And today I learned…

How to do some techie stuff on the blog.

Grrrrrr….so annoyed that I had an idea and everything, and yet I still couldn’t get on here to put words to screen.  Appears to be a random issue with my auto-backup plugin.

It would be more impressive if I could give this an actual name, instead of ‘techie stuff’.

But I didn’t learn an actual name for it.  I only learned how to take myself from ‘offline’ to ‘online’.  And this in the midst of cleaning up many, many throw-up messes made by many two children.

But it felt like more than two.

So after dealing with the sickies and figuring out the techie stuff that didImentionIhate? I sorta lost my enthusiasm for blogging today.


Let’s hope child #3 doesn’t get sick as well, and maybe I’ll have something more in the future.

Annie is the lucky one, by the way.

So far.

Well this is inconvenient

See this bowl?

This is the reason I’m not here today.

This bowl stands between me and, well, pretty much everything.

This bowl is seriously screwing up my plans.

Meet our family throw-up bowl.

It’s been a long night.  And day.

I’m hoping for a better tomorrow.

Until then, I’ve got to get back to it.

I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight. ~Emily, The Devil Wears Prada

Makeover Monday: Doggie Style

The first day of school was hard for Lilly.  She missed her sisters.

Despite not having any concept of time, she asked me repeatedly what time we were picking them up, and what the current time was.  Starting around 9 am.

Thankfully, she had a patient and loving playmate in the form of Molly, our 2-year-old Shih Tzu.

Being a female dog, and having three small female owners, Molly is a girly-girl-dog.  She has more dresses than I do, and I am not even joking about that.

So on the first day of school (over a month ago because I’m so far behind), when Lilly was bored and Molly was willing, they played dress-up.

All. Day. Long.

She played football

And she was her own cheerleader.

She was a Disney Princess

And a ruffly, pink schoolgirl.

She wore a proper business suit

And a little black dress

And even a wedding gown.

And even after all of that, Lilly and Molly were still the very best of friends.

This is one great dog, y’all.  Lucky us.

Actually no, I have not abandoned you

I’m sorry I vanished, friends.  I was just so very busy with the other parts of life.  Parts that can’t wait.

Doctors have been visited, closets have been cleaned.

A birthday was celebrated, and a yard sale was held.

Garden tended.

Family visited.

Bible School. Girls Scouts. The zoo.

A funeral.

We’ve enjoyed the county fair, and lounged in our new pool.

Pesto has been made, and popsicles have been eaten.  Many, many popsicles, since it’s been unbearably humid. 107 degrees yesterday, according to my friend Ginger’s thermometer. Ick.

And now, hopefully, what precious little remains of the summer will be unadulterated fun.

Very little indeed, since we have year-round school and an abbreviated summer.  Back-to-school time is already upon us, and we’ve already stocked up on pencils and crayons, backpacks and uniforms. We’ve met the new teachers and bought the lunchboxes, and nothing’s left to do but the going.  Always the hardest part. (For me, anyway)

I’m a fair-weather blogger.  Or a ‘the kids aren’t home’ blogger. Whatever.


The little people have needed me.

Be back soon.

PS) Check out the sculpted abs on Catie!

In which I make you feel like a great mother

 Yesterday was a serious Mom Fail.  And I really have no excuse.  We were busy?  I just forgot?  My brain has been replaced by marshmallow fluff? (which incidentally, I don’t even like)

Yesterday was Catie’s end-of-season soccer pizza party.  And I was the assistant coach.  And I totally forgot to take her.

That’s it – I just forgot.  At party time, we were either sitting on the porch watching the rain, or blowing bubbles to see how long they would survive amongst the raindrops.  That was the pressing appointment that kept us from her soccer party.

And also kept her from receiving her medal.

Thankfully for me, she has not yet realized we missed it.  Unfortunately for me, she will be none too happy when she does.  Considering she also missed last fall’s party.

I feel just awful about it.  But in reality, this is not the first time – or the biggest time – I have failed them as a mother.  In ways big and small, I screw up daily, and pray nightly that the damage I do won’t be permanent. 

Moms are in a tough position.  There is a perfect Father, but there is no perfect mother.  So I can’t even say, “Hey kids, I’m sorry I’m such a trainwreck, but look here! Here is someone who did it all right!  Don’t look at me, look at her!”

Nope, only dads get that privilege.  I’m left to do the best I can, carry lots of guilt, and apologize profusesly, hoping that’s enough.  But of course I know that it isn’t.  I know I’m a mess.  That nightly praying to be a better mother?  Not so much nightly, since sometimes I’m so exhausted I fall asleep mid-prayer and don’t even make it to that part. 

Hopelessly Flawed.

All of the craft projects I come up with and the handmade clothes I make the girls draw lots of compliments from people we meet, but what they don’t know is that sometimes I’m a grouch the entire time we’re making the craft, grumbling over spilled glitter and fussing over painted-on clothes.  Sometimes I make them play outside so I can sew in peace.

I hate it when someone admires their outfit and says what a good mom I must be.  The outfit has nothing to do with anything.  What good does a cute dress do when your mom neglected you to make it?

My own mother says I remember my own childhood through rose-colored glasses, and while I don’t really believe her, a not-small part of me hopes that it’s true.  I hope that she did lose her temper or get impatient or say ‘no’ a little too often, because I don’t remember it at all and that gives me hope.  Hope that one day, maybe my own daughters will block out my shortcomings and remember only the good moments.

Of course, the very real possibility exists that I’m right, that I did have a fabulous mother, and that I am falling hideously short.  And that’s what keeps me up at night.

It all comes down to patience, I think.  If I were more patient, everything would be better.  Except I’m not [generally] all that impatient.  And I know all about not praying for patience because then you’ll get things that help you develop it.  I don’t pray for patience.  And I already have that development tool in the form of my husband.

But I’ve gotten sidetracked, haven’t I?  The whole point was to make you feel like a better mother by exposing what a lousy mother I am.  (Because let’s face it, no matter how awful it is to admit, we all like to feel like we’re better than someone.  No one wants to finish a race last.  No one wants to be the fattest woman on the beach.  No one wants to be the worst mother in history.  It’s true – don’t even try to deny it.  It’s not that you’re wishing ill on someone else, it’s just that you need someone or something to make you feel like you aren’t so bad, and you certainly could be worse.  Like her.  I get it.)

You know how sometimes you’ll hear someone say that they aren’t winning any Mother of the Year awards?  Just this week I read a Facebook status from a new mother who was devastated that she bopped her child’s forehead with the plastic wipey box. 

Are you kidding me lady? 

My children have rolled off the bed, rolled off the changing table (yeah, yeah, never step away, I know), fallen down stairs, had their heads bonked into a doorframe while I was carrying them…and that’s all within the first few months of life.  I couldn’t even begin to name the rest of that list. 

When Annie was 6 weeks old I was nursing her in the middle of the night, and I fell asleep and dropped her.  Onto the hardwood floor.  True story.  She cried for a few minutes but then went back to sleep, so obviously it was a life-threatening concussion and my child might never recover.  So like any new mother, I rushed her to the emergency room of the nearest children’s hospital.  Where they were much more concerned about the woman sobbing hysterically than they were about the baby sleeping peacefully.  And they laughed and hugged me when I asked if they were going to call CPS.

Live and learn.

So I promise you, my story isn’t one of those lame, ‘we’ve all done that’ stories.  Oh no.  This is a mom failure that is nothing short of spectacular, and it is previously unconfessed [publicly].  So read it and feel fantastic my friends, because you surely are a better mother than this lunatic.

Annie was about 3 and solidly in the middle of her asking-a-thousand-questions-a-day phase.  It was annoying, but only because I had no idea how much worse Catie would have it.  If I’d known I would have counted my blessings back then.  So we’re out running errands, and I’m losing my mind.  I’m in my husband’s compact car because our van is in the shop, it’s hard to get her in and out of the back seat, and I’m hugely pregnant.  And it’s hot and humid, and pouring down rain.  It was a trying day – that’s my only excuse.  Somehow we landed on the topic of the weather, with Annie asking a hundred questions about how rain is formed and why it rained and when it rained and what if it rained.  No newbie to this, I had learned a long time ago that if the answer was God, she stopped questioning. 

Where do babies come from?


Worked like a charm.

But in my harried state that day, I didn’t stop to consider my words before they exited my mouth.

But what if we don’t want rain?

God knows what we need better than we do.  He sends rain for a reason.

But I don’t want it to rain!

Well God doesn’t care what you want.


-backtrack, backtrack, backtrack-

I meant, God doesn’t always give you what you want, He gives you what you need.  And sometimes you might think He is making a mistake, but He isn’t.  He never does.  So you just have to trust Him.

And mentally I added and please forgive me for being such a horrible jerk of a mother.

I mean seriously, what kind of slimeball tells a 3-year-old that God doesn’t care about what they want?


So take comfort in knowing that no matter how you’ve messed up today, at least you’re not that bad.

You’re welcome.

A little of this, a little of that

Little bits of randomness that I’ve been thinking about, but none are worthy of long enough for their own entire post.

  • That killer whale who just killed a trainer at Sea World?  Apparently he’s a serial killer.  Maybe we should stop saving the whales.
  • A couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway over at Cinnamon Hollow for Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce.  I’m not generally much of a sauce gal so I had my reservations.  I’d say that it tasted comparable to A-1.  Most attractive to me, however, was this statement in the company literature:  It would be nice if we could claim responsibility for the success of the company, however, credit must be given where credit is due. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” We have placed true ownership of Country Bob, Inc. in the hands of God. “Christ is our CEO” and  He is an Awesome Boss! Now that is a company I want to support!

  • Despite how it must look to my readers, I do not have 42 appliance garages or a kitchen the size of a cracker box.  For some reason this just always ends up being my food snapshot locale.
  • I’m on a DIY/go green kick.  To be perfectly honest, it’s more about saving money than saving the environment.  (I’m not even going to go there with my issues on saving the planet)  In that vein, I’ve been using natural products like baking soda, peroxide, and white vinegar to clean, and I’ve been making my own laundry detergent.  Do you have any other tips you could share?
  • I love HGTV.  I’m a DIY kinda gal anyway, and I love real estate so I especially like the house-hunting type shows.  I find myself wanting to shake some of the buyers, though.  Why can they not see past ugly paint colors?  Why are they unwilling to put any work into a place?  Have they no imagination???  This makes me crazy.
  • Chris’s company gives out bonuses at the beginning of the year.  Very sadly, this year not so much.  I, on the other hand, continue to reap bonuses from my job every day.

  • I have the best job in the world.
  • Girl Scout cookies.  Everywhere.  If you need some, please come to my house.  I need them to go away.
  • I don’t think I ever told you this, but I did post it on Twitter/Facebook.  And I told everyone at church, too – because I’m klassy like that.  My parents bought me a leg lamp for Christmas.  You know, the leg lamp.  My husband hates it.  Because he has no sense of humor, and is easily embarrassed by me.  Nonetheless, it did hold the appropriate place of honor in our [front] living room window this past holiday season.  And because I love it so much (and I’m super klassy), it’s still in the living room, though now on a side table instead.

  • When I was a kid we had a neighbor that told my mom she’d always wanted to have a room in her house for all of the things that she knows are tacky, but loves them anyway.  I feel exactly the same way.  Leg lamp would love a room like that, methinks.
  • I’m frustrated with our school’s PTO.  They have zero communication (don’t even announce meetings!), overpriced fundraisers, and are not at all accessible.  I’m writing a letter to suggest some changes, but I am still in need of some GOOD fundraising ideas.  Got any for me?  Overpriced wrapping paper needs to die.

That’s all I’ve got.  It’s not that NaBloPoMo is wearing me down; quite the contrary, actually.  I’ve been surprised that it’s been easier than I anticipated.  It’s just that I am sick – again – still.  My whole body aches, as it has off and on for the last 3 months.  Spring can’t come soon enough.

How do you do it?

This is sort of the opposite of  Works-For-Me Wednesday.

This does NOT work for me, and I need your help.

Every afternoon, my house looks something like this:

And frankly, some days it’s a whole lot worse than this.  These are just the pictures I’m willing to own up to.  And these are just the 3 rooms the kids spend the most time in after school – the family room is not as publicly visible so I’m not so worried about that.

A few things I’m working on.  The kitchen table, for example, is currently a dumping ground for coats and backpacks.  I’m building a cubby with compartments for each of the girls to store their school shoes, coat, backpack, and lunchbox, so hopefully that mess will be contained in…the garage, I’m thinking?  Wherever the cubby ends up, anyway.  So that will help.

But honestly, my biggest daily challenge is just stuff. Random things that I don’t know what to do with – they don’t have a home, but they aren’t garbage, either.  Missing parts of toys, broken things that need repaired (but I can’t sit down and do it immediately), assorted school papers, newspapers/magazines I’m going to look at later – that kind of thing.  What do you neatnik readers do with all of that stuff?

I also need to get better about having the girls clean up as they go.  Annie does this very well, but her sisters not so much.  Catie whines and complains, and Lilly’s just too young to do it without heavy supervision.  I am definitely guilty of doing it myself after they go to bed, just because it’s easier.  Bad of me, I know.

So tell me, please – what works for you?

Paper Love

Wednesday brought us snow day #2 this week, and we put it to good use making homemade Valentines.

Catie’s preschool class even got to decorate a box to collect their cards in, which delighted me to no end.  I felt very nostalgic for my own childhood whilst helping her pick out just the right frills.  I always loved decorating that box, and was so disappointed that Annie didn’t get to do that last year (or this year, either, for that matter). 

Catie opted for pink-on-pink paisley fabric, red ric rack, white fluffy lace, seed pearls, and red ribbon roses.  And her name written in red glitter.  It’s girly fabulous, which suits my little fashionista to a T.

For the cards, we went completely old school as well.  Interestingly enough, the throwback cards are a financial setback, since even though I bought the paper doilies at the dollar store, these cards cost me about 5 times as much as just buying the pre-made ones would.  But ours are cuter.  And certainly more unique, since no one seems to make homemade Valentines anymore.  Such a pity.

Annie was methodical

Catie was creative

and Lilly had a wardrobe malfunction

She also thoroughly impresed me.  While Annie and Catie were writing their names on the back of their cards, Lilly decided to make her own mark on hers – in the form of tracing her little handprints, all by her OWN self.

It was an extremely messy project

but the end result was well worth it.

Another fun project we did was the heart flower suckers from last month’s Family Fun.  (Love that magazine!)

These were super easy and a big hit with the kids (and teachers!) that we gave them to.  Thumbs up!

Mess and all, it was another great snow day.

A perfect day

Yesterday we had a snow day.  It doesn’t snow very often in Kentucky, but when it does, it doesn’t take very much of the white stuff to bring the state to its knees.  As long as I have lived here, it’s still rather amusing to a Yankee girl.  This might be the only way I am decidedly UN-southern.

I can remember as a child getting a foot of snow overnight, and we’d have a 1-hour delay for school so they could put chains on the bus tires.  I remember walking home in blizzard-like conditions.  And just so you don’t think I’m an old lady who has lost perspective, I readily acknowledge that I was walking DOWN the hill.  It wasn’t all bad.  But it was definitely very different  than the childhood memories my children will have.

We woke up to about 3 inches of snow, and it continued steadily all day.  Annie very excitedly declared that this might be the most snow she’s ever seen in her whole life.  Wow.  Kiddo is missing out.

Nonetheless, it was an exciting day.  Unlike most other moms I know, I love snow days.  I miss my girls all day every day, so having them all home with me again is a special occasion indeed.  And one worth celebrating.

We made a snowman (with snow that doesn’t pack)

and attempted a snowball fight (again, snow that doesn’t pack)

and we did a little sledding.

Snow angels were made

fears were conquered

and cheeks were rosy.

We played ’till we dropped

enjoyed hot cocoa

and even some yummy treats.

The dogs enjoyed their day as well.  Molly played with the girls

and Cooper napped on the [defecation-free] deck

Napping in the snow because he was so cold, no doubt.  Some people.

We’ve done lots of other fun stuff, too, but I’ll have to tell you about that on another day.  Right now a fireplace is beckoning, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is in the DVD player, and 3 gorgeous girls are waiting to snuggle with me.  It’s a very ordinary, extraordinary day, and life is good.

If all else fails, make a movie

I don’t know about you, but I have a not-small collection of photos of my children making messes.  I’ve captured Annie as an infant, happily splashing away in the dogs’ water bowl and gleefully spreading flour all over the kitchen tile.  I have hundreds of pictures of Catie and Lilly covered in food.  I have pictures of colored-on legs and arms – and sofas, and walls…

Perhaps one of the biggest baby mess pictures was captured about 2-and-a-half years ago, when Lilly was newly crawling.  I thought I was safe to leave the girls in the kitchen while I went to the bathroom.  Including hand-washing that’s what, 60 seconds? 90?  Not long.

But thinking gets you in trouble, my friends.  Especially when you are mother to a very ornery child like my Catiebug.  And besides being ornery, she’s also unlucky.  Things just happen to Catie.  Her cups spill, her plates break, she falls out of chairs.  Sometimes I fear she has a little black cloud following her around.

So yes, as an experienced mother, I certainly should have known better.  But alas, I did not.

What I saw when I exited the bathroom was nothing short of shocking.  The kind of shocking that rocks you so deeply you can’t even be angry because you’re just too stunned.

Fortunately I had the presence of mind to take pictures.

I also immediately sat down and emailed my husband.

He’s a neat freak.  Case in point, he couldn’t sleep last night.  You know that saying, ‘If mama’s cold, everyone puts on a sweater’?  Well if Daddy wants to clean, everyone has to clean.  So at about 1 am, he woke me up to clean.

And I have no more polite words to say about that, so I’ll move on.

So being a neat freak, he is constantly upset by the condition of our home.  I truly believe he has a mental image of me sitting on the couch all day, watching daytime TV, playing solitaire online, and maybe even munching on bon-bons while the children run wild.

He has no understanding or appreciation of the fact that I actually spend all day working, picking up right behind them, and this is still as good as it gets.  Suzy Homemaker I am not.

I’ll cook rings around 90% of wives, guaranteed.  But when it comes to housework, I fall miserably, pathetically short.  I readily admit this.  But it’s not like I do nothing, I just can’t figure out what to do with all of the ‘stuff’.  I can organize a room no problem, but when it comes to the daily mail, school papers, missing pieces from toys sets, broken jewelry, and-and-and, I’m at a loss.  As a result, our house isn’t dirty, but it’s perpetually cluttered.  One of us has learned to accept this, one of us has not.

So back to the day in question – I finally felt I had good tangible evidence that I do indeed clean up messes before he gets home.  My email was this:


I was thinking about you today.  Thinking about how different our jobs are.  Thinking about what you  might be doing at that moment.

In my mind, you decided to go to the bathroom.  You have the luxury of doing that whenever you want, you know, and you get to do it all by yourself.  I don’t think you fully appreciate that simple luxury.  So I imagined you taking a leisurely stroll though the office, maybe stopping for a cup of coffee on the way back to your desk, maybe pausing to chat about last night’s game.  Chatting with a grown up, chatting without interruption, without a small child tugging on your leg.  And I imagine that when you make it back to your office, your desk probably looks pretty much the same as it did when you left it.

I don’t work from a desk – my office travels with me.  I don’t have co-workers to engage in adult conversation.  I rarely get to go to the bathroom alone and I never get a hot cup of coffee.  And I can’t leave the room unless I’ve properly occupied my subordinates, which I failed to do today.

Which is why, when I returned from approximately 90 seconds of solitude, I was greeted by this:

Don’t worry – it’s already cleaned up.  Just enjoy your day.  And when you get home, try not to give me any grief.  Believe it or not, I’ve had a day too.

My point was made nicely, and lasted for about 3 days.  Typical.

However, the picture is the crowning jewel in my kid mess photo collection.  And this week it got even more mileage, in the form of a YouTube video.  Amanda Tinney of Disney Every Day set a song to photos, and I’m happy to have contributed the perfect match for my line.  See for yourself.

So while my evidence might not have swayed my husband, at least it’s entertaining the masses on YouTube.  I’ll consider that a day’s work done.  And now back to the TV.

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