Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giving a Show on the Expressway...

It seems that a lot of silly things happen to me or maybe it is because of me that they happen!

Last year at this time I was teaching.  There are a lot of things you need to do to get ready to greet your students that first day.  One of these things was getting my picture taken for an ID.  I also had to get a key card to open the building and a key to my room.  I proudly displayed that entire mess of stuff, which I needed daily, on a lanyard around my neck.  However, I didn't even make it to the first day of school before I lost all of it! - the lanyard around my neck was supposed to prevent this...

It happened to be a rare sunny, hot day in Michigan in September and I had my windows open in the car. I had the music cranked and I was happy to be finally going home as it had been a long day!  As I gained speed on the expressway, the wind picked up so I slowly started to close my windows.  Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough and the lanyard which I had set on the dashboard with my key, key card, and ID flew right out of my passenger window on the expressway.

I could have had a lot of reactions to this, but I actually shook my head, watched it in my rear view mirror as it landed on the side of the road, and thought to myself, "Of course it would fly out of the window!  Awesome! Of course this would happen!"
The expressway I was on was jammed packed with cars and trucks! (of course) and not nearly so clean!

As I didn't think it was worth slamming on my brakes to retrieve it, I got off at the next exit and turned around.  By this time I was actually laughing!  I pulled my car over to the side, put my hazards on and slid out of the car on the passenger side.  I slowly made my way down the road looking for the proof of my employment.  I didn't have any luck so I decided to step over the guard rail and look on the other side.  Don't EVER do this!!!  It is stinky and disgusting!  I'm surprised I did not find a dead body or something in the ditch there!  I was actually worried a hand would reach up from under some grass and grab me!

I had a skirt on that day and as I stepped over the guard rail a huge gust of wind from passing trucks  blew my skirt all the way up!  And when I say all the way up- I mean that if my skirt was sitting high on my waist you would have seen my belly button!  The motorists on that stretch of road definitely got a free show that day as of course I didn't learn my lesson the first time and it happened again as I went back to my car.  Yep - there were a few honks - to which of course I waved!

After I clamored back into my car all sweaty and dirty I called the secretary at my school.  I started the conversation by telling her that she didn't know me that well yet, but if she told this story to my co-workers they would not be surprised!

I never did find that lanyard and my face probably traveled to a different state on the axle of some big rig!  I have a few people a thrill and a story to tell and thankfully no one ran off the road!

 I'm not sure if it is a good thing that this event didn't surprise anyone that I know.  Things like this just seem to happen!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over

I have not forgotten what it feels like to be a teenager.
I remember how self conscious I was.  I remember how frustrated I was that my parents didn't understand me.  I remember how trapped I felt at times.  It was not the funnest time in my life.

As I now parent a teenager I have to keep reminding myself of these things.  Being a teenager is hard!  Now I have to add on the facts that he:
  • Doesn't speak English,
  • Is in a new school
  • Is just meeting friends
  • Has not found his niche yet
  • Is used to being on his own with no rules
  • Is from a different culture
  • Has different values from his culture 
  • Has been thrown in a new crazy family

to get the entire picture of my teenager!

Looking at that picture is enough to scare anyone away, but I have to say that things are still going very well!  We did butt heads a bit over the weekend and had to have a little chat with the social worker because of the language barrier, but all was worked out and was nothing different then any other child would want to express.

Ryan has to remind me that we have dreamed about A being a part of our family before we met him and he knew nothing of us.  Where he is now in his life was not what he had planned on and he had no control over it.  Time will bring the gap together though.  In the meantime we will just keep doing what we are doing as it seems to be working well!  I think the honeymoon phase has ended and I am excited for that!! (remind me of that in a few months... lol!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making the Cut

I have been mowing lawns since I can remember.  I want to say I stared when I was in fourth grade, but maybe not.  We had a big yard growing up and it took forever to mow that thing!  We had a hill on the side of our house that was a challenge to get up and down.  After I was married we bought my childhood home so I mowed that one yard for well over 2 decades!

I have mowed the lawn while listening to music, carrying a baby on my back, and even while running to try to get it done quickly!  I don't have one of those awesome fancy riding mowers with the cup holders and I don't do the fancy lines this way one week and another way another week.  I section off the yard and try to get it done as fast and as easy as I can.  Sometimes I miss spots, run into things, and obliterate sprinkler heads (which I did last week), but it does eventually get done!

I have been mowing the yard every week since Spring came along this year.  I can't think of other women I know that mow their lawn, but I do it so Ryan has more time at night with me and the kids.  I actually like being able to drown out all of the other sounds and be alone with my own thoughts and unfortunately this seems like one of the only times I can do that!  I also want to show my kids that girls can do things like mow lawns and take care of things that men and boys usually do. 

This week I was mowing the lawn and I stopped to empty the bag and check on the two little kids.  While their mother was sweating and slaving away I have to show you what Lola and Tyce were doing:

Sitting in the driveway, listening to my Ipod while eating popsicles!

These life lessons take time to sink in right?! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Snack on the Run

Tired of being on the run and having to grab a greasy snack that slows you down?  Grab an It's Essential Bar instead and lose weight while you snack!

The new It's Essential weight loss energy bar pairs delicious flavor with powerful ancient grains to super-charge your weight loss results! Its dark chocolate raspberry taste is truly a flavor to crave, and the addition of a new, cutting-edge ingredient, SolaGrain®, makes It's Essential the best choice.

The kids and I love the taste!  It isn't chalky like other bars.  It's great to get my chocolate craving met while being healthy!

The Fun of Business Trips just don't Stop!

Ryan walked through the door after work with an odd look on his face.  It was a kind of half smirk half smile directed toward me.  He shook his head in a kind of disbelieving way and announced that he had some presents for me!

I love presents!!

He pulled a large envelope out of his bag and handed to me.  It was addressed to him at his office and marked personal and confidential.  I dumped the contents out and found two notes from business associates of Ryan that I had met in Houston at his conference along with gifts.  Both of the notes and gifts were for me!  One associate was sending me an invitation for Ryan and I to visit and the Ghosts of the Bridgewater Triangle by Christopher Balzano which is a book about true stories of unusual occurrences in New England where he lives.  The other associate sent me a People Magazine that features Pippa!  I laughed so hard I nearly cried!  Obviously our unusual conversations that took place over the weekend in Houston had an impact on them!  If you need to catch up on those conversations you can read about it in Tagging Along...

Ryan and his business associate that works in his office who came to the conference with us are a bit perturbed that they didn't get any fun presents sent to them, but maybe I am just that much more interesting... :) -  I know they have a very different theory.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Family Pictures

Family Pictures
Capturing precious memories.  What could be easier and more precious then that?

When the kids were little I took them every three months to the mall to get their picture taken.  I jumped around, acted crazy, and bribed them with anything I could think of to get that perfect pose with that perfect expression!

As they got older I thought the process would be easier.  The verdict is still out on that one.   Being older they can understand where I want them to stand and that we are in fact taking pictures.  But, they can now talk back and give their loud opinion.  I can no longer put them in the clothes that I want them to wear without a struggle.  I can't pick up a teenager and place him in a spot.  The bribes have become bigger and the acting silly to get a smile just turns into a wrestle session for the three small kids as they get all riled up!

Saturday we took some family photos in our yard.  Our photographer, who happens to be my awesome neighbor and friend, was prepared for the craziness.  After all, she knows our kids and us and is used to our quirks by now! (or I hope she is...)  It wasn't just our family of six though.  We had my parents, my grandparents, my sisters, and my nieces.  A whooping 16 people!  There is no way to get babies, toddlers, elementary kids, teenagers, and grandparents over 80 to look at the camera let alone smile at the same time!  If a toddler was looking and smiling, a parent was grabbing for another child or a great grandparent was looking down at a baby.

Being that I organized everything, I was stressed beyond belief and ended up in bed with an extreme headache after the event.  One child lost television and computer privileges, two children were full from candy bribes and wouldn't eat lunch, and the last child had his nice shirt off and in the dirt before we got in the house!  We did get some very nice shots of everyone between the drama of wearing a "girl" shirt, Tyce shouting bananas every 5 seconds, crying babies, frowning toddlers, mud splatters on pants and shirts, and me bossing everyone around. (sorry about that family - but someone had to do it!)

The pictures where Photos by Kaity captured the true memories of the event will most likely not be posted on my wall.   Those memories don't feel so precious right now although I expect they will as the kids get bigger.... (or I hope they will!)    Now I know why we don't do family pictures very often!

Here is a sneak peek.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

The list of what I can't touch is getting longer.....

If you know me, you know that certain things and I don't mix well. 
Knives, fire, hammers... basically anything I can hurt myself with!  Very early in our marriage Ryan took the knives away from me because of our love hate relationship.  (He hated finding my hands covered in blood while cooking) I have now found something else that does not mix well with my personality - lucky me! 

I don't think it is a matter of being clumsy.  I just try to do too many things at one time and get distracted by more important things while I try to carry on a task.  Parts of me are just propelled faster then other parts!

Jackson and his pennants!

They had Market Place Day at school - he rented his table space to sell his wares

The kids sold services and goods.  Lola had her nails done!

Tyce painted his own rock!

Ryan was a Watch Dog Dad and went to the classrooms to help out!
Last night I helped Jackson do yet another project for school.  He made pennants.  I cut triangles out of foam and he glued or stuck different things like team logos, flowers, and peace signs on them.  The last step in this project was attaching a dowel to the flag.  I tried special glue for the foam and that was just taking too long so I tried staples which worked OK, but I still wasn't satisfied.  My last attempt at a method to secure the dowel to the flag resulted in my abandoning the project for a while for first aid care.

I tried super glue.  Let me just say that that stuff really does work and the warnings on the labels are absolutely true!

Yes, I did glue my fingers together and to the foam and to the glue bottle and to the dowel and to the floor!  I absolutely did panic when I tried to pull the objects off of my hands and they more then tugged at my skin!  It can happen faster then you think!  I also did make a gargled panicked cry while trying to get my fingers apart and then getting my right hand stuck to my fingers that were stuck together on my left hand!   Jackson just watched quietly because I told him no talking while Mommy freaked out!

Obviously, I can type tonight so they didn't remain glued together, but it was an ordeal that I do not want to repeat!  Ryan had to google how to remove super glue from your skin.  I used nail polish remover to get unstuck, but it didn't take all of the glue off of my hands.  It stayed on and felt really awkward all night and day!  I tried scrubbing it off and even biting it off (which worked until I bit my own skin!)  Time was what did the trick!  It eventually just peeled away on its own during my daily routine. 

The super glue did work on the ONE pennant, but every other pennant was attached to a dowel with staples.  No more super glue for me for school projects!  It is just too dangerous and we do not mix well at all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Becoming "That Mom"

I definitely have a new appreciation for the work parents have to do to get what their children with special needs require to to be successful.

I am not new to the whole advocating for your child in school thing.  I taught children who are hearing impaired for quite a few years.  I know about laws for special education.  I know parents can get what they want if they have just cause and are loud enough.  I have had a child myself who received services early on.  Knowing these things does not make it any easier!  You still have to make your voice heard!

I remember when my child was younger and I knew that services were needed.  It took months to get what I knew was appropriate!  It wasn't that the school system didn't care or was opposed to it, it was that there weren't enough people or time.  I sat back and trusted that things would come into play in the correct time and way, but looking back I should have become "That Mom".

We all know "That Mom".  She's the one that sends notes, calls, or emails at least twice a week.  She pops into the classroom and knows everything that is going on. She takes up a lot of time and demands a lot for her child.  As a teacher it can be hard to deal with "That Mom".  It takes your time away from your students who are your number one priority. 

That doesn't mean there isn't a time you shouldn't become "That Mom".  In fact, there are times when you definitely need to in order for your child to flourish.

Teachers love our kids - they really do!  They want to do what is right by our children, but sometimes the paperwork and higher ups get in the way so it is up to you parents to stick your nose right in there and stir things up!

With A's having to learn English while being in high school I have to be "That Mom".  We don't have time to mess around.  He only has so much time before he will be too old to be in high school.  He has to have so many credits to get a diploma and he wants to go to college so we have to be mindful of his GPA.

So watch out!  I am now "That Mom"!  I feel a little bad for the teachers we will be coming into contact with because it is no secret that I have made people cry for lesser things then messing with my kid!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tagging Along...

Houston skyline on a humid, cloudy day

We even went to a baseball game!  Minute Maid Park
 Right now I am a tag along.  And actually, being a tag along is not all bad! 

I am tagging along with Ryan to a Conference in Houston, TX.  He has meetings to go to, seminars to attend, hands to shake, and business to explain.  Given the fact that I really can't make my brain wrap around his obsession for his business, the only thing I HAVE to do is smile and chat with men in suits.

Grouper - a little appetizer!  Seriously every meal was like this!!

I know you may all think that this sounds boring, but it is AWESOME!  First, the food is phenomenal and without my Fat Fighters I would gain 10 pounds in a weekend!  Check out these desserts!!  (Without kids with me I hit the desserts first and then went to the main course!)

Next, they have exhibitors which means it is like an expo, but everything is FREE!  Of course all of the free stuff has a company logo on it, but my kids don't care what words are on a cool glowing squeeze ball, a stuffed Snoopy, flashlights, highlighters, or other trinkets that will be their prize for Mommy being gone or end up in stockings at Christmas!!

Finally, believe it or not there are times that I get extremely lucky in listening or being part of conversations.  There are people from all around the United States bringing in a lot of different experiences and stories.  I would say that predominately the conversations are a bit of a snooze for me as they are about business and sometimes sports, but last night I totally hit the jackpot!

The talk directed toward me usually starts with talk of the kids which of course I love to talk about, but I also know that all most men would rather talk about their own kids rather then hear about someone else's.  So the conversation may quickly change to talk about what I do outside of the kids- teaching people how to lose inches in 45 minutes and how to be healthier, feel and look younger-  This can turn into detailed discussions on sickness, weight loss, eating habits...  I was not a good example in my eating last night as I had two plates - very small plates - of desserts in front of me!

On this particular night the talk turned to current events which usually turns into talk about the stock market or politics, but this conversation was like I had never experienced!  I felt like I was watching two teenage girls gossiping about their celebrity crushes!  I had to turn my head and cover my mouth to not laugh out loud at the absurdity of it all!

The gentlemen at my table were talking about the Royal Wedding.  Of course everyone knows about the Royal Wedding and has taken some interest in the event, but these men had more then just a slight interest.  After the anticipated comments about how Kate and Pippa looked in their gowns and on the Internet in various pictures, they got down to the nitty gritty.  They knew who was Dutchess of what, how old everyone was, how people met, names of family members, the scandals, and all about the royalty!  I had all I could do not to let me jaw drop to the floor!  I DVRed the wedding, but still have not watched it and these men actually got up to watch it!  I have to say I am oddly mesmerized by this!  I had never expected to be in on this conversation between two business men!  Totally made my night!  (and yes, I could not stop myself from teasing them about their knowledge on the subject - sorry guys!  I am seriously impressed and envious you have the time to devote to such interests!)

Having none of the responsibilities of the business conference and being able to pop in and out when I want to is the best!  I wish this could be a full time job!

It Works! Wednesday - Stretch Marks be Gone!

More than 80% of pregnant women suffer from stretch marks. It starts developing in the second trimester and continues until child birth. After child birth these marks start appearing as reddish purple streaks which start darkening gradually.
Some may accept these marks as a kind of "rite of passage "or "battle wound" of child birth, but you don't have to!

Revolutionize your skin care regimen with luxurious moisture that multi-tasks called Anti-Aging and Stretch Mark Cream! This non-greasy body cream packs a powerful combo of anti-aging botanicals to help restore the skin's youthful glow, while balancing skin tone to minimize the appearance of even the most embarrassing stretch marks and other skin scarring.
If you already have the Ultimate Applicator Wraps, I would suggest using the wraps to help with your stretch marks as well.

  • Moisturizes
  • Restores firmness and elasticity to skin
  • Helps improve skin's texture and tone, giving it a smoother, more youthful appearance
  • Balances skin tone to minimize the appearance of stretch marks and scars

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips for Airplane Travel with Children

Tips for Airplane Travel with Children

Here are tips for traveling on airplanes with children based on my experience!
  •  I don't suggest getting on the plane first before everyone else.  You may take a little longer to get organized, but do you really want your kids to have to sit still for even longer then they already have to?  I have seen people traveling alone take longer to get situated then I do with my three kids!  Wait until the last minute to get on the plane!  Let them run and take that last potty break!
  • Bring on an empty sippy cup. They will give you a drink in flight so bring an empty cup and just have the flight attendant pour your child's drink directly in his or her cup.  You won't have to worry about spills!  If you need it before take off just ask a flight attendant right away.
  • Bring on suckers!  The air pressure changes in take off and landing can hurt little ears.  It helps to drink, suck on a bottle or pacifier, or suck on a sucker.  If your child's ears already hurt they won't want to stop crying to drink some juice, but they will stop for candy!
  • Bring on special treats.  Keep these treats hidden and only bring them out one at a time when they are needed.  If everyone is content then leave them that way!
  • Bring on new exciting toys!  I like to have 3 new things that I can pull out of the bag for the kids.  Toys, coloring books, crosswords, a story book, magnets, finger puppets, and stickers always go over well.
  • Bring favorite snacks!
  • Pack a backpack or diaper bag like you are going on a day outing.  Be sure it can fit under the seat in front of you.  It is too difficult to bring on a bag you have to put in the overhead.  It is not easy to grab if you need something in a hurry.  I prefer to have a bag that zips shut to keep everything in.  Have wipes, Kleenex, your snacks, treats, and a change of clothes for each child in the bag (I recommend sealing the clothes up in the space saver bags).  I wouldn't bring on the hand sanitizer or lotions unless they attach to the outside of your bag so you don't have to worry about removing items when you go through the check points.
  • Before your trip let your child know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected of them.  They will have to sit in their seat the entire time with their belt buckled!  If they think they can run around and then you have a bumpy ride where they can't, things can get tense.
  • Some people will tell you to go during nap time.  I am not a fan of this.  My kids would tend to be over tired and have a hard time settling down in a strange place.  That doesn't make for the best traveler.
  • Another thing I am not a fan of is giving your child something like Benadryl before the flight.  The antihistamine will make your child tired, but it could also make them hyper or extremely crabby!  I have been on many flights where the parent has given their child something to make them sleep and then the child is so tired they can't settle themselves down!  The parent is confined to their seat when the child would prefer to have them walk to soothe them!  Not fun for anyone!!  If you think you want to try this method I would suggest doing a trial run before your trip to see how it would go. 

Specifically for Infants
  • Children under 2 can travel on your lap for no cost, but you do have to notify the airline.
  • If your flight isn't packed you can ask at the counter if there is an extra seat near you and the attendants may move things around so you can put your child in his/her car seat in a separate seat.
  • If you are nursing, plan to nurse on take off and landing - it will help the baby's ears.  You may also want to get a window seat which makes it a little easier to cover up.
  • You can ask the flight attendant to fill your bottle with water when you get on the plane
  • If the baby is old enough for finger foods bring a favorite along
  • Bring a favorite book
  • Bring 2 brand new toys
  • Bring some favorite toys and comfort items like a blanket

Working for a Vacation without Kids

I will travel anywhere possible and I will love it no matter the circumstances!  I have been to some not so sought out areas, but there is always something of interest you can find if you open your eyes and look.

When you have children, going on a trip of any kind is a huge undertaking even if you are not bringing them along.

Recently, I tagged along with Ryan to a conference.  He took one night to pack and I took two weeks to prepare the house to be run by someone other then me!  I needed a break after all of that!

Here is a little list of things to remember to do when leaving your kids in the care of someone else for an extended time:
    Some of the prepared meals labeled and ready to go!
  1. Prepare and freeze meals.  Write instructions of how to prepare right on the items. 
  2. Stock cupboards and the refrigerator with food.  You don't want your caregivers to have to scrounge for food for the kids.
  3. Wash sheets and clothes and clean the house.  My thoughts are that the more I can do before I go, the less the caregiver has to worry about and can focus on the children!
  4. Contact all of the teachers personally.  Supply them with a way to contact you and the substitute caregivers while you are gone.
  5. Write out a complete schedule for each day.  Include regular routine suggestions.  Your normal schedule will not always be followed, but it will make it more helpful for the caregiver to know what goes on normally in the home.  I didn't realize how many comings and goings we have occurring in our household right now until I wrote them all down!  Be sure you double check what you write as well so you don't send a child to preschool on a day they don't go! (yes, I have done this-oops!)
  6. Post emergency information by your telephone!  I include our address, our phone numbers, numbers for family members and neighbors.  I also have the numbers for the schools and bus garage.  Most of us have all of our numbers on our cell phones, but others won't be able to get to those or know who is in the blue house unless we tell them!  I just leave this up all of the time so babysitters have this information as well.
  7. Post information about each child by the phone.  If there is an emergency chances are I won't remember my child's birth date.  I can't expect someone else to remember or search for that information.  Each child has their birth date, place of birth, allergies, distinguishing characteristics (scars or birthmarks), hair and eye color, approximate weight, and their doctor and dentist names and numbers.
  8. Sign and date a release giving your caregiver permission to treat each child in case of an emergency.  Include all insurance information and copy your insurance card as well.
It makes me tired just thinking about it all!  All of the preparation will pay off though!  You will not receive desperate calls in the middle of the day asking where the soccer jersey is or if the kids can eat a certain food.  You can enjoy your time away will a little less worry!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Practice doing Nothing..

Suddenly I find myself in my house completely alone!  I don't know when this has happened before!  All of the kids decided they wanted to go with Daddy to Jackson's soccer practice tonight.  I stayed back and cleaned up dinner and now...  what??

It is completely quiet here.  No one is demanding something from me and I can do whatever I want to do!

Only problem is that I have no idea what to do!!! 

These moments are so few and far between that I just don't know what to do with myself! 

It's like when I was teaching and summer vacation started.  It took a few weeks to be able to relax and start to enjoy vacation.  It really does take practice to learn how to relax and do nothing!!!  I am sooo out of practice!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Here a wrinkle, there a wrinkle, buh bye wrinkles!

Today let's focus on fixing that sun damage and those fine lines and wrinkles! 
There are four excellent products that do this! (Today I'll touch on three)

 The exclusive 45-minute Facial Applicator uses a cream-infused cloth wrap to deliver intense anti-aging benefits to the face that dramatically minimize signs of aging in just 45 minutes!
This exclusive botanical blend:
  • tightens and firms the skin for a lifting effect,
  • helps combat the appearance of aging skin, and
  • deeply hydrates without clogging pores for fresher, more luminous skin.
The facial not only gives you great results, but it feels great on!  You leave it on for at least 45 minutes and rub in the excess when you take it off.  You don't have to wash it off either.  Let the cream continue to penetrate your skin.  Your face will glow!  If you have sensitive skin I will tell you that my acne prone skin has never broken out after using a facial!  I love them!  I use them before I go to bed at night.  I put the kids to bed and quickly slap one of them on.  Inevidedly one of the kids will yell for something from their room.  I, unfortunately, look too scary to make an appearance with my facial on so daddy gets that duty!  Guarenteed un-interupted solitude!  People often ask how often you should use the facial.  As often as you want to!  I use it when the line between my eye brows gets noticibly deeper!  In the summer I use it more often to help repair the damage I do with the sun!  It will take years off the look of your skin and people who have used them consistantly have been accused of having face lifts!

Wrinkles and other signs of aging begin forming years before they are clearly visible, so it is important to start using a daily anti-aging moisturizer before they appear. PreventAge uses soothing botanical extracts and vitamins to help neutralize the harmful effects of environmental factors, such as damaging solar rays and pollutants, that contribute to signs of aging.
Leaves skin feeling soft and silky. Especially designed for usage in and around the facial area.

Think wrinkles are forever? Not anymore! RepairAge is a revolutionary moisturizing facial cream with a unique blend of herbal extracts that gives skin a more youthful appearance.
  • Good for normal, dry or oily skin.
  • Improves firmness and evens skin tone.
  • Boosts skin's natural glow, tone and texture.
  • Produces a tightening effect for lift and vitality

Monday, May 9, 2011

Relaxing Mother's Day - An Oxymoron

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful Moms out there! 
I hope you had a wonderful relaxing day!

LOL!  I can barely write that with a straight face!  Not that you don't all deserve a wonderful and relaxing day, but from my own experience that definitely doesn't happen on Mother's Day.  To think of it, it doesn't happen on any other day I am even in the same state as my children! 

Yesterday was a typical holiday.  I set the kids' clothes out the night before and packed a bag with a change of clothes for each of them including myself.  I prepared some dishes of food to bring, had everyone sign the cards, put the gifts in gift bags, and set them up high and out of reach of small hands.  In the morning we rushed around and made it out of the door and to church on time actually remembering to take everything with us!  After church we went to my sister's house for brunch and then went to Ryan's parents' house for dinner.  By 7:30 we were home again with four exhausted crabby children.  The little ones were asleep within 15 minutes and the older boys had to sit down with me to do homework.  By 9pm Jackson was in bed and A was lifting weights in the basement.  I would have liked to sit down, but I had to prepare for Monday morning with notes, emails, and papers to be completed.  10:00 came and I ventured my way to bed.  I don't know how it takes me 20 minutes to get from the living room to my bed room every night, but that seems like the average amount of time to find my way toward slumber and somewhat solitude each night.

That was the day, but now to back track to the good stuff.  When I woke up at 6am to Tyce snuggling on top of my head and Lola fighting for the same space, I surprisingly didn't groan and roll over!  It was the perfect wake up!  Jackson came in the room next and gave me a poem from school with his silhouette.  It made me tear up.  Ryan made the kids breakfast while I got ready so I didn't have to prepare food the entire day!

When I came downstairs Lola presented me with a musical card from all of the kids.  She of course had to dance with me while it played!  Ryan had left me chocolate, a card, and a gift card to the mall!  These were actually his "back up" gifts.  It seems that each holiday no matter what he gets me or where he hides it I always find it!  I do not search for it at all!  I stumble on them every time!  So Saturday night as I searched for the lid to cover the fire pit I found the two chairs that I had wanted that Ryan had gotten for me!  He triumphantly told me that he had been with me long enough that he knew I would find them so he had "back ups"!  How awesome is he??!!! (If that had been my plan, I totally would admit to it, but really it is accidental and had just happens to work in my favor!)

That was how my day started.  Let me tell you about the middle of the day.  We left my sisters house and climbed into the car.  Tyce was tired and yelling about turning the movie in the car louder or quieter and kids were playing with the windows.  Out of no where Jackson began screaming in the back seat.

This was not a "I'm mad" scream or "be quiet" scream.  This was a panic scream!  Of course I yelled at Ry to pull over NOW!  Over three lanes he goes and onto a hill to stop the car.  We both jump out and A hands me the most ginormous bee ever!  He just hands it to me! (it was dead)  The bee had hit the window and landed on Jackson's lap.  It was dead, but he didn't know that and is apparently scared of bees to an extent where we had to take a minute to hold hands and calm down our breathing!

That was the excitement of the day thankfully!  The end of the day driving in the car with tired children was much like the middle of the day, but they eventually dozed off!

So there you have it!  A fun filled Mother's Day!  Definitely not a relaxing day, but I guess it is just part of being a Mom and I am very glad I signed up for it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May is National Foster Care Month - Change a Lifetime!!

Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of the more than 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system. The campaign raises awareness about the urgent needs of these young people and encourages citizens from every walk of life to get involved – as foster or adoptive parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways.

When we went through training, a social worker told us that that week she had to place 33 children in a safe home in just our county!  ONE WEEK! - 33 innocent children!!
With the help of dedicated people, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens will either reunite safely with their parents, be cared for by relatives or be adopted by loving families. Many children would not have to enter foster care at all if more states provided support and services to help families cope with crises early on.

Thanks to the many advocates, child welfare professionals, elected officials and support groups around the country, the total number of children in foster care has decreased over recent years.  But more help is needed.

Every year, approximately 30,000 young people leave the foster care system without lifelong families – most at age 18. On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They need – and deserve – caring adults who love and support them.

We call on all Americans to join us in helping to change a lifetime of a child or youth in foster care. No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth.

All children — including the 424,000 American children and youth in foster care — deserve a safe, happy life. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.

-Taken from:  National Foster Care Website - see how you can get involved!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Works! Wednesday - Clean and Refreshed

Today, as summer looms on the horizon there is no better time to talk about havinmg super clean skin and feeling refreshed!

The Cleanser does not contain chemicals and will wash off without leaving a residue behind.  I use it to remove my make-up.  It even takes off my eye make-up without leaving itchy, red, or stingy eyes behind!  If you have this product I would highly recommend using it in the area you are planning to wrap as well.  Your pores will be free to accept the ingredients without a film left behind by soap or lotions!  I have had problems with acne my entire life and was even on the drug Accutane at one point to help it.  I have had the best results with this product!  My acne is almost non-existant!  I even use it on my children's sensitive skin.

After a day in the sun you will want to hydrate your skin.  You can do that quickly with the Hydrating Toner.  Just spray your face and go on your way!  We love this product in my household.  My husband uses it as an aftershave.  He likes how it dries so quickly and doesn't worry about getting a ring around his collar.  I use it as a toner.  The entire family use it on bug bites to take the itch away, rashes of any kind (diaper rash included), burns, and sunburn!  Put a bottle in your refrigerator in the summer and use it on sunburn.  It has a high concentration of aloe in it and isn't sticky like the kind of aloe you get in the store to put on your sunburn.  It dries very quickly so don't worry about your scortched arm sticking to your sleeve!

Nervous, Neurotic, Over-Protective Mother!

You would think that I am sending my first born 6 week old baby away from home for the first time or something! I am a nervous wreck today!

I have been bringing A to and from school each day. ALL of the kids(which is now up to four)jump, stagger, roll, get carried, or get coerced into the car at 7:15 every morning and 2:20 every afternoon. I don't mind doing the driving back and forth since it is really close, but there will be times that I won't be able to transport him to and from school. So today marks the first day A will ride the bus to and from school.

And yes, this is what is making me a nervous wreck today! First I was nervous because I wasn't sure he would know which stop to get off at, but then I found out he had to switch buses! He has to switch buses on the way to the high school and on the way back! Try explaining all of that to someone who only speaks a little bit of English and has never ridden a school bus! Talk about anxiety!

So I did what any other neurotic mother would do! I tried to prepare him. First, I tried to explain it in Spanish. After getting blank stares I tried my hand at drawing a picture. Since I can barely draw a smiley face, I received more blank stares and a sad shake of his head. (his body language and face said "crazy lady") I then decided a more direct concrete approach was in order.

I followed the buses (a safe distance just in case any teenager cared enough to pay attention to the embarrassing mom in a mini-van) from the high school to the place they all unload the kids and switch buses. We watched the kids find their buses. Only thing was, I couldn't find the bus A was supposed to ride! Just Awesome!

I then had his ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher explain the entire situation to him in Spanish. He seemed to understand it all, but I was still nervous so I called the bus garage. I talked with the most wonderful woman in the school's transportation office. She made me feel like she gets calls like this all the time. She assured me that she would let the bus driver know that A would be riding and would need some direction to get to the right school. Here is where I should breathe a sigh of relief right? Wrong. In one last attempt to be sure he wouldn't get lost or left behind I wrote a note to the bus driver myself. (I totally sound like the most over protective mother EVER!!) I also gave A a note that had the numbers on them and his home address. 

Unfortunately, A refused to take my note!  Imagine that!  A 16 year old boy that doesn't want to be seen giving the bus driver a note from his crazy, nervous, neurotic mom!

We can see the bus stop down the road from our house so of course I watched him until the bus came and drove him away! I really wanted to walk down with him, but Ryan put the brakes on that pretty fast! He is 16 after all and I'm pretty sure he has found his way under a lot more difficult circumstances then just looking for a number on a bus!

I am still nervous though and I will be until he gets home. At which point I think I will jump up and down with joy and he will look at me like any other teenage boy would look at his crazy mother!  Poor kid!

Walking to the bus stop.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Too Old to Do It?

You know you are reaching a certain age when you see clothes, a haircut, shoes, or accessories and have to ask yourself and trusted others if you are too old to pull them off.

In my 30s I personally feel I am too old to get my first tattoo or pierce any part of my body. It's too bad because I would look smokin' hot with a tattoo - with a significant meaning of course - and a belly button piercing! (this doesn't mean I don't think other 30 year olds shouldn't get tattoos or piercings - I just think it is too late for me to start!)

Friday night I threw caution to the wind and just went for it! Of course this was after consulting a few trusted friends, people around me, and my husband. However, Ry's opinion was immediately thrown out the window because he didn't have a clue what I was talking about!

I'm sure you are wondering what exactly I did.  Well... I got a tattoo with of a phoenix flying out of a burst of flames. Just Kidding!! I actually got a feather extension put in my hair! (sorry to disappoint- but you have to start somewhere right? Today a feather extension and who knows what tomorrow will bring!)

Even if I look too old to pull it off, I still feel young enough inside!  Only my daughter has commented on it (and she LOVES it) so either people haven't noticed, they don't know what it is, or they are too embarrassed for me to say anything!  I can tell you that Ryan didn't notice!  But however it comes across to others I happen to like it!  (at this moment anyways....)

See the feathers???

Monday, May 2, 2011

Loosing Teeth

There are so many milestones when you are a child that you can't wait to get to and celebrate! As a parent you can't wait for these milestones either! I wish milestones you reach in adulthood could be more like that!

Why can't it be when we find our first grey hair we rush to put it under our pillow to wake up to $100 for a dye job? Wouldn't it make is so much easier if the first time you got a hot flash everyone ran for a video camera to commemorate the occasion? Or when you noticed wrinkles forming on your face how cool would it be to have a graduation party into the age of wisdom for you? The first time I was called mam, wasn't carded, or referenced a television show that was off the air before the person I was talking to was born should be celebrated, adored, ooohed and ahhhed over! That's how it should be!

The big tooth is telling the baby tooth to get out of the way!

Lola with all of her teeth
But, I digress! On Tuesday Lola began complaining her tooth hurt. I took a deep breath and took a look. A loose tooth always gives me the hibijibies. It gives me the same feeling nails on a chalk board does! Sure enough it looked loose and her next tooth was pushing through!

Poor girl was terrified about loosing her tooth! I don't blame her! The first tooth I lost I put under my pillow for about five minutes and then went crying to my parents! I was scared to death the tooth fairy would get greedy and take all of my teeth! My parents had to tell me who the tooth fairy really was before I would calm down and go back to bed.

Fortunately, I didn't have to spoil the magic for Lola. She had witnessed Jackson losing his teeth and getting money enough times that she was anxious to join the club!

After picking up A from school that afternoon, we pulled into the garage and it happened. Lola had bit into a piece of bread and triumphantly showed us her bloody tooth in her hand. A gasped and I clapped and made a big deal of it. Big mistake. She looked from A to me and back again and began to bawl! She ducked into the back of the van crying. Always the drama queen...

It didn't take her long to get happy about it! We took pictures and put the tooth in a baggie on the fridge. She was so proud She was now a big girl! Another milestone obtained and celebrated! She is just growing up way too fast! Maybe that is why all of those milestones are celebrated so enthusiastically!
Lola without her tooth!!