Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Sometimes in life you get exactly what you think you're going to get.  Sometimes you don't.  

I'm a planner, people.  I look at the landscape and figure out exactly how the ride is going to run.  I take it all in and figure it all out before it actually happens.  That's just the way I am.  I know what I'm getting into before I get going.

And then sometimes the landscape isn't what I think it'll be.  Sometimes, I find myself in a glorious oasis.
I have a job now.  A full time job.  I'm an aide at my kids' school.  I have to be at the drop-off line at 7:30am.  That's not so bad.  I had to have Little Lou at school by 7:45 last year.  Sounds like it wouldn't be much of a change, right?  Except.  Stinky's daycare isn't right down the road.  It's not even in the same town as the school.  It's not in the town where we live, either.  It's 15 minutes in the opposite direction from school.  Fifteen minutes there, fifteen minutes back to school.  Add in time to actually drop him off and my required "buffer zone" just in case, and we need to leave the house by 6:30am.

Have you ever had to get 3 kids up and ready by 6:30am?  I mean, every once in a while it's not a big deal, but every day?  Dreadful.

Or so I thought.

There I go expecting.

Friends, it does us good, sometimes, to expect the unexpected.


has become my absolute favorite time of day with my kids!  

(Don't judge the seat belts, people.  We were sitting still in the driveway.)

My kids have been early morning rockstars!  I was DREADING mornings.  How will we have time for breakfast?  How will I wrestle them into clothes?  How many meltdowns will we have each day?  But those kids up there?  They've got this thing down!  Most every day, 1 or 2 or all 3 are up on their own by 5:45.  They've eaten breakfast at the table every single morning!  

And on the way?  Not a single meltdown.  Not one.  Instead, we sing and talk and laugh, every. single. morning.  We start our days smiling.  We are all kind and blissfully in love with life.  Every. single. morning.

Friends, expect the unexpected.  Sometimes, when you are busy making plans for what your life's going to look like, life will surprise you.  Sometimes the things you expect to be horrible turn out to be a breathe of fresh air.  Sometimes you fall a little bit more in love with your life and your family every. single. day.

Expect the unexpected!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dip Dip Hooray! Dinnertime is EASY!

I'm one of those moms.  You know, the kid of mom that cooks dinner for her family every night.  The kind of mom that try really hard to feed a balanced diet, a healthy diet.  

And now I'm also one of those moms.  The full-time working kind.  

Two weeks ago, when I was a stay at home mom, it was easy to make dinner every night. If need be, I could start cooking at 3...or noon...or 9am.  Maybe I was actually showered and dressed, maybe I was still in my jammies.

Friends, I am still that kind of mom that tries really hard to feed a balanced, healthy diet.  Sometimes, though, it's really really hard to find the time to fit it all in!  Believe it or not, I was delighted last week to make dinner on chicken nugget night.  (I like to keep a few "easy" meals on hand, but prefer meals that I can at least sort of justify as "healthy."  When we were shopping at Walmart early last week, we stopped to check out the variety of chicken nuggets to toss in the freezer!)  The kids chose Tyson chicken nuggets (dinosaur nuggets), and I grabbed a bag of Tyson chicken chunks with general tso's sauce for the grown ups!  We haven't tried ours yet.

It was a crazy evening, and I'd forgotten to throw dinner in the crock pot in the morning.  Thank goodness Tyson, Heinz Ketchup, and Ore-Ida French Fries came to my rescue!  I simply pre-heated the oven, and 30(ish) minutes later, dinner was on the table!

My kids were so excited!  Nuggets and fries are NOT the norm around here.  Dinosaur nuggets are REALLY not normal!  I couldn't bear to feed them just nuggets and fries, though.  I balanced it out with baby carrots and peaches.  (The plates looked pretty boring to me, but the kids were thrilled!)  There were even shouts of #DipDipHooray!!

I knew it would be a crazy week, so I decided that I'd let the kids help me pick out a new game that they could play to (maybe) keep themselves entertained while I accomplished a few things at home, and (hopefully) play at a Family Game Night soon!

After dinner I had some work to do, so the kids had a Hasbro Game Night with their new game: Ants in the Can!

The kids had a great evening munching, playing, and laughing together, and Mommy had a nice "break" and time to get things done!

As if the silence and peace I experienced on chicken nugget night weren't enough, Heinz Ketchup, Tyson, Ore-Ida, and Hasbro have a really great sweepstakes going on!  There's no purchase necessary to play, and you can enter once a day!  If you want to unlock the "weekly games" (with great prizes), all you need to do is enter UPC codes from a Heinz product, an Ore-Ida product, and a Tyson product!  Easy peasy!! (You will need to create an account to play, but that's simple too.  Simply visit to get started!  Good luck and have fun!!

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias Tyson and Heinz #CBias #SocialFabric

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kindergarten. Amazing.

A little over 5 years ago, I gave birth to a little boy who was perfectly and wonderfully made, even though it took me almost a year to realize it.  A little over 5 years ago I gave birth to a little boy we hoped and prayed would not only live a long life, but a "normal" life as well.  A little over 5 years ago, I gave birth the mother of a special needs baby.

And a little over 10 hours ago, I walked that little boy to his kindergarten classroom!

(I should mention that I walked Little Lou to her second grade classroom as well!)

Friends, I have to admit, for a good portion of the first couple years of his life, I didn't know if he'd ever do this:

And to be honest, I wasn't sure we'd ever see this:

But today, friends, I had the very distinct privilege of delivering my sweet Bug to his first day of school.  He was both excited and nervous.  He couldn't eat breakfast.  He wouldn't wear tennis shoes.  He did not speak to anyone for a full hour before school started.  He was so excited to go, but he really wanted to stay with mommy, too!


I'd be lying if I said it was easy today.  People, I've kept a pretty tight reign on that little guy.  It's scary in this world of unknown, this world of what if, this world of special kids.  Terrifying sometimes.  Paralyzingly so, sometimes.  It's also beautiful and refreshing and amazing sometimes.  Today?  Well, today was one of those "sometimes" days.  

Terrifying and beautiful.  

Scary and refreshing.  

Paralyzing and amazing.

I learned today (again) that my little boy isn't quite so little anymore.  He's not quite so "fragile" as I like to tell myself he is.  He isn't what I think he is, he isn't what I expect him to be.  He's so very very much more than that!  

I learned today that today I have to let go a little, lest I hold on forever.  Holding on forever sounds wonderful, until I really think about what that means.  I want my little boy(s and girl) to grow, to change, to thrive.  They won't do that, they can't do that, if I don't ever give them a little slack on the reigns!


I learned today that not only is that little boy stronger than I ever thought he'd be, but so his his mama!  Friends, I underestimate me sometimes.  A lot of times.  I don't give myself the credit I truly deserve.  I am SO much more than I allow myself to believe.  

You are too, you know.  You are infinitely more than you tell yourself.  You are worth more.  You are capable of more.  You are more!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things are changing

I spent the first nine months of the year searching for a job.  Considering it's only August, you can see I've been busy!  (Admittedly, I'm a bit of an overachiever.)  During that time I applied for literally hundreds of jobs and interviewed for 2.  I even made it to round 2 interviews for one of those positions!

Then it was 2 1/2 weeks until school would start.  We'd sort of resigned ourselves to the fact that I'd still be at home (which I LOVE) and we'd still be squeaking by while The Hubby worked full time and went to school in the fall.  We were okay with that (mostly), because we had to be.

God's funny, though. 

It was 2 1/2 weeks before school would start, when the principal of Little Lou's (and Bugsy's in a couple days) called me to see if I would be interested in interviewing for a position.  I would be SO interested in interviewing for that position.  You know, that position I didn't even know existed.  That position I didn't technically apply for (although I'd applied there very early in the year and not been called).  That position that needed to be filled immediately because, well, school started in 2 1/2 weeks.

So I went.  I interviewed.  I walked out of the school pondering all the things I'd said wrong, what I would say differently if I could please just go back into the principal's office, just one more time.  Please.  And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Because she said she'd call "next week" and she didn't call.  (Of course I'd told her not to worry about it if she didn't get to it, that I knew it was registration week and she'd be super busy.  But still.)  I waited and hoped and prayed and nothing happened.

We sent the kids away that weekend.  We do that from time to time.  Typically about one weekend a month we pack their bags and ship them out to Mamma's house.  Usually I spend the weekend cleaning like a mad-woman because I can't stand to have a messy house when people come over, and when the in-laws bring the kids back they'll be...well, people.  This weekend, though (last weekend, to be exact), we'd decided that we'd spend the weekend discussing what happens "next."  What's our 5-year-plan?  Our 10-year-plan?  (People, our 10-year-plan involves a college search?!?  Holy cow!  We've got to start thinking about how Little Lou's going to pay for college because in 10 years she'll be a senior in high school!)  What do we need to do to meet our goals?

I made The Hubby take me out of the house on Saturday.  I can't concentrate on relaxing while I'm at home because I see all the STUFF.  We had lunch (free hot dogs provided by a newly forming chapter of Christian Motorcyclists' Association) and were trying to decide what to do next.  We were discussing how things were looking for the fall and what we'd be doing and where we were headed.  (We were headed to Walmart to return some bike inner tubes, but that doesn't matter.)  


They want me, people!  They really really want me!  Can I start, Tuesday??  Of course I can!  (It's EASY to find daycare in 6 days, right?)  And then another call...The superintendent wants you to start Monday.  Can you start Monday?  Of course I can!  (It's EASY to find daycare in 5 days, right?)

Friends, I'm telling you this for a few reasons.  #1, God is SO good, and when we least expect it He reveals His plans.  Sometimes they're surprising.  Always they're perfect.  #2, I found daycare.  It took 4 days to decide, but Thursday afternoon I turned in the registration check and paperwork and trained the teachers in cloth diapering.  #3, I am super duper excited about my new job!  I'll be the Title 1 aide at my kids' school, and I'll likely get to visit with Little Lou and (more frequently) Bugsy in their classrooms!  #4, I'm dreading dropping Stinky off for his first day of daycare.  This mama's gonna miss that little boy like crazy!  And finally, #5:


Pray for me tomorrow, would you?  Big prayers.  Because tomorrow, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I will be "on the clock" for the day, and for the first time ever Stinky will be spending a day in daycare.  I'm going to miss these people tomorrow!  (And I'm going to love it.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

You'll love the view

I sent a message to a friend this morning, and then thought perhaps she wasn’t the only one that needed it.  I hope she doesn’t mind me passing it along to a couple thousand other friends as well, because we’re all in the middle of something, and each of you could probably use a bit of encouragement for something.  I shared this with some other people recently, because they were upset that someone had said their fight was a "harder fight" than the one these people were going through:
You'll get through this. You will. The way I see it, whatever you are going through RIGHT NOW is the biggest battle you've ever dealt with…or anyone has. Your battle RIGHT NOW is huge. But in a little while, you'll be past this (at least for a bit) and it won't feel quite as huge...and your NEXT thing will be the biggest battle ever. We're still in the middle of the "battle" with Bugsy, but since we're kind of in a lull, I don't think about it much. But when Stinky broke his leg? That was the hardest thing I've dealt with as a mommy...because I was in it RIGHT THEN. When I look at them side by side, obviously the 6 surgeries Bugsy’s has had, particularly the three 12+ hour skull surgeries, are WAY bigger than a broken leg.  But in the thick of it?  THIS battle is the hardest.

I don't know if that's helpful. Maybe not. But I guess I just mostly want to say hang in there, because in a year...2 years...10'll likely look back and remember that this was the hardest thing you'd ever dealt with to that point...but you'll have come out a stronger, better, fiercer mama because of it, and you'll be at a point where you'll be able to see where God's hand was all along. Your perspective will have changed, and while you will probably never be "grateful" for this journey, you'll be able to see some beauty in what it's done in your life.

I'm praying for you. It's HARD to be "that mom." Super hard. There are so very many emotions EVERY minute of EVERY day. There are some things you just have to learn to accept, and that is terrifying. But you'll make it out. You'll get to the other side. And you'll love the view from there.