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Archive for the ‘Thoughts and Observations’ Category

I find myself so tired by the end of the day lately.  Not tired like a pregnant woman who falls asleep on the couch after dinner, and not tired like a new mommy who falls asleep while her newborn nurses sweetly, and rhythmically.  No, this isn’t one of those kinds of tired.  It is different all together.  It’s more like . . . mental and emotional . . . exhaustion.  My boys tag team me during the day, getting on each other’s nerves like only brothers can.  And, then once I’ve wrangled them in and out of the bath, into their jammies, brushed their teeth, and read stories, my littlest boy, B, has decided that getting out of bed at night (over, and over, and over) is much more fun and fulfilling than actually falling asleep.  Truthfully, at this point in the day, I am just done.  Completely drained.

But, I know there will come a day when I will (and I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it) really miss these days.  I know that someday it will once again be about me.  Will it . . . really?

On the days (more lately than usual) when I feel my life is really hard, I need to remember to reflect, and appreciate how lucky I really am.  I have three strong, beautiful, funny, and intelligent children.  I have the loving support of a husband who agrees it is important that I be home for these years.  I have in-laws who are caring, thoughtful, helpful, generous, and who are a big part of my children’s lives.  My parents are equally involved, caring for their grandchildren in ways I can’t.  They love them simply, without the messiness of being their parents.  They cheer them on, hug them tight, and love them unconditionally.  My kids are lucky.  So am I.  

I don’t have a child with autism.  I don’t have a special needs child.  I don’t have a child with health problems.  My husband and I are healthy.  We still have both of our parents, who get to spend time with our children on a regular basis.  I am so lucky.

So, why do I complain?  Because it is human nature.  We want more, with a side of more, and extra more.

So, I’m going to try remind myself to be grateful.  Sometimes just remembering not to sweat the small stuff is all it takes to improve perspective.   We just need reminders of what is the small stuff.  Today I’m going to hug my kids, and count to ten, rather than send steam out my ears, wasting precious energy being frustrated and irritated.  Because, I don’t want to be drained tonight.  And, being grumpy takes a lot of energy.

So, how do you improve your perspective, and keep things in check?

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I love to find a bargain, but I also love a really good product.  I am not typically willing to sacrifice quality for price on facial and beauty products.  So, here are a list of my favorite drug store finds.

1.  Cetaphil Facial Cleanser: Cleanses beautifully, does not strip my skin, smells like heaven.  And, it’s a huge bottle for around $10.  Need I say more?  It’s all I use.

2.  Aveeno Positively Smooth Shave Gel:  Let me start by saying, I had not used shave gel or cream of any kind for years.  I guess I kind of figured that it wasn’t a necessity, and that there were other things I’d rather spend my time and money on.  Then I tried this gel.  Let me say, I am a changed woman.  It is rich, thick, and really does work.  I can get a much closer shave than with just water and a razor (duh), and it has a gentle almond vanilla scent.  I am in love, it’s official.  As an added bonus, I can shave every third day instead of every other day.  Time is money, am I right?!

3.  Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara (cheery and bright orange tube!):  Over the years, I have tried many, many mascaras.  I have tried basketfuls of drugstore brands, as well as expensive, department store brands.  I have found that department store mascara is a waste of money.  I have found my go-to mascara in this plump little orange tube.  It doesn’t clump, isn’t stiff, and makes my lashes thick, long, and gorgeous.  Finally made me realize I wasn’t asking too much from my mascara.  So there, Maybelline.

4.  St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub:  So . . . I have a confession to make.  This has graced the shelf of my shower caddy on and off for about 20 years.  I know that dermatologists will tell you it creates microscopic tears in your skin, and therefore can cause more harm than good.  To that I say, “say what?!?!”.  I love this stuff.  It gives my face a smooth, fresh feel, cleans well, and smells lovely (are you noticing a pattern in my picks?).  I don’t use it daily, but a couple times a week, and I think my face glows just a little brighter.  What can be bad about that?  And, at about $7 a tube, it’s a steal.

So, what’s on your shopping list?  I’d love to hear your favorite steals!

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Before I was a parent, summer was always my favorite season.  What’s not to like, I ask you?  Warm, welcoming sun, cool, slippery water, comfy flip flops, sweet, drippy popsicles, and the fresh smell of sunscreen.  I love it all.  I still love summer, as a Mom.  Our schedule is more lax, and the kids can stay up later.  We have lots of fires in the fire pit, and we go to the waterpark as often as we can (not often enough this summer!).  We go on lots of camping trips, and spend time at the pool with friends.  We also head down to the River Walk in downtown and dip our feet in the frigid, rushing water.  Everyone loves it.  Especially the baby.   She only complained when I took her feet out of the water!

This is one of the few quiet moments when the boys weren’t jumping, climbing, and having all kinds of adventures on the rocks.

That being said, I think Fall is starting to one-up Summer in the favorite season department.  There is so much to look forward to.  I love the crisp weather, fluffy sweatshirts, snuggling the kids up in their cozy jammies, visiting the Pumpkin Patch, trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving . . . the list goes on!  We are really just entering the memory making years for our kids (ages 5, 2, and 10 months), and I think Fall is one of the richest times for tradition and family.

So, while I’m still making my way through my late-summer bucket list, here are a few things I am most anticipating in the next three months:

  1. Apple Picking (have not done this yet with the kids)
  2. Pumpkin Patch
  3. Thanksgiving
  4. Pumpkin Spice Latte
  5. Cool morning walks
  6. Baking with my kids (so much more fun in the cooler weather!)
  7. New fall season of my favorite tv shows (Note: I don’t watch much  tv, but once the summer winds to an end, I really start craving a little CSI and Modern Family!)
So, tell me, what are your favorite fall traditions?  What are you most anticipating?

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1.  Learn to take really good pictures.  Oh, and learn how to edit those pictures.  I guess that’s 1 and 2.

3.  Sew, create, assemble (whatever it turns out to be) five gorgeous Christmas stockings.  In time for this Christmas.  Now that our family is complete.

4.  Sew curtains for my family room and kitchen.  We’ve only lived in the house for four years.  Come on, give me a break.

5.  Make and freeze some pesto from my rockin’ basil plant.  You don’t understand, I can’t grow anything.  And, this basil plant looks like Martha Stewart tends to it daily.

Photo courtesy of slashfood.com

So, what are some fun things on your to-do list?

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I had lunch with one of my best friends on Sunday . . . from Junior High.  Yup, that’s right.  We used to have sleepovers and listen to Madonna (okay, I still do that), and dance around in our pajamas.  That was only . . . wait, still counting . . . 22 years ago.  That simply doesn’t seem possible.

We thought and thought, and finally decided the last time we had seen each other was circa 1999.  That was still a staggering 12 years ago.  In that length of time, she’s become a highly successful manager,  and I’ve had two careers and three kids.  I am sometimes amazed at how life moves us around, based on our decisions, and sometimes not, and people move in and out of our lives.  She and I were very close, like almost-had-a-two-piece-“best friends”-necklace kind of close.  Except we weren’t that lame.  So, how did we drift apart and not even know where the other was for 12 whole years?

The simple and best answer is:  life.  She went to another state for college, and we just lost touch.  When you’re young, you don’t really know the value of a true friendship.  All of your friends seem pretty great when you’re 13.  And 18.

So, you’re dying to know, how did we reconnect?  I won’t keep you in suspense.  The fact that my mom reads the local paper cover to cover (I am not kidding, she cuts out the “funny” police blotter lines and mails them to me with the coupons she clips) finally paid off.  Her name and home address (eeek!) were in the local paper under the fictitious business license listings.  My mom called me up with the big news, and I actually sat down and wrote her a letter.  A real, on-paper-with-a-pen letter, and put a stamp on the envelope.  Then I waited.  And, waited.  A few weeks later she called me up.

We talked for an hour.  We laughed so hard we cried, and did as much catching up as you can do in 60 lightening-speed minutes.  We swore we’d keep in touch.  Then another year went by, and we didn’t.  Why?  I suppose her busy, successful career, and my K.I.D.S.!!!  Then, on a whim, I just sent her a text and suggested getting together.  Within an hour we were planning our reunion.

Let me tell you the people at Max’s Restaurant must have wanted to swat us with a broom.  We sat down at 2pm for lunch.  The next time I looked at the time was 4:22pm.  At 6:24 pm I noticed we had outlasted the lunch crowd, and people hungry for dinner were filling up the tables next to us.  I also noticed that I was thirsty.  The servers had apparently stopped serving us anything to drink about three hours before.  Umm, hint?

I called my babysitter (aka Grandpa and Grandma) and asked if I could stay out past curfew.  We moved on to dessert somewhere else, because we just weren’t done gabbing.  And gossiping (did you hear about her?  do you know what happened to him? . . .you know, the usual).

All I can say is it was fab.  She hasn’t changed a bit.  She is still wicked-funny, uber-smart, and tells it like it is.

So, I say, bring on the meeting up with old friends (as long as they’re the real deal, there truly aren’t that many people I have lost touch with that I miss) and bring on the meeting of new friends (hello, Preschool Moms!).  Life is an evolution, and we’re only here for a short time.  Grab the rope and take a swing!!

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Wait . . . isn’t there a blog with that title?  Oh, yes, here it is!  http://www.ishouldbefoldinglaundry.com/  Beth has a great site, you should check it out!

But . . . back to this post.  I really should be folding laundry.  Or cleaning the kitchen.  Or planning dinner.  But the house is . . . quiet.  For the first time today.

So, rather than do the smart, predictable, productive, and mommy-like things that need to be done, I am gabbing away here.  I actually think that’s healthy, too (or at least I tell myself that so I don’t feel too guilty).  I do need something that is just for me.  Something that is therapeutic, and that I enjoy.  This fits in well, too, with my life with three little ones.  I don’t need a sitter (although that would be nice), and I absolutely adore the community of friends and women who read this and can relate.

But it does beg the question, what did I do all day that kept me from folding the laundry that’s poured over a portion of my couch?  I know I haven’t sat down, except to feed the baby.  So . . . what have I been doing?

Jo-Lynne wrote a post at Musings of a Housewife almost a year ago titled What Do You Do All Day?  I have revisited that post today, and I’m tempted to keep a time sheet (as she did) to see just where my time goes.

I’m sure that making meals and cleaning up meals takes up a chunk of my day.  And there is the shuttling of my oldest to and from camp this week.   And we did take a much needed trip to Target this afternoon.  Oh, and I mopped the kitchen floor (was way past the deadline on that one).  But, seriously.  I mean, I didn’t even shower this morning.  Don’t wrinkle your nose.  You know you’ve had mornings (days) like that.  And, I did shower last night.  So there.

But, where did the time go?  What else was I doing?  I think I will track my time and see what happens.  Wanna join the club?  All the cool kids are doing it. . .

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This post should have been up this morning.  Well, technically it is still the morning.  Barely.  Here in the West.

It’s been one of those mornings.  You know, the ones where 3 kids in the house feels like 13.  And, I want to tear my hair out.  Or, put the kids out with the recycling.  Or, suck on a tailpipe.

Anyyyyywayyyy . . . here you go.  My current list of favorite apps.  I’m sure there are hundreds more that would make my life richer, easier, faster, simpler, and more fun.  If you know of any, show me some love!  I’m off to give a hug, fix a snack, give someone a timeout, and, maybe, finally, finish my coffee.

Instagram  (Free!)

Love, love, love this!  It is easy to take pics, and SUPER easy to share them on either Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and more.  I am new to using it, but am having fun playing around with all the different filters.  My sister loves it because I’ve shared more pics in the last week than I have since my first was born. Hehe!

Camera+  ($1.99)

Fabulous, and pretty  much turns your Iphone into an SLR.  Am loving this new App!  Get this:  timer, stabilizer, crop, and edit your photos.  Add filters, upload to Facebook, Twitter and more.  Also has tons of scenery modes, and you can even flip the picture.  In a word.  Awesome.  In two words.  Buy it.

JellyDoodle  ($.99)

It is official:  my kids LOVE this app.  Totally worth the dough.  Kids can create jelly shapes (there are a TON to choose from, including a bear, cupcake, pretzel, and many, many more) that they can then decorate with all kinds of fun stuff.

From Babble.com:  JellyDoodle is one of those apps that really must be played to be believed, because the kid-friendly concept sounds completely outrageous. You create shapes made out of gelatin that you can then manipulate around your iPhone screen. The app currently provides dozens of different mold shapes including kangaroo, bear, cupcake and many more (if you can’t find the mold that you are looking for, you can also draw your own). Mix up your gelatin by adjusting sliders that change the color, then tilt your iPhone and “pour” it into your chosen mold. Next come the add-ins, or “doodads” as JellyDoodle calls them — choose from the provided ones or upload a photo from your phone. When your mold is stuffed with doodads, it’s time to set the gelatin free. Manipulate it by dragging your finger around the screen or give it the JellyDoodle treatment: A “Slurp” option allows you to use a straw on the gelatin. (And, yes, lovely slurping sound effects are included!) When you’re finished, “pump” your gelatin full of air until it literally explodes on your screen.

Locavore  ($2.99)

Love this!  Find out what produce is seasonal in your area, and how much longer it will be in season.  It uses the GPS in your phone to help you find local farmer’s markets, too!  It didn’t find the two closest to me, but given that they are new, I’m not that surprised.

From Babble.com:  The app even serves up basic information (from Wikipedia) on each fruit or vegetable along with simple recipes, and you can also share local finds with your friends via Facebook. But Locavore is mostly useful as a navigation system to your local farmer’s market — although keep in mind that, given how small and non-tech-y many of these markets are, the app may not have information on all of them.

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