Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuh-day i' is Friday, Friday...

Good news my friends!  Amy Wilson, author of When Did I Get Like This? has offered to send a signed copy to one of my readers!  (Remember my review on it a couple days ago?)(I really liked it.)(You will too.)  To be entered into the drawing, comment on this post, or the original review post if you haven't already, and tell me one thing you have done as a mother that you swore you never would before you had kids.

In the spirit of fairness, I will tell you one of the many things I do as a mom that I said I wouldn't:  I will plop my children in front of movies for hours at a time so I can get other stuff done.  I'm still worried that their brains are going to fall out of their left ears one day.  But, in my defense, they can't watch on school days.  But let's not talk about how well they make up for it on weekends, holidays and summer vacation.  It hurts my soul to think about it.

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Sophia had a song she learned in preschool stuck in her head yesterday, and told me as much.  Then she commented that "brains can only have jest one sing stuck in zem at once," so I asked her if Jesus was still stuck in her head.

I'm sorry to say, that no, he isn't.  She informed me that she was being really crazy the other day and, well, he just fell right out.

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I just baked a cake from scratch.  It's in the oven as I type.  I only did it because the PTO Carnival committee at the Elementary school needed cakes for the bake sale so I said I'd provide one. Unfortunately, I haven't had a single stitch of time to go and buy a mix.  So I made it from scratch, which is a first.  I'm rather proud of this feat, but Joel is just glad that the experiment will be going to someone else.  Oh well, at least I know it will look pretty.

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Speaking of The Maestro, he gave his last final the other day and is sitting in the other room grading them.  I always enjoy his running commentary as he grades essays and questions.  There are always one or two students in every class who clearly didn't study or listen much, and their answers are entertaining.  And that probably makes me a really bad person, but well...it's funny!  And for the record, Wagner was not Polish, surely everyone knows that?

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Chloe lost a tooth yesterday and she left the most adorable note in the entire world under her pillow:

"This is a very very special tooth that is worth $3.00.  You are the best toothfairy I wish I could hug you but you are to small or to big to hug anyway.  I could never see you I have a special nickle for you!  
Love, Chloe
P.S.  The nickle is in the bag."

And indeed, there was a nickel in the bag with her tooth, along with some flower petals from the many bouquets of flowers she received when she did South Pacific, which are currently dying a slow death on her dresser in a lovely vase.  So very sweet! 

And, nice try, Chloe, but the Tooth Fairy only gives a dollar.  She didn't seem too disappointed this morning, but the feelings usually come out after school.  We'll see...

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 Now, just in case you've already forgotten, if you'd like to win a signed copy of When Did I Get Like This?, make a comment!  And then go have a wonderful Friday!

We so excited.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

There Was a Little Girl, Who Had a Little Curl...

Sophia
"I have Jesus stuck in my head!" Sophia announced as I was driving her to school.  "I jest can't get him outta my mind and I'm jest always thinking 'bout him!"

"Really?"  I asked.  "What do you think about Jesus?"

"I can jest always see his face in my mind.  And when I do sumping wrong, he grumps.  But if I do sumping right, he's smiling."

And then my heart melted.  Sophia is certainly my most difficult child as far as obedience is concerned.  Strong-willed is not even a strong enough description for her on most days.  We are constantly talking about obedience and choosing the right with her, and I know she gets it.  She just struggles between choosing what she really wants to do (play in the mud even though I told her not to) and what she really should do (play on the deck or, at the very least, wear her rainboots in the yard).


Muddy Buddy

Surely Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had Sophia in mind when he wrote the words

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

But then she says things like this, and I realize she understands more than I could ever imagine.  It wasn't so long ago that she left the arms of her Savior to come to earth to be both a trial and a blessing to her mother.  She knows how to choose the right, and she knows that Jesus smiles when she does.

Sleeping Angel
She is truly an angel sent from Heaven.

(And not just while she is sleeping, either.)(In my bed no less!)(with crackers to boot.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Did I Get Like This?

Every single day of my life, for the past 10.5 years, I have second-guessed myself, worried that I'm not good enough and wondered how anyone could have entrusted me with a baby or a toddler or a tween or two or three of them.  Every day as I hear things I thought I would never say come out of my mouth ("Get off the roof!" "You brushed your teeth?  Are you sure? Come here so I can smell your breath."  "No, we do not put cheese in the DVD player!") I wonder who the woman who has taken over my life is, and where I have gone.

Amy Wilson, mother of three and author of the new book When Did I Get Like This? has apparently wondered all of the same things.  Once I read the first chapter of this book, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.  Or maybe, Amy is just so honest in her mothering adventures, that all of motherkind will breathe a collective sigh of relief when it reads about her neuroses, fears, and worries because really?  We have all been there. No matter how perfect we try to make ourselves seem, we're really just getting through this mommy thing on a wing and a prayer, hoping that we don't scar our children for life because we yelled, lied about Santa Claus, fed them junk food, or all of the above.

I'm right about this, I know I am.

And I loved this book.  Chronicling the moment she found out she was pregnant and the first fears and worries that immediately appeared, to breastfeeding, preschool shopping (in NYC, no less), and everything in between, I related to most of it.  Except maybe the preschool shopping, which is one good thing about living in small-town Michigan where it is still snowing at the end of April.  But I did relate to wanting the best for my child and never knowing if I was capable of actually giving her the best.  But I have sure tried.

I spent several late nights reading just another chapter as I tried to keep my laughter silent, so as not to wake the four year old who has taken up permanent residence in Mommy and Daddy's bed.  I have tried to evict her, but, well, she's the baby and she knows it.  

"When you're FIVE, you don't get to sleep with me anymore, " I tell her, but she always lets me know in no uncertain terms that, "Oh yes I can!  I will jest sneak down when you are asleep!"  

Sigh.  When did I get like this, indeed?

While I don't have a giveaway for this book, you can run over to Amy's blog: The Mother Load (which is just as good as the book and will convince you further that you must read this one)(unless you're not a mother, because I fear you just won't get it yet), where she tells you how to enter to win a copy.


 I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Booktours.

The winner of the book Dancing With Gravity is nfmgirl!

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Easter, Eating and Exercise

Today I hit a milestone that I thought I would never, ever, in my entire life, ever hit.

I ran two miles continuously.  Without stopping.  And it only took me about 21 minutes.

The most I've done before this is one mile.  And, for the record, I really hate running.  But I did it.  Mostly because I have felt myself slipping lately.  I have been totally committed to exercising and to my eating plan, but the past two weeks I have not been doing so hot.  In fact, I made it to the lowest weight I've ever hit here in Michigan (a weight I've hit twice before in the past year and a half)(you know, that awful plateau weight)(and then I give up) last week, and I really want to not give up this time.  But, like I said, I'm slipping.

I don't know if it's the actual weight itself, or the time it usually takes to get me there, but I am totally bored of my eating plan.  And then I wonder why I never get bored of my horrible eating plan, the one where I just eat whatever, because it's not like it's full of a ton of variety, either!  And when I start not being totally committed to eating right, I stop wanting to work out.

So today, I forced myself to do the two miles.  And I surprised myself, because it wasn't really that hard.  So, we'll see if I can jump back on track this week, because let's just say that Easter didn't really do me any favors, curses to Cadbury and those dang eggs!

Speaking of Easter, here are the girls on Easter Sunday.  I am afraid this is the last year we can do the matchy-matchy thing unless I get my act together and sew them some dresses.  Bria's dress is the largest size The Children's Place carries, and it was still a titch too short.  I was happy that I could find some shoes that fit her (she's practically wearing my shoes)(and I wear a 9.5!) and still matched the other two. Yes, I am a little freaky about the matching thing, I totally admit.  Now, didn't I say there were pictures?

Yes, there are pictures, and Sophia wasn't really feeling very cooperative...

EasterEasterEaster
I'll have to do a better shoot of them in the dresses when it's warmer.  Don't let Easter Sunday fool you, it was warm for us, yes, but still only 45 degrees or so.  And it's snowing again on Wednesday.

Perhaps I'll vent about that by running three miles.

Hope you all had a happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dancing With Gravity


Dr. Phil once said something along the lines of "Don't worry what people are thinking about you, because they probably aren't thinking about you."  I've thought about this a lot since I first heard it, to remind myself when I do something particularly embarrassing or when my hair isn't working quite like I'd like it to, that the people around me are hardly likely to notice, and even if they do, they aren't going to give it much thought at all.  And yet, so many of us are constantly worrying what others think of us.

Such is the case for Father Whiting, a Catholic priest who is the main character in Anene Tressler's book Dancing with Gravity.  As the back cover says, he is "asleep in his own life," but I felt that he was more than that.  He was self-absorbed, had no self-worth, and worried incessantly about the people in his life and what they thought of them.  Even as he tried to serve others, both in his capacity as a priest and in his personal life, the service wasn't coming from his heart.  He went through the motions and derived no joy out of his calling, his service, or his life.

He is called into a meeting with the nuns who run the hospital where he works, certain that he will be reprimanded for overhearing an argument as he was innocently walking by (did I mention he was also very paranoid of every little thing that happened to him?), but was instead asked to minister to a South American circus that the nuns had inherited.

Now here is where I admit that I generally don't like reading books where the protagonist is so incredibly unlikeable.  I had a hard time with Father Whiting, and yet the writing was good enough to keep me involved in the story and to give me hope that he would eventually change.

And, he did change, eventually.  I'm not sure if I totally believed the method in which that change was brought about, but it happened, and he learned to be a selfless, giving and assertive person.  All things he had previously not been.  I think I wish we had seen more of the change happen to him on the inside, just as we saw all of the paranoid/self-absorbed/judgmental thoughts he had for most of the book, and I might have believed it more.

That said, it is a well-written book, and I did learn from it.  In fact, one of my new favorite quotes is put on the page before the book starts:

"What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how ou will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything."

                                                                     ~Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

I loved this.  Sometimes I am asleep in my own life, too.  Sometimes I serve begrudgingly and worry too much about what others think of me.  Sometimes I am judgmental.  And during all of these times, the true cure is charity, which is the pure love of Christ.  And as Christ himself said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

Anene Tressler is giving away a copy of this book to one of my readers.  If you would like to win, leave a comment on this post.

I received a copy of Dancing With Gravity via TLC Booktours.

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The winner of The Long Goodbye is queendeni.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Little Miss Sassy Pants

Miss Sassy Pants
You may have noticed my lack of blogging in the past few months.  A combination of going to the gym daily, a crazy lesson schedule, kids and all of their myriad activities, winter and the subsequent SAD issues and just a basic loss of interest in my blog have all kept me from getting on and writing (um, or commenting).  One of the drawbacks is that I have really missed writing down some of the things the kids do and say, and now I can't remember half of them.

I took this picture a couple months ago because Sophia is in love with a little boy (the same one who was in the play with Chloe, in case you're wondering).  She sees him a lot.  She sees him at church, his mom watches her on Tuesdays and I watch him on Wednesdays, their dads work together,  and our families get together a fair amount outside of all that to boot.  They even had some serious wedding plans going on one day (as in, "after I get back from my mission I will marry you, Sophia)!

On this particular day, she was going over to Oliver's house and she wanted to make sure that she looked super cute and she also wanted to match (matching clothing appropriately is something I've been working on with her lately).  This pink and black ensemble is what she came up with all by herself, and I have to admit, it is TRES stylish, don't you think?

Unfortunately, the wedding might be off now.  A couple weeks ago when I was driving the two of them to school I overheard the following conversation:

Sophia: "I don't want to marry you anymore."

Oliver: "You DON'T?  Who are you going to marry then????"

Sophia:  "I don't want to talk about it."

I asked her about it later, and she informed me that she doesn't want to marry anybody because she doesn't want to kiss a boy and because she doesn't want to have to change her name (she's four: how does she even know about this?).

Phewsh.  All the marriage talk was making me a little nervous anyway....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Speaking of Doing Hard Things

First of all, I promise not to post about the weather.  Even though that is very hard considering we very nearly didn't make it to church on Sunday because of all the snow and because we took our snow tires off last week, which was clearly a big mistake. But, not going to mention it.  Really.  Because you're all sick of hearing me talk about my never-ending winter.  I know.

Second of all, thanks for putting up with all my mommy bragging about Chloe in the last week, especially if you are my Facebook friend.  Indeed, I am a very proud Mama, and have felt the need to talk about it. A lot. But, you may not know that Chloe is not the only child of mine who has been in a musical in recent times.  Bria was in one, too.  And it might be possible that I am even more proud of what Bria did than I am of Chloe, simply because it was so hard for her, and yet she did it anyway.



Name that Colony
Bria came to this earth with a special set of fears.  As a mother, it hasn't always been easy for me to navigate them, but they are there and I have to be mindful of them.  I also have to somehow help her overcome them, so that she doesn't miss the wonderful things in life because she was afraid.  This may or may not include throwing her into a swimming pool after she refused to get in during two days of swimming lessons (now she swims like a fish), bribing her to do violin competitions and recitals that she would never do of her own volition (she finally doesn't mind playing the violin in front of people), and praying like mad that she would go through with her baptism, even though she was terrified.

When Bria got her 5th grade teacher assignment last summer, she was a little unsure for two reasons.  First, her new teacher had a reputation for giving lots of homework (which hasn't turned out to be so bad), and second, her new teacher is famous for putting on a class musical each year and Bria wanted absolutely no part of such a production.  She has worried about it all year long and last month, it became a reality.

One day, she came home and mentioned that she had tried to sing a solo during the rehearsal and couldn't get through it and started crying.  She was so embarrassed.  I mistakenly thought that she had tried out for the part and was so proud of her for even trying, and told her as much.

A few days later, her teacher emailed me and told me that Bria had been given that part because she has such a lovely voice (she does!) but that she was worried that she was causing her extra anxiety and didn't want to force her to do it if it was going to be terrified.  My mom was in town at the time and talked with her.  I talked with her.  Joel talked with her.  We all could tell that she really WANTED to do it, but she was just scared out of her mind.  But she wanted to try.

And she did.



Pioneer girls
Her first few performances were for other classes at the school, and during the first of them she broke down and started crying while singing her part.  Her classmates were all so supportive of her, which seriously warmed my heart, but it was still hard because she was sure the kids in the audience were laughing at her.  In the end, she and her teacher came up with a twofold plan:  1. She was to look at her friend Danielle while she was singing, instead of the audience, and 2. If she felt that she couldn't go on any longer, she was to squeeze her friend Ann's hand and she would take over the singing.

Picking Berries and Spinning Wool
In the end, she did the rest of the performances without a hitch, even though she sang much more quietly than she is capable of singing.  And I was so freaking proud of her for doing it.

Performing
And guess what?  After watching Chloe this weekend, she's realizing that it might be fun to be up on stage performing, and she thinks she might want to do it the next time an opportunity comes along.  She is so inspiring to me, because when she does hard things, she almost always overcomes her fear of it eventually, and she teaches me that I can do hard things, too.

Because Heaven knows, I have plenty of my own fears to overcome.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When a Broadway Baby Says Goodnight...

Ever since Chloe stole her Kindergarten graduation show, I've known that the kid was destined to be in musicals someday.  Little did I know how quickly someday would come, and that she would be stealing a show on a university stage just a few short years later.

This past weekend all of the loooooooong rehearsal time came to the head, and Chloe had three nights of performances as Ngana, the Frenchman's daughter in Rodger & Hammerstein's South Pacific.  She absolutely adored being in the show and I will admit to crying every time she came on stage--especially when she was singing "Dites-Moi" with her South Pacific little brother, Jerome.  I was at every performance crying my eyes out.  Oh my gosh, they were so cute it was almost impossible to bear.  (The audience thought so, too.)

The one downer about the whole thing was just how exhausted she was.  I mean, I know how it feels.  I could sleep for days after a show closes.  I was really nice and checked her into school late during tech week, and didn't even make her go the day after opening night, but even so, the child was totally worn out.  

But she still loved every minute.  When we got home (circa midnight) on closing night, she plopped herself on the couch and started bawling.  "When am I ever going to be in a show again?  When am I ever going to see all those people again!  I miss them sooooooo much already!  Sob, sob, sniffle!!"

I am pretty sure that she'll be doing this again just as soon as the opportunity presents itself.  And I'm all for it.

Here's a few more pictures from the show...I like this first one a lot because it includes Joel directing the pit orchestra.  It was so fun for Chloe to get to work with her dad in this and she loved that aspect.  She was very good at watching him for cues--didn't take her eyes off of him once while she was singing.
 Chloe and Oliver (Ngana and Jerome) opened the entire show with their rendition of "Dites-Moi."


Sneaking up on Emile after Nellie leaves in the first scene.



 The reprise of "Dites-Moi" with Papa.

Meeting Nellie for the first time.


 Um.  I think this comes in the very first scene when Henri (Emile's butler) chases them off stage.  Love this one of Chloe, though.  You know she was having the time of her life.
 Watching all the boats and planes leave with Nellie.
 Reunited with Papa.
 The curtain call (right when they're acknowledging the orchestra and the Maestro).  Chloe LOVED the curtain call because everyone clapped loudest when the kids came out with Nellie and Emile.  Yep, there's a true performer.
(all above photos credited to Bill Fink)

Backstage with Emile and Jerome.  Mark, the man who played Emile, was wonderful with the kids.  He always brought them a little treat to rehearsals and they thought he was the greatest.
 There was an elaborate babysitting plan in place for the kids while they were backstage, so Chloe got to know and love a lot of the cast members.  And, according to these photos (which I nicked off of somebody's Facebook page), she had a lot of fun back there!  It was pretty obvious that the cast and crew adored having the kids there, too.
 
 
Finally, here's a quick little video of Chloe singing her sweet little French song. This is mostly for far-away family, but feel free to bask in her cuteness, too.  I just wish I could have taken video of the actual production, but maybe one will turn up somewhere.



Untitled from Lara Neves on Vimeo
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 16, 2011

Spring Snow
It always amazes me how quickly the weather can change.  Last Friday, there was still so much snow on the ground that I couldn't find my lawn.  In fact, I'm fairly sure I hadn't seen any of the grass in our yard since sometime before Thanksgiving.

By Monday, the snow was all gone, except for the super compact pile on my deck, where there were about six inches left.  But, in the course of the past week, even that all melted, too.

Miraculously, the crocuses and tulips all started coming up, even before the snow melted.  And when it was gone, the crocuses in my yard quickly bloomed and gladdened my heart with their purple and yellow petals just like they do every spring.

And last night, it snowed again.  And continues to do so.  Apparently we're looking at 6-9 inches before the end of the day.

But the crocuses are still out there, poking through a backdrop of white, still gladdening my heart.

(And I suppose this means I don't have to change my header yet!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Long Goodbye

So, I was sitting in Time Out For Women on Friday night listening to Amanda Dickson talk about friendship.  For a moment, she was talking about her late mother and how much she missed her and then she said something about meeting people and being able to tell that they were members of The ClubThe Club of those who have lost their mothers.  The Club of those who understand what it is like to lose a mother.

I kind of gasped when she said that.  Partly because I have never once contemplated what it might feel like if my own mother were to pass away and partly because I had just read an almost identical sentence also referring to The Club in the book I am reviewing today: The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke.

Now, I must admit that I had a difficult time finishing this book.  Not because it wasn't good (it was brilliantly written).  Not because I couldn't get into it (perhaps I got a little too into it).  And not even because I didn't like it (I liked it quite a lot, as I always enjoy a good memoir).  It was because I wasn't in the mood to live in somebody's grief--a grief I have admittedly never felt--so completely.

I think the first part of the book--the part that leads up to Meghan's mother's death--is slightly easier.  Meghan skillfully (and beautifully--she is poetic with words) shows us the person she was before her mother was diagnosed with cancer.  But that person begins to unravel as her mother goes through treatment after treatment, as Meghan's marriage falls apart, as her mother finally enters hospice and succumbs to the cancer, and it is the last half of the book where we learn who Meghan is today and the journey she took to get there.  The journey that began with losing her mother.

My favorite quote from the book is one that took my breath away a little bit.  Because, although I cannot relate to losing my own mother, I could see within this one paragraph what that would mean.  She really hit it right on the nose, didn't she?

Nothing prepared me for the loss of my mother. Even knowing that she would die did not prepare me. A mother, after all, is your entry into the world. She is the shell in which you divide and become a life. Waking up in a world without her is like waking up in a world without sky: unimaginable.

Unimaginable.

While this book may be hard to read, Meghan has also done much research on death and grief, and it is very instructive--both to someone in the throes of grief and to someone who has never had to deal with a grief that comes with the loss of a parent.

I highly recommend it.  And I'm even giving away a copy to one of you, thanks to the generosity of the publisher.  Make a comment on this post, and I will draw for the winner next Thursday, April 21. (I will also remember this time to actually let you all know who wins.)

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I received a copy of The Long Goodbye from the publisher via TLC Book Tours. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time Out for Mom

This past weekend, a friend and I drove out to Minneapolis for Time Out For Women.  I lugged my camera there and back and didn't take a single picture, but believe me, I had an amazing time!

I'd never been to one of these events before, and I really found it wonderful.  So uplifting and so motivating.  I feel like I have so much to think about and to act upon in the next little while, and I'm excited about it.

The theme for this year is "Choose to Become" with the scripture "All things are possible to him that believeth" found in Mark 9:23.  We were each challenged to think of something we wanted to become this year, making it clear that this does not mean adding more to our to-do lists.  I have some ideas, but I am not quite sure yet what I will choose to become.

What I did come away from this conference realizing is that I can do hard things.  You know, you hear that, and you think, "sure," but when you're faced with certain hard things it is really easy to think that you can't do it after all.  Not to speak for all y'all, but that's how it is for me anyway.  But the thing is, whenever I do something really, really hard, I feel amazing afterwards...invincible, almost.  And it just gives me more confidence for the next hard thing that comes along.  But when I shrink away from it and make excuses, I really just feel miserable.

Emily Watts told a story during her presentation about a girl who came to girls' camp and did the hike.  She complained the whole way up, wanted to turn back after she had completed half, and wanted to die on the way back down.  And yet, when she was asked what her favorite part of camp was, she did not say it was pedicures or staying up all night talking.  She said it was the hike.  The same one she hated while in the midst of it because it was so difficult.

It reminded me of Sophia just this past weekend.  She had been a bit naughty and earned herself 20 extra jobs (you may think that's a lot for a 4-year old, but I assure you, they were easy).  She was very upset and tried to wheel and deal herself out of it, but I stuck firm and I made her do every last one of those little jobs.  And when she was done, she was the happiest kid in the world.  Glowing.  She felt so good about herself for doing something that seemed pretty difficult and daunting to her at the outset.  I realized that if I had given in to her manipulation attempts, I would have denied her the joy of completing something hard as well as denying her the self-confidence instilled in those ten or fifteen minutes of work.

And so, I will do hard things.  Because I can.

And I will become something.

I just don't know what yet.

Ideas?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood

I swear my phone came installed with some sort of magic kid alert, because it doesn't matter who I call or who calls me or how important the phone conversation is, the kids magically appear in front of me as soon as the phone is activated.

I do my best to ignore the tattling/running commentary/begging by walking away and shutting doors, but they always find me.  Always.

It was very refreshing to learn that I am not alone in this.  That is, not alone in the ignoring of my children while I am trying to have a phone conversation.  I laughed so hard at Jane Isfeld Still's Bombeckian commentary about her own phone and her own children that I cried.

And that isn't the only story I laughed at.  Jane's new book, The Crazy Daze of Motherhood is hilarious.  It's one of those cute little books that packs a great big punch.  Not only is it laugh-out-loud, tear-jerking funny, it helped me feel a little more normal in my own mothering adventures.  I haven't had a good sense of humor about them recently, I must admit, but after reading this book I realized that it's always better to laugh.

Take yesterday.  Let's just say that I had lots of plans for yesterday which included things like taking a shower and scouring my house.  But I was foiled time and time again by things like a clogged toilet, a goose egg on the head (not mine) and a vomiting child.  I just had to laugh, clean up the messes and forget about washing my hair or the dishes.  So thanks to Jane for the much-needed dose of perspective.

This book would make a great Mother's Day gift for any of your friends who would enjoy a good laugh at the expense of motherhood.  And who wouldn't enjoy it?

Jane is also having a fun giveaway at her blog to celebrate the release of her book. Just go to her blog at http://www.janeisfeldstill.blogspot.com and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower.  You could win:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards

2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate
3. Chocolate

And you know?  Aside from a funny book, what mother doesn't want chocolate?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Black and White

April 4 2011

This is what we woke up to this morning. May I remind you that it is April 4? And yes, I am aware that this is happening all over the country, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. We're coming up on 6 months of winter and I am so ready to get my personality back. This has been a difficult winter for me as far as my mental health goes.

FYI: I did not convert this picture to Black and White. What you are looking at is full color. Sometimes I feel like my world is Black and White, and shades of Grey. I haven't seen my lawn in ages and the sky is generally overcast (although spring has been coming through with some lovely blue skies the past few weeks).

All that said, I do have to admit that it's quite beautiful to look at, as much as I look forward to color.

Speaking of my mental health, even though this year has been my most difficult bout with SAD yet, I feel like I am finally ready to be healthy--physically healthy, and that has definitely helped my mental health.  On the days that I go to the gym and run, I feel so much better.  Changing my diet has improved my ability to deal with the stresses life brings.  I am calmer when dealing with my children, even though I still feel like I am not myself.

Conference this past weekend was wonderful, too.  Wonderful for my spiritual health, if somewhat painful as I examined my failings and the things I desperately need to improve upon.  Elder Scott's talk was particularly poignant for me and I admit to bawling through the majority of it.

I am so extremely blessed to have a husband as wonderful as The Maestro: who totally supports me and loves me despite my many struggles. I take him for granted too often. I cried both because of my gratitude for him, and because I am nothing like the wife Elder Scott describes in his Janine, and yet he loves me so much anyway.  Oh how I long to be the kind of wife who "with grace and devotion live[s] with full feminine splendor of her righteous womanhood!"

I'm working on it.

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PS:  I am such a dork.  I ran a giveaway like two weeks ago for Miss Delacourt Has Her Day, and I drew the winner and everything.  But somewhere along the line I completely forgot to post it.  Julie!  You win!  I'll get the book to you ASAP.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Motorcycle Tree

Motorcycle Tree

No April Fools here.  Those are real motorcycles in a real tree, and I saw it with my own eyes (which are also real). The story goes that a bunch of bikers would get together for a yearly celebration of some sort, and would always burn a bike.  Then, they threw the burned-out skeleton into this tree, which neighbors our maple-syrup making friends.  After several years of this ritual, the tree ended up looking like this.

I just thought it was cool.
Biker's Graveyard