Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Really Bad Day

Let's see, I don't even know where to begin. Today started out fairly normal, but quickly went downhill beginning with Ian playing with my perfume. This is something he has done on numerous occasions and even with multiple spankings and scoldings, closing my bedroom door, and even 'getting down to his level to discuss what he's done', it makes no difference. He still managed to cover my bed and himself with about 1/3 of what was left in the bottle. Then he moved on to the bathroom sink where he played happily in the water until I rounded the corner. He took off running in the opposite direction until I caught him and reprimanded him for the umpteenth time. I might not have minded the water-play since it helped to wash away the perfume, but the full-to-almost-overflowing sink with water all of the floor is what I didn't appreciate! It wasn't long before he emptied out the wipes container, poured water all over the carpet in the upstairs hallway, and broke a toy electric drum set! And just when I thought the rampage was over, it started again! Oh yeah, forgot to mention this all occurred before lunch.

After lunch, it was off to bed with his bad-self, but not for long. Three more back-to-beds later and I dumped him into his playpen so he couldn't escape another time! I think he might have slept for maybe an hour, thanks to his older sister that also refused to stay in her room for 'rest time'. She dropped something in the bathroom where she was playing, which of course, woke him up.

But, I was hoping against hope that maybe he'd gotten rid of the 'bad-boy' bug!

Our after nap-time day went as follows: play in the water some more, pour it on big sister and myself, walk through it, then remove all wet clothes. Proceed to remove dirty pull-up (which mom just put on me) and drop it dirty-side-down on my sister's carpet. Run around upstairs with a dirty bottom, then pee on a picture on my sister's carpet.

At this point, Morgann came screaming downstairs and breathlessly told me what all had transpired within the last 5 minutes (I kid you not! I'd been back downstairs for maybe 5 mintues!!!). So, then it was back upstairs where I had to somehow clean up the poopy mess, and the carpet!

This evening hasn't improved! Ian's dinner ended up the trash, and he's going to bed with only what he had eaten before deciding to fill his plate with first ranch dressing, then water. The food on the plate was actually floating!

Granted, I'm in a horrible mood and I am being 'mean mommy', but I just cannot help it. Between the constant whining from Morgann, and Ian being everywhere he shouldn't be, I've totally lost control of my emotions. I'm physically exhausted. Not only have I cleaned, and re-cleaned, then re-cleaned again, the living room, I've srubbed toilets (the only thing you can actually tell that got cleaned today!) and spent the balance of the day cleaning up after Ian's tirade through the house. There are still remnants...

Suffice it to say, all children will be in bed by 6PM this evening. Mean mommy has had it!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Little Blessings

Over the last few weeks, Michael & I have been debating something. The question has been "Do I go back to work? If so, do I go back full-time and make good money, or do I look for something part-time and make piddly, but extra money?" It's a question that we've gone back & forth on, argued over, and cried about (well, I've cried, he hasn't, that I'm aware of anyway!).

Going back full-time could be a good thing because the extra $40K a year would go a long way in helping us to not only get caught up financially, but it would add a cushion that we haven't had in years. The downside? The kiddos - they would be in daycare or extended care after school and that prospect doesn't appeal to me at all! I so love being a stay-at-home mommy and wouldn't trade my life with anyone! But, when bills are behind, I can't just sit here and not do something, right? So, that led to the 'going back to work on a part-time basis' question. What type of part-time job do I look for? Retail, which would occupy my evenings and weekends? Daytime on the days when the kids are at school? Then I have a problem with Ian who only attends 1 day a week; I'd have to add another day, which would kick up our tuition costs. Would my part-time salary be enough to cover that increase and give us the extra money we need? There have been so many questions, and allot of doubt that any decision would be the right one.

Then on Monday, I received a little tidbit of information from a close friend. She was included on one of the many emails I had sent out asking friends and family to pray for guidance for us. In addition to many other things, I just happened to mention the fact that I was still looking for something part-time. She emailed back asking if I knew anything about QuickBooks. I responded and told her yes, that was one of the many programs I've used over the years, most recently to keep our own company on-track. She emailed me back a while later and said that her hubby runs a landscaping company and needs someone part-time to help him get his books in order, run the company's daily and monthly processes, etc. She asked if I was interested, and I couldn't email her back quickly enough to say "YES!"

She gave me his number and suggested that I call to set up a time to talk with him. I did, but had to leave a message for him. I figured that between being a company owner, as well as a policeman, he'd probably gotten a little busy when I hadn't heard back from him by 10PM. I sent her another email last night with my resume and told her to have him call me whenever he got a chance, there was no rush. He called today and asked if he could come by to talk. About 3o minutes later, I had a job! But this isn't just any job. I'll be working on my own time, as often as I can, from home, getting his books together and updating his data. For that he told me that he'd be paying me a very nice salary every 2 weeks, and as a little perk, he'd take care of our yard for us!

Talk about a blessing!!! I was so excited that I could hardly contain my excitement. God had truly answered my prayers by giving me a mommy-friendly job, making wonderful money, and doing what I love to do - getting people organized :) I told him that though he couldn't tell it by my house, I am a very organized person and love to help people get their stuff put together. So, just as soon as we can work out a few logistical things dealing with the software and paperwork, I'll be starting just as soon as I can! This little blessing was such an answer to prayer. I just can't tell you how excited I am and how wonderful it feels to not be in limbo over this issue any longer.

Hooray for the little blessings!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ian's Latest Trouble-Making Adventure

Well, the latest victim of Ian's need to make a mess was my expensive box of whole wheat pasta. I should know better...when I can't hear him making noise, it's never a good thing! You'd think that I would have learned that by now...

Notice that his vacuum is nearby? When I'd call him and ask what he was doing, he would just yell back "Backume". He loves to vacuum, so I wasn't concerned. Again, should have known better...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cooking Lessons

I hate to cook, and anyone that knows me knows that fact. I cannot stand to be in the kitchen, standing over the hot stove working on dinner. Planning meals is one of my least favorite tasks, so we tend to eat the same things over & over again. Meal planning is a drudgery for me, and my family knows it. So, when we do sit down to the occasional family meal, the last thing I want to hear is whining and complaining. It makes 'already irritated that I've had to cook dinner' mommy into 'really mean and don't say one more word to me' mommy within seconds. Complaining is typical at the table, no matter what the meal. What 1 child likes, the other 2 don't. It's enough to send me over the edge, and it does quite often, I have to admit!

I've started prefacing our meals, prior to prayers, with 'I don't want to hear one word out of anyone's mouth, unless it's to say "Thank you for fixing us a yummy dinner, mommy", ok?' More often than not, my directive is followed up with "So, if we eat all our dinner without gagging, can we have dessert?" And, sadly, most of the time I say "Yes! But only if your plate is clean and you don't say one ugly thing about it!" This tactic seems to work pretty well for me, and it's one that I'll stick with for at least while longer. I never specify what dessert will be, so when plates are cleaned, sometimes they get to choose between an apple, orange or banana, other times, it's full-blown dessert like ice cream or (lately) frozen yogurt.

Another confession I have is that rather than plan, then cook, dinner, I tend to wait until the last few hours of the day to even start thinking about what I'll be feeding my family. My lack of planning usually results in our racing out the door when daddy gets home to 'grab something'. It's so much easier to hit a nearby eatery and allow everyone to get what they want. Doing so eliminates the complaining from my little three-some, and keeps me out of the kitchen :) It's a win-win for everyone. Well, except for our budget! Do you know how much we've spent eating out over the last 2 months? Well, I'm not gonna tell you, but suffice it to say, it could pay a utility bill or two! Michael informed me just the other night that our eating out was going to stop, effective immediately, which meant that I'd have to suck-it-up and start to plan, then cook meals much more often than has been the case as of late. Uugghh!

Then I remembered something. Several months ago, my MOPS group put together and published a cookbook, MOPS Favorites, Everything But the Kitchen Sink*. As soon as they were available, I purchased several, one for myself and a few extras for family or friends. I glanced at the sections and picked out a few recipes that sounded yummy, and more importantly easy, ear-marked them, then put it into my cabinet with the rest of the cookbooks I've purchased over the years. My intention was to add a new recipe here & there to our very ordinary but stable dinner menu. Unfortunately, once it was tucked away, those new ideas were quickly forgotten. Until last week. In my desperation to 'be more creative' I pulled out the un-used cookbook and began looking at the marked meal ideas. I found 2 dinners that sounded yummy and decided to put the necessary ingredients on my shopping list.

Last Friday night, after spending a mere 2 hours at the grocery store, I decided to try one of the new recipes for dinner. I was actually sort of excited about it! The chosen recipe was called "Goldfish Cracker Chicken". I figured that giving my kiddos Goldfish crackers for dinner would surely excite them a little bit. And then I had another moment of brilliance...I'll let the kiddos help me 'cook' it too. So, I called them into the kitchen and explained that if they would wash their hands, I'd allow them to help me put the dinner together.

Once the squealing subsided, they rushed into the bathroom and scrubbed their hand clean. I quickly trimmed and prepared the chicken breasts and placed them into the baking dish, then told Alex that his turn was first. I gave him his instructions, then watched him work, giving him a little bit of help as needed. He deftly spread the dallops of sour cream across each chicken breast, being sure to cover each one completely. While he worked on his 'part', I filled a zip-lock sandwich baggie with whole-grain cheddar cheese goldfish, then instructed Morgann to crush them up. She asked if she could sit on them, and when I said, "Sure!", she raced over to the kitchen table and began standing up, then sitting down, and standing up and sitting down over and over again. She was a bit perplexed as to why her biscuits weren't crushing them like she thought they would, so once he finished spreading the sour cream, Alex raced to the rescue and showed her how to karate chop them. They were laughing and having a great time, while I secretly prayed they wouldn't karate chop a hole into the bottom of the bag, sending goldfish crumbs across the breakfast room table and floor. Once the karate chops had sufficiently crumbled the crackers, Morgann brought them over to me for spreading. She could hardly contain her enthusiasm as I handed her a small measuring cup and instructed her to scoop up the crumbs, then sprinkle them across the sour-cream covered chicken. Once she emptied the bag, it was Ian's turn. Using the same small measuring cup, I allowed him to 'help' me pour the melted butter across the tops of each chicken breast. The smile on his face was priceless. He just kept saying "Me, Hep!" and laughing with each scoop.

The kiddos watched with eager anticipation as their dinner, created with lots of team work, was carefully placed into the oven for baking. Every few minutes, one of my little monkies would round the corner and ask for a peek into the oven so they could see if the cooking was working. It was, and before long the timer bell sounded that dinner was ready. They all hurried to the table and awaited their first taste of the meal they'd cooked. After prayers, each child made sure to tell daddy about their part of the meal prep, then proceeded to take their first bite. With eyes wide, each child began to rant & rave about how wonderful it tasted, pointing out their favorite part - the goldfish crackers, of course.

Dinner was, for the first time in quite a while, pleasant and relatively enjoyable. We all laughed and enjoyed our Goldfish Cracker Chicken, served with a side salad. Plates and bowls were quickly emptied and second servings were requested. I could hardly wipe the smile from my face!

I have since made a mental note that though planning and cooking dinner still isn't my favorite thing to do, if I am sure to include the kids in the meal prep phase, the actual eating is much more enjoyable!!!

*If you think that you might be interested in obtaining one of our MOPS cookbooks, filled with yummy, delicious meals created by mommies, drop me an email or comment and I'll get one to you! They are $12 each or 3 or more for $10 each! It's a bargain and well worth the money if your results are as good as mine were :)

**We've already tried recipe number 2 with just as much success as the 1st! I allowed the kids to help in the prep, and they thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To My "Sisters"

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your Sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass.

"They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. "Remember that 'Sisters' means ALL the women...your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too.

"You'll need other women. Women always do."

What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman thought. Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!'

But she listened to her Mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 40 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:

Time passes.
Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Careers end.

Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you...Or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life! The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

*Source Unknown - I received this in an email and loved it so much that I decided to post it!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Movie Review

Last night was deemed "Family Movie Night". To complete the nuance of the evening, I ordered pizza and decided that we would sit around the coffee table, enjoying our dinner while watching the movie. Of course, the ulterior motive was that while eating and watching the movie, the kids would make it to bed closer to their designated bedtime. Anyway, Michael & Alex had chosen the film while at the local movie rental store picking up a few XBox 360 games for the week.

The Ant Bully was inserted into the DVD player (which happens to be the 360) and our Family Movie Night was underway. While the kids were glued to the TV and enjoyed watching the hero, Lucas, become smaller than an ant then learn how to 'be an ant', Michael & I too were glued to the screen. The animation was spectacular and the story line was more than creative! It was a nice change from the typical Disney-esque fair we've come to expect - there were no songs & dances in this movie. The moral of the story was pretty easy to anticipate, but getting to that moral was very enjoyable.

This is one movie that I won't mind sitting & watching a few more times - at least until it's returned to the store :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Playing Games

Lately, I've been wondering why it is that my son, and husband, have been so glued to the TV playing their new favorite game, Viva Pinata? Hubby purchased an Xbox 360 with the part of his Christmas bonus that he didn't give to me, and, in turn, I purchased the game Viva Pinata for Alex as one of his Christmas gifts. Alex was immediately addicted to it, and it only took a matter of days for hubby to be the same way!

What is it with boys & their video games?!?! Well, last night, I found out.

Let me back up for just a minute: After reading Katrina's blog about playing Ultimate Alliance with her hubby, I posted a comment asking her for her insight on the game in general. Alex has been wanting to purchase it, but I've gone back & forth as to whether or not the game would be appropriate for a 7 year old. So, I asked; she responded. After reading her email, I forwarded her input on to Michael so that he could see what she said. He quickly responded to me and corrected a few slight errors that I'd made when responding to her (like it wasn't Mortal Kombat, it was Tekken that I always beat him at!). Anyway, he also suggested that I too try playing a game with him, as it would give us some 'bonding time' together. Ha! That was just his way of trying to make an excuse to spend another 2 or 3 hours with Viva Pinata. But, to be a sweet wife, I relented and hesitantly agreed to try it out.

Last night was the night. Once the kiddos were in bed and I'd taken my relaxing bath, we sat down, opened the game panel and selected the user name I had created for myself (Queen Mommy), and started the game. Michael showed me the ropes, telling me to open the journal, suggesting that I read the encyclopedia for info on the characters, reminding me to read the prompts, and, my personal favorite, teaching me how to make the whirlms do the romance dance - that's how the whirlm babies are created! Before I knew it, I was hooked. I visited the village and made several trips to Costalots where I spent my precious chocolate coins on various and sundry seeds. Once I returned to my garden, I planted the precious seeds, then had to remember to check on them on occasion to be sure they didn't need to be watered. I lost one during the course of the evening, but considering I planted allot of them, I figure that losing 1 isn't too bad for a first-timer! After what seemed like 30 or 45 minutes, I decided to save my game so that I could get to bed before midnight. While the 360 was saving the game, I glanced back at the clock only to be struck with the realization that I'd been playing for more than 2 hours!!! I couldn't believe that it was already 12:15AM!

Then it really hit me...I've become one of them!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Virtual Coctail Party

I just came from Three Kid Circus where Jen had a virtual cocktail party and invited others to partake. I thought it might be fun to see what I could come up with, so here it goes:

1) I used to be a ballet dancer. I danced 16 hours a week up until the 9th grade, which is when my parents moved us to Dallas. I tried attending a few other dance schools, but never found one that I enjoyed, so I just sort of gave it up. I also taught ballet for a while at the private school I attended. Have to say that I never really enjoyed teaching, but I did it because I had about 25 people in attendance on a weekly basis, and the little bit of money I made was nice. Before the move, I was convinced that I would become a prima ballerina and would go on to star on TV with my favorite stars.

2) More on my favorite stars: I had 2 major crushes in junior high. One was for "The Ricker", Ricky Schroeder from Silver Spoons; the other was Kirk Cameron. Both of these boys held my affections for several years. I have to admit that when I see Rick Schroeder on TV now, I still get a little weak-kneed :) I actually wrote letters to these guys all of the time, in hopes that I'd catch their attention and they'd want to meet me! Sad, I know!

3) The first person I actually 'dated' was the man I married! Yes, you read that right. My parents were very strict and had told us long ago that it wasn't necessary to date. So, I went with it. I had no other choice, really. Anyway, I always had tons of guy-friends, but never really any boy-friends. I tried going out with 1 guy right after high school, but after 3 dates, it sort of creeped me out because he was way more interested in me that I was in him. So, I decided that it would be much easier to hang out with groups than to be alone with just one person. My best friend through high school (and afterward) and I managed to hang with a group of 5 guys for several years. We went everywhere together and had a ton of fun!!! We always took each other to dinner for birthdays, invited each other over and took turns having parties, would call the group when we needed a pick-me-up or just wanted to go see a movie :) It worked out really well, and we had full trust that these guys would do anything to protect us! I still keep tabs on a few of them. Anyway, Michael & I hung out with our singles group for several months before going out alone. But, obviously things worked out :) I don't feel like I missed out on much by not dating around, except maybe the broken heart and problems that come with dating. God brought my perfect match to me when the time was right!

4) I have a thing for wet hair. I cannot stand it and it makes me want to vomit. Just typing this has given me chill-bumps. It takes allot for me to deal with my kids wet hair - especially my daughter who has long hair that requires lots of brushing. Even my hair grosses me out when it's wet. If it gets tangled in my fingers while I'm washing it, the only thing that matters to me is to get if off of my hand as quickly as possible. Another odd (and maybe personal) thing is that I cannot exit the shower or bathtub until all the of the 'wet' is gone. I have to completely towel dry my entire body, and wrap my hair into a towel, to be sure that all of the 'drips' are gone. I cannot stand to walk across wet carpet or floors, or dry carpet or floors with wet feet, so it's a necessity to be totally dry before departing the bathing area!!!

5) I have an OCD confession: When loading the dishwasher, I alternate 'fork, knife, spoon' when placing dirty silverware into the basket. Once there is 1 of each item, I will start the cycle over until all sections are equal. If there is an uneven amount of silverware (for instance, 2 extra spoons and 1 extra knife) I will be sure to place them into the appropriate section so that when extra forks are dirtied, I can add them and keep the basket sections even. It's really sad, I know, but I just can't help myself. I will actually go back and reload the silverware after hubby has done the dishes, just to be sure it's done 'correctly'. You know, if you have too many of 1 item together, they will 'fit' together and won't get cleaned - the spoons will all merge and then the ones that are sandwiched together will still be dirty!

So there you have it! A little weird stuff on me that you might not ever know. Of course, none of this will change your life, but it might change your opinions of me :) Anyway, if you're interested in participating, then feel free. The object is to tell 5 little known facts about yourself that your blog-friends might not otherwise know.

Have fun :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Delirious Ramblings of a Single Mommy!

Well, with hubby gone, I'm learning what it means to be truly 'on my own' when it comes to doing anything with the kiddos! Getting out of the house, eating a meal, running an errand, giving baths, getting them to bed...these are all things that we (Michael & I) do as a team. With one of us missing, it takes at least twice as long to accomplish anything! I'm not liking it.

First let me say that I do not like to be alone - ever! I went from living with my parents to living with Michael (after we were married, of course) and dislike it when I'm left in the house without him. Having a child in my bed does help me sleep some, but I'm still up at least 4 or 5 times. I wake up with every stupid noise - it's so irritating! Actually going to bed is a different animal all together. I stay up watching anything & everything on TV; I stay up until I'm falling asleep on the couch, and only move to my bed because it is more comfortable. Once in bed, my eyes pop open and I lay there for what could potentially be hours, waiting for sleep to overtake me once again. But then, it takes little-to-nothing to wake me up again.

My first night alone entailed my having my youngest, Ian, in bed with me. This wasn't by choice, but by necessity since he was refusing to stay in his bed. I sold his baby bed earlier this week, so I didn't have any other way to keep him in his room. I put him in my bed around 1:30AM hoping that I would be able to fall asleep again, but then started coughing. I've had a cold for about a week now, and my having to talk to him apparently irritated my throat just enough to cause me an hour-long coughing spasm. It was fun! Anyway, with my coughing off & on, him waking up and bolting out of the room for no apparent reason, and my nose deciding when I could & could not breath through it, I think I got about 4 hours of sleep. I did finally set up his playpen last night, but in my delirious state of sleepy-ness the prior evening, setting up the playpen just didn't compute. I wish it had!!

Last night was a bit better - Ian was confined to the play pen - but I made an error in judgment when I allowed Alex to sleep with me. He was all over the place. I swear he did a full 360 during the course of the night. And don't get me started with the talking - he spent a good portion of the night mumbling! Add to that the strange-but-typical noises that I kept hearing, and you get what amounts to another 3 or 4 hours of sleep!

Tonight is supposed to be Morgann's turn to sleep with mommy, but I'm hoping to sort of conveniently forget about it, in hopes she will too. I desperately need a bed free of children and am hoping to fall into full-blown REM before midnight :)

Daddy is supposed to be home by tomorrow night, and I'm soooo looking forward to that prospect. Not only do I need the bed-partner to keep me safe from the strange noises, but I need my teammate to assist me with the kiddos - or maybe take over for about 2 hours so that I can have some quiet time. Either way, I hope he's enjoyed his time away because it'll be 'all him' when he returns :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Not Quite Back to Normal, but Close!

Well, our house is totally undecorated and all signs of the Christmas season are put away until next year! The only thing that remains are the gazillion gifts that the kids got that I haven't found a home for yet :) This, in and of itself, is an amazing accomplishment for us. We are usually a little slower to put all of the decorations away - if we're really on our game, it's sometime toward the end of January or early February. And, don't get me started on getting them back into the attic. Hubby usually puts that off until at least April or May, leaving boxes & bags stacked all over the guest room! But, this year, something got into me and I decided that the holiday season was officially over on January 1, 2007.

Can you believe it's already 2007? I know, every year we all say that, but it really hit me this year. It seems like only yesterday that we were all discussing the impending disaster of the approaching Y2K. Hubby was working lots of overtime (he's in the IT industry) and spending all of his spare time on his knees praying that nothing catastrophic would occur to the systems that he oversaw. Thankfully, nothing did :) But, it's sort of funny to look back at now, isn't it?

So, here I sit, kids running around all over the place for another 2 days. Dare I say it? School will be back in session for all 3 kiddos on Thursday and I am sitting on pins & needles waiting for it! They're as ready to go back as I am ready for them to go back :) The 'new' of all of their Christmas and birthday gifts has already worn off, so come Thursday, when I'm sitting in the quiet of my house, about 1/2 of those gifts will be sent to the spare closet for hibernation. Every year, I put a bunch of them away until the summer. This way, when the kids are bored and looking for something new to play with, I simply pull out the bag or box full of 'new' stuff and let them dig in! It gives them the joy of re-opening their toys, reminds them of what they got for their birthday or Christmas, and gives me about a 2 week reprieve from their whining. Works like a charm very year :)

As for resolutions, I have made none this year! I have a few hopes (like: I hope to finally get into some sort of work out schedule by joining a local church's fitness center, I hope to finally lose this extra 15 pounds and in turn get into my smaller clothes once again, I hope to find a way to make the money stretch without busting our budget every pay period, I hope to be a better mommy and wife, I hope to find the 'fun' in the funny things that happen around here rather than getting irritated when something doesn't go exactly as I have planned, I hope to live my life to the fullest and to show the love of God in everything I do, and, my favorite, I hope to get a nicer/newer car!), but no resolutions. Resolutions are made to be broken, then re-resolved each and every year. I'm shooting to actually make some changes in myself, and my household. But, I am under no pressure to do so. It's just a hope or a goal of mine. We'll see how things turn out :)

So, here's hoping that your holiday season was blessed, that your January 2nd and beyond are fabulous, and that you're able to reach at least 1 goal on your To-Do list before December 31, 2007!