Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mother of the Year Application

For the next Mother of the Year application, I will be reminding Chris to submit the following:

Mary is such an incredible mother.  One day in late January, she spent almost an hour scooping two month's worth of dog poop out of her back yard so her four children could take advantage of the only two warm and sunny days so far this winter.  Since the yard had been used by our golden retriever, and two large dogs who visited for a few days over the holidays, she had her hands full - literally!  She filled an entire trash bag so full that it began to tear apart.  All in the name of letting her children experience some fresh air and a little outdoor exercise.  I am one lucky husband and father... Sincerely, Chris Moon

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recycling...more or less

About a year ago we started to pay to have recycling service.  Not because I'm especially "green" or big into environmental protection though I'm glad others are.  For me, it made financial sense.  The company we were going with gave us points according to the amount we recycled - by weight.  I got to turn those points into things.  For instance, I could earn $20 in cash to our local grocery store in a month.  I could get $5 coupons to restaurants, stores, get magazine subscriptions, free ice cream and so on.  All for about $7 per month.  I MADE money recycling.  And, it was easier than clipping coupons.

But, as many cities are now doing, our small town contracted with a competitor for trash service.  We can no longer use the company which rewards us for our recycling efforts.  We now recycle because we have a bin in our garage and we're in the habit of it.  But we don't recycle with quite the same energy as before.  If something needs washed out to be put in the bin, it's now going in my trash can more and more.  I'm just not willing to wash out a peanut butter jar (takes forever) when there's no reward.  It's not worth my time.   I know, Mother Earth is worth the time.  Well, with four kids and a busy  house, my priorities are not quite there.  So I'm wondering if I'm the only one who is recycling a little less now.   Maybe I'm the only lazy one out there.  But I really did enjoy getting rewards for my recycling efforts.  I think we should get rewards for more things we do.  Laundry done = reward.  Grocery shopping with kids in tow = rewards.  Scooping the poop out of the yard = big reward.  You get the picture. 

I know the benefits of the single contracted trash hauler. It's nice to see trash bins out on the street curbs one day out of the week instead of four.  Less trash truck traffic on our roads is a good thing -- especially the ones that come early in the morning and make my dog bark!  For many, they are spending less on their monthly bill.  All good things.  I've just lost some of my enthusiasm for recycling. Maybe one of the kiddos will catch the recycling bug and start rinsing things for me.  I'm not going to hold out hope though. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Melt please!

Hello Sunshine!
Today it is finally sunny and it's supposed to get up to 45 outside!  It's been a while.  We still have some snow on the ground from a snow storm two weeks ago.  That I don't mind.  What I do mind is the pond behind my house.  It has been frozen for a long time.  Too long.  It is literally completely covered in goose and duck poop.  Looking out my back window, that's all I see.  Not cool.  I would show you a picture, but you really don't want to see that.  So gross.  So, sunshine, please, please melt the ice.  I'd like to see a pretty pond out back instead of a litter box.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am not a fan of change.

Life as I know it may be over.  Okay, that may be a little dramatic.  But, something serious happened today that could change EVERYTHING! 

Sam, who is 30 months old, just got out of his bed and opened his door.  (Gasp!)  We put him in his big boy bed at two.  And for six months he hasn't gotten out of his bed.  Not once.  Not in the mornings when he's woken up.  Not after nap times.  He just woke up and cried and I would come get him or he laid around in his bed perfectly happy to wait until I came to get him.  But today, he left his room.  Not good.

Isabella did the same thing two years ago.  And once she realized that she could get out of bed and leave her room on her own....well, let's just say she enjoyed practicing her new skill.  Not in the middle of naps thank goodness.  But after putting her to bed she would get up multiple times.  She is the queen of needing to go to the bathroom one more time.  And, she now wakes up earlier and comes upstairs and crawls into bed with us - well me.  Chris is always up early these days doing homework.  I get up at the absolute last possible minute I can in order to get the kids up and ready and loaded onto the bus. 

So, as you can see, my life might possibly be changing.  I'm not looking forward to another one who gets back up after I put them into bed.  Maybe he'll forget.  Maybe he won't do it again for a LONG time.  Let's hope!! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

One Little Word...or Two.

So many people have been talking about their word for 2011.  If you check out this blog and scroll down to the comments section, you can read what almost 1600 people have to say about their "one little word."  It's truly inspiring.  It makes you want to be better.  Some of them have chosen words like....forgive, enjoy, happy, listen, family, do, risk, grow, renew...the list goes on and on.  But reading why people selected the words is worth your time. 

I had a word for 2009.  It was more like a phrase really.  That was my "Year of the Doing."  Yes, it doesn't sound pretty, but what I intended was to stop just talking about things I was going to do someday, or complaining about things I'd like someone else to change, and instead just do them.  I'm not talking about anything dramatic or fun like a bucket list. No skydiving or going to Spain.  I'm talking about simple involvement in things that really mattered to me.  Our PTO, the preschool board, things at church. Responses to my conversations with Chris that started like "I wish someone would..." or "Why doesn't somebody step up and..."  Stop talking and start doing. That was the plan.

For 2010, I really just needed to stick with all the commitments that I had gotten myself into.  So it was basically my "Year of the Doing, part 2."  It worked for me.  I became more involved in different things and found I had passion for so much!  Too much.  It also meant that when I caught my children role playing house, they were "going to a meeting" instead of cooking or playing momma to their dolls.  I'm thinking that two years of doing caught up with me. 

So for 2011 I've thought a lot about my word.  It's supposed to be one word.   But I'm a wordy kind-of girl.  My husband will tell you that being concise and to the point is not my strong point.  So instead of one, I've got two words.  Ready.  Here goes.

1)  Simplify.  When did being a stay-at-home mom get so darn busy?  Right, the Year of the Doing.  It turns out, I do too much.  I have tried to get involved in so many things, all things that I really care about.  But you can't do everything you care about.  You have to prioritize.  Pick things that matter and focus on them.  Simplify has other meanings for me too.  Simplify my day.  Run less errands.  Simply be home more.  Simplify my commitments. Less committees, less meetings.  Simplify my house.  Clean up the clutter.  Another garage sale.  More trips to Goodwill.  Cleaner closets.  Less stuff in my storage room.  And an organized office. 

2)  Intentional.  I need to be more intentional with my time.  I am a mom of little ones for only a very short period of my life.  My kids, age 2 - 7 are growing up quickly.  I need to focus on them more and less on the housework and the meetings.  I can't just say we need more family time.  I've got to schedule it.  That means planned game nights and movie nights at home.  More hiking trips and time at the park and less of me sending them downstairs to play so I can fold the laundry.  I've also got to be intentional with my time with each child.  Having four kids doesn't leave a lot of one-on-one time.  I've got to be intentional and set up regular dates with my children.  Each week I could do something specific with one of them.  Even just a special breakfast date once a month would be a start.  Beyond my family, I've got to be more intentional with my relationships.  It's easy to have a lot of friends, but much harder to take the time to develop meaningful friendships -- the ones that really matter.  So I'm going to be more intentional with all of my relationships.  And, more intentional with how I spend our money.  Back to the basics of needs and not wants.  Those little things here and there really add up.  So I'm tracking them and being more intentional with our spending.

So yes, instead of a word in 2009 and 2010 I used a phrase.  A not very pretty phrase at that.  And once again, I'm breaking the rules and doing two words.  But, I'm hoping that I'll be able to focus on both of them and really work at simplifying my life and being more intentional.  Do you have a word for 2011? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Days

I've been having a great week!  Sunday, it started to snow and Monday our schools were closed due to a power outage. That morning was gorgeous outside.  It wasn't windy or too cold, so we played in the snow a lot without any complaints.  Later that afternoon, the wind picked up and it got very cold so we snuggled up and got cozy. 

Tuesday the schools cancelled again for extremely "frigid" weather.  Think -15 wind chills.  And Wednesday all the schools around us closed.  It was supposed to be even colder, possibly -20 wind chills.  Our school did not close.  Of course, we'll never really know will why will we?  But the justification for closing Tuesday and not Wednesday doesn't really hold up. 

Anyways, I kept my girls home again for another day.  I didn't think -20 was safe even just walking from the garage down the driveway to the bus, or from the bus to the school.  I'm guessing the superintendent was not outside greeting the kids getting off the bus.  Probably inside his nice new office staying warm.  Just a guess.  My girls went back to school today after a 5 day weekend.  They have 2 days of school and then have a 3 day weekend due to MLK jr.
Day.  Usually I would have gone stir crazy by now.  We haven't left the house in 2 day.  Not even to head outside to get the mail.  But we've had a lot of fun playing games, watching old movies (think the original Love Bug, Parent Trap and Swiss Family Robinson).  And just playing.  We slept in and we were well rested and had fun.  And most importantly, we didn't run ANY errands.  Nice!  It's made me look forward to the summer already even though it's several months away! 

So, here's a few pictures from our time outside.  We really love a good non-windy day to play in the snow!


It was hard for Sam to walk with a couple inches of snow stuck to his boots.

Sophia was digging a little igloo and kept putting her head in it.  I wasn't really sure what to say, so I just took a picture.  Silly girl.

Remarkably, all of them were still out there after an hour.



Sophia - covered in snow and loving it.

Isabella getting chilly!

Here's hoping you got outside to play in the snow too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Got Stuck in the Snow and Needed a Push...

Getting the car stuck in the snow is no fun at all.  Sometimes you need someone to give you a big push just to get going.

Then you have to stop and wait while the road is cleared.

Sometimes you need someone to check your tires.

Eventually, you may just realize that you need to get inside and get some hot chocolate!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I'm officially admitting defeat.  It's not an easy thing to do.  But necessary.  Last Monday I set out to potty train Sam.  We had trained all the girls at 27 months pretty easily.  Sam is 29 months.  I waited until the holidays were over because of travel plans.  So Monday was the day. I even bought a Lightning McQueen toilet and Lightning McQueen and Mater underwear.  We were set. 

Sam was not.  In one week he accidentally pottied in the toilet once.  Accident being the key word there.  The rest of the time I dutifully pulled his wet underwear and pants off of him and put him on the toilet.  We had lots of conversations about parts I never thought I'd talk about.  He continually told me how he had to "point it down."  The girls' have been exposed to more information than they probably needed.   

The problem is that Sam sleeps a lot.  NOT a problem normally -- a complete blessing to me.  But, when you're potty training, the kid needs to be awake.  We had mornings (when we weren't out running errands).  Then he'd nap 4 hours.  Then he'd be awake for a few hours in the evening.  He literally is only awake about 8 hours a day.  My kind of kid!!  That's just not enough time to get enough practice.  But more importantly, the poor kid didn't have a clue.  He literally has no idea when he needs to potty.   He's just not there yet.  So, I'm admitting temporary defeat. We'll try again when he's ready this spring...or when it's summer time and I'm less busy running kids around. Or we'll try the "going naked" method when it's warm enough that he doesn't cry about being freeeeeeeeeezing! 

Defeat is not easy to admit.  But, sanity is much more important.  I'm not willing to struggle with this for months when I can wait for him to be ready.  So, back to diapers.  I've been using them continually for 7 1/2 years....why stop now!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year

2010 was a good year.  It was full.

Chris & Catherine's wedding.  Trips to Indiana and Colorado.  Preschool.  New contemporary service at church.  Girls' dance and cheer leading clinics.  Birthday parties and sleepovers.  VBS.  Teaching at Parent's Day Out.  Watching 22 machine-pitch and t-ball games.  Project 365go!  Swimming lessons.  First Sunday family lunches.  Freelance writing.  Multiple ear surgeries.  Daily devotions.  Parade floats.  The Hornet Hustle.  Children's Ministries.  Babysitting.  Hiking through Tallgrass Preserve.  Graduate school.  Blogging.  PTO.  Volunteering.  Toddler Milestones.  Laughing.

This year was finally not a year about home improvement.  We didn't tackle any major things despite the long "to do" list.  And not surprisingly, they're still there to do another time.  We were very healthy for the most part.  We were blessed financially with new opportunities.  We learned to focus on serving in areas that really matter and where we can make a difference and not just volunteer for everything we have an interest in.  We were reminded at how quickly time passes and how fast kids grow up and how precious life is.  We learned that family matters.  We focused on putting God first.  The rest seems to work itself out. 

For 2011......Hopefully more of the same.  God first.  Loads of family time.  A few projects.  Exercise more and eat less.   We WILL spend more time being a, playing, laughing.....not just working and volunteering. Fewer meetings.  I WILL find a healthy balance between all the things I want to do, and the reality and time restraints of being a mom of 4 beautiful kids. The house will be less clean.  The "to do" list may not get shorter.  But I will have taken the time to be the Mom that God intends me to be. 

So...Pray, Play, Serve, Obey, Love and Enjoy.  That's what I intend to do in 2011.