Wednesday, June 27

What I DID DO Wednesday- Round 3







What I DID DO Wednesdays is a chance to relish in all you DID accomplish on a given day in the past week no matter how small (think jumping in puddles with your 3 year old son).

We're going to try this out every Wednesday for the summer. I hope that some of you jump in too!

Whether you have a blog or not, jot down everything you DID do today (or yesterday, or tomorrow!). It will make you feel just a little bit better about yourself...I promise! 

If you're feeling courageous I'd love for you to either leave a comment listing all that you DID do today (or yesterday...or any day from the last week you can remember the details of!), or write your DID DO's up in a blog post and link up below...either way is great!





My list for Tuesday, June 26th

-Finished a piece for an online community blog site that I occasionally contribute to. This was big for me-- I started working on the piece weeks ago and have been so distracted/busy that I've had a hard time finishing it...felt good to finish the piece and email along before leaving for vacation!

-Frantically cleaned up the kitchen and started flinging things into a big pile in our living room-- it was the "packing pile". You know the pile of bags and suitcases that are partially packed and all stacked together in your living room that you just start launching things on top of that you don't want to forget.

-Got Ava and Ella dressed and off to  their first of six summer dance sessions (they've never taken danced and I figured this was a good way to "test the waters" without committing to a whole year with costumes and recitals). Loved the idea...didn't anticipate the first class falling on the day we were supposed to leave for Florida! 

-Fed the girls on the road, picked up a cheap backpack from Wal-Mart for Disney (a backpack my husband is making fun of me about because a) it's from Wal-Mart which means that b) it's not tough or very cool to carry around. It was $9 and the perfect size, which to me is a win win! 

-Snuck in a quick bit of shut eye (20 minutes)

-Got up and packed the piles from the floor, started the dishwasher, watered the garden and loaded the car. 

-Successfully made it to the airport and through security by 4:15 for a 5:30 flight!

-8:15-- Successfully landed in Orlando and it actually was NOT raining. Yay! 

10:15- we finally get checked into our hotel

11:00- finally get two tired girls to bed

12:00 a.m.- finally fall asleep myself and get ready for 3 days of crazy fun with my girls, husband and mother in law! 


Monday, June 25

Packing Up and Book Winner




Hi Friends,

Thanks to all of those I heard from last week...and the kindred spirits of women who LOVE the idea of  praying for their husbands. I LOVE that.

The winner of the book giveaway, picked by little Miss Ava was...Naomi! 

Naomi, if you could send me an email to lisa.littlewood@gmail.com with your address I'll get that book out to you right away!

We're off to Florida this week. Yes, that's right...Sunny, hot, rainy, Disney, F-L-O-R-I-D-A!!! Yay!

I'm a little stressed out trying to pack and get everything ready.

Me, stressed?! I know you're shocked.

 I'm really looking forward to it all...really. I'll be thrilled when all the packing is done and we've landed in Orlando. Until then...just call me crazy lady momma!

So, I won't be posting a whole lot this week or next...I do plan to put my "What I DID DO" posts up on Wednesday though...I'll use them to give you a little sneak peak into our trip-- this weeks will be about all of our shuffling and packing and airporting tomorrow and then next week's will be about one of our days in Disney!

Until then...keep on keeping on!

That's what Scott and I say to each other when we need to put our heads down and get our stuff done...Here's to keeping on.

Cheers.

Thursday, June 21

Book Review and Giveaway!



When I first heard about the book "Praying God's Word for Your Husband" I was interested and excited about the idea of doing something more deliberate to be an encourager and a helpmate in Scott's world.

I must confess, I think I was a better wife before I became a mother. Does that feel true for anybody else?

It's not that I don't want to be a good and helpful wife, it's just that on many days, when ALL else is done, it doesn't feel like there is a whole lot of time or capacity left.

However, while there are many days when I feel like there is no energy left for deep conversation, no time for the walks we used to take holding hands, no money left to buy fancy guitar or rock climbing equipment to let him know that I support his interests, and no time OR money OR the wherewithal to don the proper attire to eat at a classy restraunt....While I may not be able to do any of these things in this season of life, I can pray and I can pray deliberately and wholeheartedly in all seasons of life.

That's where this book, this incredible tool by Kathi Lipp, comes into play. What roadblock or challenge can one really concoct (aside from sitting your behind in a chair!) to keep you from committing  5 or 10 minutes a day to pray...and to pray for your husband in specific ways while you're at it!

Lipp is a writer, mom and passionate woman who I have come to admire through other books (The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted is one I read last year) and articles I've read. She is funny, down to earth and in writing this book provides an invaluable resources to every woman who wants to bless her husband.

Note that in picking up a copy of this book for yourself, you will be giving your husband a gift he will really appreciate.

 The look on Scott's face after I told him that I was reading this new book and praying for him was one of surprise and gratitude to a degree I was not expecting. It made me realize that sometimes it's actually not the monetary gifts that matter.

       "Wow, Lis. Thank you. With all you have going on? Thank you."

       "No problem babe. I'm glad to be able to do it."

He's thanked me on a couple more occasions over the last two weeks as he's caught me with the book in my hands.

      "Thanks again for reading that...and for praying for me."

      "Of course," I say like it's not big deal. Though, as I've read this book I realize it really is. This prayer thing is something so simple... and yet...so not.

And a few words from Kathi's husband in a short foreword at the beginning of the book:
"Knowing that my day is covered in prayer-- whether I'm having a good day or a bad day-- changes how I can approach the next bad day...Through her specific prayers for me and my world, we are joined together in more intimate way. She isn't a passive bystander in my life. She comes alongside in all things, even areas where she isn't directly involved. She becomes a loving partner in all my struggles and a support in my weaknesses. I need that."
The book is broken into two major parts, "Preparing for Prayer" and "Prayers for Your Husband". Under "Prayers for Your Husband" you will find fourteen different specific areas (chapters) devoted to some thoughts, scripture references and actual prayers that you can pray. The areas include; When He Feels Overwhelmed, Work Issues, His Finances, His Health and Safety, His Relationship with God, His Parenting and His Mind, among other things.

AND here is the really exciting part, because I appreciate and value the power this book can have in strengthening your marriages I purchased an extra copy to give away to one of you!!! 

To be entered to win all you need to do is leave a comment below!

For extra entries you can do any of the following (or all! the more you do, the more times you will be entered!):

-- Like the Little Writer Momma Facebook Page
-- Become a friend/follower by clicking on the Google follow/friend button on this page
-- Post a link to this review on Facebook or Twitter!

The giveaway will be open until Sunday at midnight at which point I will randomly have my husband (how appropriate, right?) pick a name the old fashioned way... out of a hat (seriously! I don't get all hi-tech on these sorts of things!!).

In the meantime, here is an excerpt of one of Kathi's prayers that you can pray for your husband today....

Father, I lift up my husband to you and ask that you keep him close, protecting him physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. While he lives in this world, he faces so many trials and temptations that would be him down were it not for your faithful and abiding love. Help him to be aware of your love. Let him enjoy your love, experience your presence, participate in your peace, and glory in your grace. Reassure him that you are with him, you go before him, you surround him, and you have his back in every situation. Amen. 

You can also click on this link to watch a short video from the author about the book.



(I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review)

Wednesday, June 20

What I DID DO Wednesdays: Round 2



What I DID DO Wednesdays is a chance to relish in all you DID accomplish on a given day in the past week no matter how small (think jumping in puddles with your 3 year old son).

We're going to try this out every Wednesday for the summer and I hope that some of you jump in with me...I happen to be a bit of a voyeur when it comes to other people's lives...I'm interested in what they're doing, how they're doing it, how they're balancing the good, the hard and the crazy in their days. Learning how others live their lives sometimes helps me to live mine a little bit differently...You?

So, whether you have a blog or not, jot down everything you DID do today. It will make you feel just a little bit better about yourself...I promise! (I did this for the first time a couple of months ago with my husband and it was super encouraging...you can read about that here if you'd like!).

If you're feeling courageous I'd love for you to either leave a comment listing all that you DID do today (or yesterday...or any day from the last week you can remember the details of!), or write your DID DO's up in a blog post and link up below...either way is great!

So...here is my DID DO list from yesterday.


DID DO list from Tuesday, June 19th

- While the girls watched a morning television show on the couch I snuck out onto our back patio to read my Bible and journal. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning and I was working on calming my soul to really BE in my moments throughout the day.

I DID notice the bird singing, the flowers blooming around me, the wind blowing my journal pages, the sun on my face...the peace of God when I finally slowed down enough to see, feel and hear. It was a wonderful way to start my morning.

-I DID make and clean up breakfast (fruit shakes and bagels for the girls, Ezekial toast and grapefruit for me)

-I DID assist in manicures for both girls. The girls lugged the nail polish, a towel, cotton balls and nail polish remover into the kitchen. I was not super excited, but they were so I obliged and helped to remove old polish and trim and paint their nails.

-I DID get a 45 minute workout in at the gym (the girls hung out in their childcare room)

-We DID stop and greet our favorite babysitter hello on the way home from the gym.

-I DID make yummy homemade quesadillas for the girls and a tomato/avacado/cucumber salad for myself for lunch.

-I DID squeeze in a shower while the girls played in their room.

-I DID squeeze in a short nap with Ella by my side.

-I DID spend time doing workbook pages with my 5 year old who LOVES to do workbook pages.

-I DID dress the girls for outdoor play with the neighbors, secure cold water bottles for everyone and then cut the front lawn.

-I DID throw dinner together (Frozen fish, roasted red potatoes, beets from our crop share and green beans)

-I DID watch Diego with Ella after dinner because she was feeling a little blue and asked if I would.

-I DID make it out to Barnes & Noble where I sipped on an herbal iced tea and wrote the majority of this post so that I would NOT need to rush around doing it tomorrow!


How 'bout you? What have you been up to? 






Friday, June 15

Lessons from the Ground



I drove the 30 minutes each way with the girls yesterday to a rural farm in East Aurora to pick up our 2nd portion of the organic crop share we opted to try this year.  Our colorful bounty included things like napa cabbage, garlic scapes, an organic watermelon (grown in Fla. on their other farm. Yum!), beets, radishes and peas, to name a few.

Last week, as we drove the 20 miles to the farm for the first time, I found myself thinking, “Oh man Lisa, what did you get yourself into?! I know we like vegetables, but an hour round trip each week to pick up some cabbage and peas?!”

It was a beautiful day for the ride, last week and this week. Blue skies scattered with wispy clouds offering a cool breeze through our open windows (until the girls whined about the wind at which point we switched to air conditioning--I know, kind of a buzz kill, but the whining was killing more than my happy sunshiny buzz!).

It was the kind of days that make you want to breathe in more and more of all that is good—the literal oxygen your body and soul have been waiting for.

However, the question,   Should I be doing this one more thing? It was a good question to be asking myself. 

I tend to bite off more than I can chew…literally and figuratively. I find myself constantly in this tension of wanting to live life fully and wanting to live life sanely. I find myself wondering if those two ways of living are compatible.

If you read writers like Katrina Kenison (Mitten Strings for God), whom I LOVE, you will be reminded that both can exist. However, in order to achieve sanity you must  be willing to give up some of the things that are making you crazy full to find the things that will make you simply full; like enjoying a beautiful sunset, or eating marshmallows on the back porch with the kids, or maybe simply driving an hour in the car to pick up vegetable from an organic Christian farmer.  

You will have to give up things like running to swimming and tennis and soccer and water ballet and dance and book club…And maybe the tucked in dream that your efforts to run your kids around to 7 different sports in a given week is somehow going to help produce your own homegrown athletic prodigy equipped for the 2020 Olympics.  

(Ava did win the handstand contest at her end of year gymnastics meet last night and is quite proud of her medal…I’m thinking I see Olympics in the future!).

That trip, the farm, the employees, they left me thinking about a few things…Things like my “crop” and what I desire to cultivate in my life, our life as a family.

In some ways I believe each of has our own “crop” to cultivate. Cultivation comes with a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline and a lot of hard decisions; to do some things and not to do others and sometimes we’re not sure if we’re really up to the task.

I am in awe of the work that must have gone into this share of vegetables we take home with us. I admire the weeks and months of planning and work that have gone into preparing soil and choosing seeds. Planting those seeds, watering them, uprooting weeds and nurturing the real growth.
I want to do that in our family.

I want to be able to see the weeds in my own life and pull them out. I want to know which tools I must use in order to help my girls become the strongest and most vibrant versions of themselves that is possible under my guidance. I want to water, and invest time…time and commitment that leads to real growth.

I want to know which tasks to take on and which to let go of in order to be a successful grower of hearts, passions, compassion, self-respect and above all a devout love and respect for our creator…the creator of ALL things.

I’m thankful for this crop share for all of those reasons. For the thirty-minute drive away from my suburban neighborhood, through fields and over hills and across several small towns to where life is growing abundantly. Vegetables remind me of God’s goodness. Pure. Simple. Incredible.

It is why, in all of my naiveté about gardening, we have grown vegetables in our backyard for five years now. Because even if I only get a handful of green beans and a couple of tomatoes, I am reminded of the glory of God in that small bounty. I am reminded to “consider whatever is pure, lovely, and of good repute.” I am reminded that “if there is any excellence and if it is worthy of praise to dwell on these things” and offer my praise in return.

I am reminded to offer my gratitude upwards for the lessons I have learned from the ground. I am thankful for my vegetables and the hope and promise of growth. 

Wednesday, June 13

What I DID Do Wednesdays




Phew...I made it. I got this post up.

Despite my good intentions to have this written by last night (for the background to this post read "What's on Your DID DO List?") so that I would merely need to preview, edit and post this morning (all the things an efficient, organized blogger attempting a link-up would do, right?!), I ended up watching television after the girls went to bed because I was so tired from the long day that stringing words together on a computer screen held so little appeal that the remote, and a fleece blanket and the lure of the flat screen won out.

I will give myself kudos for at least opting for educational television. I've been wanting to watch the Forks over Knives documentary that's been sitting in my instant Netflix queue. I'm a sucker for nutrition documentaries from some reason, particularly those documenting the nation's horrendous eating habits and suggestions for change-- this totally fit the bill!

That said, the flip side was that I woke up this morning harping on myself about not getting this post up sooner...

Ironic, seeeing  as this is a post about what we DO get done in our busy, kid-filled days, not what we DON'T!

Alright, so here it is...What I DID get done yesterday...


Tuesday, June 12th

6:00 Woke up!
(I don't usually get up this early (though I always tell myself I should!), but I had a 6:30 a.m. appointment with the homeopath that I see once a month. She mixes up all sorts of stuff for me. Scott and I call them my "magic potions"!)

6:30 a.m. Homeopath meeting

7:30 Done with meeting, swing into Panera to have a breakfast sandwich and finish a blog post. Pick up bagels for hubby and the girls.

8:30 Home. Sit with Ava at counter while she eats her breakfast. We talk about the day, prayer, kindergarten...all sorts of stuff!

9:30 Take the girls to my moms house. They go there on Tuesdays when my mom has the day free. They LOVE going to grandmas house!

10:00 Make coffee. Check email. Sit and do some focused Bible study and then spend time praying. It was AWESOME.

11:00 Respond to emails. Plan some blog posts. Start this blog post. Make a to-do list for the week.

11:15-11:45 Spend WAY more time than intended trying to figure out how to create a "link-up" at the bottom of this post. I've done it before, but apparently the website I've used in the past now wants money and I wasn't going to pay them...I had to find a new, free, linky resource.

11:45 Eat lunch...(It's good to feed yourself sporadically throughout the day, especially when the munchkins are not around to peck off your plate!)

12:15 Printed submission guidelines for several online/print publications I've considered submitting too.

12:30 Create two folders "Blogging/Writing" and "Home Management". The idea is to turn these into organized binders in an effort to help me reach my goals and be more, well, organized. I've avoided creating these "binders" for weeks because it seemed too time-consuming. I decided I need to approach some of this stuff with baby steps so I created the folders with some notes in each to get me started.

1:00 pick up the girls

1:30 Break up several fights out in the garage over the fact that Ella was counting too fast in the game of hide and seek the girls were playing not giving Ava enough time to  hide. When I peeked my head out the door and found Ella grinning from ear to ear I knew immediately it was no accident...She was driving her sister crazy on purpose. I told her to slow down her counting.

1:45 Have the girls help me put vegetables in the crock pot for dinner. This actually turns into another fight in which Ava wants to be right next to me and Ella is cramping her style. I set Ella up at the sink to "wash" dishes, which she loves to do. She manages to break one of my favorite coffee mugs. I pretend it's not perhaps a safety concern that she is washing ceramic mugs and breaking them. I throw the mug out and we all proceed. Ava grills her about the fact that it was my FAVORITE mug. Big emphasis to make Ella feel REALLY bad. I tell her to stop being to hard on her sister and tell Ella it was ok.

2:15 We head upstairs for some much needed quiet time for mommy. I feel a little guilty because the girls have been done all morning, but I woke up at 5:50 and only got 6 hours of sleep. Scott will be gone all night. Mommy needs a 1/2 hour nap.

3:15 We come downstairs, watch Imagination Movers and have a snack (and coffee for me! ). I upload pictures from Ava's birthday to Walgreens so that we can pick them up later. I spend WAY more time than expected trying to remember my password for Walgreens and getting the pictures loaded (hence the need for a "Home Management" binder where I keep my passwords!!!)

4:00 We got outside to play. There is some drama about spilled bubbles. I negotiate the drama and we move on.

4:45 Make a salad for dinner.

5:00 Watch the girls outside.

5:30 Eat dinner

6:00 Scott leaves for the concert he is going to with my dad, brother and his dad.

6:30 Ella and I go to Walgreens to pick up pictures.

7:15 We get jammies on and put a movie in. It's supposed to be a nice relaxing 45 minutes. WE are watching Sweet Pea Beauty (Veggie Tales). Unfortunately, Ava finds the movie incredibly disturbing (long story, but the Queen gets pink warts and hair patches on her face because she drank a potion which makes her outer appearance reflect her "heart"). Ava is afraid she's going to have nightmares about a purple vegetable queen with pink warts and hair patches.

Oh my.

I pray for her. Come up with replacement things for her to think about, and tickle her arm until she falls asleep. Ella is singing and yelling strange words from her room while I try to settle her sister down. At one point she sneaks in behind me and loudly asks, "What's wrong Ava?!!!"

"Please go to bed," I plead, "I'll be in in a minute."

I settle Ava. Go in and pray with Ella. Come back and settle Ava some more.

8:45 Both girls are finally asleep. I sprinkle pepper flakes onto my garden in an attempt to keep the birds and rabbits out (they've been eating my plants!) and then crash onto the couch!

9:05 I crawl under the blanket and watch the documentary.

11:00 lights out!


So what did you do yesterday?!!!


Here's the goal...pick one day from the last week (last Thursday through today-- feel free to use today and post at the end of the day!) and jot down what you DID get done that day! Every little thing you can think of...because little is BIG in this world. Write your DID Do's up in a blog post and link up at the bottom of the page. Can't wait to read everyone else's lists!




Tuesday, June 12

Book Review: Hiking Through

 If I had seen this book (Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail) on a shelf at a bookstore I might have pigeon holed the potential readers into several narrow stereotypes-- Guys. Woodsman kind of guys. Guys who like gear and mountains and outdoor stuff.

If the "guy" didn't have some sort of inclination for the outdoors, then he'd had to have recently gone through a tough time in his life, emotionally or spiritually, something he was trying to figure out, and therefore would prompt him to be interested in reading a story about someone else trying to figure life out.

I would have also said that women who like gear and mountains and outdoors stuff would like the book as well.

Had I seen the book and made those guesses I would have only been partly right...(perhaps one of life's most important and first learned lessons, 'don't judge a book by it's cover!', not that I was judging so much as making inferences, but maybe that's the same thing sometimes!)

This book is really for anyone who loves a good story, particularly a good true story. It's for anyone who enjoys memoir because of the comfort found in reading the ups and downs of another person's life because you realize that no matter who you are or what you do, life is simply full of ups and downs.

In this book the author, Paul Stutzman is starting at a pretty low point...he has lost his wife to breast cancer and as a way to cope with the loss decided to pursue a life long desire-- to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, all 2,176 miles of it (a feat that takes close to 5 months!). Something that only 1 in 4 people who start out, and intend to "thru-hike", wind up finishing. According to the AT's website, just over 12,600 people have completed the entire trail since 1936 when the first hiker was recorded. However, some of those are section hikers (about 25%) who do sections of the trail over periods of time as opposed to "thru-hikers", who do it all at once, which puts Stutzman and other AT thru-hikers in a category of their own.

Though a restaurant manager by trade prior to his hiking of he AT, it is evidenced by this book that Stutzman is a natural born story teller-- I found myself looking forward to each chapter, staying up late to finish sections of the book and feeling fully invested in the journey our narrator is taking us on. His journey-- to find peace, freedom from the trappings of the world, a reconnection to God and His creation as he physically journeys over and through incredibly varied landscapes and conditions.

What I loved about the book was the way Stutzman weaves so many interesting tidbits and details about the AT into a story about healing and committment to a goal. I learned about backpacks and sleeping bags, snoring trail mates and the importance of good rain gear. I learned about needing a trail manager and about trail magic. I learned that there is an entire culture of people and businesses and relationships formed along this 13 state trail that runs from Georgia to Maine.

There are so many interesting stories about the people that Stutzman meets along the way, well intentioned plans for making progress that are foiled by weather and blisters and wrong turns (all very much metaphors for life if you think about it!), and the beauty and lessons observed in everyday pieces of nature like dandelions..."Surely the dandelion knows secrets of stubborn survival that the giant trees we had seen toppled in the smokies did not."

I love a book that compels me to keep reading the story (a hefty challenge these days with so much competing for my time!) and that makes me feel smarter by the time I'm done because I've learned some really great information about a part of life that I didn't know a whole lot about prior to reading the book.

Stutzman has two primary goals in sharing his story that he reveals at the end of the book: 1) "To remind men (and women) to appreciate what they have-- to not take their families for granted" and 2) To communicate to people that the Christian life "doesn't have to be boring."

I think he accomplishes his goals in the writing of this book. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to read a good story, and particularly to those asking questions of God, who love the outdoors and who want to come away with a bigger appreciation for some of the "smaller" things in life.



(Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book, and no other compensation,  in exchange for an honest review.)

Friday, June 8

What's On Your "Did Do" List?!





Do you ever suffer from 'What I didn't do today' syndrome? 

The kind of thought stream that goes like this..."Grrr...I didn't get ANYTHING done today."

That's usually how it starts. And it's full of SO much truth because all of us busy moms and dads are just sitting around on our bums sipping lemon-aid and staring at the sky from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed. It's great fun really. We don't get ANYTHING done. Ever.

Why we believe these silly thoughts I don't know, but I do. I let them permeate my mind and after I get through the 'I didn't get ANYTHING done today' part, the string of thoughts continues on like a  laundry list...

 "I didn't do the laundry, or run to the store to get that beach towel that was on sale. I didn't take the stuff down to the basement that has been sitting on the basement steps (and is actually a safety hazard at this point!!) for 6 weeks...I'm SUCH a bad mother! I didn't clean out the fridge. I didn't file Ava's kindergarten paperwork. Oh wait, when is Ava's 5 year old physical? I need to look that up because there is something about immunizations and starting kindergarten...and for goodness sakes I'm going to be the ONLY mom whose child will have to sit in the office on the first day of kindergarten because her mother DIDN't figure this all out in a timely manner. Crap. I DIDN'T read that email that my mother in law sent about Disney that I promised her I'd read 10 days ago and shoot, where are those Gap coupons...I DIDN'T put them my coupon folder...shoot."

I'm beginning to realize that this is a form of being a glass half empty person. 


I don't want to be a glass half empty person. 

I HATE that question. Do you look at the glass half full or half empty?!!

"Half full, of course!" I stammer, fearing the opposite might actually be true.

One day, months ago, when Scott and I were both having a "What I didn't do" kind of weekend I pulled out a cheap magnetic white board that I DID buy for teachable moments such as these! I pulled it off the basement stairs, threw it up on the fridge and wrote these words across the top...

"What I DID do today"

We both very easily rattled off 5 or 6 things each of us had done...cutting the lawn, cleaning up the girl's  rooms, playing with them on the swing set, picking up some groceries at the store, returning a call to a family member, getting a 3 mile run in, just to name a few. 

We realized we had actually gotten quite a bit done. We started to feel a little bit better about ourselves, our parenting, our marriage. 

I won't lie. We haven't made a "Did Do" list since that day, but I think I'm going to re-establish the habit this week. I think it's important for me, for Scott, for the emotional outlook and spirit of our household.

In that spirit, I'm also going to start a new blog link-up on Wednesdays..."What I DID DO Wednesdays!"  If you are a mom and a blogger, I want you to write a post on your own page about a day from the last week that did not go quite as you had planned, or maybe it did and you were SUPER productive...either way... keep a tally in a notebook throughout the day of ALL of the things you DID do, little or big, and then throw them in a blog post and link up to my post on Wednesday morning. 

I promise you'll A) feel better about yourself after  you complete the list and B) we'll all enjoy the added benefit of reading each other's DID DO lists, which should by NO means be another way of comparison, but hopefully of realizing that we are all in this crazy boat together. 

Enjoy your weekends. I have another party to get ready for! But I sure am glad I DID get this post written!  


Wednesday, June 6

5 Year Jubilee Celebrations

It's been a big couple of weeks around these parts-- Ava's preschool graduation and then her birthday...her 5th birthday as a matter of fact!!

Mommy has been busy trying to keep up with the festivities. And manage the aftermath of such festivities.

This is about where you can find me at 8:30 at night the last couple of weeks...


On Sunday we had a "family" party, which, as those of you with a lot of family around know, can be quite an event. I think I counted 15 adults and 5 children. Our house is a decent size, but the kitchen is on the small side, we have no dining room (it was taken over and has been occupied by a large gathering of toys and is formally known around these parts as the "playroom") and while June is usually a great time for outdoor events, which is what we had planned, we had monsoon rains on Sunday.

Awesome.

Yup, that meant all 20 of us got to cuddle closely inside.

My parents ate their dinner on the floor in the dining...ahem...playroom....with Ava's two cousins and my sister who sat at this luxurious table...Yes, the one in the corner with the pink, blue and green chairs.

Our "dining" room

Most of the rest of the group squeezed around our kitchen table with the six kitchen chairs added to a fine collection of ratty bar stools and cheap wooden folding chairs.

Super classy. You can see how we roll here.

Want to know the best part...I FINALLY convinced Scott that we were not totally unclassy, trashy folk if we set up a table in the garage, given the weather and all. You see, a lot of people in our town and several towns around like to hang out in their garages all summer...watch t.v., play cards, etc. etc. They set up couches and tables and all sorts of amenities.  I see NOTHING wrong with it...Hey, use the space you have, right?!

Scott grew up in a town where that was a big no, no. You did not, under any circumstances, hang out at tables and chairs watching television in your garage.

No sir. No way. No how.

"Dude," I said, "Get over it."

After egging him on about his snobbish roots for quite sometime (in the most pleasant and wifely egging on of ways!) and listening to his retaliation that it was fine that we set a table in the garage, but that while we were at it he was bringing our bed down, setting up a television and would plug a floor lap in for effect...he finally conceded to my pleading.

And then guess what...

NO ONE SAT IN THE GARAGE!

Oh well.

We had a nice party...Ava was all smiles and thrilled and I was so excited for her. Everyone brought very sweet gifts, with each one lighting up her face just as much as the one before.

We said goodnight, went to bed and woke up on Monday, which was her actual birthday...Scott, Ella and I gave her our birthday gifts on Monday, and then I packed the girls up and drove to this place that has bounce houses and big blow up slides, a 25 minute drive from the house.

Guess what?!

It had closed down!!! Just recently.  Of course. (For friends in Buffalo, Bounce Magic on Niagara Falls Blvd. is no longer in business!)

Fortunately my sister was going to be meeting us and called an immediate plan B, which involved going to Chuckie Cheese because it was 5 minutes down the road...

After almost 3 hours at Chuckie Cheese we went home, took a nap and invited our neighbors to Applebee's for dinner with us. I figured they (as in the wait staff at Applebees) could do the cooking, clean up and singing for one round, right?!

It was quite the day.



Tuesday night we had Bible study. And here we are at today....with me, up until 15 minutes ago staring blankly at a computer screen trying to figure out why it seems like I never have time to blog, or write, or read anything of depth anymore...and then when I do have a few minutes, why my brain feels like someone has syphoned out all of the creative ideas and has erased all chalk marks from my blackboard...I eventually conceded to blog about the only thing my brain could summon up...birthday talk.

If all that wasn't enough, I somehow convinced myself that it would also be a good idea to throw a kids-only princess party for Ava on Saturday.

You see, in February we tried to celebrate Ella's birthday by inviting a couple of her friends as well as our entire family to one party at our house...our small kitchen, no dining room house.

Yeah...that was...um...Chaotic.

So, I knew I didn't want to do THAT again.

I was wise enough to decide that we should have TWO parties instead.

Still trying to figure out if that was wisdom or stupidity.

Next year I think we'll scale it down. But for now, 2 parties down 1 to go.

I caught a google article the other day about the Queens 4-day Diamond Jubilee celebration...I think I subconsciously must have been channeling ideas from the Queens event planners when I started planning Ava's 5th birthday celebration...I mean really, they are of equal importance after all.

Would love to know what other parents do, or what you remember as a child.

For the record, we had boxed sheet cake, a small group of family over and sometimes a friend or two.

I'm beginning to see the beauty in that...

In all reality, I hope Ava has some great memories of her fifth birthday...actually...enough to last her until she's 16...maybe I'll be ready to throw another party then!