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Well, I’ve been right here.  But, I have been so, so, so BUSY.  And, I am officially baaaaack!  So sorry to my readers.  It’s been an unplanned hiatus, and a LOT has happened.  Here are the updates!

1.  My baby girl turned 1!

She had a beautiful birthday party, which I had a BLAST planning, preparing, and attending.  I have never had one of my kid’s birthday parties at a “place”.  I’ve always had it at home, and once, we had a party at a local park (it was great, by the way!).  But, I highly recommend having a party hosted.  We did ours at a local kids playplace called The Playroom.  In short, it was fab.

Loving the slide, with a little hand from Grandma

Cake!

2.  B is now potty trained!

Just shy of the 2 1/2 mark, I decided to potty train my little guy boot camp style.  We had played around with the potty, and had had lots of quality sitting time, but he had never had any success.  I could tell he was ready, however.  He’s smarter than your average toddler, and he’s also got a big brother to keep up with.  Plus, when he was pooping in his diaper, he would leave the room, and go somewhere quiet.  If I snuck up on him, he would ask me politely to “go away”, and with a swift, dismissive wave, he would usher me out.   So, on a Monday afternoon, I just put the little guy in underwear.  He peed in his underwear all afternoon, and most of the next day.  But, by bedtime on Day 2, he was peeing in the potty every 2 minutes.  He was positively HOOKED.  And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, and don’t hate me, but he’s never had an accident.  Don’t get too jealous.  See, I deserve this.  Potty training my oldest boy took me nearly a year, and shortened my life by at least that much.

3.  I am now working out in the mornings!

It seems crazy, I know.  But, it is actually working for me.  Knock on wood, or my granite counter top, because it’s closest.  When I get up early to workout, I don’t have to a) drag the kids with me, b) worry about if they have runny noses and should really be infecting other kids at Kids Klub, c) deal with K crying the whole time, and only being able to work out for 20 minutes, d) pack snacks and drinks like we’re going on safari.  Plus, sometimes I actually get home, and can have a first sip of coffee before anyone comes downstairs and needs a hug, bowl of cereal, glass of milk, or their nose wiped.  Ahhh, the simple joys.

4.  Did you know Christmas is less than 6 WEEKS AWAY?!

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How did this happen??  Well, it is what it is, and here are some of my favorite resources for planning a Christmas that is joyful, relaxing, memorable, and with a whole lot less stress.  Pour a cup, and snuggle up for some good reading!

Life as Mom.

http://lifeasmom.com/2011/11/time-management-for-the-holiday-season.html

Simple Mom.

http://simplemom.net/plan-christmas-gift-giving/

http://simplemom.net/plan-your-christmas-calendar/

I’m an Organizing Junkie.

http://orgjunkie.com/2011/11/cut-down-on-christmas-organization-by-80.html

Organized Home.

http://christmas.organizedhome.com/christmas-countdown

So, what is new with you?!

I just bought 12 ounces of organic raspberries at Costco for only $3.99.  In one sitting, my three kids polished off nearly 10 ounces of that package.  I wish they would tell me they were going to devour the whole package, so I could plan ahead and buy two packages.  Of course, had I purchased two packages, they would have sampled one raspberry each, and declared them “yucky”.

I wish my kids would tell me when they are going to nap for three hours at a stretch.  Then, I could plan ahead properly and begin a serious project.  Or (gasp!) take a nap myself.

I wish they would tell me when they are going to throw up.  Then I could swiftly guide them to the bathroom.  In time.  No fuss, no muss.

I wish they would tell me which stuffed animal will become their favorite of all time.  The one they must have to fall asleep.  Armed with this knowledge, I am Supermom.

All of these wishes, when boiled down to the core, simply would allow me to be prepared.  I love being prepared.  I love having the right snack and the right time, and preventing a hungry, toddler meltdown.  I love having the diaper bag stocked with all the necessities, allowing  me to deal with whatever life throws at me.  On the flipside, I hate being unprepared.

All of this leads me to this, one of motherhood’s best lessons:

Be as prepared as you can be, when you can be.  But, also be prepared to be unprepared.  Learning to roll with it, learning to adapt, those are skills we as moms have developed, honed, perfected.  So, just because you don’t feel prepared, doesn’t mean you’re not succeeding.

What my husband did last night when he said he was going to go to bed:

  • Went upstairs
  • Brushed his teeth and flossed
  • Plugged in his phones to charge overnight
  • Got in bed
What I did last night when I said I was going to go to bed:
  • loaded the dishwasher
  • put away some laundry
  • cleaned off the kitchen counter-tops
  • set up the coffeepot for the morning
  • made my son’s lunch
  • started a blog post
  • read about potty training (next big thing for BDog)
  • wrote a check for Kindergarten tuition
  • fed the fish
  • put away stray toys
  • went upstairs
  • brushed my teeth and flossed
  • washed and moisturized my face (sucks to get old . . and live in the high desert)
  • checked on sleeping babies and gave them one more kiss
  • got in bed
Sound familiar, moms??  No wonder I never get to bed before 11:30pm.
What do you do when you say you’re off to bed?

I was inspired to write this blog post by Kathy, over at Mama’s Losin’ It.  She got the idea from Ree, over at a little blog called The Pioneer Woman. Maybe you’ve heard of her?

Thanks for the inspiration, ladies!

So, here goes.

I am 36.

I have never:

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1.  Set foot in Mexico

2.  Eaten rabbit

3.  Made my own tomato sauce

4.  Flown first class

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5.  Ridden in a hot air balloon

6.  Gotten a tattoo

7.  Been to Africa

8.  Had a caesarean section

9.  Watched The Real Housewives (of any city)

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10.  Been to Austin, Texas

11.  Made my own pasta (See also number 3)

12.  Been scuba diving

13.  Ran a marathon

14.  Been serenaded

15.  Feared for my life

16.  Sang karaoke (you’re welcome)

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17.  Swam with dolphins

18.  Bought a loaf of Wonder Bread

19.  Driven a boat

20.  Pole vaulted

21.  Set foot in Europe

22.  Learned the butterfly stroke

23.  Received more than 7 comments on a blog post.  Will this be a new PR?  (I mean, I’m not asking for 800+, like Ree’s post, jeez!)

What are some things you have never done?

I am finally getting back on track with my menu planning.  I know things are not going to slow down as fall descends upon us.  In the next two and a half months our family has, in this order: Baby’s First Birthday party, Halloween, husbands birthday, father’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and finally, Christmas.  Whew!  I’m exhausting just thinking about all of it.  So, I’m going to rely heavily on planning and organization to get me through.

How is your fall shaping up?

Monday:  Baked Macaroni and Cheese and veggies

Tuesday:  Homemade Mushroom and Olive Pizza

Wednesday: Pesto Chicken and Rosemary Potatoes with Homemade Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Thursday: Grilled top sirloin and Caesar Salad

Friday:  Lemon Artichoke Chicken (will do a post on this recipe if there is interest!)🙂

What’s going to be on your dinner table this week?

For more menu ideas, check out I’m an Organizing Junkie!

Another of my favorite pictures from Disneyland.  Fountains are fascinating, no matter where they are.  Here is proof.

They could have spent hours watching the “loud fountain”, as my two-year old called it.  And, yes, there was a “quiet fountain”, which of course, was smaller.  I love how he chooses to describe things.  I mean, any old toddler can tell you that it is tall and big, but to choose to describe it as loud. I absolutely love that.  Kisses to my boys.  And, to happy memories.

Ahhh, the First Trip to Disneyland.  It is an event.  It was more than an event in our house, it was an adventure.  We rented a minivan so that my Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law could drive with us.  This was such a great idea!  One car makes things much more simple.  And, the cost of the rental wasn’t much more than we would have spent filling up a second car with gas, anyway.

Here was my view for 7 1/2 hours (9 hours on the way drive down):

At least I got out of driving.

We were lucky enough to stay at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  The kids had a blast playing in the pool while the grownups packed up the hotel room on our last day.

The pool area is beautiful at this hotel.  We could have spent the whole day there.  In fact, next time, I’m planning it that way.

We had a grand time.  Everyone enjoyed it, and if you asked my kids what their favorite ride was?  It would be a toss-up between the “Bullet Train” aka, the Monorail, the Disneyland Railroad, and the Astro Orbitor.  Really?  We go all the way to Disneyland, where they have the most imaginative, technologically advanced, creative, and sensory-blowing rides, and my kids liked the Railroad (can find one almost anywhere), the Monorail (really just transportation within the park) and the Astro Orbitor, barely  more than a carnival ride.

But, they had fun.  And, it was their trip.  My favorites are Space Mountain, and Soarin’ Over California (in Disney California Adventure).

One of my favorite pictures of the trip:

We got back, and it was all about getting back into the swing of Kindergarten, unpacking, cleaning, and hugging and snuggling with the baby girl.  I missed her immensely, but she didn’t seem to skip a beat when she saw me for the first time after 4 nights.  We picked up right where we left off. What a sweet girl.

And, yesterday was my birthday.  I hung on to 35 as long as I could, but as of yesterday, I had to officially let it go.  I’ve never been the type to lie about my age, or really even worry about it.  But, then, I was only 35.  Being 36 feels older.

It was a day, like any other, but was topped off with a relaxing dinner out, just my husband and I.  I absolutely cherish those dinners.  I don’t have to decide what to cook, I don’t have to clean, and I can sip my wine without being interrupted (and interrupted some more).  The food was delicious, and the company was divine.  What a fabulous way to welcome 36.  Maybe I have nothing to worry about, after all.

So, that’s why I’ve been absent for so long (almost two weeks, gasp!).  I’m back.  Stay tuned, life continues.  Missed you all!

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