Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Be Nice

At the beginning of this year, I accidentally left my purse in my car and left my car unlocked. Not my brightest moment. Still, I maintain that I did not deserve

to have someone in the wee hours of the morning get into the van and steal my credit cards. I felt so violated, and so angry, and then one of my readers said something that rang true. She said she was trying to be extra nice to people to combat all the negativity going on in the world. Such a contrast from my whiny "why does everyone have to be so mean?" attitude I was carrying around. I vowed then to try to do the same. To be extra nice. To smile. Somewhere, somehow, I think I went back into my day to day life and forgot. Not that I go around with a frown on my face or be unnecessarily grumpy, but I surely can't remember a time when I recently went out of my way to be extra nice to someone.

Way back when we lived in Georgia, I felt overwhelmed sometimes with the kindness of my friends. People would offer to babysit the boys when Zack was tiny, and would never let me repay the favor. I felt horribly guilty, and tried to think of ways to return their kindness, but with 3 kids, ages 3, 2, and a newborn it seemed daunting. Back then, it occurred to me that my time to help would come later. I would know it when I saw it, and I may not repay the same friends that helped me out, but I could pay it forward, so to speak.

Recently, I've felt little nudgings of things to do for people, and I'm ashamed to say I've been suppressing them. It's never been a huge thing. Maybe taking a dinner to someone whose schedule is crazed right now, or sending a small gift to a friend far away. You know what's been stopping me? Thoughts like "Well, I really don't know them that well." " What if they think it's strange?" "What if it seems to forward, or somehow offends them?"I don't think I'm copping out, but maybe (definitely) I've become a little bit too worried about self preservation and what people will think. That is pretty twisted, though, because I know that if someone showed up at my door unannounced with dinner in hand, I would totally love it. Even if I already had dinner planned, even if it wasn't my favorite food. These are the kinds of things that stop me.

When I had the opportunity to read Debbie Tinzer's book "Do One Nice Thing" for the Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club, I knew I had to participate. This was already on my mind and I wanted that extra push to do what I vowed to do 9 months ago. The book is a collection of ideas ofacts of kindness. The theory behind it is that we can't change all the problems in the world, but we can make improvements by doing one nice thing a week. The suggestions in the book range from a simple smile (anyone can share a smile!) to helping children by donating school supplies, to donating a goat (for $30) to needy families in South Africa.

The possibilities are endless. My time has come to repay some of the favors done for me in the past. With this book in mind, I will commit to doing at least one nice thing a week. It may be something as simple as making cookies for my kids, and sharing them with the neighbors, but I will also strive to get out of my comfort zone. Next time an idea pops into my head, I won't dismiss it, or talk myself out of it. If I lack ideas I know I can turn to Debbie Tinzer's book.

For more discussion of "Do One Nice Thing," check out the Silicon Valley Moms Blogs (including Deep South Moms) on Tuesday, September 29th.


"It seems Ben is out of the eating crayons phase," I thought proudly as I set him up to color at the kitchen table. "It's about time, too. I wonder if he'll still eat the tips off of markers? The boys sure would be happy if they could color with markers again."

True to form, I got sidetracked and didn't think more about what Ben was doing at the table with the crayons until about 5 minutes later, when the coloring was abandoned and the crayons were all over the floor.

Yep, he's still totally in the throwing things on the floor phase.


I love 2. Yes, there's the tantrums, and the messes, and the total lack of self control. But there's a sweetness at two. A total adoration for mommy. An enthusiasm that just thrills me.


Ben has started to show signs that he has quite the temper. Okay, fine, I've always suspected this about him, but at 2 1/2, he can exhibit quite the display. He has a fit every time he has to get in his carseat because he wants to ride in a booster seat like his brothers. Every time, I tell him he needs to ride in his safe seat, and every time you would think I was abusing him the way he freaks out when I insist we must buckle the 5 point harness.

Today we were talking; we have great conversations, Ben and I. I don't remember what I said, but he said "because I a big boy, Momma." And I said "noooo Ben you're my baby." He replied, "don't call me a baby evah evah gin. K, Mom?"
I see evidence every single day that my baby days are slipping by. All of my kids get themselves dressed now (one with serious prodding, but he's making progress.) Ben sometimes pees in the potty. My big kids are getting to truly be big. A little independence. Opinions of there own. As happy as I am to see this, a big part of me wants to slow down time. To keep them small. And when Ben says "Want a heg (hug) Mom?" and throws his sweet arms around my neck and kisses me smack on the lips, I just want to freeze him right where he is.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fundraisers, fundraisers, fundraisers

Seriously, it's the first month of school and I'm up to my eyeballs in fundraisers.

My secret... I don't do it. I am a fundraising slacker. I hope not to sound like I don't support my kids schools, because I do. I love their school. But I can't stand the thought of asking our friends and family (repeatedly... times 3- someday 4)

I wrote a little more over at Deep South Moms about this topic. Do you agree? Am I horrible for feeling this way? I know I'm not alone in my feelings. But am I the minority or majority?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When things aren't fair.

Yesterday Zack had a bad day.

It started with him doing the hide behind Mom's leg trick at preschool. He hasn't done that in two weeks, but the teacher & I chalked it up to being Monday and I left him. I fretted for a while once Ben and I got home, but soon went on with my day.

When I went to pick Zack up, he ran to me like always with a smile on his face. I picked him up to kiss him and he got the saddest look on his face. "I didn't get a sticker." And then the water works. I debated asking the teacher what had happened but didn't want to look like I was just worried about the lack of sticker.

I did talk to her, but just asked how he did since he'd had a hard time staying. She said he did great, but was upset about not getting a sticker, but she had only given one to one boy. Turns out she told the kids whoever could spell hat would get a sticker. They each had an opportunity, but only one child did it.

He got his stamp for being good, but no sticker.

Boy, who knew how much drama this could cause. I heard about it for hours. I just kept thinking I wish that grown up bad days amounted to not getting a sticker.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Here is my finished (kind of) bedroom. I did notice after taking these pictures that part of the wall where the bed is needs touched up, it didn't get quite even.

I would like to paint or refinish that dresser a darker color. Maybe a charcoal grey. We shall see. I also want to move the elliptical and put in a nice comfy reading chair. That may have to wait since I really don't want to spend much money on this decorating project.

And my wall art (if it doesn't suck) will hang there, over the bed. After I get the bed and end tables centered on the wall. Moving that bed by myself was not an easy accomplishment. But I did it!

I did not use the table saw because I am a chicken. I'll try not to beg Kevin to do it RIGHT when he gets home. We'll see how long I last.

Also, those end tables? I bought them a few months ago when I got those lamps. They are totally fine, but now. they.alll.wrong.for my vision of my pretty bedroom. So, do I Craigslist them & have my handy hubby build something to replace it? Or do I paint them to match the bookshelf. Also, the headboard needs to be darker now. Refinishing that sucker would be hard work, so what I'd love to is paint all the furniture in there. Really the only thing stopping me is that Kevin hates the thought of painting wood. And he built the bookshelf and headboard. So, if he doesn't want me to paint them I probably shouldn't. I'll talk to him about it right after we discuss him cutting 9 8x8 squares of MDF for me.

See what I mean about snowballing?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pacing Myself

Home improvement projects are so fun, but the problem is, they snowball. Take for example.

I decided I wanted to make this wall hanging for my bedroom. (I will post pictures once we find out if it actually works out... suspense!) I also have a scenic lighthouse picture I got made into a poster a while back when Walgreens had a freebie deal. But before hang that picture and my possible wall hanging I wanted to paint my walls, and then paint a rectangle of a very close shade of the color to highlight the art.

Are you lost yet? Cause that almost doesn't make sense to me. I have a vision in my head but describing it is difficult. And you see, my room is all painted and pretty and I would have pictures to post right now but my camera battery is charging. My next step is to create this marvel (I hope) to hang on the wall above our bed. The problem is this requires using power tools. A table saw to be exact. Normally this would totally be a hubby job, but he's off playing working in GA this week and I want to do it now. Except the garage really needs to be cleaned too, and if I'm going to go out there and try to use a table saw I think it better be tidy. You know, in case I lose a finger and have to call 911. Wouldn't want the paramedics to see the clutter out there. (I kid, I would TOTALLY pass out if I cut myself there would be no phone calling!)

Anyway so one little task of beautifying my bedroom turns into a million different projects and I haven't even mentioned all of them, because I'm not SURE I can convince Kevin to let me paint our bookshelf and headboard, and I definitely don't want to buy new ones.

Also we need to paint the living and dining room & I want to do a darker color on our tv wall in the family room as an accent wall, and and and. And I want it all done NOW.

So, I keep telling myself to take it slow (like 3 weeks roughly to get my bedroom painted) and as long as I'm working toward getting it done, it's cool. I'm pacing myself.

Now I think I'll go tackle that garage.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The brain is a funny thing. I haven't thought about my old job, or the people I worked with for quite some time. It's been 7 years 5 months 11 days since I was there. I've heard a few things about a few people, but besides a very few people I was close to, I really don't think about it much.

Friday night, after reflecting on September 11, after writing about it; I dreamed about my old job and all the people there. In my dream I went back to work. (Interesting, since it's 1200 miles away from where I now live. The people welcomed me back with open arms. Everyone acted as if I had never left.

The only strange thing is that the President, my boss's dad, who retired before I had Eric and left the job asked me to go on the roof and and check out the air conditioner compressor. I couldn't figure out what was wrong (because dude, I work (ed) in accounting. And he kept getting so frustrated that I wasn't doing it right and his office was too warm.

Now I'm laughing SO hard because our air conditioner upstairs is doing strange things and while technically working is having these... issues and we can't quite figure it out. I just pieced together that the air conditioner part of the dream must be related to this. Haha!

The subconcious is such an amazing, and strange thing.

Most of my dreams I feel like I need a professional analyst to pick apart for me. This one, I think I have figured out!

Friday, September 11, 2009


If I am quite honest, I have not thought much about 9-11-01 today. I didn't forget entirely. It occurred to me at some point that today 8 years ago was a horrific day. I wondered, as I do on every anniversary if something else might happen. Something marking the anniversary of a day that changed so many lives. I felt sadness, perhaps even fear. But I put it behind me and moved along with my day, on the hunt for baseball equipment and work clothes for Kevin. Busy with school pickups and dishes and laundry and every number of mundane things. I may not of even remembered before falling asleep if not for a friend asking "where were you."

I walked into work, 2 and a half months pregnant, a little disgruntled that the receptionist was running late and I would have to answer the phones until she got there. Minutes later, a salesman ran up to the front desk & mentioned a plane flying into the World Trade Center. We believed at that time that it was an accident. A small plane, flying too low, got off course somehow. It was unbelievable, but we made sense of it all.

Until... plane two hit building two. We stood at the door of the VP of the company's desk and watched the first tower fall on tv. I was flooded with memories of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah federal building bombings. I remembered the fear I felt that day. Of the friend's who lost loved ones in that attack and I tried, unsuccessfully, as I did that other far off day, to make some sort of sense of it all. Sense of the hatred, and anger that must be present to do such a thing.

I sat and wondered what kind of world I was bringing my child into. My much longed for, waited for, hoped for child... what kind of life would he see. The rest of the day is a blur. I tried to focus on work things in between listening to talk radio and running to my boss' office to get updates on tv. I remember the Pentagon attack, and wondering where my Father in Law was in relation to the crash as he was on a business trip to DC that day. When I heard of flight 93 going down in Pennsylvania, I wondered to myself when this was ever going to end. If this was the beginning of an age of terrorism and violence.

More news, the company Kevin worked for at the time had their New York office in one of the WTC buildings. That was scary for awhile.

My Father in Law ended up being fine, and the people that worked for my husband's company evacuated their building, and were never in harms way, but almost 3000 people left this world that day as a result of hatred, and anger. I still ask myself why. My heart goes out to the families of the victims today, as it did that day years ago.

Even though I wasn't personally affected, my deep gratitude is given to the rescue workers, to the people who worked to clean up the site. To the people on Flight 93, for their bravery in the face of terror. For each and every hero, on that day and after I give my thanks.

In February 2008, I was in NYC and visited Ground Zero. Words can not express how it felt to see the place where the twin towers used to stand, and where it not for terrorists who destroyed it still would.

My words are inadequate to do justice to the emotion I felt on September 11, 2001. Eight years ago. Still heartbreaking, still horrific. I remember.

Thank you Sue for making me take the time to really reflect on that day.

Where were you on 9/11/01?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long Overdue

So we are starting the third week of school and I haven't posted first day of school pictures. What's your point? I haven't posted Disney pictures either and I haven't even put the camping pictures (and there are some good ones!) on the computer yet. However, since I have a messy kitchen and a giant pile of laundry that I'm avoiding... I present to you... three week old first day of school pictures.

The instructions were simple. Stand close together, look at the camera and SMILE.

Mark stand up please, Zack look at Mommy.

Ok, that's better, but Eric put your hands down.

Yes! That's it. Looks good! Achoooooo! Click. Yep. The sneeze ruined it.

After many, many outtakes, this is the best we could do.

The individual pictures went somewhat better... with the exception that this is the closest to a smile Eric would give me. (And I completely forgot to get a picture of Zack when I took him to his school.)

At least it's better than last year when I lost my camera at the school never to see it again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


There are things about boys I will never understand. Potty humor is just one of them. I guess it's cause I'm a girl. I grew up with a brother but nothing could really prepare me for the obsession of poop, pee, penises, etc.

We recently signed up the 3 oldest guys for baseball. Little did I realize that I would be eating, sleeping, dreaming, and breathing baseball for the next few months. It seems, though, that is the case. That is neither here nor there. It is what it is. (But Saturday we have 3 practices at 3 different times. Should be interesting.)

Anyway, the point is the kids have to wear a cup to all practices and games. Picture me wandering the aisles of the sporting goods store, hoping against hope that I could just find the cups so that I didn't have to ask somebody where they were. I did, and then wondered if the sizes I got were okay, and if they really needed it at their age.

Yikes. Then came the task of explaining to my children what exactly a cup was and why they needed one.

Tonight was Eric's first practice, and beforehand I showed him how it worked and stuff.

Any guesses what the first thing that happened was.

Mark: Hey, can I punch you in the privates?
Me: Noooo let's not do that!
Eric: Okay
Me: Guys! No!
Mark: does it anyway.
Eric: (laughing hysterically) That didn't even hurt.

On our camping trip Eric got some bites in some inconvenient places. On the way to practice he says to me "hey Mom, at least I can't scratch my bites now. That's good!"

I don't even know what to say, except OY. I still have so much to learn about boys.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Something Else to Do While I Should be Packing

The boys were up at 5:12 which pretty much irritated the crap out of me. I could have been packing since then, but instead have been doing junk on facebook & trying to keep the volume in this house down to a low roar. THAT is a difficult job. I don't know what my problem is with the packing. It won't take long once I get started and I'm totally excited about this camping trip with awesome friends. BUT packing isn't nearly as fun as say, taking a picture of Ben's newest fashion statement...

Then, when he recieved attention for it in the form of me taking a picture, Mark and Zack needed in on the action.

And now that I've wasted enough time I shall go pack.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nose in a Book

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last few days. Somehow I was under the mistaken impression that I would have more time once the kids started school, but with all the dropping off & picking up my day is chopped up into brief little sections and I've filled that time with trying to get my house in some kind of order, and also painting my bedroom. Do you know how long it takes to paint a room in hour increments? I really thought I'd be done by now, but with a few days of Ben not napping threw me a bit off schedule. Next week! This pretty much leaves evenings for my blogging time and I seem to have been lost in a book for the past few nights.

I love reading. I've recently rediscovered this love & made time to do it more. When we were in Oklahoma I picked a novel up from the table at Kevin's parents house. I read 2 pages of that book and had to put it down, and never got another chance to sit down with it again. Just after those 2 pages I knew I had to finish. I was intrigued. When we got home, I put a hold on it at the library. After picking it up, I read 100 pages of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins that first night. I wanted to keep reading, but could barely keep my eyes open, and I knew the boys would be up early. The next day, I couldn't quit thinking about the story and picked it up to read "just one chapter." That chapter turned into two and three and four. I finally made myself do some stuff around the house and would then reward myself with one more chapter. By mid afternoon, the house was decently clean, and the book was finished. It was one of the very few times that I've been frustrated with the ending of the book, not because of how it ended but because I wanted more. I couldn't quit thinking about it. The power of the story, the characters, what could happen next kept entering my thoughts. I wished I hadn't read so intensely throughout the day so I could have it to look forward to that evening.

I found out that the sequel "Catching Fire" would be out in Sept, and the other day I happened to see it in Sams and picked it up. I paced myself this time, reading 100 pages Wednesday night. Yesterday, I didn't allow myself to pick it up until the boys were in bed because I had so much to do. Today, I was not nearly so disciplined and read the rest throughout the day.

I didn't think it was possible, but it was every bit as good as the first. Just as thrilling, intriguing, and intense. Even more than last time, I yearned for the story to go on. There is a third book in the works, but as the 2nd one just came out this week, I have a while to wait.

So, that's where all my good blogging time has been going this week. If you have a few days to get lost in a book, I highly recommend reading this series.

Now I'm going to go to sleep so I can get up early and pack to go camping. Which maybe I should have done today while I was reading.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kid Funnies

Eric: Mom, you have such a nice singing voice.
Me: Why thanks Eric, I like your voice too.
E: (sad face) No Mom, I sound screechy and funny when I sing.
Me: Well, buddy, everyone has different talents and...
E: (interrupting and much more cheerful) YES! Like, I'm good at dancing!
Me: Yes, and see, I'm really not.

And he made sure that he told the pediatrician that he's a reallllly good dancer, and mom can't dance at all, but she's a good singer.


Today Ben changed into jammies while he was supposed to be napping. Hey, at least his thoughts were kind of in the right direction. It was almost time to pick Zack up from school & I had decided to just take him in his jammies because I'm really tired of the 4 outfit a day routines he's gotten into. I told him "Hey, in 5 minutes we are going to get brothers." He replied. "Five minutes... OH! I need clothes!" And went and put his clothes back on. He amazes me every bit as much as he aggravates me.

There's more, but I'm tired and that's all for tonight.

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