Sunday, May 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday--back in full force, sort of

I haven't done menu plan Monday in a while because my crazy tutoring schedule has kept me from planning anything very tasty for dinner. The last few weeks as students scrambled to pass classes and cram for the SAT, our family's dinners have fallen to the wayside.

But, alas, summer has arrived, and the tutoring is slowing waaaaay down. I will have two students over the summer, and the hours allow me to be home every night for dinner with the fam and bath time and bed time with Ada. We are all relieved for the break. It's been a crazy season for us.

I am not back in full force this week because I still have two extra students who are taking the SAT this weekend, and then my summer schedule officially begins. However, my Mondays and Wednesdays are almost completely free, so I am trying two new Paula Deen recipes this week. Yahoo.

Here's the plan

Monday night--Paula Deen's butter baked chicken, rice and gravy, slow cooked lima beans, and biscuits

Tuesday night--grilled hot dogs, baked beans, chips (I will tutor through the dinner hour this night, so Scott is in charge)

Wednesday night--Paula Deen's beef stroganoff over noodles and broccoli

Thursday night--slow cooked vegetable soup and cornbread (another late tutoring night, but there will be no more of these after this week)

and Friday, I leave for the beach with all of my best college girlfriends. I am thrilled to the core. I am meeting 6 other girls in Montgomery on Friday morning, where we will all pile into one Expedition and head to Florida. Scott's parents have graciously agreed to come and hang out with Scott and Ada for the weekend, so I don't feel like I am abandoning them. So, Scott said he will figure out dinner for Friday-Sunday night.

As for lunches, we will eat turkey sandwiches, fruit, hummus and veggies, and lean cuisine pizzas from the freezer

Breakfast--eggs or egg whites, peanut butter toast, cheese toast, and Oatmeal Breakfast cookies

What's on your menu this week? Need some ideas? Head over here for hundreds of them.

Singing her to sleep

Ada and I were without Scott today.

He travelled to Chattanooga so that two of his friends could try (and successfully did!!) fix my poor little Altima (that is hanging in there despite her constant problems). It is midnight now, and Scott is still in Chattanooga. As much as I am wishing he is here with me, I am more blown away by the kindness of the guys who gave up their Saturday to do this for us. And now it's turning into Sunday. Seriously, what a gift they have given us!!

Anyway...Ada and I were looking at a long day.

I faced the day with ammunition--plans to spend the morning traipsing around town, ending at Wal-Mart to purchase a blow up pool for the backyard. We stayed out until 11 am, when Ada normally starts asking to go "night-night," and then I pulled out the question, "do you want to play with water?" And she jumped on that, so I was able to postpone nap time until 12:30.

Then, we visited Target after her nap, where she was able to pick out a treat--Sesame Street bath toys. Sesame Street is the choice show around here, though Curious George is coming in at a close second. Every time I ask Ada if she would rather have an Elmo or Curious George birthday party, she says, "Melmo," but that is liable to change. Anyway, we killed some time until 4:30, but then Ada started to notice that Scott wasn't around, and she probably started to notice that I was a bit burned out.

Finally, at 7:00, I put Ada to bed (without a bath because I had given her one earlier after swimming in her new pool). An hour and half later, realizing she wasn't going to sleep without a bath and books (our normal night time routine), Ada was back out of bed and in a lavender bubble bath.

Ada was a cryer as a newborn. For the first two months or so, around 5:00, Ada would start crying and was usually inconsolable. Scott and I would take turns walking her around, swaying back and forth, shushing in her ear, and passing her off when our sanity threatened to leave us. Some nights, a lavender bath would do the trick. Tonight, after wailing for 90 minutes, I thought a lavender bath might do the trick once again. And it did, for a while.

I let her cry some more, and finally at 9:00, when I could tell she was too worked up to calm herself down, I went upstairs and held her very tightly and I began to sing. We sat in the rocking chair for a while, until I believed that she was calm enough to go to sleep. However, when I put her down in the bed, she asked me to sing some more, and this time she requested a specific song--The Veggie Tales theme song, her favorite song in the whole world.

I chuckled to myself, and in a very quiet voice (usually the singing of that song involves much dancing and squealing and all sorts of hoopla) I began to sing the theme song as I patted her little belly. She had a little contented grin on her face, and she would join in the same quiet voice to sing the words that she knew, and this is how she finally fell asleep. It was a very surprising and pleasant way for us to end this evening and this hard week that we have had. She was just grinning and calm and we sang together. My precious girl.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My latest money making venture

I say latest, but actually I have been doing it for a few months, and I think it's time to share the info. with you.

Have you ever seen those ads that say something like, "You're the winner. Click here for a $500 gift card to Chili's." They are pop-up ads, so I have always naturally assumed it was junk mail, and I never gave it a second thought.

That is until, I came across this blog. Carrie at Money Saving Methods has figured out a way to make these offers actually worth your time. Still, even after reading all of her advice, I was very skeptical. It just seemed too risky. But then both Jessica and Tutti decided to try it, and it worked!!!! So I jumped on the bandwagon.

So far, I have made 1,000.00 from doing these offers, in the form of two separate Visa gift cards, and I have a $500 Ikea gift card on its way. We used the first gift card to pay for our expenses on the beach trip, and I am using the latest gift card to buy groceries. We are then applying the unused grocery money to our debt snowball.

I have hesitated to blog about this because I don't even know how to explain all the details of how this works, but I know that it does. I have the money in my pocket to prove it. Carrie does an excellent job of walking you through the steps, and I highly suggest that you check. it. out!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

on a happier note, let's talk J. Crew for kids

thanks for the encouraging comments, friends. I greatly appreciate it.

Our day today is going slightly better. We made it out of Publix with only three major battles;)

So...I decided to cheer things up a bit with a discussion on my favorite brand of clothing for little girls, Crew Cuts. Oh. my. goodness. I am in love. When Scott and I were at the beach, we visited the outlet malls in search of a pair of flip flops, and we took a minor detour into the Crew Cuts store. I was dying over the cuteness. We picked out a skirt and a top from the clearance rack, and ever since then, I am constantly pouring over the sale section on the website.
Here are the things I have my eye on right now.

Of the three, which is your favorite?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a hard day we've had

Ada and I have had a hard day.

We started at Wal-Mart, where I attempted to buy a car charger for my dead phone. The charger was out of stock, and in the mean time I needed to pick up some advil for my aching mouth and some juice for the drive home. Ada, being the free girl that she is, hates (and I do mean hate) all things confining, be it a stroller, a grocery cart, or even the grip of my hand. When she decided to lie down on her back in the middle of Wal-Mart, however, I decided that enough was enough, and I proceeded to hold her hand/drag her through Wal-Mart while she cried all the way. People were staring, and it wasn't even 8:00 yet.

Next, on our way out of town, we stopped at a Verizon place (that was also out of the charger) and here Ada attempted to grab hold of the handle of the front door and climb (yes climb) up the front door. She had made it fairly far up the door using just the grip of the handle and her feet on the glass when I noticed her, and immediately grabbed her, of course.

We finally found the charger in a mall in Chattanooga, TN, and there I had to force a struggling toddler to stay in my arms while I talked to the sales guy and paid for my charger. Ada was so angry. I was so angry. We finally got back to the car, where Ada proceeded to kick and scream about getting into her car seat. After a good, hard pinch, she conceded (not without lots of tears), and I get in, crank the car, and realize that my cell phone is still sitting on the counter inside the mall. I almost started crying then and there. I finally got my phone and Ada both in the car, and we were on our way to Atlanta.

Soon after we got on the interstate, Ada was sound asleep, and tears were rolling down my face. I spent a long time praying through some truth--"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength," Phil. 4:13 (all includes discipline and train and teach this child the gospel), and "Anything that I ask in his name, he will do it" John 14:14, John 15:16, John 16:23, and isn't it his will that I properly discipline Ada? I was running on empty, ya'll. After three days of single parenting a sick child all while tackling a root canal, I couldn't get home fast enough.

However, just as we were finishing up the bedtime routine, Ada was running around in circles, wired. She started climbing up her crib, and then jumping off of it, and saying "wheeeee". Scott thought this was funny, which I suppose it was, but I also thought it was dangerous. Scott (per my request) told her to stop, and she proceeded to throw her pacifier at him (all in the name of transparency). At this point, I tried to get in her face and calmly, but firmly tell her no, and she hit me in the face. I pinched her hard, which did break her spirit, but then she wanted nothing to do with me, as she wailed and wailed. Her feelings badly hurt, and my heart a little broken because Ada has never not wanted me because she was angry with me. She started asking to go night-night, still having nothing to do with me, and that is how our night ended. wasn't my best day of motherhood. It wasn't Ada's best day of daughterhood (?). I am thankful for the gospel, though. And God's grace that abounds in the face of my sin and inadequacy. Oh man, am I feeling inadequate.

But... The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in him and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank him. Psalm 28:7

I have to go, though. I hear a little voice crying and asking for "mama," and you better believe that I am responding to that.

Headed down 75 S again, and How I survived the root canal

Back to Georgia we go. I am alive--the root canal was not the end of me.

Actually, I am so thankful for how things went yesterday. My dentist appointment a week ago was rather traumatic, and it ended with that other dentist telling me that when it was all said and done I needed enough work done to mouth to pay for a used car. Our financial situation is no secret on this blog;), so you can imagine how we felt about that. Hence the second opinion from my beloved Scottsboro, AL dentist.

And it was a wonderful second opinion. Praise the Lord!! He did have to do the root canal yesterday, which he wasn't positive he would have to do until he actually started drilling (my least favorite part of all of this--that darn vibrating drill that makes me feel like my head is going to vibrate off), and I do have to come back to get a crown put on the "root canaled" tooth, but then I will basically be done with the dentist until my six month check up (which I will never miss again). Hallelujah!! There was no pain, everyone was super nice and professional (as I knew they would be) and they got the job done so very well!!

I kept telling everyone thank you, which I think made them laugh, but I was truly so thankful after my previous experience in Georgia. As for now, I am sticking with my Alabama dentist. I don't mind a trip home every six months. I will try switching later, after I have recovered from all of the overwhelming information the first dentist gave me.

Okay, I will stop saying dentist now. Thanks you faithful few who are actually reading about my trip to the dentist:) You are my true friends.

Ada and I are packing up and headed to McDonough, ready to see the husband/dad. As I have said before, I don't like to be away from him for long. He keeps us stable.

Hopefully I will have a couple of pictures to post later. Ada really took to "baby" (what she calls Andrew; she refuses to call him anything else), and we spent a lot of time telling her to "be gentle," as she wanted to constantly pat him and poke him and hug him and kiss him.

Hope everyone else had a bit more enjoyable memorial day weekend. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

from Alabama

well, today's the day. The big root canal day. I truly hate the dentist, ya'll, so I am praying a lot today;)

In the midst of that, Ada has a terrible cold. It has made it's way down to her chest, and she is coughing these deep, barking coughs. Each time she does it, she looks at me with a confusion in her eyes, and then she burst into tears. Bless her little heart.

The plan was for her to stay with Scott's parents last night and tonight, so that I would be free to get the Root Canal done and get a good night's sleep. However, this mama could not be away from her little girl when she was feeling so bad. I just need to be with her at night when I know she is sick. Maybe that feeling will lessen as I have more children, maybe it won't. But Scott's parents are kindly working with me still, and they are coming here to spend the day at my parents' house (who are at Gulf Shores right now) to watch Ada while I get all of this stuff done to my poor little unsuspecting mouth.

In the mean time, I am about to make a call to either my childhood pediatrician who practices in Huntsville, or my McDonough pediatrician, because I fear all of this is going to turn into an ear infection. And that I don't want to mess with!! Anyone know any natural ear infection remedies? Tutti, I am specifically asking you;) And any other mamas out there? Ada has had one ear infection, and luckily we caught it before things got bad. The doctor gave us an antibiotic and pain reliever and we were over it in a couple of days. (I say we, because moms go through these things with their children, don't we?) And won't we always? I think I will always feel that, even when Ada is a mom herself (Lord willing).

Anyway, if you think about, can you send out a prayer for me that "my heart and my mind would be guarded with his peace that transcends all understanding" as I face that dentist chair? Thanks!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quick Reminder

There will be no coupon inserts this weekend because of Memorial Day, so don't be shocked if you purchase the paper and find no coupons. They aren't supposed to be there.

I will be traveling to Alabama today for the dreaded Root Canal. I'm a bit scared to death, ya'll. I don't like having my teeth cleaned at the dentist, so a root canal is a bit out of my comfort zone;)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I am going to figure this out once and for all

Ya'll know how I have mentioned that I want to view my role as Scott's wife and Ada's mom as my job, much like I viewed teaching as my job?

If I didn't mention it, I meant to.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot lately about how I can better do this job. I have a long way to go before I feel like I am reaching excellence with this homemaker thing, and I really want to work on it.

As a student and then a teacher there were very tangible things that I did to attempt to reach excellence in my job. As both a student and a teacher, I spent much time studying and reading and getting my hands on whatever information was out there that would improve my performance. Most often that method worked.

I am a reader. I always have been. I want to figure out how we can stick to a budget and get out of debt? I read everything there is to read on the subject. I want to know how to make couponing work for me? Again, I read all that I can find until I figure it out. And I think that I must have read every diet book ever written. This method works for me. It always has.

So, when I ran across this book, it hit me, that is the approach I need to take to homemaking. I need to read the stories of women who felt like me, as if they were drowning in the chaos of their own homes, and I need to find out what steps they took to get organized.

So, on a whim, I ordered this book

This woman reminds me of myself--she was knee deep in clutter and was not sure how to get out. She felt fear every time the door bell rang unexpectedly because she didn't want anyone to see the state of her house. This is me!! Plus, she was a single mother to three, so her life must have been more chaotic than mine, and somehow she figured out a way to get it together. I want to follow her lead and learn what she learned.

I am on a quest ya'll, a quest to become organized and clutter free. I need some order back in my life. It used to exist, way back before little Ada entered our world, and we are going back to that place, whatever it takes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How This Whole Couponing Thing Started

I often get questions about my couponing, and I realize that I have never done a step-by-step explanation on my blog. Couponing has changed our budget so much, that I am rather passionate about sharing "the skill" with other people. Especially those families who are struggling to make ends meet each month. I truly believe that the Lord showed me how to coupon, and it has enabled us to save so much money each month all while having more food in our house than we have ever had.

So anyway, here we go.

Probably a year ago, maybe even less time than that because last summer I wasn't couponing yet, I was reading a blog (I can't remember which one, maybe this one?) I noticed that this mom was spending 40 dollars week on groceries to feed her family of six (I think I have that number right. I know that her family was much larger than my little family of three), and I thought to myself, "this is crazy. I am spending over 100.00 each week, and I still feel like we have nothing to eat." I was determined to learn how this mom was doing it!! I kept telling Scott about it because I was so amazed by it. 40.00 a week seemed impossible. I knew that she was couponing, but I didn't really understand the process of couponing. I was all about clipping coupons, but I didn't understand how a .50 coupon here and 1.00 coupon there was really going to transform our budget.

The more involved in the blog world I became, the more I realized that many families had cut their budgets in half using coupons, and I was intrigued. I began to research and read and look into every resource I could find, so that I could understand how to make couponing work for our family.

This same blog provided a CVS primer, so that seemed an easy place to start. So before I even began to think about conquering the grocery store world, I began by making one measly little purchase at CVS. I signed up for a CVS card, I looked through a CVS weekly circular, and I picked one item that was free after ECBs, and I walked into the store and bought it. It was a fairly cool feeling to get back the same amount of money (in CVS extra bucks, which can only be used at CVS) that I spent. And I was hooked. So, if you have never couponed at all, I highly suggest starting at CVS. This will build up your toiletries stockpile, and that alone will save money at the grocery store.

This month at CVS there are no free items, but you can get ECBs for toothpaste or soap. Who doesn't need toothpaste or soap? Remember, you are building a stockpile, so don't ask yourself if you need these things right now, ask yourself if you will need these things ever. And to really take advantage of the ECB deals, you want to use a coupon to lower your out of pocket expense. Let me explain. Right now at CVS, Colgate is on sale for 3.99, and you will receive 2.00 in ECBs when you purchase the toothpaste. Let's say that you had a 1.00 coupon. You would then pay 2.99 up front, and you would receive 2.00 in ECBs, which works like a coupon for your next purchase. It's like you are paying .99 for a tube of toothpaste. You see? Don't be discouraged if you don't have a coupon (you can print one above), though. I had no coupons when I started at CVS, and it still was a great way for me to get started. If you are completely new to couponing, and you are interested in getting started, I suggest looking through the CVS circular and picking a few ECB items to purchase this week. In the mean time, go ahead and start buying the Sunday paper. Many places sell them in a bundle, so that you get two newspapers for the price of one paper plus .50.

p.s. If you are ready to jump in and are wanting more details, Tutti has done a couponing series over at her blog that I think is super helpful. Check it out. (I will talk later about how it helps to have couponing friends. Comparing notes with someone really helps me to get the best deal.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Crazy Few Days

it's been a whirlwind around here.

The tutoring just keeps coming as students frantically try to pass classes at the last minute. I get these "emergency" phone calls from parents whose children are in impossible situations, and I try to step in and work some magic. We'll see how all of that goes. I do enjoy the challenge, though. I have one student who has a 65 right now, and he needs a 70 to pass. For the record, he had a 35 when I arrived for the first tutoring session, so things are looking up. We have added and calculated and worked the numbers every way possible, and all we have come up with is that it is going to be close, and we won't know until all the grades are in. He has worked his tail off here at the end, though, so I am hoping he pulls it off.
I was over at this same student's house yesterday, and his mom mentioned that his school is hiring a high school English teacher, and then she started trying to talk me into applying for the job. To be honest with you all, it is my dream job, really. He attends a private Christian school that seems to be the real deal. It is a very new school, and there are only 18 students in each class (a tiny number compared to my overflowing classroom back at Pebblebrook. I had so many students in one class, that we would have to go next door to borrow desks everyday and then take them back at the end of the class period. It was quite chaotic.) I left his house with thoughts of the job weighing heavy on my heart and mind, and then I spent too much time today daydreaming about what it would be like. Fact of the matter is, nothing replaces being at home to raise my little Ada, so I need to replace all this daydreaming with some constructive thinking, like how to keep her from throwing things across the room when she gets frustrated;).
In other crazy news, I am headed home this weekend because I have to have a root canal done. I am quite attached to my Scottsboro dentist, and last weekend I went to a new dentist for the first time in my life. When they told me that I needed to have a root canal done, I immediately knew that I wanted the opinion of my old dentist. So, yikes, that is happening next week. I hate having dental work done, and I have quite the history of dental work, but I have certainly never had a root canal. I trust my childhood dentist, though, unlike the random guy who was looking at my teeth last week, so hopefully things will soon be back to normal. All you pregnant gals out there, be warned, pregnancy can do some strange things to your mouth, (did you know about all of this? I certainly did not.) so don't procrastinate about going to the dentist like I did. I have turned into a mouth cleaning nazi, and I even bought a whole host of products at Kroger tonight to make sure that I will never be facing a root canal again if I can at all help it. I had no idea how many flossing options are out there--I think I bought one of each.
I apologize for this insanely boring post. If you are still reading, thank you, and I will try to provide something a bit more interesting next time.
Like, information about the most efficient and effective work out I have ever done. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Drowning in Coupons

I had one goal for this Sunday afternoon--start some sort of organization plan for the millions of coupons that are taking over my house.

You see, when I started tutoring non stop every afternoon and evening, everything else in my life started to go a bit haywire, couponing included.

I have continued to buy the Sunday papers each weekend, and I have continued to track the best grocery deals each week, but in the mean time, the piles of coupons were getting higher and higher. I just kept putting them in our empty bedroom upstairs, shutting the door, and living in denial. But, our grocery bill is beginning to suffer from this lack of organization, so I just spent all afternoon coming up with a game plan. An organizing the coupons game plan, that is.

I can't find my camera, or I would show you a picture so that you could see just how crazy my life has gotten. But at this point, I have come up with something that resembles order, and I even have all the coupons needed for today's grocery shop. So, I would count this as a mission accomplished. I plan to chip away at the rest of the organizing over the next week or two, but I can go to bed tonight knowing that things are much less chaotic in the coupon department.

By the way, I feel like I need to post on how I even got started couponing in the first place since several of you have asked me about the details of couponing. I plan to do a little "getting started" series soon, but first I have to take the time to reflect on how I got here because I have a hard time remembering. If you asked me, my answer might go something like this, "one day, I was spending 150.00 a week at the grocery store, and now I only spend about 40.00, but I can't remember how I got from there to here."

In the mean time, I wanted to mention that in the midst of all of this organizing, I came across a 5.00 off Nestle Good start formula. Do any of you want it? Just send me an e-mail, and I would be happy to send it to you ( Also, I have a whole stack of 3.00 off Children's Claritin that I will never use, so please, if you can use them, let me know. I really hate to see a good coupon go to waste!!!

Now, I must go get Ada ready for a trip into the city because we are going to pick up a little 25.00 Craigslist table that will fit quite nicely behind our sofa. Next on the decorating agenda? Save every penny I can to purchase two lamps to go behind the sofa on top of the table. It's coming together, ya'll, slowly but surely.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Car Trouble, Potty Training, and Outlet Deals--the story of our week

We are at home today, and our car is back at the shop. So frustrating. And to make matters worse, our fridge is void of all diet coke. Sad, sad day. God doesn't give me more than I can handle, right;)

Actually, Tutti, is coming to the rescue today. She is going to pick up Ada and me so that we can tag along on a shopping trip. I am thankful for a mom friend who understands the monotony of staying in the house all day long.

Anyway, because I don't want to spend my entire day's blog post complaining about things that are in no way worth complaining about, I thought I would show what Ada has been up to. Because all of her little friends are a few months older than her, Ada has been hearing about potty training a lot lately. I haven't been pushing potty training because Ada is still young, but after keeping a few children at our house one day, and watching me take them to the potty, Ada has decided that she also wants to use the potty. And she wants to use it a lot. The thing is, she has never actually used the bathroom on it. She sits down, looks at me and smiles, and then says all done. Oh well, it's a start. She is so interested in it, in fact, that she has started pulling her diaper off in random places.

For example, the other morning in the nursery, some of the children were taken to the potty because they are potty trained. Well, Ada, never one to miss out on the fun, decided to take matters into her own hands. While my back was turned, Ada took her own diaper off and headed into the attached bathroom. Oh dear. I finally let her sit on the toilet, but, of course, nothing happened.

Then again at the library, Ada overheard a mom ask her child if she wanted to go potty, and Ada immediately ran for the library door all while ripping off her diaper. Yikes.

Well, this interest has translated to her potty training her own babies and "melmo." Her method, however, is to actually stick her baby in the toilet rather than just sit them on the seat. Hey, whatever works, right?

I am thinking the baby still has a ways to go, though, so Ada decided she should put a diaper on her. Poor baby, the diaper is a little bit like a straight jacket. I offered to let Ada use a newborn diaper that we have stashed away, but Ada insisted that the baby needed this diaper.I thought this potty training interest had backfired yesterday morning when I found Ada sitting her bed, pants and diaper on the floor. Because Ada wakes up at the crack of dawn--before 6 am some days--I have opted to not use the monitor at night, and I make Ada stay in her bed until 7. I am a much better mama when I am not stumbling around half asleep. Well, the other morning I walked into her room to get her after she had been awake for who knows how long, and she immediately said to me, "wet diaper." I said, "you have a wet diaper?" and she confirmed that yes she did, by pointing to the diaper on the floor. Needless to say, I was relieved when I touched her sheets and they were dry. p.s. All toddler swimwear at Old Navy is on sale for 8.00. We picked up this suit yesterday morning, and I had to post pictures. All of Ada's current swimsuits were either too small or too big, so when I saw the sale, I decided to buy one that is actually her size.
And if you live in my area, the Tanger outlets are having some good sales!! J. Crew has an extra 20% off all clearance items, and most of B. Republic is 50% off. If you are in need of some new clothes, you should check it out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Lord has provided in abundance today

As I mentioned earlier, it's been a bit of an emotionally hard week. Nothing's going on to make it that way, it's just the way this body of mine reacts sometimes.

I mean there were little things making it that way--a car in the shop which resulted in several days of being stuck at home with no way out of this house and Ada being particularly disobedient and mischievous at times--but neither of these things really add up to a good reason to cry or pout or have a pity party, but none the less, this flesh of mine often does all three of those things at once.

Well, last night, after spending time in the word and reflecting on God's character a bit (a surefire way to get myself out of an emotional funk), I decided to make a game plan for today. We got the car back last night, and I wanted to get a few things done that needed doing. I was reading in Genesis and thinking about how organized God is in everything. Nothing about God and his creation is random. Think about how every little detail adds up to a very workable plan. I am trying to spend some time really studying who God is, and so my focus when reading the word right now is what I can learn about the characteristics of God and how this applies to how I live my life as a wife and mom. And I am learning that if I don't have plan, then things probably won't go well and my day will most likely not glorify God in the way that it potentially could.

All of that to say, that I put together a nice little plan for the day before I turned the light out last night. Okay, part of that plan consisted of having keys to drive my car.

So here was the plan

7:30-8:30--"wake up time," this consists of cuddling, breakfast, the Today Show, and Praise Baby
8:30-10:00--Diet Coke from Sonic and a trip to Publix
10:00-11:00--clean the kitchen, Ada plays
11:00--12:00--lunch, play time, Sesame Street
12:00-2:00--rest time for everyone
2:30-3:30--Ada's wake up time (she is very cranky when she first wakes up, and I have to be very careful how we handle that first hour. It mostly consists of her cuddled up in my lap, and we talk to each other and to her stuffed animals that she holds in her lap. We usually read books, and finally, she is ready to get on with her day)

Okay, so that is the plan that takes us to when Scott gets home. Well, at 9:00, I still hadn't located the keys to the Tribute, and it looked like Ada and I were going to be stuck at home once again. So, I stopped, and I prayed a prayer that went a bit like this, "Lord, you are sovereign, even in small things like this. You know that I have been at home for several days now, you know that I need to go to the grocery store, and you know that my emotions are a bit shaky right now. My desire is to find the keys. Can you help me? If not, can you help me be okay with spending another day in the house." Well, sure enough, about 30 seconds later I found the keys buried under some pillows on the love seat. This may seem like a small thing to you--it wasn't to me.

Okay, so then we go to Publix, where I tried to load the grocery cart with lots of fresh, healthy foods. (Another goal of mine is to revamp our eating habits, but I will talk more about that later). Things went well for a grocery trip with Ada, and we got home, and got back on schedule. The kitchen is clean, Ada had a healthy lunch that consisted of yogurt and apples and blueberries (much better than the boxed macaroni and cheese that she ate yesterday), and she even let me feed her some of it, so the mess was kept to a minimum. It really is remarkable what satisfaction I find when I really treat my role as Ada's mom as a job that needs to be done well.

I am thankful today because I feel like the Lord is hearing my heart and showing me very practical ways that I can get my job done in a way that is glorifying to him. I often feel like the job description isn't super clear, and He didn't have to provide a day like today. I know it sounds simple, but I am thankful for a good day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

An Image I am Loving Tonight

I have had a hard few days. Just believing lies and such and sinking into my melancholy state of mind;)

But tonight, in an effort to combat those lies with TRUTH!!! I turned to God's word. As I have mentioned before, because I have been blessed (cursed?) with crazy emotions, I strongly believe that truth and emotion are two separate things, and tonight I needed a good dose of truth.

I opened to 2 Samuel to read the words of David who is praising God for delivering him from his enemies (those pesky Giants that kept wanting to kill him, I suppose). Though I have no true giants facing me tonight, often times my emotions can seem a bit giant, looming over me, crippling me, so I find great comfort in David's words.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my savior, you save me from violence.
I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies...

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.

Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations of the heavens trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him...

He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

2nd Samuel 22: 2-4, 7-9, 17-20

I love this image. I can see a picture of myself drowning in lies and emotions, arms flailing about, hoping for someone to take notice and rescue me. And here is this idea that not only does God take notice, but he is so angry that these lies would be fed to me that the earth quakes and the heavens shake and fire shoots out of his mouth. That is a picture of a mighty God, is it not? And the best part, he comes swooping down to rescue me. And why does he come swooping down to rescue me from these enemies (lies) that are too mighty for me, because he delights in me. He delights in these emotions that He created. Now that is a truth worth sitting in and meditating on and clinging to with all my might. I am so thankful that I know Him and that He calls me his own. There is such hope in that. Such LIFE.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Being Ada's Mother

I explained to some friends once that from henceforth, I will always view my life in two parts, life before motherhood and life after. I really don't think there is anything that could change my life more than becoming a mom.It was as if I entered this room where I saw my whole life from a completely different perspective, and every day that I wake up as Ada's mom, I gain a bit more understanding about what life was like for my own mother. "It ain't easy", ya'll, but I am so thankful that I get to do this raising of Ada.
She is my precious girl, and I cannot remember who I was before her. Sometimes I think I imagined that life before. All of a sudden everything revolves around her--teaching her and training her and completing the simple tasks that make up a day. I often feel like I am walking through quick sand as we complete our daily routines. I remember when I was pregnant, hugely pregnant, and I was complaining to my mother that I was just ready for her to be here, so that she would no longer be attached to my body. My mom wisely said to me (and I paraphrase) that though she wouldn't physically be attached to me, it would never again just be me. Isn't that the truth? Oh man, I had no idea, and how could I have known? She is truly like another limb. Everything that I do involves her somehow, and it is an overwhelming task.
But oh how I love her. I often sneak into her room at night just to drink in the sight of her. It is heavenly. How empty life would feel without her. I am so grateful that for this day, I get to be her mom, and I regret the time I spend complaining and wishing the time away. As I heard another mom say, though these are the dog days of motherhood, they are also the glory days, and I pray that the Lord would grant me the grace to walk through the hard, daily stuff, all the while truly understanding what a gift each moment is. Thank you, mom, for day after day after day of being our mom. I now slightly (and I assume that I will gain understanding with each year that passes) understand how closed in the walls of that house must have seemed. Four little attachments depending on you. Thanks for still showing up when we need you the most (and for all the little times in between).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Changes are happening around our house

Decorating changes, that is. (Not the kind of changes that I wish I could report).

Last night, in an impulsive move, I bought a gallon of Benjamin Moore pale smoke paint, and Scott and I painted the foyer walls. Tonight we plan to paint the wall behind the couch. That is, if we have enough paint after doing the second coat in the foyer. We will probably spend the next few weekends painting a wall at a time until it is done. After being stuck inside a lot this week due to rain and a car in the shop, I decided that I couldn't take it any more, I had to whip this living room into shape. Pale Smoke is on the walls above. It looks a bit grayer in our living room because we don't have this much light coming in. (taken from Decor Pad)

After the painting is done, I have decided to hang my maps behind the couch. I have one of New York City and one of England, the two places I wish I could visit on a weekly basis. (Okay, truth be told, I wish I could live in New York, but McDonough will do for now). The couch is moved out from the wall as we prepare to paint, and after seeing it away from the wall, Scott and I agree that we definitely need a sofa table to go behind the couch. I plan to spend the next few weeks pouring over Craigslist for a super cheap table that will work there.

I am going to put Sarah's painting over the fire place, and I am going to move the mirror that is currently over the fire place to the wall where I now have a gallery of Ada photos. Hopefully, by summer's end, our living room will finally be complete. Of course I will post "after" pictures when it is all said and done.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Can I get your advice on a few things?

First of all, an update. The tribute will be ready on Monday--hallelujah--and it is going to cost about 250.00 less than we thought it was going to cost. Double Hallelujah!!

Okay, so on to the advice.

First of all, I was just at Sonic purchasing two large diet cokes (one was for Scott. I have not reached such a low that I am now buying two larges for myself), and the age old question presented itself--at Sonic, do I tip? And if so, how much? As you know, I am at Sonic a whole lot because, obviously, Sonic has the best diet coke in the whole entire world. So, how much do I need to be tipping these "car hops?" What do you think?

And while I getting your input, can I ask a few more questions. Right now Scott and I are borrowing a camera from a friend, so we eventually need to purchase our own. I would love to use this time to be stocking a bit of cash away to really invest in a good camera. I think it is a worthy investment considering that we will be taking pictures of our child(ren) for many years to come. So, what kind of camera does this amateur need to buy? I want something that doesn't require me to use a flash inside. Is that possible? I also need something that is easy to use. I hate the way pictures look with the flash, but the pictures always turn out so dark if I take them without it. Please, help me.

Okay, final question. Do any of you moms actually use a jogging stroller to jog? I bought a used one on Craigslist for next-to-nothing, and, honestly, I hate it. I can't run with it. Is there a jogging stroller out there that actually works well for jogging? If so, what is it?

Okay, that's all for now. I love that the internet allows me to ask questions to so many people at one time. Please, answer away:)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today, Ada and I were stranded at home, as we have been for most of the week. The Tribute is in the shop, and we are just praying that the cost to fix it is somewhere in the range of affordable (ha). So, by 2:00 this afternoon, when Ada was already up from her nap, and we still had two hours left until Scott got home, Ada looked at me and said, "side?" which means, of course, "mom, I am bored out of my gourd, can we please go outside and do something?" So for the sake of our sanity, out we went, despite the soggy ground, and things quickly picked up. First of all, Ada got to go to the empty lot next door to pick up our runaway ball, a lot which is normally off limits. I decided to throw caution to the wind today and let her get it. Why not?
Then an airplane flew overhead. If that doesn't give you a thrill, then I am not sure what will. Next we spent some time gazing and dreaming about a day when this pool might actually be finished. It was promised to us last summer. I am not counting on this summer. Ada and I like to go to the top of the hill behind our house and stare down at it, just to imagine what it might be like.
Then, I think we spotted a bird. Yes, it's true.
We stopped by the slide for a bit.
And then Ada and I said, "Pool? Who needs a pool? We have something much better."
The excitement was high. And if you get thirsty? No problem.
Finally, we packed it up and headed inside for a bath. And when Scott still wasn't home, we both knew the only solution was a dance party just for Ada, Ribbit, Elmo, and me. And dance we did.
We danced so hard, that Ada decided Elmo needed to go, "night, night." He was worn out, folks.
How was your day?

Summer is knocking at my door

It is threatening to come to my house already, even though it is only May. Summer in the deep South is a bit like torture at times, don't you think?

Yesterday after I had showered and dried my hair, it was hard for me to put on my make up because my face was damp with sweat, and I looked at little Ada, whose hair was frizzy with curl and heat, and I said, "it's coming isn't it, sweetie?" Summer is on it's way.

The first summer that Ada was born, and we were fighting each other every step of the way as I tried to get her to nurse, our air conditioner in our apartment broke. We lived on the third floor, and all of the heat rose up to meet us and surround us and tried to drown us. Ada, her tiny infant pink self, was drenched in sweat, as was I. And yesterday when I saw her curls wet around her forehead from the heat, I was reminded that she and I don't do so well with the heat. It made me think of this poem, which is my plea when summer comes in the South.


O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air--
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes

Cut the heat--
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.

(taken from my book, Bartlett's Poems for Occasions)

Swiftly summer is making it's way here, and I am not sure that I am ready.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In dire need of a huge diet coke from Sonic

Ada just found an unopened box of teddy grahams, and she thought it would be fun to dump the entire thing, including every single crumb, onto the living room carpet. Then when I "scolded" her for it, she decided to respond by hitting me and telling me to "top it," (stop it). I had to think quickly in order not to lose it with her. I kept repeating to myself, "she's not even two, she's not even two." So, thinking fast, I said, "why don't we go bye-bye in the car," and then we will take this day, regroup, and turn things around. So that is where we are headed. I will be praying every step of the way because this day and that little bitty girl are both trying my patience.

p.s. my car is not the most reliable right now, so you might want to join me in praying that we don't end up stranded on the side of the road, walking ten miles just to get back home;) I think that would just top off the morning.

Monday, May 4, 2009

And just like that, it's over

Well, this is how we spent the last three days, but we are now quickly back to reality. And to be honest, we were about to die to see little Ada. It seemed everywhere we turned there was somebody toddling about that reminded us of Ada. And if we weren't seeing someone who reminded of us Ada, we were noticing things that we were sure Ada would, "just love." was so refreshing to spend some uninterrupted time together. We talked and relaxed and read lots and lots. And we ate good food. And for just a few days we didn't worry about the budget and cleaning the house and everything else that makes up daily life. It was fabulous and over far too quickly.And, it's official, we have decided that we will retire right here. Would you like to join us in the house next door?
p.s. I have decided to put the crimper away and just make do with a little styling cream and a diffuser. Oh well, it was a fun to try something different.