Thursday, June 30, 2016

We Did It!

Operation Surprise the Birthday Girl was a success!!
Turning 13 is a big deal, ya know?  I was hoping to make it special.  We started with her siblings serving her breakfast in bed - their idea even!  She came downstairs to confetti balloons (those things are a pain, let me tell ya!), a "Happy Birthday" banner, and some fun photo Birthday props!
She was allowed a day off from chores.  She got her requested waffles for lunch!
Sadly, the girl did NOT want to leave her pj's or the house today!  I had this surprise dinner planned for her.  So I had to give her a whole spiel about how her dad and I forgot to plan for dinner, blah, blah, blah, we should just go out.  Finally she saw she couldn't win, so she reluctantly dragged herself upstairs and changed her clothes.
I said I had to go have a paper signed, so I snuck out of the house early to go meet her friends at the restaurant.  They were so excited to surprise her!
It was great!  She was totally surprised!  I had bought a Birthday Girl pin, a tinsel tiara, and a Birthday Sash for her to wear :)  She was a sport and kept the pin and the tiara on for awhile.
Tonight I am thankful for surprising my birthday girl!  Two days and I have a birthday hubby to surprise!  We've got a good plan for that day too!  :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Last Night

Well . . . this is it.  This is the last night that this house will be a teenager-free-zone.
Yup, tomorrow is my oldest child's birthday.  And she will be 13.  A teenager.
It is only scary in theory.  The girl has been practicing for teenager stereotypes for awhile now.
I'm not scared really though.  I'm excited.  This girl is growing in to a wonderful young woman.  She is finding herself as she flexes her determination, her motivation, her intelligence, her kindness, her compassion, and her bravery.  She has a flair for fashion.  She has the big sister thing going on where she always sees when her siblings need her, and the love they share is unmatched.
The biggest joy to my heart is seeing her like she's been the last few days here at home.  Without school and stress, she's been just a kid with her siblings.  She's been laughing and playing and having fun.  I love to see that!
Life will just get harder and more complicated.  It is always important to remember how to have fun and laugh - it'll get her thru life many, many times.
Tonight I am thankful for the one who made me a mother; the one who first showed me what it is like to have my heart live outside my chest; and the one who brightens any room with her smile and her warmth.  Happy 13th tomorrow baby!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

9

Some days a person really tries.  I mean really, really tries.  And there is just not enough energy to be found to make it thru all the things the day would like to see done.
Today is one of those days.  I am exhausted.  I announced at 8 that I was going to bed.  But I had already promised to give some kittens some medicine.  So now it is a little bit later and I'm even more exhausted.  My body is calling me crazy.
So tonight is short and sweet, but I am thankful for getting to bed before 9.  I missed my 8 goal.  But 9 is acceptable as well.  I hope you all get a good night's sleep!

Monday, June 27, 2016

More than Meets the Eye

Several weeks ago I was sitting in a fold out chair watching my boy play baseball.  It didn't dawn on me until then that he needed sunglasses.  He was squinting in the sun and all I kept envisioning was him being hit in the face with the ball because he couldn't see it!
The next time I was out, I picked up some glasses for him.  He didn't wear them for the next several games.  So I put them on his face for a game; and he's worn them ever since.
After tonight's game he looked a little down in the dumps.  I thought maybe it was because they lost their game.  Nope.  Another player came in the dugout all upset and threw something that hit the sunglasses and broke them.  He was bummed about the glasses.
I think it was last summer that I refused to buy any more glasses.  The kids don't take care of them and don't generally wear them.  So the fact that I had bought some for my boy was a big deal to him.  And now they were broken.
The hubster and I had driven separate to the game since I was working.  I hopped in the car with the other three kiddos and we sped off to Meijer's in hopes of surprising my bummed out boy.
Ok, here is my cheap . . . er . . . thrifty side - I don't even buy my own sunglasses at any big store.  I usually buy my own at Dollar General.  I prefer to pay around $5.  But if I really like the pair, I might pay $7 or $8.  I see no point in paying a lot for sunglasses because I know that I will lose them or break them eventually.
So stopping at Meijer's to buy glasses was a big deal too.  Ok, get this!  This is so awesome!  Ok, we found glasses like the first ones that I had bought.  (The first ones were from Aldi's for cheap).  These Meijer ones were $18.  Ech . . my wallet tried to snap itself shut in protest!  But no, I have a money envelope titled "Sales".  This envelope is just for stocking up on good sales, buying ahead on fantastic clearances, or garage sales.  So these glasses weren't any of those things - but that is where the money was going to come from.
I saw the sign that said 30% off above the sunglasses rack.  That made me feel a little better.  Me and my three other kiddos raced to the front of the store.  At the checkout, it asked if I wanted to use a $10 mperk that I had earned and clipped the day before.  OF COURSE!  My total?  $1.27.  Oh yes!  Perfect!!!
We got home and I put them on my head when I saw my sad ballplayer.  His face lit up.  He first thought I had my own pair, so he was being very polite.  I told him they were for him.  He thought I had picked up the pieces of his broken glasses and hot glued them back together.  Nope, I told him they were fresh from Meijer to him!  He gave me a big ole' hug!  I'll tell him about my awesome deal later.  He had to run off and jump on the trampoline before the sun went down after he gave me a hug!
Tonight I am thankful for sunglasses that cost $1.27!  Even more than that though, I am thankful that despite all the budgets and the money theories, money is still never what's most important.  Tonight wasn't about the cost of the glasses and it wasn't about the glasses themselves; it was about my knowing that I understood that he had tried to hard to take care of this gift he was given.  It wasn't his fault that they broke.  And he shouldn't feel bad about it.  Glasses are replaceable.  Responsibility and compassion are not.
P.S.  These are totally not my style.  But they look cool as can be on my boy :)




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ah - Ha!

Have you ever had one of those Ah-Ha moments?  I've had a series of them this week.
I've just been talking with some people, and the words that came out of my mouth made me think.  It's funny when that happens.  My mind wasn't quite up with what my spirit already knew.
God made peoples' minds and spirits different for a reason of course.  Your mind is a wonderful tool in life!  But your spirit is smarter - in my opinion.  Probably because this is where God speaks.
So, back to my story, I was talking to a few different people and the things that I was saying were enlightening.  I've known that this Dave Ramsey stuff was good.  I knew that being debt free would be freeing and wonderful.  But, what I didn't know until this week is why this is so important to me.
I'm scared.  That's why.  After a bad situation several years ago, I thought things would never be that bad again.  And they haven't been.  But the next time things took a little downward turn, I got more spooked than I let myself acknowledge.  I was busy being brave and standing strong.  And now that the dust has settled, I can see it now.
It's more than I WANT to do follow these Dave Ramsey steps and live free.  It is that I NEED to.  I need to for my own well being.  No more stress.  No more worries.  No more nagging concerns just on the edge of my thoughts.
The borrow is indeed servant of the lender.  Not physically in my case.  But mentally and spiritually.  And I'm after freedom.  I'm after my independence from the banks.  This is God's plan.  He never planned on his children living a life controlled by others.  And isn't that what happens with debt?
I tell ya, this realization has stoked the fire in my plans!  And they certainly weren't cold plans to begin with.  Realizing that these plans are just more than "Good Plan", has been an awakening.  These plans are instrumental in my well being!  These plans are personal now.  These plans aren't a goal in my checkbook.  These plans are a goal within my self.
I'd say from here I'm going to push harder; but this time I'm going to push smarter.  I've been pushing harder and harder and harder until my body has been waving a white flag.  That's not a good plan.  I've got a few better ideas.  And here I go with renewed and heightened resolve!
Tonight I am thankful for learning the things that my spirit already knew.  I'm thankful for seeing why this goal is so important to me.  And I'm thankful for enough experience behind me now to keep reworking this plan to keep it the most efficient it can be!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Moments

Today was planned as a busy day.  I knew it would be busy.  The calendar said "BUSY".
Ok, well it didn't really say that.  But it might've well have.  I wasn't looking forward to the business.
This morning my alarm went off around 6.  Yes, that is sleeping in on this Saturday.  I laid in bed for a little while.  I contemplated setting the alarm for a later time.  Then I saw the sunshine out my window.  It was so pretty.
I decided to get up.  The whole house was still sleeping.  So I snuck out for a bike ride in the early morning sunshine.  It was so quiet.  It was still cool out.  The morning breeze was wonderful.  It was wonderful.
I did some good thinking this morning.  It was a great start to the day.  I got centered for the day.  I got calm and prepared.  I wish I could take off for miles on my bike every morning!
But for this busy day especially, I am thankful for some time this morning to take off on my own and enjoy God's beauty without the business of life distracting me!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Love It!

When I was a kid we would go pick strawberries at DeGroot's farms on Bull Run Rd . . I think that is Fowlerville . . might be Gregory.  Anyway, at some point we stopped.  I think it was probably about when I went away to college.
After I came back, I really don't remember going out to pick strawberries.  I'm pretty sure I did though.  Who knows . .
Anyway, in 2003 I was 9 months pregnant in strawberry season.  And Oh, I wanted some berries!!
For those of you who haven't been to a strawberry field before, let me tell you . . . it isn't happening at 9 months pregnant!  The berry plants are close to the ground.  The only way a pregnant woman is getting that close to the ground is if she is sitting on it.  And the chances of a 9 month pregnant woman going to sit in a strawberry field and get back up to go along the plants is not a very big chance at all.  So I sadly bought some store berries and pretended they were fresh farm berries.
After I had the baby, my mom and her friend Marilyn surprised me with a whole box of berries!  They had been to DeGroots and picked me my own whole box!  I was so happy!  So when the baby slept, I cleaned berries!
And I've gone every since!  The kids have came with me since they were old enough to know a good berry from a bad berry.  I've gone pregnant; just not 9 months pregnant.  Every year, we go back.
Last year I was so busy that we didn't make it there until the end of the season and the berries were pretty picked over.  I didn't want that to happen this year.
So today, I pushed the papers to the side of my desk and we took off to get some strawberries!  The kids love the wagon ride out to the fields!  They love the first 5 to 10 minutes of picking berries.  They enjoy throwing berries at each other.  They love the animals to see.  They love signing their name on the giant wooden berry.  And they have fun posing in the berry cut out to have their pictures taken :)
Tonight I am thankful for our berry tradition!  Just like the berry tradition from when I was a kid!  They pick more in the back fields now and the dirt pile for kids to play on is gone.  But it's still fun!  It's still something they look forward to!  Hey, it's still something I look forward to!  And after I clean these berries, we will eat strawberry shortcake for three meals a day for an entire week!  :)  Then maybe we'll go get more berries and make jam :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Games


I want to clarify this blog tonight before I say too much - I am not a mindless Dave Ramsey follower!  I have been reading quite a few mindless posts on the Dave Ramsey facebook sites lately.  Some of them just make me cringe.
If you spend time reading Dave's books, he never claims to be the ultimate expert and all-knowing budget man.  He's actually rather the upset.  He states that none of what he is saying is new!  These principles have been around for awhile.  He just writes them down and breaks them down in to easy steps for people.
It is the principles that are important!  It is the changing of a mindset!  And yes, it is learning good skills like budgeting and planning!
Our own personal plan in this house doesn't follow the Dave steps verbatim.  We have some goals that are more important to us.  So we've prioritized some things along with that.  But, we do work on the budget . . a lot!  We work and rework the long term and short term plans!  And we work on the budget . . . again!
We've been reading and working to find the best way to teach these principles to the kids in such a way that they carry them around for the rest of their lives.  I want this freedom for them!
So I was a little excited to find the Act Your Wage board game!  It came in the mail yesterday.  It is for ages 10 and up.  But we'll let everyone play!  I haven't taken it out of the plastic wrap yet . . not until tomorrow night when we play for the first time.  From the looks of the box, it looks like it works like Monopoly, but with great Dave Ramsey / budgeting lessons!  This will be great for the kids to see some larger scale money situations than what they are at right now!  Yup, I'm excited!
Tonight I am thankful for our new Dave Ramsey board game!!!  I'll report back after we play it.  I have high hopes!  Oh yeah . . and I found it on sale :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Really Matters


I had thoughts of what I would write tonight.  A few different pretty good ideas actually.  Then I read an update.
A woman the next town over, whom I've never met (but that really doesn't matter), a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, is losing her battle with cancer.
I can't imagine having to ever say goodbye to my babies.  The thought brings tears to my eyes.  And reading that this woman was told that she has a week left to live, with the pictures of her babies right there on the screen, my tears flowed freely.
I hugged my own babies a little longer tonight before bed.  I'll probably go upstairs in the night and watch them sleep.  I am thankful, so very thankful to get to be their mother.  I pray for this woman.  I think saying goodbye to your babies would be worse than death itself.  There is nothing to prepare a mother or a child for that.  I pray for her husband and her children who will have to go on without her.  No amount of time or preparation could really have them ready for that.
Tonight I am thankful for getting to spend my days with my family.  All the other stuff is really irrelevant.  The house is nice.  Having a job is good.  The animals are fun.  But at the end of the day, my family is what matters most.  I thank God for them.  And I pray that I never lose sight of what a blessing and a privilage it is to be able to live this life every day.
I found this online, so I thought I would pass it along:
https://www.gofundme.com/wqcxkhnc

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Delivery

I used to have a dog who hated the UPS man.  In the dog's defense, I had ordered a lot of things online over a several month period of time and the UPS man always came while I was at work.  So, really the dog didn't like this intruder while I was away.
Our dogs now love the UPS man!  They like the FedEx man.  They tolerate the mailman.  They love the fill-in mail lady!  And they love the Schwan's man.  The difference between the people listed above?  Treats.  Yes treats.
Now here's the extra mile. The fill-in mail lady always bring treats for my kitties.  She is so awesome.  She gets out and pets them and gives them treats.  I think she is awesome!
Lately, our UPS man is out-doing her.  He is bringing canned catfood and paper bowls for my barn kitties!  His favorite is Snoodle, the long haired grey one - the only one outside that is not a black cat.  She gets her own bowl and her own can.  She knows she is his favorite too.  She runs out to see him and waits patiently on the ground in back of his truck!  Then he walks the other two bowls of food down the driveway for the swarm of black kitties that come to meet him.  I try to keep the dogs inside, so he brings their bones up with the package.
Today Molly, the pitbull was outside when he pulled in.  That goofy dog ran and jumped up in his truck to great him.  She got two dog bones today so that she would come inside so he could feed the cats!
Tonight I am thankful for delivery people who love my animals!  They don't have to love them.  They don't have to give them treats.  But they do :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Plan of Attack #981

And so, the yearly summer War of the Kids' Rooms commenced last week with uneventful battles.  The pledge of each child keeping proceeds from whatever sells at the upcoming garage sale was not nearly as motivating for them as I had hoped.
I'll admit, at these ages, I really didn't think that this annual war would still be going on with such vehemence!
So like any good leader would do, when going to war and realizing that they are losing - I switched tactics!
A messy room can be overwhelming to an adult, let alone children.  I know their rooms overwhelm them at this moment.  Now, I won't even get in to the facts that they made the rooms this messy or that they had been asked repeatedly to clean the rooms over the course of several months.  Nope, we won't mention that at all, because really that does nothing for the present situation . .
So, Plan of Attack #981 was launched today . . with pretty darn good success!  I rallied the troops this morning.  I informed that we would be breaking the messy rooms down in to parts.  Today was laundry day.  All dirty laundry was to be brought down.  All laundry was to be gone thru.  Anything too small, too wintery, or just not something they were going to be wearing again was to be bagged accordingly and placed in designated areas.  If they failed with their missions, they would owe me $1 today, and for any ongoing days of laundry still being out.  Because tomorrow is another day!
Tomorrow will be either toys or trash day.  And if those items are not sorted, and some bagged up to leave this house tomorrow, there would be a $1 per day fee for that task also.
As you can see, this could get quite costly for my children by the end of the week.  $1 per undone task, per day.
I did have one cocky child who has been good at saving her money.  She stated a few times that she was just going to pay the fine. So, I switched, just for her, to Plan of Attack #982, where a cocky child who felt they could pay their way out of work and responsibility, now had a fine of $5 per day!  I announced this new plan at approximately 5pm today.  I am happy to report, she worked very hard to have her laundry done by bedtime!
Tonight I am thankful for Plan of Attack #981 and 982.  I hope it continues to work well and wins us this war!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Remember

I remember when you swore our girl wouldn't have pink princess everything.  I remember when you learned that some girls are naturally girly and love pink and princess everything!
I remember when you thought she was too little and you carried her around on a pillow.
I remember when you thought boys were tougher from the beginning.  I remember when you learned that everyone starts out the same.
I remember when you were overwhelmed when the kid to adult ratio changed in their favor, but you tried not to show it.
I remember when you thought it would be too much to hope for two girls and two boys evenly.  I remember how you couldn't believe how blessed we were.
I remember when you didn't trust yourself and you asked for help.
I remember when you learned that you have a lot to learn.
I remember the time when you figured out that the difference between being a good father and an excellent father meant being a selfless father.
I see how much they need you.  I see how much you need them.  I see the things that you give that I simply can't - some things are just different from dad.  I love the laughter you share with them.  I adore the moments of play, the hugs, and the love  that you share.
Tonight I am thankful for the man that my children call dad.  It's been a blessing to watch him grow as a dad over the years.  And I look forward to seeing the years to come!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Social Events

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I'm not really a social event kind of gal.
Nope, I'd rather be in the woods, in a field, biking down the road, sitting at home, in a library, driving around the state, or a number of other things.  To those who enjoy social events, I am happy for you!  I really am.  I used to be envious that you could sit there relaxed and chatty with everyone.  I'm not envious anymore.  I tried to be you for awhile.  I tried to be relaxed and chatty.  With those attempts I realized that I'm not really a social reject, I am just not a social person.  I can now sit in the back of the room, only slightly uncomfortable, without any longing to be part of the crowd.  Nope, it's just not me.  Just like a closet full of fashionable dresses, a hairstyle that requires more than 30 seconds, and maintaining long fingernails are not me either.
So when I do make it to a social event, please know that you mean a lot to me!  Now, if I don't make it to your particular social event, please don't assume that you don't mean a lot to me.  That simply wouldn't be true.  It may be that you mean a lot to me, but I really didn't feel my presence would be missed.  Or it may be that my moments of bravery to leave the house were sidetracked by my knowledge that I suck at social events and I didn't want to let you down.
Today I went to not one, but two social events!  The first, an open house for a very special girl.  She comes from a very special family - one full of love and a commitment to being a team together ( I absolutely love that about them!)!  My kids have loved her as the babysitter.  I've adored getting to know her as a well-thinking, ambitious girl who is ready to take on the world however she chooses!
The second was a house warming for a wonderful person!  There are some hearts out there so loving and openly friendly, that a person would be a fool to pass by them - that is my friend.  I think he has more love in his pinky than most people have in their whole hearts.  I am so proud to call him my friend.  And I am so excited for the wonderful things happening in his life!
And now I'm exhausted!  I shouldn't be, really.  I mean, social engagements aren't really physically strenuous by any means.
Tonight I am thankful for leaving my house to celebrate life's good things with some wonderful people today!  Some things in life are too special not to get out there and be present for!

Friday, June 17, 2016

On The Side

One thing that came natural to me, but that I kind of turned my back on over the years, is having something on the side.  No, I'm not talking about my salad dressing on the side of the lettuce!  I'm talking more about income streams.
When I was 13 I babysat and mowed lawns.  Those were the days when big, fluffy hair scrunchies were in style.  I also sewed them and sold them locally.  I had dreams of a car and I worked every angle I could to get there.
When I turned 16 and could get a "real" job, I was a little dis-heartened by the legal number of hours that I was allowed to work.  So I worked at the store for the allotted legal hours, then babysat and mowed lawns on the side.  And so it continued, college full time, work full time, and a side job.  Just work full time wasn't enough, so I started another business on the side.  I've just always seen too much opportunity to sit still!
Of my adult life, maybe only a quarter of it (if that) has held only one, 40 hour a week job.
I've thought this was just a part of my inability to sit still.  And I'm ok with it.  It keeps me busy and trying new things.
In the past year and a half my readings of Dave Ramsey and others have agreed that something on the side is a good way to go!  It is good for a little extra.  And it is good to have a  back up in case the main job falls thru.
So my kids see this.  I haven't allowed myself any guilt over this.  Although I struggle with working too much, my jobs are all based from my home office.  So I am home.  And I am working.  And the kids see this.  They know that they are expected to work.  They also know that we encourage well planned endeavours on their part!  They will have some ideas that don't work out.  And that's ok.  It really only takes one idea working out to make the others all worth it!
We are planning a garage sale in July some time.  The boys plan on selling lemonade.  One of my boys has been brainstorming further. He found some bird feathers outside today and started making Native American hats to sell.  The other boy had an idea to make some "mystery packs" of his no longer wanted Pokemon cards.  He is hoping the mystery will entice buyers!  The girls are focusing more on cleaning out their rooms at the moment.  They've been told that anything that they sell, they get to keep the profit!
The girls do have some plans of their own not related to the garage sale.  Pet Sitting here at the house has plans to expand, as they price out fence supplies this summer and scour other garage sales for dog houses!
At least two of the kiddos know how to list things on ebay.  They all know about craigslist.  They come with me to work sometimes, so they are learning how to be professional (well at least to my quirky level of professionalism!)
Tonight I am thankful that my kids are very open to the idea of having businesses on the side!  They shouldn't ever feel trapped in one job.  They will remember these days and plan for something else if they need to!  And hey, in the meantime I love hearing their ideas!  I have some wonderfully creative children!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

One of Four

I'll never forget it.  I was married for maybe about two years with one little baby.  I was talking to a person who had four siblings and she talked about how she couldn't do things in high school because she was one of five.
One sentence.  That was it.  It burned right in to my brain.  We had already decided on four kids.  I didn't want just two.  And the hubster didn't want just three.  So we already planned on four, and now I was listening to one of five lament her larger sibling count because of what she missed out on.
We wanted four so that they would always have each other.  That is why four.  I didn't want just two.  I was one of two.  Then he left.  My brother, my buddy, took off after high school and didn't have time for his sister anymore.  I didn't want two.  The hubster was the middle child in his family.  He didn't want three.  He didn't want someone to be stuck in the middle like he was.  So four it was!  And I wanted them close in age.  I wanted them to have each other.  I wanted them to always be there for each other and to enjoy each other and trust each other.
I hadn't thought about sports costs or trip fees or senior pictures or varsity jackets or any of that.  The things we thought about had no price.
So I started planning at that point in time.  I didn't want my kids to grow up and feel like that.  I didn't want them to ever see their "one of four" status as being something that inhibited them or made their life less of anything.
Hindsight is 20/20 here folks, I should have thought about other larger families.  My mom is one of five.  They never had a lot of money.  But they had a lot of love.  And I have never heard her talk about her childhood with remorse about not being able to afford anything.  She learned to appreciate what they did have.  And she learned to value the things that come without price, like the gift of family.
I do know that a majority of the time my kids do see how blessed they are to have each other.  I point it out when they forget.  And they get along very well . . a good part of the time.  We have spent a lot of time working on how to get along with each other.
But I've still had that sentence in the back of my head from that conversation years ago.  And it's time now that I address it.  I have let my kids try just about everything that they've been interested in.  Now some things I've made them wait.  Music lessons and dance had a two year wait to see if they would change their minds before such an investment.  They didn't change their minds, and they love it.
It's the other stuff.  The other stuff that they do because they think they "should".  It costs time.  It costs money.  And it costs them an opportunity to learn to make good decisions.  I am not teaching the children here to say no to things that don't mean the most to them.  I've been teaching them to give everything a shot and a commitment and see what sticks.  That is not the correct approach.  I've had to have talks so far with all the children that it is ok to like a sport and not play it on a team!  We can play it in the backyard.  We can cheer on the pros.  A person isn't meant to play every sport that catches their eye.
This is the same with other activities.  We spent too much time this past school year on things that the kids weren't passionate about.  Now I know that they are kids and their interests will change.  I am ok with that, it's a part of growing up.
And just in case I thought about waivering on my recent decisions to say "no" to a lot more things - we just spent time, (the first week of summer break mind you!) doing a camp that my participants had to be bribed with ice cream by today to finish.  Six hours, $70, and us walking out going "whew, that is finally over".  I will keep this memory.  I am changing my stance here.  No longer am I concerned that the kids get to try everything out there.  I will not be plagued by the fear that they will get told no about an activity and regret our family size - honestly, that is just silly anyway.  Nope, from now on we are going to look at the time commitment, the ambition towards the activity before us, and yes, the cost too.  My budget for kiddo activities is too large for what they really need as children anyways.  Instead of teaching the kids that they can do as many activities as a child with no siblings; I will teach them to make good decisions about how they spend their time and the time of others (like me, the driver).
Tonight I'm thankful that my kids won't grow up to resent our family size.  I am thankful that they also won't grow to be burnt out on activities.  I am thankful that we (very purposefully) will teach them to value their time, their interests, their peace, their ambitions, their rest, and our family, that is always there for them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two Places

There are times in parenting when a person just kind of crosses their fingers, hopes for the best, and takes a step forward.  Some days this is a metaphorical situation.  Some days it is physical.
Today was physical.
Several weeks ago I had scheduled an orthodontist appointment for my daughter, for today.  Then basketball camp ended up being this week also.  Logistically, they both should have worked out.  Drop two children at basketball, drive slightly above the speed limit to the orthodontist, complete check up, and drive back in time to pick up children.  Yup, it all should work fine.
Then we got to this morning and I started freaking out a little.  What if we got stuck in traffic?  What if the orthodontist was running behind?  What if a kiddo got hurt at basketball?  I simply can't be in two places at once no matter how hard I try!
I came up with some pretty crappy Plan B's for kids, just in case I couldn't make it all work.  Now I am a big fan of Plan B's.  But I just didn't have good alternatives here except for children to sit and wait for me.
I'll cut to the chase, it all worked out :)
Tonight I am thankful that there was no traffic, the orthodontist was on time, and everyone was where they needed to be!  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Disappearing

I've always been a picky eater.  When I was a kid, I remember having to sit at the table until I ate.  I fell asleep a number of times.  I hid food in my clothes, transported it away from the table, and shoved it to the bottom of the trash can.  I fed some to the dog.  Sometimes I would wait until everyone left, sneak my food in to another container  and hide it in the back of the cupboard.  That plan worked until one day I forgot to dispose of the food later!  That was not a good day for me.
My boys are now my picky eaters - my payback for my picky days I suppose . . . although I'm still pretty picky.
My girls though, like to eat all sorts of foods.  It is great to watch them eat vegetables and try new things!  I really wish that I liked to eat all sorts of foods.  It would make the world a much easier place.  I just don't have those taste buds.
With all the food ins and outs of the house, I do try to accommodate the different preferences . . to a point.  I mean I'll buy a jar of pickles for my daughter.  But I won't let a boy forgo dinner because his corn touched his biscuit.  We strive for balance of some sort.
The one thing I guess I didn't really have a good plan for would be food hiding.  The kids hide food from each other.  They don't want to share, or they think someone will eat all the good treats, so they hide it.  Then I find it later after everyone has forgotten about it.  Or I find the dishes or wrappers later because they couldn't sneak away their own evidence.  It is growing to be an epidemic.
*Sigh*  The children aren't starving by any means and I'm thinking of putting locks on the cupboards already!  Our first summer goal of clean bedrooms is current in progress and it has been very telling of children who have had snack parties in the bedrooms!
Tonight I am thankful for my good eaters.  I am thankful for my picky eaters too.  And I'm thankful for a coming clean about who has developed some bad snack hiding habits!  It's time to nip those in the bud!  And now I know I'm not crazy about disappearing spoons in this house!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Plans

I've got a plan this summer vacation!
Last summer it just seemed that I was scrambling to find some home/work balance.  And last year was even harder with the hubby's job.
This summer is full of potential though.  Hubster now has a job with much better hours.  And I have somehow shaken this mother-guilt of sacrificing my sanity a little too much for the sake of the children.  I do have plans some concrete plans for the summer, but no timeline.  No stress.  No pressure.
This summer I hope to relax a little more.  I hope to go to bed a little earlier (except for tonight maybe, I'm still working on getting set up right).  I hope to be waking up earlier.  This is a big change here.  Usually I adjust my schedule to the kids' summer schedule.  But, not this year.  I have found that I just need those early morning hours of quiet to get some good work done.
I'm excited.  I hope to have more time to enjoy family time this summer.  I hope to enjoy our beautiful, peaceful yard more this year.  I hope to run away to the lake more.  I hope to have more bonfires.  I hope to just sit in the sunshine and breeze and enjoy a good book.  In short, I hope to enjoy life a little more this summer.
Tonight I am thankful for some better summer plans.  I know that I know how to work hard.  Now I will remember how to relax.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hate and Anger

The world is full of hate.  It is also full of love.
The world is full of anger.  It is also full of forgiveness.
The world is full of  evil.  It is also full of goodness.
The world is full of attacks.  It is also full of peacemakers.
The world is full of anxiety.  It is also full of peace.
The world is full of debilitating weakness.  It is also full of strength.
The world is full of arrogance.  It is also full of humility.
The world is full of paranoia.  It is also full of faith.
The world is full of judgment.  It is also full of grace.
The world is full of discrimination.  It is also full of acceptance.

For every bad thing that is in the world, God's better thing is present.  For every good thing that has been twisted, manipulated, and mutilated beyond recognition, there is something better.  For every evilness that happens, there is more good.  There are helpers; there are those who care; and there will always be more hope then there is evil if one chooses to look for it, see it, and be it.

Tonight I am thankful that the end to this book is already written.  I am thankful that evil does not win.  I am thankful that hate does not succeed.  Anger does not become victorious. And of all the things present in this world, the greatest is love.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Blisters

So far this spring/summer we have mowed the lawn a few times and that's really about it.  The patio looked horrible.  Weeds had grown up next to the house.  It was really looking rough.
Today was the first day in months that we had nothing on the calendar.  So we got to work!  I tackled an overgrown area that we are going to make in to parking (this was on purpose as I am not the most meticulous with yard work).  The hubster and kiddo helpers got to work on the patio.
After a lot of sweating and water gun breaks, I am happy to announce that the yard is looking better!  I have three band-aid on my fingers because I don't pay attention to blisters and I've gotten them and ripped them open today. Oops!  Everyone is exhausted, kissed by the sun, and will be sleeping good tonight!
Tonight I am thankful for some time to work on our own yard!  We have a beautiful home and now we can enjoy it a little more!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Learning

It's been over a year since I first read/learned about the brominated vegetable oil in Mt Dew, which directly affects the thyroid; coating it and making it unable or lessened at least to absorb iodine - which is essential for a properly working thyroid.  When I learned this, I finally dropped my decades long obsession with Mt Dew.  The amount of sugar didn't scare me.  The fact that it was fluorescent green didn't scare me.  But finally, something scared me about it.  I wish it didn't taste so darn good.  I have one about once or twice every six months now - which I know is still too many.
From what I had read, it was all the brominated vegetable oil; which is used solely to prevent the colors from separating during storage.  Nice, huh?
Anyway, I don't know why I didn't ask more questions then.  I should have.  Guess what, it isn't just the brominted vegetable oil - which by the way, is an ingredient in more drinks than Mt Dew), it is the bromine part of the oil that is the problem.  Bromine is in pesticides sprayed on non-organic strawberries in particular, put in swimming pools and hot tubs (it can be absorbed thru your skin), and according to some different sources, possibly in breads, crackers, and some pond fish.
Now I am not a certified anything on this.  I am just a lady with more questions than answers who is on a quest to learn more and become healthier.  So please do research yourself as well!
Several articles that I found online talk about the increase in hypothyroidism in this country.  Iodine has been removed from several foods, while bromine has been added.  Not cool.  Bummer thing is that iodine got a bad rap because there is good and bad iodine.  The bad got the publicity and the good paid the price.  I have read nothing good about bromine, yet it remains.
Anyway, so I've been doing some reading and joined a couple different groups researching and using Lugol's Iodine as a supplement.  The things I've read against it are vague.  And the things I've read for it are a lot of personal narrative.  There is a LOT more to read on it out there, including scientific stuff . . books and books on it.  After doing a fair amount of research and speaking with a nutritionist, I have decided to give it a try.
This is week one.  I have not taken it every day on purpose.  The process of removing bromine from your system (your body stores it in fat cells), is not a pretty process.  When done too fast and pressured on your body it can cause some mental side affects including depression and other not fun things.  It can also make a person gain weight . . . well crap!
So here I am, with absolutely nothing to report from week one.  Which is good, this doesn't work fast.  If I had anything to report it would probably be myself being an emotional, withdrawn, moody mess.  In which I would be thankful that I have a nice pillow to cry in to.  So, I'm going slow with this.  But I'm hopeful.  Hopeful for better health.  I need to hire a personal chef that includes healthy shopping as a job detail!  That would make life much easier :)
Tonight I'm thankful for knowledge.  I'm still learning.  I have a lot more to learn.  Seriously though, that mega millions winning ticket that I haven't bought could bring in that personal chef with healthy shopping and hurry this all along!  :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Re-Inspired

The last two weeks have been craziness.  Well, I'm including tomorrow in this time summary as well. I knew they would be crazy.  I know I've let quite a few things fall by the wayside.  By the way, if I've promised anyone anything and haven't delivered, please let me know!  I can think of one thing for certain and I'm sure I've dropped the ball on more than just one thing.
Anyway, so along with all the life things that I've lost control of in the past two weeks, our budget was one of them, unfortunately.  I do budget for vacations and fun activities - which is where I should have went for Mackinac funds and today's field trip.  But I hadn't.  Last week I didn't make it to the bank at all to get out weekly cash.  I've had no idea what I even needed money for to make it thru the week, so I just spent.
It's been in the back of my head that I need to get this stuff back on track.  I was just waiting for time I guess.  I love the Dave Ramsey groups on facebook.  They show up in my news feed and keep me going.  But sometimes they don't seem to show up.
Yesterday there were a few.  But even better, yesterday some women in an appraiser group I am a part of were posting about Dave Ramsey!  There were women on there talking about having their houses paid off!  And especially what a stress reliever that was when the business get slow.  Because although I've been buried in work lately, the business does get slow.  It was inspiring to read one woman say how grateful she is that her husband and her had lived within their means for so long - and now she only works when she wants to.  How wonderful is that?!?
So, I'm getting back on track!  There will always be a few bumps in the road - like the last two weeks.  But I'm redirected.  We have goals.  We have a good plan to get to those goals!  And we can do it!
Usually after school ends for the year, I give the kids a few weeks and then we start Mom School.  In the past Mom School has gone along with regular school and had basic fundamentals.  I think this year Mom School will incorporate some real world learning as well.  I'm thinking of making it a challenge for the kids to work on budgets.  Maybe a weekly spending budget for summer activities.  Then they can help look for deals on activities, explore all the resources for free activities, and work on some re-purposing of things around here to make new fun things!
Tonight I am thankful for being back on track!  Eyes are on the goal!  We'll get this plan back in action!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Butt Shot

There is this area by our patio that is filled with Lily of the Valley.  It is so nice and peaceful :)
This particular area also has poison ivy.  I avoid this area and admire it from afar.  I just haven't had the heart to try and kill the poison ivy, knowing that the Lily of the Valley would die too.
I try and watch when the animals walk thru that area and I avoid them when they do.  
Unfortunately one of my cute, little fluffy kittens had been in the poison ivy and I didn't know.  I picked it up and cuddled it against my neck.  Yup, poison ivy on my neck.
I've been treating it, but to no avail.  That's just a really bad spot.  My shirts rub on it.  The seat belt rubs on it.  It is spreading.  Every time I move my head, it pulls on my skin, pulling on the rash.  It's been a downright irritating day.  When I finally got back home, I thought I'd just put more stuff on it.  Then I looked in the mirror, it was spreading.  Uh oh.
It is climbing up my neck.  Not too many inches before reaching my face.  I've gotten poison ivy on my feet a number of times - because I go barefoot a lot and I don't pay attention.  Anyway, I think I'd rather have it on my feet than my neck and face.  Of course, I'd prefer to just not get it at all!
Anyway, so with a field trip on the agenda tomorrow, I gave in and went to Redi Care.  The conversation in the house before I left was the hubster talking about a steriod shot . . . in the butt.  The kids LOVED that.  They thought it was hilarious.  As I was pulling out of the driveway, I heard a child yell something like "Have fun getting your butt shot mom!"  Yup  . . . this is how they talk to their mother!  Hmph!!
Well, I am happy to report that I was given two prescrptions and NO shot!  Hooray!
Tonight I am thankful that I did NOT get shot in the butt tonight!  (Never thought this would be my blog topic, did ya?)  Anyway, yup, I am thankful for no butt shot.  I couldn't even come home and gloat too much.  Two children were already in bed when I got home.  In the morning though, I'll be celebrating to the children!  And hopefully tomorrow I'll be thankful for some improvement on my neck!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thanks is Not Enough

In kindergarten I attended Parnall Elementary school in Jackson.  I think they call it Northwest Elementary now.  Whatever. That's where I went.
When we moved to the new school for first grade, I was so nervous.  I wasn't a very loud child.  I was rather shy and quiet until I knew someone.  And I really only got to know about one person at a time.  I didn't want to get to know everyone.
The school bus ride was so long!  And we drove by cows! COWS!  Then we got to school.  It was scary.  There was this nice woman who worked out on the playground at recess time that saw that I was scared.  She was so nice to me.  And she had a really genuine smile.  I'll never forget that.
In second grade a boy kissed me, so I pushed him down and kicked him several times until he rolled down a hill away from me.  Then I ran and told my recess aid friend what had happened.  She told me "Good Job!"  By the way, this was in the 80's, don't get your nickers in a twist that my attack was congratulated!  But he did start it.  And I still kick people.  Seriously, untwist those nickers and read the rest of my story here . . focus on the big picture!
I loved music class too!  The teacher was so warm and friendly!  She had one of those real genuine smiles too!  She loved the music.  You could tell that she loved it.  She made it fun!  She made it interesting!  She made the whole class feel welcome and wanted.  She inspired me to love music just be being herself.
As I grew up, I got in to middle school, then high school.  I started babysitting for a family down the road.  They had three of the nicest kids you could ever want to meet!  And they were the nicest people too!  I have many fond memories of the chats there. They may have seemed small to him and her, I don't know.  But they were important to me . . again that someone cared, that I was welcomed so warmly.
I grew up some more and had my own family.  And I have felt so blessed that my children have attended elementary school where my favorite childhood recess aide, my enchanting music teacher, and my friendly neighbor all worked and interacted with my children!  Add to that mix another music teacher who has loved my children and taken one under her wing at a time when he needed some extra guidance - she saw thru his antics and saw his potential.  I'll just never be able to thank any of them enough.
I don't like my children leaving me, even for school.  I'd rather they be home with me, to be quite honest.  There are things that I do better in a quiet house; but I prefer the chaos when my loves are home.  It has been easier sending them to school, knowing that they are more than cared for there -they are loved there.
Now there are several others at the school who have played a huge part in my children's lives!  I don't want them to feel left out!  This blog in particular though, is about these four particular women because they are retiring at the end of this school year.  The kids and I went to their retirement celebration today and I kept tearing up.  It is so silly!  Of course these people deserve to retire and enjoy and relax!  Selfishly though, I wish they'd stay forever!  Or at least 3 more years until all my kids move on to middle school.
Tonight I am thankful for the love and the care that emanates from the people at our school.  I couldn't dream of a better place to send my children . . . since I do have to send them ;)  I am thankful that these beautiful people have been a part of my life and of my children's lives.  Our lives are better because of them!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Teach Them

It is so hard doing something that is ultimately good for your children, but that makes them feel lousy in the meantime.
I explained myself.  I explained why.  And my reasonings were understood.  But that didn't make it much easier.  I even offered up an alternative plan if things improve.  But no time frame.  I just can't quote a time frame.
See, here's the deal.  Each of my four children have wonderful, beautiful, loving hearts.  As their mom, I can see where they can get hurt because of these hearts.  I do know that they will get hurt at some point.  I know it is a part of life.  But, at the ages they are at now, I can still help deal with the hurt.
I want them to have boundaries.  I want them to have self-respect.  I want them to carry forgiveness and compassion wrapped around a strong heart that has faith that God's very best for them is found in the gifts that God has already put inside them; and that as they grow, anyone God brings in to their lives is a companion and will never be the sun to their universe.
They are still young for these things.  But I see it already.  I remember being 19 and engaged and realizing how much of myself I had already given up.  It was never instant.  And it was never flat out requested.  It was a little at a time.  It was a compromise here, and a compromise there.  Oh, this bothers him, so I'll just stop.  I'll just stop?  But what if it was a part of me . . I just stopped anyway.  I stood up for myself in every area of life, except to the one who I had let in the closest.  Looking back it seems so foolish.  The fairytale side of me believed that he had my best interests at heart.  But if I didn't know what my best interests were; how could he?  This molding of two people together is such an opaque idea at times, that it doesn't seem to have any boundaries until the two people set them.
I don't want my children to get lost.  I don't want them to be taken advantage of.  I know there is that possibility regardless.  But what if I started now?  They are children.  I help them sew up hole in their clothes.  I fix their food.  I teach them manners.  I am their mother.  Why can't I also point out - look how subtle that was in that conversation . . see how that was turned to make you feel like it was your fault and if you cared, you'd do something different.  Do you see it?  I doubt the person speaking even notices at this point.  But see it my child.  Stare at those comments that don't sit right in your soul and address them.  Let it be known that this is not ok.  Draw the boundaries that will define what treatment of yourself is acceptable.  And when it isn't, turn.  Sometimes talk, but if it doesn't change, turn.  You deserve so much more.  You deserve to be respected, to be cared for, and to be taken seriously.  You deserve this because of who you are, because of who God made you to be, and because of the brightness that shines in you.
Tonight I am thankful for these years while they are growing to try and teach these things that are so very important; but that aren't found in any textbook.  These things can bring decades to a lifetime of sadness or happiness for these lovely creatures that God has blessed me with.  I am thankful for the opportunity to teach them wisdom and understanding . .  even when it makes them cry . . . even when it makes me cry to make them cry.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Almost There . . .

This school year has kicked my butt.  I can admit it!
Or maybe it was me.  Maybe I kicked my own butt.  Maybe I have finally had enough to learn to say no.  Or maybe not . . . I'm fairly hard-headed at times.
At this time last year, Facebook reminded me that I posted about being glad that school was almost over because I couldn't find a jacket for Gracie and sent her to school in an adult xtra large sweatshirt with the sleeves rolled way up.
Regardless of the good and bad, we're almost there!!!  This is the last week!  Hooray!!
On a positive note, here are the top 10 things that I learned this school year - I'm sure the kids learned stuff too, but they would have to get their own blog if they want to share ;)  :
#1) The kids care about healthy food only when I care about healthy food.  If I don't make a conscious effort, these people would live off bags of sugar and Mt Dew.
#2) It doesn't matter how cool the lunch box is, if the oldest in middle school decides to use paper lunch bags, they will all use paper lunch bags.  (P.S. anyone interested in some like-new lunch boxes?)
#3) This "taking a shower" thing, is believed to be a fad that Mom may change her mind about UNTIL they get their first crush ;)
#4) I will undoubtedly, every single year, miss something.  A practice, a meeting, a homework reminder, it doesn't matter . . I'll miss it.  The good news . . as they get older, this is more on the kids and less on me!
#5) The hours between 8am and 3pm are not enough to get done everything I want to get done and I should really stop planning my days that way.
#6) Lunch accounts can and will be abused when a child wants to sit by their friends who get hot lunch every day.
#7)  I can trust the kids a little bit more than my first instincts generally allow . . but I won't push that limit completely until they've proven this to continue to be true repeatedly.
#8) "Incentive Parenting"  (aka bribing) can change a non-morning child in to a morning child when done consistently and by a patient parent.  We are working on this still because I am apparently not quite as patient as I thought I was.
#9) A little more freedom for the children, a little at a time, isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.  And I actually found I relaxed a little more too when I learned my children did so good with some of these moments.
#10) I'm really not screwing up here.  There are moments when I am sure I am a failure as a parent.  And there are moments when I think I'm doing ok.  The bottom line is that these kids are doing good.  They are smart, they are kind, they are funny.  And when they aren't these things, they know it; and they work on improving themselves.
Tonight I am thankful for another school year coming to an end!  I love that I get to have my kids back with me for the summer!  I still haven't quite figured out my work schedule with them home.  But I don't care.  I love when they are here.  They are my favorite people in the world :)


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Maybe?

It happened last weekend.  I saw a picture of myself and was appalled. I seriously became so depressed; there was no cheering me up and I went to bed.  Tonight I saw another one.  I started to feel that way again, and then I realized that the pockets on my jacket had been filled with stuff - so I cut myself a break.
The hubby insisted it was a bad picture.  But it didn't matter.  I have been trying so hard.  So hard to just even maintain anything.  I had honestly given up on improving anything.  I just didn't want to get worse.  I was already heavier than I wanted and then the knee thing.  I  have moments where I think it's making great improvements, only to have something like walking around on a field trip send me back to the ice and ibuprofen.  How can I improve myself much when I can't even walk around right?
I've watched what I've been eating.  And that is even more depressing.  There are days when I just can't eat enough.  But most of my days are not filled with food.  Most of my days I just don't have an appetite.  I've watched calories.  I've kept a food journal.  It really isn't inspiring at all to see that a normal day has less than the calories suggested I "reduce my intake" to in order to lose weight.
I'm still working with the doctor.  And I'm trying hard not to get frustrated with this process either.  Right at first there was hope.  And then nothing.  It fizzled right out.  So, more tests, right?  Not my thing.
Last week I met an old friend for a sample of Thrive.  I have now finished my 6 day sample.  And I'm liking it.  I should have been dragging and falling asleep on my feet this week and on the field trip.  But I made it thru pretty darn well!  And with energy!
So far the only difference is in how I feel - which is enough for me right now!  I have eaten horribly for the last few days: today just not caring, and the prior two days on a bus.  This week I will go back to my normal eating habits.  And I will try my best to sleep.  I am really hoping for some good changes here.
Tonight I am thankful for renewed hope!  Maybe my body just needs this new blast of natural supplements to get it out of this rut?  I do know I need to sleep more.  But that alone really can't be the root of all of this, can it?  I have no idea.  I guess I'll find out.  For now, I'll do what I can.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Two Days in Numbers

Here, let me throw some stats your way.
1 1/2 weeks is the time that I've been prepping for this past 2 day trip to Mackinaw.  1 is the number of my children that I got to spend some special time with . . priceless!  At least 4 is the amount of new orders that I turned down to not be "too busy" to come on this trip.  3, is the number of files that I brought with me and did not complete when I saw my daughter's eyes telling me that I was on my computer too much on this trip.  3, is the number of files that I did complete.  4, is the number of pissed off customers I have at the moment because I did not turn down nearly enough work . . oops - seriously, still never will be the world's best scheduler.  21, is the number of hours of sleep that I've had in the past 4 nights.  Match calculations will prove that this number is at least 11 hours short of the goal  (I did surprising well with this, due to a new thing I'm trying called Thrive - that I'll share in an upcoming blog I'm sure!).  2, is the number of times that I napped on the bus and was woken up by my little brown eyed girl who wanted Momma's attention.  163 is the number of emails that Outlook just brought in from the last 2 days from all my email accounts.  Probably about half of them are kind of spammy, and the rest valid.  Fortunately, I responded to maybe 75% of the important ones.
Many hours, is the time that I didn't keep track of that I sat on the bus with my arms around my daughter.  A lifetime is how long she'll remember this trip and this special time together.
I'm not even going to count the work that is here on my desk that I was going to come home from this trip and sit here at this desk and catch up on.  Nope, not even going to count it because, I've had a great trip with my daughter and I am going to end it on a good note.  Zero is the number of alarms that I will be setting for myself in the morning.  I will regret it in a work-sense, but not in a life-sense.  This was more important.  And tomorrow I also have a very important dance recital to attend!  Work can wait for that too!
Tonight I am thankful for the blessing of being able to go on this trip with my daughter!  And with my son last year.  And my oldest daughter three years ago.  And that I'll get to go with my younger son in two years.  This is such a great trip, and so special for the kids!  Tonight I am thankful that work can always wait.  I've got some apologizing to do to some customers.  Hopefully they'll understand.  If not, oh well.  First things came first :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pizza Power!

Three years ago I went on my first 4th Grade Mackinac Field Trip.  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, even with an itinerary and some prep meetings at the school prior to the trip.  The thing that had me the most nervous perhaps was the hotel room.
There was my daughter and I in one bed.  And two other girls in the other bed.  The two other girls did not get along.  I was warned of this by my daughter and by one of the other girls.  The girls did decide that one girl would get the bed and the other girl was going to sleep on the floor.  But I was still nervous.  This was supposed to be a good trip and I didn't want any bad feelings.
I couldn't come up with a good plan.  Well, that night we had dinner, went to a Lumberjack Show, and then drove about 45 minutes to the hotel.  By the time we got to our room, I was a little hungry again.  The girls all said that they were also.  So I ordered a pizza.  Everyone loves pizza!  And it set a good tone.  The next morning, we all had breakfast together, all three girls watched ESPN while getting ready (kinda surprised me there!), we packed, and left with everyone being nice to each other!
Last year I had three boys with me.  One of the boys had a little hard time staying away from home.  I figured a full tummy would definitely help.  So we got a pizza and bread sticks.  It worked wonderfully!
This year the pizza was expected :)  I wasn't quite as hungry tonight.  But I did eat a slice.  And the girls loved it :)  In two years I'll have my last fourth grade Mackinaw trip.  It'll be sad and a great time at once!  And I'm sure we'll have more yummy pizza; as became our new Mackinaw Trip tradition!
Tonight I am thankful for yummy pizza and the wonderful way it makes kids happy on overnight school trips!  :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Little Tricks

Tonight, as I pack my bag for the trip tomorrow, I folded up a reusable grocery bag.  I learned this little trick from another mom on another field trip.  She had her reusable bag folded up tiny in her purse and produced it on demand for a child who had decided to start a rock collection on the field trip.  And I thought, Hmmm, that's a good idea for all souvenirs!  I don't know about you, but I have had many times when I put my hands in my pockets or my purse and find pine cones, rocks, flowers, etc.  A bag would have been a good idea at those times!
Sometimes I also keep Ziploc baggies in my purse.  This trick was gleaned from someone I saw at a restaurant who didn't want to keep just a little leftovers . . not carry around a large box.
I heard of one woman who kept a pizza cutter in her purse to cut children's food up at restaurants.  That would have been a good one.  I'm at the point now where my kids can all cut their own food though.
Even now with my kids being a bit older, I still carry with me at almost all times 1) wet wipes 2) tissues 3) band aids and 4) something to write on and with for bored kids.  These things just come in handy.
Tonight I am thankful for nice little tricks that I've learned from watching other people over the years!  I know there are more . . . but my brain is headed for sleepy land already!