Friday, August 29, 2008

Have a little faith!

I have kind of "fallen into" the opportunity to work at a Shade Clothing kiosk here at the Costco for the ten days that it's up. I'm lucky to have gotten a shift of 4:30 to 8:00, Monday through Friday, two Saturdays of 9:15-2:00 and 2:00-6:00, and no Sundays. Working just until a week from tomorrow! This is the perfect way for me to make us a tiny bit of dough, without feeling stuck in a permanent job outside home (which I do not want). Phill will be home when I'm not, except for nights when he's coaching Little League Football (another thing he's got his hands in, coupled with his day-to-day job and his radio thing.....), and I won't be home so late that I can't read to the boys before they're asleep! I think it's going to be fun!

However, true to my worry-wart tendencies, I'm a teensy bit nervous. Mostly about the unknown. But I keep finding that it's mostly self-doubt that causes my nervousness. "What if someone asks me a question and I don't know the answer? What if I'm super shaky and tip over a mannequin and get dust on the bust of the shirt? What if I don't know how to help the customer?" And so on.....

Now, because Phill has a four-day weekend, this morning I was able to go run for a long time while the babies hung out at home in pajamas and crazy hair, eating sugary cereal with Phill while I whittled away my worries on the trail. Before I left, Phill asked how far I was going. (He always asks, and he always watches the clock when I'm gone, because where I'm concerned, he's a worry-wart too and calls me if I'm not back when I say I will be. Which I dearly love about him.) Anyway, I responded that it was 6 miles total, and then said, "But of course I won't be running six miles this morning." And went on my way. Well, while I drove to the start of the trail (hey, this is not laziness on my part. It starts a couple miles from home. Probably.), I was thinking
why I was so sure I wouldn't run six miles. I realize that a lot of my goals give me room for a little bit of failure. Which is good to some extent, of course, because I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. But how much can I chew? :) When Phill asks me why I don't shoot for the sky sometimes (ex. "I will exercise 10 minutes at least two days a week" was my goal once upon a time), I usually say, "Oh, because I know myself." I know when I usually feel weak, I know what usually causes me to go a little off-track with my endeavors. But as I drove to the beginning of the trail, I wondered if it's really because I don't know myself.

What if I have no idea how strong I can really be? What if I'm not really afraid of failure, but afraid to find that I am in fact one hundred times more capable than I think I am, and therefore blazingly more responsible for my various failures? What if my not-so-sky-high goals are evidence of a secret belief that I am actually only capable of mediocrity?

I know I'm human. I know I'm subject to mess up, to stumble my way through some of the newer adventures, to find myself on my knees asking for help each step of the way. This is good. Humility is good. But I think I need to test myself just a bit more, see if I can do more than I think I can, and pray for the strength to do the "good things" I want to do. And I say "I know I'm human", but isn't part of being human learning to progress and grow? Isn't that our purpose here? Isn't that why we are here? To progress, to grow, to learn and then to enjoy the blessings of our efforts in this life and the next?

For the record, I did not run six miles today, but not because I didn't think I could. Because I didn't want to! (And the desire aspect of goal-setting is an entirely new post....) My stomach was growling the entire way, and I was worried about getting lost, being that I was on a new part of the trail and have been bestowed with a rather wandering navigational sense. I think I ran three miles. It was fun. It felt good. I feel good, and I'm filled with hope that I can keep challenging myself in little ways each day until past challenges are habit and future challenges are opportunities.

Well. I should go now, and see if today I can do a little more than I thought I could. (If I want to.....) My omelet turned into, shall we say, "egg crisp", while I was finishing the second paragraph. That pan is going to be a beast to clean, and Savanna is still in pajamas.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Start moving and KEEP moving/I think I can-I think I can-I think I can.....

I've had a hard time--actually, a terrible time--feeling motivated to exercise lately (lately being the last....two and a half months?). My lack of exercise has taken its toll, too--I'm a lot more grouchy, a lot more weepy, and a lot more prone to eat four or five pieces of chocolate cake in a day....less likely to deal well with everyday stress, less likely to handle my various tasks with ease and cheerfulness. In short, I wasn't all that pleasant to be around last week. So I started exercising again on Saturday, and then did again yesterday, and will (promise) again today. The change in my mood and general well-being is incredible. I realized that wanting to look better isn't near-enough motivation for me to get moving. And I don't think it should be the sole motivator, not ever. Because if you don't get the results you want when you want them, you quit. Or when you DO get the results you want, you quit because you're "there". See? It's not good either way! So, taking a page from my mom's book, I have made a list of reasons why I should exercise. Don't get me wrong. I love the superficial benefits of exercising. I like when I enjoy how I look. (Who doesn't?) But I need more reasons than that--more important reasons than that--if I want this to become a lasting habit.

This endeavor isn't all that noble, mind you. Phill has promised me a "prize" if I keep a consistent workout schedule for 3 months. (He offered the prize when I told him I needed something to work towards just to get me in the habit. It's a good prize.) I told him that I just needed to work out for about 6 weeks, and that if I could do that consistently, then I would be able to make it a habit and it would just become part of my schedule. Realistically, there will always be a day or a week when I'm not feeling up to it, no matter how long I've had the schedule going. But what I'm hoping is that my body will take over and my hands will of their own volition tie my shoelaces and I will find that my legs are walking me out the door. Or I'll find my hands turning on the DVD player and selecting the harder workout that I really don't want to do but really need to do.

So to make my commitment even stronger/daunting/set-in-stone, I'm announcing it here! Starting Saturday, August 23rd (because that's when I did start), I will exercise at least four days a week, for at least 25 minutes, and I will do this for 3 months. *gulp*

Here goes nothing.....


You should.

It energizes you. (Then you get more done.)

It relieves stress.

It keeps your heart healthy and conditioned.

It makes your muscles and your immune system stronger.

Resistance exercises aid in maintaining (and building) bone density.

It’s fun. Sometimes.

You’ll feel SO good afterwards, and you’ll be proud of yourself.

It can help correct minor chemical imbalances that lead to depression.

It eases pre-menstrual symptoms and helps you stay on a more evenly-hormone’d track.

It helps regulate the appetite and encourages you to crave more nutritious foods. Sometimes.

Your kids will see you exercising and follow your good example, and you can claim some responsibility for the lasting health of your loved ones. And they’ll be proud of their strong mom.

And last, and mostly least:

It makes you look better.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This is not the cake I made for Jaxon's third birthday party tonight. It is the cake Photoshop graciously cleaned up and made pretty for me.
is the cake I made for Jaxon's third birthday party.

Could have used the easy whipped cream + flavoring "frosting" I was considering. But powdered sugar/homemade frosting was way more cost-effective.

Should have made the frosting thicker. Should have stopped what I was doing as it ran down the sides of the cake and thickened up the stuff.
Would have moved it from this ugly cookie sheet, away
from its surrounding flotsam of frosting mess, if I thought it would survive the journey.

Shall we compare? My frosting wasn't even stiff enough to make the top fin correctly. Ah, me....I am in need of cake decorating supplies and a cake decorating class, it seems. I'm only a teensy bit comforted by the fact that Family Fun no doubt has not only great photographers and great photoshop'ers, but also professional cake makers/decorators!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's List of Quotables

On our way home from school, Reed said, "I think if a teenager went to preschool, he wouldn't like it. Maybe he would yell, 'I don't want to learn preschool stuff! I want to learn teenager stuff!'" (Teenager part said in a low voice. Reed is fascinated by teenagers.)

Then, when we got home, he was hugging/holding Savvy and said, "Mama, I missed Savvy when I was at school. I was thinking of her cuteness."

On the way to Kmart this morning, Reed and I were having a long discussion about domesticated/pet tigers. (It's pretty adorable to hear a 5-year-old say 'domesticated'.) [This discussion was followed by about twenty-three questions about volcanoes.] Reed asked if domesticated tigers still ate humans. I told him that if they were extremely mad and extremely hungry, they might try to eat a human. Jaxon said in a happy voice from his carseat, "I feed a tiger raisins, Mama."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A little wait.....

Please forgive the ever-changing layout of my blog.....I'm finicky and trying to find something that I'll like for a long time. I'm in flux right now. So pardon the blogmess.


This birthday takes the cake! (A big, huge, chocolatey birthday cake.) Phill was talking about his "secret squirrel" stuff and planning a surprise for about 3 weeks. He kept telling me, "You are going to LOVE what I got you." Because he knows I love surprises and I love the anticipation. Well, Friday rolls around, and Phill came home from work all a-grinning and happy. After a while, he gets a text message, and then says, "Okay. Your present is being delivered. Go in our room and don't come out until Reed tells you you can." So then Reed went and guarded the door with glee. After a while, he said, all trembly with happiness, "Mama, you can come out now!!" And I walked out. Standing there in the kitchen was my "bosom" friend (Anne of Green Gables), Jenn!!! With a huge red bow on her, too. I (of course) hugged her and cried and cried, and so did she. (It's only been, what, a couple of months since she visited? But she's my bosom friend. I miss her excruciatingly in the waiting-months between our visits.) And then I hugged Phill and cried some more. He sent us away ("Go play!"), and when we came back (from shopping, yay!), he had a dinner of alfredo pasta w/shrimp, halibut and salmon, and green salad waiting for us. (It was SO good.) Then we had some friends come over to watch the kids (and THEY gifted me with a Ross gift card and an aebleskiver pan!!), and the three of us went out and played! (Ice cream and playing on Dixie Rock. We were essentially 17-year-olds again.)

Jenn had to leave Sunday morning. But yesterday morning, my Dad visited! My parents and my little sister, Maddie, all live in Japan. My Dad was at a conference pertaining to his Chaplaincy stuff in the Army, and he was able to attend my cousin's wedding, visit other family, and thankfully, able to swing down and see us. He treated us all to the Olive Garden last night, and brought several goodies with him from Japan. Jaxon's birthday present--a ninja mask--has been a huge hit. I just got him to take it off this morning, and he had worn it since yesterday afternoon. (Slept in it, too.) My mom and Maddie sent a really cute onesie for Savvy, and some various fun things in a tin, including a bandanna, for which Reed has already found several uses. Then this morning, my dad took a nap (while Savvy napped, too) and gave me $15.00 to go spend on Reed and Jax. Children's Place and Gymboree were both having sales, and I was able to get the boys six pieces of clothing for $14.25.

I've also received an awesome package from my sister, b-day money from my aunt, and b-day money from my mom.

I feel really blessed and really loved. Not so much because of the gifts, which are great, but because I've had some prayers answered in being able to see some of my loved ones! These last few weeks have been so restorative.

New birthday outfit. :)

Jenn, thank you so much for taking photos of Phill and I. That was a gift in itself.
Oh, Jenn, my bosom friend. This was the most serious photo we were able to take. All others are hopelessly, hilariously blurry and/or photos of our insanely happy laughing faces.
The meal Phill made for us.
Savvy in the darling onesie. :)
"I'm making you Super Grandpa." (That's the super-popular green bandanna.)
Jaxon the ninja. I think he enjoys anonymity.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Three years old on the 24th!

It's kind of unreal to me that inside one month, my oldest is going to kindergarten, I'm turning twenty-five, and my middle child will be turning three.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful....beautiful boy...."

We made it. Reed has officially had his first day of kindergarten! I was a hundred times more nervous than he was, and after telling him goodbye in a very falsely cheerful voice as he walked into class with hardly a backward glance (oh, his bravery), I put my head down on the steering wheel and cried like a baby for about five minutes. :) I watched the clock like a hawk the whole time he was gone, and left fifteen minutes early to pick him up.

As the children poured out of their classrooms, I momentarily mistook the fifth-graders for kindergarteners, and then realized that Reed (and most of the other kids his age) are smaller. Much smaller. He seems too small (too young) to be going to school (to be doing all this growing-up stuff). But only to me. He was very mature about the whole thing, wearing a rather seventeen-year-old expression of pride the whole time. On our way to his classroom, he was talking very animatedly about how if we found pirate treasure right now, it would probably be moldy and covered in cobwebs and spiders, and asking me if I think there might still be pirate treasure hidden somewhere (yes). (*Possible pirate treasure and the existence of aliens are two ongoing subjects at our house. I prefer to believe that there are aliens, but that they're not necessarily as TV portrays, and Reed prefers to think that they don't exist at all, or if they do exist, then they'd better have families and happy lives.) I remember I could hardly STAND to think of anything BUT what was ahead of me when it was my first day. He's just so brave. *sigh* I know. I'm awfully sentimental and moony right now. Haven't I every right to be, though? The ball has started rolling, and it just won't stop....elementary...junior high....high on and on.

But really, don't get me wrong--I'm so excited for him. I'm excited for his progress, I'm excited for him to have some outlet for his incredibly active mind, and I'm excited to see how he grows through this next year. I'm proud of him! Proud of the wonderful little person he is becoming, proud of his ability to adjust to all these various parts of growing up.

Sidenote: Jaxon missed Reed excrutiatingly. He was sobbing
the entire way home, "I don't want to go home!!" and then cried in my arms for a few more minutes when we got home. When I brought out the Legos for him to play with--this was the first time he's played with them all by his lonesome--he was torn between loyalty to Reed and excitement for having it all to himself. He sort of wandered aimlessly with the Legos, brightening up to tell me a few "Guess what--chicken butt" jokes. I'm sure he'll grow to love these hours alone....eventually.

Reed said to me on the way out to the car when I picked him up, with some chagrin, "Mom, I didn't say anything the whole day. I didn't talk! Or play. I was very, very quiet." He seemed perplexed by himself. :) I said, "Well, were you doing that because you were supposed to be quiet? Or did you not know what to say?" And he answered, "I had no words." (Boy, do I know the feeling!) And later, more contemplatively, "Mom, we didn't play. It was sort of boring. We just ate cookies and didn't talk." And then about ten minutes later, it was like a floodgate was opened, and he regaled me with stories of how hilarious his teacher is, how he got to make a soup, how they talked about families, etc. All in all, he was happy about his day. Still feeling it out, though, this whole kindergarten process. His teacher's name is Mrs. Bryner. He refers to her--for now--as Mrs. Brainer. I can't bring myself to correct him yet. It's too funny. And kind of sweet. :)

The funny thing about these pictures is that although in some of them he looks unsure, he's actually quietly begging me to stop taking photos so we can go. After a while, he sighed and said, "Mom, I want to go to school. Can we be done?"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I've noticed lately that I keep finding myself waiting. Waiting for Phill to get home before I exercise, waiting for Savvy to take a nap before I clean the house, waiting to feel motivated to clean said house, waiting for the dishes to get out of control before I do them, waiting for the laundry to pile up before I realize I'm wading through it, waiting for my children to go to sleep before I pull out a book and some cookies....

And I've realized how silly that is. It's not like I haven't had this "epiphany" before--but I catch myself doing this waiting game ag
ain and again, and each time I realize I'm doing it, it hits me with more force. How silly am I to wait? Granted, there are some things that just have to wait. There will be things every day that will go to the wayside to make room for the things that matter more. But when I start waiting for the things that I like to do--reading, eating cookies, exercising (at least afterwards)--then it spills over into the things I don't feel like doing. (Dishes. Laundry. Vacuuming. Picking up the billion toys and various artifacts from the floor every day. Starting exercising.) And suddenly I find that my priorities are all topsy-turvy. "Oh, wait! I can't do the dishes! I have to....I have to....I have to...." and my mind scrambles for something--ANYTHING--more desirable than the hated dishes. Eventually what happens is that I'm sitting on the couch reading, eating cookies, while my dishes pile up and my floor becomes a veritable minefield of toys and ripped-up circulars (thank you, darling Savvy) and the laundry becomes its own person in the laundry room, taking shape to scare Reed when he runs in there to throw away a diaper.

And once I've done what needs to get done, isn't it silly of
me to wait until my children are in bed? After all, if their needs are met, if my house is livable and clean, and if there looms nothing before me but time....why not? Why wait to be who I want to be? (A healthy wife and mom whose house is clean, children are played with, taught, fed, and clean, and who reads and photo's every now and then?) Why procrastinate?

I read something a long time ago on some blog or other about how if we're bored in our lives as mothers at home, it's our own fault. Something to the effect of (help me out here, Crystal) "If you're bored, go sit in the shade at a playground and read a book and eat an apple while your kids run free!" Make your day-to-day life something you're excited about.

So anyway, those are just the thoughts running through my mind as I sit in my messy ocean of a living room--I'm "waiting" for this post to be done so I can go clean. :) Hee hee.....

Lastly, I haven't said much at all about the kids lately. Reed starts kindergarten tomorrow, and that's all I'm typing about that, because I'd rather not start my day off in tears. Jaxon has finally decided naps are worth his while again, and Savvy is walking and starting to talk. (Her latest? Me-me. As in "Will you give that to ME?")

Posts forthcoming about my visits from my sisters, as well as my kids' darling partnerships. But for now, just a few photos.
I love the expression on her face in the picture below. "What? I'm not allowed to play with wipes? Why ever not, Mother dearest? "

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Snack Ideas

I happen to be a lousy snacker. It seems like we have something yummy (but not necessarily healthy for us)--say, pudding or Jell-O or chips--for the first two days, and eat it all up really fast, and then we move on to our pale supply of crackers or bread and PB. Kind of lame. And we tend to become a tiny bit crazy when we don't snack well--all of us except for Phill, who is somehow superhumanly immune to the I-haven't-eaten-for-an-hour-and-I'm-crying disease. I'm great at thinking up snacks. Not so great at executing. But Abby asked me for HEALTHY and FAST snack ideas, because she's been a lousy snacker too, and it's making us both bleh. Making and emailing a list for her today was really helpful for me, and I thought that I ought to share it with all of Blogtopia, too! I find a list like this really helped when I had just had Jax, and my dear Camilla brought me yogurt and carrot sticks and yummy salad. It also helps to have your options written out, and it helps to have your snacks sliced, blended, or whatever, and then stored in a really easy-to-reach way. Most of my ideas are from the web and from a nutritionist I had a long time ago, so it's not really original thought. Just others' thoughts organized into something easy to reach for me. So here's my list I gave to her:

Print and tape to your fridge, you silly girl!

Cut-up seedless watermelon--get those small watermelons; they take up less room in the fridge and they're easier to cut.

Mountain High Lowfat Vanilla yogurt--by far the best yogurt I've had, this has become a staple for me. Pair it with sliced peaches and baked oatmeal in the morning and it's like a dessert! This yogurt is also all-natural and loaded with probiotics, which help to regulate the good/bad bacteria ratio.

Cheese crackers with PB--easy to stick in your purse for when you're out and about. Plus the kids like them!

A bottle for water--Not a snack, but NECESSARY!!! Not a plastic bottle, a hard-plastic one. I just bought a really cool Rubbermaid one at Kmart. It's long and skinny and keeps the water cold for a long time. I also think that when I buy a new water bottle I'm more excited to drink water like I need to. Silly but true. :)

Chopped-up carrots--get the full-sized ones instead of baby ones. They taste better and you can have more at hand because the baby ones go so fast. (At least that's how it is for us!)

Whole-wheat pita and PB or whole-wheat bread and PB--you will be better satisfied with a protein-carb combo, and the sugars in whole-wheat pita or bread will enter your body slower than in white bread, so that you won't have that sugar rush and then sick bleh afterwards.

Sliced strawberries--the trick is to slice them right when you bring them home, and then store them in the appropriate storage container. Eat them with vanilla yogurt for a REALLY great snack.

Saltines and cheese or Saltines and PB--same carb-protein combo concept. Also easy to store in a Ziploc or Tupperware in your purse.

Baked Ritz crackers--have you had these? SO good! They're like chips, I guess. But not quite. They're so yummy. Just put a Ziploc of them in your bag, or portion them in easy grab-bags for when you just need to grab something easy at home.

M&M's--just because I firmly believe in a snack now and then that is not nutritionally valuable but deliciously valuable. :) Just make sure you drink some water while you snack on these, because at least for me, that seems to lessen a sugar rush. Go buy those mini packs that come several to a bigger bag. The peanut ones are even better than just plain because then at LEAST you're getting a bit of protein with your sugar.

Fruit cups

Hummus--Pair it with whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat bagels, or carrots. Hummus is made of garbanzo beans and has tons of wonderful stuff in it for you. Tons. Protein, garlic (which has loads of health benefits by itself), olive oil (which is great heart-healthy stuff)....

Oatmeal w/raisins

Cold cereal--I keep forgetting that this is a great snack, if you just eat one bowl!

Apples and caramel dip--the caramel is just a treat. :) But the apples are great.

Those little soup bowls that come in one-portion sizes. They're delicious. I think they're Campbell's Selects? Try the veggie and the chicken noodle. They come with slitted lids and a peel-back tin lid, so you just peel off the lid, put the plastic slitted lid back on, and then nuke it for a minute or so. Very easy.

Trail mix--I like the Sam's Choice mountain kind or something like that. It has m&m's in it. :) It's yummy!!!

Black bean mango salsa and blue corn chips--someone told me that the blue corn chips are better for you. Don't remember why.

Smoothies--This doesn't have to be complicated! Just buy frozen fruit, and blend it with vanilla yogurt and milk. Lots of protein and calcium and antioxidants if you do berries. If you do banana, then you'll get much-needed potassium and magnesium, the lack of which can account for several frustrating issues of lagging health, ex. nausea, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, lack of concentration.....the list goes on.