Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks house looks like something off of do that math.

I learned to crochet last weekend- I am now addicted! Anyone else out there crochet? I couldn't get the hang of knitting and I didn't even care when Fudge used my knitting needles for something and destroyed them. Secretly, I was thrilled. But crochet? I get it and it is so therapeutic. Fudge wanted to snuggle and watch a movie together last night and once he dozed off, I made a scarf. Love it, wore it today.

Last weekend was epic- girls' weekend. Not only did I finish two scrapbooks, but more importantly, I was able to connect with old friends and make some fantastic new ones. For my girls that may be reading: STOP- Hammertime!

Fudge likes iPad apps and I have a bank account that I don't use much, but I do toss some discretionary dollars to for this, iTunes, etc. The account is down to $3 and I keep forgetting to put some funds in it. Fudge keeps asking if I've done it yet and today I just said, "no, but I get paid next Tuesday." Really, it's not a matter of getting paid, it's a matter of transfering funds. So Fudge goes on to ask me,"how much money do you make in your paycheck?" I replied, "I am not sure" which is truthful, since I could not tell you what I make to the dollar or penny. His response was classic Fudge: "well, I hope you make at least $10 for the work you do."

Fudge had two days off from school this week, so I took a vacation day and then I was off today for the holiday. By the end of today, he had me worn out, so I'm quite thankful he didn't have any commentary on the following two items that found their way into my cart at the market today: spiked eggnog and Bridesmaids (thank you Redbox). Let's hope he zonks out early tonight!

A year ago yesterday our little monkey fell out of a tree and broke the radius and ulna in his left arm. The child definitely had a guardian angel watching over him that time too. Here we are, a year later, and I got to watch him play classical music on the piano at Barnes and Noble last night, which made my little heart overflow with thanks.

Leave your comment love below and if you'd like to join in the FNL fun, head on over to Danifred's blog and join the party.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful~ Day 9: Our Zoo

Today I am thankful for all of our fur babies, past and present, that have enhanced our daily lives, loved us unconditionally, and provided security and protection of our home. Our current cast of characters includes two rescued dogs, a rescued cat, and a recent addition- Sir Washington the parakeet. How could you not love these sweet faces?

Our big boy of the group, Dax, is 9 1/2 and came to us through Virginia German Shepherd Rescue. He loves having a job to do, especially watching the house. He also loves to sing- just break out a harmonica, or do some singing yourself, and he will join you.

Marley just turned 4, as best we can estimate, and came to us as Fudge's "buddy" after our sweet girl Sammy passed. Fudge named her "Marely Pumpkinhead" but my mom and I both agree she should have been called "Stinkerbell." She has been a sweet, if not crazy, dog who loves to please and loves to snuggle under covers with you. She also has a high prey drive, so moles, voles, mice, etc. are not safe anywhere in our yard.

I still miss Sascha (lived until 12) and Mitzi (lived until 23) something awful, so I hate to think about my sweet boy above aging. Salem came to us as my birthday present in 1999, born at a local marina and in need of a home. My mom has his sister, and both have been wonderful, affectionate cats. These days, our boy likes to nap and snuggle, but he will get frisky and chase something every now and then.

Sir Washington joined us at the beginning of the school year. He seems sweet enough, but he is still terrified of us. Although, I take it as a good sign that he has started to sing during the day. Our hope is to have him tamed enough to perch on a finger and calmly enjoy time outside of his cage.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful~ Day 8: The Right to Vote

Today Fudge had a day off from school and one of our first activities of the day was to go vote. I've been taking Fudge to the polls with me for every election since he was born, but it was not until today that he has had some thoughtful questions around the entire process, such as why do we vote? When I explained what/who we are voting for and that voting is a right we exercise, he still wasn't really getting what the big deal was. When I told him women used to not be able to vote, he had an incredulous look on his face. He said, "Well that's just STUPID. Sorry Mom, I know I'm not suppoosed to say 'stupid' but that is 'stupid'- women are people, why couldn't they vote?" He didn't follow much more I had to say about the 19th Amendment, except that it was passed around the time his great-grandmother was born, which he thought was crazy, that women haven't always been allowed to vote. It really rocked his world when I explained the 15th Amendment, and I didn't even get into poll taxes and literacy tests. Fudge's response was "What's wrong with people- why wouldn't they let brown people vote?" I love how kids at this age view the world, not based on skin color, social status, salary, religion, etc. I hope Fudge holds onto this view- I wish more of us did so as adults. When I was recapping the conversation for the Hubs last night, he said, "wait 'til he learns blacks were only counted as 3/5s of a person." Not ready to expose him to even more ugliness of our history yet, but it's coming.

So today, I am thankful for the right to vote, even when it comes with a slew of annoying political ads and phone calls.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful~ Day 7: Travel

I have insatiable wanderlust, but in my defense, I did warn the hubs prior to marrying that I just cannot help it. He knew what he was getting into, and now he has a son with wanderlust as well. I am thankful to have had multiple opportunities to travel, especially considering I come from a family and marriage that is not military. Fudge's career aspirations include "being a guy who travels the world and takes pictures." For a kid that's only 6 years old, he's got a pretty good record already- 26 US cities across 17 states, plus international travel to Aruba. I'm up to 26 states and 17 countries, with hopes for many more to come. The travel budget waxes and wanes, but I am thankful we can still eek out a travel budget. There are still many places left on my wish list, but one I hope to see in the next couple of years is Morocco. Our church sponsors multiple North African mission visits and my goal is to participate in one sometime during the next three years of our "changing lives" campaign.

In the meantime, I am emptying the suitcase from a 4-day beach visit and re-packing for Hilton Head Island and Savannah, maybe Charleston too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful~ Day 6: Friends

I am so thankful for my girls- you keep me grounded, sane, loved, supported, and more. We have shared times in sunshine and in shade and you have been there every step of the way. I remember reading somewhere years ago (email maybe?) that you may have many friends and acquaintances, but true girl friends, in it for the long haul, are few and far between and should be cherished as they get us through each phase in our lives.

I continue to be blessed with my girls from high school, college, and grad school, my girls after college and starting in the working world, and the girls that have come into my life once I became a Mama. Each of you is special to me and I couldn't imagine life having as much laughter and care without you in it, where I can be exactly who I am as I am. Thank God for true friends!

This past weekend I was beyond blessed to get away to the beach for a 4-day girls weekend, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. What a fantastic time we had and how I look forward to continuing to nuture these relationships. May each of you reading this be blessed with such fantastic compadres! And I wish for Fudge the friendships such as these, that bask in the sunshine and can withstand the shade.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thankful~ Day 5: Family

Oh, I am so very thankful for my loving and crazy family! I grew up watching my parents always giving their best and sacrificing so my mom could stay home with us. My parents have always been there for me each step of the way, supporting me and cheering me on. It took me a long time to realize how fortunate I am and that not everyone grows up with such a terrific support network. My brother is still one of my closest friends and I am thankful he lives nearby again, instead of across the country. I am thankful to still have three of my grandparents, and that Fudge was able to know his great-grandmother before she passed this year. Finally, I am thankful to come from a very large, loud, loving, friendly family, full of cousins, aunts, and uncles...lots and lots of cousins. We know how to have a good time and Thanksgiving should be entertaining this year!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful~ Day 4: Fudge, my miracle

I am so overhwhelming thankful for our sweet boy, Fudge. He completes our family with the joy, wonder, and love he brings to our lives each and evey day. His mind never stops, always thinking and sharing such creative and innovative ideas, making the impossible possible. In addition to this, he has quite the sense of humor and he can make me laugh like no one else can. We waited so long for this miracle to arrive and he was worth every minute of it...I love my sweet boy and I am so thankful God entrusted him to us!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful~ Day 3: My Husband

As I count my blessings, the hubs is right there at the top of the list. I am so thankful for him and all that he does for our family. The hubs and I are very opposite in a complimentary type of way...he's calm, I can be totally insane. This picture is so indicative of him- we call the hubs the animal whisperer. I don't care where we go, if there is an animal within a mile, it will seek out the hubs and find him. Here we are in Aruba and a puppy found him. We were staying at a hotel one time that had a lovely, large bird in the lobby. When I would enter the lobby and talk to it and attempt to pet it, the bird would try to bite me! When the hubs would start to descend the stairs to the lobby the bird would go nuts- whistling, bobbing its head, getting all excited until the hubs would go over and pet it. We recently went to a butterfly farm and while one landed on me and one on Fudge, the hubs here was covered in them.

I could go on and on about all the ways my hubs rocks and what an amazing father he is to Connor, but I'll leave it at I am so thankful to have such an courageous and dedicated partner. Love him!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful~ Day 2: Four Generations

I love this photograph; it's the last one I have of these four generations together. What makes me terribly sad is that it is from Christmas 2009, almost two full years ago...and I think it was the last time we were all together. We had planned to all be back together this weekend, but it is not to be. Life, and death, are what happen in between us making plans and the reality playing out in front of us. Right now I should be calling my Gma to wish her a happy 90th birthday, should be packing for a trip to New Jersey, and should be celebrating one heck of a surprise party for her this weekend. Sadly, the "would-a, could-a, should-a" doesn't count for anything and the reality is that I cannot call, cannot write, cannot visit. We lost my grandmother just shy of her 90th birthday, in a fatal car accident.

So today, I am thankful to have had a grandmother who had so many in her life and took the time to make each and every one of us feel special, unique, celebrated, and treasured for who were small task when you have 50+ grandchildren, not to mention nieces, nephews, etc. I am thankful to have had a grandmother that saw the humor in any situation and one who was fearless in overcoming what others might see as insurmountable odds: becoming a widow, being completely deaf, aging...none of these things stopped her. She still traveled around the country, lived independently, and continued with activities she enjoyed. And while almost 90 may seem like many, many years and a full life, to me, it seems like it still wasn't enough. She may be gone, but her legacy lives on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful~ Day 1: My Faith

I've not participated in the "thankful for" series in the past, but I felt moved to do so this year. When I think of the first thing I am thankful for, it is my Creator, life, the ultimate sacrifice and grace, and my faith. Note that I did not state "organized religion," but faith. Yes, I worship in a church and yes I love my church, but faith is not religion. Faith is a relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. And He is, indeed, risen.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers

  • We're not really cold cereal eaters around here, except for some Kashi every now and then. The ONE big exception we make is Fudge can indulge in Fruit Loops when on vacation and I love Boo-Berry cereal at Halloween. And, guess who didn't look into getting any a month ago? That's right, me. Cannot find a box of it anywhere, but stores are overflowing with Christmas items. Seriously, can we enjoy one holiday at a time please?

  • I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, and while there is so much to be done to get the house in proper order (yikes), I am THRILLED to be hosting and that we also have family from out of town joining us. Seriously warms my heart!

  • I'm behind in my master plan of holiday prep (ba-wa-ha-ha), but I will catch up...right?

  • This is going to be one busy weekend, between everything to be done here and needing to get photos edited and printed for a crop next weekend. So excited- girls' weekend at the beach to catch up on some albums with some great women.

  • Anyone else out there hooked on the new show Revenge?

  • I was recently asked during a conference call what's the one kitchen item I could not live without. It was a tie for me, between the Pampered Chef garlic press and my Keurig.

  • I've previously stated that I may need to turn in my Yankee greens and buttermilk fried chicken and all that. (Note: I do, however, love my home state of New Jersey.) Today may have been the tipping point...I was at a very crowded store and of course, someone left his/her cart blocking an aisle...and no one was around to claim it. Seriously, not in sight! And you know, nothing stands between me and my K-cups, so I move the cart all of 2 feet so I could get to the coffee. This older woman comes flying around an endcap hollering "THAT'S MY CART!" (um, hello, chillax) with the most annoying New York/Long Island accent, while gabbing on her cell phone LOUDLY the whole time as well. After politely telling her I didn't want her cart, I wanted to get some coffee she repeated "WELL THAT'S MY CART." And you know by this point I wanted to say, "then move it out of the aisle b****" but I just smiled sweetly and said, "and it's all yours" and walked away. But I have to admit, as I was walking away, I couldn't help but think "why can't all of these annoying New Yorkers pick another place to retire? Damn annoying Yankees with their ignorant New York accents." And for my Massachussets friends, the letter R is, indeed, still a functioning member of the alphabet.

Please leave some comment love and visit the original FNL to see what dish Danifred is serving up and join in the FNL yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers- The Longest Week

Hellllooooo Friday! Getcha some leftovers here...

-Whirlwind week was full of soccer games, school volunteering, teacher conference, homework, reading, library, a corn maze, the movie COURAGEOUS (awesome, awesome, awesome- go take your man to see this!), and Robert Amaya spoke at our church on Sunday. What a full week!

-Speaking of church, one of Fudge's best little friends is Jewish (dad is a rabbi). I am thankful that though we hold different beliefs and traditions, both families are open to sharing time together when it includes their respective faith. We were honored to be included in their oldest daughter's Bat Mitzvah celebration this year, Fudge has attended synagogue picnics and tonight, Fudge will join his friend in celebrating Simchat Torah at their synagogue. Frankly, he is looking forward to lots of candy. I'm also thankful that when his friend expressed an interest in joining us for church, the family was open to that and allows him to go with us. Most of all, I am thankful that the difference in faith is not even a blip on the radar for the shares what he is learning in Hebrew while the other talks about the 12 disciples, and they like that Moses is a common guy. What really gave me a laugh recently was the heated game of dreidel they had going on the other day- who knew? I think the boys know what I wish most adults would figure out: Fudge celebrating with a friend at synagogue doesn't make him any less "Christian" and his friend worshipping with us doens't make him any less "Jewish."

-Being the voracious reader that I am, I am hoping to raise a voracious reader. My mom recently bought Fudge The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which we read in no time. Tomorrow, we are taking him to see a children's theater production of the story and we are looking forward to that. And we get to visit my alma mater, and a trip to Carl's- totally in love with my Saturday already...and still ordering what I did in college almost 20 years ago (yikes, we are getting old)- hot fudge sundae with strawberry ice cream. YUM!

-Who scored two pre-sale tickets to Cirque Holidaze? THIS GIRL! Balcony box seats for me and Fudge to kick of the holidays. Sad to say, theater tickets are so expensive that the hubs and I usually split who takes Fudge to see what. Hubs got to take him to The Lion King last year, so I get Cirque. Sssshhh- don't tell hubs the boys weekend away last year was really for me to have some peace and quiet to catch up on Christmas preparations.

-Girls weekend at the beach is coming up- looking forward to the down time.

-My 15+ year old washer is just about dead...any suggestions on a replacement?

-Our parakeet, we've had for a month, is still terrified of us. Suggestions?

Please leave your comment love below, then go visit the original queen of the leftovers, Danifred.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bedtime Talk

Halloween 2008

Age 3

I've found with Fudge that he asks the most profound questions of the day once it is over and he is snuggling into bed at night...maybe he is a "processor" like his Mama. The past few nights the questions have given me a giggle...

"Mom, why do rappers wear their drippy drawers so low that you can see their hiney cracks?" (No idea my child even knew what a "rapper" is, and he couldn't answer that question for me, except to tell me our neighbor thinks he can rap and "no, really, he can't.")

After reading a bedtime devotion on the creation of Adam and Eve: "Oh, I get it...when you see someone who doesn't have a full body part, like some people are missing an arm, it's still stuck in their rib, right? Can they just pull it out of their rib?"

And finally, last night's chuckle came from me reading Cinderella to Fudge at bedtime. When I got to the part of the Fairy Grandmother, I asked Fudge if he remembered what she says, to which he replied, "BOOGEDY, BOOGEDY, BOO!"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers...The Grumpy Edition

  • I am grumped much as when I was on fertility drugs (explain that one to me). I need this grumpiness to go away, because frankly, it's pissing me off!

  • Fudge has not missed the bus since I charged him $5 to play taxi. Hmmm...maybe that worked?

  • Soccer, we live at the soccer field these days...three days a week. But I love wathcing Fudge running up and down the field and having a great time.

  • Did I mentioned we got a bird? I caved and let Fudge get a parakeet three weeks ago. It seems sweet, but I am afraid it's going to bite me. Oh, his name is Sir Washington.

  • The school situation is still a mess due to construction delays, so Fudge is one of six classrooms in the gym, or as our neighbor likes to call it: "refugee camp."

  • We are decorating for Halloween this weekend. Finally, because in my book, we are a week late.

  • I have Monday off while the hubs has to work and Fudge has school. So, as much as I "should" be doing something around here, I am giving myself the gift of peace, quiet, a good book, a soft blanket on the couch, and maybe even a nap. Go me!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Easy Peasy Discipline?

If you're new around here, meet "Fudge." Yes, as in "Super Fudge" and yes, that is my kid, on vacation in Aruba of all places, totally rolling his eyes at me. He's 6, curious, precocious, active, and smart as a whip. What's a girl to do?

Well, this girl is in slap-worn-out-tired. I work full time, I am "Mama" full time, and in between, like most of you, I need to somehow squeeze in being wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, household CEO, planner of the menus, shopper of the groceries, laundry maven, swagger wagon driver, family vet, gardener, and the list goes on, and on, and on. What? I missed posting "maid" too? Have you seen my house? I cannot even claim that title these days. We're a few messes short of a guest spot on Hoarders here, people- keep up!

So what's a girl to do when she realizes she got "the curse that works"? Not heard that one before? It's when your mom/dad said to you sometime in adolescence, "when you are grown I hope you have a child just like YOU." And you, in all of your adolescent glory and total knowledge (because you were the resident expert on EVERYTHING) replied in the sassiest voice you could get away with, "GREAT, I'd love one JUST LIKE ME!". I don't know if I got just like me, or even more challenging, just like me with my brother's mischievous nature and NO FEAR approach to life added in. Are we seeing a correlation here between the month my child turned two and our kitchen renovation including a bar and huge wine rack? Coincidence? No, no...I don't think so.

Now that you know we keep the wine section of Trader Joe's in business despite the downturn in the economy and limited discretionary spending, you also need to know that I am tired of struggling for power. Really, I am over it. The bottom line is free will and choice- I may be able to coerce my child to behave in a desired way, but at the root of the issue, what I really desire is for him to have the freedom to choose to conduct himself in an acceptable manner. I promise, I'll post on the cool things we've been doing and how it's worked, but right now, am more interested in where we are headed.

So a friend I have never met (lovely story for another post) mentioned that she was reading a particular parenting book and it intrigued me. As in no-more-power-struggles-? intrigued me. That is when I finally gave in to Kindle (seriously $9.99 for the Kindle version or $16.99 for the real book, plus shipping costs, plus having to wait for it to be delivered?). Yeah, I broke my I-love-a-book-in-my-hand rule and downloaded the Kindle app. to the iPad 2 my brother generously gave me as a Christmas gift, when they came out this past April. I digress...Kindle, right...we're all on the same page now? Ha- pun discovered and semi-intended.

Instant gratification of the e-book and I read all 185 pages between Fudge getting off the bus yesterday afternoon and my head hitting the pillow last night. Quick, easy read and I KNEW I'd have an opportunity to put the theory to the test in no time. What theory? Well, the basic premise is this- our kids have choices. We help them recognize the best ones, but more importantly we EQUIP them to problem solve from a young age. No helicopter parenting! No struggling for control, and no being upset/impacted by a lousy choice. Focus of our speech is also on what we are going to do. And all of this rolls into nurturing a "heart connection" with our child.

For example, in the past I would have said, "Fudge, please clean up your toys in the front room. I need some office space back...blah, blah, blah." Fudge, of course, has no desire to clean up the mess, so he ignores it. I nag, he ignores, I get angry, he ignores, and somehow we have a battle of wills of cleaning up the office where I am now threatening, punishing, etc. The toys may finally get picked up, but with way too much drama and emotional energy expended. What did I really need to do? Focus on my actions and remain a calm, happy parent while offering choices.
Sound too good to be true? I thought it was, but what did I have to lose? I put it to the test. This evening I told Fudge, "I am getting ready to do some major cleaning in the office. Any toys I find after next Sunday will be packed up, sold, or given away- it's your choice what you leave in there and what you put away upstairs." Now, you can't say it with an attitude- it really needs to be in the tone of sweetness and love. Wow, suddenly I have a happy helper, interested in doing some major sorting and cleaning. No nagging, no threats, etc. And Fudge has a choice to clean up or to let me clean up and decide what happens with all of that stuff. Whatever he decides, it's his choice to make, and either way, I get a cleaner office. We have positive and negative consequences for each choice we make, every day, in our lives.

I tried a similar approach this morning...we are already getting into the being pokey in the morning, then missing the bus routine. I saw the signs of it this morning and I told Fudge with plenty of warning that, "If you miss the bus, you'll need to figure out how to get to school." Really, it was said so nicely. Fudge looked at me like I was smoking something. He remained pokey, and no surprise, missed the bus. I didn't say a word. In my mind, I approached it as "not my problem."
The rest went something like this:

Fudge: "I need to get to school."
Me: "MmmHmm"
Fudge: "I need to get there!"
Me: "So how are you going to do that?"
Fudge: "Well, I can't walk by myself. It's too far and not safe."
Me: "I agree."
Fudge: "Can you drive me please? I don't want to be tardy."
Me: "Hmm...want some help thinking through this?"
Fudge: "Yes, please."
Me: "Well, I suppose I could drive you, but that is like a taxi service, huh?"
Fudge: "Uh...yes..."
Me: "I guess you could hire me for ride."
Fudge: " much?"
Me: "I get $5 for the first taxi ride, and I add $5 for each time the bus is missed taxi ride. So today, is $5. But if you miss the bus on Monday it's $10, time after that is $15, well, you know how to count by fives."
Fudge: "Ok, $5 then."
Me: "Super, I'll get my keys."

No screaming "Oh my gosh, you missed the bus AGAIN!" No yelling to hurry up and get teeth brushed, shoes tied, backpack on, etc. Nope- I was calm and cool as he dallied this morning. To be fair, I reminded Fudge that if he missed the bus, he'd need to figure out how to get to school. He decided to call my cards and see if I was bluffing. I was not- and that's another key, you have to follow through.

So, this afternoon when Fudge got home I greeted him as I always do- a big hug and kiss and "how was your day?" And this was followed by, "Now about that $5, I take cash or coin. Of course, if you don't have $5, I am sure we could find a toy to sell for the $5- it's your choice, however you want to come up with the money." Again, sweet tone and he looked at me like I was INSANE, but didn't say a word. Fudge disappeared upstairs and I heard the piggy bank rattling.

He returned downstairs with a handful of coins. We counted them together and got up to $1.78, then I assisted him with the math on how much more he needed to come up with. Fudge went back to his room and came back with more change, which he had to count. He got the total up to $3.78 and was still short, this time by $1.22. When I mentioned I saw a couple of dollar bills on his bookshelf he indignantly declared, "That's Tooth Fairy money!" I just said, "oh, ok...well, you are a smart boy and I know you can figure this out. Let me know if you need help."

Fudge disappeared one more time and returned with a dollar bill and 22 pennies that he had counted out, bringing us to full $5. What really made my heart soar is when he gave it over willingly, without an attitude. I even said, "oh, I thought that was Tooth Fairy money?" to which he replied, "yeah, but it's just a dollar and I am the one who missed the bus and I agreed to pay for my ride like we said. I can earn more dollars." PROUD MAMA MOMENT HERE- but wait, it gets better.

I thanked Fudge for the $5. It would have been less painful for me and easier for him if I'd said, "The $5? Don't worry about that- I call grace." And had I said that, I'd find myself nagging week after week about hurry up, don't miss the bus, and I'd be driving him to school again, and again, and again. I stuck to our arrangement and here's what else I got...

I asked Fudge if he learned anything from this morning, and he CHEERFULLY (again, shocking) said, "Yes. I need to choose to not be pokey in the morning, so that I can get the bus on time, and I won't have to pay a taxi." We'll see how the coming weeks go, but I know one thing- Fudge thought about his actions, his choices, and the consequences. He problem-solved and he kept his commitment. Fudge experienced that we choose our consequences and he decided that moving forward he chooses to not be pokey in the morning and to be ready for the bus. Nagging would have never gotten us there! Yelling, threats, and stress would not have gotten us to that revelation. Instead, I peacefully gave Fudge the space to be responsible for his choices and the outcome was beautiful. I know it won't always work this smoothly, but for today, in this moment, I call victory and amen!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers- I'm BAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!

It's been a crazy past four weeks, full of joy and sorrow and a blogging slump. I love writing, so I really do need to make more time to blog, even if just for my own catharsis of having a forum for writing. Here's the latest...

Aruba was AMAZING! Really, my favorite Caribbean island thus far, and I've been to a few. I think our tradition of OBX is on it's way out and Aruba will be on it's way in. My goal is to chronicle our vacation highlights (so I don't forget) and post some pics along with it.

Sadly, my grandmother was killed in a car accident (NJ) while we were in Aruba. We returned home to travel to NJ and say goodbye. Instead of planning the 90th birthday surprise party, the family was planning a funeral. Absolutely heartbreaking. If there's one thing I saw as the entire family came together is that she had a knack for making each and everyone of us feel special- quite an accomplishment when you consider she had more than 55 grandchildren (including great- and great-great)!

Fudge started 1st grade and a huge shout out to the hubs for being super parent while I was in NJ that week.

I am back to being a soccer mom- Fudge swapped out the baseball cleats for soccer this fall and he has not looked back. So, three days a week we are on the field and the first game is tomorrow if we are not rained out.

I did something for myself yesterday- I said YES to an all-day crop next Saturday! Now to get all of those photos printed...I will have a completed album of something yet (said the woman who never got the baby book totally finished).

We've had some parenting revelations around here and cannot wait to share them (separate post, coming soon).

The weekend is off to a good start after this crazy work week: Thai lunch with my mom, volunteering in Fudge's classroom (where one little boy said, "you have awesome, rock-star hair!" ummm,...ok), pizza and a movie with my fellas tonight.

Fudge continues to ask when he's going to get a little the meantime, he did get a bird. Sir Washington the blue parakeet joined our zoo last week.

Ok- your turn!

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  3. Leave some love at the lovely Danifred's original FNL site.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers- The Happy Birthday Edition

What a crazy-busy, stressed-out, full moon type of week, sprinkled with lots of cheer (as we celebrated my birthday on Wednesday) week.

Fudge finished pirate camp today, and based on the ship raid I was in this afternoon, I can totally see how Lord of the Flies could be a factual read.

Evidently my gallbladder, which has been a perfectly behaved organ until I awoke a 36 year old this week, decided to launch a protest. Check out what it had to say (not in the presence of little ears).

I don't have time for a misbehaving, grumpy gallbladder. Vacation is 9 days away. My doc has me going for an ultrasound on Tuesday to see what the issue is, but he says "classic gallbladder." He started jumping to the s word (surgery) and I jumped to "whoa buddy, slow that train down."

The word gallbladder is disgusting to me. The fact that this was likely brought on by me LOSING weight makes my mind spin. Who says diet and exercise are good for you? Evidently, my body didn't get the memo.

Since Fudge was in the ER last week, we did not make it to birthday date night to see The Help. Hubs and I are going tonight...or, that is the plan at least. I think our plans in general give God a great big laugh. Life is what happens when we are making other plans.

We just learned yesterday that my son's school is not ready for the kids to come back, thanks to some off track summer renovations. K-3 will be in the gym and resource wing (Lord, help us all) and grades 4-5 are being bussed 20 minutes away to another school. This is likely to last until October. Anyone see The Money Pit? "Two Weeks!" sound familiar? He will not meet his teacher until the first day of school, since we are on vacation for open house.

Dear Lord, I am formally asking You, could we PLEASE get a break from emergencies and doctor visits? Thanks.

Good weekend in store: movie night, Ducktape Regatta (come support CHKD), Fudge is having a friend over, awesome Sunday morning at church, then dinner with friends Sunday night. Somewhere in there I need to finish packing, wrap up errands, and get some cleaning done around here. Whatever your plans, enjoy!

Ready to share some FNL love? Leave a comment, link back to your own page, and don't forget to enjoy all of the leftovers at our lovely Danifred's site.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You Mean I Need a Passport for That?

We almost had widespread panic of epic proportion here this evening...

I'm usually a last minute, highly stressed, no sleep packer. You know the type- still up at 2am doing laundry and you're leaving for the airport at 4am. So I am DETERMINED to not delay on preparing for our upcoming vacation. So far, so good. It's hard work being a perfectionist, so there's still plenty of time to hit a snafu, but I am much more prepared than usual. I started prepping for this trip about 2 weeks ago and I continue to prep. I think I could make laundry an Olympic sport these days- it's neverending!

This evening I decided to make sure all of our documentation is on are scheduled, rental car is booked, resort is confirmed, excursions are being planned, and here we, two passports. WAIT! There's three of us...I need THREE passports. And of course, the missing one was mine. It only took about 15 minutes to find, but the hubs was telling me he'd be sure to send me a postcard. Ha! He didn't find it too funny when I told him that it's expired (kidding!).

So Mama, if you are reading this, I know you are thinking "I told you so." All three passports are ready to I just need to remember to bring them to the airport. =)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

FNL: The Is It Vacation Yet? Edition

What a week...

  • I read these blogs with cute names for everyone, like Danifred's, and nope, we don't have cute here. But we have wild, and smelly, and fearless, and all I'll be referring to C as Fudge from here on. Yes, as in Fudge and Super Fudge. If that doesn't mean something to you, you're probably too young to have your eyes on this blog.

  • Now that I have Fudge, I need moniker suggestions for M. Ideas?

  • Fudge had not one but two hospital visits this week. Stellar. I think my paycheck should just be issued to CHKD for the next few years. Seriously though, thankful for good care.

  • It was around this time 20 years ago that I was returning from volunteering with some awesome folks in a very remote village in the Dominican Republic. When I say remote, I mean no filtered water, tarantulas falling on you in your sleep, riots nearby, and no basic of the most growth-inducing, eye opening, life changing events in my little life up to that point. Go out and do some good.

  • Infertility is still a dirty word around here.

  • Vacation is not a dirty word. Vacation is just around the corner. And after going an entire summer seeing everyone posting their beach pics, I am in countdown mode.

  • I am going to Aruba. No it does not "freak me out" as one person asked me. Crime happens everywhere. Being escorted by armed military officers in the DR freaked me out a little, being burgled in Jamaica freaked me out a little, seeing corruption up close in Mexico freaked me out a little, navigating the streets of Nassau after dark freaked me out a lot. Aruba? Playing it smart and sensible and looking forward to our exploration of "one happy island."

  • Looking forward to a rescheduled date night with the hubs to see The Help.

Ok, here are the FNL rules:

Post all those little items rambling in your head and don't forget to join the party and leave some love on the original FNL at Danifred's site.

Children's Hospital: Take 2

Apologies in advance that our friends/family are learning about this via our blog- we're exhausted and have not had a chance to call anyone besides my parents.

So, when I said in my previous post that we are so thankful for this hospital, it did not mean I wanted to require their services anytime soon! C, of course, had other plans...or at least his little body did. He woke up at 3:30am screaming in pain, completely inconsolable. All we could get out of him was his neck hurt, his head hurt, and we saw that he could not move his head. When he wasn't making any improvement and could not be calmed, I knew we were in trouble. Of course, it didn't help that I just read a parenting article on menningitis the other day either.

We decided since C was still vocal (screaming) and there wasn't any blood involved, we'd head back to CHKD since we've not been impressed with our local ERs and our "doc-in-the-box" office we love for after hours care is not open in the middle of the night. Off to CHKD we went, thankful for no traffic due to the time of night and that we knew the drill...where to park, where to go, etc. C was immediately triaged and admitted in the emergency department.

I'll save you all of the details (I'm too tired to go through them), but we got to see lots of docs and they systematically ruled out some pretty scary things (menningitis, tumor, aneurysm, migraine, etc.) and figured out that the poor child sprained his neck. Who knew? Evidently, "active kids" can sustain a muscle injury, shake it off/not mention it, go to bed where they are immobile for hours and then the muscle contractions set in and spasm (torticollis). So think of the worse "crick" in your neck, or throwing your back out, and that is what this is like. In C's case, it's keeping him from being able to turn his head or lift his chin from his chest and left shoulder.

The good news is we went from screaming and being inconsolable, with pain all over his head, neck, and shoulders, to getting some relief with pain meds and muscle relaxers.

About five hours after all of this started- no longer screaming

Totally high on Valium- there's a smile

C has been released and we are back home; he is resting. He is still having pain, but we are seeing improvement. He is on the pain meds and Valium for the next 48 hours, no activity, and we are to see his pediatrician tomorrow for follow-up. For our prayer warriors out there, please pray for continued pain management/control and healing of those little muscles/regaining a range of motion in his head and neck.

He must be feeling a little better- he finally wants something to eat and has asked if we'd make an exception for McDonald's...I think that can be arranged. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Children's Hospital

My child was EXCITED to learn he was going to the hospital this week. Not just happy or giddy, but slap-your-mama excited. His sweet little face peered over my bedcovers around 7am, already bright-eyed awake and dressed. How disappointed he was to be reminded that his appointment was not for another 7 hours. It has been a couple of weeks since our last ENT visit and this visit was a 2 month follow-up from our last plastics visit. If you're now lost, the back story is here.

C was thrilled when I picked him up from school and we set out on our adventure. From taking a bridge-tunnel (really, people, the tunnel will not swallow you whole; enough with the brakes!) to navigating in the city, parking in the garage, figuring out how to get from the garage to the hospital, checking in, pushing the elevator buttons, getting our parking validated (once a city girl, always...), and having his run of the place. Here are our highlights...

Being sweet in the waiting room

C took this photo of one of the wall murals

Practicing our states and capitals

Having fun

Making faces for the surgeon

Love that toothless grin!

You can't see them, but this man has angel wings!

Looking out of the 5th floor "crown" and enjoying a sucker

Playing in the lighthouse

King of the castle

Not quite ready to head home

Playing on the lawn before leaving, after cafeteria pudding of course

The FANTASTIC news is that C is healing beautifully. The scar from 70+ sutures is fading and looks even remarkably better than 2 months ago. We continue to hear, and know, how blessed we are that C is coming through this unscathed: no impact to his vision and full facial muscle control is regained. His surgeon kept remarking how pleased he was, especially considering all that could have gone wrong, a hair one way or the other...feeling abundantly blessed and thankful for such talented medical care and the healing C has experienced. And I cannot talk about this place without saying please, support your local Children's Hospital. You know it's one special place when kids get excited to go to the hospital!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers- the Saturday Edition

Isn't that just the face of happiness? What a terrific week I've had taking a "stay-cation" with my little guy. So keeping with FNL tradition...

  • Will the projects/needs around this house EVER end? Still overwhelmed.

  • I had a nice week off with C- local farm and history museum, a labyrinth and old time drive in for lunch, visiting a friend in the country, beach, theme park and fireworks, swimming, sleepover, and time with friends.

  • Thankful for my employment, but it's always hard to go back on Monday after a week off.

  • Aruba is about a month away!

  • I gave up all sugar and white flour products...I am feeling great, I am losing weight, but as you can guess, this has not been easy. So far, I am about 2 weeks no sugar and one week no white flour.

  • Looking for a good beach read? Any of Celia Rivenbark's snarky books will do.

  • I need suggestions for good beach reads while on vacation next month.

  • New deck is finished and we need to stain/seal. New windows go in this week!

  • I am crazy enough to be hosting a Pampered Chef party this week...along with everything else on my busy schedule.

  • Don't forget to visit all of the other Friday Night Leftovers with our wonderful Danifred!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Alternate Plans

When I decided to take this week off to have some more adventures with C, I asked the hubs to take one day off so we could all go to the beach together. So we picked today, M was finally able to get the time off, and we were preparing for a day at the beach. The kind of day at the beach where you leave early in the morning, stake out a good spot, and enjoying frolicking in the ocean all day. Great plan, except it does not account for your child waking up with an upset stomach...and being ill past noon. With each of C's runs to the bathroom, my dreams of our beach day slowly faded. I felt terrible for C, I felt terrible for M wasting a day off work, and I was frustrated that a beautiful day was going down the tubes. Seriously, it's the most gorgeous day we've had all summer- lower temps, lower humidity, and a steady, balmy breeze.

Sometime after noon, C decided he was ready to venture out, but he did not want to go all the way to the beach. At least we were getting out of the house, and I could live with that. Once we got past the whining of "why can't I bring a friend?" and "because Mama does not want to be responsible for another kid's life in a large body of water," we packed up and got on the road. Sometimes we lay out the best plans, only to have them changed unexpectedly and given something even greater in return. God is so cool like that.

We arrived at the river beach we had decided to visit, to find that the spot we located was completely uninhabited...except for another family who arrived at the same time as us...who were hiking to the same secluded spot as us...who had one little boy with them. C has never met a stranger and walked up to the boy to say, "Hi, I'm C. Want to be friends?" And the rest was history. We spent all afternoon/evening here, the boys playing, swimming, fishing and crabbing- completely wore C out, which is hard to do!

C and his new friend fishing- caught some catfish and one croaker.

C has no fear- just jumped in and kept on going.

I found a shark's tooth!

One happy boy

We made it!

More fishing

And more fishing

And yet more fishing!

View from the cliff- we hiked down to this beach, then over to the left (out of picture) to a secluded beach.

Ferry ride