The One Where My Mom Claws Come Out

*update* I returned to the mall today to file a formal complaint and noticed that there was a phone number on the sign in front of the trampolines (where the same girl was working again today, I might add).  I called the number and spoke with the man who owns the trampolines.  He was very kind and extremely apologetic for her behavior.  He told me that this was the second complaint in two weeks he’d gotten on this girl…and she only works two days/week.  Yikes.  Anyway, he apologized profusely and told me he would be calling me in the next couple of days to set up a time for me to bring the kids in and let them bounce for free.  So I just wanted to put that out there – it was the employee, not the establishment and I’m very pleased with the outcome.  Happy New Year everyone!

Tonight I had the privilege of taking Sloan on a date to the movies.  We are not movie folk.  Lee and I don’t love going to the movies (it’s more that we don’t love paying for the movies) and so we rarely go, which means I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve taken Sloan to the theater.

Needless to say, going to see a movie is a HUGE treat.  So huge, in fact, that as we walked through the mall, Sloan grabbed my hand and put it on his cheek and said, “Thanks for taking me to the movie mom.  This is the bestest night of my whole life…AND of my whole year!”

Glad I could finish out 2009 with a bang for you little man.

We saw Alvin and the Chipmunks.  Sloan thought is was HI-LAR-I-OUS.  He slapped his knee, he bent over and gripped his sides, he cackled and I think I even heard a guffaw.  Even I thought it was a funny movie, though I had considerably more fun watching him clutch his sides in hysterics than I did watching the screen.  (The two scenes that had him laughing until I thought he might have an accident? When Alvin gave the football jocks a wedgie and when Theodore got trapped beneath the sheets after Toby passed gas. Ugh – is he all boy or what?)

After the movie, Sloan wanted to walk around the mall for a bit and since it was date night, I decided to give in and let him pick one more special thing to do.  He chose to jump on the inflated trampolines in the center of the mall.  Lucky for me, I still had Tia’s wallet in my purse from a trip to the store the other day and I was able to borrow the cash needed from her to allow him to do that. 

Remind me to replace that before she starts looking for her wallet!

We approached the gates of the trampoline area and Sloan asked if he could jump.  The girl in charge looked up from her soup in a bread bowl long enough to roll her eyes then slid off her chair and stomped over to us and flung the gate open.

“Take off your shoes,” she barked at Sloan.

“What?”

*eyeroll* “Take. off. your. shoes,” she said all slow and snotty like.  At this point my blood reached a simmering point.  I took a deep breath and told myself that maybe, just maybe, she had low blood sugar and our interuppting her dinner was causing an adverse reaction in her body.  Benefit of the doubt.  I was working hard on it.

Once Sloan had his shoes and jacket off, he climbed up on the trampoline all giggly and smily – oblivious to the snotty girl yanking the belt around his waist.  She jerked the straps up then gave him a little shove backwards to the center of the tramp.  And my blood reached boiling point.  I literally had to grip the sides of the gate to keep myself from lunging over.

At this point, another family walked up and their daughter headed in to the other trampoline, receiving the same rude and rough treatment.  The other mom and I made eye contact.  I could see that her blood was at the same temperature mine was.  Her knuckles were white too.

Our kids commensed to jumping.  Sloan wooped and hollered and had the time of his life.  I tried to enjoy his glee, but I was too busy watching the girl, making sure that she was doing her job and keeping an eye on the jumpers.  She wasn’t.  She was busy pouring her soup into her bread bowl and taking a bite.

After a few minutes, she lowered the kids down and without a word motioned for Sloan to step forward so she could remove his harness.  He wasn’t looking at her so he didn’t see her.  She motioned again.  He still didn’t see.  So she kicked at the tramp with her knee to get his attention and when he looked at her she motioned vigorously and rudely for him to step forward…still not talking and asking him politely.  Then she yanked – and I mean literally yanked – his harness off and stomped over to the other tramp.

When she came to me for the money, I was taking very deep breaths.  My face was so hot I feared it might spontaneously combust into a flaming inferno.  I leaned way forward and put my nose about an inch from her and began speaking through clenched teeth.

I said, “I understand that it’s late and you’ve probably had a long day, and I see that you are trying to eat some dinner so I’m assuming you’re hungry, but the way that you just treated my son is unacceptable.  You’ve been nothing but a snot from the moment we stepped up here and I want you to know that I was watching you and I don’t appreciate it.”

At this point, she rolled her eyes at me.  She ROLLED HER EYES AT ME.  Perhaps I misjudged her earlier.  She didn’t have low blood suger, she had a freaking death wish.

To my credit, I kept my cool and never raised my voice, although my hands began shaking with fury.

“Nobody pushes my kid around, do you understand?  That’s my kid right there and he deserves your respect and you will respect him.  I don’t care if you like your job or not – you have no right to push my kid around and think you can get away with it.”

I then handed her the money and said, “I will pay you this money, but I want you to know that I am going to the Information desk where I will be filling out a complaint and recommending that you be removed from a job that requires you working with children since you clearly don’t want to be around them.  And I sincerely hope that you shape up your attitude and treat the children standing in line behind me better than you’ve treated my son.”

She stared at me and did not respond.  Not even a nod.  Oh my Lord, you guys, it is by the grace of God I was able to step away I was so furious.

I grabbed Sloan’s hand and as calmly as I could walked away.  As I stopped to put his shoes on him, the dad of the other little girl that was jumping with Sloan walked by and gave me two thumbs up.  I also noticed a mom who had been standing in line behind me leave the line. 

Good.

When I got to the Information desk, they told me they were out of complaint forms (!) but I could come back tomorrow and fill one out in the main mall office.  And you better believe I’ll be doing that.  That girl has no business working that job.

As we left, Sloan asked me why I told that girl to change her attitude – I decided to use it as a teaching moment and explained to him that that girl was rude and disrespectful not only to me, but more so to him. 

“We’re a family, kiddo, and if someone isn’t treating your family right, you need to defend your family.”

He nodded and I think he got the message.  He’s a perceptive kid and he knew that she wasn’t acting kind.  (Kind!  She wasn’t acting human…she was a little monster.)  For my part, I’m actually pretty proud of how I handled the situation.  I have a tendency to, ahem, fly off the handle and when she rolled her eyes at me I had to fight H-A-R-D not to raise my voice and use a few choice words.  Seriously – just thinking about it right now I’m biting my lip with such force that I may pierce it. 

But I knew little eyes were watching and I kept my cool.  And I think she got the message.  I don’t think she cared, but she got the message.

Yay me! *deep breath*

Now I’m off to go release on the punching bag in the basement…

The One Where He Sings Dradle, Dradle, Dradle

This year, our church opened up the Christmas Eve services to anyone who wanted to join and help lead the service.  Since I am so involved with our music department, I decided to take Sloan and have him stand up front with me.  Much to his dismay, I might add.

My sweet six year old will walk up to anyone in the world and strike up a conversation.  He entertains us tirelessly at home and he’s got the sweetest singing voice – but when he gets in front of a group of people that he perceives to be “staring” at him, he clams up completely and turns into someone I don’t know.  So he was not thrilled when I told him he was going to stand up front and sing in big Church.

Once I assured him that he would not have to sing alone into the microphone, though, he was much relieved, though still not thrilled.

Who’s kid is he anyway?!

So, we headed to practice last Wednesday night.  Because there were a lot of people to organize and several songs to go through, the rehearsal was longer than I had expected it to be.  This led the six year old to behave like a, well…six year old.

There was the wallowing on the floor, and the third time I dragged him gently lifted him to his feet, I told him that he was going to make it and he needed to stand up,  to which he replied, “This is the awfullest day of my whole life! Why did you make me do this?”

And somewhere, a group of crickets began singing a mournful tune.  (eyeroll)

Then there was the issue of him having been placed directly in front of the microphone, which, despite his phobia of singing into one proved to be far too great a temptation for his six year old self.  He commenced making gun sounds into the microphone, which required him to jump up and down so that his mouth was closer to the mic as it was set up fairly high.  On occasion, he jumped up and barked out “Hello!” then grinned from ear to ear when he landed back on the floor.

And finally, the icing on the cake…

Many of the songs were very traditional Christmas carols, which I am ashamed to say he doesn’t know.  He can sing Frosty the Snowman, but O Little Town of Bethlehem is an unknown tune.  That will change next year.  So while we rehearsed and practiced the songs, he really had to just stand there because he didn’t know the words and he can’t read well enough to follow the screens.  This resulted in him repeatedly ramming his head backward into my gut, leaving me with bruises.

And I began to seriously question my bringing him along.

Then I heard him singing softly in his sweet little tenor.  So I leaned forward to give him encouragement.  And this is what I heard…

“Dradle, Dradle, Dradle, I made it out of clay…”

That made me laugh.  Only my kid would think to start singing the Dradle song while at church rehearsing for the Christmas Eve service.  So I did what any self respecting parent would do.  I leaned down and taught him how to mouth the word Watermelon to the beat of the song.  He thought this was all the hilarious and embraced it whole heartily.

I am pleased to report that during the actual service he did very well.  He sang when he knew the words.  He didn’t once make a gun noise into the mic, he stayed on his feet and he mouthed Watermelon with pride.  The only hiccup came during a particularly powerful moment in the service when Lee, who was sitting about four rows in front of us, raised his hands in praise as he sang.  This caused Sloan a great deal of consternation and he began motioning vigorously to his dad to put his hands down, the whole time stage whispering, “Dad. No! Dad!  Get your hands down now, Dad! NOW DAD!”

Hilarious.

Despite it being the “awfullest” night of his whole life, he did very well and even admitted at the end that he had fun.

Score one for Mommy.

Christmas Is

Christmas is the excitment on little faces at a sea of gifts filled with unknown treasure.

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Christmas is little boys grinning from ear to ear.

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Christmas is Santa Clause coming to town.

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Christmas is the thrill of a surprise. 

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Christmas is family.IMG_0270

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Christmas is being together, celebrating the birth of our Savior and relishing the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.  Christmas is my favorite time of year.

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It’s a Merry Christmas Day!

I hope and pray that you all had a blessed Christmas day.  Ours was nice.  I, unfortunately, was up all night with a violent case of the stomach flu.  Seriously – it was ugly.  I ended up just sleeping on the bathroom floor kind of ugly.

But alas, Christmas morning came and the worst of it seemed to be over and we managed to get through gifts without me hurling every which way.  It was a bit of a bummer to miss Christmas dinner, because my mom makes a mean Christmas dinner, but she sent us home with loads of leftovers which I hope to dig into as soon as my stomach quits repelling food and liquids.

May you all enjoy the weekend with your loved ones! 

He came that we might have life and have it abundantly!

Merry Christmas.

She Slices, She Dices

Lucy and I become better acquainted with one another every day.  She’s got all kinds of bells and whistles that I’m busy exploring and wondering when and if I’ll ever use them.  Like the rock awesome High Definition camera and microphone that records and takes pictures.  Or the HDMI slot that apparently does something super cool because my husband keeps telling me it’s super cool. Or the software that will build websites, make business cards, brochures, and so. much. more.

She stops just short of making me a cup of coffee and walking the dog.

Which, ya know, is understandable.  I mean, she’s not a Mac

(insert awkward transition to a new topic here)

So it’s the Christmas season and all…ahem – Last night Lee and I with my parents went to see White Christmas at the Fox theater.  It was great.  Initially, my heart sank slightly at the tweaked story line and the extreme liberty taken with some of the music – I don’t like change much.  But by the end when they all came out it their red and white outfits and sang White Christmas whilst blowing fake snow throughout the theater, I was all warm and fuzzy inside.  There’s something powerful about several thousand people standing up and singing nostalgic Christmas songs together. 

(awkward transition to a new topic – take 2)

A couple of days ago, we packed up our pajama clad babes and drove to a local park that was all decked out for Christmas.  After we ooed and aahed at the beautiful lights, we headed to Starbucks for hot chocolate.

Have any of you ever taken a 6 year old, 3 year old and 2 year old out for hot chocolate?  It’s, um, interesting.  Upon receiving their kiddie sized cups of hot cocoa, they promptly began complaining about it being too hot, wanting a stir stick, wanting chocolate milk instead…  Fun. You should try it. You can borrow my kids for the full effect if you want.

And, of course, there was the obligatory spill, which prompted tears and the need to share because we weren’t about to buy another cup, not that it mattered because Landon refused to drink his.

(transition again – I think I’m getting better at this)

And speaking of Landon and his refusal to consume, we found out at the doctor on Monday that he hasn’t gained a single ounce in the last six months, which dropped him 20 percentage points on the growth chart.  The doctor asked us to proactively try to get him to gain weight and wants to see him in 4 months for a weight check.  She wants him to have gained 3/4 of a pound by then.

Right.  We’ll get right on that.  You know – once he quits throwing up and decides to start eating again.  Yep – the flu is creeping it’s way through the house.  He spewed yesterday – an act that perplexed him greatly and caused him a great deal of confusion.  The plus side is he slept 13 and a half hours last night.  The minus is he still refuses to eat, though he did drink about half a cup of Emergen-C this morning.

We’re well on our way to losing 3/4 of a pound, I’d say.

Sheesh.

A few pictures. 

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Check out those eyes...

Check out those eyes...

Daddy's so glad we decided to stop for hot chocolate. :)

Daddy's so glad we decided to stop for hot chocolate. :)

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, all!

Baby Number 4

Well, it finally happened. It was inevitable. I really wanted it to happen, although the urge got stronger over this past year.  I’m grateful that my husband was willing to do this for me and for our family, too.  He’s a good guy.

 My family has expanded.

Everyone – meet Lucy.

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Isn’t she pretty?  Lee gave her to me for Christmas.  I had grand plans of him wrapping it up and me opening it on Christmas morning because I think it’s important for the kids to see us opening gifts from one another, but once I got my hands on my precious I couldn’t give her up.

There’s a hidden lesson in that somewhere.

The kids saw us setting it up anyway so I just explained that daddy gave mommy her present early.  Yay me!

I seriously am in love.  And so I’ll keep this short so I can go explore all that Lucy has to offer.  And she has a lot to offer!  She’s real perty.

So I’ll leave you with photos from our first Christmas this weekend, which we were blessed to celebrate with Lee’s parents.  I’m so sorry to neglect you all like this, but a shiny new laptop tops creative posting.  I’ll be back tomorrow!  Lucy has promised to make me a better blogger.  I trust she’ll not fail me.

America the Bo-ring!

It was a packed weekend and there is just so much to share and document!  But by far, the highlight of the weekend was the annual Russian-American school Christmas party.  I look forward to this party every year.  It’s loud, chaotic and loads of fun.

I’m tellin’ ya – the russians know how to throw a party!  It just makes me happy because it makes them happy.  Seriously, grown ups and kids alike have a ball.  And who wouldn’t when characters like these come out for Christmas?

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This is Winter.  She sang, she dance, she whooped and hollered and kicked up her heels.  Who knew winter could be so much fun?

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See?  She’s having a ball.

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Then there was this fella.  He was the MC and he sang everything in a warbling, Dean Martinesque voice.

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Then, of course, there was Baba Yaga, the forest witch who’s always trying to ruin Christmas.  She sings too…

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And what is Christmas without Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf?

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

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And look how much fun they’re having?  Don’t you wish you were there?  And yes, that’s a singing tiger on the end.  I told you it was a fun party.

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And then the older fella on the left came out (I’m not sure who he was supposed to be – his mic was muffled so I couldn’t understand him) and he went fishing and pulled out the singing fish, which you can see on the right.

And of course, the highlight of the party is the unveiling of Ded Moros (Father Ice aka Santa Clause) and his granddaughter, Snegurichka.

They sing too…

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Sloan and Tia thought it was rockin’ awesome.

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And why wouldn’t they?  They got to sing, dance, play toss the ring on the goose…

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They didn’t dress in costume because I forgot about the tradition of kids dressing up for Christmas.  But other kids dressed up, like this little doll:

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Who can resist a little blonde boy in a cow costume?

And at the end, Ded Moros, alongside all the other characters, gave out Christmas gifts.  Sloan came home with a digital photo ornament, which he thought was the bee’s knees, and Tia got a huge art set. 

Ded Moros gives good gifts.

I gotta tell ya, when I go to parties like this I realize how boring America is.  I mean, all we’ve got is Santa, Frosty and Rudolph.  Bo-Ring.  Give me a singing tiger and dancing bear and then we can celebrate Christmas!

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S Razhdyestvom! (Merry Christmas)

What goes around comes around…or comes up in our case.

Take a trip with me will you.  It’s a trip down memory lane.  Pull up a chair, grab a cup of bubbling hot tea and head back to 1984.

I’m six years old and we are preparing to move from the LA area to Wisconsin.  Before we leave, we (and by “we” I clearly mean my parents since they called the shots back then) decide to visit a few sites in LA that we missed in the couple years that we lived there.

One of those sites is a tour of the Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner that’s famous for something or other.  I honestly have no idea what it’s famous for.  I was six.  I didn’t pay attention to the tour guide.

Before we boarded the Queen Mary, however, we got a big pancake breakfast.  As we headed to the ship, I felt a distinct and uncomfortable rumbling in my stomach.  When I mentioned it to my parents they gave me a highly unsympathetic, “Sorry babe.  You’ll be alright.”

As we ascended an escalator somewhere inside the Queen Mary, my stomach began to flip upside down.  Again I mentioned the issue to my parents.  They were behind me and even though I couldn’t see them, I heard their eyes roll back in their heads.

“Kelli,” my mom said, “You always have a stomach ache.  You’re going to be fine.”

Hmph.  It wasn’t my fault that I was scrawny and gassy.  I kept my mouth shut.  And the tour commenced.

Just as we reached the main deck, the tour guide took us to a railed off section that looked down into the engine room.  The famous engine upon the famous Queen Mary that’s famous for…something.

As I looked down at the massive engine and listened to the tour guide drone on and on about the inner workings of the old ship my stomach flipped again and as it did so, it propelled the food I had eaten earlier up and out of my mouth with vicious force.

What happened next is a bit of a blur.  I remember running across the main deck of the ship spewing this way and that, my mom’s hand over my mouth trying to contain some of the wreckage. 

I remember my dad running behind us, dragging my brother along and yelling, “Take your hand off her mouth, she’s gonna choke!” 

I remember some strange man running next to my mom, yelling and pointing her to the nearest bathroom.

And that my friends is the story of the day I desecrated The Queen Mary.  I think I was in college before I was able to eat pancakes again.

Now, fast forward 25 years to last night at a birthday party for a friend.  Tia was complaining of a tummy ache.  But given the fact that she ate massive amounts of candy and cookies at her class Christmas party yesterday, I held out hopes that it was simply an upset tummy.

She can’t help it that she’s scrawny and gassy.

When we arrived at the bounce house, she jumped all of two minutes and then came and sat down, still complaining of a tummy ache.  An hour into the party, my fears were confirmed when Tia clamped her hand over her mouth and her eyes widened. 

We were as far away from the bathroom as we could possibly be, we were surrounded by other children, and standing on a carpeted floor next to a giant blow up bounce house that I knew would not be easy to clean.

So I grabbed her hand, clamped my other hand over her mouth and we took off.

We almost made it.  We made it at least to the hallway, which was mercifully tiled, before the dam broke.

And that was the day Tia desecrated BounceU.  It’s not nearly as bad as puking all over a historical landmark, but the circumstances were similar nonetheless.

And as I cleaned up the poor girl in the bathroom, I wondered if perhaps this was one of those things that fell under the umbrella of my mom’s prayer that someday I have a child that was just like me.

Not cool, mom.  Not cool.

To my son on his birthday

Today marks two years since Landon entered our lives.  I’m filled with recollections of that day.  The snow, the cold, the quiet hospital room, the super easy labor, the painful delivery, and the weight of my son as he was laid on my chest.

It is never far from my mind how close we were to losing Landon.  I will never be able to escape the memory of watching his little figure kick and dance on the ultrasound as the doctor explained to me the signs of miscarriage and the likelihood of that happening.

I’ll never forget the fear I felt driving home that day knowing that my child was perfectly healthy, but my womb might fail.  It was true terror.

And yet here he is.  I am filled with such gratitude that the Lord sustained my body and brought his life to fullness here on earth.  Because he is one spectacular little boy and he is by far the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.

And so, on this day, I share a few things that I want my son to know as he continues to grow.

LANDON

You are loved.

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You have an older brother and sister that adore you.  Lean on them for protection, wisdom, understanding and companionship.

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You will, however, need to know how to defend yourself.  I’m proud to say that you’ve already begun using the word “No” liberally, particularly with your sister. 

You’ve also learned to hold your own in a wrestling match with your brother.

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If, when you are three, your sister comes to you and asks if she can cut your hair – RUN.  Run away screaming.  Heck, call 911 if you need to.  Just don’t let her near you with scissors.

And if she ever asks you to cut her hair – again, run for your life. Seriously – get the heck out of there.   Just trust me on this one.

Your older brother will be your protector.  He will be your best friend, your mentor and another model in your life.  He’s a great kid.

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Your sister also adores you.  She will be the one that you will torment as the years go on, but she will also be fiercely protective of you.  Just make sure you look after her too.

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You are more than content to have a sippy cup in one hand and a ball in the other, but one of these days you’re going to need to start eating.

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You have a love of sports that is uncanny for your age.  Particularly the sports that involve a ball.  Your daddy is thrilled.

While you love all sports, you show a particular affinity for football, which makes me a little nervous.  If you see me with my eyes squeezed shut at your games one day, don’t be offended.

Your second love, however, is basketball.

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If you want a model of Christ, look to your daddy.

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If you need advice, tap into your daddy’s wisdom.

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You also have two grandfathers who are full of wisdom.  Know them and listen to them.  You will be a wiser man for it.

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But just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if you ever need a hug, I’m here waiting.  I will snuggle you close for as long as you will let me.  And as you grow, I will continue to love you unconditionally.

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You are my miracle baby, forever and always.

Happy Birthday, Landon Lee.

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Time to breathe? Not this week…

This was my To-Do list for yesterday:

Do laundry (I have roughly 26 loads that need to be done)
Clean up the house
Go to the store and buy food
Help kids finish Christmas projects
Take short nap
Go to the gym
Make dinner
Post to blog

This is what my To-Do list looked like at the end of the day:

Do laundry (I still have roughly 26 loads that need to be done)
Clean up the house
Go to the store and buy food
Help kids finish Christmas projects

Take a short nap (If you count just over 2 hours a short nap)
Go to the gym (I walked the treadmill at a painfully slow pace then went to the cafe and had a cup of hot tea.  Hardly a workout.)
Make dinner (Does warming up leftover pizza count as making dinner? If so, I can cross this off of the list.)
Post to blog

Needless to say, I was wiped after a long but amazing weekend.  The musical was spectacular – if I do say so myself.  It went so well.  We got a lot of compliments on it and it just made all the hard work and time seem worth it.

In addition to the performance being a blast, I also had the privilege of making new friends.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know people like this girl who is funny, talented, genuine and all around awesome.

And this girl, who just may be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

And many others within my church family who (whom?) I’ve seen before but never met.  I laughed a lot this weekend.  I laughed until my sides ached.  I also harkened back to my college days and stayed out till the wee hours of the night all weekend.  I forgot that I’m 29…ish (ahem) and have three kids at home who like to rise before the sun.  It made for some serious bags under the eyes, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

And so yesterday, despite my ambitious goals, I got little done except the massive nap, from which I awoke to the sounds of angels singing and white doves flitting about my house.

Just kidding.  My house is a mess and my in-laws are coming on Friday! Yikes. Barbara you may need to close your eyes when you come.

Today I will make a better attempt to manage my To-Do list.  Unfortunately it’s grown over night.  There are gifts to wrap, gifts to purchase, still a need for food, still mountains of laundry – oh and a shower.  I never quite got around to that yesterday.

Life is full – but it is grand as well.  How was your weekend?