Monday, March 31, 2014

What's so terrible about two?

My favorite two year olds of all time!

I'm on my second round of two. Whether a parent or not, I think we're all familiar with the term the terrible twos. However, both times around with my daughters I have found two to be one of my favorite ages. I've probably mentioned before how I'm not a baby baby person. Infants are precious and cuddly, but they are completely depent on us as their parents. By age one it's fun to start to see their little personality interact more with the world around them, but they are into EVERYTHING and everything that can fit goes in their mouth. You're constantly on your toes trying to make sure they don't nosedive off something or eat something that was never meant to be devoured.

With both my girls I loved the independence that started to come with two. They were potty trained, they were finally able to start communicating, they could self entertain for a bit with toys, they could feed themselves (even if slightly messy), and they were quite determine to attempt everything themselves. "I do it, Mommy," is my youngest's favorite phrase right now. I also love how when you go somewhere you don't have to pack a bunch of stuff.

 It's not only their independence though that leads me to think two is such a great age. They're just so much fun at this age. They want to do the things you do and mimic you. Their imitations are quite comical at times. They find their love for dancing around age two I've noticed. Even though they have developed a little attitude to go with that independence, they're still just enough baby left in them that they'll let you hold them to rock them. Kenz has only been two for about five months and I just cannot get enough of her fun little self, and going through this phrase with her reminds me how much I enjoyed it with Averi too. I really enjoyed four with Averi as well and this month of five has been great, but notice I'm skipping three. We'll talk about three later.

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Trying to Teach Myself Patience

Let you Kids Travel the World through the Mail

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Spring Shopping Sales


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trying to Teach Myself some Patience

I've had a week where I had a typical panic Ang moment. I'm a planner, a little A type personality, and definitely a control freak. I hate being in transition, waiting to see how things will play out. I think that's why moving was so hard on me. I hate all the waiting, the what ifs, the not being able to make decisions because you have to wait for something else to fall into place first.

So as excited as I am about a new job and new beginnings and just something different for both Nate and myself, the whole anxiety with transition has kicked in. I bring most of this on myself. I don't usually pray or ask for much for myself, but lately I've decided maybe I should ask for some patience for myself for my own as well as family's mental sake. In all these past transition phrases-leaving home to move east, Nate's job change out of city schools, moving here and renting out the other house-everything has always worked out fine in the end.

In the last week I came to realize switching jobs would mean leaving the sitter that has watched both my girls on and off over the last five years. This is where my recent excitement about new changes turned into anxiety. Not only would I be leaving someone that I love for my girls and myself and that we would miss, but I needed to start putting in the work to find someone to replace her now because it is so hard to find spots for reliable, good daycare. When I first started my search, I hit a wall of disappointment at first because I started to realize how much more expensive daycare centers near our house was going to be. Then it was not only did I have to find someone I liked, somewhere that was a convenient location for us, but now financial stress was added when I was looking at paying $300-$400 more than I planned for one full time and a before/possibly after school child care. We're living on two teachers' 10 month salaries here. I have us operating on a very tight budget; there is very little wiggle room. Factoring in $300-400 more a month was deflating. I just spent nine of the last twelve months picking up extra work to cover our regular bills with the transitional expenses of a new mortgage and an unplanned car payment and still maintain a little extra funds for trips and Christmas. Hence my gloomy mood for the last few days. This is where my lack of patience comes in. I get very moody, attacking, and want to know right now what the plan of action is to fix the problem.

This is where the difference between mine and Nate's personalities come in. I see problems before they're actually even problems. Just like with this it won't be a problem for another six months. Nate sees it as it's six months away why are you freaking out about it now. On one hand I so wish I was like him and just didn't worry and get all bent out of shape about things. But on the other hand because I overplan, look ahead too much, sometimes see problems before they're problems, I get in a crazy frez about attacking and  fixing them. Now sometimes because of this I probably save us from larger problems but other times I cause a lot of stress and anxiety for both myself and Nate for no reason because overtime things just fall into place.

I am also known for jumping on the first option when in transition because I'm too impatient to see what all my options are. I hate the unknown. But patience, I keep telling myself. I did make some phone calls today, and no matter where our jobs take us I possibly found a great solution to our daycare problem that is only going to cost us at most an extra $125 a month rather than closer to $400. Again patience rather anxiety would have served me better in this case. Wish me luck on working on this.

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Heads Carolina? Tails Colorado? (A flashback to our early love story)

Check out Little Passports (share the world with your kids through the mail)

Self Awareness (a work in progress about me post)

Chicken Makes you Strong, MOM (an Averi story)


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Little Passports: The World Delivered in your Mailbox

I have my first product for review in the mail on its way for my girls to try out. I'm really excited about this opportunity for the girls because I think Averi is going to love getting the Little Passport magazines in the mail. She loves getting her own mail. Besides sharing my love for traveling with my kids through our own family travels, this seems like a great opportunity to expose them to even more of the wonderful places in the world to visit.

Even though I haven't had a chance to fully review the product I wanted to share this great opportunity with readers and moms of young children. As part of Little Passports  birthday they are offering 15% their monthly subscription. You can sign up for 3, 6, or 12 month subscription. Give them a chance and order some mail for your child.

Other parents rave about the Little Passports subscription package that shows up each month in the mail. (Which is the first cool part of the process for your little ones...what kid doesn't love getting mail!?) Each month, Sam and Sofia - the Little Passports
guides, take your child on a journey to a different state or country around the world and teaches them about the culture, geography and history of each location. They have activities that are fun and colorful, keeping kids engaged while learning! If you homeschool this would be a great inexpensive material for your child's learning. Click on the link or banner below to sign up for your subscription today and get 15% off by using the code: HAPPY5 from today through Tuesday, 4/8.
15% Off New Subscriptions at Little Passports from 3/26-4/8 with code: HAPPY5

Recent Posts:
The Value of Self Awareness

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Value of Self Awareness

When I was in grad school there was one class that I took that resonated with me from the start. Unfortunately, I don't even remember the instructor's name but I could describe her to you. What she made us do over the course of that semester class not only helped my relationship to my soon to be husband at a time when we needed it, but it left me with the knowledge of what I needed to do for all the relationships in my life.

All too often when there's problems in our lives with others whether it's our spouse, our parents, our children, or our friends, we first want to attack the other person and what they're doing wrong to cause the rift in the relationship. The thing that I learned from this class is even though it is our first instinct to attack the other person and I'll admit it is still my first instinct, we need to stop and reflect on ourselves first. It's hard to admit our own flaws and shortcomings, but if we don't want to see what it is about ourselves that is contributing to the struggling relationship, then we're really not giving it a fair chance to get better.

Within two different families I've seen the following scenerios:  There is the family that  very openly calls each other on their shortcomings. Now the problem with this is they get defensive, feel attacked, and possibly even put down for their character flaws being put out there like that. Then there's the family that would never think about addressing a loved one's character flaws and pointing out their shortcomings. The problem with this is they think they can do no wrong, that nothing could possibly be their fault.

No matter which environment we're use to though the outcome needs to be the same. None of us are perfect and even though the other person may be wrong, there's usually something about the way we've said or handled things recently that contributed to the problem. This is hard though. I think in order to even work towards compromise or to salvage a relationship, we have to start with ourselves. Of course both people have to be willing to start with themselves.  Sometimes we think about what we wish we could change about the other person, but sometimes it's maybe more about what we need to change about ourselves.

This class really taught me the value of self awareness. It's kind of a painful process though because it opens you up to vulnerability and doubt, but I feel like it's vital in order to grow. It doesn't matter if I'm working with young people or adults there are many I feel that will not reach their full potential or have the quality relationships they should because they don't want to start with the work they need to do on themselves.

I am a deep work in progress when it comes to this. Some days I'm better at it than others. As much as I'm really good at putting up the very confident, probably arrogant mask I have mastered, the list of self improvement needed is rather long. Honestly there are some things I care more about working on than others, but the goal is always working towards being a better me than I was yesterday. Being a mother makes me want to work on this more than ever before, but I also have the challenge of how do I teach this valuable lesson to my children. I don't want them to grow up feeling defensive but I also don't want them to be that child that can't see the errors of their own ways.

Do you know what you need to work on about yourself to improve your relationships? To be better than you were yesterday?  What do you think is the best way to teach this to your children?

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Existing or Living

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


We spent a few hours yesterday working on cleaning up our yard from the February ice storm. For the second Saturday in a row the girls spent a good portion of the day running around outside. I love that we finally live in a place where on a gorgeous day like yesterday they can play and stay outside for as long as they want. Here they run around playing tag and hide and seek. They play on their playground and play pretend games in their little clubhouse that's part of the playground. They will ride their bikes or Ave will rollerblade around in the area outside our kitchen. They will play kickball (soccer) or Ave is all about us pitching the ball to her so she can practice hitting lately. They dig in the rocks for hours. Who knew rocks could be so exciting? They decorate our pavement and sidewalk with chalk. After this long cold snowy winter they have been all about getting back out there as much as they this last week or so when we've finally started to see signs of spring.

In our little rowhome in the city they wouldn't have been able to do half of this so I am so glad they really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to get outside so much. Yesterday even with all their own toys and games to play though, they were all about helping Mommy and Daddy clean up the yard to get it ready for our spring and summer enjoyment.

Averi was quite impressed with herself and thought she was so strong for helping haul the fallen branches to the fire pile. At one point she tells me, "Mom, you were right. Eating all that chicken did make me so strong!"

Her dad is the one always telling her to eat her chicken or any meat or fish for that matter because she needs it to build her muscles and get strong. She was all about flexing her muscles and showing how strong she was. At one point, Nate told her not to pick up a large log that it was too heavy, but it was one of those tell her she can't do something and she will just to prove she can.

                                                                   So strong
                                                             I'm strong too, Mom!
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Cinderella or the Stepmother (Who Would you Rather Be? It's a tougher question than you think.)
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Cinderella and the Stepmother

When we get married, we might dream about our hopeful happily ever fairy tale, but I sure didn't dream about how much I would feel like Cinderella. I don't mean the Cinderella with her hair all done up in her pretty dress with her handsome prince on her arm either.

I'm talking about the Cinderella that feels like her clothes are in rags, her hair is a disaster mess piled up on her head. I'm thinking of the Cinderella that feels like she's constantly up to her elbows in dish soap, and let's not forget the constant wash the clothes, fold the clothes, put the clothes away, wash the dishes, pick up the toys and mess, pick up the toys and mess, pick up the toys and mess.

Being Cinderella was not exactly what I imagined; however, on nights like tonight when my daughter tells me she wants to play Cinderella, I embrace my other role. When she decides she wants to play Cinderella, I'm always the evil stepmother, getting to tell her everything to clean up. We play this game every now and then and I'm not going to lie, I kind of love this game. I would so much rather play the stepmother than Cinderella. I'm pretty good at playing bossy and grouchy all in the same moment; I think I have the role mastered.  Even when it's short lived and Cinderella thinks she needs to clean the house up half naked, I'll take it. Maybe in her Cinderella world Cinderella is so mistreated she's not even allowed to wear clothes?

                                     One of their previous times of playing Cinderella.
                                 This time Cinderella was allowed to wear clothes I guess.

     Playing the mistreated princess is exhausting so you see this game is a win-win. They clean up the house as part of the game and then they're so tired they just fall asleep. Haha. If only it was that easy.

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Happily Ever After...But a Moment (the more positive look to the Cinderella after marriage story)

Spring Shopping


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time for some Spring Shopping

Spring is here!!! Finally! Who feels like they’ve been waiting forever and that this has been the longest winter ever? I don’t know what the forecast is for where you are, but they’re talking close to 70 this weekend here in Maryland, and even though there’s a small threat of snow again next week, it’s late enough in March it will be here for a day and gone the next.

Talk of an overnight snow or not,  it is time to start shopping for those shorts, tees and tanks, and sandals. If you love to do your shopping online be sure to check out the sales with Gymboree, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8 as advertised here in this post or at all times on the sidebars.
Kenzi fortunately or unfortunately gets all her sister's hand me down clothes, but it's definitely time for some spring clothes shopping for Averi. All three places-Gymboree, Janie & Jack, and Crazy 8 have some great seasonal sales going on at the moment so no time is better than now to get the kids some new clothes for the warmer months we've all been waiting for so long.

Bloggers, Join the Gymboree Affiliate Program Today!   to partner up with Gymboree, Janie and Jack, and Crazy 8 all in one partnership.
Current Spring Sales:
30% off at Gymboree and take an additional 20% with code LUCKDAY

Up to 60% off original prices at Janie and Jack

Tons of styles starting at $2.88 at Crazy 8

Disclosure Statement
As part of an affiliated partnership with Gymboree I am compensated for this post with any purchases you choose to make through my website.

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The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: Dari B


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The extraordinary in the ordinary: Dari B

There's this little place we call the gold mine in my little hometown of Missouri. It's called the Dari B. I spent the first five years of my working life there. My dad use to kid me about going to be a professional ice cream scooper. However, there's more to this than just a joking thought.

No one wants their kid to aspire to scoop ice cream, right? Tom and Belinda Carroll bought the place early in my childhood, years before I become their employee. The two never had children of their own. As to the circumstances of that it is their own story to tell, not mine. But they helped raise half a town of children anyway.

Not only is the Dari B a place for childhood memories on summer nights, sangarias and limeaides to quench your thirst during the stretch of Missouri summer heat, free or discounted ice cream cones on Halloween night as we all bid our favorite hometown place farewell for the cold long winter months ahead, but it's also a place where every teenager hopes to gain their first working experience.

I was one of those lucky few after a little bit of begging. They didn't want to hire me at first because I was a committed softball player that played almost 100 games throughout the season which stretched from March through October, the same as their season. 

She took a chance on me and based on one of the sweetest Christmas cards I've ever received this past year, I don't think they regret their choice. But they offered this opportunity to so many more than myself. In the decades that they've been providing my hometown with ice cream, they've also been providing the town's youth with a wonderful opportunity to learn the valuable life lessons that come with working, that come with balancing work with so many other things, that come with the honor of serving and representing a community.

I always thought of Tom and Belinda as some kind of surrogate parents. I spent a lot of my time as a teenager with them, as did many others.  I'm sure they heard way more teenage drama and love stories than they ever imagined for themselves, but like any good parents or teachers, they guided, they listened, and they gave you just enough rope to navigate things, whether it was life or work, for yourself.

They use to tell me when I grow up I should buy the Dari B from them. If I was closer to home, if my husband was interested, and if they were retiring I'd seriously consider it, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

I thought of this because today in a conversation we asked Averi what she wanted to be when she grows up. Of course, after princess, it ended up being one of the classics-doctor, teacher, astronaut. There are great, noble professions out there, but I also want my kids to know the choice in our professions or how we make our living isn't the only thing that makes us great or stand out. Greatness can be found every day in the most ordinary people who don't choose lavish or noble careers that draws society's recognition. No matter our paths, our career choices, or our directions we all have something to offer to others.

Even something as simple as scooping ice cream can be so much more. Don't forget to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary things in your life.

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Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary Posts

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Happily Ever After....But a Moment

Time is What Makes Great Parents

The Princess and the Prince

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I love to be busy. I love to plan. I love to travel and go do things. With spring in the air I'm already looking at the calendar, thinking about when should we go camping, to the beach, to a baseball game, to the zoo, to the drive in around our summer trips to PA and Missouri. I've started doing google searches for festivals and concerts. We'll tackle a portion of our summer bucket list like we do every summer and make great family memories along the way.

But yesterday was a nice reminder that even the simple days at home make great memories too. Our afternoon was spent drinking wine on the deck in the nice 60 degree weather, lunch on the grill, and laughing as we watched the girls race each other around the backyard. We got a little batting practice in for Ave's upcoming first ball season. My two favorite things of the day though was my one on one time with each of my girls. Kenz let me rock her to sleep for her naptime, which I just love because it's such a rare opportunity. They're getting so big so fast and I know I only a little longer of these rare rocking moments. While she was sleeping, Ave and I went on a two mile walk on the dirt road behind on our house. I love that she's old enough now to not only go on the walk with me but that we can carry on these fun, semi adult conversations about whatever random things pop up in her mind along the way. It was just a day of simplicity but oh, how I love these days too.

It was such a teaser of the spring that is coming. Unfortunately now through tomorrow we're under a winter weather advisory. We're definitely ready for those warm, sunny days spent outside though. The official first day of spring is just a few days away, and we're definitely ready for the change around here.
                                                   My girl on our walk yesterday
                                          Getting ready for some ball playing this spring
                                                           My sleeping beauty and cuddle bug

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Friday, March 14, 2014

The Fear and Possibilities of Change

Interesting developments today. Change is coming. In some ways I'm excited but like any other change we've had in the last ten years I'm a little apprehensive as we wait to see how it's all going to unfold. My school had to cut almost seven positions, and I am one of them so I am on the job hunt.

Before I get to now, let me back track a little. I had my worse year in teaching ever last year. I've had years that were worse than others but none that had me miserable like last year or thinking it was time to leave teaching. I did a little job hunting last year but because we had just gone through the whole moving change, I wasn't really sure I was truly ready to tackle another huge life change. The last ten years of my life has been change after change. I graduated college and embarked on the career world of teaching in 2004, made the huge move east with Nate in 2005, bought our first house and got engaged in 2006, married in 2007, became pregnant in 2008, adapted to parenthood in 2009, Nate made a much needed job change that unfortunately came with a $5000 pay cut, got pregnant and had a second baby in 2011, in 2012 completed the last of our improvements on the first house-attempted to sell out- then went through the process of getting approved to keep it as a rental property and buy another house, and in 2013 we finally moved. Now in 2014 it looks like job changes.

Needless to say I am no stranger to change and readapting. However, I am also familiar with the fact that even when a change is good it still usually involves some growing pains as we all usually have to adjust to something new.

Back to this year. I've been in my school for eight years, one of the few consistent things in my life besides my relationship with Nate. We haven't even been married for eight years. As we all know the economy is not what it use to be. When I came out here there were teaching jobs galore. The school system where we now live is where I would ideally love to eventually get a job; however, because they're such a good system they rarely have openings and when they do there's lots of competition to get in. I still applied back in February because you never know. Even though last year was horrible this year has been great, so I went back and forth on whether I wanted to pursue looking for anything else outside my ideal job opportunity in the school system where we now live.

Then the staffing number game started and with that came the news that we were losing almost seven positions so I volunteered that if one of them had to be from our department I would be that one. However, based on a variety of factors in our department I also knew whether I wanted it to be me or not it was going to be. Those official cuts came through today, and I was one of the seven facing definite job changes for next school year.

For me, this can go one of two ways. It can help me end up in a  good school, or I could end up in a crappy school no one wants to be in or with a hellacious commute back on the city beltway. Nate though also had a little bit of a job setback today too, and is also faced with some new job decisions for next school year. Again either  way he will not be doing the same thing next year that he's doing this year. However, even though I know he's disappointed by his news, there are some job openings that have some nice possibilities for him, so I think things can still play out in his favor too.

Change always comes with a wide range of emotions. There's the anticipation of something new and exciting. There's the doubt of wondering if it will be all that you hoped it would be. There's always the fear of failure. There's the sadness of letting one thing go as you move towards the new change. There's the hope of all the new possibilities it may bring.

For now we're uncertain, on slightly unsteady ground, but I have faith we'll find our way.

Last Night's Hot Post

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You Can't Score if you Never Swing

Warning: This post may anger some so if you don't want to hear it, don't read.

Lately from a few different things in my life I have encountered this whole "what the world owes me" mentality. Let me start with this: The world owes you nothing. You heard right. The world owes you nothing.

Now I know life is hard. Some people do have life easier than others. Life throws some nasty curve balls. Is it fair? No. Should we be annoyed or angry about it? Sure but that doesn't mean when things knock us down or aren't going the way we want we just quit and look for others to take care of the problem for us. I even think a self pity moment is fine; some things in life are tough.  Some haven't had an easy time in this game called life, but there's also others that for some unknown reason think they are entitled something from life whether it's a grade, more money, a different supposed "better" life.

No, this is not owed to you. School, work, life, it can all have it's hard and difficult moments. But in my playbook quitting and expecting someone else to "fix" it is not an option. Expecting to walk our way around the bases to score and be the hero of the game is not going to happen. Just drop that expectation right now.

Have a little accountability and pride. Rather than whining, blaming others, never pulling out of our self pity moment,  there should only be two choices: work harder or work towards making a change that will solve or ease the problem. Step up!

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistan student and advocate for girls education, took a bullet in the head to fight for her right to an education. I see people, sometimes very young people, struggle with and sometimes even lose their lives to devastating illnesses after heroic fights. I see people who face unthinkable tragedies and turn it into something beautiful and positive. I see people that rose from poverty for a better life for themselves and their children. I'm sorry but with people like this in our world there is no room for people who think something is owed to them because it's hard or unfair.

I don't care if you think your school work is too hard, your job is too hard, your struggle with financial obligations is too hard, raising  your child is too hard, making life work for you is too hard, the world doesn't owe you any favors. What becomes of our situations, our life, is in our own hands because it comes down to our own perceptions and our own desire to step up to the plate ready to swing at whatever comes.

What I've learned from watching and observing some amazing people is when life pushes you down, stand right back up and push back. So don't sit there and say it's too hard, or you can't do it. Don't stand there in the batter's box with the bat on your shoulder, waiting on the perfect pitch to change the outcome of the game. We'll never change anything with the bat just sitting on our shoulder. We have to be willing to swing the bat at whatever is thrown at us because that's the only way we even have a chance of changing the game.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Disappointment over the Gender of your Baby?

As pretty much everyone that reads this knows, we have two daughters. Some of you also know I am one of three girls. My husband also only has a sister. Neither one of us knows much about the relationship of having a brother, but as my oldest will tell you she is convinced she's getting a baby brother one day. My husband also likes to mentions things about the third and last baby being a boy or son. However, as all of us know it's not exactly like we just get what we want in life. At times I feel guilty for even wanting one gender over another.

For myself I had said I wouldn't start to think about a third until I was good with the thought of three girls. Now that all I know is how to raise and mother girls, I'm more than okay with the thought of another girl. However, I think I will feel a bit of disappointment for Nate and even the girls. As much as I love my sisters, I know the three of us always wanted and wondered about having a brother too. With my first pregnancy, I think both of us were leaning towards wanting a girl so with the second we were both hoping for a boy. As the story goes we got another girl. I remember at first feeling a little disappointed, but then I of course felt guilty for being disappointed about the baby's gender. However, I love that Averi got to experience the bond of sisters and of course now we couldn't imagine our life without our little firecracker, Kenzer Grace.

Recently I came across two other blogs where the mother found out her third was her second boy, and even though her first was girl, she wanted a sister for her daughter. She admitted to having a small cry about it and then proceeded to pack up all those adorable little girl clothes to give away. Another blogger I like to read wrote a letter to the son he never had; he's the father of three girls. They both love the children they have very much, as does friends and family that I know that have experienced moments of disappointment when the gender of their baby wasn't the gender they were hoping for.

So many times I feel guilty for even a moment of disappointment or self pity in my life; I have had a very blessed life. So I found it reassuring that even when yes we have so much to be thankful for it's okay to let ourselves experience disappointment when things don't work the way we want them to. This was a nice reminder for anything in life. In fact the more I thought about it I thought we should recognize disappointment when it comes because otherwise just like any other negative emotion if we hide it, it can build towards that even nastier emotion of resentment. No one wants that.

So as we got closer to the possibility of a third, I am a little anxious already about the gender. We always said we'd have three. I didn't know in the beginning that was three tries for a boy, but this possible next one is the last attempt for brother. I know no matter what it is though, we will love it like we all already love each other, and then it'll be like we couldn't imagine our life without him or her.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Won the Lottery with 3-7-11

One of my former coworkers recently just started her own blog, Tiny Army Takeover, in which she wrote this great post about winning the lottery. Hopefully you read what she wrote so you get the idea here that I'm not talking about the green kind of lottery where we're rolling in more money than we know what to do with. I don't really look for that ever to be me because it has never been my life ambition.

My husband and I often differ about our views towards money and it's role in life. He thinks because I stress about it that I am too focused on it, but then on the other hand he never understands why I will say I have no desire to be rich or win the money lottery. First I spend too much of my life focused on it because as the bookkeeper of our household it's a big stressor sometimes to make sure there's enough of that green stuff coming in to keep up with what's going out. But second, money isn't what makes you happy in life. Otherwise why would so many wealthy celebrities take their own life so often.  I wouldn't mind being a little less stressed about it, but 3-7-11 didn't win me the money jackpot. It won me something far more significant than money.

I was reminded again of my lottery numbers when they recently struck again. Back during the 7 month of the year I wrote and submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul and then in the 11 month of the year I was notified it was accepted for publication and now it will officially be published and released during the 3 month of the year. I've always wanted to share our 3-7-11 stories, but some may find it cool and others may just use it as confirmation that I'm a little crazy. If you're the type that has faith, believes in signs from God or someone above, and God's presence in our lives then read on. If you're the skeptical kind then I'll see you next post. I understand.

First of all, do you believe in signs? Signs that God gives us of his existence? I completely believe in them and have several stories I could share but I'm just going to focus on the 3-7-11 story. I see the numbers as a reminder or sign that God is present in our lives or at times their appearance has been reassurance that I'm making the right choices when I'm uncertain.

Let me start the story. First I am born on the 3 day of the month. I don't know growing up if I picked 3 as my athletic number because of that, because I'm one of three girls, or just because I thought it was a cool number. It is also a biblical number. Throughout my athletic years it was my number for the most part. Aside from that and its connection to my birthday though it never really had any other significant presence.

Nate was born on the 11 month in 1977. Same thing again. I don't know what prompted him to choose 7 and 11 as his athletic numbers but he did. 7 is also a biblical number. Again, I don't think until we met those numbers had any other significance to his life.

Then we met and the numbers kept showing up. We meet in the 11-2003 but started dating in March the 3/11 of 2004. We were married 3 years later in 07-07. Our first daughter even though I went into labor the end of February was born on the first day of the 3rd month. Our second daughter even though I spent half a night at the hospital in early labor in October was born 11-3-11. We were on our seventh year in our first house when we were finally able to make the long awaited move to the second and current one.

There are more smaller insignificant events where the numbers show up like they have in the last six months with the Chicken Soup book and even when this past fall when we experienced three random floods in our house in eleven days, which in the end lead to an actual positive. I wish I could remember all the even smaller ways the numbers show up in our lives but that's two examples in just the last six months. There are other smaller ones in the years between when we met and this fall. I've written about it before in my own personal journal. I'll have to dig those out at some point to refresh my memory.

But I find the appearance of these numbers reassurance of the path my life takes, especially when I see that my greatest blessings, my husband and daughters, are connected with my lucky lotto numbers. I don't need the numbers to bring me money. They've brought me something so much greater than money.

Faith. Look for it in the strangest places. You'll find it if you let yourself.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Perfect is Overrated

Who really wants to be the perfect parent? It's so overrated.

Nate is constantly worried that we're one of "those" parents in the eyes of Averi's teachers. I'm not really sure who "those" parents are that he's referring to. I can assure you though it is not the perfect kind. Every Monday when Nate drops her off we're suppose to return her with fresh cot bedding. I'm not really sure how many times he's forgotten this but this week they left me a slightly annoyed voicemail, which must mean that we've done it one too many times. They also have this stuffed animal backpack called Francis that they send home with each kid every few weeks. She brought it home tonight for probably the third or fourth time. Now when we see that thing the two of us go into panic mode. It's another opportunity for our parenting skills to announce themselves as incompetent. There are about half a dozen little odds and ends in that bag and somehow by the end of the night after they've been mixed in with all their other toys they're suppose to make it back in there. The first time she brought it home I don't think we realized she had it until the second or third night.  Other times I think we've sent it back with little things missing. We also let her get herself ready in the morning so a few times we've dropped her off in odd mismatched clothes or like the other day in the middle of these frigid temperatures she was wearing one of her summer dresses with black leggings at least I suppose.

I have been reassured lately though that we are not alone in our imperfect parenting capabilities. A good friend of mine just found out her daughter went to preschool for the day in a t shirt and tights. Tights, no pants.  After sitting around with some good friends this weekend, we all started sharing stories of the times we've "lost" our kids. We haven't really ever truly lost them. For long. They were all found safe and sound somewhere in each of our houses. They were just missing long enough for us to experience that moment of heart stopping panic.

I'm sure some of us out there are maybe striving for perfection or care about it.  But who wants to put that pressure on themselves? I put enough pressure on myself to just keep us all alive and hope my kids aren't too messed up after spending 18 years stuck in the same household as me. Perfect is boring anyway. Boring as the parent, and I can't even imagine how boring it would be for the child. Imperfection is what gives our lives variety and entertainment.

Social media sometimes draws us into this whole idea of perfection but it doesn't exist so just embrace the imperfections.  What imperfect parenting moments have you had lately?

Here's some quality imperfect moments. Some pretty comical ones.

                                          Putting diaper cream on her head and chin like daddy.
                                                           The monster hair baby.
                                                             She did this to herself. I swear.
        Um. Obviously a not paying attention moment but hey at least I didn't find her in the toilet.
                                                      Sissy was just trying to fix my hair again.
                              Look, Mommy, sissy cut my hair and gave me and baby a make over
The sibling torture of taking photos together.

Be sure to check out any recent posts you've missed

I'm Snow Blessed

Our Letter to Our Averiella


Monday, March 3, 2014

My Snow Blessing

I know lots of us are done with winter this year, and for the most part I am too. But I have to say all these snow days have been a personal blessing to me. Throughout last school year I was overwhelmed, stressed to the limits, and just really not a happy person all around. Summer was a much needed retreat for me last year but busy like always. The fall found me in much better spirits. Mentally I felt like I had done a 180 even though there were still some stressful moments due to still making the financial transition with the move from the year before. In order to alleviate the financial stress I picked up teaching a late afternoon class at the local community college. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience but again I was busy, busy, busy.

I do enjoy being busy. I always have but somewhere I started to notice what everyone warned me about. The older you get the faster time goes and my babies were growing up in a blink. I wanted to slow down but as much as I talked about desiring to want to work part time to be home more with more girls I was doing the opposite by picking up two late afternoon hours at work in the spring, a little summer work, and  then that extra class in the Fall in order to compensate for the financial decision to move a year earlier than I knew we were financially ready for.

But we made it through the expense of the holidays and into tax return time a year after our move and finally I could cut back. Being able to come home at three again was a blessing in itself. There was time in the evenings again for the girls and I spend time together before the bewitching hours of dinner, baths, and bedtimes. These snow days gave me back even more time though. I got to spend days laying in bed snuggling with the girls late into the morning, playing outside even if it was in the cold and snow, baking too many cookies, watching movies, and just enjoying each other's company without the stress during the hectic rush of the work days.

I'm not going to lie. I was also able to keep up the laundry, my house, and my bookkeeping more easily. I had time for my things like creating photo books or writing. Whether it was time for the stuff for me or around the house this kept me in a lower stressed state of mind and content because mixed in with all those snow days were the days I went into work and looked forward to it because I had spent good quality time at home and was ready for a break from the monotony of the slower pace of being at home. It was the best of both of the worlds I dreamed about.

If I could see it financially working for us and could find the right opportunity I am still convinced part time work would be the perfect fit for me, but in the meantime, I was given a wonderful little taste of that choice.

Snow days allow us a chance to stop and slow time down a bit to just enjoy time with those at home. Even though I am ready for warm weather, spring flowers, longer days, camping, the beach, fires out under the stars, the drive in movie, and all the fun things we enjoy together as a family, I am thankful for this cold, snowy winter because it gave me back something so rare-time.

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The 10 Mom Skills I've Mastered

Parenting Requires Deep Breaths