Tuesday Randomness

  • Tonight was a bit of a challenging night for the girls and me.  It was one of those nights where I am clearly outnumbered and I feel like they know it.  I said "NO!" entirely too many times and Mackenzie ended up scraping her back in the tub because she was standing up, deliberately disobeying me.  I know they are toddlers and this stage of boundary-testing is all part of the fun, but man, I'm exhausted by the time 8:00 rolls around.
  • Then, of course, we head to the couch for a couple of quick stories before bed and my silly, sweet girls come back out to play.  Mackenzie wants to "cook you food" and Addison says, "Read one more, please", and I wonder how I can be so impatient with them sometimes.  Then, the clincher:  "Sing me a song, Mama". 
  • We ended up delaying bedtime until 8:45 so we could make amends over the Braves game and America's Funniest Home Videos, my silly girls' latest obsession.  They have such sophisticated taste, don't you agree?
  • Speaking of the Braves, Jeremy and I have tickets to go see our favorite baseball team for our anniversary on August 12.  It just happened to work out that they will be honoring Bobby Cox, the recently-retired manager on that night and since he represents beloved childhood memories for both of us, we knew it would be the perfect mutual anniversary gift.
  • We are spending the night in Atlanta, which means (1) sleeping late, (2) leisurely breakfast, and (3) hotel pool.  Score!  We are also going to hit the outlets between here and Atlanta on the way home, where I can hopefully make a (cheap) dent in the girls' wardrobe for next year. I love outlet-shopping once or twice a year, but it's been awhile since I've been able to go.  I think even Jeremy is looking forward to it--he does have quite a soft spot for the Polo store.  
  • I may or may not have been reading too many vampire novels lately, after my Sookie Stackhouse marathon in May and June, but I just can't help myself.  They're deliciously intriguing, and light enough that they don't keep me up at night stressing over the plot line.  I recently read A Discovery of Witches on the recommendation that it was like Twilight for intelligent adults, and um, I devoured it; there's no other way to put it.  It definitely delivered on the supernatural front:  witches, vampires, daemons...but with an intellectual and historical background that neither Sookie nor Twilight can offer.  Needless to say, I recommend.  (You know, if you're into witches and vampires, which some people aren't.  I get that.  I used to be one of those people myself.)  
  • What are you reading now?  Do you like the vampires--Sookie, the Cullens (that's Twilight, for you non-vampire fans), or otherwise?
And with that, I'm off to do a little reading before bed...a nice, normal teenage love story instead of the vampires tonight, unfortunately.  Day two of the plan tomorrow!  


Game Plan

I have come to a decision.  It's time to do something about this weight that has been creeping on my body over the last few months.

I've had enough of narrowing down my wardrobe for the week according to which pants will be most comfortable around my expanding waistline.  I love wearing dresses in the summer, but I want to wear them because I want to, not because they hide all manner of flaws in my midsection.

When my weight leveled off after having the girls in April 2009, I was ten pounds lighter than I had been when I got pregnant.  Though that was still about fifteen pounds heavier than I was during most of college, I felt okay about it.  At this point in my life, I'm not looking for the body I once had.  Let's face it--that body is never coming back.

I was pretty happy with where my weight was post-twins, and even though this body is all sorts of rearranged, it was sufficient and there was hope for a little more improvement.  Instead, I have somehow managed to go ten pounds in the wrong direction.

I know what I need to do...I just have trouble putting it into action.  I have never really struggled with my weight in the past, and I have never worked out consistently, though I used to be a lot more active than I am now.  And I always eaten exactly what I wanted to.  (I know, I should not be complaining about making it almost 30 years before worrying about any of this!)  But I really have had enough, and I want to be comfortable and love my body again.

First goal--get back to this point, from last October:


Starting tomorrow morning (today, actually, by the time this post is up), I am going to get up at 6:00 and walk/jog in my neighborhood for about 30 minutes before I get ready for work.  The girls are consistently sleeping until the time I leave for work or after, but I will put a monitor close to Jeremy's sleeping head just in case they wake up while I'm gone.  I am going to walk at least four days this week, for a start.

Exercise will help, but the other half of that is to get my diet under control.  I even hate that word, "diet", and I'm not thinking of it as a diet, just eating better for my overall health.  I did really well managing my weight with a diabetic-style diet when I was pregnant, so back to carb-counting it is.  I didn't feel too restricted, because I could fit just about anything I really wanted in my diet, with the right planning and modifications.

I'm feeling a lot better now that there's a game plan for doing something about this little issue, and I hope this motivation sticks around after my first walk tomorrow in the hot and humid morning air.

Tell me something good--what's your motivational technique?  Also, I need breakfast tips...what's your favorite quick, easy, and relatively healthy breakfast?  I like to eat at work, but toast and peanut butter gets old quickly.  Thanks in advance!  

Edited to add:  Day 1=complete!



Just a few things to get off my chest this week....

Dear Netflix,

Oh, how you continue to frustrate me.  Like so many of your customers, I am not happy with your recently announced price changes.  It is increasingly likely that I will be cancelling the DVD portion of my plan next month, as it just doesn't make sense to pay $7.99 per month when we sometimes only get through one or two DVDs a month.  Redbox movies are $1.00 a night, and I can run out to pick one up at 9:00 p.m. on a Tuesday in my pajamas, if I so desire.

I have long been a fan of your instant-streaming movies, as are my kids.  We love having so many children's shows and movies at our fingertips, without having to run out and buy a DVD each time their fickle hearts find a new favorite character.  For this reason, I will likely continue to pay for streaming service.

However, since I and so many others will now be paying a legitimate monthly fee for streaming, could you please, please increase the content of movies and tv shows on your site??  It is beyond frustrating to have a movie in your instant queue, to know it's there and available whenever you get in the mood for it, then to suddenly notice one day that it has disappeared completely.  "This title is not currently available for streaming" is NOT something I enjoy seeing, Netflix.  And the tv shows?  I understand I was late to the party with Veronica Mars, but it's just cruel to let me get halfway through the first amazing season, then yank it away entirely.

It was so nice to end my evening with a couple of episodes of Veronica Mars while folding a bit of laundry.  I was starting to get caught up and get a system in place, but without Veronica Mars, it's all falling apart again.  Do you have any idea what you've done here, Netflix?  I am not happy, not at ALL, and my family is back to digging through laundry baskets for something to wear.

Please remedy this situation, preferably by paying whatever you need to pay to get VM back on my daily playlist.

Unhappy customer in wrinkled clothes

Dear Addison & Mackenzie,

I love that you now wake up almost every single morning with completely dry diapers.  It gives me hope that there won't be too many potty-training accidents.  But sweet children, in order to get potty trained, you have to pee on the potty.  If your diaper is dry after sleeping 12 hours, I KNOW you have to pee.  Your little bladders must be about to burst.  And yet... you either flat-out refuse to go sit on the potty or you sit patiently, producing nothing, until you get a diaper back on, at which point you promptly release 12 hours' worth of pee to fill that diaper to capacity.

I'm not trying to rush this potty-training thing along, girls, as I truly believe that it will be much better for all of us if we wait until you're really ready.  But when you have this much bladder control, I KNOW you can do much more than you're letting on. 

So come on, pee pee on the potty just a few times, and see how it feels.  Pretty please?


Dear Bathroom Scales,

I have noticed a disturbing trend over the last couple of months.  Your numbers are moving...in the wrong direction.  I know you could say this is my fault, for partaking in a few too many Sonic happy hours or Mexican lunch buffets, but a girl's gotta have some fun, right? 

I think if we work together, we can get a grip on this thing and get back to a number we are comfortable with.  Can you please help me out just a bit here?

Thanks for your cooperation,
A Mama who is going to need new pants soon if this doesn't STOP

Your turn!  What do you need to vent about this week?  Go ahead, let it out...you know you want to.


Home Improvement

So....Pinterest....I kind of love it a little bit.  I have spent hours just clicking around from one thing to the other, gathering ideas and inspiration and dreaming of things I can't afford.  I am the world's worst about starting a project and never finishing, but I am working on a few things, one small step at a time.

Looking around Pinterest can make me long for a different house--usually one with more cute, vintage-style charm--full of fun little nooks, built-in bookcases, and window seats.  While I may not be getting that house anytime soon, I can make some small changes to help me love our current home even more than I do now.

Some of the things on our to-do list:

New countertops in the kitchen.  (This is a MUST and will be done within the next year.)

Paint cabinets white.  (Will probably be done at the same time as the countertops.)

Tile the kitchen and bathrooms.

Get my dad to finish the shelf for the playroom and get it installed.

Move the cedar chest from the playroom and replace it with a twin bed, set up daybed-style with pillows for lounging.

Put up a rain-gutter bookshelf in the playroom to create a little reading corner.

Rearrange the pictures in the living room to fit with the new furniture arrangement.

Create a collage of black-framed photos on the blank wall behind the couch.

Figure out how to manage the toy situation in the living room (suggestions???).

Hang hooks/shelving in the laundry room to catch coats, bags, etc.

Paint my desk white and put it in the kitchen.  Pretty it up with a desk skirt.

And a couple of long-term possibilities:

Install crown molding in the kitchen, then in bedrooms (it's already in the living area and hallway).

Replace the carpet in the bedrooms (new carpet or hardwood?).

Possibly expand the master bedroom and build a new master bath.  (Lots of $$, but we would LOVE a bigger room and bathroom...especially if we are going to be in this house for the long haul.)

Fence the backyard.

Explore the possibilities of a pool...doubtful that it will happen, but you never know!

What's on your to-do list this summer?  Any home-improvement projects?  Are you Pinterest-obsessed yet?



There is something I don't believe I have shared here before.  If you know me at all now, it's something you may or may not believe....I was born and spent the first fourteen years of my life on a farm.

Yes, a farm.

Now, don't get carried away...my family never did any real farm work.  My dad's gardening was about the extent of our farming abilities, so we left the animals and the hay farming to my uncles.  Nonetheless, I grew up surrounded by acres of open pasture and barns filled with horses, chickens, mules, and at times, hogs.  And of course, these guys:


Though we moved to "town" (it wasn't far...our new house was only about five miles away) when I was in high school, my mom still owns the house we lived in and the acreage.  My uncle continues to live in the same house where he and my mom and their siblings grew up.

My mom now rents out the house where I grew, and Jeremy and I lived there for about a year after we married.  We did a lot of work to the house, but it is a very old house and needs some major updating to be modernized.  Still, we enjoyed our time in that house, relishing the peace and quiet of semi-country life.  It felt a bit like coming home for me.

Addison and Mackenzie made their first trip to the place I will always consider a part of my home last week.  My uncle goes all-out for the 4th of July--slow-cooked bbq, chicken, pork, etc.  It's not the huge gathering it used to be, but we braved the heat and took the girls to visit this year.

photo-7 color


It was such a bittersweet feeling to watch them standing at the same fence I used to slide under, waiting for the day I was finally big enough to climb over.  The gravel they couldn't keep their hands out of is the gravel of the very same driveway I walked countless times back and forth between my grandfather and uncles' houses and my own.  It was on that driveway that I learned to ride a bicycle, a motorized scooter, and a four-wheeler.  It was where I first learned to drive a car, beginning with the times my mother would let me scoot over beside her to steer down the length of the driveway, always stopping me when we got to the paved road.

The house I grew up in is at the opposite end of that driveway.


photo-4 color

All those years ago, I would never have imagined I'd be standing on that same gravel road, watching my own little girls discover some of the joys of farm life.  I only wish my grandfather and the uncle we lost last year were there to see them...how they would have loved it!

There may be other families in the old house now, and Jeremy and I may not ever relocate back to that plot of land, but it will always be a part of me and a part of our family.  It's where everything began in my life--both my childhood and my life with Jeremy.  I am so glad the girls got to spend a little time there.  If they have anything to say about it, I have a feeling we will be back to visit the cows again soon!


One Fish, Two Fish

On Saturday, Jeremy and I took the girls on their first trip to the Tennessee Aquarium.  Jeremy and I went on the 4th of July a few years ago, so I was looking forward to sharing this little tradition with the girls.

Much like our day trip a few months ago, it went even better than we dared to expect.

We headed out right after breakfast, since the aquarium is about an hour and a half away.  After getting parked in downtown Chattanooga and getting all loaded up in the stroller, it was 11:00 (yes, the girls are still sleeping until about 8:30 or so, and we are LOVING it).  Since none of us had eaten a large breakfast, we decided to grab lunch before entering the aquarium.


After some delicious pizza, we headed down the block to start our adventure.

We had talked all week about seeing the "fishies", turtles, and penguins, so Addison & Mackenzie were definitely ready to get to it.  I don't think they were disappointed.  We saw tons of fish, sharks (which they thought were pretty cool!), penguins, alligators, and turtles.  The girls did great walking around on their own...we would hardly have needed the stroller except for the two-block walk from the parking garage to the aquarium.



We talked and pointed and giggled at all the animals for a little more than two hours, only rushing through the last few exhibits when we knew the girls were reaching their limit.  Then, before we left, we stopped for ice cream, as we had promised after lunch.






Two exhausted, silly little girls thought that was a perfect ending to a fun family trip.  The aquarium is definitely on our "repeat" list for future outings.


The Power of Girlfriends

Yesterday after I left work, the girls and I made a quick trip to our town's new splash park to play with my friend B and her daughter, Ella Kate.  Just last week, we had a playdate at her house, so our girls are getting a chance to get to know each other a little better this summer.  After the splash park, our friends came over to share my mom's birthday dinner with us.

As I watched the three girls running around our house, swapping baby dolls and squealing with laughter, I realized yet again how quickly my babies are growing up.  They have friends now, real little friends.  It is quite likely that these friends may be the very same ones they are sharing secrets and passing notes with in the years to come.

Addison & Ella Kate

Among the many things I want for my girls is to know the power and the value of good girlfriends.  When it comes to girlfriends, I am all about quality over quantity.  I have never been someone found in the biggest, most popular group of girls, but I am very lucky to have a small group of girlfriends that I can trust with anything.  They know me--the good, the bad, and the ugly--and they love me and support me anyway.

While our girls played, B and I did what we always do--we gabbed as quickly as we could about life, work, motherhood, and books.  You know, the usual.  But still, just those quick snippets of conversation remind me that someone is going through the same things I am, struggling to balance life in the same way I am.  It's a comfort, isn't it, to know that someone else really gets it?

I think that's one of the reasons blogging is so popular now, because it links us to so many other people who are like us, when it's sometimes so easy to feel like no one could possibly understand.   I feel blessed to have blog friends to enhance my circle of in-real-life friends.

Blog friends, childhood school friends, lifelong companions, or college sorority sisters....I hope my girls are as lucky as I am in the girlfriends department.

Splash park

So tell me...what's your "girlfriend style", a big group or a close-knit circle?  Are most of your current friends from childhood, college, or adult life?  (I have a few of each, and I love that they all know me in different ways!)