29 March 2011

Habits & Answered Prayers

You know I totally use this blog as a journal.  I've noticed over the past few years that when I get busy or stressed, the blog is the first thing to fall off my "to-do list."  Lately, it hasn't even made it almost on the list, but for a totally different reason.  I've been blogging/journaling about things I want to do...but not really taking the time I need to take to work on those things, if that makes sense.

I'm not sure what clicked in me, and it wasn't even right at the beginning of the new year, but I really have been convicted about changing my habits and living the life I want to live RIGHT NOW.  I told James this morning over breakfast, if I had the perfect body & perfect bank account...I wouldn't change a thing about how my day would go today.  That makes me happy--instead of waiting until the stars align, as I am wont to do--I am practicing the habits that will get me where I want to go, instead of just HOPING I'll magically get there.  Crazy, no?

Here are the habits I've been working on...if you read this blog, I've written/whined about each of these.  A LOT!  Bleh.

Habit 1:  Work Schedule

Balance is a constant battle for me.  This year I've found myself working more and more and more...but not necessarily billing more, just carrying the stress around.  Not a great combination, and certainly not good for my schedule.  So I'm really working on it.  We've been working on a big, stressful project all year, and it's been a struggle.  I'm working on getting that job back in the two days/week compartment I have carved out for it, instead of worrying all day every day and working all night in my sleep.  I'm having a big ol' rosacea flare-up right now, and I'm pretty sure this one is directly related to work and extended family stress.  (You won't see me writing about that one...nothing I can do about it but keep out of any drama!)  One thing I needed to work on, too, was my online work--I've gotten into some bad habits there, as far as being more reactive than proactive (i.e. waiting for instructors to come to me with issues, when some of them I could head off at the pass).  When the March cycle started, I restructured my days so that I get every single course twice a day, first thing and last thing.  It's made a huge difference in my work load, and I'm grateful for that.  Life/work balance, here I come!

Habit 2:  Food Choices

When I was sick leading up to my gall bladder surgery, one of the things we found that worked for me was cutting out meat.  It worked like a charm, and I felt great...and even started off my pregnancy as a vegetarian.  Then I started worrying about the baby getting enough protein, so I got really stressed about my diet and started counting protein grams--really--which wouldn't have been horrible, but then I started craving meat.  Should I say, the baby started craving meat...so about a month after I found out I was pregnant, I started eating meat.  And promptly became sick and stayed sick for several weeks.  At the time we thought it was just morning sickness (I wore bands for weeks...sigh...), but looking back, I was meat-sick.  For whatever reason, and I don't think this is true for everyone or that you should change your diet, meat doesn't work for me.  I just can't process it, so I end up feeling horrible.  I go meatless on and off, but it's not something I'd have my kids do, so I always end up falling off the wagon.  This year, my diet has really gone south--I have gained 10 pounds since school started!  I know it's due in big part to poor diet...I eat like a three-year old boy, including pizza every Thursday (it became a habit after we left church...time for Wittle Caesars!).  Desserts every day...snacks after school...cokes...beer...you name it, I was eating or drinking it.  I don't know why, because in my head I still thought I was practicing moderation...but nope, that was not the truth at all.  One day I woke up to this and decided that I'd use Lent to get back on track.  So far, so good--I have cut out the things that were the biggest problems for me (soda, meat, desserts--really!) and I feel better already.  My clothes definitely feel better.  :)  So, I'm working on a healthier diet, which is something previously I haven't been able to do well without appetite suppressants.  This is truly an answered prayer, because I know I couldn't do this alone!

Habit 3:  Quiet Time

I finally did it...I got back to starting my day with quiet time & Bible study.  I'm on week 3 of daily quiet time, which for me is pretty awesome--I lack "stickwithitness" when it comes to good habits, sadly.  My days go so much better, which means that everyone's days go much more smoothly.  When Mommy's patient, it's a whole different story around here...and I'm much more the Mommy & wife I'd like to be, instead of giving my family what I have left over after every other obligation.  I feel like ME again, and it's wonderful.  I didn't realize how much I wasn't talking to God until I started up the conversation again.  Luckily, we picked right up where we left off...He's cool like that.

Habit 5:  Gratitude

My personal gratitude journal had become hit-or-miss this winter, so I have worked that into my quiet time each morning.  I find it's a great place to start and lead into prayer.  We still do "thankful for's" as a family each day, which I absolutely love.  Someday, those books will be precious reminders of this season of life.

Habit 4:  Exercise!

I have a lot of time to think on Wednesdays when I drive back and forth from Houston.  This past week, I was thinking about the changes I've made over the past few weeks and giving thanks for the blessings...and then it struck me, I'm still missing a key piece:  exercise.  So I promised I'd talk to James about it and figure out a plan to start the next week (this week).  The next morning as I was leaving MOPS, a new friend asked me, "so when are we going to start walking?"  The week before, we'd had lunch together and realized we live fairly close to each other, and said in passing we ought to walk sometime.  When she asked me on Thursday, I didn't hesitate--I said, "tomorrow!"  So we did.  And again yesterday.  On Saturday, another friend called and said she needed to be better about going to the gym, wasn't I a member?  Um, yeah...so I'm going there in a few minutes with both of these girls to get started working out again.  Totally, totally answered prayers!

Isn't it amazing what a difference my attitude makes?  Truly, if this is as good as it ever gets, I'd die a happy Mommygirl.  :)

24 March 2011

Thankful for Givers

Thanks to some awesome people, we have been able to absolutely SPOIL the teachers at Krause for the past two months!

For February, Elisa Workman had the idea to bring her chocolate fountain to school.  (She had this idea while we were helping Jana Foster with her November donation of cake balls!  Can I just say that up until November, people had helped with gifts but nobody had ever had an idea and volunteered their expertise like that?)  To prepare for February, we sent out a letter to our volunteers, got TONS of dippable food donated, and even had volunteers show up to work.  Then the Workmans donated the chocolate, which we were supposed to purchase, in addition to Elisa's time and the fountain!


What a blessing!  February was a big hit, and I wasn't sure how we were going to top it.

I shouldn't have worried.  A few months ago, Missy Robinson (yep, MooseFeathers Florist!) volunteered to help  us out with plants for one of the spring gifts.  I didn't think much about it, thinking we'd get some liiiiittttttle plants and stick a tag on them.  But, no.  Missy asked if she could get them ready over spring break, and I was not at all prepared for what she did...these are not puny little plants.  These are gorgeous flowers, wrapped so prettily in burlap and raffia and twine.  They are AMAZING!  And the staff was awed that someone would take the time to put together such a wonderful gift for them.  What's really cool?  MooseFeathers donated all 110 gifts--and did all of the work.  That is a big ol' gift--we are all so grateful, Missy!







I'm always humbled by people's generosity.  We are blessed to be part of such an awesome community!

22 March 2011

Hide? and Seek

I couldn't resist!




21 March 2011

Pieces


Aunt Susan gave Noble legos for his birthday.  He was playing with them this morning when it occurred to me that I am just like those legos.  Little pieces that I can snap together in infinite ways to create different things...or even the same things, over and over again.  Changing even one piece can change the entire finished product, for better or worse.  All of the little pieces fit back in the box of my life, but only when I take them all apart.  When all of my work pieces are put together, it's just too big to fit back in the box with any other pieces.  Or it takes all of the pieces in the set and there's not enough left over to make a Mommy or Wife...you get the idea.  The same thing applies to pretty much any of my "pieces"--I can do one thing well with many or all of my pieces, or I can split myself up into smaller things...but too many things means there's not enough of me to go around or do them all well.  By the same token, my pieces work best when I snap them together with complementary pieces.  

Like the legos, I'm always a work in progress.   I guess the question always is, what pieces will I use today?  

19 March 2011

Happy birthday, Daddyboy!

Today is James' birthday! Kayci and I had fun decorating and putting together a choose-your-own-adventure birthday for Daddy. I can't tell you much about his gift because it involves gifts that will be given over the next few weeks, but I will say he chose adventure over a new toy. I think he chose well, but Kayci really wanted him to get a new iPad!

Today has been a perfect Daddyboy day: great weather, Big Daddy's for breakfast AND lunch, and an entire morning spent outside working on the treehouse. After nap (also one of his favorite things!) we're going to spend the afternoon with family celebrating another very special life.

Welcome to 36, Boy...it looks great on you!


























16 March 2011

Fun!!

James' birthday is Saturday.  For the past three...wait, nope, make it four years, Noble's kind of overshadowed Daddy's big day.  While we're not having a big celebration this year (truly, I could not top last year's crawfish!), I did want to make it special for my Boy.  So today I wrapped up all of his gifts...and then had a little fun trying to make him guess what they are.

He's sooooooooo not gonna guess.

I love presents!

15 March 2011

Boble Has Left the Building

picture credit:  Angus--thanks!

This morning the kids and I were sitting at the table, eating our cereal and talking.  Noble is very interested in letters right now and "spelling" things.  A-O-B-E spells Noble, apparently.  :)

Here's the thing--if you have ever talked to Noble, you know that he refers to himself as "Boble."  He can say the /n/ sound and "no"...but has called himself Boble for about two years.  At his first preschool, the toddlers referred to him as "Boble" and he picked it up there, but then it just stuck.  WE don't call him "Boble," but we do call him "Bubby" so maybe it's just all jumbled up.  Anyway, a few weeks ago we started the countdown, figuring that "Boble" would be on the way out since his articulation has been improving by leaps and bounds.  

Back to breakfast, Noble said to Kayci, "spell Noble."  Kayci and I looked at each other...she did...and he said, "that's wight.  That spells Noble."

:(

He's just growing up so fast.  Don't even get me started on my Bitty...

14 March 2011

Focus

My to-do list is a mile long.  My house?  Trashed.  My kids?  Happy to be at home, doing nothing for a change.  My Boy?  At work so we can be at home with food in the fridge, roof over our heads, you know...little things we take for granted.  When I sat down to write, I was focused on focusing on my family, but do you see the order I listed things?  Work, mess, kids, Boy...wow, are my priorities out of order!  I don't even see God anywhere on the list, probably because I take for granted that He'll come along wherever I go.  How about I go where He leads this week, for a change?

I stole this pic from Angus--it cracks me up that we're all looking in different directions.  
If we were in a canoe right now, we'd be sinking!  

My focus this week:  keeping first things first.  Spending time in the Word, PRAYING, being quiet...spending time with my family, catching up with family & friends--and working in between.  The to-do list will take care of itself if I take care of keeping my priorities in order.  Doesn't it always?

You know what helps?  Dead car battery = homebound Mommygirl & kids.  For the morning, anyway.  I am thankful today for that dead battery and having time at home with the knuckleheads to do nothing or something, as it strikes our fancy.

13 March 2011

Toenail clippings in the rug...

We visited a new church this morning.  And the time changed.  And somebody wet the bed last night, displacing two children and making for a rough night's sleep for two adults.  We finally got motivated enough to cook breakfast...then didn't have the eggs to make the pancakes we'd decided on.  So you can imagine what our house was like this morning...not to mention, the house itself is a WRECK.  Sigh.  I'm not proud of what happened next, but it happened and it's something I'm constantly struggling with.

Kayci came into the bathroom while I was brushing my teeth.  She was so proud of her new outfit, and she was looking pretty cute.  I had already complimented her on said outfit a few minutes before, not that it matters, because what I said to her wiped out any nice thing I'd uttered.  She was standing beside me and I looked down and said, "your toenails are disgusting!"  Now, they weren't disgusting at all--I was just disgusted in general and took it out on her toenails.  Sure, the polish was chipped and there were longer and a little dirtier (everyone has dirty toenails once in a while, if we're being real here) than I prefer to have on display...but they weren't disgusting.  Nothing about that beautiful girl could be disgusting.  And as soon as I said it, I was immediately slammed with regret.  I gathered my thoughts for a minute and apologized, saying that I never should have said that her toenails are disgusting, because they aren't.   And then I sat her down and trimmed her toenails and repainted them, right then and there.  Yes, we were running late, but I needed to serve her and help her feel pretty and prepared again before we stepped out of the house.  So there are toenail clippings in the bathroom rug since we've been running since then, but I'll clean up in a little while after the kids go to bed.  Well, after I finish washing and drying their sheets.  But you know what?  Being humbled like that first thing in the morning has kept me in check today.  I know the house will be clean tomorrow, but it's not the most important thing...the things washing their hands for dinner right now and the thing who just finished making dinner are what matters to me.  I should shut the laptop and get back to enjoying them.  :)

12 March 2011

Seemed like fun at the time...

One of my favorite things in the whole world to do--and to teach!--is bubbles. Inside, outside, big, small...love 'em all. So, when I saw the new Crayola colored bubbles, I totally encouraged Kayci to buy them for Noble's birthday. Hmmph.

4 days later, he finally asked to play with them. I was thrilled! When I opened the bottle of purple, my heart wobbled a little. But then when we started churning out blood-colored bubbles and Noble and the deck were splattered with it, my heart SANK. I'm pretty easygoing with bubble mess...but this is a whole new level. It was fun and definitely colorful, but a little too messy to truly enjoy. Kayci just asked to go in and shower, and I'll be throwing Noble in the tub shortly after. Who knows how long I'll be cleaning up blue and purple dye?? Don't even get me started on what it did to their Chucks...

I don't think the pictures do the chaos justice. Really, I don't think I have any friends who would be okay with this level of destruction. Do I??



Can you see how the blue us everywhere??



Noble was blowing colored bubbles at his bubble rocket...



This is after a wipe...



The poor deck!

I don't think these will be our standard summer birthday gift as planned...we'll stick with Gazillions!

08 March 2011

From Mitzie...

My friend Mitzie is our regional rep for the American Cancer Society (she lost her Mom, Pat Tucker, 14 months ago). Mitzie sent this to me--please read.

One of the issues I went to Austin on, smoke free Texas workplace (HB 670 & SB355) has been scheduled to go to committee hearings this week, in both the house & senate which is great!!! They really moved fast on this, Yea!!! Would you mind sending out & email to our friends, MOPS moms or any others you think would help by sending the attached letter to their state rep or senator asking them to follow through on this bill? This is not so much about taking away peoples rights to smoke in public workplaces but more of a health issue of lowering the high rate of cancers that are now coming about due to secondhand smoke, as well as heart disease, low birthweights in babies all have seen a huge rise due to second hand smoke!

http://action.acscan.org/site/R?i=eq1ofjIpPnqnFfEYI29Wjw

If you don't mind i would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your help, let me know if you have any questions. --MB

06 March 2011

PS on that sand playdough...

DON'T open it--something went wrong, and that stuff is stinky! Crap. I guess I was too proud of it. :)

Pictures will be up soon...it was a great day/weekend, funkiness & all!

05 March 2011

Dreaming...

Just put pasta face down for a nap before his birthday party. Think he has any clue what fun he's going to have when he wakes up? I can't wait!!!


--out & about :)

Eye of the Beholder

I've had a really long day--22 hours and counting. Not complaining, because it's been a fun day, but I'm not used to it. So, a couple of hours ago I thought, hmm...these pirate picks look like frogs.




Especially the ones I put on upside down. Crap.




What's a Mommygirl to do? Sharpie to the rescue...






04 March 2011

Give Thanks

Several months ago, I won a sweet silver bracelet in a MOPS doorprize drawing.  It reads,
"Give thanks to the Lord, for His love is everlasting."


Recently I've been reading the book Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst (sound familiar, Proverbs 31 fans?).  It's about food and choices, but about so much more.  One of the things I've realized is that I don't pray nearly enough.  I have lost the habit of handing my cares and worries over to God, laying them at the foot of the cross.  I can't do it alone...and that's been pretty evident in my parenting lately, I think.  I find myself raising my voice WAY more than I'd like, and then I wonder why Noble yells so much (or "ells," as he says.  "Why you ell at me?  Quit scweaming at me," he says.  For the record, I don't scream.  But I feel like it sometimes!

Anyway, I've been wearing the "Give thanks..." bracelet for the past two weeks to remind me to pray for Heather and her family, and give to thanks for Larry, but also to remind me to give thanks for my family--and offer them same grace that God offers me.  I've got so far to go, but I've taken a step and that has to be enough for today.

Ah, today.  Today is not at all the Friday, March 4th I had in my head.  The birds are singing outside and it's a lovely day, which is nice, but inside things are all messy and disorganized and just not where I want them to be.  MY plan was to work just on Wednesday this week so I could have time for MOPS and Kayci stuff yesterday, then Noble stuff and PTO today.  Ha.  Work, of course, spilled over across Thursday and about 5 hours of today already...yes, it's 9:30 AM.  Do the math.  I wasn't too stressed, thinking I just had cupcakes to bake today and some strips to cut & tape...show you later.

Then this morning in the midst of yet another work crisis, I realized that I'd forgotten something.  A BIG something.  Nope, scratch that--it's a little something, but a detail of Noble's party that I've had in my head for so long that I really, really wanted to get it done for tomorrow.  So, I added that to the "to-do" list for today.  And shuffled it again.  And again...and again.  You get the idea.  Up until I remembered that detail, I wasn't stressed about the birthday party--I thought I was in good shape going into today.  Isn't it funny how one little thing can shift the whole balance?  Reminds me of the exercise where you put the sand, gravel, rocks, water in the jar...but it only fits if you put the big rocks in first and allow the little stuff to fall in around.  I've been off when it comes to filling my life--I'm missing a big rock, and that's time with God, whether in prayer or in the Word.  That probably sounds like some of you, friends--we're all so busy with our kids and life.  But I know with all my heart that the busy is so much easier when we turn it back over to God and work on His projects, in His time.

Back to today...a little while ago, as I was running frantically back and forth from the computer to the printer to the kitchen to checking on Noble (see, there's a piece:  Noble's here with me this morning, amusing himself while I do "my" work.  Deep sigh.  Breathe...), I realized that I had it all wrong.  I refuse to dwell on what's "wrong" with my day (other than to put it down here so you can see where I'm coming from), but instead to hand it all over to God and give thanks.  So here goes...

I am thankful for the jobs I have (even when they drive me crazy, like now) and for the unexpected income the unexpected workload will bring in.  


I am thankful for 3 fun years with Noble, and all of the memories we have--he is so special to me, and I am so excited to celebrate HIM for the next several days!  


I am thankful for PTO, and for the opportunity to serve a school who does so much for my shining star.  I love that she FEELS like a shining star at school, and how they love on her as I thought my friends at the best school in the world would when she went to school there.  Funny how things change, but I'm thankful that God had a different plan for us in that respect, too, since we have so much more family time in this new life than we ever had before.  


I am thankful for my creativity and resourcefulness, and yes, my organizational skills.  I'd be lost without the latter, and not nearly as happy without the former.  :)  


I am thankful for a friend who thought to call just to check on me today, knowing I am struggling with my emotions  and the memories this week has brought to the surface.  Thank you, sweet friend.


I am thankful that Gammie's in town so Noble can go play at Heather's instead of sitting through a PTO meeting.  He's going to have fun instead of being told, "shh..."  


I am thankful that Kayci is going to be a part of Maifest this year, even though it requires a sizable chunk of time and money.  I am thankful she's brave enough to do it!  


I am thankful for my Boy, who loves me no matter how crazed I get.  And is able to bring me back to sanity, most of the time.  And when that fails, like last night, he brings me a beer!  


I am thankful for my Silhouette, which has made party prep SO MUCH EASIER than it has been in the past.  I am HOOKED, I tell ya.  (Pirate pun intended.)  


Speaking of pirates, I'm so thankful for all of the friends and family who will join us tomorrow to celebrate our favorite little guy.  Thank you all in advance for making the drive!  

And since it's time to hit the road for errands before PTO...I am thankful for living in a small town, where nothing's more than 10 minutes away.  That has so spoiled me!

What are you thankful for today?  :)

03 March 2011

Quizzical


Excuse the poor picture quality--it's hard to get a close up of your eyes 
with a phone in the bathroom mirror.
  
Anyway, this is just a smile for a couple of friends who need one this week...
Last week, I got my eyebrows waxed 
for the first time in fooooorrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeevvvvvvvvver.  

James has been amusing himself since then by saying, whenever he tells me something, 
"What?  Don't look so surprised."  
Or, his favorite, "Why so quizzical?"  
Har har.  

02 March 2011

Sand Playdough

Noble's birthday is coming up, and I've had in my head all along that we would do homemade playdough for a party favor this year.  When we decided on a pirate theme, I started researching sand playdough.  One of the things that jumped out at me over and over again--"good for children who are very tactile."  That's Noble...sign me up!

Here's the recipe I went with.  I found it on www.perpetualpreschool.com.  Thanks, Heather Davis, whoever you are!

Sand Playdough (uncooked)

4 cups clean sand
3 cups flour
1 cup water (I used more like 1 1/4-1/2 for each batch)
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl (I keep a large plastic mixing bowl on hand specifically for art/non-edible stuff).  Knead until it forms a ball.  Add more flour if it's too wet or more water if it's too dry.  

Voila!  Pretty simple, no?  Even this dummy could do it.  So, what I found out:  the recipe came out drier than I liked, so I added water each time.  Also, it worked best when I combined the sand and flour thoroughly before adding wet ingredients.  And finally, each batch made about 8 fist-sized balls.  So I made 6 batches.  It only took me about an hour, I think...two by the time I added buried treasure (plastic coins and jewels) to each ball and bagged 'em.  It was naptime on Monday, so time kinda flew.  

I'll definitely keep this recipe on hand--it's fun to play with!  Ask Paula what went through her head when her potty-training kiddo put a wad of sand playdough into her hand the other day.  Hee hee.  

Want a sneak peek?  C'mon...all the kids are doin' it...

The box of completed favors.  The sunlight today is gorgeous!





The way the sun is shining on our white quilt, it looks like the treasure chest is floating in space, right?  Here's the finished playdough product.




And a disclaimer...don't want any friends choking on my watch.  Sigh.




Still reading?  What the heck...here's the whole thing.  Shh--it's a secret 'til Saturday!




Back to work!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Rodeo...



...we decided not to go.  Not sure what it was, but neither of us was excited at ALL.  So we didn't go.   Weird, but I'm glad we didn't go.  Today is tough enough tired/motivation-wise without the lack of sleep we would have been fighting!  I am glad that we went to Houston because we needed to pick something up for Noble's party and we got to see Mom...but I'm having a hard time getting worked up over the $50 we wasted.  Meh.

And btw, you'd be amazed (or perhaps not) at how hard it is to give away Rodeo tickets.  You know, after the rodeo's already started.  :)