Archives for November 2010

Thankful in November

IMGP5673My sister-in-law (who is all kinds of awesome) is doing a month long series in which she details that which she is thankful for.  Imagine that!  Giving thanks in the month of Novemeber…who ever heard of such a thing?

I, personally, love the idea of focusing on that for which I am thankful.  It’s so easy to get bogged down in the negative, in the business and craziness and OMGI’MNOTGONNASURVIVETHIS moments of life that sometimes I have to stop myself and remember the happy.

In general I’m not much of an Eyeore type person.  I’m thankful for that because with some of the heartaches that I have faced in the past, it would be very easy to be an Eyeore.  But then again, it’s that way for all of us, isn’t it?  We’ve all faced pain, heartache, trial, hurt.  We all have the choice to dwell in the pain, live in the past and simmer in the hurt.


We can move on, step forward and let the past fade in the distance.  For some, that’s easy to do.  For others, it’s much harder due to deeper wounds, harsher trials or simply because they are hardwired from conception to stew, analyze and think.

So today I’m focusing on the thankful.  I have been so bogged down lately that I really haven’t had time to stop and think and…thank.

Outside of the obvious (my husband and kids…what kind of wife and mom would I be if I didn’t mention them, right?) I’m thankful for where we are in our lives right now.  We’ve walked a bit of a tightrope in the last few months and it had every potential end in a stomach dropping plunge.  But, instead, the tightrope has slwoly widened and we are once again feeling a bit more secure.  Not comfortable, of course, as we are ever on our guard, but we have definately seen blessing in the last month.

I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the memories I made travelling Europe with my husband where he snapped the above picture on our last day in Italy as I lounged in a park in Bellagio.  I was looking at the mountains across Lake Como and marvelling at God’s majesty, totally in awe of creation.  I’m thankful for that day, for that moment and for the many pictures that are seared into my brain from across the seas.

I’m thankful for the career I’m slowly but surely beginning to develop in writing, editing and social media.  I wasn’t looking for this and it kind of fell in my lap and I just have to say – I’m having the time of my life.  I’m still navigating the waters of what is feasible for me to pursue and what needs to be sacrificed as I also tend to my young brood.  But I’m thankful for opportunity, whatever it might be, that comes my way and I’m totally enjoying the ride.

I’m thankful for Nutella.  It’s just so very, very good.  On everything.  Including pizza crust, on which we slathered an entire can a couple of weeks ago and presented it to the kids as dinner.  Which leads me to the next thing:

I’m thankful that I can still please my kids with a Boboli Pizza crust and a can of Nutella.  I’m thankful that my seven year old still thinks it’s cool when I accompany him on field trips.  I’m thankful that my four year old still wants to hold my hand and sit in my lap.  I’m thankful that my two year old tells me I’m beautiful almost every day and then squints his eyes in a mischevious grin because he knows it melts my heart.

I’m thankful for my soft bed and thick pillows even though I don’t get to enjoy those as much as I would like to.

I’m thankful.

I’m also now craving Nutella.

I’m thankful that Target is only a couple of minutes away and they faithfully stock Nutella on their shelves.

What are you thankful for?

I need your advice

Post edit: This post is not meant to condemn anyone who has given their child a Nintendo DS or DSi.  I do not oppose gaming devices in general, however, at this point in time they are not right for our family.  My intent in posting this is not to make anyone feel bad but to get feedback on what the heck to buy my children for Christmas!!!

Carry on…

Hey guys.  So Christmas is around the corner.  I’m not sure if you were aware of that fact.  I mean, you know, if you’ve been hiding under a rock you might not have realized, but for the rest of us who are already being bombarded with decorations and music it’s pretty dang hard to ignore.

Christmas is coming and somewhere someone’s goose is getting fat.  Poor Thanksgiving…it is the forgotten holiday.

So here’s my yuletide dilemma.  My seven year old is at the age where gift buying is becoming a bit difficult.  He still  likes toys (praise God), but he’s not as easy to please as he once was.  I believe we have one more year before buying gifts to satisfy his maturing tastes will become harder…and more expensive.

This year, he has his sweet little heart set on a Nintendo Dsi.  He talks about it incessantly.  He wants to check them out every time we enter The Holy Land Target and he tells everyone he sees that he’s getting one for Christmas.  Here’s the thing, though.

He’s not.

Lee and I have decided that right now we are not ready to introduce hand held gaming devices into our children’s lives.  There are a couple of reasons for this:

1.) I just don’t think it’s necessary at seven to have a Nintendo Dsi.  I’m not opposed to them, but I find it to be an awfully expensive gift for such a young child.

2.) I think there are better things to do with one’s time than play video games.  We have a Wii and it gets played some, but repeated and extended periods of play are off limits.

3.) I am not ready for the battles that will inevitably come with a NDsi (don’t want to type it all out again).  Sloan is actually very responsible when it comes to TV and video games.  He does not have much of an addictive personality and he is not one to sit for hours with his eyes glued to the tube.  He gets bored and loses interest quickly and can go months without playing the Wii at all.  Landon, however, is already showing addictive tendencies in that he wants to watch TV or play the Wii all the flippin’ time.  It’s already a daily battle with him resulting in many tears shed.  A NDsi would inevitably become a battle zone between Sloan and his siblings and, quite honestly, I can’t handle one more battle.

Are we being unfair?  I don’t feel like it, but it really does break my heart not to give Sloan what he wants because he’s such a good kid.  I tried to break it to him gently the other day that this year would likely not be the year he received an NDsi.  His reponse?

“That’s okay.  I’ll ask Santa to bring it to me!”

Crap! Am I going to crush  his dreams and destroy Santa all in one year?  Hey…welcome to the Stuart home where we take your dreams and roll them inthumb tacks then light them on fire. 

Thanks for stopping by!

When I told Lee of Sloan’s reponse he came up with the brilliant solution of telling Sloan that Santa doesn’t bring such expensive gifts – he lets the parents buy those presents.  I have tasked Lee with preparing Sloan to not find a NDsi under the tree this Christmas while still preserving the magic of Santa for one more year.  I’m counting on my man to come through on this one!

My question is, though, what should we get the poor boy for Christmas?  Yes, he will receive clothes, a few books and probably some new art supplies.  But what do we get him for that one special toy that’s going to light up his face when he walks around the corner Christmas morning?! 

I need your advice!  What are you getting your kids for Christmas?  I have a few ideas, but nothing seems to take the place of his beloved NDsi, which he will likely receive at some point, but just not now.

I do hereby open the comments up for suggestions.  This is my sad attempt to see if I can break the ten comment barrier I seem to have on my posts.  Come on, folks, don’t let me down.  I am officially begging for your comments!  My motherly angst has reduced me to this…a comment whore mooch.

Okay, I can’t let the last word of a post be whore mooch so I’m going to share a picture that has nothing to do with this post but I just want to share it.  It’s Tia, in her Little Miss Matched tights, which I told you about here and her glasses which make her look way too old. 

Merry Christmas.

No!  Happy Thanksgiving.


Cry me a freakin’ river


 I’ve told you before…I’m a cryer.  Crier?  Yes…I think it’s crier. 

I cry a lot.

I cry easily, I cry loudly, I cry ugly.  And if I try not to cry, I eventually burst like a dam spilling my ugly all over whoever is closest to me.  Sometimes I laugh to cover the cry, which tends to make the cry louder and even more embarrassing.  I blubbered throughout my entire wedding ceremony.

I don’t know why!  Weddings are happy right? 

I’m off topic.  I’m reeling myself back in.  I said all of the above to lead into the fact that I cried this weekend.  I cried a lot, I cried hard and I cried ugly.  This is the part where you all need to feel sorry for Lee, the unintended target of all my crazy.

It started Thursday afternoon when Lee came home from work to find me wrapped in two blankets in front of the fire place trying to thaw out after a frigid morning at Purina Farms on Sloan’s field trip.  The conversation went something like this:

Lee: “So what’s the plan Saturday?”

Me: “Mom and Dad are keeping the kids overnight Friday night and are bringing them back Saturday around 3:00.”

Lee: “Well, I forgot to tell you, but the elders are supposed to do XXXXXXXXXXXXXX on Saturday morning and we’d really like our wives to come along.”

Me: “No!  I can’t.  That’s my one day off.”

And then…the dam broke.  It was a face in hands, over the top, Sweet Mother of all that’s Holy cry from the gut.  And here is why:

Every single second of my life right now is scheduled.  From the moment my feet hit the ground to the second my head hits the pillow I have things that need to be done and places I need to be.  Every single evening of the week is occupied and by Thursday afternoon I had been burning the candle at both ends for so long that I was dangerously close to burn out.

And I snapped.

Poor, sweet Lee.  He didn’t even see it coming.  Again my fault.  I haven’t been communicating because I didn’t want to complain since I’m the one that committed to all of these responsibilities and I hadn’t really communicated to him how desperately I needed a day to myself.  But being the Wonder Man that he is…and given that I freaked him out a bit with my impressive meltdown, he immediately told me not to worry about it, he’d go without me and youjuststayhomeandgetalittlerest.


So I did and it was bliss.  I edited 30 pages of the book I’m working on, did six loads of laundry, got my house relatively cleaned up and never once changed out of my pajamas.  I didn’t wipe anyone’s behind or take out a single sippy cup.  By the time they all came home I was completely rejuvenated.


We decided to take down the crib this weekend and put Landon in a big bed.  Good grief, just writing that sentence brought tears to my eyes.  I took the mattress out of the crib while Lee went to search for a tool box and I just looked down into it and literally seven and a half years of baby floated through my head.


 I remembered myself a brand new mom holding Sloan on the floor next to the crib because we had just moved in and I had no place else to sit.  I remembered walking in and seeing Sloan coo at his mobile hanging above the crib.  I remembered walking in to find a fat, happy little boy staring at me for two years until he was replaced in the crib by a tiny, precious surprise of a baby girl. 

I remembered buying new, girly bedding and excitedly putting it in the crib despite the fact that I had purchased “gender neutral” bedding the first time around.  I remembered staring at that sweet baby in pink for hours, her tiny little backside up in the air as she slept.  I remembered the sound of her climbing out of the crib before she was even two…

I remembered placing Landon in the crib and looking down at him, wondering if he really would be the last to sleep in it.  I remembered the long nights as I rocked with him in the chair next to the crib.  I remembered the dread I felt as I thought of disassembling the crib.

Then Lee came back in the room and sat down on the floor.  He stopped for a minute and looked around.  “This is sad,” he said.

Cue breaking dam.

I tried to laugh it off like, Hahaha- isn’t it so silly to cry over this?  But I couldn’t laugh and I turned away so he wouldn’t see my ugly cry face and I sobbed those deep, soul wrenching sobs.  Kind of like I’m doing right now.

Then Lee got all choked up, which made me cry more…and made me feel better.  I wasn’t crazy to cry.  It is sad.  It was time to do this, for sure.  But it was also sad.  That season of life went by so quickly and I’m not ready for it to be over.  Of course, it might not be.  There is always the possibility that we’ll have to pull the crib back out at some point…but for right now, that’s not the case.  For right now, that crib is lying in the basement, a reminder that life is flying by in solitary blinks.

Cry with me, won’t you?  It feels good.  And it hurts.

After a few moments of sobby sobs, I reigned myself in and handed Lee the screwdriver he needed.  Of course, my tears quickly turned to laughter…or at least mild chuckles…when we realized we weren’t at all prepared with a big bed to move Landon into.  We have to round up box springs, which we hadn’t even thought about when we decided to make this move. 

Oh and, incidentally, who in their right mind decides to move a child out of his crib the night of daylight savings?  I think we were so focused on ripping the bandaid off that we didn’t think clearly and logically through what we were doing.  So for now, the boy sleeps on a mattress on the floor, which suits him just fine.

And me?  I have a feeling there will be a few more tears shed over this little milestone.  Ugly gopher tears.  Lee – prepare yourself


Kids Say the Darndest Things – A New Edition

It’s high time I recorded another installment of Kids Say the Darndest Things because my kids have ripped out some doozies lately.  Parenting is seriously entertaining…you know, when it’s not stressful.

Me: “Hey Sloan, can I throw away this ribbon?”  I hold up his Dare to Stay Off Drugs ribbon from the D.A.R.E. program at school.

“No!” He exclaimed.

“Why?” I asked.  “What are yo ugoing to do with it?”

“I’m going to save it and set it out in case Daddy decides to do drugs.”

At which point I almost fell over laughing.


For over a year Tia has been telling us how excited she is to turn five so she can climb the rock wall at the gym.  A few weeks ago she had this conversation with my mom.

Mom: “Tia, you’re going to be five soon.”

Tia (grinning): “Yep.  I’m donna be five.”

Mom: “And what happens when you turn five?” Obviously prompting her to say she gets to climb the rock wall.

Tia:  Pauses and thinks…”I get heavier?”


Eating breakfast a few weeks ago, Landon started freaking out as only a nearly three year old can.

“I not wanna sit by dat door!” he cried, pointing at the back door.

“Why not?”

“It’s thcawy (scary)!”

“Why is it scary,” I asked.

“Betause.  A monthster come frew dat door.”

I laughed and moved him and thought nothing else of it, until…

I picked him up out of his crib at the crack of dawn a few days later as he cried.

“What’s wrong?”

“I thscared of dat door,” he cried, pointing at his half open closet door.


“A monthster in dere.”

“Honey, there aren’t any  monsters,” I siad hugging him tight.

“Yeth!  Wike in Monthster’s Inc.”

Note to self…help him find a new favorite movie and tuck Monster’s Inc. away for a long, long time.

I love my kids. 

Happy Weekend everyone!



First of all, I am very pleased with the way that elections turned out last night.  There were a couple of issues that disappointed me and the fact that Harry Reid is still in office annoys me to no end, but more than anything I’m glad that there is a better balance of power in Washington now.  Perhaps we can finally have reasonable discourse and work toward the good of the people.  For a great analysis of how I feel about all this, visit Nicole’s blog.  She essentially said everything I want to say and said it better than I could have.

I’m going to have to bail on a post today.  I’m trying to do a better job of not posting bad, rambling posts on the days when I don’t really have anything good to say.  Actually, I’ve got a couple of posts rolling around in my head but I just don’t have the time to write them well right now.  You see, I’m smack in the middle of a little editing project. My deadline is 13 days away so I need to hunker down and dig in my heels.  Let me just tell you – trying to work from home when you have small kids is hard. I have a newfound respect for working moms.  And I have a newfound respect for the 5:00am hour.  Me and 5:00 are becoming well acquainted.

I don’t like 5:00.  AM or PM, come to think of it.

On top of that it’s Holiday season which means there are class parties, birthday parties, Christmas parties and every other kind of party you can imagine to plan and prepare for.  And rehearsals for our church’s Christmas Musical (which is going to be amazingtickets go on sale this Sunday!)  And field trips.  And big, fat giveaways on 5 Minutes for Mom coming your way – be on the lookout! 

There’s also election night coverage to watch, which I know I don’t have to do but it’s so entertaining to listen to husband pants yell at the TV that I can’t pull myself away.  There is food to be cooked, lunches to be made and boo boo’s to be kissed.  I am speaking on a panel in a couple of weeks at the St. Louis Women in Media’s Fall Networking Event alongside several other amazing women so I need to prepare myself for that, and I need to find a baby sitter and I need to find a babysitter for a date night next week. 

Date night!  I love date night.

I’m not complaining.  Life is full right now.  I love it.  I go to bed knowing that my day was packed and productive.  But life is also tiring right now and I’m learning to say no.  It’s hard to say no.  But I am doing it.  I said no twice today.  It hurt because they were big no’s.  But for now, no will do.

Oh, I forgot to add that I need to do laundry.  I feel like I mention my laundry woes here quite a bit.  It’s probably because I’m always waist deep in laundry.  How does that happen?

Speaking of laundry – for those of you who are the mother’s of little girls, you must invest in several pairs of socks from Little Miss Matched.  It’s the most brilliant idea ever conceived.  Sell socks in packs of three, all of which coordinate but don’t match.  This way you never have to worry about trying to match socks.  There are leg warmers and underwear and shirts and tights and even dresses like this one:


I am going to sign off now because the whole point of this post was to tell you that I’m not going to post today.  See?  This is exactly the type of rambling, boring post I’m trying to avoid

Clearly I need to work a little harder on that goal of mine.

The Cutest Little Four Eyes You’ll Ever Meet

Neither Lee nor I have ever had problems with our eyes.  I wore glasses for about ten minutes in high school.  They were supposed to be for reading.  I think I wore them as an accessory until I got bored with them and I never saw them again.  Other than that, I’ve never even been to an eye doctor and Lee’s only been once.

So imagine my surprise two weeks ago when a letter came in the mail telling us Tia failed her vision screening at preschool.  Poor kid.  Genetics are definately not on her side.  She’s got the wonky ear issues from her father and now she has vision issues that were apparently passed down from a grandparent (ahem…thanks mom).

At first I assumed that perhaps she was just having an off day.  For those who know my gregarious daughter, you know that when she wants to do something she usually excels.  *When she doesn’t want to do something, however…ahem.*

So out of parental duty I made her an eye exam.  They plopped her up in the chair and I learned two very important things:

1.) My child is not seeing well out of her right eye.  She has an astigmatism and couldn’t distiguish the pictures one from another.  Her left eye is fine and is overcompensating a bit, which puts her at risk for lazy eye.  Who knew?!

2.) My child does not know her ABC’s.  They originally tried to have her read letters, but it quickly became apparent that that wouldn’t be effective when she simply said the russian sounds of the letters that were familiar and she had no idea what G, V, Q and U were. She did know A, B, C and H, though…except she called them Ah, Veh, Seh and Nuh because those are russian letters.

I hang my head in shame.

She knows her russian alphabet forwards and backwards so, you know, kudos to me for that one.  I’m going to get right on familiarizing her with her own alphabet, though.

So out we walked with a glasses order form in hand and the promise that in a few short days she would be seeing much more clearly. 


A little frame disclaimer. When we were picking out her glasses, I tried several really trendy, square shaped frames on her.  She was like a little Sarah Palin, all sassy and au courant.  But she would have nothing to do with the hip styles I picked out. (*see above note).  She has definate sensory sensitivities in that if something doesn’t feel exactly right the first time she puts it on, she wants nothing to do with it. 

Do you know how complicated that can make life sometimes?


Instead she picked out these purple and green frames.  But wait…there’s more!  On one side is a purple and green flowered pattern, but you can actually flip that bad boy around to reveal:


Solid green!  Yes, the bands on the side are reversible, a feature that she thought was the coolest. thing. ever!  She’s decided to wear one side patterend and the other side solid.  And I love her for it. 🙂

So I swallowed my mom pride and placed the trendy glasses back in the case.  I did manage to talk her out of the first pair she picked out which were a metallic purple and were hideous.  They also looked like they would break the first time she came tearing through the house.

But the glasses ladies (what do you call them…technicians?) encouraged me to let her pick out what she liked so that she would be more prone to keeping them on at all times.

And so I did.


When the glasses lady technician fitted them to her face today she told Tia to “make sure and let mommy tell you all about how to take care of glasses.”  To which I replied, “Absolutely.  And listen right now as Miss Bridgette tells mommy how to take care of glasses.” 

Truth be told, it wouldn’t matter what we put on her tiny little face, she’s so dang cute.  And the glasses make her look a little bit older, which I’m not sure I like.  But most of all she’s proud of them and she’s excited that she has them.


We’ll see how excited she is tomorrow when she realizes that “Wear them all the time,” actually means Wear them all the time!

Dear Halloween Fairy

*a disclaimer: My husband rightly pointed out in the comments that the Halloween Fairy idea was not ours.  We heard it from a friend at church and loved it. Thanks Paul!  🙂  And now…read on.

Dear Halloween Fairy,

It was a beautiful Halloween night.  Seriously.  As lovely as Halloween nights come ’round these parts.


Some of us even played a little football in our underwear before the festivities began.  Naturally.


Of course once dinner was over, we made sure each costume was put on lovingly, with great care and precision.


Anakin, Cheerleader Tia and Woody were all ready to go.  See the attention to detail in the costumes? 


With great impatience they endured picture time as we waited for the sun to go down so we could stroll the neighborhood demanding candy from all of our neighbors.

We were all thankful to have Boss and Byshka in town for a few days.


 But then someone else showed up and nobody knew what to think of him.



Landon in particular was a little leary of the man in the mask.  Once we figured out that it was only Boss, though, we all enjoyed trying it on.




Even Monkey got in on the action.


We got a decent family picture for once.  It was like a Halloween Miracle!


And we lit our pumpkins, which mommy lovingly carved (read: she mumbled and groaned the entire two hours) and we decorated with a Sharpie when she wasn’t looking.



After meeting up with neighbors and friends, we hit the pavement.  It was exciting and fun and filled with laughter.  Of course, Landon only made it a quarter of the way before getting tired and needing a ride in his cadillac.




Here’s the thing, though, Halloween Fairy.  We ended up with just a little bit more candy than we could ever possibly know what to do with.  It’s enough to make sure all three kids need massive dental work for the next eighteen years.  Here is an example.  This is just one kid’s bag.


So here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to take a little bit of this candy out, and lay the rest on the front porch tonight.  We would like you, Halloween Fairy, to come pick up the candy and do with it what you wish.  You can dispose of it, you can donate it…just don’t eat it.  You don’t need to do that to yourself.  And in it’s place would you please leave a special toy for each child?

That would be great.  Thanksomuch.