Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Articulate Athletes

I was watching the news this morning and the reporter was interviewing a popular Razorback quarterback that I will not name ;) Listening to this particular athlete speak was reminiscent of fingernails scraping down a chalk board. No, really, it was THAT BAD! His amazingly poignant speech caused a light bulb to click on in my head. The Razorback quarterback is not the only athletic figure that I have poked fun at while listening to his interview before or after the "big game". As a majority, these guys SUCK. (ok, ok, I'm not always the most poignant of speakers either and don't always have the most proper use of words or grammar but I do believe that I am leaps and bounds ahead of these guys. I mean, after all, I did very well in all of my English classes over my many years of schooling)
Athletes are suppose to be roll-models... not just "suppose to be", they are role-models. Not just for our younger generations either, many adults admire these guys and, to be fair, girls. (In this rant, we will stick to children.) We expect our children to learn from, not only parents and teachers, but role models and yet they are listening to athletes whom cannot put together a proper sentence to save their careers. They often mumble and use "um" as if it were a requirement. *Yeah, um, weplayedhard, um, my guys gotout 'n hit'em, um, stayedon top-a da defense and uh, I thinkwe ex-a-cuted good*
Not exaggerating! No wonder our youth are struggling! Young people are listening to sports figures speak every day and this is what they are hearing. I understand that speaking on camera can be frightening but, come on. Athletes do it so often, it should be old hat... that's what she said! Ok, athletes speak in public so often that it should be old hat. I truly believe that the main faces of our athletic teams (team captains, quarterbacks, lead running backs, ect) should be required to take a class on public speaking. Its an epidemic. We can't expect our young people to do any better if we allow their role-models to speak as if they just emerged from a cave.
Who's with me? Lets send them to grammar school!! Or, at least, speech class.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

*WARNING* This may step on toes!

I AM ANGRY! Why is it so wrong to be an average, middle class, white American? Who is looking out for us? * Knock, knock*, anyone out there because I sure don't see you!

Joey works hard to support our family and makes a decent wage. We stick to a strict budget, cook 98% of our meals, make our own morning coffee, drive a used mini-van, clip coupons, watch for "free" events and make our kids halloween costumes. We cut our own lawn, painted our own house, change our own oil, remodeled our own kitchen and bath, laid our own wood flooring and re-paint old furniture to make it new again. We truly know and fully appreciate the value of very single penny that passes through our hands. Unfortunately, that is apparently the problem... we have pennies passing through our hands so, suddenly, we don't deserve any sort of break or help. This isn't a new phenomenon either; been going on forever. I can remember filling out financial forms when I was getting ready for college. My family always had our needs met but, by no means were we rolling in the dough and my parents were paying for both my brother and myself to go to school. Good thing I was smart because the only tuition assistance we were eligible for were the scholarships I received. Even when Joey and I got married, FAFSA still thought our parents were smuggling us seeds from the invisible money tree so we were SOL and had to take out loans. Two kids later, when I went back to school, still NOTHING! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We were an one income family with two kids, mortgage, car payments and no chance for aid. GRANOLA BARS! Thank heaven we were blessed with relatively healthy children and no major car or home issue (which, by the way, we drove only 1 car for a long time to save money). I could get much deeper than school because, I promise, that is not were it all ends, but I'm sure you are wondering what started this?

Just over 5 years ago, Joey and I bought our home. We had no intention of flipping it or renting it or coming up with some other housing bubble scheme to make quick money, we simply wanted to buy our first home and start our family. Our plan was to live here for 5 or 6 years while we decided if Fayetteville would be our permanent home and then look to purchase the home we would retire in. Five years and three kids later - WE'RE STUCK! I've already told you all the story so I won't recount it again. If you don't remember it, I bitched a few blogs back so feel free to check it out. Anyway, we decided to refinance to the current market interest rates to save some money. We filled out all of the paper work and went back and forth with the banker answering all of our questions. Finally, the appraiser came out and, guess what - WE DON'T QUALIFY! *&#$%&*@$#%&%$**@#$%!@# Is this some sort of cosmic joke? Am I getting punked? Candid Camera? America's Cruelest... I mean Funniest Home Videos? Even though we own more than the required 10% of our original loan, we apparently own only 1% of the current appraised value. DAMN HOUSING BUBBLE! Stupid thing popped leaving sticky residue crap all over the place @#%$#*&@*#$%*&@!!#$@*&$%#*!

It's not even like we were going to use the money to buy a new car or fancy new clothes or even go out to eat more. We wanted to pay down more on the house, pay off student loans, put more toward the kids education, replace to really crappy 16 year old stove with one that didn't have hot spots and smell like burnt toast every time you cooked something no matter how clean it was. These are a few things we will not do because the nation of the free and proud is actually the nation of the broke and costly!

If you are an average, middle class, white American, here is some advice: learn to budget and become a handy man, be really good at getting stains out of laundry and creative with left-overs, buy a sewing machine, hot glue gun and paint pens, clip coupons, fill out rebate offers, talk to doctors about payment plans BEFORE the visit and HOLD ON TIGHT.

If you are a politician reading this- FIX IT! I know that there are people less fortunate than us but I tell you this... Many of them WERE US and they needed help but you didn't offer any and now they are stuck in a broken system because they were overlooked. It's a lot like health care. It is far less expensive to keep a healthy person healthy than to it is to heal the sick! But wait, you can't seem to figure that either so I guess we're screwed. Damn!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall is FINALLY in the Air!

Allergies be damned, we have had the windows open durning the day for the past 5 days. I couldn't believe that after the hottest summer in a long time, we were having the hottest fall. I'm not talking Indian Summer here, I'm talking down right heat wave! Just was I was thinking I would never wear a pair of jeans again, God said "Let there be AUTUMN" and it came. This is, by far, my favorite time of the year.

On Saturday, we decked the whole family out in Hog gear and headed down to the University to tailgate. It was a perfect day. The kids played so hard, the food was YUMMY and, even though we lost it in the end, the game was great. Now, walking back up the hill was not that fun but we made it and I'm shoving that to the back of mind.

The kids have re-discovered their love of the outdoors. We have been on walks everyday. Keegan has gotten very good at "pumping" on the swing and Keegan has gotten over her fear of the slide. I can't get over how big they are getting.

Keegan will be 5 this December! His new thing is to ask daily for a pet. The thing is, he isn't actually "asking" as much as coming up with excellent reasons to have one. Looking through the fence into the neighbors yard he says, "Mom, they have a very big yard." I said, yes but it is no bigger than our own, the lots are all the same size. His response... "Well, they have a dog." Or this one, "Cats are so soft and very quiet." Yes, Keegan they are. "You don't have to do much for them and they like to be petted." Yes, Keegan. "Mommy, do you like cats?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Everyday!

Kendall picks out her own clothes most everyday. She is obsessed with princesses, takes care of her "babies" (Ariel, Broccoli, Bob, and Noah), cooks in her kitchen and can beat the tar out of Keegan even though she is only 8 lbs heavier than Murphy. She wants to be Snow White for halloween. My mom is taking care of the costume for me. Her speech is coming along and she often talks to Joey like he is one. It's HILARIOUS!

And Murphy, my tiny little baby, is almost a year old. He can crawl as fast as lighting, pulls up on everything and walks behind push toys. I'm expecting steps any day now. He is getting clothes for his birthday (ssshhh, don't tell him) and for the first time ever, I'm purchasing his birthday cake. Ok, its his first birthday so, obviously, I'm purchasing his cake for the first time. That isn't what I meant, I have made all of our cakes (except my own) for 8 years. I'm getting cupcakes from Sam's this year. Poor third child!

Speaking of, he just woke up from his nap so I gotta go... Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Teeth and Monsters

Once Murphy started sleeping through the night, I thought I was out of the constantly having to get up at night thing. I had completely blocked out teething! Poor little boy is getting 6 teeth all at once. The bottom two are in far enough that you see them all the time and they are usable. The top two "eye-teeth" (maybe its i-teeth, I really don't know) are little points that hurt like crazy when he bites you. The two top front teeth are there but only slightly visible and not really usable yet. Add that to the fact that he is growing like a weed and it makes for some wakeful nights lately.

So, the past couple weeks have been more wakeful nights then sleep-filled ones. Last night, Murphy could not get comfortable so Joey finally just brought him in bed with us. Fine with me, at least we were all sleeping. Then, at 4, Kendall woke up and thought it was time to get up for the day but didn't want to get out of bed because it was dark. So, she sat there and SCREAMED for me. Luckily, Keegan sleeps like a ROCK. After a few minutes, I knew I wasn't going to get her to go back to sleep easily so I laid down with her. I promptly fell asleep as well. At 5:30, I hear a blood curdling scream come out of my room. Joey didn't know that I had left and Murphy woke up and started going for our alarm clock, his very most favorite thing in our room. He fell off the bed and bonked his forehead. I flew out of Kendall's bed and out the door only to almost bust it the second my feet hit the hardwood floor of the hall. We finally got him back to sleep and in his own bed where he is currently still snoozing. Kendall slept a while longer and is now eating an apple next to me and my back is KILLING me from my slide through the door. What a way to start the day!! Thankfully, however, the sun is shining and it isn't suppose to be dreadfully hot today so we will be OUTSIDE. WOO-WHO!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Avon Calling!!

Ok everyone, it's official, I'm up and running!! I'm selling Avon now and LOVE IT so far! Feel free to shop my page

There are always great sales going on and the products have a long standing history of quality and affordability. I'm available to answer questions ANY TIME!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Kids say....

Keegan: "Mom, a long time ago when I was 3 (he's 4) I had a bad dream about a monster that ate someone we did not know."

Kendall: after being put in time out "MOMMY, TIME OUT!"

Keegan: "Kendall, don't you want this knife; (plastic play kitchen knife that is EXACTLY like the one she has in her hand) let's trade." Kendall agrees, they swap. "Look mom, Kendall is sharing!(back to Kendall) You're such a good girl!"
Meanwhile, in the background: Joey: "Gee Wally, I didn't know sharing could be so much fun. Yep Beav, sharing always makes the world a better place. Isn't sharing so much better than fighting."
Maybe that one was so funny because I had only had a few sips of my coffee at that point...

Keegan: "Can we watch Erica's Funniest Videos?"
Me: "You mean America's Funniest Home Videos?"
Keegan: "No, it's Erica's Funniest Videos 'cause that's Erica" (pointing to Tom Burserand {sp?})
Joey: "His name is Tom, Keeg's and it's called America's Funniest Home Videos."
Keegan: "Nope dad, you're wrong"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surviving the Vacation Hangover

I'm sure you have noticed that vacation usually leaves you needing a vacation. Your routine has been changed, your surroundings offering unending exploration, normal is turned on its head. Well, we just got back from vacation. I loved it! We had so much fun going to Thomas the Train and visiting the Raymond's and Jamie in Chicago. Honestly, I didn't want it to end.

We started our galavant in Kansas City. My parents (Grumpy and Boo) joined us on our adventure. The pool at the hotel was great! It had a low grade entry so the kids had a rather large area to play in. Plus, there weren't very many other people enjoying the pool so we didn't have to worry about the kids splashes or squirt guns. There were some down sides. It rained every night making the ground rather squishy and the air humid. The hotel had its issues as well (the biggest being no micro-fridge in the room, we had to rent one but any mother knows that its well worth the money to do so) but, overall, the experience was great. Our trip to visit Thomas at the depot in Baldwin City was rather muddy from the rain. The event staff had tents up over all the activities which, in theory, should have been wonderful. The unfortunate part is that it rained 4 inches in as many hours the night before causing water to run down the sides and into the floor of the tents where it was unable to escape creating mud pits!! OYE-VAY! The train ride, however, was a big hit.

We also visited the zoo in KC which, I must say, is very large. The animals have lots of room to run, play and do animal things... wonderful for them, tough on us. It was lots of walking and we only made it through half of the zoo but the kids had fun anyway. Keegan got to be the leader and carry the map. Kendall and Murphy were out cold by the time we were walking out.

Next came Chicago. We hung out at Sarah and Bryan's in Oak Park (thanks by the way, guys). The kids had SO MUCH FUN running around with each other. I didn't think we were EVER going to get them to sleep that first night... or the second or third for that matter. We played at one of the local parks that had a splash park. Come on Fayetteville, you need to get on that wonderful idea! It was great until, right at the end, a girl rode her bike through the water (which was against the rules) and ran into Kendall. I was not very excited about that and neither was she. Joey got to go to a Cubs game with Jamie (the only one they won of the series). Of course, we went to Trader Joe's and the kids loved the mini grocery carts. We went into the city one day to visit the Shed. It was free all week so you would think that it wouldn't have been insanely crowded. I mean, people had all week! Unfortunately, it was Chicago, in the summer. Not only were the regulars there, the tourists were too. We got there early so we didn't have to wait in line very long but, as were looking around, the walls were closing in around us as more and more people poured in. After about an hour and half, we had to get out of there for a breather. We went out to the lawn to eat lunch and lines (there were two, one for strollers and handicap visitors and one for everyone else) were easily half a mile long each. We played outside for a while and decided not to try to venture back in. Instead we walked over to Meig's Field and let the kids play on the beach. Keegan got to go with Bryan and Tea on the EL back to Oak Park and so excited! We chilled out the next morning and then went into the city that evening for a concert at Millennium. On our way into the city, a giant storm blew in and the bottom fell out right as we got there. After about 30 minutes hiding out in a coffee shop, the rain let up enough that we could make to the pizza shop so instead of playing in the water, we ate an early supper while the rain finished moving through. We got the park, watched the concert, enjoyed a few glasses of wine and watched the kids run around in the grass. Afterward, we played around the Bean a while and then headed back to Jamie for bedtime. Jamie watched the kids for Joey and I the next morning so we could bike down the lake front which was WONDERFUL! That afternoon, Sarah, Bryan and the girls met us for some beach time and a wonderful pasta dinner made by Jamie. Bryan had brought the kites he had been building with the kids and, after adding tails, took Keegan and Tea out the try to fly them. Unfortunately, the wind had died down some and they ended up just playing at the park for a while. After a long 9 days, we headed home Sunday.

The kids really did amazingly well on the trip. Kendall had very few accidents and we had very few melt downs. Unfortunately, now that we are home, we have to readjust to our normal routine. No more getting away with staying up extra late and getting dessert even if they don't eat supper. Hence, the hangover! All in all, it was a great trip and I really am ready to go back but it is nice to have our own space. See ya' next time Chi-town!

Monday, June 21, 2010

How to Judge a Town by it's Grocery Store

I'm not really sure when my interest in grocery stores started. Like most children, I went to the store with my mom. In high school, I would go for her. I can remember starting college and going to the grocery store for the first, completely on my own; shoe-string budget and calculator in hand. I quickly had to learn the difference in "want" and "need"; when to indulge and when to hold back. I have carried that through the years and can now keep up with how much I'm spending in my head without the calculator.

Traveling with three kids, I have a need for grocery stores in various towns. Milk, PB&J, juice boxes, snack crackers, diapers or booze, grocery shopping is a regular event in my life, home or away. In my travels, I have noticed interesting differences in the stores. Now, I'm not talking about Super Centers. Those are pretty cookie cutter no matter where you go. I'm talking about actual grocery stores. I guess I shouldn't say "in my travels" because I moved across the state for college and discovered Smitty's (though I usually still shopped at Brookshire's which I had been used to growing up) then NWA and discovered Harp's. I consider Harp's my base comparision, though, because it where I have done most of my "adult" shopping and I have been using it for almost 9 years now. GREAT CHEESE BISCUITS, TIME FLIES!

Now, let me explain a little. Groceries stores tell the story of a community. This my sound a little profound or philosophical (or just plain screwy) but go with me here...

Think about it... when you walk in, are you lead to the right or the left? Are you met by non-grocery type things like pool toys, t-shirts or flowers or do you walk in to the deli or bakery? Maybe you make a sharp right straight into the produce; that is what most people in the community buy when entering that store. Walk into the processed foods, you better believe carts are filled with them. Is there a natural food section or isle? Do they offer ethnic foods? If so, how large is the selection? Can you purchase food in bulk? Do have an in-store butcher, fish monger or baker that actually knows how to work the oven and piping bag? How are the prices? You can tell a lot about cost of living by the price of milk (or soy milk if you're me). Let me give you some examples of my favorites.
In KC, my favorite is the Hy-Vee. I think you can find them throughout western Missouri, probably into Kansas and I saw a truck headed north into Iowa. I was introduced to this wonderful store by my brother-in-law Stephen while he was there for work (in KC, not Hy-Vee). I was so excited by this expansive store that I wanted to pee myself the first time I walked in. It was like a REAL STORE, like the ones you see on the Food Network... ARE YOU SERIOUS? I mean REALLY! I was beyond excited. They had a salad bar right as you walk in the front in that first store and several others I have visited. You can also get a variety of pre-made (as in they have people cooking it there) foods at there deli. Now, a lot of grocery stores offer fried chicken, a few deli sandwiches and such but they had homemade Chinese food, Sushi and I believe BBQ and pizza's. There meat counter had real butchers cutting large roasts down for customers and fish monger whom knew what he was talking about. A very large natural foods section in all the stores I visited boasted specialty teas and kid approved snacks. The prices were a little higher than I was used to paying but the quality seemed very worth it. They also have a very extensive spirits collection including an amazing blueberry wine that I found no where else.

In Chicago, I enjoy a few specialty stores likes Trader Joe's. If you are going to be small, be REALLY good at what you do and they are! Trader Joe's doesn't offer a huge variety of of things; you wouldn't be able to do all of your shopping there. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds are AMAZING! I love their pasta sauce, pineapple salsa, FiberFull bars, Pita Chips, Whole Bean Coffee, Indian Fare, dried pasta and various other wonderful items. They also sell Santa Barbara Wine which is WONDERFUL and Two Brother's Beer, GREAT! Dominic's is a wonderful everything store. They carry their own brand of Light Vanilla Soy Milk which rather good. They also carry a brand of baby food called Organic Baby that was only $6.95 for 10 jars and had flavors like Vegetables with Lentils and Pear's with Raspberries. Murphy was SO EXCITED and so was I. I walked into an expansive produce section with apples that actually didn't even look waxed. The down side of Dominic's is that they have those obnoxious member's cards where you "extra" savings. The bad thing is that when you are just visiting those stores, you pay a little extra and the guy at the check out was a little pushy about it.

Yes, my obsession with grocery stores is a little nuts-o but its my life. The next time you walk into a grocery store, home or away, I bet you will look around and take note of what you see. If you are ever in NWA, KC or Chicago, feel free to check out some of the stores I mentioned and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When All Else Fails, Drink Wine

You should never underestimate the need to relax. Just Sayin'

Currently, Joey and I are sitting on the sofa watching The Family Guy version of Star Wars. HILARIOUS! Now, it might not be as funny if I weren't most of the way through a glass of wine but, hey, its been a roller coaster week. I told you about the house I wanted, right? Well, that stupid bubble we were sitting on when we bought our house came back to bite us in the rear and it just isn't the best time for us to buy a new house. HOWEVER, my WONDERFUL father-in-law, Jim, has volunteered his amazing handyman abilities to help us remodel the kitchen!! HOW WONDERFUL IS THAT! Plus, I get a new hair cut tomorrow and there isn't much better than a new due. We have also finished the bathrooms; both of them. Plus, getting the house ready for to put on the market was a great excuse to purge a TON of stuff. That is going to come in handy at tax return time because we donated most of it to Goodwill. All in all, life is good and I thank God everyday for it. You should do the same... and have some wine.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Ok, not really, it's Joey's birthday. Mine will be in a month but I started thinking about age several years ago. People say that 30 is a hard year to hit. I'm a little worried because my 26th birthday actually hit me pretty hard. I was suddenly closer to 30 than the 20 and I couldn't rap my head around it. Birthdays have continued to come and go since then and, trust me, 30 IS NOT OLD! I'm actually healthier and happier than I was 10 years ago, not to mention smarter. I don't know that I can say the same for Joey, though ;) I wouldn't give my years back for anything.

Keegan started his summer vacation this week. I can remember thinking summer vacation was SO LONG! I couldn't believe they let us out of school for that long. It never ceases to amaze me how time speeds up by leaps and bounds the older I get. It is so funny to me when Keegan starts a story with his signature, "A long time ago when I was 3" (he is 4 1/2). To him, though, 3 was a long time ago. I also like his, "back when Kendall was 1". I catch myself thinking things like "if they were just a little older" but I don't want to wish away their childhood. These are days when 24 hours seems to take 48 and a week might as well be a month. I want them to savor every moment they have. Kids grow up WAY to fast these days and, in a blink of my eye, Keegan will be turning 29. I just pray that the weeks really do take months I can take the time to make memories of our moments. I pray you can do the same with your family. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and every day is a gift from God.

Happy Birthday Joey! I love you!

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When that Peaceful, Easy Feeling hides

Everyone gets down every now and again. When I'm down, it usually lasts 2 to 3 days. It can often be hard to actually place my finger on the root of the trouble. Many times, the root really isn't even important. It often isn't just one thing, either; each issue (if you want to call them that), on its own, can be fairly easy to glance over. When you put many of these little boogers together, however, they can quickly turn into a runny nose on the verge of a sinus infection.

I make light of this because the cold always clears up and the world moves on. It's all part of a natural emotional cycle.

My latest funk, I think, is a combo of uncertainty, timing, control, habit and fear. You see, with the spring comes cleaning and change. The world regains a sense of movement and your mind wakes up. In my mind, this spring, I really started thinking about where we live, both on a large and small scale. Please, don't get me wrong; I love our home. Joey and I built it together (not the house in a literal sense, we bought that, but our "home"). When we purchased our house 5 years ago, the economy was still fairly stable - at least in NWA. Our "plan" was to live here for around 5 years and then move to whatever house we planed to retire in.

Now, I knew Joey wasn't that handy when I married him (no offense, honey, but you already knew that). He does try his best, I'm decently handy and our dad's our super heroes of handiwork (I'm tellin' ya, capes and everything). So, together, we were going to accomplish the updates the house needed, a few decorative changes and start our family. Five years and 3 kids later, I can still think of 5 things that need to happen before we can even begin to put the house on the market; right off the top of my head. PLUS, there was that bubble NWA was sitting on... it popped. Damn soap scum everywhere now; I mean Seriously! We also have 3 kids under 4 years old whom demand a lot of attention and, apparently, we aren't as handy as I was giving us credit for (me and Joey, not our dad's... they are super heroes, remember).

I haven't stopped thinking about it though; where we might live next. Like an alarm clock buzzer went off, my mind started wandering to, not only different homes and neighborhoods, but different cities and states as well. Not that I don't like Fayetteville but if you are going dream, dream big. I mean, we're young! Our kids are young and our jobs are easily transferable - why the heck not?!

Fayetteville is a great place to live, though. Like anywhere, it has its ups and downs but, overall, I would be completely comfortable raising a family here. Joey seems to be perfectly content in staying here as well. We are just a few blocks from one of Joey's brothers and his family. Joey's parents live just on the other side of the city. He really likes the hospital he is at as well. We have made some really great friends and are growing more active in the church and community. My parents are only 5 hours away (not bad) and Bo is only 3 hours (though you would think it was 3 days as little as we see each other). Can you tell that I have been talking myself into staying in NWA?

Then, there is the matter of the house. I have long admired the east side of the city. East of 71 is the older, more established section of town. This is not to say that the westward movement doesn't have its benefits but my love for East Fayetteville is strong. I can think of several places, right off the top of my head, I would like to be. Unfortunately, though, the houses are more expensive over there. Then, there is this SUPER CUTE neighborhood in Johnson. No, it isn't east Fayetteville but it IS an actual neighborhood. Complete with sidewalks, people who know each other, kids riding bikes to each other's houses; you can borrow eggs or sugar from your neighbor! Anyway, there is this GREAT house at the end of one of the cul-de-sacs. I have admired this house for quite a while. Well, guess what... IT'S FOR SALE! And, the asking price is within our budget!! HOWEVER - Joey isn't ready to put our house on the market. STAB ME WITH A SPOON!! Ok, so really if you have read this far, you know that our house isn't ready either but give me a week with no kids (ok, maybe two) and by God, I could have it ready! In fact, I came home last night and Joey had been working on our bathroom! So Excited! Maybe, by the time we are ready to put the house on the market, a different great house will be for sale. On can only dream.

Anyway, just talking about it is like blowing my nose (note that reference in the beginning). I'm already feeling better. I know better than to make to many plans; take Murphy for example (my beautiful baby boy). It's just a lot of little boogers, they'll go away. Thanks for listening.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Girl's Week

Have you ever swam across the Mississippi River to St. Louis? I have. Ok, so not really but that is what we called it as my Great Aunt Mary (more fondly known as Grandma Mary) loaded us girls up on rafts and life-jackets and swam us across a section of the lake. It's one the memories so strongly burned into my brain that I can pull it up at will. In fact, many of my most favorite childhood memories involve my Grandma Mary.

I'm bringing this up because we buried her today. My beautiful Grandma Mary went to be with Jesus and I have spent the last few days reminiscing on such a beautiful lady. I can still feel the warm slate on my feet as we climbed down to the lake. The slight fishy, muddy smell of the water and the buzz of the chattering kids; the taste of freshly churned vanilla ice cream with strawberries is on the tip of my tongue. I will never forget tent city and Grandma Mary marching all of us kids down to the lake to "bathe." She taught us to play dominoes. Her words always guided us gently in the right direction. I will forever love peanut butter on apples and treasure the quilt she made me that now adorns my daughters bed. My favorite afghan was made by her as well. I can see her smile without even closing my eyes and hear her voice with little effort. Every summer, she opened her home only to the girls; no boys allowed. Girl's week was a highlight of my summer. I'm sure we looked so silly wearing those ponchos but we sure didn't mind. Climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain is something I can't wait to share with my own children.

As I drove to Clinton today, flashes of memory popped up readily making me smile, causing giggles and bringing up tears. Mourning is a part of losing a loved one but I know that I will see her again, in heaven.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5 must-have fashionable pieces to pack for every weekend trip

As Memorial Day approaches, people are dusting off their suitcases and preparing for the travel season. I don't know about you but the thing I like least about trips, long or short, is figuring out what to pack. I am a notorious over-packer (or maybe "weekend bags" are just way to small). I'm trying to get better but there 5 things I always take with me:

1. A great pair of jeans! Right now, I'm totally in love with my Old Navy Boyfriend jeans. I can put them on with a t-shirt and sneakers or cuff them with a cute top and heels so, no matter what I do, I have it covered!

2. An A-line sundress. I like this line because travel doesn't always agree with my stomach. A-line sundresses are flattering even if I'm bloated. PLUS, during the day, I can wear it as is or with a little tank. Evening, add a jacket or shrug and Voila!

3. JEWELRY! Nothing makes an outfit like the accessories you put with it. I put my big, chunky bracelets and necklaces in a tupperware container. It may sound odd but the large jewelry trend doesn't knot up like small chains do so it really works great at containing and protecting them.

4. A tailored, waist length jacket. Mine is khaki, 3/4 sleeve with super cute pockets. I throw it over my sundress or a fitted t-shirt to totally change my look.

5. A hat. My stand by is my Cubs baseball cap but, in the summer, it can switch to a fun color bucket hat or a large brim sun hat. Trips can be exhausting and I never know what the water is going is going to be like. A hat helps me not to have to worry much about what my hair is going to do. In addition, summer sun does a number on your face and a hat is a great way to protect it.

Over-packer or under-packer, feel free to borrow my tips for your next trip!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spring has Sprung into Summer

The temperature reached into the upper 80's today. The windows are closed, air is on and the kids wadding pool is inflated. Keegan tells me, "Mom, it's still spring." and technically he is right but I'm announcing the start of summer anyway.

Who says we have to wait for the calendar to tell us to fire up the grill, slather on the sunscreen and break out the popsicles? I say it's time to touch up the paint on the corn-hole boards and fill up the beer coolers.

I don't know about you but I'm ready for the beach, pending that there is one left after they finally stop the oil leak. I MEAN SERIOUSLY! Oh, I could get so political right now but I'll save that for another blog. The fact is, oil is flooding into our gulf at an alarming rate (in my opinion, any oil flooding into our gulf is alarming) killing off the natural ecosystem firmly planted there. No matter which way you try to spin it, that is bad and BP should be held responsible!!! I'll move on now.

Anyway, back to my summer time day dreams. I hope to take the kids to as many Natural's baseball games as we can, live in swim suits, pitch the tent in the backyard and grill so as not to heat up the kitchen. I plan on making very little use of the T.V. and lots of use of the patio furniture. Not so much use of the supermarket produce and tons more use of the farmer's market. Less inside, more aquatic center. Bring on SUMMER!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DIY Overboard!

If you read my blog about our recent mold problem, you already know of my affinity for going overboard on household projects. This weekend was no exception.

The kids bathroom, which also serves as our guest bathroom, is actually one of the most popular rooms in the house. Between bath time, toothbrushing and potty training, a great deal of our time is spent there. It was a pretty average bathroom; long, skinny, builders grade cabinet, sink, tub, light fixture. Nice enough but it hadn't been upgraded since it was built in 1994. When you put 3 people in there (Keegan, Kendall and myself) it gets rather crowded. Add in Murphy and it is down right claustrophobic. I had to make a change.

We didn't need the storage of the overly large cabinet as we also have a linen closet right outside the room and the kids hooded towels hang on the wall. The counter top continually became cluttered with children's toys, drink cups and various asundery, wreaking havoc on my slight OCD. My original plan was to pull the old eyesore out and replace it with a pedestal sink, remove the large, plain mirror that ran the length of said cabinet and replace it with a smaller, framed version, replace the light fixture and paint the walls. Here we go...

At my request, my dad had drilled holes in the cabinet during the great mold cleaning of 2010 to ensure that there was tile under the cabinet and wall behind it. There was; GREAT! The whole thing came out rather easily too. The counter top was glued on but, after 16 years of use, the seal was not hard to break and the particle board cabinet unit was very light considering its size. The unfortunate part was that, in the process, some of the dry wall broke, not completely, but enough to need some plaster. We also had to take the door off of the bathroom in order to get the cabinet out. So far, not so bad. Unfortunately, once the cabinet came out, we were greeted by linoleum. I know what you are thinking; "You said you checked and there was tile." We did, at the front of the unit, not the back. Just shy of 1/2 way, they stopped tiling. Why in the world would you go that far and stop?? Dumbfounded? Me too. Lowe's trip #2.

Keegan, Murphy and I loaded up in the van and headed to Lowe's to match tile and buy adhesive and grout. Here's the thing, even though the previous homeowner's had been thoughtful enough to leave an extra tile, it was 16 years old; good luck finding 5 more just like it. The boys and I wandered up and down the tile isle, checking and rechecking, trying to find the closest match possible while a lady, who was probably my mom's age, looked around, I'm assuming, gathering ideas and prices. Keegan, lately, has been quoting movies, making up his own little lines and making himself giggle with "humor". Today was no exception as he sat in the basket of the cart, chattering to himself. I was asking Murphy his drooling opinion on a tile when I heard it... the first curse word to knowingly escape my oldest son's mouth. He was whispering, that childlike, loud whisper in which everyone around them can hear what they are saying when he said "da*#it". Now, I'm not going to kid myself in saying that he probably heard it on the radio or T.V.; I'm sure he heard it straight out of my mouth in the exact same whisper he was currently using. Guilty as charged. I couldn't help but giggle a little but then I froze in my tracks; had the lady heard him? Did she realize what he said? Was she thinking I was a horrible mother? I, very sternly, asked him what he had said. Of course he knew he wasn't suppose to say that word so he replied, with his most innocent "I've been caught" face and said, "I don't know, it wasn't a bad word." (You have love little kid ability to incriminate themselves) I, in the same loud whisper he had been using, trying to use my best motherly tone, explained that I couldn't be sure he had said what I thought he had but, "I better not hear that word come of out your mouth again, young man. Do you understand me?" Thank our Heavenly Father I didn't have to remind him to say "yes, ma'am", and I quickly checked to make sure the lady was gawking at us before I continue my tile hunt.

Back at home, construction continued. It only took 3 more trips to Lowe's a Hobby Lobby adventure to finish up the bathroom and I must say, it looks great. The large mirror was glued to the wall and as a DIYer, I was not going to be able to get it off, so, instead, it is now framed out. The walls are milk chocolate brown with white trim and ceiling and shiny silver accessories. The shower curtain has large navy, light blue and green dots. I painted a metal, three picture, frame with coat hooks to match as a towel rack. I still plan on getting a small silver and glass shelf to hang over the toilet and I need to decide on a rug but, otherwise, its done!

Of course, the story can't end there; I haven't gone overboard enough. While working on the kids bathroom makeover, I also wallpaper the largest wall in the dining area. With a 120 foot vault at the top of this wall, it was no easy task but, I must say, it looks FABULOUS! I also decided to renovate the master bathroom. I have plenty of the milk chocolate paint left and think I will use all black and white accessories. I have already started pulling down wall paper border. I'm debating with myself on pulling that cabinet out as well. I wouldn't put a pedestal sink in there but, maybe, a smaller cabinet unit. It is suppose to start raining this afternoon so I'm sure I will make leaps and bounds on that project. I'm thinking of adding some of the same wallpaper from the dining area to the kitchen but I'll finish the master bath first. Once the wall around the fireplace is fixed, it will be chocolate brown as well as an accent to the khaki walls surrounding it. I also took the mirror out of a very old, very heavy, full length, wall mirror. It is now white, has coat hooks and is hanging sideways in the front hall. Oh, and one more. When we next get to my parents house, I'm going to harvest some of dad's scrap wood and build a bunch of small birdhouses. I'm going to paint them all sorts of bright colors to hang on the fence behind the garden. I'm also going to get some of his wire to tie around mason jars, place sand and candles in them and hang them around the yard for lighting. SO EXCITED! Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, my projects will be done. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ten Tips for being Fashionable on a Budget

Even mom's deserve to look good. Not only for yourself, but the confidence you emit when you know you look good passes on to your children. Unfortunately, time and budget often jump their ugly, bulky bodies right in our way. Here are 10 things I do to stay up to date...

1. Trends come and go so this is not the place to splurge. On the other hand, classic pieces can be added to and subtracted from for years to come. This is where you should be willing spend a little extra cash to get the good stuff. The classic black dress, lined trousers that lay just right, etc.

2. Change the accessories, change the look. Add a summer scarf for a casual day look then change your eye make and add a great big bangle necklace for a night out with the girls. Accessories are a great place to save money. Shop the sales, check out stores like Target and Wal Mart and never underestimate the things you can find at yard sales.

3. Don't look down on the second hand store especially if you are into brands. Places like Plato's Closet, Hut 8 and The Daisy Exchange are great for buying, selling and trading your gently used clothing but have some time to browse through the wracks; this isn't your average boutique. You might have to do some searching but snagging a pair of $200 jeans for $50 is well worth the work! Plus, accepting in house credit over cash for selling items gives you more money to spend but bare in mind that you have to spend it at that store.

4. Shoes also run the gamete of classic and trendy. Stores like Payless are great but be sure to think about how much you will be on your feet in them. Department stores have great end of the season sales on name brand shoes that might be worth the wait. If you have small feet, check out the kids department, especially on sneakers. They often have the exact same shoes for a fraction of the cost.

5. Host a clothing swap play date. We pass around kids clothes, why not our own? Every mom brings a few pieces that she is tired of having in rotation and everyone trades. You get different clothes FOR FREE!

6. Read the labels and follow the washing directions. Nothing wears clothes out faster than not taking care of them. Treat spots as soon as possible, turn printed shirts inside out, hang dry as much as possible and for goodness sake, don't wash your jeans and delicates in the same load.

7. Try clothes on before you leave the store. Even within the same brand there can be differences in sizing and fit. It takes more time to return an item to a store than to try it on. Ill fitting clothes are more likely to sit in your closet taking up funds for clothes you can actually wear than to be returned to the store.

8. Sign up for e-mail updates from your favorite stores. Retailers e-mail out information on upcoming sales and often offer discounts not otherwise advertised.

9. Really want the latest trend? Look for it at stores like Target, Old Navy, Kohl's and JC Penney. You spend half the cash for the same look and, when trend passes with the season, you don't have to feel guilty.

10. Only buy something you know you will wear. Let's face it, you find a great price on an uber trendy top but it really doesn't fit your style. PASS IT BY! If it is just going to sit in your closet, it isn't worth the money, no matter the discount. Cute jeans on sale but they are a size to small... it isn't incentive to loose weight, it is a waste of your limited fashion funds. Just walk away.

Above all of these tips, be confident in yourself. Confidence makes any outfit look fashionable, no matter the price!

To read more tips from other moms, check out Twittermoms

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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When life gives you lemons

...hand them to your children to start a lemonade stand. Maybe they will make enough change to buy that Thomas the Train they have been bugging you for.

We currently have a hole above our fireplace. I'm not exaggerating, it is a large area (probably 4 feet across) of missing dry wall, ceiling and insulation. Right after we bought the house, 5 years ago, our first homeowner issue was a leak above the fireplace. It wasn't big, just enough to notice the wet spot forming when it rained. Joey's dad came over to help us out with our inexperience. The solution seemed rather simple, the caulk around the bottom of the chimney had worn out; something we were informed happens every few years. Who Knew?? Well, apparently, the problem had been there for a while becoming a sloth-like thorn in our roofs side. It seems that the earth refreshing, sleep inducing rain had seeped under the shingles adjoining the chimney. After we caulked, the leak had been repaired but the water's entrance to it's new hangout had gone unnoticed. The newest rain speakeasy remained open for business, all the while growing and weakening roof boards underfoot. As anyone in the south knows, rain is not our only party goer. Humidity causes mold on our shingles leaving "beautiful" streak like marks on the cover of our homes. It joined the party as well setting up an all you can eat buffet for the mold that learned the password for the speakeasy club. Yep, mold.

So, now you are thinking, "how in the world did you figure that out? Didn't you say you fixed the leak?" Oh, I did. We fixed the original leak but the rain and mold sneaking under the shingles began to wear down the floor of its party room and slowly move into the insulation, down the 2x4's and, finally, into the drywall paper; all of which are some of mold's favorite snacks. This fall/winter, we all started getting sick. At first, I didn't think much of it. Joey had just returned from Germany and long trips can wear down the immune system. Keegan, Kendall and I all suffer from seasonal allergies and anyone who lives in NWA knows that there is ALWAYS something blooming. Our climate allows for 24/7, 365 blooming season, an allergy sufferers nightmare! Plus, fall and winter is cold and flu season. Heres the thing... we couldn't get better. Joey, whom rarely gets sick and, when he does, recovers quickly, had a cough that wouldn't go away. Keegan and Kendall continued to stay ill, Keegan, especially, continually getting worse. I got sinus infection after sinus infection with no relief from my Neti-Pot, vitamin C or allergy medication. It got to the point that Keegan was even diagnosed with allergy induced asthma. As I was about to give in to the thought of visiting an allergist, Murphy was due for a well baby visit. My WONDERFUL pediatrician noticed that poor Murphy STILL had a runny nose. His short little life (he was 6 months at the time) had not had enough environmental exposure to suffer from seasonal allergies. Dr. Lovell asked me if we had recently added a pet to our family unit; nope, not even a goldfish. Had we recently made a major change to our diet; nope, if anything, Keegan had been becoming a picky eater, removing things from his diet. Well, what's left? Dust and Mold.

Now, I HATE to dust but I also hate to look at it so I do it. I consider myself a pretty decent house cleaner and hadn't noticed mold anywhere. The Dr. asked if we had had a leak anywhere... well, yes, we had, but we had fixed it, right? When I got home, I looked around the house, out of mind that something in our home was making my family sick. Then I noticed it, the slight discoloration where the wall met the ceiling above our chimney. I had repainted that area and, yet, the discoloration had returned. I gathered my wits, a step stool and a plaster blade, took a deep breath and touched the ceiling with the blade. My thinking was that I would scrape away some of the popcorn to see if the dark color got any darker under it. Simply touching the popcorn made a large chunk of it fall and the color did, indeed, continue and get darker. When I touched the wall, it bent easily under slight pressure. I didn't want to investigate any further, I knew I had found the problem. Panicking, I called my parents who agreed to come up that weekend. When Joey got home, he cut a small hole in the wall to reveal the thick black mold living behind it. I had a rush of relief, panic, disgust and guilt all at once. We had found the source of our troubles but how had I, as mom, the one in charge of taking care of the family and keeping our home clean and livable, not known it was there? The days following the discovery consisted of MAJOR scrubbing, cleaning and purging. Every piece of furniture was moved, cleaned and cleaned under, including kitchen appliances. Every window was bleached, every window covering, blanket and bedspread washed. Every pillow and stuffed animal baked in the drier. The carpet in the kids rooms was steam cleaned and the walls washed (we have hard wood or tile everywhere else). That weekend, Joey, his brother Matt and my dad removed the section of offending wall and ceiling and scrubbed the wood. My mom helped me finish up the cleaning. My mother-in-law even got in the act by scrubbing the bathrooms from top to bottom for me. We were all breathing a little easier, literally.

Within two days, Keegan was barely coughing and wheezing, Joey felt great, Murphy and Kendall no longer had runny noses and I woke up without the sinus pressure that had been plaguing me for months. Allergy shiners were GONE! In the week that followed, we got an Ionic Air Filter from Honeywell, a new 3M allergy air filter for the heating/air vent return and swapped 99% of our cleaning products to natural versions. Did I go overboard? Probably. Is my family better? You betcha! The kids are sleeping better and Keegan is regaining his youthful energy. Murphy's boogers are clear and easily attributed to his teething status. Yes, we still have outdoor allergies and as spring continues the blooming process, grass is cut and outdoor play takes over we still have to use our Claritin but not daily. Keegan no longer takes his asthma medicine and I have not had a single infection!

Now, back to that hole. It's still there. We left it open to ensure it was no longer leaking and it is a good thing we did. It took just over a week for God to offer up rain again but, when he did, we had a puddle. Due to the activities of daily life, work schedules and continuing rain spurts, we haven't been able to get the leak fixed. Joey has been talking about having someone look at it for about a week now but, so far, it is still just talk. I've decided that I will just frame the eyesore, scribble some illegible name on it and mark the value of the house at least $65,000 higher due to the "one of the kind art work" it holds. Hence, the lemonade. The hole has inspired Joey to let me re-due the kids bathroom. Maybe I'll get my bathroom done next. Who knows just how far this hole might take me but right now, I'm shooting for the stars and keeping my lemonade stand going as long as possible.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pay Per Post

I'm trying out a new thing called Paid for Posting (you can try it out too). Since I will be writing continually, I figure I might as well try to get paid it. Why not exploit myself ;) I'm posting this for two reasons:

1. I want to let anyone reading this know that I will, on occasion, be accepting payment for my opinions. I will be giving truthful commentary that will follow my heartfelt ways on anything I accept. I'm not going to try to sell you something I don't believe in and I will always let you know, within the post, that I am being paid for that particular one. Wish me luck!

2. I have to post this random statement in order to "claim" my blog as my own. The luck arches the closing ozone.

There is an Alligator in my living room!

I have recently noticed, as in noticed this morning, that there is a phenomenon occurring once a year that has nothing to do with our Lord and Savior. I will, hence forth, call it the Mother's Day Worm Hole. The day was wonderful. Keegan, at school, planted a purple pansy and put his hand prints on a sweet poem for me. I also received beautiful pink roses, a Sugarland CD, my favorite German Chocolate and multi-colored Swedish Fish (do you know how hard it is find multi-colored fish, not just the red ones but all the colors, I LOVE THEM). Joey made me French toast and granola with yogurt. He got the kids up (we had been out late the night before so they were sleeping in) and got them dressed for church. Keegan even signed his own name to my card. After Mass, we watched my nephews get Baptized which is such a beautiful reminder of God's gift to mothers. We then had a big 'ol shindig to celebrate. After the festivities, we all took a nap (I wish this was an every Sunday tradition). I actually slept so hard that, when I woke up, I looked at the clock and was beyond confused as to why it was light outside at 3:30 am; it was 3:30 pm. We played outside, got Market Place's spinach queso to add to our super, went for a walk and, after the kids went to bed, Joey and I had a "chocolate mess" from Market Place, played Wii, drank wine and listened to classic songs from our high school and college days courtesy of the Bing Top 100 app. My children were amazing all day. I only remember utilizing "time out" once, they played well together, they ate supper without complaint, they had obviously been abducted and replaced by aliens.

I tell you all of this so that you can truly appreciate the worm hole...

At 12:15 am, Murphy woke up. I thought that I had settled him back into a peaceful snooze only to have him begin to scream again the very second my head hit the pillow. I returned, changed his diaper and fed him thinking "surely he will sleep now" and he did... for an hour. We continued our game of cat and mouse for several hours, finally resorting to bringing him to the bed with me. Peace began to resume its sleep inducing comfort only to be rudely interrupted by Kendall's blood curdling night terror screams. That was at 5:45 and she has yet to fall back to sleep causing her to be an exaggerated form of her usually loud and demanding self. Keegan and Kendall have yet to be within 3 feet of each other without screaming, hitting, crying or tattling and even my silent sufferer, Murphy, has not been enjoying his play time so that mommy can type. Maybe Mother's Day allows us to view the world through rose colored glasses but I attribute it all to the "Mother's Day Worm Hole".

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pump, Pump, Pump it Up defines "pumps" as:

n. A machine or device raising, compressing or transferring fluids.
v. To raise or cause to flow; draw, deliver or put forth.

It continues to go through various meanings including the heart, lifting weights, getting excited, pumping gas, etc. The very last one is: n. A woman's shoe that has medium or high heels and no fastenings. I have always thought it a fun way to describe high heels but never, really, understood who started it or why. "Pumps" allows me to envision Donna Reed prancing around in her puffed out skirt and pearls, each and every hair exactly where it should be, small, frilly apron tied around her tiny waist line, mothering her all but perfect children whom never had any issue that couldn't be solved in 30 minutes or less. We all know that the Reed's are a rather skewed version of reality and yet, somewhere in the back of our mind, we all aspire to join their ranking. (at least I do)

I wonder what the "modern" Donna might look like. She might have a cute pixie cut, a flouncy, flowing top and cuffed, khaki 3" shorts. Maybe she would have on an Ed Hardy t-shirt and Citizens Jeans with shoulder length, straight ironed hair. Skinny jeans and a tunic top, a floor length hippie dress and summer scarf, ripped up hipsters and a tank top... ? Who knows but one thing is for sure, she wouldn't be wearing pumps, she would be wearing stilettos. How sexy does that word sound? Stilettos! Come on, say it out loud. It automatically lifts you MUCH closer to MILF status to wear them. I have a friend who is so set in her stiletto ways that she even wore them through the birth of her son. No, I didn't say to, I said through, as in she never took them off. Talk about hard core!

I wish I had the energy and the time to "dress" every day. I have to admit that I get a little green with envy when I see the modern day Donna's at the grocery store, park, or school drop off and I'm in my yoga pants, and old t-shirt with baby spit up (that I haven't discovered yet) or breast milk covering, in desperate need of a shower. I would much rather be in my "cute clothes" with clean hair, fun jewelry and smell of perfume covering the smell of breast milk. My days don't always afford me that luxury. I'm crossing my fingers that, when Murphy takes his nap, Keegan will entertain Kendall long enough for me to jump in the shower and maybe even blow dry my hair. I wonder if Donna ever stayed in her PJ's all day, dirty hair plastered to her head?

Some day, the children will be grown. Real trucks will replace match box ones, Victoria's Secret will fill in for training panties and learning to crawl will turn into track practice. I don't long for those days to come any faster than they already are but I know when they do get here, I'll have plenty of time to dress every day. I wonder if I will?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lunch Time

I'm typing this as I'm trying to convince my 2 year old to finish her lunch and spoon feeding my 7 month old green beans. Obviously, I'm multitasking. It will soon be time to pick Keegan up from school and make a trip to Target. He has reached the point in his little life in which he is able to move on from a car seat to a booster and he is SUPER excited. Keegan has gathered 8 coins (I believe he has about 68 cents) in which to pick out his booster seat. He even placed them in his back pack this morning so as not to forget them this afternoon. He knows his mommy's tendency to forget things all too well.

The back yard is only half cut because of Kendall's new found hatred of the lawn mower. This hatred extends to the vacuum as well. I discovered this yesterday as we (the kids and I) were cleaning the van after our long weekend galavant. When I turned the vacuum on, she began to scream bloody murder as tears and snot ran down her little face. I turned the vacuum off several times to ask if she wanted out of the car; she was "cleaning" the windows with a baby wipe. Each time she, very plainly, told me no and each time she returned to her tantrum as the machine began to whir. I had hoped this was a single incident; I was mistaken. Today, as Murphy napped, Kendall and I went into the back yard. She had several books to look at and perched herself on a patio chair, under the umbrella, ready to enjoy the morning. I told her that I was going to start mowing, giving her fair warning of the noise that would ensue. With the first growl of the engine, she covered her ears and let out a cry of shear terror. I made it a bit under half way before I could torture her no longer and gave in to the cries of a 2 year old.

The yard still needs to be finished and will most likely remain that way until tomorrow. Laundry in the drier is begging to be folded and the rug needs to be vacuumed (though that might have to wait for Kendall to go to bed). Dust is collecting on the china cabinet and dishes piling in the sink. Murphy is done eating and Kendall is begging to go outside. Life goes on. Hopefully, I will be able to get a run in at some point today. Not holding my breath.