Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too Long...

(here is a picture of my oldest...and dang funny brother Mike, his wife Nikki and Garth and I)

I asked Ethan today how long it had been since he had been with all of his siblings.  He thought a moment and replied, "a few hours."

I then asked him how long he thought it had been since I had been with all of my siblings.  He didn't have an answer so I told him the sad news....

...over 20 years!

It is true.  Living on the east coast (and a brother in Alaska, one in Spokane and two in Utah), having babies, losing jobs, getting jobs, lack of funds, etc...has meant 20 years of being apart from my amazing brothers and sister.  I have seen them on separate occasions but sadly, it has been too many years since we have all been together!

But that will all change this weekend when we will all come together to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday.  This will be a gift for each of us!

I can't wait to see you all.

(by the way...I had better not hear "naughty nails" from any of you)

Before and After

Ethan is now a member of the brace face/metal mouth club:



Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hiding Place(s)

If you are like me, you have children who will eat an entire family size bag of Doritos, Costco size box of Fruit Roll-ups, box of Popsicles, 12 pack of soda, etc...in one day.  Don't judge me yet, for I am well aware these items may cause childhood obesity or cavities...it isn't like I have them on hand every day of  EVERY week. 

I actually do my best to provide non-exciting snacks such as pretzels (they usually last long enough to actually become stale), popcorn (it has to be the "light" variety or it's a goner in one day) and other boring snack items (anyone interested in banana chips...my kids hate 'em) for most of their snacking needs. 

But as you know, I am a BIG couponer and it is like way too easy to get FREE "bad" food.  I mean, if it's going to be free...I say, "Why not?"  The kids love me a little extra that day...and I have to admit, I actually like "bad" food too.  Just the other day, my trainer offered me a piece of chocolate (yeah, only 1 piece...totally lame) but instead of the milky variety he scammed me into eating one that boasted 86% cacao...BLECK!  I am a total fan of MILK in my chocolate...like 100%.  Who wants nasty tasting chocolate? I would rather eat a juicy apple if I am going for "nutrition. However, I will not only eat milk chocolate, I have also been known to be a huge fan of chips and guacamole, Swedish fish and pretty much a ton of other "bad" foods I don't care to mention right now.

Now, don't start freaking out yet...I also LOVE healthy food...AND I DO EAT IT!  I just like the unhealthy stuff too.  I do understand that I should only partake in these deliciously bad foods only once a day (sometimes twice...okay...on challenging days I may sneak into my closet and eat an entire box of chocolates).  And luckily I have the willpower to do so (especially when my jeans are feeling a bit tight).

This finally leads to my explanation of my blog title, "The Hiding Place(s)".

While I have the ability to not eat an entire bag of Doritos (or any other naughty food in its entirety), my children do not.  And while I may (or may not...I will not say) partake of one chocolate bar each evening, I will have also eaten a variety of fruits, vegetables, etc throughout the day. So in order to keep proper proportions under control for my junk food craving children, I am forced to hide the more tempting treats.

When I first started "the hiding place," I figured the items were safe and secure.  But little did I know, my kids were like bloodhounds when it came to finding junk food.

The first spot, my closet (behind a bunch of clothes), was discovered within two weeks. 
The second spot, in the kitchen, in a random cupboard that houses stationary and light bulbs, was detected in less than a week.  And from there, the children knew, that somewhere in our house was a "buried treasure." They seemed to "sniff" out the treasure each time I came up with a hiding place.

This week, the "good"s are in the back of my car (take that children).  Safe and secure!

And I already have my plan for next week. This brilliant idea comes from my neighbor, Cindy...stored safe and sound in the bottom oven.  I think that might just be the best spot yet. I just have to be sure I don't forget about the "treasure" and burn the house down.

You may be thinking, why doesn't she just tell the kids to keep their grimy mitts off the junk?  Some may be thinking, "why is she even buying this stuff?"  Well...I have and I should. I HAVE told them (and they must be like me and "need" a little pick me up) to please ask before they partake.  And I SHOULD maybe not bring the temptation in...but every once in awhile it makes for a little bit of fun!

So if you are like me and you have a hiding spot for your treats, will you let me know where yours is...I am running out of ideas!?

And if this post disagrees with you...I have a bag or two of banana chips just for you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Introducing...our Family Maid

Her name is Heather Consuela Porter.

Her passion is clean counters. 

Her dream is to have the never ending paperwork, pens, school books, wrappers, empty containers, pencils, papers from school, empty glasses, sticky spots, plates, utensils, hats, socks (yes socks), backpacks, wallets, binders, notebooks, crumbs, milk, etc...that finds permanent residence on those counters organized and/or gone!

She hopes that one day the rule,"no eating in the family room," will be taken seriously.  That the large amount of popcorn, cracker and chip crumbs (etc) will not have to be vacuumed up each morning.  That the empty drinking glasses and empty snack wrappers won't be left on the floor in the room they shouldn't be eating in in the first place.  She has the hope that wrappers won't be found stuffed in the cushions of the couch or stuck in the coffee table drawers anymore.  The idea that a garbage can is for garbage might take hold in their hearts and minds.

She has a dream that "projects" that are so fun to do (like cutting up a diet Coke can into small pieces, making a cereal box into a puppet, or cutting up pieces of wood that require Consuelo's craft paint, etc) will be magically put away...in an organized manner (and the cupboard they are kept in will actually close once again upon clean up).

After folding huge piles of clothes and placing them in each child's room, she wishes her instruction to "please put these away" will be understood...instead of their translation of her message as, "please keep them on the floor and step on them for three days."

Consuela thinks that she is getting pay back for the many years her dear parents "begged" her to please keep her room clean.  She remembers making a path each evening from her bed to the door, so she wouldn't trip during the night.  She may even have a slight hint of a memory of her mother asking her 5 children why it was so difficult to clean up after making a sandwich (I mean seriously...you were asking so much of them).  Her dear roommate in college even asked multiple times, "Why do you dump your backpack right here at the front door?  Can't you just take it back to your room?"

I mean, who in their right mind, while eating a lemon, (the Novakovich family loves lemons with salt)would shoot each seed between her fingers sending them flying who knows where in the house?


So really deep down she understands...although it doesn't mean she likes it. It just makes the job worth it...because she loves her family so very much.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deep Breath...

Take a deep breath...in (slowly) and out.  Maybe one more.  No make that two more (wait stop, now I am light headed).

Okay. I think am now ready to tackle the second half of this day...are you?

Tonight is Jeff's memorial service. 

Many of you have asked if donations can be made for Erin and her 11 month old son, Carter. The Arlington police department  has organized a college fund for Carter in Jeff's honor.  If you are interested in making a donation,you can make checks payable to Erin McMichael and in the memo section at the bottom of the checks you can add "College Wealth 529 for Carter J. McMichael".  She will deposit the checks into this fund set aside for Carter. This would be a huge help to Erin to help make the burden of college feel a bit lighter.

They can be sent to:

Erin McMichael
6060 Clay Spur Ct.
Centreville, Va.  20121

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shattered (only because she didn't listen to her mother)

Just so you know, you should listen to your mother. 

My two older children, make that three oldest (I was just informed by him that my idea of "pants" instead of "shorts" on a cold morning was dumb) are currently at the stage of teenagedom where they truly believe their mother is a big ol' dummy.  I have tried to explain to them how incredibly brilliant I truly am...but it is not working.  Even after you read this true story, which happened only a few days ago, you will be shocked to find out that my children still don't accept me, their mother, as one who is absolutely right about everything. 

Here is the story, "Shattered, Only Because She Didn't Listen To Her Mother"

(great title eh?!)

It was getting late. It seemed everyday was like that, too late to get everything done.  By the time, piano lessons were over, basketball practice was complete, dinner, homework...it was always too late.  And tonight was no exception, it was too late to run to Best Buy to find a protective cover for Sommer's new iPod touch. 

So I offered amazing motherly advice to my darling daughter, who was thrilled with her newest joy, and understandable hard to part with, iPod touch.  I told her to please leave it home for the day.  I would then go over to Best Buy and purchase a lovely and most protective cover for both the iPod and its beautiful screen.  I have come to understand that electronic devices to teenagers are like infants to their parents...they rarely want to part with them.

My daughter then replied, "NO WAY!"  She explained there was absolutely no way she could be without her iTouch. 

Friday came and went.

Then it was Saturday.  Another crazy busy day at the Porter home.  Sommer was off to her basketball game with dad and I was planning on meeting them there a little later.  It was that morning I offered to once again take the "device" and run to the store to find a case.  "Oh no, Mom. That would never work. I cannot leave behind my dear baby (I am referring to the Itouch of course)...even for an hour."

Fast forward one hour.

I enter the gym.  I see daughter sitting slumped on the floor. Her peers surrounding her, comforting her as tears stream down her face. I quickly go to her to see what could possibly have happened.  And then the news...

Shattered.  She had dropped the Ipod, the screen had shattered.

Being the horrible mother that I am , I gave her "the look." It was the "I told you so" kind of look. The look that says everything..."mom's know everything" kind of look.  I could have dropped down to her aid and took over the back rubbing that her teenage friend was currently giving (and this friend obviously understood the pain of losing a dear electronic device) but I didn't.

I was a bit "put out" if I must be honest.  I was a little offended that once again, my teenager didn't listen to my wise council.

But I did what any loving mother would do (minus the back rubbing)...I took her iTouch and tossed it in the trash....no I am kidding (although that would have been rather fun).

Instead I decided to prove my awesomeness once and for all!

I called the Apple store, got an appointment at the Genius desk.  This meant my Saturday was shot but remember, I was on a mission...to show all teenagers that mothers ROCK (and can fix shattered dreams).

After waiting (and praying) for my turn to share my sad tale of a broken apple device, I was greeted by Andy.  I told him my tale of woe. He listened. I used my "talent of talk" and did my best to build a quick relationship with this young man.  After sharing our story (very similar to the one above) and finding out he knew one of my dear friends, compassion was given as a brand new iTouch was presented to me.

A daughter was elated (and a huggle was received).

(Sommer and her "right" mother)

And another mother's advice in the world....was once again...proven right!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Even Death.

Everything happens...even death in this life.

It is never easy.

My friend Jeff passed away early this morning.  He passed peacefully with his beautiful wife Erin and darling 11 month old son, Carter at his side.

Erin's  mother, his father and mother and sister had been with him, night and day for the past 2 weeks. Loved ones said good-bye. Friends were able to visit. It has been a tender farewell to a truly great man.

Erin and Jeff have endured so much the past 2 years.  After a struggle to get pregnant, they were given the long awaited news that indeed a little boy was on the way.  Only months into the pregnancy, Erin was advised by her doctors that complete bed rest was necessary.  And 1 month later (and still on bed rest),  Jeff was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

I can only imagine the difficulty it would have been for Erin, her first time carrying a child, to be given the news she must stay in bed...for months unable to attend to her sweetheart. And Jeff, a young healthy police officer, to be given the news, you have cancer and unable to attend to his sweetheart.

Both, so young, with their first child on the way, suffering so much. 

And yet, I saw gratitude.  Erin was positive. Jeff was loving.  They were there for one another. 

The baby came.  Erin needed to work.  Her loving mother came to live with them as a caretaker for both Jeff and baby Carter.

And I saw gratitude. Erin was loving. Jeff was positive.  They were there for one another.

Friends from the police department came and helped in their home, finishing the basement, getting the baby's room ready, painted walls, hung pictures, brought dinners and escorted Jeff to doctor's appointments.

Friends from Erin's work, were able to give her time off as Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, brought dinners and helped in so many ways.

And again and again I saw gratitude.  Erin and Jeff were loving and positive...and always there for one another.

Jeff's cancer kept growing.  His body, once strong had become weak.  The past week he began to quietly and peacefully slip away.  He remained long enough for Erin to be ready to say good-bye, for Carter to touch his father one last time, for Jeff's father and mother to hold their son, his sister was able to be there from her job in China and Erin's mother and sisters too were able to bid farewell.

And how blessed I was, a simple friend, to see the love of this family in action. Erin's hand on Jeff's fevered head, holding his hand, whispering of her love (telling him she would be okay if he needed to go). I saw a father who shaved his son's sleeping face, a mother rubbing his sweet feet.  Words of love shared to Jeff who was still there, listening and feeling surrounded by love...in so many forms yet unable to respond.

You see, everything does happen.  Good things.  Hard things.  Happy things. Even sad things.

And through everything, we learn so very much.

(Carter and I hanging out last Friday)
You will be missed by so many... dear Jeff.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting Fit Friday...Ode to Push-Ups

Yesterday I did 15 push-ups. 
Today I am totally sore. 
Tomorrow I could avoid push ups altogether
or I could do 15 more.

If tomorrow brings a dedicated me
and I take on the challenge I have in mind,
In a few weeks I may have a muscle
something I have been trying to find.

The reality is I have no biceps (I have always wanted them). In fact, I really don't have any muscles. No wait. I take that back. I have one really awesome muscle.  Problem is you can't see it. And although I love it very much (my whole body does), it would be nice if it was located on my abs. My heart rocks!

So do those push-ups (or sit-ups, run, walk, swim, WHATEVER) today, and tomorrow...even if it hurts. 


"If you always do, what you have always done...
You will always get, what you have always gotten."

(see no biceps...Jackson B and I after racing together...he beat me...read about it here)

...and I want some biceps!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Quit, Especially Because You Can

(thanks Laurel for posting this great quote)

I went to visit my good friend, Kimmy today for a little lunch.  Kimmy finished chemo for breast cancer early last year.  Just when things looked bright, the cancer was back.  She is now on round two of her fight.

We were sitting in her kitchen chatting together with her mom.  Kimmy just had a birthday a few days earlier and there were at least three cakes sitting on the counter.  I was a bit too obvious and was caught eyeing them.  This led to Kimmy's mom telling me that Kimmy actually wanted to go on a diet. She told her mom, "Please no cake. I need to lose these pounds I have put on thanks to all of the drugs I am on!" 

Seriously?  With everything she is going through, the last thing she should worry about is not eating a piece of cake.  The diet can wait.

This led to her frustration with finally joining the gym again and not feeling well enough to even use it!  The gym can wait.

And then there were the doctor's orders that she cannot drive.  With all of her medication and the tremors in her right hand, driving is out of the question.  The car can wait.

She must be very careful picking up her baby because of her recent surgery to remove one of her breasts that ended up causing her severe pain.  Even her baby will need to wait (and don't worry, she huggles him plenty).
Cancer has forced her to "quit" many things. Things that healthy people, like me, take for granted. I can diet. I can workout. I can drive. I can pick up my baby (he is 7...I only have a limited time left).  And I can quit (and do sometimes) at anytime...it really won't matter if I quit any of those things.

And then it hit me.

(Kimmy and I hanging at the Shamrock half marathon 2009)
And that is what I learned today.  I am not going to "quit."  And I know Kimmy isn't going to either!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I am a whiner...now you know.

Okay. Today is going to be a "Whine Wednesday."  I have to be honest with myself, I am a whiner.  Let's not confuse "whiner" with "winer"...I don't drink..although I realize neither are great titles.

I like to whine.  It makes me feel better.  As you know, I am not one that stays in a rut so the whining really works for me.  I whine for a bit and then get on with my day.  It is normal to have a bad day...I just try not to string too many in a row.

So here  I go with my whines:

How long will the mold remain on my tiles?
My handle on my beloved soaking tub is broken again (the cold one works).
Can't towels be used more than once? And why are they all over the floor in MY bathroom?
Bills (enough said).
Why are my pants tight again (don't answer that)?!
Will they ever eat any vegetables?!
Is the garage ever going to be clean?
Is the basement always going to be a disaster?
Did I just see the dog "choo-choo" across my bedroom carpet and leave a stain!?
Sometimes it would be easier to NOT have to clip a coupon.
Can someone besides me empty the overflowing garbage?
Can someone besides me change the toilet paper roll?
No one seems to want a huggle around here!
Sure wish my car's heat worked.
Where is my Ipod!
Saturday's church basketball game was not the best idea...pulled glute still hurts.

Okay. I got my whines out.  I feel much better now.  And just so you know, I realize that not one of those items listed are really that important (except for maybe the huggle)...

And for those friends of mine who truly have the right to whine and never seem to, I love you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

After a couple of flurries randomly sprinkled themselves through the month of December, yesterday Haymarket had a truly delightful day of snow.  It started around lunch time, the big fluffy flakes falling beautifully down from the sky. 

I never thought it would stick.  I had just heard the weatherman tell us that we may have a flake or two in the afternoon but it would only make for a few wet roads.  Oh how I wanted it to stick!  I knew my children were gazing out their windows at school just hoping for a snowy welcome...an afternoon of complete bliss!

But it kept snowing. And snowing.  During my first piano lesson at 2:30, the flakes began covering the dirt in the garden.  By 3:00, snow was sticking to the grass.  By 3:15, the grass was covered.  At 3:30, the streets had a white sheen.  And by 4:00, when the bus arrived, joyous voices of little children were heard. 

Moments later, my children hustled into the house searching for mittens, hats and boots. It wasn't long until the small amount of snow in our yard had been used for sledding, snowman building, snowball throwing and angels.

Just as I was finishing my last piano student, the snowfall came to an end, chilled children came running into the house with red noses and cold fingers ready for hot chocolate and stories to share.

What  fun to witness the entire process from beginning to end sitting at my piano, looking out at the happiness.

 The complete joy that was created from one flake of snow, then another,  made for an entire day of winter wonderland happiness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't Bother With Ruts

Today I was running with my friend Ann (it's true, it does seem like I run a lot...and I do).  She shared with me a thought about ruts, heard from a church service a few weeks ago.  This is what I thought about after she shared:

Ruts are quite nice..

How lovely to be cozy and safe, warm and comfortable in a rut! I mean who wouldn't want to sit back and watch the world pass?  You would be free from the hustle and bustle of life, free from pain, free from work, free from fitness, free from study, free from pretty much anything hard!

Ruts are quite nice...

I have actually tried a few times to be in a rut. In fact, about 5 years ago, I decided to put myself into a rut. It was MY turn. I got up one morning...wait no, I DIDN'T get up, I stayed in bed.  Yeah, you heard me right, I stayed in bed. After hearing the last child shuffle out the door to school and my husband left for work, I started my day of "rutness."  I figured I would doze back to sleep, having a lovely snoozy morning and snuggle in my warm down blankets.  After slowly waking up, I would turn the television on and watch it...all day.  My plan had me eating bon bons, not showering, staying in my PJ's and absolutely not doing any housework...basically my plan had me doing nothing all day long.

Ruts are quite nice...for about 20 minutes.

I tried so hard to fall asleep...but I just lay there thinking about all of the things I should be doing.  I pushed those crazy thoughts aside but it wasn't working.  I knew if I didn't clean up the morning dishes, no one would. I would simply have caked on bowls that would require MORE work. There would be MORE dishes, stacking up in the kitchen. There would be MORE laundry (I would have to do it sometime), mouths to feed, clothes that would get tighter as I ate more bon bons than calories burned...you get the picture...a rut would create more work for me in the long run.

So after 20 minutes I sat up in bed and got out of my rut.  Luckily a 20 minute rut is much easier to get out of then a 20 hour, 20 day, 20 week, 20 month, 20 year...RUT!

I put on my running gear and walked down the stairs.  I quickly straightened the kitchen  and started a load of laundry. I went for my run, showered and dressed.  I planned a lovely dinner after a quick trip to the grocery store. I baked some cookies for the children to enjoy when they walked into the door.

Later that afternoon, my children arrived home.  With hugs a plenty and the day's adventures shared (I actually had some of my own)...I realized I didn't ever want to be in a rut...they really aren't that fun.

Ruts may be comfortable (for a bit) but the longer you remain, the harder it is to get out.

So...I am not interested in getting in a rut.  I try to keep moving forward with just the right amount of momentum to prevent me from getting stuck in a one.  Doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that...keeps me going.

Thanks Ann for our run (I actually thought I may try another "rut" today and stay in bed)...so happy I didn't!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Last Night...

Dear Erin,

Last night when I received your text letting me know your husband had taken a turn for the worse, I immediately drove to you.  I was so grateful your close friends were invited to come see both you and your sweetheart Jeff.

How incredibly strong you have been during this battle...for it has been a wicked fight...for both Jeff AND you.  Standing so firm, your strength has been felt by so many, for they have leaned on you as their son, brother, father, and friend has suffered so much.

I remember you sharing with me, a few years ago when we were running together, before the cancer was found, how you loved Jeff, so very much. You told me he was your soul mate and how you looked forward to many happy years together.  Who knew that it would be taken away with you both so young.  Remember that you and Jeff are still made for each other.  You and he are just going to have to wait to be together again for a while.

I will always remember seeing you last night by his side with your sweet hand on his fevered head, whispering to him...I know he could hear you...he wasn't sleeping...just like his dad told you.  Jeff knew you were there.

And he will always be there with you and little Carter (as will your family and friends). 

(Erin is in the blue cap and jacket)
Love you,


Friday, January 6, 2012

The Pebble

I knew right when it happened...the tiny pebble, a touch bigger than a grain of sand, made its way past my shoe and into my sock on my run at the Battlefield this morning.

I ignored it at first but it moved slightly as I took each step, irritating me.  I told my friends to go ahead while I quickly reached into my sock and found the little guy.  My little problem was solved...just like that.

Moments later, another pebble snuck its way into my sock.  I really wasn't interested in stopping again, I figured it would make its way to a section of my sock that didn't bother me.  So I ran with that irritating little pebble for a few more miles, feeling it rubbing against my ankle.

I then remembered a 20 mile race I ran with a friend a few years ago.  We ran separately but passed each other a few times during the race. At one point of the race, waving at one another as we passed, she said, "There is something in my shoe...it's irritating me."  I said, "Stop and find out what it is."  And then we passed and I didn't see her again until the end of the race.

At the end, we met up to discuss our individual races. She told me she needed to take a look at the bottom of her foot. It had bothered her the entire race but she didn't want to take the time to remove the irritant. She sat down and pulled her shoe off.  Her sock was covered in blood and she had a blister that covered the bottom of her entire foot.  Seconds after removing her sock, a small pebble fell to the ground.

After recalling that memory, I told my running buddy I needed to actually sit down and get the pebble out of my sock.  It then realized why these pebbles kept getting involved in my run.  My shoelace had loosened and was allowing debris from our trail run to get into my shoe and sock.  After only a few miles of running with this tiny pebble, my ankle was actually a little red. I can only imagine the outcome if I would have ignored the small irritation I was experiencing and let it cause a larger problem in the long run.

We all have little "irritating" pebbles make their way into our lives.  If we chose to ignore them, they can make what may seem a small problem and it can become something that requires much more attention.

My amazing friend Vanessa  has a pebble in her life right now...she is fighting breast cancer.  She is the epitome of health. She eats right, she exercises... and she lives the lifestyle she is passionate about. Through months of intense chemo, it didn't take her long to know what to do with her pebble.  A busy woman in the community, active, a thriving business...Vanessa stopped and removed a pebble. She surrounded herself with her dear family, cherished friends and held them close.  During her own struggles, she spent time with others in need, inspiring them.  She knew to let less important things go...and took hold of those things that needed her attention...those things that mattered most.

And although that pebble was there, she stopped, removed it and runs on...

(after our 10 mile run this morning...and...Vanessa is running Boston in April!)

To learn more about Vanessa's Healthy Lifestyle go here!

Sometimes we need to get rid of those outside influences that tend to clutter our lives.  I have shows that can go, web surfing that can be left at bay, times I should say "no"...we all do.

But don't wait...it causes a lot more pain if you run with that pebble for too long.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Didn't Cry Over Spilt Milk Today!

I almost cried over the spilt milk today...but I didn't. Even after seeing the entire gallon of milk spilled (and down the front of the fridge) on my garage floor, I didn't cry. 

I didn't even shed one tear when I almost stepped in my dog's doodle-lee-bop a few hours later (that's what I call a number two around here) he left TWICE on my upstairs carpet...and fyi it wasn't in the easier to clean, "log form."

And yesterday, when Ashton came in my office to see if I would help him tie his shoe and proceeded to sit on and break my $250 RayBan sunglasses...I watched HIM shed tears while I kept my eyes dry and my countenance calm. I was actually more upset my genius 7 year old can't figure out how to tie his own shoes.

Maybe I have finally grown up when it comes to minor incidents around here (at least this week). I'll admit, there have plenty of days "I lost it" when certain children have broken pens in half, spraying black ink on my white carpet and walls. Or I found an entire bottle of honey poured out in the top of the cabinet (and had been there for months before I found it).  I will always remember the SUPER SIZE bottle of Downy that fell over in the back of my car driving home from a Costco trip (the stain remains to this day as well as the fresh scent)...try cleaning that up!

Kids spill milk, they also break things, dogs chew up your favorite running socks (seriously why are they always my good socks), stains are made, and on and on the list goes...

I have been told that they make for some pretty good memories one day. Promises have been made by the older generations that one day I will long for the days of boogers stuck to the walls like glue (is that TMI?), tripping on backpacks placed exactly BELOW their hooks, twisting my ankle on shoes left out, trying to scrape off Fruity Pebbles from unrinsed cereal bowls, unflushed toilets, peed on toilets...not peed in (and walls, and floors and...), piles of legos, hot wheels, once folded clothes now strewn wildly about in a heap, piles of unmatched socks that no one seems to match, missing candy from my secret (obviously need to hide it better) stash, my good running socks used by all sons (because they are matched and put in my drawer), my ipod missing (again, because it is always put away), the screeches that come from siblings teasing each other (just heard one)....

(two of my children in the process of making me some memories)

Thinking about all of the fond memories that I have already had AND THOSE TO COME are bringing tears to my eyes...oh wait...no, that is just a little dust floating up from my dust covered desk that I can't seem to find the time or one of the other 6 people living here to wipe clean...memories, oh memories.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do It but Don't Over Do It!

Last week I realized I had become addicted to the popular game, Words With Friends (which my older children have informed me...I am totally behind and that trend is so over).

I love spending those moments in my day that should be spent simply sitting patiently...like at a traffic stop for 2 minutes (can't do it) or while I wait to cash a check for 90 seconds (nope just can't sit there) playing WWF.  It is the perfect (and quite educational...if I could actually remember the awesome words I play) time killer!  My impatient feelings and anxieties associated with having to "wait" upon doctors, lunch dates, kids to come out of practices, oh yeah, traffic lights etc., have completely dissipated since WWF.

Until last week...

Our family was headed to Williamsburg, VA (a 3 hour drive). Garth was listening to music, the kids were watching a movie and there I sat feeling a bit bored.  I had already checked all of my friends status updates on Facebook and made my moves on the three WWF games I was currently playing.  So instead of enjoying the music, starting a lovely conversation with my husband, losing myself in my thoughts, or simply enjoying the beauty that passed by my window, I came up with what I thought was a better idea.

I posted on Facebook that I had indeed become addicted to WWF and was looking for some new opponents. I was currently playing with 3 friends and loving the ease and joy it was trying to come up with great words that gave me the upper hand (Jean and Paige, please don't mention the final scores of those games).  It was a blast. So I figured that more games would equal more fun, right?!  I mean, I was totally bored (or at least thought I was). I was waiting for my opponents to make their move...I had already made mine.

Within minutes of making that comment, I had 4 friends invite me to a game. I was over the moon!  I immediately started plotting and planning each word and placing the letters on the best places!  And then there was another invite...and another..and yet another.  I said yes. And then yes. And yes. It didn't take long until I went from playing 3 people to 20.  Needless to say, the ride to Williamsburg went quickly...I was so busy with all of my WWF "work" I now had to do.

When I returned home late that night, I lay in bed, working the letters to each game to get the upper hand on each opponent. 

But it didn't take long before I started losing control.  I had so many games and so many letters that I couldn't see straight. I was getting no where fast.  Friends would blast me with 80 point words and I would feel not only plain ol' bad but actually stupid.

So then I started studying J-words, and Z-words, and words with X's in them...I was literally taking hours of my day to play these silly games.  What was a fun activity to fill a few extra minutes in my day turned into a full time job.

It became a disaster.

How many times do we take a "good" thing and it becomes a mess?  My dear friend, Jean shared a quote with me last week,

"Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD."

So as this new year begins and you surround yourself with goals a plenty, be sure to chose those things you should.

Do Something but don't do EVERYTHING!

I have always loved the words from Dallin H. Oaks in his talk, Good, Better, Best.

"We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives."

Simply pick one or two things you want to do this year and gosh darn it...DO IT...but Don't OVER DO IT!

Focus on the BEST in You!

(and by the way, here is a list of Q-words that don't need a U)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sister Friends

I love my sister friends. You know what I am talking about.  It is more than a simple friend (and don't get me wrong...I love those too).  But there comes a point when certain girlfriends, stop being friends and become sisters.

I have been blessed with many sister friends throughout the various stages of my life.  I have needed each one of you.

And as these various chapters of life have come to a close and new chapters begin, I have remained dear friends with these women.  No time or distance has come between the bonds that were built. 

This post is dedicated to you.

I thank each of you for being there with me:

As a teen
As a college student
As a young mother
As a not so young mother

And I plan on having you there with me until THE END...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How About a Huggle?

I have two hugglers left.

The older three think I am weird.

I will enjoy this opportunity with Tate and Ashton while I have them under my spell...and huggle away.

...or I can use my "bribe" technique when I really want my 14 year old son to give me a good huggle

Oh, I am sorry, you are probably wondering what in the world a huggle is...

A huggle means I get a nice loooonnng hug.  At the moment when one feels the normal hug time is over...you must linger a little longer, ending with a final squeeze.  And for good measure I usually give a good cheek kiss too (then you are experiencing a kuggle...even better)!

That's a Huggle!

Now here is the secret to making this work:

When Calvin wants to hang out with a friend or get a ride somewhere, I say, "Sure, but I want a huggle first."  A 100% hug guarantee just like that (and I know deep down he loves it too)!

So for all of you who have little ones right now, clinging to you every moment of the day...soak it up (and no worries, you can still have "me" time after you put them to bed).

 ...because my big handsome 14 year old used to follow me around too the house when he was the dang cutest binky lovin' toddling toddler...and I really miss that little guy.

But I really love the man he is becoming too!

I think I need a huggle!