Friday, August 31, 2007

A little bit of blogging advice

Here's something really useful and informative, especially to us newer bloggers out there. Christine at AreWeThereYet tagged me with with this blogging advice meme.


It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. **

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. ***

3. Don’t let money change ya! *

4. Always reply to your comments. *********

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. *****

6. Don’t give up - persistence is fertile. **

7. Give link credit where credit is due. *******

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post. *****

9. Visit all the bloggers that leave comments for you - it’s nice to know who is reading! *****

10. Make a blogger template unique: change the background colour, or add a background picture to your header. *

11. Write positively even if the situation is seemingly negative — spread joy and not gloom. You can do it!**

12. When you find something that interests you, write about it. Sharing yourself with others is one of the best things about blogging.*

13. Start draft posts to capture ideas for future posts, so you don’t lose track of them.

14. Be helpful to new bloggers. Remember when you first started blogging and didn’t know how to post a link? Or was that just me?*

15. If you have a question about blogging, don’t be shy, go ahead and ask. There are so many bloggers happy to give you help if you need it.*

16. Remember that blogging is a community - don't be afraid to comment on the blogs you read. Reach out and make new friends, you'll be glad you did!


Hmm, 10 people, huh! I'll spread the advice (and links!) around to Jodi, Kellie, Amber, Karen, Summer, Shana, Dawn, Jenn, Carrie and We Are Reilly.

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It's Blog Day 2007!

Blog Day 2007

I learned about Blog Day from Dawn over at Coming To A Nursery Near You. What a fun idea! I hope everyone will check it out.

What is Blog Day?

Here's the answer from the Blog Day site:
"BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.
With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs."
And these are the rules for Blog Day:
  1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
  2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2007
  3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
  4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
  5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: and a link to the BlogDay web site at
So before I head on out to check out as many other new blogs as I can (I really am in need of some good reads today to take my mind off things anyway), I want to leave you with my 5 picks. These are by no means the only 5 I could recommend - believe me, it was hard to keep it just to 5 (and I didn't succeed too well either, *grin*)! For more wonderful bloggers, check out my blogroll - each and every one of them are worth reading.

I recently discovered Kerry at And Baby Makes Four (actually, I think she discovered me first) and really enjoy what she has to say. Here's her description of herself, "I'm a coupon-clipping, bargain shopping, sweet tea drinking, chocolate craving, Christian worship music blasting, Little Einstein theme song singing SAHM to two precious little boys, J-Man, an independant toddler & BB, a non-stop smiley baby." What more can you say? :)

Michelle at In The Life Of A Child has been through so much with her beautiful daughter, Jacqui, and still manages to blog with a wonderful sense of humor about life, her two kids, and everything else! She says, "Our goal as parents: To treasure every moment and to raise our children to be extraordinary individuals." I'd say they're well on their way.

EastCoastLife blogs about life in Singapore, which is fascinating to read about and experience with her. She's been blogging for a while but I just recently discovered her and am looking forward to getting to know her better!

Anyone who listens to the Mommycast podcast has probably heard their 3-part interview with their friend Lindsay about her amazing journey as she and her husband are in the process of adopting their baby, Tyson, through a domestic, inter-state adoption process. Her blog, The R House, chronicles their experiences and of course includes photos of their adorable little boy. I continue to pray that their adoption will be finalized with no more hurdles to overcome.

And I'm going to cheat here and lump two new blogs that I just discovered this week into my fifth recommendation - I'm looking forward to reading more about them! MamaLee at Full Plate has 3 kids as well, plus two dogs - definitely a full plate, I'd say! And Eileen at A Life of Triggers writes about her 3 beautiful girls, including her late sister's daughter who they are in the process of adopting - I really admire her.

So there you have it - my five six recommendations in honor of Blog Day 2007.

And thank you so much to Summer from Summer's Nook for including me in her list for Blog Day - I'm honored! She is definitely one of my 'must-reads' as well... :)

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It's happened again.

Why, oh why do I keep letting our bank account get overdrawn? We're out another $300 in stupid fees that we can't afford because this was the big check of Ron's that was going to let us catch up on bills (finally) and buy groceries that we sorely need.

There's not enough in there right now even to cover the daycare check that I wrote earlier this week. And then there's next week's daycare... And gas for both cars... Not to mention the fact that we are out of almost everything food-wise. And there's the darn 99 cent pencil box that is the only school supply that we need to buy for Abby before Tuesday and we can't even afford that now. Knowing we were going to get this big check today, Ron paid more than half of what we owed for cable/internet/phone last night so it wouldn't get turned off today. We should've just let those go, but we thought we'd be ok once Ron got paid today.

I just want to go hide in a corner and cry.

(I do get paid next Thursday but that money was supposed to pay the mortgage... sigh)

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A bittersweet moment...

I waved to an empty window this morning.

Not one little girl stood there frantically waving to me this morning, like usual. And it reminded me of something...

Today was the last day that I'll drop 3 children off at daycare in the morning. School starts on Tuesday. Abby and Hannah will go over to our neighbor's house in the mornings to wait until the bus comes and I'll be taking just Becca to daycare.

I'm not sure why that saddens me... We've been looking forward to the big girls both being in school, daycare costs (hopefully!) going down and all of that. But we hit a milestone this morning and I didn't even realize it until it was over.

Nobody waved to me. And nobody will next week either since Becca doesn't usually wave - she's off and running and busy from the moment we get there.

I didn't realize how much waving to my girls out the window of the van while I pull out of the driveway had become a part of my morning routine. I guess the routine will have to change, like so many things will next week. Two big girls in school - where has the time gone?

I'm not sure why they didn't wave this morning - they were probably busy with seeing their friends and got involved in an activity right away. Which is a good thing really. Or so I keep telling myself. It's a milestone for them too - the last full day at daycare.

Yes, there will be school vacations and various days off throughout the school year. Not to mention next summer, when all 3 of them will go back to daycare. But that will be temporary. Today was the last 'official' day that I had 3 little ones to drop off. On Tuesday, Abby will be a first grader and spending full days at school like the 'big kids' do. Hannah will be in 'real' school for the first time. And the van will seem very empty in the mornings as Becca and I head to daycare by ourselves.

I wonder how long it would take to teach Becca to wave out of the window at me...

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Back-to-School Open House

I apologize - this was written and intended to be posted yesterday but our internet connection at home went down before I could publish it so I had to wait until I got to work this morning. So just keep in mind that "Last night" refers to Wednesday night and "today" refers to yesterday (Thursday) and it'll all be good. Ok?

Last night (Wednesday night... See you're getting it already!) was the Open House at the girls' school. First off, I am so glad to have both girls at the same school finally! Abby's been at this school for 4-year-old preschool, kindergarten and now first grade but Hannah's preschool last year was at a different school (the one where Abby had 3-year-old preschool) since the class at Abby's school was full. But now Hannah's in 'real' school too.

I love the idea of the Young 5's program and I'm really hoping that this will be a good thing for Hannah this year. It's kind of an in-between sending her to kindergarten (which I think she's too young and not ready for) or completely holding her back from school and repeating 4-year-old preschool - which would first of all be nuts, plus our pocketbook was feeling the strain of last year, and also - can we say busing! :)

The Open House was from 6pm to 7pm, so I knew we'd be on a tight time line since we don't generally get home until 5:30pm and I'd have to feed everyone dinner and drive Becca over to my friend Kristi's (so I wouldn't have to chase Becca all over the school and could focus on meeting the big girls' teachers with them).

My evening ended up starting at 3:30pm when I got a call from daycare that Becca had been screaming and crying inconsolably since she got up from her nap (as I could hear in the background, poor baby). That's so completely not like her, so there definitely had to be something wrong, but she didn't want to be held or put down and it was hard to tell since she doesn't have enough words to tell us yet.

So I left work early and picked the girls up an hour early. Becca was better by then but still snuffly and teary. She has some pretty bad diaper rash so I think that may have been part of what was causing the screaming. She also has a bit of a runny nose, probably allergies.

Took everyone home and actually had time to fix the kids a decent dinner since we had extra time. Then we dropped Becca off and headed to the school.

After parking half a block away (parking is very limited at this school), we walked down - well the girls skipped. Abby kept exclaiming, "I'm so happy to see (their school)!" Right when we got there we saw a family that we knew so the girls ran right in to see them. They have 3 daughters as well although the oldest (another Hannah) is in 2nd grade. The other two are in the same grades as Abby and Hannah - we met them when their youngest and Hannah were in preschool together - and they'll be in the same class this year too.

The gym was hot and stuffy! And we had to wait in line for a while to see Hannah's teacher. Abby kept wanting to run around the gym looking for kids she knew but she was being way too loud, so I tried to keep her near me, at least somewhat. Standing still is not her strong point though, so finally we compromised with her walking back and forth along one of the lines painted on the gym floor as if it was a balance beam. At least she did it quietly!

Hannah's teacher is very nice - she's fairly young and she's coming over from one of the other schools this year and teaching part-time, only Hannah's class in the mornings. Hannah was playing shy (which she's not!) but I could tell she liked her teacher. She gave Hannah a letter explaining how their day will go. Thankfully she doesn't need any school supplies other than a large backpack, which we've already gotten for her. There was a list of things that the teacher would appreciate us considering donating though, so I'll probably pick up some things for Hannah to take in the next time I go shopping.

Then we met Abby's teacher. She's older but also very nice. She noticed Abby's missing teeth right away and was asking her about them. Abby already has homework - of sorts! All of the kids were given a large poster with places to color and decorate and to fill in different things about themselves. It looks like a fun project and we've got almost a month to work on it, which will be good for us. They'll display them all in the hallway later this fall.

They also had a scavenger hunt for the kids to do tonight - once Abby got that sheet and the homework sheet, she wasn't interested in talking to her teacher anymore - she was raring to go start finding all the places on the list. Each place had a letter on the door, so they had to write down all of the letters and figure out what they spelled. When they brought them back completed, they each got a sticker.

The places to find were - their classroom, the library, the science room, the computer lab, the front office, the principal (who was wearing his letter) and the secretary (who was also wearing her letter). All together, the letters spelled out W-E-L-C-O-M-E. Abby and Hannah found all of them by themselves (Abby showed Hannah where some of the rooms were located) and wrote them all down by themselves. I had to help them read the final word though. And yes, every classroom had a 'W' on it! LOL

One nice thing we discovered is that Hannah's and Abby's classrooms are right next to each other. And Hannah's classroom is right across the hall from the room that Abby was in for kindergarten last year, so she's familiar with this area of the school already too.

We saw several other kids that we knew so the girls were busy exchanging hellos and hugs. They are so excited for school to start!

When we went back to Kristi's to pick Becca up, she was playing in the wading pool in the backyard so we stuck around for a little bit so the kids could all play. She'd done really well while we were gone and no more bouts of screaming (other than a couple of minutes of crying right when I left, but that's normal). Thanks guys!

Ron was already home when we got there - it was nice to have him around for bedtime for once. Last week he worked 74 hours so we hardly saw him.

I had lots of things I meant to do last night after the kids were all in bed, but then I made the mistake of lying down on the couch... :)

Did I mention with all of that, I somehow forgot to feed myself dinner? And then after sleeping on the couch all night... I think that's a good part of why I felt so strange this morning!

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yes, we are the most boring couple on Earth.

Ron woke me up this morning. First off, that is very strange because I'm usually the one pummeling him to get him to wake up when my alarm goes off.

Alarm? Hmm, don't remember hearing that either.

Wait a minute, where the heck am I?

Oh yes... I did lay down on the couch last night right after we put the girls in bed. Maybe he's waking me up to tell me I should probably head to bed now. I'm sooo tired - it can't be morning yet.

It is? Morning? Time to get up and get everyone ready? Nooooooo....

I've fallen asleep on the couch before - fairly often even. However, this was the first time that I've ever slept the entire night on the couch as usually I wake up somewhere between 11pm and 3am and then lie in bed wide awake for another hour or two until I can finally get myself to fall back asleep.

But not last night. I do vaguely remember waking up to the sound of Ron's (very loud, obnoxious) snoring at one point - he was asleep in the recliner (lovely couple, aren't we!)... I seem to recollect staggering over to him and waking him up to get him to stop snoring and then making it back as far as the couch before I was asleep again. I have no idea what time that was...

Ron says that he got up around 3:30am from the recliner and went to bed and given my history of not being able to go back to sleep after moving from couch to bed, he just let me be.

So I slept, on the couch, from about 9pm last night until 6:30am this morning.

Why am I still so tired then?

And I woke up after the strangest, very odd, vivid dreams - probably due the fact that the tv was on all night. Maybe that's why I'm so tired...

So nothing got done around the house last night. And I feel weird - like dizzy and can't quite seem to get focused or concentrate so far today. Ugh.

Remind me not to let myself fall asleep on the couch anymore!

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Throwback Thursday - My 8th birthday

I got my very first camera for my 8th birthday. It was one of those Kodak Instamatic cameras with the disposable flash bulbs that you bought separately and burned out one flash from it every time you used it. Back in the dark ages, LOL.

So, accordingly I have a whole lot of pictures of my 8th birthday party. Here are a few of them - gotta love those 70's fashions!

I'm the one with dark hair in the white blouse and blue skirt/jumper thing... And yes, we were at McDonalds for part of the party.

I think this was one of the first pictures I took with my new camera. Thank goodness I got a bit better at it over the years! Of course nowadays you can see the picture and delete it before you ever make a print of it anyway... :)

Check out more Throwback Thursday over at Pinks and Blues Girls!

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Thursday Thirteen #4 - Becca says...

Thirteen Things about What Becca Says!

Becca's language is starting to explode lately, which is normal for 19 months, I think. Here are 13 of the most common words and phrases that she says:

  1. Tay ‘oo - Becca-ese for Thank You – she actually says this unprompted even! The big girls used to also but I’ve noticed that this ability seems to disappear somewhere between the ages of 1 and 4. One of those milestones that the books never tell you about… LOL

  2. Mine! - This one is usually said vehemently while pulling something away from a big sister trying to repossess said item. Usually, whatever it is, is not actually hers.

  3. Mommee! - She just started saying this one instead of ‘mama’. It’s usually used in a pleading voice when she’s either been put in her crib for a nap or bedtime or if she’s been locked out of the girls’ room by the gate in their doorway. Also used in a tone to break your heart any time I attempt to put her down in a strange new place or hand her off to anyone else. Including Daddy, much to his dismay. This little one is very definitely a mama’s girl!

    Also used commonly is Maaaa! - This one is usually in a demanding tone anytime she wants to get my attention. Often accompanied by pointing, grabbing or pulling on me. Used interchangeably with our daycare provider’s name when she’s at daycare – and as far as I know, she’s never mixed the two up.

  4. Baby! - Used when she sees a real baby somewhere, or when she sees herself in a mirror or photo. Also used to refer to any of the 14,536 baby dolls we have in the house, whether they're hers or not. Also used while trying to wrestle any of the baby dolls out of a big sister's hands while said baby doll is in the process of being repossessed by said big sister.

  5. Aab-ee - This is apparently the generic form of ‘sister’ since she uses this to refer to both Abby and Hannah.

  6. Dowa, backpack, boots - Hmmm, I wonder where she picked these up from… LOL

  7. Bye... - Usually accompanied by the cutest little wave you’ve ever seen. Although the combination breaks my heart every time I see it as I’m leaving her at daycare.

  8. Dawggie! - Either her little stuffed dalmatian doggie that goes everywhere with her, or any real dog we see. Also used to refer to other various animals, stuffed or not, such as bears, pigs, elephants, etc.

  9. Kittee! - Usually said with a gleeful little tone to her voice as she manages to get a hold of any portion of either of our cats’ anatomy. Often a leg or tail. Also can refer to larger animals of the cat variety such as a lion or tiger when seen in a book or on tv.

  10. Daa-dee! - Almost always said to Ron, with a squeal in her voice the minute she hears his voice or sees him – or hears the phone ring. Unfortunately this can also refer to any other man she sees from afar in a Comcast uniform or driving a Comcast truck – such as our next-door neighbor, who works with Ron. Leaving me to attempt to explain to a very stubborn and disappointed toddler that no, that is not Daddy, even though it looks like it from here…

  11. Nigh-nigh - We usually hear this one when carrying her into her room to change a diaper or put pajamas on. Usually said in a questioning sort of sing-song tone. For a while she’d say it when I put her to bed, but lately I’ve been getting more of #3 and #13 instead of this.

  12. Uh-uh-uh - Can mean just about anything since yes, she is still using the ‘point-and-grunt’ method when words fail her. Generally can be translated as either, “get me those crayons in the cupboard over there, I want to color”, “get me *insert name of toy*”, “put me in my chair because I’m hungry and I want to eat”, “no, don’t walk that way, I want you to come over here” – accompanied by pulling on my hand or pant leg, or “I want *fill-in-the-blank*!”.

  13. And, of course, we can’t forget the ever popular, “NO!” - She’s very good at this one, especially paired with foot-stomping, pushing your hands away, dropping down limp and boneless, squirming and wiggling to get away, and/or tears. She is starting to master the art of tantrum-throwing already… sigh.

Those are things she says on a regular basis – she’ll come out with a lot of other words and phrases lately that we’ve only heard once or twice so aren’t sure if she actually meant to say them. Ron swears he heard her count to three the other day, for example. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she did.

It’s hard not to compare our 3 kids – Abby was a fairly late talker but Hannah talked in complete sentences by the time she was the age Becca is now. Becca seems to be right about in the middle as far as language goes…

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Only 6 days left!

Yes, we are finally gearing up for the big first day of school. Apparently we’re on the late side of this as I know others have been in school for weeks already. I guess we can blame that on Michigan’s tourism industry for getting the law changed so that school can’t start until after Labor Day… Which wouldn’t be so bad if we could actually afford to go anywhere over Labor Day weekend…

Anyway, we’re starting to get a taste of how busy things will get starting next week. Last night was the informal parents meeting for Hannah’s soccer – since she’s playing in the U-5 league, it runs a bit differently than the older groups do. Abby played this a couple of years ago so I was already pretty familiar with how it works, but we did get to pick up Hannah’s uniform and she is so excited to finally have her own instead of only ever watching Abby wearing one.

I also got a glimpse at the schedule and there will only be 2 Saturdays where there’s a conflict between the times that the two girls play. And those are both later in the season, so we’ve got some time for Ron to ask for those days off – phew! Abby will have 2 little girls that she knows on her team, which will be awesome for her. She was a bit disappointed not to get her uniform yesterday, but she’ll probably get it at her first practice next Tuesday.

And Tuesdays shouldn’t be as bad as I was fearing, at least for a while. The girls’ church choir doesn’t start until the 4th (out of 6) week of practice, so having to skip just a few weeks of choir, or leave the last few practices early – shouldn’t be a big deal either way. We’ll just have to decide which.

So tonight is the big Open House at school and both girls get to meet their teachers. Abby was running around this morning more excited than I’ve seen her all summer. We’ve been counting down on our calendar every night all month - only 6 more days to go…

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #7 - First kiss

This is Becca, with our friends' little boy - they are only 4 days apart...

Check out more Wordless Wednesday here and here!

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A lot about daycare

I'm feeling the need to talk daycare. I realized that my post about being frustrated with our daycare costs not going down as expected didn't touch on the things that we truly like (well, love) about our current daycare situation and provider.

And to do that, I almost have to explain our whole daycare history, so bear with me, ok?

First off - I never thought much about it when I was pregnant with Abby. I worked, I was our main breadwinner and our insurance came through my job. There wasn't any other option, so I just assumed I'd go back to work after the baby came.

I never expected to not want to go back to work. But I was pretty much stuck at the time - our debt load was massive and there was no way we could survive on Ron's smaller income. So I did some research and found a daycare, run by two young moms out of one of their homes.

It wasn't a horrible situation, but I was struck when I came to see Abby at lunchtime and at drop-off and pick-up times by how little these women (girls, really - they were very young) actually interacted with the kids in their care. They seemed to spend more time chatting with each other than down on the floor playing. Coupled with the fact that I hated her being in daycare to begin with - we made the choice to have Ron stay home. In a practical way, it made sense since his was the smaller income. And we knew that Abby would be safe and happy with her daddy.

I wasn't expecting to feel the jealousy that came on as i headed off to work every morning, wanting nothing more than to stay home with the rest of my family. I began to hate going to work, and to hate my job.

However, Ron realized after a few months that he wasn't cut out for the stay-at-home life - he needed the interaction with other adults and to get out of the house. And financially, we weren't doing too well on just my income. So he found a job and I found a new daycare provider - this time recommended by someone we knew.

And we loved her!! And so did Abby, and Hannah once she came along. I still wasn't happy with going to work, but I was comforted to know how well my kids were doing and how loved they were. She really made her daycare kids a part of her family, and she and I became friends as well, especially when I came every day at lunch to nurse Hannah.

The two things we regretted leaving the most when we moved here? Our pediatrician and our daycare provider.

I actually drove the girls back to her house for the first couple of months after we moved, since I was commuting back to my old job anyway. But when I found a new job closer to home, it came time to find daycare again. So I searched, and found someone who seemed nice and reliable.

Two things happened after that. The first is that Ron was offered a new job a month after I got mine - he'd been commuting also, and this new job was in town. Plus, he'd be working part-time from home for the first several months, then full-time in the office after that.

We also weren't completely happy with our daycare. There were lots of little things - I guess we'd been kind of spoiled in a way because this was so much more 'business-like' than we were used to. We looked at Ron's job opportunity as a way to let the girls stay home with him for a while again. We kept them in daycare for one day a week originally, but our relationship with our provider soured and we ended up pulling them out entirely.

Back to the search, since Ron's days at home were numbered. We talked to one of our neighbors who watched kids on an informal basis, but she wasn't able to commit to full-time (she's always been our backup provider though, when she's able). After interviewing several, we met someone who we just 'knew' was right. And she was awesome, both with and for our kids. Both Abby and Hannah still ask to visit her and point out her house whenever we go by. They'll ride the bus with her daughter this fall and I'm so happy because they've missed her too - she was like a third sister to them while they were there.

We lost this daycare after just a year in part because she was overwhelmed in the mornings and trying to cut back her hours. She could have kept Hannah, but not Abby since Abby was in afternoon preschool that year (her program was only offered in the afternoons) and needed morning-only care. I also was pregnant with Becca, and she knew she wouldn't have an open space available, so when she cut back, we were the obvious choice since we'd end up having to look elsewhere a few months later anyway. I seriously considered leaving just Hannah there, but we decided it was too important to keep the kids together. That was a very, very sad parting.

We found a replacement daycare, and she was nice enough - although after our previous experience, I don't know if anyone could've lived up to our expectations. Since I was hoping to start my own daycare after Becca was born at this point, we knew this situation was temporary and it was fine for the moment.

I'm not going to talk about why my own daycare failed - that's a longer story than I want to go into right now and I've talked about it some already. I got my current job last August, prompting the need to find daycare again - for 3 kids this time. We knew it would be expensive, but we also knew that the cost would improve as the kids started school. It was much harder to leave the kids this time, especially since I'd been home with them for 6 months.

We found someone we liked and the kids liked well enough, and we were happily going along until she decided that she couldn't handle Hannah's potty accidents and her 'attitude'. Hannah was difficult to handle at that point (just turning 4) but I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary or that a daycare provider shouldn't be able to deal with. I knew that Abby wasn't happy there at all - there were no kids her age and she was horribly bored with no structure or activities. I think in the end it was a combination of things on both ends (she'd put Becca in a forward-facing carseat at 7 months old and nowhere near 20 pounds!) and she gave us 3 weeks notice right before Christmas.

I was happy enough to have the kids out of there but then stressing over what to do. Our wonderful neighbor watched the kids for the rest of December but come January we needed someone permanent.

I knew someone through church who did daycare - I'd called her a few times during our previous searches but she never had any openings. Her twin daughters were in Hannah's preschool class and I'd heard many good things about her. So I took a chance and asked her one Sunday if she had any openings. She did.

I know that this is where my kids are meant to be right now. This is the 3rd daycare provider that we've been blessed with who treats our kids as her own and truly loves them. And they love her - as do I. I enjoy chatting briefly with her when I drop the kids off and pick them up. I only wish we had more time to talk and get to know each other better, but she's a busy single mom with 4 kids of her own.

From the beginning, she was more expensive than we really wanted to pay, but we knew she was worth it. And it was only temporary - if we could make it through until fall, then our costs would go down and we could breathe again. I guess that's why I feel like the bottom's dropped out after that e-mail yesterday.

I really need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with her. I love her and her family, and I want our kids to continue going there - since I can't be home with them. I hope we can work something out.

Daycare, in one way or another, has been my single most stressful thing to deal with in the past 6 1/2 years. There are so few quality options out there that parents can afford - yet I know that daycare providers and teachers don't make nearly as much as they deserve.

My friend Cheryl is going through the daycare search right now and I feel for her. She's had her ups and downs with this issue as well. I think most families probably have...

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Am I really so nice?!


I hardly know what to say.

I've been awarded the "Nice Matters" award for the 3rd time in a week.

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."
Thank you, Jen!

So I'm going to share all of this niceness with some other truly deserving blogging friends (as well as those I've already passed it on to).

...And Miles to Go Before We Sleep
An Island Life
Believer in Balance
The Natural News
My Life as Mama Jodi

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Tackle It Tuesday #5 - Junk drawer (and update on Becca's closet)

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I seem to have to give updates on last week's tackle every week, so here's the current one.

Becca's closet is done! It only took about a week, but I finally got the rest of the clothes sorted out and stored in a much better fashion. And the shoes as well, although I'll have to tackle Abby and Hannah's closet in a few weeks, I think because several pairs got dumped into theirs. LOL

So, to remind everyone of what I was starting with:

And here's the result!

This is such a huge improvement - I can actually open her closet door without worrying about what's going to topple down on me... :)

So onto this week's tackle. It's a busy week, so I decided I needed to work on something a bit quicker - although just as messy. I saw several people tackling their junk drawers last week and was inspired to make ours look as nice as theirs did after tackling them. I actually did this last night, so I can post both the before and after pictures this morning.

So here's the before:

And the after:

And yes - if you were wondering - the built-in organizer was in the drawer before, it was just hidden under all of the stuff which had gotten dumped in the drawer... LOL

Check out more Tackle It Tuesday posts!

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Lots of tags and contests, oh my!

I need to get caught up on my tags again although I've done a couple of these already so may cheat (shhh!).

But first - here's some fun new contests for you to check out!

Help Jenny from Mommin' It Up celebrate her 30th birthday by entering her "Big Birthday" giveaway! And you even get to choose your own prizes - enter by posting about the contest and then leaving a comment and telling her which two of the five great options you'd like if you win. You have until the big day on September 5th to enter! (Happy birthday, Jenny!)

Here's one that I really, really need to win - 5 Minutes for Mom is giving away one of HP's brand-new Photosmart printers! You've got to go see everything that this incredible printer does - I'm drooling over here... :) I have so many thousands of photos stored on our hard drive and only about 6 of them have been printed. I'm just a bit behind... ;)

And if my luck holds out, I may even win the pink Dyson vacuum that mod*mom is giving away! This is a limited edition vacuum cleaner and proceeds will go to help support breast cancer research. You can enter by leaving a comment there, saying how breast cancer has affected you and ways to detect it early - the deadline is October 1st.

Finally, I just read this one on Strollerderby:

Babble recently reviewed the five best play yards to contain your little mobile ones as part of our ongoing Babble Best series. In conjunction with the review we are giving away a Graco Suite Solutions Pack N Play (a $225 value) to one lucky Strollerderby reader! To enter send an email to Winners will be chosen at random on Friday, August 31.
Good luck to all!


So, I've been tagged by both Kailani at An Island Life and Christine at AreWeThereYet to do the Blast From the Past meme. I actually have already done this one, but since I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to share more previous posts, here are 5 more of my favorite posts from my archives!

The rules:
You must post 5 links to posts you’ve written. At least two of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better . . . and don’t forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

Link 1 must be about family: Breathing Easy
Link 2 must be about friends: Two couples - one movie = no babysitter!
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are, what you’re all about: 100 things about me
Link 4 must be about something you love: Harry Potter mania
Link 5 can be anything you choose: Too much baby doll "stuff", not enough hands

I'm going to tag Donetta at A Life Uncommon, Kerry at And Baby Makes Four, and Big Binder. I'd love to see some of your favorite posts!


I also was tagged by Mason & Terri's Mom a couple of times as well. One of them was for the middle name game, which I did a little while ago, so I'm going to cheat on that one.

The other is the Face Behind the Blog. Here are the rules:

1st step - Post a short blog article that includes a photograph (or a series of photos) showing the face behind your blog. If you already show a photo somewhere on your site (such as in your about page), then make your post more interesting and choose a photo that’s not currently online.

Hmmm, well this one is a bit hard since I don't really have any current photos of myself that I actually like. But I'll give it a try so you can all see who it is that's babbling at you...

Here's Becca and I the other night (yes, these were a 'hold the camera out at arms length and take a picture of yourself' kind of a thing!):

And someone took this one on Becca's 1st birthday last winter, when I wasn't paying attention:

2nd step - Include links to other people that have displayed a photo, or include their photos in your post, adding a reference.

Here the ones who've done this already... mousey, Laura, Renee, Elizabeth

3rd step - Tag as many others as you like to spread the meme.

I'll tag Amber, MomOfThree, and Kelly Rees on this one!

Elizabeth also awarded me the "Nice Matters" award - wow, twice in one week! Thank you! I want to pass this one on to Amber, because she deserves it! :)

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A fun new way to send e-cards!

I was asked to check out and review a website that puts a new spin on the whole 'e-card' idea. How fun!

Now I've sent my share of e-cards over the years. Probably more than my share considering that I tend to put off buying cards until the last minute and am not always the best at remembering birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates. I've hunted through various sites, always trying to find the 'perfect' card for each occasion.

The folks at Greetingflix have made sending e-cards so much more easier, not to mention fun and a good way to keep your friends and family caught up with what's happening with you. Basically, you use your own photos (and their pre-set templates) to create your own e-cards!

The site is very easy to use - once you choose a template, it tells you exactly how many photos you need and walks you through all of the steps to upload them, crop, edit and arrange them and personalize your e-card with your own message as well (displays after the card itself 'plays'). You can even change your photos to black and white, add a sepia tone or adjust the brightness and contrast to make your photos have even more impact.

Greetingflix offers two levels of membership, starting with a free account which gives you access to a limited number of their professionally-designed templates, and 50 MB of photo storage. By purchasing a paid account, you get access to additional templates, plus additional photo storage - up to 1 GB or more!

This is a sample of a test greetingflix I made just using a free template:

As you can see, it's easy to embed it into a blog or myspace layout! The html code was automatically generated for me and all I had to do was click one button and then paste it into this post. (You can also send it to your friends and family by e-mail as well) Too easy!

Here's another greetingflix that I made using a PRO template:

Right now they're offering (for a limited time) an upgrade to their PRO version (with the added templates and photo storage) for only $9.95 for a full year. And if you upgrade now, you'll be able to pay that price (1/2 off of the regular price) for life - wow!

Now I've just got to find a way to get my mom a computer so I can use the Holiday templates in a few months, not to mention the Mother's Day templates next spring... :)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Heads or Tails #2 - Hobby

Ah, back in the days when I had time, I had hobbies! A few of them anyway. And I actually used to be able to start a project - and finish it even. Wow, that seems like so long ago.

I haven't finished a project that I've started since Abby was born. That's going on 7 years now. That's just - depressing, actually... Now that Becca's older and sleeping better I really should try to get back into doing some of the hobbies I used to do.

What did I used to do? Glad you asked! I used to love to crochet, especially baby afghans. When my friend Mary was pregnant with her first baby (10 years ago!), I made her 4 baby afghans. For a time, everyone I knew that was having a baby - got a baby afghan from me. Even people I didn't know very well.

Quick and funny story here - when I was pregnant with Abby, I made 2 baby afghans. Both of them were very time-consuming as they were made entirely with single crochet stitches. One was supposed to be for me and the other for a girl I knew at work who was having a baby. She left her job before her baby was born however, and I never got the afghan to her. That afghan? Is now Abby's "blankie" that she still sleeps with and asks to take with her places. It's not in the best shape anymore, but considering the use it's gotten, it's held up quite well. The afghan I'd made for my own baby (Abby)? Sitting in a drawer in Becca's room - none of my children have been all that interested in it.

I tell Abby that she can't let anything happen to her blankie - it took me 6 months to crochet it and that was before I had kids. If I tried to make another one, she'd be in college before it'd be done! :)

Here's Abby at about age 2 with her blankie, sitting in Hannah's bouncy seat...

The other hobby I used to do was to cross-stitch. I only starting doing that a couple of years before I had kids so I didn't make too many things. I made a stitched picture for each of my parents one year and I stitched a Winnie the Pooh sampler for Abby while I was pregnant with her - yes, along with crocheting 2 baby afghans and reading a ton of books (I don't consider reading a hobby - I consider it a necessity of life... LOL). Ah, the days when I could sit for hours with a craft and a good tv show on...

Abby has been asking to learn how to knit. I bet she'd be happy enough with learning to crochet. And that would give me a fun excuse to get back into it. And there are a few things that I'd love to learn how to do - like sewing (especially quilting).

Hmmm. Our next-door neighbor just had her baby on Saturday. And my friend Mary is due on Becca's birthday in January. I wonder if she still has the baby afghans I made her when Matthew was born? Or if she'd need a few more... :)

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So much for saving money on daycare this fall...

So I am really frustrated. We've been waiting for a year, since I came back to work, for this school year to start since with both older girls in school, we'll be saving a bunch of money on daycare.

Or so we thought.

I dropped the girls off at daycare this morning and our daycare provider didn't say one word to me that wasn't normal every day conversation.

Then I got to work and found this e-mail in my inbox (written yesterday):

Hi Deb,
I want to apologize...I made a mistake when figuring your fall tuition.
Becca will stay the same, $150. Hannah will stay at $100, technically she should be $125 because even though she will be going to school, she will be here more then 4 hours per day and is taking up a full time space. Abby can stay at the $2.50 per hour, but I charge my other before and after school kids $5 per hour. I gave you a break in the beginning because I know that having 3 kids in daycare is expensive. I will offer a discount for the fall as well. I again apologize. The way I have it figured now is~
Becca $150
Hannah $100
Abby $12.50
total $262.50 per week.
I will have a new contract for you to sign with the new tuition on it. The contract is the same, just the total tuition will change. As before, tuition is still due on Mondays.
I hope this works for you, I am sorry for messing this up...I feel terrible. It seems we never have time to chat, this email seems so impersonal.
Have you heard from the doctor in regards to Abby's testing? I am sure that when she starts school they will also have some resources for you. Please let me know if I can help in any way. She had a good summer, I know this last week will be the hardest!
If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know. I don't know if I will have the chance to check my email until Monday evening, things are busy during the day.
Thanks, and again I'm sorry for my mistake!

This is after I'd sent her an e-mail a couple of weeks ago verifying what I thought we'd be paying this fall, and she wrote back agreeing with me.

What really bothers me is two things. First, she could've said something to me this morning in person when she saw me - even just a "hey, I sent you an e-mail" kind of a heads-up would've been nice.

And yes, Hannah will be there for 5 hours. But Hannah will be there the exact same hours that Abby was during the last school year. Abby cost us $62.50/week even though she was technically "taking up a full time space" then. And now we need to pay $100/week for the same hours? This just doesn't make sense to me at all.


Somehow it seems like we just can't ever get ahead. I was really looking forward to our daycare bill finally being lower than our mortgage payment and maybe having extra money to get caught up on bills...

Sorry - I know it's a drop in the bucket compared to what other people are going through and dealing with, but I just needed a chance to vent. Back to what you were doing! :)

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Cute Abby-isms (or "how to talk with no front teeth")

Ring-ring.... ring-ring....

Abby is holding the phone receiver up to her ear, intently waiting for someone to pick up on the other end. She is calling my friend Kristi's house (last night) to let them know that she lost another tooth.

We couldn't hear the other end of the conversation so this is my recollection of what Abby said on her end. Please keep in mind she hasn't made very many phone calls on her own yet, other than to her daddy.

Abby - "Hi!" (Ron and I in the background both reminding her to say "this is Abby!")

(We can tell that Kristi's husband had answered the phone, but that was about it)

Abby - "My toofth came out!" (lisp courtesy of the large gap in her smile)

Abby - "Can you tell Krispi and Noah and Aaron that my tooth came out?" (Ron and I are giggling over "Krispi" - this must be how "Kristi" sounds when you have no front teeth)

Abby - "Well, here, you can talk to my dad 'cause he's a boy..."

I'm not sure what Ron said to Steve or how the rest of the phone call went because between "Krispi" and the fact that apparently Steve was only allowed to talk to another boy, I was doubled over in laughter.

Her next phone call was to my mom...

Abby - "Hi Grandma... It's Abby..." (this required a little bit less prompting than the first phone call)

Abby - "Well I wanted to call you 'cause my toofth fell out - why didn't you pick up the phone the last time I called when my other toofth fell out??" (poor Abby had a hard time getting a hold of people when she lost her first tooth... My mom had been out to dinner with my aunt)

I'm not sure what my mom answered, but I got the phone a minute or so later and Abby went into the living room with Ron to call his parents on his cell phone. (I have no idea how that conversation went!) Hmmm, I think we need to go over phone etiquette a bit more with her...

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Monday Madness #2 - all about the weather

In Michigan, the saying is, "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". And oh, is this true many times. We get the usual mid-western assortment of sun, rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain, tornadoes, and combinations of all of the above. We also have Lake Michigan that tends to scramble anything coming out of Wisconsin and Illinois, giving our meteorologists nightmares, I'm sure.

1. Where you live, what kind of weather (or weather-related tragedy) do you fear the most? I think one of every mid-westerner's fears has to be of tornadoes. I know I fear them. They are unpredictable and hard to track so you generally have little if any warning. And getting to shelter (if you can find or have one) doesn't always mean that you'll be safe. We don't get as many here as in other mid-western states, but we generally have several tornado watches and/or warnings every year. When I lived in Kalamazoo, people still talked about the tornado that had hit there in 1980 with a tone of hushed awe in their voices.

2. What kind of weather do you MOST enjoy? I love sunny to partly-cloudy days where it's about 70 degrees with little humidity and a light breeze. I also like a good thunderstorm every so often though! And those cool, crisp fall days with an overcast sky that makes the colorful trees really stand out...

3. What kind of weather do you LEAST like to drive in? Snow, hands down. Especially those whiteout conditions where the view in front of you looks eerily like when the Millenium Falcon jumped into hyperspace in Star Wars and you can't see the lines on the road or the cars in front of you. I've driven in this type of snow many times and it's the most white-knuckled, praying to stay on the road kind of weather I've ever driven in.

4. What is the scariest weather-related experience you've had in your lifetime? Pretty much any of the times related to #3. I've been lucky to not have been involved in any major weather-related issues (so far). I've been scared during tornado warnings too, but there's something about being in a car and not being able to see where you're going that's absolutely terrifying.

5. Share a "weather picture" with us!

I don't know if this is specifically 'weather' related but it's the closest I could find right now:

Check out more Monday Madness!

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From a father's perspective...

Ron now reads my blog. I'm not sure how much he reads it, but he read my earlier post about fathers and daughters. And he wrote something and asked me to post it for him.

So here's my first official guest post - by my husband. Enjoy! :)

I’ve been thinking about writing something for Deb’s blog for a couple of weeks. But I just couldn’t think of anything to write. She’s the one who’s good with words (especially written).

I am the dad of three girls… sigh!

I’ve wanted kids since I was 15 years old and I had to wait till I was nearly 31. When Deb and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child I was beside myself. Our subsequent miscarriage was, to say the least, devastating.

Then our bitty girl, Abby, came along. And then another girl, Hannah. Each time I was hoping for a boy. Oh sorry, did I forget to mention I LOVE SPORTS! And I’d always imagined having a boy. So, when we were told at Becca’s ultrasound that we were to have another girl. Well, fighting the tears was difficult. I’m not sure Deb knows how close I came to losing it.

Now, I know this probably sounds bad, but Dads just can’t have the same kind of fun with girls as they can with boys. Right?

Yeah, right. My girls LOVE to wrestle with me. I’ve gotten pounced on, body slammed, knees to the ribs and back… and they love the satisfying OOOOOF they get out of me (usually overly dramatic, since they rarely hurt me). And I love it! They also love to be tossed off (the less gentle the better) when they’re jumping on my back trying to get me to wake up from my pretend nap. The more I jump around and bounce them during a piggy back ride the better too. And let’s not forget that I was their very first real swing. Holding them in the palms of my hands and swinging them (sitting up) back and forth to squeals and giggles. This is STILL one of Abby’s favorite activities (much to my back’s chagrin! She’s 50+ pounds!)

Now, my favorite sport is football. And my girls throw the football AT me whenever I try to tackle them... LOL. I doubt that Deb will ever let any of her babies play football. :)

Unfortunately for me, there’s girl’s soccer… up until Abby started to play, I HATED soccer. Now I can tolerate it, but it’s still not football. He he

I love my girls and would never trade any of them for anything. But I want a boy. My last name is unique, if anyone in the world has my last name, I am somehow related. It’s very important to me that my branch on the tree carry the name down to future generations.

Maybe Deb and I will try one more time, perhaps not, but if I get another girl… I’ll have another broken heart, for about 10 seconds. Then I’ll remember all of the joy Abby, Hannah and Becca have brought me and look forward to that 4th $10,000 wedding. (ACK!) Any chance that by the time our girls get married tradition will have changed to the groom paying for the wedding and taking the bride’s last name?????

Probably not.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Carnival fun!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My Fathers and Daughters post has been included in the first edition of the Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival, hosted by Real Life. Please stop by and take a look at all of the other wonderful posts that were submitted!

And my post on my kids' first taste of freedom has been included in this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted over at Sandier Pastures this week - there are 80 or so great posts to check out over there!

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To sum up our Sunday

Today was busy! And I'm thankful to have a couple of hours to relax before bedtime and another hectic week. The kids are all in bed and my laptop and I are spending some quality time together... :)

Ron's family had a big get-together today at his brother's house to celebrate Ron's and Bob's (his brother) birthdays. Ron's was the 19th and Bob's was the 24th. It was nice to see everyone together at once - it doesn't happen very much anymore. The only one missing was Ron's sister Anita but her 4 kids were there - in total we had all 12 of the grandkids, plus two more . Age-wise we had from 17 down to 9 months. It was a very loud party! Especially since Bob has a pool...

Getting to the party was an interesting time. The girls and I got home from church at 12:30pm. The party started at 1pm and it takes about 20 minutes to get there. Do-able, right?

Yeah. Some other day perhaps. Not today.

But it was quite comical actually. Between me rushing around like a crazy woman trying to grab all of the swimming gear, clothes to change into, etc. (yes, I know I should've prepared earlier!), then our neighbors (and friends) getting home from a 2-week trip to Hawaii just as we were getting in the van - so of course we had to run over and say hi, show off Abby's missing tooth, hear about their trip, and then rush back home to take off. Oh yes then forgetting the swim rings so having to turn around halfway around the block for them. And we knew we'd have to stop at the store quickly to grab a birthday card for Bob as well as some chips to bring. So we finally got on the road.

Five minutes later, Hannah had to go potty. Badly. We remembered at this point that we forgot to have the kids go before we left. Oops.

So we stopped at a convenience store and I tookAbby and Hannah inside. Of course they were wearing their bathing suits underneath their clothes so getting everyone undressed, potty needs dealt with, hands washed and re-dressed - wasn't a quick process.

We were, even with all of that, only 40 minutes late. Which isn't actually too bad for us. And we even beat his parents!

So I did mention that Bob has a pool, right?

And Ron got ganged up on by 7 nieces and 3 daughters...

Poor Becca didn't get much of a nap today but she really didn't do that badly at bathtime tonight. I had just Hannah and Becca to deal with (Ron took Abby out for tacos since the other girls don't like them). Becca was a much improved little Boo over the last bathtime!

And Abby had a surprise for me when she and Ron got home from dinner:

At this rate, she's not going to have any teeth left! LOL Talk about a gaping hole - that's both top front ones, plus there was a decent-sized gap between them anyway... The tooth fairy just made another stop and thanks to the tooth fairy pillow we got last time, the big exchange went much better tonight. Phew!

Uh-oh, I just remembered that we left all of the swim rings at Bob's house. Oh well...

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Rub a dub dub, 3 girls in a tub...

There is a reason why my kids aren't always quite as clean as they should be.

Bathtime can be very stressful in my house. Especially if Ron isn't around to take over help. And lately he's usually at work until after the girls are all in bed. So bathtime falls to me.

I love my girls, but to be honest, bathing them has never been my favorite activity. At least, not since we moved into this house and its one bathtub about the size of a breadbox (or so it seems!). And lately, it's gotten much more difficult to manage.

I can give you one reason. And she just turned 19 months old this week.

When Ron is home, one of us usually bathes the big girls while the other keeps Becca occupied, then we switch. This works pretty well. It's when Ron's not home and I have to try and bathe all 3 of them at the same time that things get interesting.

Like last night. I've tried several different scenarios for bathtime, trying to find something that will allow me to get through it without wanting to scream and tear my hair out. The one I tried last night wasn't it.

The plan was to get Becca into the tub and get her washed first. Then let her continue to play in the tub while I turned on the shower and washed Abby's and Hannah's hair (much easier to do with the shower running rather than emptying thousands of cupfuls of water over their heads). Then I'd take Becca out of the tub and fill it up with bath water for the big girls to splash around in and wash the rest of themselves. In theory, this was a grand idea. And it actually did work fairly well.

Up until the 'take Becca out of the tub' part. Becca LOVES baths. Any time she hears the water running in the bathtub or shower, she goes nuts trying to get in there. I usually have to take my showers on the weekends to the sound of a little girl sobbing her heart out on the other side of the bathroom door unless I bring her in there with me.

So my taking her out of the tub while leaving big sisters in there to play... Did not go over well.

My little Becca-boo has quite a temper. Oh boy does she. And I got the full effect of it last night.

We had drama. We had tears. We had throwing herself down on the floor (dramatically, of course - boy do they pick that up early, or what?!). We had going limp and boneless when I tried to pick her up. We had 'the lip', the look - like I had completely betrayed her, and the whining, 'yelling' at me by a toddler who can't quite get the right words out yet.

Oh my, the drama. I bet anything this little girl ends up on the stage someday. I think this was an Oscar-worthy performance!

I think my kids are just going to have to stay dirty until Daddy's home to help Mommy keep her sanity next time. Well ok, maybe not, but I may sell tickets to her next performance... :)

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Too much baby doll "stuff", not enough hands

I took this video the other night...

There are days I feel the same way!

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100 things about me

Apparently when you hit 100 posts, you’re supposed to post 100 things about yourself. I didn’t know this until recently and I’m already at 117 posts – sorry! I found this to be easier than I thought it would be but also very interesting to see what leapt to mind as I wrote them.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s 100 things about me:

  1. I was born on November 6th, 1970 (probably best to start at the beginning, right!)
  2. I don’t know how much I weighed off-hand, but I was a fairly small baby.
  3. I was my mom’s first child and my dad’s third.
  4. My half-sister and half-brother were 20 and 18 when I was born.
  5. I have half-nephews almost as old as I am. Their kids are just about the same ages as my kids!
  6. I have one younger brother also – he is 2 years and 3 weeks younger than I am.
  7. I grew up in the Detroit area – Southfield to be exact.
  8. We had a quad-level house which mean that there were 3 staircases and a whole lot of banister sliding going on.
  9. I loved growing up in our neighborhood – even though in a suburb, there were woods behind our house and a somewhat ‘country’ feel to our neighborhood.
  10. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old.
  11. I have absolutely no memories of kindergarten.
  12. I hated elementary school.
  13. I was teased constantly because I was younger and smaller than the other kids and I was shy and didn’t fight back – a perfect target.
  14. In 1st grade, I read at a 3rd grade level.
  15. I love to read! I’ve always been ‘the girl with her head in a book’. See #13.
  16. I have way too many books – probably close to 1,000. And not nearly enough shelf space.
  17. I met my ‘best’ friend in preschool – she lived in a nearby subdivision and we were best friends until she moved away after 9th grade. I have no idea where she is now. I miss her sometimes still.
  18. My other closest friend growing up was someone I also met in preschool and she lived almost directly behind us, on the other side of the woods.
  19. We had a route through the woods between our houses and over the fences in the way so that we could get from one house to the other without having to go around the block.
  20. I am still in contact with her, but pretty much only by Christmas card.
  21. I sucked my thumb when I was little – and not so little.
  22. I had braces (no surprise there!) for 2 years to straighten out my teeth.
  23. My orthodontist sucked and I’ve been told I should probably have braces again. My brother did get them a few years ago since he’d had the same original orthodontist with about the same result.
  24. When I was little, my teachers and parents couldn’t figure whether I was right or left handed since I wrote with either hand. My mom told my teacher to ‘make’ me right-handed since they have it easier in the world, according to her.
  25. I think I should’ve been left-handed – I had a horrible time in elementary school with my arm cramping up when I had to write a lot. Nobody put that together with me having once written with my left hand too.
  26. I ‘taught’ myself to write left-handed in middle school when I was bored in class. It wasn’t too difficult.
  27. I wrote almost completely left-handed in high school and college. Now I write with either. My handwriting is pretty similar with either hand.
  28. I always sign my name left-handed.
  29. The things that parents show their children how to do (eating, brushing teeth, cutting with scissors, etc.) I do right-handed. My parents are both right-handed.
  30. I do many other things left-handed. Like opening doors, throwing a ball, or unlocking things with a key. I carry my purse or talk on the phone with my right hand to keep my left hand free.
  31. I can’t bowl very well left-handed. Especially with a ball weighted for right-handed bowlers. This I know from experience.
  32. I have dark brown hair – mostly. Well maybe not mostly anymore – early gray runs in my family and I have it. A lot of it.
  33. I’ve never seen my mom’s natural hair color – she started dying her hair before I was born (she was 37 when I was born) because she was almost completely gray. It’s now naturally a soft white. I hope mine is as pretty when I finally let it ‘go’.
  34. My hair isn’t straight or curly. It’s wavy with just enough curl to always want to curl the wrong way.
  35. My eyes are green.
  36. I have freckles – everywhere. A lot of them.
  37. I’m short – about 5 feet 2.5 inches tall. That .5 inch is very important to remember!
  38. I’m not going to talk about my weight. In my heart I will always weigh 110. I only wish I could be back down there in real life.
  39. I wasn’t very popular in school. My friends were the other ‘misfits’.
  40. I wasn’t terribly athletic, especially being smaller and almost a year younger than most of my classmates.
  41. I was always picked last for teams.
  42. I did play soccer in high school for 2 years. I quit because I got tired of sitting on the bench all of the time and only being put in for the last 5 minutes of the game.
  43. I discovered theatre at the end of my freshman year of high school and was a ‘techie’ during other 3 years, doing lights, sound, set and paint.
  44. I loved doing theatre! Just don’t ever ask me to act.
  45. I had one boyfriend in high school, for not quite a year. I’ve never been to a high school dance however.
  46. I played the violin in 5th through 7th grades. I didn’t practice often because I hated carrying it back and forth to school and home. I had wanted to play the flute.
  47. I was in the marching band color guard (flags) during my senior year of high school. I loved it and wish I’d started earlier.
  48. My mom taught me to play the piano as a child and I also took piano lessons for a few years.
  49. I’m not a terribly good piano player – someday if we ever get a piano, I’d like to re-learn how to play.
  50. I’d also like to learn how to play the guitar someday.
  51. And the drums – I have a very good sense of rhythm.
  52. I took several years of dance classes while growing up. I was only ever very good at tap. This is probably related to #51.
  53. I also took lessons in ice skating, tennis, soccer, swimming, sewing, baton twirling, chess and a few weeks of karate (I didn’t like karate). Southfield has an awesome Parks and Recreation department.
  54. I spent a lot of time playing or reading in my room when I was a kid and teenager.
  55. I’ve never had a curfew or been grounded. I’ve never smoked or tried drugs. I never drank. I was a parent’s dream teenager!
  56. Sometimes I wish I’d been more sociable when I was a kid – it might make it easier to meet people and make friends now.
  57. I am VERY self conscious and care way too much what other people think of me. I always want to fit in even though I feel like I never can.
  58. I graduated from high school at 17. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
  59. I went to Eastern Michigan University right after high school. I lasted one month in the dorms and one semester at the school.
  60. My parents split up on my 18th birthday – during my first semester of college. See #59.
  61. I moved home and went to community college.
  62. I spent the summer of 1989 living with my half-brother and his wife in Minnesota.
  63. I learned to fly planes that summer and got my private pilot’s license.
  64. I haven’t flown since. But I’d like to someday.
  65. I got homesick and moved home after 5 months in Minnesota.
  66. I went to Western Michigan University for 4 years. I never lived in a dorm there.
  67. I had 5 different roommates while at WMU. Two of them are still my closest friends today. We met through church.
  68. I discovered church while at college. I really liked it.
  69. I’d never been to church before – my dad’s family is Jewish and I was raised as half and half, which made me feel like I was never ‘all’ of either.
  70. I value my Jewish heritage and tried out some synagogues during college. It just didn’t feel right though.
  71. I chose to be a Methodist because that was the denomination of the church I went to in college and that’s what feels right. I was baptized a few years ago and now belong to a UMC church along with my girls. Although I think that somewhere in my heart, I’ll always still be half and half if that makes sense.
  72. All 3 of my girls have Hebrew names. The first one wasn’t on purpose but the second two were. I feel like it’s a way to recognize their ties to Judaism.
  73. I had my second boyfriend during college. We dated for 2 years.
  74. During the 2nd year that we dated, I had a secret crush on one of his roommates. We became good friends for a while. I’m still in touch somewhat with the roommate. I have no idea where the ex-boyfriend is.
  75. I worked at Montgomery Ward and then Target during college. I also babysat.
  76. I changed my major from Public History to Geography the year before I graduated. I could’ve had a double major if I’d taken one extra class and done another internship. I wanted to graduate though.
  77. I chose Geography because I took a non-history elective called “Introduction to City Planning” in the Geography department. I loved the class.
  78. I specialized in “Urban and Regional Planning” within the Geography department.
  79. I bought my first computer (an IBM PS/1) on my credit card during my last year of school. It was the best (and worst) purchase I ever made.
  80. I graduated from college at age 23 in 1994. I still had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life.
  81. I worked as a temp after graduation and got hired permanently into my second temping job as an Administrative Assistant.
  82. I learned that I’m very good with computers while at that job. I learned a ton about Word, Excel, and Lotus Notes.
  83. I had my 3rd and 4th boyfriends during the year or two after I graduated. I met both of them over the internet. The 4th one was the subject of this post.
  84. I lived in the same apartment for 4 years while in college. During the next 10 years, I lived in 9 different apartments and 2 houses in 6 different cities, all in Michigan.
  85. I moved 3 times just in 1997.
  86. I stayed at the same employer from 1997 through 2003, but lived in 4 different apartments and 1 house during that time. I also got married and had 2 kids during those years.
  87. I got engaged 3 months after meeting Ron. We were married a year and a half later.
  88. I’ve been married for 7 years.
  89. I’ve been pregnant 4 times. The first was a miscarriage and then I had my 3 baby girls.
  90. I’m not sure if I want a 4th child – but I don’t necessarily feel ready to be done or that Becca was my last baby.
  91. I’ve been in 3 weddings – once as a flower girl for my cousin, then twice as a bridesmaid for two of my friends.
  92. In college, my hair was almost waist-length for years before I cut it into a short bob. Now I change my hairstyle every year or two. I go back and forth between short and longer hair, but never as long as it used to be. It wasn’t healthy that long.
  93. I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve never had more than a sip or two. It’s a conscious decision because alcoholism runs in my family (including my mom) and I don’t trust myself.
  94. I also feel that people should be able to have a good time without needing to drink all the time. None of our friends drink (either at all or very much) either.
  95. I feel uncomfortable around people who do drink – not because I’m judging them, but because I feel like they’re judging me. And I don’t feel like I fit in.
  96. I have a very hard time meeting new people. I envy people who can talk easily to anyone.
    (These last few are harder than the first 95 or so!)
  97. I’ve felt conflicted ever since Abby was born. I want to be home with her (and her sisters). I so wish I could be. I even tried to find an alternate way to earn an income so that I could stay home. But a small part of me enjoys my job too. And I’m good at it, which makes me feel good. I don’t always feel like I’m that good as a parent.
  98. There are a lot of things I’d like to do that I either am too tired for or can’t afford. I feel like I’m always too tired and barely getting through the day more and more of the time.
  99. I’ve been on anti-depressants off and on since Abby was born. Which is something else that runs in my family. And makes me very worried about my girls as they get older.
  100. I love my kids more than anything else in this world. And my husband. I don’t tell him so often enough though. I do tell my kids, all the time.
Phew, done! :)

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