Monday, August 31, 2009

Power Of Prayer

I am an avid reader of Nesting Place. I wish Nester lived closer so we could go and putt around Hobby Lobby together sometime. Seriously. Love her and her whole family! (I even stumbled across her dad's blog one night and stayed up til 2 in the morning reading it.) So when I read this post, I cracked up and then clicked the link to see what was going on. Whoa, Nelly. Big stuff.

I think this is such a great idea. I found a prayer request that I could really relate to and took a moment to pray for this woman, and then asked for a little prayer for myself. I've been having a tough time of late with the kids- I've felt like my patience level was on low and that the values I really want my children to hold high were under attack. But to wage a strong enough war against the "norm" meant being on their cases so much that it was wearing us all down. There came a point where I wanted to throw up my hands and give up: Be spoiled. Be sassy and disrespectful. Don't care about anything by material "stuff". Bubs was being nuts, and not just asserting his 3-yr. old Independence- nuts, but hitting, kicking, throwing fits like we've never seen. I felt like some serious changes needed to happen in our family fast and wasn't sure what step I should take first.

So I simply requested a prayer for patience when it came to my kids and wisdom when it came to making the right parenting decisions. I just needed a little peace to help me clear my mind and regroup. And over the next few days certain things came to my attention: I noticed a lot of behavior pattern, I took note of how our days were really spent. Then certain articles in magazines would really speak to me and about our life, or I would somehow link up to some woman's blog who felt the same way I did (Love this one)...And believe it or not, I started to feel a plan forming, new ideas coming into light, so I just went with it. This is what happened:

I made a schedule. Seriously. I wrote down everything that needed to be done each day of each week and then systematically figured out how to get it all done in a way that fit into everyone else's daily routine. My goal was to have much more time to spend with Bubs and M during the day, and with Miss O when she came home from school. I wanted to be sure that if I was mopping the floors, at least one kid was napping, and the other was settled and playing, so that they wouldn't need me for that 15 or 20 minutes and I can knock it out uninterrupted. Getting it all down on paper where I could see it made a huge difference- I used to spend ALL day Sunday doing laundry and ALL day Monday and Saturday seriously cleaning the house- where now I take about 15 minutes out of every hour to do something, whether its fold laundry or sweep the kitchen- keeping things moving so it won't get backed up. I got a grip on what had to be done, channeled Tim Gunn and "made it work." (I am also seriously Type A and I LOVE lists. Love them, so this wasn't so hard for me.)

As advised by Bub's doctor, due to his issues with over-stimulation, we rounded up any and all toys that make noise and have flashing lights and politely asked them to find a new home. (This also started to solve my overwhelming feeling about how much "stuff" my kids have.) We turned the TV off WAY more- especially in the mornings and began to spend alot more time outdoors. We go on walks while Bubs rides his bike, we play "battabattabaseball" as he calls it, and of course, bust out the water balloons. We have also re-introduced ourselves to the Play-Doh, the AquaDoodle Mat and our big tub of crayons. They are calm, quiet and don't require batteries: Just what the doctor ordered. (Finding the right balance of being active mixed with calm activities he can immerse himself in has been tricky, but it has pretty much solved his pent-up energy= crappy behavior issues.)

We made the decision that there should be no more toys purchased unless its Christmas or the kids' birthdays. It has just gotten so out of control that nothing was special to them anymore. They weren't taking care of the things they had because they knew something new would be just around the corner, and especially with O, it became all about more, more more. One more Pet Shop. One more Webkinz. But when it came time to ask her to clean her room, she would cry and break down because she was so overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" she had to deal with. It was too much her for her. And me. I was also getting disturbed by the fact that all she talked about on these online villages was getting more and more money so she could buy more and more "stuff" for her pets. It all seemed really shallow, and not the way I want my child spending these carefree years. (But, oh! The first time I had to tell her 'no' when she asked me to buy one little measly toy at the check-out was SO hard for me. But it had become a habit for her to ask, and a worse habit for me to always indulge. It was hard on both of us.) Something really changed in me to make me realize that we spent way too much time and energy in search of things, rather than enjoying time with each other and I had to be the one to say "Enough." I realized that I had been a really bad example to my kids, and have put myself on a spending freeze. We have so many great things going on in our lives right now, but every penny counts at this point and I have to hold myself accountable too.

Neither Bubs nor M are attending MDO this year, so I made the decision to teach him myself. I have set up morning lessons that we do while M has her first nap. I can't tell you a) how much fun we have b) have great it is to watch him grasp these new concepts and c) how special it is to see our relationship change so quickly. I have slowed down and given him my undivided attention as much as I can, and both he and I have calmed down alot and just feel a new sense of peace in our house. He's really so smart and funny and we all have really been enjoying him so much more.

I have also made a MUCH earlier bedtime for everyone. I know my kids and I know that they all start to loose it around 5:30pm. It just made more sense for me to be proactive and have dinner on the table at 6:00, so everyone can be fed, bathed and in bed by 7:00pm. Dinner is so much more enjoyable, story time (which is a HUGE deal in our house) is not rushed because we have plenty of time to relax and enjoy when its not 8:30 and I am rushing everyone off to bed because they have been nightmares for the past 3 hours. They have all been sleeping better, getting up in better moods and, not to be all Von Trapp-family, but it just goes to show that sometimes structure can be really good.

I feel like we had a "life detox", if you will. We've taken the past week to kind of clear our heads and really focus on what we want for our family. So I think my prayer was answered. I feel more patient, I feel like the tools I needed to start changing were revealed to me. And I think the biggest thing is the peace I feel for having made these "different" decisions for my family and not feeling the need to apologize for them. I think getting "older" (30! Gasp!, I know, don't roll your eyes) has made me realize that we really do have the power to make our own ground-rules for our own family, and not look for the rest of the world to validate what we are doing. I just keep hearing Dave Ramsey and his "Live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else." I think that holds true for us now (and not just economically): If we unwaveringly take the time to educate and raise our children to be kind, patient and honorable people, than we can relax and enjoy them so much more as they grow up.

What do you need a prayer for?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Rule

We were on the way to play at the indoor playground at the mall, and I was going over a few ground rules with Bubs. He was SUPER excited to go, and I just didn't want his little boy-activeness to get the best of him. I told him that there were little babies like Morgan that play there too and that he needed to be careful.
"Please be careful not to step on the babies, okay?"
"Okay, Mommy."
"Please be careful not to knock down the babies, okay?"
"Okay, Mommy."
Then he was quiet for a minute and said in a very Mommy-like tone, "And you be careful not to drive over the babies, okay, Mommy? We don't want to drive over the babies."

Good call, Bubs. Thanks for the tip.
(Is it possible that he knows I am the worst driver ever????)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'll Eat You Up! I Love You So!

Okay, so I can't sleep. 'Haven't been able to fall asleep before 1am in weeks. I think my poor body has gotten used to it now, so its not so bad- Thank God for good, strong coffee.

So what's a girl to do, laying in bed, wishing and praying that she could fall asleep, counting down the hours until she has to get back up??? Watch TV on Demand of course!And do you know that Time Warner cable has MOVIE TRAILERS you can watch? Movie trailers are one of my most favorite things about going to the movies (next to Jr. Mints mixed in popcorn) Seriously- if there are crummy trailers I feel a little jipped.

Anyway! So here I am, watching trailer, after trailer - they are in alphabetical order- when I come to this! I think- "No way! Am I reading this right??" But, yes! Lo and behold- LOOK !!! I am freaking out with excitement! I can recite this book without looking, our copy is tattered from being read at least once a week for the past 7 years to one child or another. I even had this picture framed in our kitchen back in college :This looks AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-mazing! Can't wait to take O! (And get the soundtrack- Supposed to be equally awesome! I'll letcha know!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

If Pee-Wee Can Do It...

If Pee-Wee Herman can marry a fruit salad because he loves it so much, then you should be on the look-out for your invites to the Yarbrough-Podge wedding, planned for, I don't know... this weekend?...

I love Modge Podge. So much.
I constantly look at things and think , "Hhmmmm, how much cuter would you be with some ink-rubbed, decorative-edged-cut scrapbook paper decoupaged on to you??"Its a problem.But look how fun! How cute!
(Thanks Steph for the pencil box idea!)How cheap!!!
(This soap dispenser was $1 from Joanns, with .59 cent paper
and ribbon I had left over! SUPER cheap!)
(Oh, and in case you want to get us something to commemorate this special day in our lives, Modgie and I are registered at Hobby Lobby, Michael's and JoAnns. )

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Husband Pleasin'

EW! No! Get your mind out of the gutter. This is simply a post to share my famous in my own mind Chicken Nugget recipe- I've been promising Fan Target I'd give it to her, and I just so happened to make it for dinner last night. Its the only thing I've made in our almost 8 years of marriage that Jas begs me to make again and again. (Sad, I know.) Its not fancy, doesn't have mysterious ingredients, there are not utensils needed that you can only get at Sur La Table- They are short and sweet. And Damn Good.

(Now lets take a minute for Lysh and Heather to get their defibrillators out and revive themselves from the shock-induced heart-attack I just gave them from the mere idea of me writing about cooking....)

Okay, girls? Alright, lets proceed.

You Need:
3-4 chicken tenders per person (I used to use chicken breast cut up, but Jas prefers then to be more nugget-y, so the tenders work better)3 eggs
1 1/2 cups Flour
2 Cups Corn Flakes (crunched up)
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil
A fork
BBQ Sauce ( I personally prefer good ole' Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce, but that's just me...)

1. 2. Pour enough oil in the your skillet to cover 2/3 of the nugget if you laid it in there and turn it on between the 6 and 7 on the dial. (Very technical, I know.)
3. Get out three mixing bowls and a plate. Pour your flour in the first bowl, beat the three eggs in your second one and then mix the corn flakes and the bread crumbs in the third. Put your plate at the end. This is your Road-To-Chicken-y-Goodness- assembly line.4. Set out a cookie sheet next to your skillet.

"Leez Do it!" (say in your best Tone Loc voice)
1. Stab the top of your first piece of chicken towards the top with your fork. It needs to be able to wiggle around so you can properly coat it during this whole process. Now dredge (Holy moly! Look at that fancy cooking word!) each piece of chicken in the flour.2. Now dip it in the eggs, coat, coat, coat- this is your "coating glue"- make sure its everywhere!
3. Dip your nugget in the coating mixture. I rest it in there and shake the bowl a little to get it nice and covered. (Whoa! Where'd it go!?)No, worries! It was smothering itself in the corn-flake-bread-crumby-goodness...4. Put your ready-to-be-cooked nugget on the plate.
5. Rinse and repeat.
6. Once all your nuggets are coated, your oil should be nice and hot, so place as many nuggets as you can fit in the skillet. Check them and flip them when the bottoms have gotten crispy. Once both sides are cooked, move to the cookie sheet and continue until you have all your pieces nice and done.7. Put your cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes.
NOTE: If you want to make frozen fries to go with this, you need to stick those guys in as soon as you turn on the oven. They take forever! This way you should come out all on time. If you make your own mashed potatoes, you should start to boil the potatoes when you start putting the pieces in the skillet, then mash once the nuggets are in the oven. That works out time-wise, too. We've tried lots of side combos: home-made fries, corn on the cob, mac and cheese...Morgan Jane is always suggesting new sides to try.Or you could have the sweetest husband ever, and he will drive through KFC for you and pick up a million different sides... and you don't have to worry about anything but looking like you slaved over these delicious guys!
"Bon Appetit! You may eat!"

Call CPS...

or the Tooth Fairy Police, and turn me in.
Worst Mommy ever.

I have forgotten that Olivia lost her tooth and it is sitting patiently under her pillow, waiting for the Tooth Fairy to bring her a $1, the past

Thank Goodness its in an airtight ziploc container because God forbid it spoil in my Unforgivable-I'm so ashamed- I-Almost-Ruined-One-Of-The Last- Little-Fun-Child-Fantasy-Things Olivia has left. The first night I blamed it on the storm, to which she replied with a puzzled look, "I thought she was magic...?"
I quickly told her: Helllll-oh! She still had to fly to get here.

Phew! Close one!

But then this morning. I walk by her on the way to make coffee, and she doesn't even look up and says, "She didn't come again." Crap. Crap. Crap.

Tonight. Without fail.
Maybe if I'd made something as adorable as this, it would be alot harder to forget!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Go, Jas!

There have been so many times in our marriage, that I have been extremely proud of my husband- and the past few weeks have really made me sit back and smile. I have seen him embrace a dream, and proceed to do all that he can to make it a reality- and every time he has another small success, my heart swells.

He had a moment recently where he realized that he wasn't doing what he loved, and that he had had enough of it. He loves to teach golf, and his position currently doesn't have any opportunities for him to really get out there like he used to- he's stuck behind a counter, inside- that's not how he pictured his golf career. He's discussed becoming certified to be coach, he looked at other clubs to see if they would be a better fit for him, and then in the end, he decided to create his own opportunity. And North Dallas Golf Instruction was born.

I was so proud when he hand-delivered his information folders to school- knowing how nervous he would be seeing has how he hates to have to talk to people he doesn't know. I was so proud when he received a call back the next day to set up an appointment. I was so proud when he signed his first school- seeing the excitement and nervousness in his face, while he tried to play it cool. I was so proud when he did his first Open House, and the sign-up sheet came back almost full. With every success he's had, I feel the push on my end to stay on top of finding more schools and organizing everything for the ones he has. The opportunity for this program to be huge is there- and know that we know it, I can see the drive he has even more to really follow through and make it a success- and I feel so proud. I love that he is true to himself- he knows he won't be happy until he does what he loves. He's always worked so hard to take care of our family and I love that we now have the opportunity to really work as a team. I just think he is so cute and precious and darling-and I know all of the parents, directors and students will too! Go NDGI!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mommy Mix Tapes

Okay. I can't listen to the Veggie Tales CD anymore. I can't take it. I also worry about Luke's love of Kanye West and the fact that he asked me "Why you gotta be so Docta' Evil?!" the other day when he couldn't have another cup of chocolate milk. And don't get me started about the radio! There is NOTHING even remotely appropriate on pop stations anymore ("Mommy, do you ride a disco stick like a pogo-stick?!?" "Mommy, why have those good girls gone bad? What did that guy do to them?!?!") Seriously. These are the questions I get. I want to die. Thank God my mute button is right by my thumb on my steering wheel!

But, my thumb is getting sore, so I have been trying to come up with a collection of songs I wouldn't mind listening to and that are okay for the kids too- great tunes with any sort of message going WAY over their heads. I'm going to put some really truly kid songs on them too. I'll try to come up with a few collections and post them here in case any other Mommies out there are feeling my pain. I was able to find all of these on LimeWire. I listed them how I burned them- seems to have a nice flow....Sorry, "Birthday Sex" didn't make the list. :0)

Here is Mommy Approved Vol. 1:
1. Don't Let Your Feet Touch The Ground by Ash Koley
2. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree by KT Tunstell
3. You Are My Sunshine by Sara Gazarek
4. Go Go Go by the Backyardigans
5. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz
6. Rock N Roll by Eric Hutchinson
7. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell
8. See The World by Gomez
9. I Thought I Lost You by John Travolta and Miley Cyrus
10. Okay, Its Alright With Me by Eric Hutchinson
11. Young Folk by Peter Bjorn and John
12. Shake Shake Shake by The Backyardigans
13. New Shoes by Paolo Nutini
14. Steal My Kisses by Ben Harper
15. Feelin Good Again by Robert Earl Keen
16. The Rainbow Connection by the Dixie Chicks
17. Suddenly I See by KT Tunstell
18. Hoedown Throwdown by Miley Cyrus

Back To Bubbie Basics

So he's fine.

He still wakes us up every morning tell us he's "starving for BunnyWhop."- but is sweet enough to let me sleep until the Agent Oso episode is over.

He still find the dog every morning and brings him over to Morgan's highchair, just so he can hear Morgan say, "Git down, Moe-ie". He thinks its hilarious that she can really talk now.

He still asks me to make him a "wid-le nest" on the couch, so he can curl up and catch a few Noggin shows and not freeze to death in our (always too cold) house.

He still hates to take a nap, but can be convinced with get in the bed with no tears for 3 gummy bears and a good back rub.

He still amazes us when he climbs up in my office chair and can get himself logged onto the desktop games and plays along- when no one ever showed him how.

He still says silly things like, "I want you to cut my hair so it looks like a goldfish, " or "There is purple dog under my bed that wants a kiss."

He still has to practice giving us kisses or high-fives until he feels that he's done it juuust right.

He still thinks that nothing is more fun than water balloons or bubbles.

He is back to his silly, funny, talkative, active, (rebellious, stubborn, looney) amazingly charming self! Thank God and thank you to everyone for their prayers and good thoughts. We saw his new pediatrician this week and she believes he had a case of viral meningitis. Scary yes, but common, too. His eyes checked out, his ears checked out, his heart is fine, his brain is fine, he's in perfect health. (She told us our goal now is to make sure he doesn't have to have anymore CT scans in the future- it seems his little brain can't take anymore radiation- yikes!) Either way, we are just glad to have a new doctor that we like, a diagnosis and our Bubbies back to his old self!

'Scuse me, I have to go tell someone to quit jumping off the coffee table!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Catching My Breath

I don't think I have sat down in peace for the past two weeks. The last week of July was spent planning for Morgan's birthday, helping Fan Target pack, creating Jas' website and preparing for Granna's visit- and first glimpse of the "new" house....
Morgan's birthday was a total success! So glad so many of our friends could make it, and a "Thank You" shout-out to everyone who helped with the little details. We are so blessed to have such great friends and a giving family! Here are some high-lights of that special day:
Things were going great and then like WHAM- things took a scary turn. I have taken every day that my children have been happy and healthy for granted. I have always just assumed that scary medical mysteries happy to other people, or on House. But when Luke woke up Monday morning, unable to walk across the room with out falling over, I just about lost my mind. What had happened to him, when not 12 hours before we had all been out to dinner- he was running around, jumping of the landing at Babes?!? He was fine. And then he wasn't. He was scared- Jas and I were terrified- because we thought the words that no one would dare say out loud- wouldn't dare put them out into the universe. I rushed him to the doctors, only to be sent home with the diagnosis of a stomach flu that was making feel so bad and weak that he was CHOOSING not to stand. After a nap- and no stomach flu symptoms, he still couldn't walk from the bathroom down the hall without slamming into the wall- my Mommy Instincts told me Enough. I wanted every last inch of him looked over. This was not my son. This was not right. Thank God for Children's. Thank God for doctors that listened to me, that understood how terrified I was behind my "Everythings Going To Be Fine" smile. I tried to stay upbeat with Luke. He was feeling fine- he wasn't sick- so there was obviously something going on inside him that needed to be uncovered. We saw three different doctors in the ER and each one just shook thier heads and told us they had no idea what was going on. Which in my scared shitless state- I took as "We think we know whats wrong, but its bad, so we're not going to say anything yet." Scared. Confused. Exhausted.
We spent the night at Children's- and after blood work (so brave), urine samples(Luke LOVED peeing in a cup, thought it was ridiculous fun), Tox Screens (they thought he might have poisoned himself) CT scans (he had to be wrapped like a baby burrito) and an MRI (thank God they knocked him out)- everything was clean. They still had no real idea what he happened to him. For most of the time we were there, Jas didn't say anything. I thought he was mad at me- making a mountain out of a molehill- but as we were released and we walked back to the car to go home, both of us lost it. He was so freaked out by the whole thing, thinking our little boy had a brain tumor- that our lives were going to be shattered, I realized that he just needed to sit and be quiet, to get through it. I cried all the way home. I had kept my happy face on long enough, and Luke couldn't see me then. Just the thought of what could have been, how we had been saved and blessed in the end- how thankful I was that he was "fine"- that is was something, but something we could handle. As we left the hospital, Luke hugged our sweet Nurse Gayle and said, "Thank you for having us."- like the past 27 hours had been a vacation! We spent all day Wednesday trying to get our hearts to beat properly again and by Thursday, Luke was walking fine- I'd say he was back to 100% even. The past week has been fine, we've just been taking it easy waiting for his appointment with a NEW pediatrician, maybe this one won't dismiss me as a hyper mother and actually listen to my concerns (Bitter much? Me? No way...) He will also be seeing the ENT specialist at Children's next week, since its not his brain- they think it might be an inner ear issue. We just want to know something. Anything that would make since of what happened.

So thank you to everyone for thier prayers. Thanks for my mom and Martha for taking such good care of our girls that we knew we had nothing to worry about. Thanks to Lysh for calling and stong-arming the lady at Children's so we knew where excatly to go. Thank you to Nedra, for coming up to the hospital and being the best medical liason we didn't know we needed so much. I'll keep everyone posted on what the doctors say over the next few weeks, too.