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Month: July 2010

Little Ray of Sunshine

IMG_7561(I played around with sun flare last night. I didn’t quite get what I wanted, but I’m almost there!)

I read a post by Miss Zoot this morning about a random act of kindness – a woman offered her an umbrella when she was walking through the rain with her two kids. In the same post, she spoke of another act that she had been on the receiving end of that wasn’t so kind.  Both of these elicited strong feelings and it got me thinking about the kind of person I am.

Would I sacrifice my own umbrella to give it to a woman carrying two kids in the rain?  I’m not sure.  Am I generally a kind person?  Yes, I think I am.  Do I have those moments when I’m too busy and rushed and glare at the woman who slows me down in the aisle at Target?  Um, yeah, sadly I do.

As I said, I’m generally a kind person.  I want to see the good in everybody.  There are people out there in the world who don’t have an ounce of kindness in them and think only about themselves.  There are people who do nothing but complain about those around them, looking for the negative in everything.  I even try to find the good in those people.  Maybe they just had a bad morning.  Maybe they spilled coffee on their last pair of clean clothes.  Maybe their kid woke them up twelve times the night before.  Who knows?

No matter what negative thing a person has done or said, I want to defend them, come up with some reason that made them the way they are.  When they complain about something someone else has done, I want to defend the person that the negativity is being spewed at.  I guess I’m just a “look on the bright side” kind of person.  I assume there is always a reason for that person to be bitter, that it isn’t just some kind of huge character flaw that leaves them that way.

There are times when I become that negative person.  I know I can be selfish and sometimes only think of myself and my own agenda, but when I realize I’m doing it I feel horrible.  I want to be that little ray of sunshine that always leaves people with a positive feeling.  I want to leave behind a trail of happiness and warmth with every encounter I have with another person, and I want my children to strive for the same thing.

Sometimes I think my shyness/social phobia really prohibits me from doing the good deeds I would like to do.  Even when I want to step out of my comfort zone and help someone else, I can’t always make myself do it.  See, I would want to be the woman who offered her umbrella to a mom and two kids getting soaked in the rain, but I’m not sure I could actually do it.  It would require talking to a person I don’t know, unsolicited, which for some reason strikes me with a crazy, irrational fear.

Is being a generally kind person and wanting to take that risk enough if I can’t/don’t follow through?  I’m not sure that it is.  What do you think?  Would you offer your umbrella?

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Eating Organic

organic fruit and vegetables
I’m not sure when it started exactly. It has been in the back of my mind for years, but only recently it seems that it is being thrown at me from every direction. I’ve read magazine articles, blogs, stared at recipes, and always am left wondering, “How do they do it?” I’ve tried to diet and failed miserably, over and over again. Shortly after Zach was born, Hubby and I both did Weight Watchers and lost the pounds eating low-fat or no-fat, sugar free, chemical filled crap. Then, after depriving ourselves for so long, we started eating regular food again and put those pounds right back on. Not exactly the goal we had in mind.

So these things have been rattling around in my head for a while. Some posts by Cagey got me thinking about food dyes and their effects on behavior. I even ordered some books (which I have yet to find the time to read) to read up on this topic.  Then there was the whole Food Revelation thing that convinced me my kids will be taking their lunches to school instead of buying the over-priced, processed school lunches.  Then Andreanna started writing about her Primal lifestyle and posted some amazing progress photos.  And then one night when I found myself home alone I watched Food, Inc. on Netflix.  The next morning, I opened up my inbox to find a Groupon opportunity for a discounted box of fruits/veggies from Fresh Connect, a local delivery service for organic and locally grown produce, meat, and dairy.

The wheels started turning.

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to eat healthier foods.  I’ve wanted to switch to locally grown produce.  I’ve wanted to cut the junk out of my diet and eat real foods.  But there’s always been something holding me back – time, money, convenience.  Those are the big ones.  We’re a busy family, with two parents who work outside of the home full-time.  Our normal grocery shopping consists of a huge trip about once a month to stock up the freezer and a few quick runs for milk, bread, and other perishables in between.  I’ve never been able to carve out the time to go to a local farmer’s market, mainly because it would require me getting up way too early on a Saturday morning to go.  We spend a lot of money on food, and the thought of spending even more to buy organic at the grocery store makes me want to cling to my debit card.  And then there’s the convenience factor.  We want quick meals.  We don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.  Plus, we have very impatient kids who want food on the table the minute we walk in the door after a long day at day care.

There’s always an excuse.

You know what though?  I’m tired of the excuses.  I finally decided that I’m going to throw all the excuses out and just do it.  I brought it up to Hubby and told him about Fresh Connect and how I’d like to start getting some of our produce and maybe meat from them.  I expected him to say I was being ridiculous, but he didn’t.  He balked a little at the prices, but eventually agreed that it was a good idea to try it out.  I purchased the Groupon for our first box of fruit/veggies.  During my next trip to the grocery store, I picked up locally farmed, hormone-free, milk for my daughter (she’s the only milk drinker of the family).

We received our first Fresh Connect box Friday night full of delicious fruits and veggies – plenty to last us at least a week or two.  There were a lot of items that I just don’t ever buy at the store.  I’m looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen and finding ways to use them.  My kids were impressed when they saw the carrots with the green part still attached.  Evie devoured the grapes within minutes of us opening the box.  We started planning meals for the week based on fresh vegetables, not the boxes residing in our freezer.  We picked up a few more items that we would need at the grocery store to round out our menu, some of it organic, some of it not.

I’m not at all ready for a Primal diet and I know there will still be a lot of non-organic items in our kitchen, but I like the fact that we’re starting to make a change.  My children seem to think they cannot survive without bologna and cheese sandwiches, but at least I can start pairing it with carrots and celery or an apple instead of chips.

The cost may still be a bit prohibitive for us, especially through the winter months, but I’m really hoping we can make this work.  Since I started running in preparation for the Race for the Cure I’ve put a lot more thought into what I’m putting into my body.  I’m drinking a lot more water.  I’m snacking on nuts, veggies, and cheese instead of chocolate.  I’m bringing my lunch to work instead of going through the McDonald’s drive-thru.  This is the next logical step and I finally feel like I’m ready for the challenge.

*photo by val’s photos on flickr


28 Months

Oh, how I wish I could capture everything that she is in words.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but not even a picture can capture the personality, the love, the intelligence, the joy, that exudes from my girl.  I can’t believe how fast she is growing up.






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The Woe Is Me Post

Yesterday was a bad day.  I wanted to just give up on everything.  For nearly a week things had been piling up and I was to the breaking point.  But, things took a turn for the better and today I can look back on it and laugh at myself.  My life is NOT that tough.  There are others who have it much, much worse.  However, I’m still going to tell you all about my horrible, no good, very bad week.

It all started last Wednesday.  I dropped the kids off at day care, gave them kisses on the way out, and noticed that Evie’s head felt just a tad bit warm.  I brushed it off thinking maybe it was just a bit too warm in the back seat of the car on the way over.  I went on to work thinking nothing of it.  When I picked the kids up that evening, I found out Zach had had a really rough day behaviorally, and was complaining of a headache and his stomach hurting.  When he wasn’t even interested in eating, I knew something was wrong.   I felt his head and he was very warm and ended up having a low-grade fever.

Soon after that, I went to check on Evie, who was in my bed watching Mickey Mouse.  She was burning up too.  Two sick kids.

We had planned on going out to get my new treadmill that night (since my old one died), so I left Hubby at home with the kids while I went out on my own to pick the treadmill up.  He got them settled in bed and then helped me put my treadmill together.

Somewhere in there I tried to do a load of laundry and discovered that the drain in our laundry room was backing up again.  It was clear water (straight from the washer) so I didn’t worry too much about it and tossed it aside in my mind to deal with the next day.

Thursday morning I got up and ran on my new treadmill for 28 glorious minutes (Week 8 of the C25K program).  That run felt so good it may have actually been the highlight of my entire week.  After nearly a week of not running, I had to push myself a bit but it wasn’t the struggle I was expecting.  I felt so good afterward.

After I showered and got dressed I went to check on the kids, who were both still feverish and feeling cruddy.  Zach had an already scheduled doctor’s appointment later that morning for his 5-year well visit so I figured we’d have him checked out first and see if Evie needed to see the Doc.  He was showing 4 out of 5 of the signs for Strep, so he got swabbed.  Fortunately it was negative, but a urine sample showed that he was very dehydrated and had traces of blood in his urine (which earned us another return trip to the Doc with a new sample Friday morning).  Everything else checked out fine but we couldn’t do his immunizations because of the fever so we had to set another appointment in a couple of weeks.

The kids were hungry and begging for chicken nuggets when we left the doctor’s office.  They both seemed to be okay stomach-wise, so we went through the drive-through and then headed home.  After they picked at their nuggets, I sent them both to bed for naps so that I could get some work done.  A few minutes later I heard “Mommy, I puke!” coming from the kids’ room.  And of course that was just what I wanted to hear.  After a bedding change and a quick wipe-down of the girl child, she was settled back down in her bed, where she pretty much stayed the rest of the day.  She did get up for a bit to snuggle with me in my chair, where she promptly puked in my lap, then went back to bed.

By this point the drainage problem in the basement was getting worse and we had sewage backing up.  We got some heavy duty drain cleaner from the maintenance guy at my work and attempted to clear out whatever was clogging it up.  After putting two bottles down it, there wasn’t a lot of improvement.

Friday morning, knowing I couldn’t shower, we had a plumber called in.  Since he wouldn’t be there until after noon, I loaded the kids and dirty (puked on) laundry in the car.  Fortunately, the kids’ fevers were down and they both seemed to be perking up a bit.  We made a quick stop at the doctor’s office to drop off Zach’s sample (which I still haven’t heard anything back on) then headed to my mom’s house to take quick baths and throw some laundry in her washer.

We got back home just in time to grab a quick lunch before the plumber showed up.  After several hours he had cleaned out years worth of roots and sludge from our main drain.  As a bonus, he even cleaned up the mess that had been left in the floor of our laundry room.  I was finally a little less stressed and things were looking up.

When Hubby got home, we decided to get out of the house for a bit and run errands.  The kids were feeling much better.  We got about halfway to our destination when we realized that the air conditioner in my car wasn’t working…again.  I felt pretty defeated at that point.  We’ve poured so much money into fixing my car and it just seems like it does not want to be fixed.  We finished our errands, enjoyed a nice dinner out, and then stopped by my mom’s to pick laundry up.

Saturday morning we headed to Springfield for the annual Gugel Fall (a big BBQ/fireworks show that my Aunt/Uncle/cousins put on), where we had a really great time.  We took the kids swimming at the hotel, and really enjoyed spending time with family that we only get to see a couple times a year.

After breakfast Sunday morning we headed home.  We drove through a pretty bad thunderstorm on the way home, but had no idea what would be waiting for us.  As we turned onto our street, we saw trees down everywhere.  Apparently a few hours before a really bad storm had gone through our neighborhood.  Several neighbors had trees that had fallen on their houses.  Just past our driveway, the entire street was blocked by trees that had fallen.  There were fallen branches everywhere.  Our patio furniture and the kids’ outdoor toys were blown all over the yard.  It looked as if a tornado had passed through, although none were reported.  And, of course, we had no electricity.

We stuck it out at home for a few hours until the kids were driving me nuts asking to watch TV, then decided to go over to my mom’s for dinner, baths, and True Blood.  We hopped in the car and only made it a few blocks before I realized my car was acting really funny (where the word “funny” does not actually mean funny, but “holy crap what is wrong with my car now?!?!?!?”).  I was afraid to drive it all the way to my mom’s, so I turned around and parked it at home.  We loaded up in hubby’s car instead and drove on over to my mom’s.  By the time we got back home we were hoping the power would be back on, but had no such luck.

We made it through the hot, sweaty night listening to tires squeal every time a car came up to the trees across the road (one actually crashed into the tree).  After taking a shower and getting dressed in a dark room, I got the kids up and we started in on our Monday routine.

At noon, I took my lunch break so I could go back to the house to see if the electricity was back on and to check the fridge.  The power was still out, but I did go ahead and check the fridge to see if anything was still cold at all, which it was (somewhat).  Unfortunately, it was also all covered in sticky goo due to a pressurized can of Cool Whip exploding all over the place.

Since the trees were finally cleared from the road, I drove down the road a ways to check things out and discovered the power and cable lines were completely down just past our house.  It was just shortly after that that I realized the air conditioner in hubby’s car was blowing hot air at me.

I got back to work practically in tears knowing that I just could not take one more thing.  I vented a bit and started feeling  a little better.  Yet, I still drove home completely frustrated and beaten down.

Hubby got home just before I did and called to let me know we had power.  That lifted my spirits a little bit, even though I knew that meant we had a lot of work to do.

As soon as I got home, I started cleaning out the fridge and freezer.  We were able to keep quite a bit, but also threw out a lot.  When that was finished, I scarfed down some food, bathed the kids, and headed to the grocery store.  When I finally finished everything, I looked at the clock and it was 10:40.  I decided to head to bed and lose myself in a book for a while.

This morning I got up and had a good (although a bit sluggish) run.  I started the day out with a better outlook even though I still have no idea what we’re going to do about my car.  We’ll make it through this, just like we do with everything else.  Although, I wouldn’t complain if several thousand dollars fell out of the sky and into my lap.

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4th of July Weekend

Despite the downpour that canceled out the 4th of July fireworks and the red crayon that I found melted in my dryer, this was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.  At the top of the list is the fact that I got to sleep in past 10:00 a.m. three days in a row.  I honestly can’t remember the last time that has happened.  I’m sure I’ll still be just as tired when I have to wake up early tomorrow morning, but it was a pretty amazing feeling while it lasted.


Saturday morning hubby and I got up and started in on the kids’ room.  We have been wanting to pull up the carpet in there for while and figured the 3-day weekend was a good time to do it.  We started in knowing that there were wood floors underneath, but not having any idea what kind of shape they were in.  As it turned out, they weren’t great but weren’t completely horrible either.  We did have to scrub the entire floor on our hands and knees to remove some black gunk, but once we got it up, the floor looked pretty good.


We rearranged the furniture a bit, re-bunked the bunk beds, and put down a small area rug to cover a couple bad spots in the floor.  I still need to work on the arrangement of the wall decorations, but their room looks much better than it did.  The kids are loving it so far.  They’ve been playing in there instead of their playroom which is very unusual.


After we finished the floor, we cleaned ourselves up, dropped the kids off at Grandma’s, and headed out on the town for a well-deserved date night.  Since we never really got to celebrate our anniversary last month, we went out for a nice dinner at Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse, then I made hubby take me to see Eclipse.  We don’t get out by ourselves often enough and it was really nice to have  quiet (kid-free) evening together.


Sunday we headed over to my mom’s to have dinner with the family and then planned on going to see fireworks at Corporate Woods. We got there and set up our chairs just in time for it to start sprinkling. It seemed like the rain wouldn’t be too bad, so we decided to wait it out in hopes that the firework show would still go on. My kids were so excited for fireworks that I really hated to disappoint them. We stuck it out much longer than most folks, but when it started pouring and I discovered that the water was soaking through my camera bag, we decided it was time to go.


By the time we got back to the cars, we were all absolutely soaked. Fortunately, we had a basket of clean, dry clothes at my mom’s house due the the crayon in the dryer incident I mentioned earlier so we scrounged and managed to find something for all of us to wear. Once everyone was dry, we got the kids all settled down and my sister, my mom, and I headed to the theater to watch Eclipse again (Yes, it was that good!).

Since the kids were sleeping by the time we got back from the movie, we left them to sleep at Grandma’s again and hubby and enjoyed sleeping in again on Monday morning.

We picked the kids up Monday afternoon, took my mom to pick her car up from the shop, stopped for some ice cream, then came home and started mourning the end of a really excellent weekend. It’s going to be really hard to jump back into our normal routine in the morning.

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