-9 year old boy. I just took the dog out and mistakenly wore Ethan's flip flops...and they fit! Hmmm - more flip flops for me!

went on a run today - perfect weather, new mp3 player, no cars...I love where I live! Running 2 miles? That is another story.

On of our own, Jimmy Greenway, class of '86, produced this movie. I am planning on attending. Spread the word.

says nothing shouts "fun!" like the stomach bug at Great Wolf Lodge. But, we had a great time, despite Sadie being very under the weather. More info coming.

market cleaning is ON!

says unfortunately, the trip home was not nearly as enjoyable as the one down. But, we are home safe!

is at the beach, cold and windy, but I have Wifi and pizza on the way!

is heading for the beach today with the three kids in tow. Looks like we will swing
by Chapel Hill for our NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP t-shirts. YEAH BABY!!!!

loves those Tarheel boys! Way to go Heels! Unbelievable win!

CAN...NOT...WAIT...FOR...9:21!!!!! WHIP 'EM, BOYS!

is gearing up for the BIG game tonight. GO HEELS!!!!!!

is packing up today!


is doing some research and is asking for help. Please check out my blog. THANKS!

Calling all ladies - need your help answering some questions. PLEASE! :)

just served cupcakes to Sadie's class. Little did they know they were really meatloaf and colored mashed potatoes! Overheard from one child, "Mine's not very good, is yours?" April Fool's! We'll eat the leftovers for dinner.

just realized that Easter break starts FRIDAY. Not only does this mean one less week to clean for market, but I have a week with the kids at home with NO plans. I am thinking the beach for a few days. Any ideas? Anyone?

got her phone call today. Two spots from August look clear. Yay! BUT (and there always is one with me), the image was not super clear, but good enough to satisfy them for now. Will go back in July. Moving on!

only got "dangly" afterall. No phone calls, yet. Things are looking good. Thanks everyone!

's "girls" are going to get flattened, squished, and dangly tomorrow at her 6-month MRI and mammo follow-up to the August scare. Here's to no call backs!!!

Whoo hooo - Final 4 baby! Go HEELS!

thinks she is just going to slink on out the door....

is getting ready to go to yet another pre-wedding shindig.

Rant, rant, rant.

is enjoying the sweet sounds of silence for the next 24 + hours.

can't tell if she is just incredibly giddy about her first weekend without hubby AND kids or if she is jacked up on too much caffeine.

Ok, something is really wrong with my inbox on fb. It says 28, but when I go to view my inbox, the number changes to 26. It keeps going back & forth. Huh?

can't sleep, can't sleep, CAN'T SLEEP! Ugh.

was just called out for talking about front-loading washers on a Saturday night on FB. Gees, I am getting old.

is looking at front-loading washers. Who has one and do you like it?
wants to know who is on twitter?

is thinking it is going to be a crafty Saturday!

is enjoying a leisurly morning with the kids who are out of school - homemade pancakes with real whipped cream. Yum!

spring has sprung and so have the animals. Thanks, kids, for bringing home crayfish and salamaders from the creek. I know, I know...

begins the soccer and wedding party season today.

quotes, "Will Blythe writes that he is a “sick, sick man,” consumed yet delighted by his hatred of Duke. It’s a feeling many of us can identify with."

For the love of all things beautiful, why was this allowed to be built? My eyes are still reeling. I would love to find anyone, any. one. soul., who stayed here. Be sure to scroll through ALL the picture and read the commentary. Hilarious.

is blogging, blogging, least trying to get in the zone.

just got back from a marathon Wal-Mart trip where I purchased an iron. Sigh.

's little Lovey is down for the count...cough and fever.

is trying to fashion a Cindy Loo Who costume with a $3 fiber optic Hannah Montanna wig and a coat hanger. Shoot me.

's husband just moved the wii and Rock Band to the basement. Now I, I mean, Ethan can really rock out.

's kids got up at 6:00AM ready to play in the snow after just snow skiing for 3 days. The excitement for it never ends.

just got home from skiing in the rain, skiing in the fog and skiing in the snow. Great weekend!

is watching the rain at Sugar Mountain. Looks like a wet day on the slopes.

is laughing at Lily putting on her "lickstick."

is lisening to the dueling TobyMac wannabe's. My two oldest with their mp3 players. Do they know how loud they are?

has 25 hours worth of work for 24 hours of time. Packing up for ski weekend with the family.

is emotionally and mentally exhausted.

was just reminded a dessert needs to be made for scouts tonight, which was supposed to made by Jay and Ethan. Guess who is going to have to do it?

spent way too long on the "music that shaped me" note. But, it was fun.

says we were made to love.

rocked it with TobyMac, but is still trying to figure out Family Force 5...

is getting ready to take the kids swimming, then onto Winter Jam/TobyMac tonight!
thinks she might head upstairs armed with a garbarge bag, a goodwill box and chlorox while the kids are at school. But do I really want to do that on a Friday?

says the snoring has stopped, but now I can't sleep.

really wishes Jay would quit snoring beside me. Ugh!

is contemplating snow tubing, Hanging Rock and TobyMac at Winter Jam this weekend. Fun!

says OK people, come out of the woodwork and give me your best family fun activites. I need ideas for this weekend and we might all need some new ideas.

is home and ready to start a new week.

had to pick up Little Lovey early from school because she had a major colllision on the track. What a shiner! Ouch!

is getting ready for a long walk on the beach!

wonders why anyone comes to Myrtle Beach and eats at Red Lobster, Cracker Barrell or Olive Garden.

is remembering and is sad.

read that some Duke students have spent during their 4 years 188 days--over half a year--in a tent to watch four losses. Boo hoo!

wants to announce to the world that she hates Air Supply. And while she's at it, throw in Hall and Oates, too. GO HEELS!

is trying to figure out what to do on Friday.

says she had a little girl with tears this morning because the Tooth Fairy didn't come last night. :( Oops!

is trying to clear her head and time of distractions this week. Can we say...Rock Band?

wonders that if you are supposed to relax at a retreat, why am I so tired now that I am home! Good times!

is "retreating" this weekend in Myrtle Beach. Yahoo!

is thrilled to be reconnected with her debate camp roommate summer '87. I love facebook!

didn't think about posting her blog link. Huh. Thanks, Angela!

is rockin'

has posted her menu plan on what's cooking.

doesn't think she will go see "Land of the Lost." Am I the only one who was terrified of the Sleestacks as a child?

is dying over the beginning of The Office. This has got to be good.

says Ethan just ran into the house yelling, "Daddy and I just found a snake and he said we could keep him!!!" What? I don't think so!

has just passed hard on rock band is on the horizon!

is getting ready to pack up for a sleepover with 70 little girls at church tonight.

is a bit worn out from getting one ready for spirit day, one for pajama day and one sick at home.

is wearing her Miss Piggy T-shirt today for Rebecca. Kissy Kissy!

realizes it is impossible to sing to Alvin & the Chipmonks. I know, why would I want too?

blogged and is excited.

says, "Join up! The fb group "What's Cooking" is now open."

is up way too early. Thanks, Dixie.

screamed like a little girl tonight at church.

is getting ready to rock it at Kidz Blitz!

wonders how I got so lucky to have only one other person in the house with me this afternoon, and she is 4!

is getting herself pumped up to tackle the new level of defiance that has suddenly appeared in her house.

loves that a dinner status brings out comments from so many! Dinner suggestion club seems to be in order! BTW - Dinner was great!

is cooking up breakfast for dinner tonight - requested by the kids.

is glad everyone is out of the house and I have the puppy all to myself!

's kids were up at 6:15 wanting me to get the snow clothes out. So much for sleeping in! At 4, this is Lily's first real snow.

is thrilled that Jay announced last night, "We need to come up with an exit strategy for the squirrel!" Yay!

says it looks like "Dixie" is staying, at least for a few more days.

is "begrudgingly" giving the puppy another couple of days. Can the kids handle it? Only time can tell. Any name suggestions?

is getting ready for the "family pow-wow" regarding the puppy that was supposed to stay ONLY ONE night.

is getting slobbered with kisses from the puppy that is staying only one, repeat ONLY ONE, night.

just challenged Jay on his attempt to use the word "nabu" in a nasty game of scrabble.

is contemplating whether my heart can handle another t-heels game tonight.
encountered failure in the kitchen tonight. Crossing out lemon chicken with ginger and pine nuts, but putting a star beside turnip gruyere gratin.

kicked it with braised Chinese spare ribs, teryaki noodles and steamed cabbage. Love my new cookbook!

is getting ready to get the kids in the bed after some M&Ms.

says boys, you can't win a b-ball game if you get 3+ rebounds per possession and STILL CAN'T MAKE A BASKET! UGH!

cannot take this game.

has settled in to watch my tarheel boys play. GO HEELS

just did a little crafting in the scraproom.

just saw our neighbor's puppies. 1/2 dauchshund 1/2 beagle = alll love! Adorable!

is waiting.

is cracking open the new cookbook and making some Thai chicken in cabbage leaves tonight. Yum! Yum!

wonders how 8, yes 8, cans of evaporated milk made their way into the pantry.

just cleaned the squirrel cage and let me tell you - the magic is GONE. I am OVER it!

is a little worried. Jay just threatened to download the video from NYE DDR on his fb page.

is recovering and cooking up the greens today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slap Chop

"Don't have boring tuna, don't have a boring life."

I heard this off-beat statement today on an infommercial for the "Slap Chop." The announcer proudly exclaimed this lesser known wisdom when he added a bit of carrot and celery to some ordinary canned tuna. I don't own a Slap Chop, but that is ok, I don't eat tuna either. Does that mean I don't have a boring life?

It got me thinking about a statement a former boss said to me when I told him I was going to leave my corporate sales job to become a stay at home mom. This job involved me traveling about a week per month, taking me from my son and soon-to-arrive daughter.

His response: "That is great. Just, don't become boring. All the stay at home moms I know are boring. They don't have anything to talk about except their kids."

Let me put the statement into perspective for you, even though I am sure those that are reading this probably have enough perspective already. The man had never been married and had no children. He had never had to sacrifice himself for someone he loved.

When he said that to me, I responded by saying, "Ok." I walked out of this office. As days passed and my maternity leave approached, I began to get a tad incensed and irritated. How dare he? I stayed agitated at that man for several years. Who was he to make such a gross demeaning generalization of women of the home?

I ran into him about 5 years after leaving that job. During our conversation, I found myself thinking about every word that came out of my mouth. What did I have to show for 5 years of mothering except the birth of a 3rd child? How can I make changing diapers, fixing dinner every night and mopping spilled giblets of food off the floor sound exotic? I mumbled to him about shuttling my kids around, being busy with their activities, running our house ...and ...and...and...and... whoa! I had nothing else to say to him. I could see it written on his face. B-O-R-I-N-G.

I admit, I walked away with my head hung a bit low. Had I moved from slightly hip and worldly to slightly dowdy and simple? Had my life become boring canned tuna? I remember this time as a life marking one. It was when I realized that life is never boring, never dull, never dowdy, never plain, when you are doing the will of God. That former boss may have seen it as such, and I did, too, when I put on the world's glasses. Yet, when I removed those glasses, sat down and communed with Him, there was peace. I was right where I was supposed to be - at home with my children. I had a pure joy and peace despite the crazy chaos of 3 children under the age of 5. Who cares what my life looked like to others? Right? Give me boring canned tuna any day, if that is His will.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quotable quotes

Walking into my bedroom, Lily said: "I am going to play tag with...with...with...nonone, I guess." Then she walked out of my room saying. "Tag. Tag. Tag." to imaginary people along the way.

When I picked up Lily yesterday she announced, "I got candy today. I was an O+ girl!" I love that she thrives on the doing well. I see a lot of growth in her consistency and handwriting. Yay for my little O+ girl!

Sadie has recently learned about the layers of the earth. Clearly in her element, she gobbled up every last bit of information taught to her, spewing the knowledge all over me each afternoon. Today, she was showing a healing wound on her leg to her grandfather. It was a little cracked looking and she remarked to him that it looked like the, "electronic plates" of the earth's crust. I smiled and asked, "Do you mean tectonic plates?" "Oh, yeah," she said.

Ethan has been "Mister Inquisitive" these days. I find myself navigating our vehicle through the streets of our town and to and from school trying to come up with the answers that are accurate, on a 9-year old level, and complete enough to cease the questions. Often, I am frustrated. If someone can help me, I would appreciate it. Here are some recent topics: What is the mortgage crisis? Why does someone drink alcohol/get drunk? Why did the South want slavery? What do they keep talking about healthcare reform? This last question's obvious answer then leads to, "Then what is the bill going to do?" and "Why do some people not want it?" Maybe we should just stop talking about current events and watching the news until he can figure it out on his own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Things I Swore I Would Never Do...Part ???

I don't know how many times I have written about something that I have recently done that I swore at some previous time in my life that I would never, ever do. Some call this eating crow. Some use the expression, "Never say never!" I just say, "You live, you stop saying never!"

This weekend I packed my two oldest children and headed out of town to attend a sporting event in which they participated. I am now a traveling sports mom. Groan. What makes this a first for us is that 1) it was overnight, therefore requiring a hotel room and 2) two children participated on both Saturday and Sunday. Jay and Lily stayed at home giving them a rare weekend together that included tea parties and lots of snuggle.

My main beef with this entire "traveling for a child's sporting event" is that it breaks apart families when the weekend is when families spend the most time together. I can add that it seems ridiculous to devote time to a sport at such a young age (8 and 9). Finally, it costs money. However, in the land of swimming, "our sport", it is what it is. You can't really compete in swimming year round by staying only in our little town.

So, what made me change my mind a bit on this issue? Several moments during the weekend, actually. Here are some funny moments from the weekend:

As we make our way east, the kids are pumped and we make a stop at Sheetz to pick up a light lunch and gas up. Their coach probably doesn't need to know this because Sheetz, with "s" replaced with "z'" in every possible written instance, is not exactly the top of the food chart of healthy eating. However, my kids think that the ordering at the gas pump is the coolest thing since sliced bread and thus a bonus point for mom.

At the pool, I get drafted to help the team get the swimmers to their events on time. One of the coaches gets me a volunteer sticker and I place it on my chest without too much thought. After I have walked throughout the arena, I look down and gasp. My tag reads, "Star Kid Pusher." Yeah, you read that correctly...KID PUSHER. Does that sound like I am at a swim meet or that I am ready for DSS to carry me away?!? It made me laugh as well as my kids...a LOT.

The next highlight came after the meet when we checked into the hotel. My kids really haven't stayed in many hotels as we tend to opt for condos or houses on vacations. I had not realized that. They are acting like it is Christmas morning as we walked down the hall of our hotel to our room. As they burst through the door, they started running around. "Mom, look it's a bed!" "Mom, we have our own coffee maker!" "Mom! Did you see the bathroom?" "Mom, is that a sofa?." I nearly fell on the floor laughing, because you know, they have never seen a sofa, or coffee maker or gasp...a bed in a hotel room. They quickly claimed their spots - Ethan in the king bed with me and Sadie on the pull-out sofa (another WOW moment when that magically appeared).

Another highlight was dinner out with several of our teammates after day 1. What made this nice was that the other families also attend my kids' school. The kids all got along and the adults had enjoyable conversations. I will add that it was the first time my son, 9, ordered from the children's menu, completely devoured his meal (ribs) and had to order more food. I guess he will be an adult menu orderer from now on, which means paying adult menu prices.

The three of us hit the hay back at the hotel by 9:30 after I was subjected to some really bizarro cartoon on the cartoon network. You are definitely limited by what you can watch in a one-room hotel room with kids. The show is called "The Secret Saturdays" and it is just strange.

During the night, Ethan was all over the bed we were sharing. Tossing, turning, kicking pushing and mumbling. I don't know how many times I shoved him to the other side of the king-sized bed only to find him right back next to me seemingly within minutes. Finally, I sat up and with a slightly elevated voice said, "Ethan, that is enough. You have to stop kicking and hitting me." His mumbled answer: "Mom, I am sorry. I was having this dream where I had to get this crazy, laughing elephant back to the circus. I guess you were the elephant." He laughed. I laughed and I marked ribs off his menu possibilities in the future.

The next morning we had some time to kill before we had to be back at the pool. After the complimentary breakfast, we decided to hang out in the room. Two other teammates came with us and I ended up making two forts for them to play in. One was in the closet with a blanket over the desk chair. The other was made between the bed and the wall, using the sofa cushions and the coffee table. It kept those 4 kids busy, along with their DSi's, for several hours.

As far as the actual swimming that occurred, the kids dropped times in all their events except one each. We left the meet all on a chlorine and adrenaline high. Ethan is gaining confidence and a self-awareness of what he is doing right and wrong with his strokes. Sadie is determined to swim the 100 fly at the next meet which no 8 year old attempted at this meet. They are really pumped about the next meet in mid-January in Rock Hill, SC.

Swimming continues to be a great decision for our family. It is growing our kids mentally and physically and gives them a completely different atmosphere than school and home. For that, I am willing to hit the road.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Somebody's Knockin' at Our Front Door

This post is not an original idea of my own, rather a blog-lift or blogarism from another site I visit. However, the topic was so totally applicable to my own family, that I knew it must be written from the Dumoulin point of view.

The sound of our doorbell or a knock at our door is a signal to our kids to begin acting like they are wild, rabid animals who have been caged for the last 24 hours. I am not exaggerating. It is like they have lost all sense of decency, control, social graces, and/or common courtesy. Like the demon possessed, their eyes grow wide as inappropriate words and topics burst forth from their mouths.

It doesn't matter whether the person at the door is the mailman, our next door neighbor or even their own grandmother. It is as consistent as Pavlov's rat! Ding-dong! Let the insanity begin.

In general, this is what I can be assured will happen at some point during a "visit":

One of my children will appear with either a lack of clothing (no shirt or no pants, years ago even completely naked) OR will don some sort of costume that is either too small (read too revealing) or improperly worn.

One of my children will talk about the potty or a personal grooming habit. Poop, pee, toot, fart (though a banned word in our house), naked (see above), potty, nose, pick, stinky, privates - pick a word. It will be used.

One of my children will do something so outlandish that you will stand there stunned like a deer in headlights not knowing which way to run. For example, Sadie was four when she decided to open up a window and attempt to crawl out of it while a babysitter was present. Thankfully, it was open to a deck just a couple of feet below. But seriously? What?

One of my children will start chasing the dog giving the impression that we frequently host dog races at our house. Take your bets, people! Around and around they go; the dog begins to bark uncontrollably and quite loudly. No conversation can be had. Chaos ensues.

One of my children will decide to subject our visitor to a stand-up comedy routine filled with self-penned jokes. Most don't make any sense, but do send the "comedian" into fits of laughter. Occasionally, a "show" will be performed in the living room, admittance by ticket only. Usually, it is requested that the visitor purchase this ticket (a hastily cut piece of paper) with real money!

One of my children will insist on giving our visitor on a "home tour." Naturally, if the visitor is an unexpected guest, I have not prepared our domicile accordingly. Therefore, the visitor is subjected to viewing bathrooms with personal effects strewn about, the stench of a toilet left unflushed, heaps of laundry on the kitchen table and an occasional pull-up not properly disposed and left on the floor where it was discarded.

Specifically, Ethan will suddenly become "The Great Mumbler." When he is speaking to an adult, I must jump into my role as "translator" because no one can understand the nine-year old gibberish he speaks under his breath. I stand there like a parrot, repeating what he has just said so that our visitor can understand him. And, I think he believes that if he actually looks at an adult in the face while speaking, he will be instantly vaporized by their eyes.

Sadie can only be described as the "Tasmanian Devil." It is like a tornado spinning throughout the house, picking up object after object, destroying order, sliding down banisters, darting here and there.

Lily usually decides to become "The Great Clinger." She sees every visitor is an opportunity for Mommy to leave her, I think. She hides behind my legs, refusing to answer any question thrown at her. Never leaving my side.

After the children have sufficiently established our house as an insane asylum and my performance as a mother a complete and utter failure, it is time for the visitor to leave. The door closes and the children, sweetly and innocently, act as if nothing at all had just happened. The Twilight Zone left as quickly as it came and I am left completely dumbfounded.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thoughts on a rather hectic day:

I went to Big Lots to find some ribbon. There was a lady collecting money for the Salvation Army. She was also entertaining everyone entering or exiting the store with her unusual way of singing. Confession time - I usually get irritated when people sing out loud, randomly, when the song is not playing in the background, even when they are good singers. It is just a personal quirk. This lady, despite doing her best to bring Christmas cheer, was belting out Christmas songs and sounding like a cross between a cat being strangled and a chicken being punched. As I stood in the check-out line, the doors to the store would open and close producing another titillating and screeching snippet of her talents for our listening pleasure. Pretty dreadful and way over sung. I wasn't quite sure if depositing some change in her bucket would be encouraging or quiet her down. Nevertheless, I offered up some coins and went on my way. It was met with a, "Now, YOU have a blessed day, Ma'am!" Amen!

I wonder why I think I can ever make a quick trip to WalMart at any time during the year, but it seems particularly ludicrous during the high-shopping Christmas season. I even tried my hand at rewriting my shopping list to coincide with the flow of the store (back to front) with the random soup ladle and deodorant listed to the side. I race through the aisles, trying to get a cart load of groceries and a prescription in just under and hour. Completely out of breath, I threw my bags in my car and raced to Chik-fil-a to pick-up food for my kids' lunch that morning. This entire situation would not have occurred had I been able to get my grocery shopping done the day prior. But, I didn't. Therefore, there was absolutely nothing with which to fix their lunches having exhausted all bread, soup, spaghettio's and beanie weanies.

I discovered, that in a panic, I can make a large crock pot of ham and corn chowder, a large tin pan of baked spaghetti and another of chicken fajitas in less than an hour. However, on most nights it takes me longer just to fix one simple meal.

My children, no matter how much I plan and instruct, still have a difficult time changing clothes, swimming and collecting their own discarded and used clothing. We found Ethan's winter coat in the lost and found where it had been left the practice prior. We have lost and reclaimed t-shirts, goggles, etc. We have come home with a towel, t-shirt, swim gear that isn't even ours. I have tried every trick - labeling clothing and gear, having a separate hamper bag for the car, smaller bags, bigger bags, etc. Now, I just pray.

A Prettier Picture

Yesterday's post was created from actual incidents that had occurred within the previous 24 hours of it being authored. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of my children. In order to balance the negativity with some "all is not lost" fodder, I present today's post.

As a service project this Christmas, the kindergarten classes at school decided to bring in various toys, personal care items, gloves, hats, etc. for another elementary school. This other school has 370 students in grades K-3 who are, for the most part, well-below the poverty level. Each year, the teachers stock their staff room with these items and allow each child to pick out a few things for Christmas. My heart is especially soft for children who might go without during a season when no child should.

I had earmarked some funds to go to this cause. Last week, I was excited to find sweatshirts and long-sleeved t-shirts on sale at WalMart for less than $3.00. I also added in some gloves, hats and activity books. I was feeling pretty good about the purchases and marked it off my Christmas "to-do" list.

Over the weekend, the kids decided to check their personal money envelopes we use to hold birthday money, gift cards, etc. We also found an envelope containing the money they raised this summer at a yard sale. They had cleaned out their toys and with my help, had baked cookies and brownies. All in all, they managed to raise $35.25. Originally, the kids had wanted to use the money for personal gain. We had not had an opportunity to do so, therefore the envelope had remained in the drawer.

It was Sadie who first proposed the idea of using the money to purchase gifts for another child. Quickly, they all agreed. They also wanted to use additional money from their personal stash as well and so I allowed them to pick a certain amount to do so. We ventured to the Dollar Tree to make our selections. Sadie had already made her list of what she wanted to buy. I love that store because you can really stretch your money.

The kids didn't ask once to purchase something for themselves. Excitedly, they picked out toothbrushes, gloves, hats, puzzles, scarves, crayons, activity books, lip balm, books, etc. We stayed away from items that might only be used one time and then discarded. I also navigated them away from the plastic junk that might break just by opening the packaging. The kids were thrilled and my heart was warmed seeing them understand the true meaning of Christmas: Giving and sacrificing for others as Christ gave to us.

When we got home, Lily curled up next to me on my bed for a little snuggle. I told her she would need to take in the large bag of donations to class the next day. Then she told me, "Today, Mommy, I gave my Stitch animal." "What?" I asked. The reality began to sink in as I remembered seeing her bring down 4 of her stuffed animal downstairs that morning. I made her haul them back up because she didn't need to take them to school where I thought she just wanted to play with them. Evidently, she still snuck the Stitch one, the one she had just picked out as her special toy from Disney just a few weeks prior, into her bag. I didn't know that her intention was to donate it. She truly gave from her heart.

I need to remember that when I believe my children are completely self-absorbed beings who are only interested in satisfying their own self-interests, there is a bit of selflessness being nurtured in there. Now, I let out a much more contented...Sigh.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How Dare I?

I am such a mean, terrible mommy. I am positive I am the worst to have ever lived. For example:

How dare I pack my children's swim bags every Monday and Wednesday. What am I thinking putting a black bathing suit in a black swim bag causing my kids to search tireless for it in their bag.

How dare I not respond immediately and run upstairs when one of my children screams, "MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYY!" at their loudest volume.

How dare I make my children wear long-sleeves and pants when it is 40 degrees outside. I know t-shirts and shorts are more hip, possibly even more comfortable, but excuse me for worrying about frostbite.

How dare I have only one bottle of special swimmer's hair conditioner for my children to share. I know it must tax them greatly to have to walk the long distance between their bathrooms to exchange the one bottle. I am so sorry for this.

How dare I force my children to complete their school work by themselves, before the deadline while attempting to answer every single question on the page. The horror of horror must be when they are asked to remember to put their name on their paper. I mean, in life, I know that sometimes you don't have make an effort to fully complete your tasks, so it is probably a lesson they don't need to learn. It is just important to me.

How dare I not make every dollop of food and drink I give my kids perfectly even. I know I should carefully measure out each serving and I am sorry that I am so slack in this endeavor.

How dare I finish off the cookies last night that I made over the weekend. I know the kids did not offer to help make them while they were watching "Tom & Jerry" on the television in the kitchen. However, they should be entitled to all the cookies they want, including the last ones which should be measured and divided evenly for them.

How dare I forget to order lunch for them each month. I know that we could eat at a restaurant more cheaply than what it costs them to eat their catered school lunches, but it really shouldn't matter. I know it must be embarrassing for them to be the only ones taking their lunch every day.

How dare I make them complete household chores like putting clothes away, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning their rooms. It is the equivalent to slave labor because I don't pay them for their work, rather I view it as their contributions to helping run our household.

How dare I make a homecooked meal rather than pick-up something on the way home from swimming two days a week. I know my efforts to teach them about nutrition is probably outdated.

How dare I ask that my children brush their teeth not once, but twice a day. Good, healthy teeth are not in fashion right now. And, bad breath is a sure way to win friends. Why would I want them to know this, right?

How dare I send my children to school when they are tired or have a headache or just don't feel like going. I should probably just break the law and allow this truancy, but being compliant is just my nature.

Maybe they will forgive me one day... Sigh.