Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meatloaf is Our Favorite

I made my husband's favorite dinner tonight- homemade meatloaf, black-eyed peas and corn, and mashed potatoes. When I say "meatloaf", why is it that I always have a horrible picture in my mind? This meatloaf is actually quite tasty, not greasy, and has been a hit everytime I have made it.
What a bonus that the children gobbled it up also.

Jacob especially loved the fresh black-eyed peas and corn. He had three helpings. That child is absolutely fabulous about eating fruits and veggies. His favorites are berries (of all sorts) and salad with tomatoes. He even asked for an apple for dessert the other evening passing up pudding, ice cream and M&Ms. I knew Jacob liked apples; but, I was surprised when he passed up M&Ms.

Nicholas is a bit more finicky, but really also does a good job eating fruits and veggies. I could tell Nick was also surprised that Jacob passed on the M&Ms. He shrugged his shoulders and promptly told me that he would like to eat the M&Ms that Jacob did not want.

I would like to provide the recipe for my meatloaf because it is really quite good and not-so-bad for you. I make it as healthy as possible and no one misses the fat and calories that are missing from using the healthier ingredients.

Crystall's Meatloaf

2 lbs ground turkey (may also use 1lb lean ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey)

1 Packet of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
1/3 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Egg Beaters

3 slices of Heart Healthy 45 Calories and Delightful Whole Wheat Bread (cut into cubes)
4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 medium onion (chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Shape into loaf in a 13X9" pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Great Immunization Debate

I had put it off long enough. I knew it was time, though I did not want to go. I could no longer procrastinate. Today we had to go. She had to go.

I loaded the children in the car today for the trip I have been putting off for quite a while- Lyla's immunizations. Once again, I was facing fears of the potential consequences. I hate being in this situation and worry that I am not doing the right thing. This stinks, but I really do not know what else to do.

For those of you who do not know, my daughter Lyla got very ill back in November. The whole account of the horrible ordeal can be found on my blog post entitled, "A Living Hell". Immunizations are further discussed in one of my favorite posts, "Into The Darkness".

In a nutshell, Lyla was hospitalized for about a month and nearly died. Physicians still do not have any idea what happened to her; and, a reaction or allergy to vaccines cannot be ruled out as the cause of her illness.

So, I feel as though I am caught in the middle of the Great Immunization Debate.

I have always been a huge advocate for childhood vaccines. Being in the health care profession, I have always felt that immunizations are essential for protecting our children from harmful illness and disease. They are the reason why most parents in the United States do not worry that their child will catch Polio, the Measles, Diphtheria, etc.

Now, times have changed and these exact immunizations have suddenly come under scrutiny for actually causing illness and death. Now, in saying this, I know that the physicians and manufacturers centered around this issue are stating that the chance of allergic reaction or sensitivity is very remote. However, even if it is remote, what if one of the few children that had the reaction was your child, or your baby? Would there be a change in your stance in this debate?

As I stand now, I will still go and get my children their vaccines. Neither of my sons had any issues with their immunizations and it has not been proven that the vaccines caused Lyla's illness. But, I cannot hide my fear and will not minimize my concerns. While the country is trying to get everything "Green", why not try to better our immunizations and create preservative and additive-free vaccines? Oh wait, the rebuttal would involve the expense of doing so, I am sure. Once again, I retort, if it were your child, any amount of money would be worth it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Discipline for Nick- A Strong-Willed Child

For three days Nick has flat-out refused to listen. He has done things deliberately, even though he knows what he is doing is wrong. In an attempt to get my attention when I was on the phone, he licked my arm. Yes, you heard it folks...he licked me. I seriously have no idea where that came from. We don't lick each other (just in case any of you are reading this and now wondering). Nick also has pulled on the Ethernet cord of our desktop computer numerous, numerous times- all of which I told him to stop. Yesterday he pulled on it and the box for the wireless Internet tumbled off of the desk to the floor. I was quite angry, so I told him that he needed to leave the computer area and go play elsewhere. He did and I really thought the issue was over.

Later that day, I noticed our computer having some issues connecting to the Internet. I fooled around with a some things: turned a few things off and on and checked all of the change. Then, when my husband came home he asked me angrily why I had plugged both ends of the Ethernet cord into the box. "I didn't", I replied, confused. Why the hell would I do that? He retorted, "Whatever! I know you did, because I didn't." See what I have to deal with? "OK, I KNOW I didn't do it. I am not crazy here and I am not lying. SO, if I didn't do it, and you didn't do it.....(thoughts are going through my head and I remember Nicholas being upset when he knocked over the box)...NICK probably did it".

After confirming my suspicions, I reiterated to Nicholas that he is under no circumstances to touch that box or those wires. Again, I was thinking the issue was over. Now, this morning I had to speak with him yet again about playing with the wires. Nick has also been trying to scare Jacob by growling in his face and chasing him. I have also told him "NO!" about this several times, but he has continued. He has even been sent to his "Bad Boy Seat" with no success. These are only a couple of Nick's antics over the last few days, there are many more; but, I do not have the patience to type about all of them. Besides, I think you get the picture.

I know exactly what I have done wrong here. With Nicholas, I cannot give him an inch of leeway. He will always take a mile. He is the type child that always pushes the envelope. If there is something he can do, he will do it. It is the way he is, the way his personality is. From the first day he could stand, he was trying to stand on top of the seat on his rocking motorcycle. He is wild; he is a warrior....he is what people refer to as "strong-willed". So, I have to discipline him in a different way. I must be very constant, even somewhat rigid. No swaying. No, "Well....OK"s. Nicholas has a very strong personality. It is for his own comfort that I must be stronger. A strong-willed child without strong boundaries will always be insecure. I have read a couple of books that have backed the exact things that I am stating here now. Please read them is you are dealing with similar issues.

"Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child", by Robert J. MacKenzie, ED.D.
"Raising Children Without Going Insane", by Jane Evans. <---I really love this one.

When Nick first did a few of these antics, I did not drop everything and make him go sit in his bad boy chair. I gave him a warning- an opportunity to make it right. I know this sounds fine....but for Nick, it is not. With Nicholas, if you know that he already knows better....he does not get the warning, only the punishment.

By giving repetitive warnings, I allow myself to get emotionally wrapped up because after correcting him so many times, I get angry and frustrated. Wrong move. The issue needs to be addressed very early on, preferably right that moment.

When I no longer provide Nick with the warnings and jump straight to the consequences for his wrong-doings a miraculous thing happens- he really straightens up. This is discipline the way Nicholas needs. Sometimes, when my husband sees me practicing this routine, he thinks I am being a little too rigid. But, I tell you other mothers, when I use this method, it does not fail. I once read that "Discipline is not what you do TO your children, it is what you do FOR your children". I do this FOR Nicholas. He responds positively every time.

SO, now we are left to get out the big guns. OK-not BIG GUNS literally. But the term "get out the big guns"- getting out the punishments that are reserved for the biggest of misbehaviors. A few nights without his nightly 30 minute movie time and he will be back to being my well-behaved angel. I figure his angelic behavior should last about 10 hours. That's right about the time he will be waking up tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trash Men

It was a good morning. Although my children all were awake at the same exact moment that the sun just peeked over the horizon, my husband was still home and he started the whole morning routine for them. As I drug myself out of bed, I figured that since my husband was still home I would hurry and get dressed. My aim was to subtly remind him what a beautiful wife he will return to by choosing my most fashionable morning attire. A black tank top (left over from yesterday's wardrobe) with several small food splatter marks from yesterday's dinner, blue sweatpants that grip my thighs in the perfect way, and my glasses from several seasons ago- no bra of course. I knew if the sweatpants did not work, surely the tank top would. My wardrobe choice was ideal for accentuating just what a lucky man my husband is. By drawing more attention to my pendulous 38 long sized breasts, he would surely be running gleefully home as soon as the clock hits 5 this evening.

After giving my husband a long wet kiss at the door-morning breath an all, I heard the trash man approaching in the distance. The highlight of each Monday and Thursday morning is watching the trash truck collect our trash. I thought that I would give my children a special treat today and allow them to see the action up close. I quickly gathered them, opened the door and let them all stand on the porch watching. The huge truck approached; and, the nice driver honked his horn and waved. The boys returned the wave, flailing their arms around wildly. I noticed the nice man who was loading the truck barely glance in my direction. I figured that he must think that he is much too high class to associate with us. We watched the truck drive off and returned inside.

Once we came in, both boys happily exclaimed that they knew exactly what profession they were going to be later in their lives: trash men. I tried to hold back my emotions as I was really so very proud of them. When I felt as though there was no way I could possibly be more fulfilled, Nicholas told me he didn't want to just be a trash man, he wanted to for sure be the guy who is putting the trash into the back of the truck-"not just the trash guy who was driving".

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

My husband, children and I absolutely love the book, "Where the Wild Things Are". When I think of the title, I really think of my home; because, here is where the wild things are. Two Tasmanian devils hit the floor running each and every day in my home at 6am. If I am otherwise occupied and not controlling what is going on in our home (i.e. talking on the phone) the children run like wild banshees, toys flinging here and there. Our home can go from tidy, well....straightened, to a disaster area in a matter of ten minutes. Although I really do try to keep this kind of mess to a minimum, I will never win this battle. I have three children-two of which think that when I am on the phone or in the bathroom, their God given purpose on Earth is to run rampant throughout the house tearing up everything in their path.

Well, I better get used to it-the boys aren't going anywhere and they'll be young for quite a while longer. When the day comes that they are all grown up and my house is tidy and my life has gone back to a much slower pace, I will look at the floor and miss these times.

By the way, Where The Wild Things Are will be released as a movie October 16, 2009. We can't wait. It may very well be the first movie we will all attend as a complete family.

For further info, the movie link is You have got to check this out!

Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics

Yesterday we spent our morning at Lowe's. They have a really great program for children every-other-Saturday called the Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics. These workshops provide hammers, nails, a detail and illustration-filled flyer, and tables to build your project. Also, on your first visit, your children receive a Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic apron with clear work goggles to bring back to each of your clinic visits. This program is completely free of charge and open to children of all ages. Having attended several of these, I would think ages 2-12 are those who would get the most enjoyment. No purchase is required. This does require an adult to be present. Young children are not typically able to build these without some sort of assistance; and Lowe's does not provide anyone to help instruct or build. They only provide the equipment and the location.

The boys really think that this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Every-other-Friday night the boys jump into their beds excitedly talking about the next day-their "Lowe's Day". We have now completed close to twenty workshops and have received patches for our aprons to show just how cool (and talented) we are.

By the way, I have spent many many hours sewing on these patches. Initially I thought I would just hand-sew them. After the first couple of patches, I realized that was a really bad idea. It took me too long and the aprons didn't look as good as if I were to get out the sewing machine.

So, reluctantly, I got it out. And, let me tell ya, it was a learning experience all over again. It had been many years since I had sewn anything. I figured I could easily jump right in because I remember how to sew, right? Well, no again. The tension was all messed up and I had to break out the directions several times to relearn how to adjust the tension on the thread and on the bobbin. It took me hours to get it right. Then, when I did get it right, I was not at all in practice. I sewed the string of Nick's apron to the front panel. Of course, I had to fix that. Then, it looked like a blind person had sewn it. Then again, maybe a blind person would have done a better job. After several more weeks of practicing with patches, I finally got good at it. I went back and removed and reattached the patches that were sewn on before I became such a sewing expert.

Here is a picture of Nick's apron. How cool is that?!

For anyone who is interested in taking their children (younger than teenagers) to a fun and free project, you can check your local Lowe's schedule by searching online at this link:

I hope you and your children will enjoy these as much as we do. Free and fun projects to do with your children-what more could you ask for?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Questions About Blogging

Well, hello everyone! It's not that often that I speak directly to my audience. I figure there is a first time for everything. So, Hi, Hello, Hola, etc etc. I don't know very many of those, or rather, I can't think of them right now. Ever since having the children, sometimes, I am really out there. And, when I mean out there, I mean far out there.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank for posting my blog on their home page for the last two days. I was completely overjoyed and flattered that I made such an impression. A spot on the home page? As my children say, "How cool is that?!" For a couple of days, I was a celebrity! :) I guess that was my fifteen minutes of fame. Oh well, just like most great things- gone in a flash.

No updates yet on the big secret. I know many of you are waiting to find out the big scoop. We are still waiting on an important phone call, then maybe....just maybe....I can talk about it. I need to have a conference with my husband. What a drag it is that I just can't blahbitty blah blah blah about this.

Currently, I am trying to figure out exactly what it takes to get more readers for a blog. Truthfully, prior to writing one, I had never read a blog. Does that make me horrible? I just one day had the urge to write....and a few weeks passed.....and the urge came back.....again and again. So, I decided to do it. Then, I started finding out all of this cool stuff about blogging. I think I have been trapped in a black hole for the last four years. I remember always being on the computer and really being "up" on the technology thing. Now, I am seriously behind the times. Hopefully with some time, I can catch up again.

Back to the readers thing: What makes people want to read a blog? I am sure they have to be entertained, I understand that; but what else? Is blogging mainly a word-of-mouth thing? Maybe I need to shorten my blogs. This is of course difficult for me because I can just have one topic run into another topic that runs into another topic all day long-thus the name of this blog. Maybe I just need to try and stick with my funnier stuff versus my serious stuff. I have tried to do a few things that I read would improve my stats, but am not sure how well they are working. It could just take some time.

If anyone has some insight, please tell me. Nicely, if you don't mind. Something like..."You suck, that's why no one reads, idiot!" is not a welcome response. Oh no, one thought...if I have very few readers, who will answer this question? Smart, Crystall!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Strangers I Have Met

The Grey's Anatomy episode that aired tonight was not a rerun like I expected. It has been several weeks since I have seen anything but a rerun. I really don't watch very many shows, so when I actually have a show that I enjoy, I am really counting on seeing it.

This evening's episode included a story about a terminally ill child. I find this topic extremely disturbing, much like most people I suppose. I find it most bothersome because I have seen it first hand. I am a certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Basically, I have a license to give people radioactivity to either treat or diagnose disease. Then, I take pictures of how their organs work. Blah blah blah, I know this is not exciting. But, what is exciting is the people that I have met. I don't know them, not really. I only see them for a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. Then, I say goodbye-never really knowing what happens to them after they walk out the door. I suppose part of that is good. It allows me to keep my distance and not let myself get upset. But, after years in my field, I found I was much better at my job when I let my guard down a little and became human.

When I was in school, I remember I had a 3 yr old little girl as my patient; she had leukemia. I was waiting for her to arrive to our department to start her scan. Just then, from around the corner she came, standing up on the base of the IV pole. She was happily giggling, gripping the pole for dear life on her wild ride down the hallway. She was a beautiful girl. She had pale skin, long wavy blond hair and the brightest of blue eyes. Her parents were following closely behind. I asked her to get up on the table with a huge camera looming overhead. She never shuddered. She was fearless- more courageous than I would have been. As her scan ran, I just looked at her thinking that she really needed to have that bravery because her life would inevitably have a very premature ending. Her scan was clear, but I knew that her road would be a tough one. She jumped back on the IV pole and rolled away. I never saw her again; but, I have also never forgotten her. It has been ten years.

Above is a picture of one of our cameras.

Once, I had an elderly male patient who had been treated for prostate cancer. He was being scanned for spread of his disease to his bones. He laid quietly, not moving a muscle while the camera slowly moved over him. As the scan went on, I could see that the cancer had spread and it was at that time consuming his entire skeleton. How unfortunate his case was-he was such a nice man. He got up and as I walked him out to his car he said, "Crystall, I have seen you every six months for the last two years for this test. I am tired and I am afraid this will be our last meeting". I smiled at him and tried to focus through the tears welling up in my eyes. I knew he was right and it was not fair. I hugged him, not saying a word. But I did not give it away, he knew and he was ready.

These are not much unlike every other case I have seen. I have seen so many. I consider it a not-so-desirable part of my profession. But, I love nuclear medicine none-the-less; because, I feel like somehow I am helping. Sometimes the help I give is when my scan definitively diagnoses cancer before it has spread too far to be treated. Other times, my help is just being supportive when my patient is scared to death and gripping my hand during the scan. And, I suppose other times, my help is provided by just giving a smile or a hug. Some technologists don't do that, but it's just fine by me. Because, I can take it when I go home and still think of those people years and years later. For me, their life is worth my thoughts, whether I really knew them or not.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memoirs of a Trailer Park Girl

I was thinking about my last post and realized that some people reading may not understand my humor. I think if they read many of my other posts that they would quickly realize that the whole "trailer park" thing was all in fun. After all, I came from a very meager background, even lived in a trailer long ago. I am sure that some of my family still live in trailers. Who cares?

As a matter of fact, I loved our trailer. It was my home-mine and my mother's. I thought it was a great place. One room was mine, one was my mom's. The rooms were attached by a small kitchen and living room. We didn't have a lot, but I didn't notice. I was happy- we were happy. I had all the toys that I needed. I thought it was so cool when I wore my princess pajamas around on Halloween night one year. My mom made me a wand and a crown out of aluminum foil; I don't think I wore shoes. I was so pretty.
I had a record player that was orange and folded up like a suitcase. Man, I loved that thing. I had little records thrown all around my disastrous room. I kept my room like a pig sty. One day my mom came in my room, saw that I had stepped on some of my records and they were broken. I remember her sitting on my bed and crying. It is only now that I know how she felt. I called her a couple of months back and apologized. She didn't even remember- but I do.

My mother had me when she was sixteen. In high school she discovered she was pregnant, was horrified and even tried to throw herself down a flight of stairs to end the pregnancy. She was scared of her parent's reaction, and probably more scared of being a mother. Thinking back to when I was sixteen, I can certainly understand why. She made it through, got her GED and put herself through school, getting a computer technology certification from a local technical college while working nights at a fish house. My mother did the best that she could, and it was plenty for me. She did marry my father for a brief time, but he was no father. He wanted to be free and single- not tied down with a wife and a kid. He still continues to be a phantom, coming into and out of my life only for brief periods. I suppose that may be all that he can give, it continues to be the way that he lives; but, I make no excuses for him. I do not bear grudges or miss his presence- he was never there, so how can I miss what I have never had?

All that I am, I owe to my mother- who worked so hard to provide me more than the trailer park. Standing here today, I feel that I have beat the odds. I am no longer that trailer park girl. But, I am in no way ashamed of where I came from. Those things have made me who I am today. I look back on those days fondly; because, they were wonderful for me. So, my mother was very successful at mothering at such a young age. Because mothering is all about raising (or rearing) happy and healthy children.

I know it is late, but thank you so very much, Mom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Kind of Barbie Am I?

I just took a little quiz on Facebook called "What Barbie Doll Are You?". First, let me say that these quizzes are something that people with some extra time to waste often do to pass time or be entertained. Well, I was in a wanting-to-be-entertained mood earlier so I decided to take this quiz. The quiz was a series of questions and the quiz-taker chooses which answer, A, B, C, or D best describes them. I tried to answer the questions honestly, though a few of the questions failed to provide an answer that really described me.

These are my results.

Crystall took the What Barbie Doll are you? quiz and the result is Trailer-Park Barbie

you have split ends, 3 kids, you smoke too much and drink cheap beer. you've never been out of the country, except maybe to canada for the weekend with your high-school girlfriends. you know the words to every bon jovi song. you still play cassette tapes on your old boom-box. you married your high-school boyfriend, whom you divorced after he ran off with "candy" - the stripper from the next town. there's a bright side, still wear a size 2, one of the benefits from smoking too much and other, um, life habits. when drunk, you either fight or f*k, and the later has gotten you thrown in jail, so watch out - slow down on the booze and try to lay off the camels while you're pregnant with number 4.

I posted my results on my Facebook page and received a ton of comments.

My response is...

"HONNNEEYYY, bring me a beer and my cigarettes! I asked the neighbor to get me some earlier 'cause the disability check came in. Ya know he's got a car right? Must be nice! He came back with MGD. What?! Does he think we're rich or somethin'?

I was all: What the hell?

He was all: Wha?

Oh well! Did you fix that VCR we found yet? I think it just needs new batteries. I have some in the milk crate sittin' by the bed. I would looovvve to watch one of my old porn videos. I was really good in 'Jazzmyn does Vegas'. Push play on the boom box too. Bon Jovi is callin' my name! WOOHOO! Let's Parrrrrtay!"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Honesty Honestly

I have skipped writing blogs for a few days here and there over the last week or so. I do not like doing that and hope that the readers that I do have will bear with me. I have had two situations come up that really occupied a lot of my thinking and really made it difficult to let out my creative side. I will explain the basics so that you will perhaps understand my absence. Further discussion will inevitably be a part of a future blog or two....or twenty, when the timing is more appropriate.

First, someone in my family was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The "family" reference is a little complicated with this story, but this person was a very important part of my daily life at one time. She still remains one of the most dynamic people in my life; although, our relationship is distant. I would not be the same person had it not been for this person's influence, guidance, acceptance and love. I owe her a great debt of gratitude. The news of her illness was not only packed with shock, denial, and sadness, but was also another door to my past suddenly flung ajar.

Additionally, I received information via mail carrier that has the potential to rock my entire family. This information is huge and for now has to remain somewhat a secret until the details are confirmed as truth. I will say, though, that I will only remain silent until it is more appropriate to divulge such information. I am sure that once the cat has been let out of the bag, I will need extensive therapy. This blog will inevitably be my therapy.

Now, about keeping this big secret, it stinks! I hate this. This is such a large issue that I need to talk about it. I need someone else to know. I loathe dishonesty. I especially want to be forthright with the people that this will eventually affect. Secrets eat away at me. I feel like this must be some personality trait of mine. I would love to say that the reason I always have so many things to tell is because I am honest. Well, although that may be true on some level, I really feel that sometimes I just have to have someone else hear (or read) what I am going through. Is it that I want to share my pain? Hm. I don't know. Is that why woman always blab? Blahbitty blahbitty blahbitty blah! Do women just HAVE to run their mouths to feel better? Maybe I do. Is this the deep down roots of gossip?

When I decided to start writing this blog, I wanted it to be honest. I wanted my true self to shine through. I wanted to be open with myself and with whoever chose to read about me. Mostly, I wanted to openly write about the things that have made me who I am today. Maybe I wanted to share some of the happiness and some of the pain. I wanted to share who I have become and where one day I would like to end up. I wanted to write about my children- both great and horrible days at home with them. And, how it is OK to have both. I wanted to share both my triumphs and tribulations as a mother. I wanted to pose questions about life and motherhood that make people think-the same ones that make me think. This blog is honestly me.

So, don't worry- I don't keep secrets. If I have missed a few blogs, you will definitely hear why! By the way, the skipped blogs are hopefully a thing of the past. In the blogging world, if you write occasionally, people will only read occasionally. Honestly, I better get writing!

Tattoo Boy

A few months back, while I was trying to catch up on some much needed sleep, Nicholas was feverishly writing on himself in his room. He was creating a masterpiece like no other. Black dry erase marker was scribbled all over the place: his forehead, his belly, his arms, his legs, even his back-how did he manage that? He was also writing on several random toys around in his room, really making them "look better" according to him.

So, a few moments later, when Nicholas came standing in front of me, I was so very proud. As my eyes cracked open, there in front of me was Nicholas' bright smile and an example of his beautiful artwork.

After some interrogation I discovered that Nicholas wanted some tattoos to be more "like Daddy". Since my husband has around forty tattoos, I should probably consider myself lucky
that it was only dry erase marker-one day it may be the real thing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Minivan- The Death of A Dream

A while back we purchased a minivan. I have never wanted a minivan. In fact, I have always declared since I saw the first minivan and thought it resembled a woman's plaything on wheels that I would never own one. They are the quintessential symbol of motherhood and the automobile of everyone no longer young, beautiful and vibrant. Quite simply, they are the death of coolness.

Well, the years passed and my coolness faded anyway, I suppose. The body styles of minivans(thankfully) have changed and they have become a car that has so many benefits for families, they can no longer be shunned.

We purchased a Nissan Quest, fully loaded. The only way I would agree with my husband to make the purchase is if it had all of the options and accessories. I figured if this was the death of my attractiveness, it needed to go out with style. I still needed to get past a few of my hangups about minivans, but that would surely help. Even while signing the paperwork, I had bad thoughts. For this money, I could be purchasing the SUV of my dreams. But, those thoughts were irrational. Yes, I suppose we could have gotten a very nice SUV, the kind of SUV that oozes coolness. We could have afforded a new Nissan Pathfinder Armada. However, both my husband and I thought the minivan had much more family-oriented gadgets for the money. We also thought the gas mileage would be better and the minivan's roominess would be wonderful. No more lifting the children up high into my Pathfinder, now we would be set.
My dream SUV above (tears rolling down my face, with big bottom lip poking out)

Since making this purchase, I have discovered that having a minivan is quite nice. The children love watching movies. So much so that I have made a new rule to only watch a movie when we are going somewhere at least 30 minutes away. If the destination is closer, too bad. Children do not need to watch movies every time you go somewhere. Heck, what happened to looking out the window? Spoiled kids!

And, the death of my attractiveness has not come with the minivan-or maybe it has. I am probably in a dream world. The same dream world that I was in several years back when I was wearing an ankle bracelet and was told by a coworker that I was "stuck in the 80s". AAAGGHH! Within seconds the ankle bracelet was a distant memory, shoved deep in my pocket. Now it is buried in my jewelry box waiting for the day when ankle bracelets are back in style. But then again, when they actually are "cool" again, I won't know it. :)

Good Morning

Good Morning Everyone!

I know, chances are that when you are reading this it will no longer be morning, but I decided to write it anyway. I am up bright and early as usual. It was a 6am wake up for Lyla, who became famished and needed nourishment, since she is clearly skin and bones.

Here is a picture of our undernourished daughter. Lyla is actually in the 50th percentile for her weight, but she sure looks like a chunk in this photo. Maybe it's a bad angle. :)

Anyway, I was up with Lyla and since I am usually awakened by Jacob around 6:30am I was not able to go back to sleep. The commotion with my husband getting up and getting ready for work around the same time did not help. So, here I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. One thought: why is it that the one day that I actually cannot sleep past 6am is the same day that Jacob and Nicholas actually sleep in? I swear, this happens maybe once -a-month, but never fails. I am up when they are not. How is this fair?

I know that my posts have been a little unpredictable in the last week. I am trying to remedy that. I have found that when I am bothered by something or overly stressed I do not have much creativity. The "real me" fails to shine through in my writings. I would very much like to write about these things that are bothering me; however, the time is not yet appropriate. It is much easier to put a comedic spin on stressful situations when they are in the past.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

War Wounds

Today at the park, Jacob got a war wound. He was scratched in the face by an evil child. His scratch is small, but runs from the corner of his left eye running down the side of his cheek. I have run into several evil children in my comings and goings with Nick, Jacob and Lyla, some of which are my own. The evil child pops out sometimes for only a split second, but that second can be plenty. I was told that Jacob was yelling in the little boy's face prompting him to attempt scratching out Jacob's eyeballs. On some level, I do empathize with the little boy; who wants a psycho yelling in your face? But, when the psycho is my child, well, I try to be a little more patient.

Luckily, Jacob did not turn in to an instant drama king. Everyone else in our family would have. Trust me. My husband and I have bred a home full of over-the-top emotional children. Actually, I figure the children are just taking after us. At times, both Rick and I are overly sensitive and emotional. If any of our children happened to be born without this trait, an instant DNA test would be appropriate to verify the obvious: a switch at birth.

All of this talk about being emotional leads me to another example of a war wound.

Natalie, my husband's youngest sister, who is now 18yrs. old, got a scratch on the top of her foot once during one of our visits. It was not a deep scratch; it was not bleeding. It was merely a break in the skin on the top of her foot in the shape of a line. Well, I remember that she totally freaked out, balling her eyes out. She sat on the kitchen floor, looking closely at the scratch whimpering that the scratch was overlying a vein on her foot, and that she would inevitably need medical assistance. Hilarious! Her mother promptly asked her if she needed to go to the ER to which she responded, "Nooooo!" with her bottom lip poking out. Please keep in mind the most important part of this story.... Natalie was then 14.

Now, when our children make a huge deal out of an extremely minor injury, we ask, "Do you need to go to the ER?" Nick has recently caught on and now says yes.

The False Alarm

We had a false alarm today.

Nicholas has had a "fluency" problem while speaking that started a few months after he learned to talk. His issue has not been classified as a stutter and is really considered a mild case but we were concerned about him none-the-less. Children now-a-days can be so mean and we really wanted to get him some speech therapy very early to help solve the problem. Maybe if we knew what was causing the problem, we could help. Well, that was a couple of years ago. Now, since we have moved to Las Vegas, we have been taking Nick to speech therapy at the local primary school. He seems to enjoy himself and likes going to the "big boy school" once a week. Today was his speech therapy.

After Nick's school, we had plans to go to the park with my husband's mother and her husband (the in laws). They will be referred to as Grandmommy and Granddaddy in future writings. They are in town for a few weeks and have been joining in on all of the fun around the house. So, when they arrived, we all rushed out the door, piling into the minivan for some fun. The wind around here was starting to kick up, but I figured that we had quite a few hours before it would be too bad. Now, for anyone who has not been to Las Vegas, the winds can be terrible here. We have had several bouts of 65mph winds in our neighborhood in the last month. These winds kick up dirt, dust, pollen and trash all over the place.

We were all having a good time at the park. Nicholas was trying his best to climb somewhere not designated as a climbing area in an extreme attempt to injure himself. Jacob was trying to assert himself in the face of another boy on the play gym, who incidentally retaliated by running his fingernails down Jacob's left cheek. Granddaddy was a witness to this and reported back that the other child was truly a devil's spawn, so he grabbed Jacob and decided to go play somewhere else. Lyla was her happy self, wildly rocking to and fro with a huge grin on her face in her stroller.

Then, my phone rang.

"Hello. This is ADT. Your home alarm has been tripped and a response unit is being sent to your home. Will you be arriving to meet them?"

"Yes", and that was it. The end of our fun.

As I was driving home, I was wondering out loud to the grandparents about how the alarm could be false. I could not think of many ways. Then, I thought silently about how I would feel if my home were actually broken in to. I am sure I would not be happy. Thoughts of strangers looking through our things, taking what they want, and sifting through our private lives ran through my head. They would be unwelcome trespassers stealing my sense of security.

Would I ever again feel safe in my own home?

We drove up to our house and saw one of the front double doors wide open. Our dog, Rhett was sitting happily in the doorway, watching us get out of the car. I guess the wind had blown the door open. It was not locked or even properly closed before our departure. I cannot believe that escaped my notice and was bothered by my lack of attention. I figure our routine was a bit disrupted from the norm by having the grandparents over, and when they arrived they entered through our front door that is often unused. We really have very few guests to our home and always use the garage door for our entrance and exits. Whatever the reason, it will not happen again. I make many errors, but pride myself on not making the same one too many times.

In the end, I am grateful that it was a false alarm. Many people have to live with having their homes broken into and their insecure feelings afterward. I feel lucky that we sit each day, playing with our toys, coloring, painting, cooking,...whatever, not much worrying about who could bust through our door at any given moment uninvited. In this city, it happens so frequently. We are very fortunate and happy to have a false alarm.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sticking to Exercise

I feel the lactic acid buildup in my muscles. The aching, the throbbing, the feeling that makes you want to get up and do another workout. My bum, thighs and chest ache with every movement I make. Oh the joys of getting back into shape.

I have been diligently working out for close to two weeks. I am making much progress and have really enjoyed myself. I did not expect that. I have found that having a little time to myself and actually using it to do something that benefits only myself feels wonderful. After one week, I was down 3 pounds and had lost 1.5" off my waist, .5" off my thighs, and 1" off my hips. I refuse to measure again until I hit the two week mark in a few days. I have to say, this has thus far been a nice addition to my day.

I have been making time to exercise during the children's nap time. I have had to skip a few days when Lyla has boycotted sleeping, but for the most part I have been successful trying to keep to the exercise routine. I went out and purchased a new exercise DVD that I also really enjoy. It combines cardio, weight training and ab work into one workout. The video is hosted by Gillian (whatever her last name is) from The Biggest Loser. I figure she gets some major results on that show, it should be a good workout for me. Although I do not need lose nearly as much weight at those on the show, I think the workout is exactly what I need. Losing weight is not really my main goal anyway, although it is definitely a perk. I really want to feel strong and healthy. With that, I will most likely lose weight, look and feel better.

From time to time I will probably mention my workouts and my diet though I know they make for boring blogs. I think that if I am really dedicated to making this diet and exercise change a constant part of my life, it will surely come up as conversation here occasionally. If fitness makes you gag, maybe you should also try changing your mindset. It is good to be healthy, and as moms don't we want to be around to be grandmothers one day? What a weird thought I just had: me as a mother-in-law. Hm.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Not All Change Is Bad

When my husband and I first got together, I remember picking up some subtle hints that he did not want to ever have children. At the time, I didn't really mind. Most days, I wasn't sure he would last long enough that it would matter. What a grouch!

Well, time went on and we became more serious. Knowing that I did want children, I decided it was time to have "the discussion". I hate these type discussions when you are dating, but one day they have to happen. So, I approached him on a very happy day. He stuck to his guns, stating that children were probably not in his future. Thinking that he was much too selfish to ever become a good father anyway, I cut my losses and told him that our lives were going in different directions. I reminded myself of the rule I was living by: Never ever change your religion, get rid of a pet, or change your decision about future children for a man. At the time, men seemed so unreliable. I was not willing to bend on those issues if a few months later they would be out the door anyway. And, my relationship with God.....change it for someone else? No way-not me.

Fast forward nine years and here we are. How times have changed! If you had told me back then that I would be sitting here now, I would not have believed you. Really, I always wanted children but never thought I would have three! You would have never convinced me that I would ever be a stay-at-home mom. I had a very rewarding career that I loved. I would have never expected to live in Las Vegas. At that time, I really never cared to ever visit LV-let alone relocate.

I think there are a lot of things that both my husband and I did not expect. But, we both honestly love where we have ended up. Don't get me wrong- Las Vegas has not exactly been great for us. If I go into all of that I could write another ten pages. What I mean is, as far as our life with our relationship and our children, things have turned out wonderfully. We both know that we are lucky. We have three healthy, smart, beautiful children that can always erase a bad day the moment we walk through the door. We have each other and really love one another deeply. It is just as it should be. I, rather we, still have my dog; and, I have not left my religion or pushed it aside. I know I am very blessed and realize that at any moment things could change. They always can. But for now, I choose not to worry about what horrible things could happen. You can't live life like that. I can choose to look at all I do have, all the changes that have been good in my life, and thank God for it.

Oh, and by the way, Rick has really turned out to be an awesome father- the selfishness of his younger years barely evident. I could really ask for nothing more.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Moms Are So Catty!

Why as mothers do we judge other mothers so harshly?

You would think that us mothers would be the only people on the face of the planet to really understand each other's plight. After all, we share the same lives, in some way or another. Case in point: I watched part of the Oprah episode the other day that featured a popular mom blogger. I decided after watching the show that I wanted to check out her blog. She had posted a blog about vaccines for children and stated that she just did not understand why some people choose not to vaccinate their children. Well, let me tell ya, moms all over the world went crazy over her blog. Everyone had their own opinion, some were even putting each other down. It is really such a shame. I think the whole thing that makes me somewhat sad is that all of the mothers have the same goal: keeping their children happy and healthy. They agreed on that. But, from reading the comments, I was very disturbed. Some people were really mean to the author of the blog for stating her opinion openly, knowing that she was opening up a huge can of worms. Why? Why in a day and age of everyone trying to understand everyone else's human rights do people think that this woman has no right to have her own opinion and state it on her own blog? Ridiculous. If the author's point was to get people talking, it worked. If more people talking leads to better and safer immunizations for everyone, the author did something wonderful. Besides, it is her blog and her feelings- others do not always have to agree.

Team Spirit

In our home, being a part of the family means helping. Nick is expected to help Jacob, Jacob is expected to help me. Nick is also expected to help me. Rick and I obviously help the children. Rick and I help each other. "It's the rules" is what I say to my children. And, it is.

I made up that rule when Nicholas was first old enough that he wanted some responsibilities. "I want to help you!", he used to whine. I decided that by giving him some purpose, that he may get some self-gratification for it. I was right. He was indeed proud that he had accomplished some feat. He was also helping me, even if the task was so small. Nick just loved having acted like "a big boy" by doing something for me all by himself.

So, as time went on, Nick continued to help the same way that Jacob now does. Now, I have decided to take it to the next step and expect the help of my children. I am very much aware that some parents do not do this. Great for those folks. But, as for my household, we are a team. We always will be.

We all do our part to help with the smooth functioning of our home. We all chip in. The boys bring me their laundry baskets, they help carry in groceries from the car, and they pick up their toys. They both help me load the dishwasher with their dishes from meals; and, they help wipe the tables after eating. They help set the table for dinner. They have become a part of helping with many many daily tasks.

I feel that it is a good way for our children to have some responsibility. They learn that when they make a mess, it requires cleaning. Obviously, I do not want them thinking that it is OK to expect others to clean up the mess that they have made. It is their responsibility to at least help to right the wrong.

I am not trying to get out of work or crack the evil mom whip; but, I do want the children to realize that we are a family- a team. We all work together to make it work. And, in turn, we all reap the benefits. Together they make a mess, and together we all clean it up. I hope to give them a sense of teamwork and family. I do not want our children to think that helping me or my husband is a favor. It can be, but really, I feel that children should be taught to consider themselves as part of a family unit. I do help the children with these things; contrary to what some people may be thinking, I am not sitting around eating Bonbons yelling, "Mush!!!" at the kids. How proud we all feel when we dance around and give each other "high fives" when the house is so clean!

We are a team and we work together always. My children will never be alone; together our family team will accomplish anything that we want.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mrs. Crabby Pants

When either of my sons is in a bad mood, I walk around calling him "Mr. Crabby Pants" all day long. Well, right now, I am "Mrs. Crabby Pants". I am not quite sure what my problem is. I am irritable. I also seem to be much more sensitive than the norm and little things are really bothering me. I am not really in a creative blogging mood; I am in a grouchy mood. I have a frown on my face that can be seen from a mile away. What's my deal?

Earlier today I caught myself getting upset about some child taking Jacob's truck at the park. I saw the little boy approach Jacob, snatch his truck out of his hands and walk off with it. Jacob then runs over to me sobbing. Honestly, I wanted to go over and grab Jacob's truck away from that greedy little thief. Why am I so upset? I wondered. It is totally out-of-character for me to get so irritated with someone else's child. (Even if it was from afar and only involved me grumbling under my breath) Little did I know that was a bit of foreshadowing. Luckily, my more sane and happy self came to the rescue and fought off the evil demon-induced thoughts. I reminded myself that Jacob and Nicholas need to learn to deal with these situations on their own, and promptly sent Jacob over to the boy to ask for his truck back. It worked. Nick, Jacob and the other boy ended up playing happily with the trucks for over an hour.

My husband came home tonight after work and immediately noticed something was off with me. He asked me several times what the matter was, but at that time, I really didn't think anything was wrong. Then, as the evening rolled on, I have felt myself getting more and more irritated. Maybe I am just harboring some underlying aggression from a previous disagreement, maybe I am I am not really sure.

My first instinct is to suspect hormones, as they are the root of all evil. They are what makes normal women insane. Whenever I turn into a complete lunatic with no good reason, hormones are to blame. Before having children, I was not as in-tune with my inner chemical makeup. However, after experiencing pregnancy and breastfeeding three times in the last four years, I am much more aware of my chemical imbalances. I believe that hormones hide out in woman's bodies, watching, waiting for the most inopportune time to rear their ugly heads. Then in just a few moments they aid in making just about everyone you know think that you have lost your mind. If hormones are the cause, I hope mine will stabilize soon. I eagerly await my normal self.

My hormones are calling again. I must continue to try my best to muffle their cries and keep my grasp on reality. Maybe I just need some sleep.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Ah....the happiness that falls upon me as I think about spring cleaning:
the sweeping, the mopping, the window washing, the dusting, the scrubbing, the polishing, the vacuuming and the laundry.

Just the thought of all of this work brings an instant smile to my face. Some of these joyful activities are not anything that is not done frequently in my home on an average day; however, spring cleaning involves much more concentration and a dedication to actually doing a really good job. I also have the help of my assistant, AKA my husband, so that I may not leave anyone out of all of the fun.

The grout around the tile in the kitchen is scrubbed a little harder and longer. The clothes in my children's drawers is properly sorted preparing for the warmer weather. Each bathroom is cleaned to the nth degree- no more little boy pee pee drops on the floor, for hour, until Nick has to go.

I so much enjoy myself as I scrub the pizza sauce splatters and old smooshed carrots off of the kitchen table and chairs. The smile cannot be wiped from my face while I try to chisel the dried and crusty dog slobber off of the back sliding glass door. I am really overjoyed when I run across a small particle of dog food that has been blocking our fabulous view of our AstroTurf-covered picnic area and our grassless, dirt and rock-covered backyard. (It is the poor people's version of "desert landscaping"). But, by far, the best part of spring cleaning in my home, is when the house is sparkling, smelling like lemons and my children come running back inside to totally destroy our efforts in a matter of ten minutes.

Truthfully, I am so glad that God has created spring cleaning; otherwise, I would live in a very dirty world of inevitable boredom living on only Coke and Bonbons until my premature demise of heart disease.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wonder Woman

Upon our return from a very short but productive shopping trip, I glanced across our living room and carpeting the room were toys, toys and more toys. Army men, superheroes, various cars and trucks of all sizes, makes , models and colors were tossed around haphazardly until they met their resting place there in the middle of the floor. There they wait until they happen to again catch the eye of a child walking by. Then, they may be played with for a brief moment, only to yet again be tossed out for a replacement.

Our children have numerous toys. They have so many that they forget what they have. Then, upon remembering, I am summoned to go on The Great Toy Hunt to find it. Why is it that for days, weeks, even months prior to this day, the toy was barely remembered and now, life will simply cease to exist without it?

This happened one day with Jacob's Wonder Woman. I am not quite sure why he likes Wonder Woman so much, but he does. He was on a roll carrying his Wonder Woman everywhere. Day in and day out, in the tub, in the car, always in his hand was the beautiful Wonder Woman. Then one day, she simply vanished.

"Where is my Wonder Woman?", Jacob asked upon rising from his nap.

"Hmm, I don't know Honey. Let's look for her", I replied, thinking she was probably under the bed or stashed under the covers.

No, no Wonder Woman there. Jacob and I continued on our hunt for the Wonder Woman, looking upstairs, downstairs, outside, everywhere....and Wonder Woman.

Then, I remembered seeing Jacob carrying her around at Grandma's house the night before. I called Grandma, "Have you seen Wonder Woman?"

"Yes, she's here." Sure enough, Jacob had mistakenly left her behind at Grandma's house. How that happened I do not know. Jacob must have been so tired when we left Grandma's house that he did not notice that Wonder Woman was not with us.

So, we all promptly hopped into the car to go get Wonder Woman, a half hour away at Grandma's. It was nap time, but I didn't mind; because, who am I to say that wanting Wonder Woman in your presence at all times is a bad thing?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Living Willy Nilly

One day, while stopped at a traffic light not far from our home, an older model convertible mustang pulled up along side me. I glanced over and saw three young children in the back seat, none of which was wearing a seat belt. I could feel myself getting irritated as I continued to look in their direction. The three children were all quite young. I would guess their ages ranged from about 18 months to 4.

When I see situations like this, I have to try and hold myself back. Truthfully, I am not the type person who enjoys confrontation with strangers; and, I am definitely not one to second guess how others rear their own children. However, I could not help but be bothered by what I saw. Not only do I feel that those children are in very real danger not being in seat belts and/or car seats, I also feel that they are not being taught simple things that they can do to stay safe while in a vehicle. It is one thing to not wear a seat belt as an adult, it's your funeral. It's your life that you gamble. But, when children's lives are put in danger by their parent's laziness, it is an entirely different story. These children do not know. We must guide them. We must teach them. Without us, they have nothing. What were these parents thinking?!

OK, enough about that.

I remember when I was a child, I road around in the car all the time without a seat belt. In fact, I believe most people did. I also remember actually standing up in the front seat while going down the road. It was fun. It was what kids did. I hung my head and my arms out of the car window, the breeze blowing through my hair. My mom did advise me against that saying that another car would drive up and knock them off. Now, I have caught myself saying the same thing to Nick. Low and behold, I am still alive today having not worn a seat belt as a child. I was lucky. Most of us were.

We all seemed to survive those wild days where we were living by the seats of our pants. They were the days when mothers made costumes for Halloween out of aluminum foil, pillow cases and cardboard. I built "forts" out of blankets draped over our kitchen chairs. I didn't watch much TV as a child, I played outside. I came in to get a drink, then went back out. I was only around when it was meal time. My mom cut my hair. I remember only a few times actually going somewhere to get my hair cut. They aren't that great of memories. Most disturbingly, we didn't always wash our hands before dinner, or after going to the bathroom. When we did wash them, we surely weren't using antibacterial soap. We all ate real butter and chicken fried in three inches of vegetable oil. We ate eggs, hot dogs, bologna and real peanut butter. We didn't wear sunscreen. We didn't even lock our car or home doors at night. When I had an ear infection, I don't remember even going to the doctor. I guess it healed itself? We didn't take multivitamins. Children were actually spanked by their parents, heck, sometimes even by their teachers in school. We were sure living Willy Nilly!

When I think of those times, I have a big smile on my face. Those days were fun for me. Maybe because I was way too young to worry about much of anything. Also, I think that life, in general, was different back then. I believe that technology has helped to change the way parents parent. By learning about different diseases, we have found that we should wash our hands, always wear sunscreen, lower our fat intake, increase our exercise, etc. We have learned through research that seat belts and car seats save lives. All of this technology and all of this knowledge has changed our actions in our everyday lives. Then, we teach our children. We have really learned so much in my lifetime that if I were to make a list, it would be endless.

This leads me to wonder, how will life be for my children when they are my age? Are we living Willy Nilly now?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Happy Family

I love this trend that so many SUVs and Minivans have going now-a-days with these "family stickers". These stickers are part of my entertainment as I drive from here to there with the children. I love to see the ones with a bunch of children lined up all the way across the back window of the car, or the ones with what appears to be twins.

Today, I saw a SUV with a set of family stickers that was truly unique. I wanted to take a picture, but figured I would be risking the lives of my children, mine and the other people on the road with me by doing such. It had the typical Dad, Mom, a couple of children, and a dog. What made this "typical" family seem all of the sudden atypical was the fact that the Dad's body was missing from the waist up. Ha ha ha ha! I just had to laugh! I could not help myself. Maybe his wife got mad and peeled off the top half of the dad, maybe they are divorced or separated. Or as Nick says, maybe a ninja came up and chopped off his head. (Nice) I don't know. But, it was funny.

That got me thinking. Really, when we see those stickers plastered from car window to car window, we really don't know what they represent. They could symbolize a happy family, all lined up with each sticker showing a special interest. Or, they could merely be a representation of what we wish our family was. There is no fighting in the stickers, no sadness, no tantrums, no low self esteems and no heartbreak-just happy moms, dads, and children. There is sometimes, though, some small little hint that things are not always so happy. I have seen family stickers lined in a row with either the mom or dad missing. That is not to say that these stickers represent a sad family. It may actually be the contrary. Some people who have experienced a divorce are much happier after the divorce than before it. And, you know how I feel about happier parents being better parents.

In closing, I have been looking for some of these stickers for my minivan. I have not really looked very hard, but now I intend to. Because for us right now, what is shown on the stickers: a happy dad, a happy mom, very happy children, and a happy dog is a very accurate representation of us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Moms Are Important, Too

Today was a new day, the sun was shining and I was ready- ready to tackle my latest obstacle: incorporating exercise into my day, consistently. Exercise pared with healthier eating habits will hopefully lead me on the road to a happier me.

As a mother, I catch myself being so concerned over everyone else's health and well-being, that I often overlook my own personal needs and desires. At times it feels like I am invisible, not to my husband, thankfully, but to myself. I know this is something that many moms deal with, I am really no exception. The difference perhaps between others and myself is that I am attempting to change. In taking better care of myself, and making sure that I am not left out of the list of important people in my life, I can better take care of my children and be a better wife to my husband. Don't get me wrong here, I get so much satisfaction from my children and my husband; but, for me, really being happy means that I am also happy with myself.

I have already been moderating my diet for several days. I am on the right track; but alone, dieting does me little good. I know from experience, that exercise AND diet need to both be part of a real effort for a healthier lifestyle.

This morning after my small breakfast, I ran upstairs to get ready for my workout. By the way, the breakfast was not small because I had planned it as such. The reason was really that Jacob, the biggest piggy in our house, moved on to my plate after he cleared his. My two Eggo Nutragrain blueberry waffles became one and my large green apple was greedily snatched from my grasp before I was even halfway finished. Now, we do have more of each in the refrigerator; but, I figured I could obviously do without.

I went upstairs and got out some sweatpants and a sports bra. As I pulled the bra over my head, I realized the real workout was going to be getting this bra on. What the heck?! Maybe the bra had shrank. Maybe I was just a bit bigger than the last time I wore it. Whatever the issue, my breasts were smashed to pieces. My boobs, now resembling long pancakes after nursing three children were virtually non-existent in this bra. Really, it was a total nightmare getting it on; and, I will be going to the store tomorrow to get a new one (or two).

After getting dressed and pulling my hair into a neatly combed mommy-do (pony tail), I returned downstairs to rummage through my workout videos. I used to have several that I really enjoyed. I looked, and looked, and looked, and never found them. Seems they must have disappeared. Either that, or my husband saw them, figured it would be a cold day in hell before I ever used them again, and threw them out. I figure the answer is most likely the latter.

I decided that I really didn't need a video, I could use my free weights and do some calisthenics, for a change from the treadmill. Nicholas thought this was an absolutely fabulous idea, so he quickly picked up the smallest weights I had and wanted to join in the fun. I turned on some music, Jacob rocked out on his guitar, Lyla danced in her play gym, and Nick and I did jumping jacks, toe touches, flutter kicks, leg lifts and a bunch of others.

Overall, I believe our workout was a success. The fact that I made the time to do it was an accomplishment to begin with. Then, actually having some harmony and cooperation from the other two children while Nicholas and I exercised was really a small miracle. I think Nick really enjoyed himself too. What a bonus!

Thank God for miracles, for it's a new day again tomorrow.