Thursday, April 24, 2008

Follow up to my "green" step 3...

I forgot to mention that I googled around today and found a single, private company that does curbside recycling pickup twice a month!  It's the only one in our city and I'm thrilled to start recycling again.  Yea!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Four Things About Me

I stole this from my friend Emily, hopefully she doesn't mind.  :)  I needed some help with blog material and this was perfect!

Four Places I Go Over and Over
1.  church
2.  work (which happens to be at church)
3.  Princess #1 and #2's preschool (which also happens to be at church)
4.  Reasor's grocery store

Four Movies I Have Watched More Than Four Times
1.  Notting Hill (so many good one-liners in this one!)
2.  You've Got Mail (I'm a sucker for Meg Ryan chick flicks)
3.  Shrek
4.  Barbie Fairytopia (hey, I live with 3 little girls....)

Four Places I Have Lived
1.  Atlanta, GA
2.  Overland Park, KS
3.  Bend, OR
4.  Ithaca, NY

Four TV Shows I Watch
1.  The Office
2.  Greek
3.  American Idol
4.  Project Runway

Four Places I Have Been
1.  Sydney, Australia
2.  Papua New Guinea
3.  Toronto, Canada
4.  Sofia, Bulgaria

People Who Email Me Regularly
1.  Aaron, my boss
2.  Melissa
3.  Nichole
4.  My grandma (she LOVES political forwards)

Four Of My Favorite Foods
1.  Pepperoni Pizza from Brothers Pizza
2.  Spinach Artichoke Pasta from Zio's
3.  Mongolian Beef
4.  Sushi!

Four Places I Would Like To Visit
1.  Disney World
2.  Hawaii
3.  Paris
4.  Ireland

Four Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2008
1.  Starting a new career
2.  Becoming an aunt
3.  Launching a new church
4.  Watching Princess #1 go to Kindergarten (this also makes me very very sad).

And that's all!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Is The New Pink

Today, in honor of Earth Day, I thought about being more green.  You have to understand, that in a family of 5, even THINKING of giving up a few conveniences in the name of the environment is a big deal.  There are so many things I'd love to just DO, but the reality is much, much harder than it seems.  Cutting back on my shower time, for example.  I mean, that IS one of the few times a day I'm alone.  To cut it back seems almost cruel...  So today I tried to not beat myself up over being only "sort of" green and tried to think of things I can do that won't send me to the mad house.

About 6 months ago a friend of mine organized a reusable bag bulk buy.  She purchased tons of these cute Turtle bags from Monde Ami and many of us were able to split the difference for shipping, etc.  I got 20.  I figured with the amount of diapers we were dumping into landfills on a daily basis, the least we could do was cut down on our plastic bag contribution.  And they have been looking LOVELY in my garage the last 6 months.  I promise I had the BEST intentions!  Finally, just this week hubby divided them between our car and minivan and put them right in the front seat where I'm sure to not forget them the next time I venture out to Target or somewhere.  So, my first step towards being more green is to remember those bags!

The environment and being green has become such a hot topic lately.  I don't remember EVER hearing about it when I was in grade school at all, and yet just today Princess #1 came home from preschool singing (to the tune of BINGO) "E-A-R-T-H, E-A-R-T-H, E-A-R-T-H, The earth we need to care for".  And as she and her sister played on the swingset in our backyard she casually informed me that if we didn't take care of the world, it would DIE (said in her most dramatic voice).  Obviously, no matter where a person stands politically in terms of "being green" - if you have small children, the topic is bound to come up.  My second step towards being more green is to educate my children how to care for the world God created for us (yes, I know this is broad - but it was a big enough feat to just convince her that the world was not going to DIE while she was sleeping tonight).

And with 2 under my belt I sort of feel like I need a third step to round things out...  I guess I'm still working on that one.  Living where I do, we're sorta slow to jump on the "green" bandwagon.  They don't exactly make it easy to do things like recycle, for example.  When we lived out on the West Coast it was a no-brainer.  The City gave each home a trashcan, a paper recycle bin and a glass recycle bin.  It all went out on the curb on trash day.  Easy peasy.  Not so the case here... Oh oh!  I know what my third step will be.  I will research local recycling groups to find out about policies and terms and how to get connected so that we can begin to reduce our waste again.

So there you have it.  Not exactly Kermit the Frog, but even he said it wasn't easy being green.

Friday, April 18, 2008

That nagging feeling...

Well, I should have known.   After having several days pass by with nothing interesting to blog about, I should have known that a doozy was coming.  If only I had been prepared...

I ventured to the mall today with all 3 princesses in tow.  Hubby was working and I was sick and tired of being stuck in the house, so I thought, why not?  Before heading out we did the usual routine:  First we changed out of the mismatched shorts and tees from our "crap clothes" drawer and into something better suited to "going out" (which, if you know me, you know our "going out" clothes hang from wooden hangers in the closet and are reserved for, well, going out.  Today's choice:  Matilda Jane.  Seriously, if you have a princess at home, you MUST indulge.).  Secondly, hair was combed and fastened in twists and pony tails and whatnot.  And finally, princess #1 and #2 sat on the couch and listened to me give my speech about turning on listening ears and obeying and the promise of fresh store-bought cookies and pretzels if the above two expectations were met.  And with that, we headed out to the van, with a freshly changed princess #3, stocked diaperbag and 2 stuffed animals.

The outing started out well.  We made our first stop at the Apple store to play on the kids computers.  We met up with hubby while he was on his lunch break and toured the Disney store (which we miraculously made out of alive without purchasing a single Princess-laden item!).  After hubby returned to work, I decided it was time to reward the Princesses (and myself) by stopping off at Mrs. Fields for cookies.  Against my better judgment, I allowed Princess #1 and #2 to get the M&M sugar cookie with the huge HOT PINK icing princess crown.  10 minutes later Princess #1 had finished her cookie and Princess #2 had quite (UN)appetizingly licked the entire crown off her cookie leaving a soggy mess.  Yum.  With the soggy leftovers deposited in the trash, the Princesses and I continued on to Gymboree where I labored for way too long over whether or not it was necessary to purchase all 3 Princesses something just so they could match (the Gymboree vortex I tell you), and instead settled on a single romper for Princess #3 that was half paid for by a store credit and coupon.  So far, so good. 

At this point, a nagging feeling began to pound in my sub-conscious.  There was something I was forgetting.  But of course, this is not at all uncommon and usually is nothing serious.  So, we continued on.  This time to ride the elevator up to the second level where the food court was waiting for us.  By this point it was near dinner time so we stopped off for Auntie Anne's pretzels (I SWEAR, I normally do make my children eat healthy meals... but sometimes I like to treat them too).  Those were polished off in no time.  By this point Princess #3 was beginning to get rather antsy in her stroller and was no longer interested in doing anything with the bites of pretzel I was giving her other than tossing them onto the mall floor.  I took that as a cue that it was time to get moving.  

As we're strolling along, I make a last minute decision to stop in The Gap (note to self: last minute stops are NEVER a good idea).  There were a few things I had seen online that I wanted to check out in person and although it's never fun to shop for myself with all the kids along for the ride, I thought I'd just make a quick stop.  HA!  The Princesses were beginning to get a little rowdy....  most easily blamed on the sugar high from the cookies I let them eat.  I instructed them to stand in front of a mirror to amuse themselves while I sifted through a rack of tank tops.  And that's when IT happened.  IT.  The very thing that had been nagging me.  The one thing that I SHOULD have thought of.  Before we even left the house.  Before I let the Princesses share a drink with me.  Before I ignored the nagging feeling and walked into The Gap.  

Pee.  All down Princess #2's beautiful Matilda Jane leggings.  Into her shoes.  All over the pristine Gap wood floors.  And we're not talking a *little* bit of pee.  We're talking a PUDDLE.  An "oh dear God make it stop" puddle.  A "mommy hasn't made you sit on the potty to try to go for at least 3 hours" puddle.  For a moment, I froze.  I mean really, nothing can prepare you for a fiasco like this.  In a matter of nano-seconds, Princess #1, who is beginning to develop self-consciousness, shrieked and covered her eyes and hid under a rack of clothing.  Princess #3 thought it would be the prime opportunity to declare her dissatisfaction with being belted into the stroller and began to scream at the top of her lungs.  And Princess #2, standing in a puddle of pee, began to well up with tears.  

At some point, mommy-mode kicked in.  I grabbed the nearest employee I saw and hissed to her that we had had an accident.  Her eyes got huge as she surveyed the mess and left to get some supplies to clean it up.  I stood there for what felt like an eternity while waiting for her to return, all the while saying to Princess #2, "This is not good.  Why did you not tell me?  This is not good!"  The poor (no doubt childless) employee returned finally with an arsenal of paper towels, disinfectant and rubber gloves.  At that point I REALLY was just ready for the floor to open up and swallow me.  I stripped Princess #2 of her leggings (thankfully she had a skirt on as well - there's a reason behind layering people!) and shoes and stuffed them into a Gap bag.  We somehow managed to get the mess cleaned up and I made a quick stop at Baby Gap and purchased a pair of flip flops and a package of clearanced panties in Princess #2's size and got her changed.

I have no idea how we made it out of the mall.  It's all such a blur.  One of those profound mommy moments when you realize how TRULY important it is to listen to those nagging feelings.... I KNEW there must have been a reason I came thisclose to buying the Princesses some panties at Gymboree earlier that day.   I will say that this little outing has cured me of the need to go to the mall anytime soon.  And I'm not sure I'll ever be able to walk into The Gap again...  And you better believe I will never ever let Princess #2 walk out of the house without sitting on the potty first.  Lessons learned.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On Second Thought...

Perhaps I shouldn't have cut myself so much slack so soon.  Today was a particularly crummy parenting day.  :(  Ah well, you win some you lose some.  Hopefully no one was scarred for life.

A Vote of Confidence

Well, maybe I'm doing something right...  a few nights ago we headed out to Princess #1's ballet class.  Normally it's a very busy day and we usually arrive exhausted, flustered and a few minutes late.  Sometimes (most of the time) my husband is able to come with me which helps with the child wrangling, but every once in awhile he has to work and I have to haul all 3 by myself.  Then I have the fun job of occupying the younger two while #1 is in class.  This is no small feat.  The ballet studio is in a strip mall and the waiting area is very very small - only room for about 4 to 5 adults to sit comfortably.  In addition the waiting area is open to the main studio where usually a breakdancing class or private lesson is taking place.  The shiny, expansive dance floor proves to be too much temptation for my newest walker and I spend most of the hour trying to keep her off of it most days.  And to top it off, the 4 year old daughter of one of the dance instructors thinks she owns the place and has a serious problem with understanding the meaning of "personal space".  Perhaps my own hang-ups, but annoying nonetheless.

So, at the most recent class, husband and I were sitting in the waiting area, doing the usual child wrangling, personal space blocking and adult small talk with the other parents.  The father of a little girl in #1's class was talking to us about our family and asking the typical questions of someone who has just met us (it was his first time to accompany his wife to ballet): how many kids we have, how old, all girls, going to try for that boy, etc. etc. etc.  The topic turned to ages, and we were asked how old we were, which as of yet I haven't figured out a good way to get out of just answering honestly.  At our response my husband and I were both pronounced as "SO YOUNG" - which is good I guess.  At least they didn't look at us like we had one foot in the grave already.  As we were answering I jumped up to prevent Princess #3 from joining in on the private lesson in session on the main dance floor.  At that point the man's wife, who has been to every class and has seen my child wrangling on a weekly basis, made the comment that she was SO impressed with how I handled my kids.  Saying something about how at my age she didn't even HAVE kids yet and wasn't sure she would have been ready for them  (Let me point out right now that I'm not 17 or something ridiculous like that and many people my age DO successfully raise children, so I don't really consider myself to be an exception or anything.  But anyway, I digress...).  She continued on about how patient I was with them to which I mumbled some lame response about how she must have just caught me on a good day, blah blah blah.  But honestly, inside I thought to myself: did she REALLY just catch me on a good day, or am I really maybe just a better parent than I give myself credit for 95% of the time?  Oh I know I have my bad moments, more than I'd like to admit.  I lose my patience, I yell more than I'd like to, I don't engage in frivolous play as often as I should.  And yet, maybe, just maybe I AM doing something right...  I'm beginning to think that maybe I should be a little easier on myself.  Maybe it's time I start cutting myself some slack.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fun in the Sun

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Beth, left today for a 2 week long vacation to Hawaii to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary.  To say I'm jealous would be an understatement.  Besides a small weekend trip to Wichita, KS, USA on our first wedding anniversary (to a lovely B&B I might add that was nicely appointed and even came with a private hot tub, which was and continues to be the topic of many interesting memories... if you've never tried to go hot tubbing outside, in the snow, a week before Christmas, you should try it), my doting hubby and I have never truly "gotten away".  For many reasons, namely, 3.  There just never seems to be a good time.  I've had a nursling attached to me for the better part of the last 5 years.  Jobs are stingy with vacation time and the majority of it has to be reserved for the obligatory trips to see family over holidays.  Kids get sick or get over involved in activites and school.  Church events take up spare weekends.  Money never seems to stretch far enough to make it through the month without being tight, let alone socking away anything extra.  And so on and so forth.

And so that brings me to now.  We are a mere 1 year and 9 months away from celebrating our own 10th anniversary.  In a word (or two), this is daunting and amazing.  I know I've carried on before about how quickly time flies.  You see it in kids most easily.  But lately I've been reflecting back on my relationship with my husband, and to see how we've grown and changed and loved over the last 8.25 years is amazing.  In some areas I feel like I've been sucessful in being a loving and doting wife, and in other areas I've failed miserably.  I've been making an effort recently to not overlook the little things, the things that make our day-to-day life pleasant, easy, wonderful.  The things that are easy to forget in the grand scheme of things, but impossible to live without in the small, daily existence.  

Whether or not we are able to get away for some fun in the sun in another year or so, doesn't really matter I suppose.  Don't get me wrong, we NEED those times away.  And now that our child-bearing and infant caring days are coming to a close, we will hopefully be able to carve out more time for US.  But even if we don't, I know that ultimately it's what I do on a day to day basis that is going to make the difference in our marriage.  And while a lovely vacation can do wonders to restore the soul and rest the mind, it's not essential to a happy relationship.

I know that I'll still feel that stab of envy when I look at Beth's pictures of long sandy beaches, extravagant dinners and lazy relaxing.  And that's ok too.  I hope she's enjoying herself... and her husband.  They deserve it.  :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Such an eventful day...

I forgot to blog about it!  Shocking, I know.

A week ago Monday, my sweet little Princess #3 turned one.  I'm really not certain how it happened as I'm POSITIVE that I stopped time at some point over the course of the last 12 months.  At least I prayed really really hard for time to stop.  I need it to stop because my memory is not so great.  And I'm afraid with the breakneck speed at which time is going, I'm going to forget all the beautiful, wonderful things that make my baby, my baby.  Her sweet breastmilk breath and her drunk, milky smiles.  Her peach fuzzy head that is just now beginning to turn out longer locks of dark hair.  The way when she stands and walks her little legs bow in a bit and she looks like a mini sumo wrestler getting ready to match.  Her tiny little rolls on her thighs, not too much, not too little.  Someday, when those return, she'll lament them.  Right now I love them.  Her babble of "mamamamama" when she wants me, and how she squeezes with all her little might and nuzzles her head in my neck when I pick her up.  I love how she makes me feel complete when I look at her, when she looks at me.  Such unconditional love.  Such sweet innocence.  Definitely worthy of stopping time for.
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