Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Lake Michigan

I couldn't capture what I thought was cool in just one shot...

so here's another option...

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

As the season changes and the accompanying wardrobe with it, I've stumbled onto a few things in my closet I haven't seen for several months...which serves as a memory jog for today's tip.

At the suggestion of an article or blog post I had seen awhile back, I tried this de-cluttering idea last year. It's a good one but you have to be patient.

Take all the clothes hanging in your closet. Turn the hangers around so that they hook from behind. Then, go about dressing yourself as normal. After wearing an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the regular way. Then, make yourself a note somewhere that in 6 months time whatever hangers aren't turned around are clothes you can donate and/or pass along.

If you make it through a whole season without wearing an item, chances are you don't need it, don't want it, or are hanging on to it for the wrong reasons.

For more TTJ, stop by Blogmomma's today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You Capture - Happiness

Couldn't catch a new one this week better than this blurry one of Flicka from summer 2005.

For more You Capture, stop by Beth's place at I Should Be Doing Laundry today.

Thursday Thanks Tank

In no particular order...

just realized this morning, despite the chaos that's been our lives the last 3 weeks, I've taken no ADD meds for 16 days! Woo-hoo!

it seriously blessed my socks off running into a friend that I don't talk to in person NEARLY enough! Plus, she's an AWESOME momma coach and an encourager like none other I know!

the Beth Moore Esther study on Wednesday morning is testing my patience by going soooooo ssllooww through each verse and chapter but I'm being rewarded WAY beyond the wait.

the Bill Hybels study on "Living Beyond Myself" and a discussion on serving others has opened my mind's doors to some new ministry opportunities.

for singing and praising God in choir

for the church child care workers (angels on earth - I'm tellin' ya) that make the last three new things possible

for Flicka's teacher and principal

for the leaves changing - not much is prettier than a Michigan fall

DaHubby and I ran away from home last weekend and went on a 24 hour excursion which included a 6 hour canoe trip that was (almost) worth a week's vacation.

As hard as it is to say this because we miss him like crazy, I'm thankful for more hours at DaHubby's work. In exchange for seeing him even less, at least some of the financial stress is eased up.

My marriage - as we look around those we know, there have been several separations lately.

So, that's what's fillin' my tank this week.How about you? And, stop by Pam's place to see what's filling her tank.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Practical Application

When I wrote last night about my attempt to be more flexible with our schedule, I didn't think I'd be presented with an opportunity so quickly so to share. LOL

But, tonight is a perfect example. And, in the last hour since we got home from midweek church events, my entire attitude has changed.

I haven't been feeling particularly well today thanks to a bad case of the monthly grouchies. Wednesday is one of our busiest days between kindergarten, errands, my morning Bible study, choir practice, and midweek evening church stuff. In addition, bills are to be paid on Wednesdays. And, I'm supposed to prep for grocery shopping since that's been moved to Thursday mornings. And, I had to finish prepping for Pojke's preschool for the rest of the week.

So, I felt awful and was grumbling and stressed all the way home tonight about how I just wanted to go to bed but the bills, school prep, and grocery prep were still on my to-do list. I got myself all worked up about what to move where to get it all done. I could feel myself getting angry and frustrated.

On top of everything else, a meeting I wanted to go to popped up unexpectedly for tomorrow plus I had promised Flicka the afternoon at the kids' museum. *sigh* So, (grumble, grumble, grumble), Momma would just have to suck it up and stay up 'til midnight AGAIN as well as give up a moms night out so the master schedule could run smoothly.

*the sound of screeching brakes*

Now, just hold on. This is a dance I do with myself several times a week. And, to be blunt, it stinks. So...why not let go of all these "shouldas" and see what else can be done? Do I NEED to go grocery shopping tomorrow - not really. I can scrape by for another day. And, who says I couldn't run to the store? Well, DUH!

Long story short? I'm going to bed as soon as I post this (or maybe after I finish NCIS: LA that I DVR'd the other night LOL). I finished school prep while the Vikings got ready for bed. The boy and I will make the Moms In Touch meeting as well as do bills while Flicka's in school in the morning. And, I'll do as much grocery prep as I can, and IF I get it done, we'll go shopping. If not, SO WHAT!? I'll take the kids to the museum and go shopping Friday.

Within 60 minutes, I am no longer a resentful, grumbling, unthankful loony toon! Just for changing my attitude and outlook as well as using some out-of-the-box-for-me thinking.

Now, for those of you with these skills naturally or have already acquired them, you are probably rolling your eyes. And, that's OK too. But, my control freak tendencies need to learn that if Plan A (or even B or C) don't work, our whole world will not collapse around me.

And, that my friends is my example for the day! LOL

Live near SW Michigan?

A great site at which I'm coincidentally guest posting today.

Schedule AND an Attitude Change

As I've mentioned several times before, Change and I are not on very good terms. And, this transition to Flicka's kindergarten year has not been a smooth one.

Every plan we made failed. Talking about school in August put her in a panic. Checked out books about school? Made her cry. Made a countdown paper chain - each night she cried harder as the chain shortened.

Then, school actually started.

It took until day 10 of the new school year before Flicka didn't throw a 8.5 on the Richter scale level tantrum about getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, going to school, getting in the van, and getting out of the van every. single. morning. And, the first four days her teacher or the principal had to come get Flicka from the parking lot and escort her to class because she refused to get out of the van.

And, don't get me started with about getting her dressed. I tried to make it her "big girl" decision about what she could wear from her new selection of school clothes. First week, we tried picking out a week's worth of clothes and putting them in a cute little storage thingy I devised. That failed. Tantrum city. Second week, we went to picking out the outfit the night before. Still tantrums. Finally, this week, *I* pick out two outfits and she gets to pick from those...still fits of whining but definitely some improvement.

In the middle of the second week, I came to a realization. I needed to just let go of the process. I'd like to say this was easy but apparently my control freak tendencies have a sturdy grip of my psyche. I'm never without a plan. Never NOT thinking 30-60 minutes ahead. My tendency for conflict-avoidance along with my ADD-induced hyper-organized attempts to keep everything together keeps my brain working at 110% from the moment my feet hit the floor 'til I collapse into bed. Those of you who know me IRL can testify to this in great detail, I'm sure.

I've always been envious of my friends and fellow moms who have all their little charts and stars and new plans ready to go this time of the year. But, it was just TOO much change for us to cope.

So, I let go.

And, we took it day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.

And, ya know what? Things got better. *I* felt better. Flicka got better. Pojke still rolled with it like he always does - bless his little heart. And, I felt happier. I began to be able to enjoy the one-on-one time with Pojke. A little 3-hour-a-day distance made the time with Flicka more enjoyable. Everything just didn't feel *so* intense any more.

I have also started to roll with our schedule better. And, I'm getting more done with the "free time" I have. I've added some "mommy-only" time which will better help me keep my head above water while DaHubby finishes another year of full time school while working 45+ hours a week. Blogging is coming easier. I've been asked to write a few guest posts on another site. I'm into the 3rd week of homeschool preschool with Pojke. And, DaHubby and I got away for a parent-only mini-vacation when we ran away from home last weekend to go canoeing! LOL

My housework schedule hasn't gotten back on track. And, our meals are still a little chaotic - we're kind of eating in shifts...something I didn't really ever want to do. But, it's all a work in progress. And, I'm cutting myself more slack.

How's that for adapting to change? Just don't check back here the first day one of the Vikings gets sick! LOL

Wordless Wednesday: Ouch!

OK, that just LOOKS like it hurts! LOL

For more WW, check here or here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

While my impression tells me that this may make some folks uncomfortable, it really is the best tip working for us at this moment and I wanted to share it.

For whatever reason, both Vikings and I have had plantar warts in the last year. After having mine treated 3 times at my doctor's office, she mentioned that the freezing didn't appear to be working and asked if I was willing to try a possible low-tech alternative. Being all about the frugal and more natural treatments, I said sure!

Duct tape.

Yea, I know. I have had more rolled eyes at this than most of my other parenting decisions. "There's no proof...It's an old wives' tale...There's no scientific correlation between duct tape and healing warts...It's a virus that will go away on its own so why treat it." Blah blah blah. There's also conflicting research for and against it. Even the Mayo Clinic is on the fence but says to give it a try

All I know is that I wasn't ready to subject either Vikings to the pain of having them frozen off and I never had any success myself with OTC meds like Compound W.

So what did I have to lose?

The theory is that the virus that causes plantar warts (a strain of papillomavirus but NOT the one that contributes to cervical cancer) is so relatively mild to our system that the body just doesn't consider it a threat. The duct tape supposedly irritates the skin enough to tell the immune system "hey, something's goin' on over here" and the body takes over from there.

It started last year with Flicka's foot. Then, two on my heel. So far, we have a three-for-three success rate. Currently, we're treating one on Pojke's finger and one on his heel. And, just in the last week, both have significantly decreased in size.

After every bath, I put a nickle-sized piece of duct tape on Pojke's finger and heel. Then, cover it with "skin tape" or a Band-aid. It could take a few weeks but I figure it's WAY better than a trip to the doctor's and any other treatment currently offered...and it cost me nothing to try.

For other TTJ tips, stop by Blogmommas today!

Fall Reading Challenge: Takin' It Easy

OK, I'm all about reading. I'm a semi-retired English teacher, for pete's sake! I'm creating a second generation of little ones addicted to Scholastic Book Clubs. LOL

But, I also have two small children, two Bible classes, and a wicked case of unmedicated ADD. LOL

I've participated in Katrina's challenges before - some successfully, some not so much. So, with the upheaval of the last year, I'm back to baby steps.

It's not much but I'm committing to 2 nonfiction and 2 fiction.

A Walk With Jane Austin by Lori Smith

Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel

House on Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

So, check in at Katrina's today to see what everyone else is gonna be tackling.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

I'm having a really hard time staying positive lately. My everyday life just seems one struggle after another with one overemotional, anxious kindergartener and one loud and sassy preschooler. No matter what we've tried, nearly every decision, every transition, every event is met with defiance at worst and whining/crying at the most irritating.

To be honest, doing Thanks Tank has become a bit of a chore. I don't FEEL like searching for a few glimmers of hope much less have the time to do so when everything is taking twice as long as planned.

But, I think that's the point.

I know I'm blessed. I feel guilty constantly that I'm not more thankful, that I find it so difficult to write these posts lately. It' feels nearly impossible for me to get out-of-the-chaotic-moment and raises my eyes...much less raise them to the hill from where my Help comes.

But, I have to.

I've had more "momma time" than usual lately with the complete upending of our schedule with Flicka starting kindergarten and DaHubby returning to school for fall semester. I've carved out 3 hours of time each week (coincidentally all on Wednesday) where I am kid-free and able to get join with some of my new church's folks and read/listen/watch in two new classes.

That momma/church time along with DaHubby's unwavering ability to make me laugh - even after only 5 hrs of sleep - are what's keeping me sane.

Some other "perks" to the week? The last 10 minutes of the drive to Flicka's school is just BEAUTIFUL in all its Michigander wonderfulness! LOL Trees are changing color, the morning fog, the turkeys or deer in the field, the winding road, the rising sun all lift my spirit to face the upcoming drama of trying to pry Flicka out of the van once we reach her school. LOL

And, finally, that while our poor garden didn't do very well this summer, what onions, peppers, and tomatoes we *did* manage to save are making a WONDERFUL freezer salsa that we're eating nearly as fast as I can make it! LOL

Mostly everything else is in a state of upheaval but a routine will come (one can only hope! LOL) in the next few weeks.

So, for more TTT, check out Pam's musings and thankfulness here.

You Capture - Macro

Thought I'd give Beth's meme at I Should Be Folding Laundry a shot this week. We were supposed to get up close and personal with something...and in the meantime, I learned a lot more about workin' my camera in "manual" mode! LOL Thanks, DaHubby!

Beth's post for today isn't up yet so I'll link up later but stop by and see some of her other You Capture stuff here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Toes All Grown Up

I have a thing about "baby toes" - in particular MY babies' toes! LOL While waiting in line to pick up Flicka from kindergarten, I snapped this shot of Pojke's toes which can now reach the back of my driver's seat. *sigh* Gettin' too big...

For more WW, go here or here

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Lake Michigan Perfection!

The view of our new local play fountain with a sunset over Lake Michigan in the background.

For more WW, go here or here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

Better late than never...we've been caught up in the first-day-of-school dramas. LOL

I remember reading about this tip somewhere but can't remember where so I can't give credit where credit is due. However, to make up for it, I have an embarrassing but illustrative picture. LOL

I was making a batch of freezer salsa 2-3 weeks ago and had a ton of onions to dice. Before my eyes could remind me how much I *really* dislike cutting large quantities of onions, I remembered this tip...

Wear swim goggles! LOL
Not one tear was shed!

For more TTJ, stop by today.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

My thanks tank has been filled in a particular fashion this week...

Without much fanfare yet carefully with much consideration, thought, discussion, and prayer, we're currently not attending church where we have been for the last six years. There are a number of reasons which I won't go into here.

Over the summer we made the transition to a church a few blocks away which does not share all the doctrine and beliefs we're used to but is similar in many ways. The messages are wonderful, relevant, and full of the Word. The children's ministry is large, consistent, and well-staffed. The music is similar and well-performed. And, from what we've seen, it's a place we'll be able to be fed for a while while we ride out this last crazy year of DaHubby's schooling and see where God leads from there.

However, having come from a relatively small church, we miss the personal connections. And, we both miss participating in the music. While DaHubby still isn't able to do so, I miss singing so much more than I thought I would. I've spent more amazing time feeling God's presence and power when I'm singing than any other time in my life right now...and I need it badly right now.

So, I stepped out...DEFINITELY in faith. LOL I'm still timid about my singing publicly (after being told in high school I couldn't carry a tune) but this comparatively HUGE church has a choir. And, I showed up for practice last night. The music pastor and many of the members welcomed me warmly and we got down to business.

And, then I had what was is probably the best 45 minutes I've had in weeks! Last night's practice filled up places that were getting dry and cracking in my soul. It filled up my tank deeply. Participating in music, in a team setting (instead of a lead singer like I was before), singing praise and worship version of heaven right now!

Finally, this new church in which we're still finding our way and our place is apparently thinking about gettin' a little more Pentecostal in their worship! LOL Well, that's JUST fine with me because this is the song I'm learning for September 13th services:

For more TTT, stop by Pam's place.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Better Late Than Never!

For more WW, go here or here.

August Challenge results

Well, I scored a B.

I missed 6 days, earning me an 80% LOL

It felt good to write semi-regularly again but, to be honest, I was struck by how little time I have (or that I make) to follow those random thoughts that seem to turn into great blog posts.
Twitter and Facebook steal my momentary flashes of insight, humor, or whatever and then I never take the time to develop them. *sigh*

So the lesson learned? I think Twitter's on the way out and my Facebook use will have to go way down. Those of you who seem to balance all your electronic life - don't know how you do it but I don't think it's in the cards for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

As many other parents are, we're getting ready for the new school season around here. Flicka starts kindergarten next week at a local public school while I'll continue "homeschool preschool" with Pojke using the Letter of the Week curriculum along with Heather's AWESOME ABC Bible verse idea. DaHubby also heads back for his final academic year next Tuesday as well (praise God! LOL).

So....I want to be able to display projects, papers, etc. that the Vikings each produce (and DaHubby's too if he wants! LOL). I also have an interior hallway with very, VERY bare walls that I'm often stumped by. As a result, a win-win solution.

I took two of those 3M Removable Utility Hooks, a piece of real clothesline, and some clothes pins. And, voila! A mini art gallery ready for all the cool stuff the Vikings will want to display!

For more TTJ, stop by today.