Wednesday, December 30, 2009

reflections on a decade

I know many people feel that this past decade has been a big stinker but for me personally, it was wonderful! Some of the highlights:
-became a wife!
-had two fabulous kids!
-bought 2 houses
-bought 4 cars
-found a vocation that is the perfect fit
-hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out in one day
-took some great family vacations
-watched both of Em's kids being born
-became active and involved in a small church
-continued employment for Jay despite the economy

Granted, there are downers from this year. 9/11 being a huge one; the wars that are still ongoing; financial crisis; 4 car accidents (only one was my fault!); deaths of extended family members. But overall, I still think of the decade as being pretty great!

I feel like my life is turning out just as I hoped it would. Granted, I didn't have a firm plan on what that was going to look like but I am liking how it is unfolding! :)

Here's to the next decade being just as great!

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy birthmas!

Welcome to my niece, Ashley Grace Towey! She joined us today around 1 PM, weighing in at 8 pounds 14 ounces and was 21 inches long. JT is referring to her as a "handsome woman"--she is pretty chubby! :) She looks like a little sumo wrestler when she is all bundled up.

We had a whole plan in place for how things were going to go today and of course nothing went as planned! Emily was induced and we thought it would take a lot longer than it did. We had some childcare issues for the three cousins but thankfully Jimbo was there to hang out with them while the ladies went to watch Ashley make her entrance. Because of flu precautions the cousins aren't allowed up to see Ashley which was a bit of a bummer. Understandable but still a bummer.

I was able to witness the births of both of Em's children and this birth was far less horrific and scarring than the last one. :) Em did great and only pushed for 30 minutes this time. She is doing great and feels so much better than last time. They might end up coming home tomorrow just to chill before the holidays get started.

We are glad to have Ashley here safe and sound!

Monday, December 7, 2009

my friend the local celebrity

My friend Shannon Daugherty (yes, we call her Brenda) entered a cooking contest on Fox 9 and is now one of FIVE finalists for the grand prize! If she wins, she gets Cambria countertops as well as one year of free groceries! Her hubs was laid off in July so free groceries would be a huge blessing right now.

She was on the morning news in October to demonstrate her recipe (yes, the morning anchor jokingly called her Brenda too). I want her to win this so we are trying to get the word out. You can vote for her once per day for the next two weeks. Each time you vote you get entered into a drawing for No Name Steaks--yum!

Here is the link to vote:

If you vote for the Smoked Trout Pate I will kill you. I am dry heaving over here just thinking about it!

Support Brenda! Donna Martin graduates! Maybe someday you will buy her house in SLP and love the countertops! Get voting people!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

a lesson i'm learning

It is easy to love your kids when they are sweet, cuddly, respectful and obedient. It is quite another thing to love them when they are the opposite of all those things.

Ethan and I are experiencing some growing pains in the last few weeks and I find myself really struggling to even want to be with him. He wakes up complaining and doesn't stop until he is back in bed at night. So far I've been unable to shake this from him--I desperately hope this is a phase and not a personality trait. I dislike negative people. I actively work to stay away from people like that and do not cultivate them as friends. Everyone has their moments of course but someone who consistently looks at the glass half empty really tries my patience.

When I need to enforce house rules, I usually end up getting a lot of sass and hurtful comments thrown my way. Don't get me wrong--I can take it but somehow I end up feeling drained and exhausted, sometimes by 9 AM! He seems to think that when I discipline him it gives him fair cause to say something uncalled for to me--usually it is about how I am terrible and have ruined his life.

We're trying different things to see what we can do about all this but so far nothing really seems to be working. The more you discipline him or take privileges away the more angry and lippy he gets. Spending quality time with him seems to work but usually he is so cranky that this is difficult.

So love your kids in the good times and be prepared to love them in the bad times. Ugh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

we are on the mend

Our visit to the doctor's office last Monday. Poor little man!

Friday, November 13, 2009

worst $25 i've spent lately

Every time I give Olivia Tamiflu, she throws it right back up. Immediately. It is a mess and I feel bad for her because she obviously hates the stuff. I gave her a few doses and have just quit it altogether. What a waste of money! I should've gotten the pills and ground them up in her food.

Tamiflu is not cheap! If I didn't have insurance it would've been $100 per prescription! Not exactly accessible to the average person without insurance.

On a brighter note, we seem to be over the hump in our house. Ethan's fever finally broke early this morning (if you are counting, that is a full 7 days with a fever). They are both coughing like crazy. They wanted to go outside so we went out on the deck and ran around for a few minutes and they could barely breathe when we got inside. Oops. They are also stir-crazy and crabby. I hope their coughing settles down so we can go out in public without feeling like we are infecting everyone around us!

Monday, November 9, 2009

the swine flew into our house

Well, it's here. Ethan has an unofficial case of H1N1. He started showing symptoms on Friday and is still feeling pretty yucky today. Mostly just a fever and a cough. Not sleeping as much as I would expect him to. Doctor said there is really nothing that she can do for him--Tamiflu won't help at this point. Jay and Olivia are on Tamiflu now with the hopes that they won't get it or won't get it as bad. Poor old mom gets nothing--except the flu I guess!

Last night I heard Olivia screaming around 4 AM. I knew something was up because I can't even remember the last time she woke up in the middle of the night. She was just laying there screaming and I just knew she had thrown up. I got her cleaned up and by that point she thought the whole thing was pretty funny and kept saying, "Wee-ah burp! Wee-ah burp!". She was still laughing about it today, talking about how she burped. It makes me smile. :)

So that's the news from our house. It is going to be a loooong week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


One of the highlights of our Grand Canyon trip was getting the chance to get to know Samuel Grottis. Samuel is a good friend of Jimbo's and I'd been hearing about him for several years now but had never really gotten a chance to meet him. You might doubt Samuel's intelligence given that he agreed to fly to Arizona from Mozambique to do a death march across the Grand Canyon but I assure you, he is quite astute. :)

When Jimbo "retired" from P&G six years ago, we knew retirement wouldn't last long. But I don't think any of us anticipated him traveling to Africa and becoming enchanted with the continent. He joined a group of Wooddalers on an AIDS missions trip and realized, with his P&G hat on, that a stable economy would make a huge impact on the spread of the disease. This trip set in motion his eventual involvement with AfricaWorks.

He got involved with World Relief, which is where he met Samuel. Samuel is a fascinating man. He is from Zimbabwe originally, where he was a freedom fighter in his youth. Really! He was also an atheist and a communist of all things. While imprisoned and tortured he heard the voice of God speak to him in his cell. He had scant experience with religion up to this point. God set him on a new course for his life and he eventually ended up working at World Relief, where his most recent position was as Director for Southern Africa.

Samuel and Jimbo co-developed the AfricaWorks concept during Jimbo's visit there in 2004. The AfricaWorks mission is to be the “hands and feet of Jesus” by developing sustainable jobs for the poorest of the poor. They seek to empower native Africans in some of the continents poorest countries to become business owners and provide sustainable income for their families and communities. AfricaWorks is different than other aid organizations, which is what I love about it. A person gets a small business loan from AfricaWorks, establishes their business which they run and take care of and gradually they pay that loan back to AfricaWorks. Then cycle starts again. I love that money is not donated to people to start a business--it not only makes AfricaWorks self-sustaining, it gives the people power--they make the choice and the effort themselves.

AfricaWorks is rolling through communities and picking up momentum with each loan given. So far, it has been involved in the creation and sustenance of nearly 5,000 jobs! Samuel was telling me that people who are skeptical only need to see a neighbor's business in action and they immediately want in. Samuel recently left his position at World Relief to become the CEO of AfricaWorks and has big plans to continue building the organization.

I have become a little enchanted with Africa myself lately and have been trying to learn more about it, mostly through books Jimbo gives me. I also had a chance a few months ago to talk with Joshua who was visiting from Mozambique. He kindly suffered through my ignorance as I pulled out a map of Africa and peppered him with questions. I just didn't know much about which country was where--I felt like such an idiot! But he was helpful and explained what the other names have been, where it is safe, where he wouldn't like to visit. It was so fun!

I'd love to take a trip to Africa someday, even though it scares me quite a bit. But I would love to see the country, meet some people, see what kind of change is happening through AfricaWorks.

You can read more at!

need help!

Does anyone have a travel agent they would recommend? Jay and I are planning a vacation to celebrate 10 years next year (yahoo!) and we'd like to take a really great vacation. We thought of going back to Sandals but aren't sure we want to spend quite that much. I thought maybe a travel agent might be able to help me more than Google. Let me know if you have anything for me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

that's my girl.

Driving home from preschool yesterday, I noticed that Olivia was eating something. Knowing that I hadn't given her any food I asked Ethan what she was eating. "Oh, she's eating my craft that I made today." he said nonchalantly. The craft was popcorn glued to a paper plate. Olivia had a mouthful of glue-covered popcorn! Yuck. So naturally, being the stellar mother that I am, kept driving. :) A little gluey popcorn won't kill least I don't think it will!

Friday, October 2, 2009

rest your rear here

Two black leather recliners for sale! If interested, email me and we'll talk.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

i don't want to see you die at the gym.

Okay, I had a bit of disturbing incident yesterday and want some input as to how I should feel.

I was at the Bloomington Lifetime yesterday for the first time. There was a girl in the row in front of me on an elliptical. She was going balls out. She was not drinking any water. And her bones were about to pop out of her skin. It was painfully clear that this woman is deeply into an eating disorder. Her ankles were about 4 inches in diameter and her muscles looked like they had been adhered to a skeleton in biology class. She had this horrified look on her face as she stared at herself in the mirror, pushing herself to go harder. After she finished at least 45 minutes on that machine, she hopped on to another machine and kept pushing.

So my question is this: what responsibility do we have to say something in this situation? My first reaction is that although she clearly needs help, it is not my job as a stranger to step in and say something. People with eating disorders are notoriously difficult to help--a stranger stepping in isn't going to do much. Does the gym have a responsibility when they see a member clearly abusing their body at their club? What if this woman has no one in her life that will confront her about her problem? What if her heart just gives up one day?

What do you think about this?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A few updates....

1. The preschool year has begun! Ethan is in 3 day mornings. We've been at it for 3 days now and have even been on time each day! He loves it and takes off running for his classroom as soon as I set his feet on the ground. It gives me and my little man some much needed space and it gives him a new outlet for learning and new people to ask questions of. I get a break! I still have Olivia with me and unfortunately her behavior is going downhill as Ethan's is going uphill. Oh well, can't have them both in good spirits at the same time I guess.

2. MOPS starts tomorrow! I am starting my 4th year of being a discussion group leader. I love my group and this year looks to be fantastic! It is such a blessing to have these women to hang out with, rejoice with and commiserate with. I remember how lonely I was that first year of motherhood--wishing that I had some good friends that lived close by that I could really connect with. Thanks to MOPS I have more friends like that than I ever hoped for! If you are a mom that wants to know more about MOPS, just email me! I will hook you up right. :)

3. I am officially a small business owner! I have kept mostly quiet about this because I wanted to wait until it was official. Myself and two other women (Terri Miller and Sally Reed) have started a small coaching business called more coaching. We provide strengths-based coaching to individuals, couples and families. This has been a dream of mine for some time. My passion lies in helping couples strengthen their relationships by figuring how to best use their strengths in the marriage. I just didn't have the strengths needed to take it to the next step. Thankfully Jimbo hooked me up with Terri and the rest is history! You'll be getting an email from me once we get all our stuff together. But be thinking about giving a gift certificate from more coaching to someone for Christmas or for a wedding/engagement present. It is the gift that keeps on giving! :)

4. Jay and I leave for the Grand Canyon in one week! I will not be partaking in the hike this year--I learned my lesson last year. And my toenails have never quite recovered. :( Jay and a group of 22 other victims will be hiking from the North Rim to the South Rim--in one day! That is about a 25 mile hike and highly discouraged by the park rangers. But who cares about them, right? :) I have a muy importante job--driving a car full of everyone's gear so they don't have to haul it across the canyon. I will have a 5 hour drive all alone with my ipod--I can't wait. For those of you that know me well, you know I love to road trip. I don't get to do it much now that we have kids. So the idea of just driving without Olivia screaming bloody murder is delightful! We are already anticipating numerous stops at In n' Out and have budgeted accordingly. Our kids will go stay with the grandparents--many thanks go out to them for making this happen!

5. I just read a completely enthralling book: King Leopold's Ghost. Jimbo is super involved in a non-profit in Africa called AfricaWorks. I saw him reading this book at Crow Wing and hijacked it from him whenever I could. I finished it last week and would highly recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in Africa. It is about the colonization of the Congo by Belgium and basically what a disaster they turned it into. Gives some interesting insight into why Africa is the way it is. Now I am reading Scramble for Africa which Jimbo says will give me an even greater picture of why it is such a mess. I will say this--what was done to the Africans was horrifying. There is no other way to put it. They were set up for failure from day one. I give major praise to people like my dad that still decide to go there and try to make a difference even though it seems like a mere drop in the ocean.

I know there was more stuff I was going to write about but Olivia just pooped so I have to go deal with that. Later!

Friday, August 21, 2009

i got schooled by my four year old.

As I was tucking Ethan in tonight, I was stressing to him the importance of "soft feet" in the morning. You see, I am blessed with a child that keeps to himself in the morning and lets the rest of us sleep in. When Ethan wakes up, he goes downstairs to have a snack and watch PBS Kids. But some mornings I hear him, thundering like a herd of elephants as he runs to the kitchen and back to the TV. So I was asking him to have "soft feet" and not make so much noise when getting his snack. So then he asked me to set his snack out and I of course, trying to foster independence, told him that he knows where we keep them, he could get it himself.

Then he says, "But Mom, the noise from my feet is when I have to run into the kitchen to get my snack. That is why we are having this problem!"

Point taken. He wins that round.

BTW, I realize I have hardly blogged lately. I will soon change this. But not tonight. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the bank always strikes twice.

Just got a letter in the mail from the bank that holds our Home Equity Line of Credit--our account has been frozen (no longer able to draw money out) due to a decrease in housing values in our area. Um, yeah. Aren't home values decreasing just about everywhere? And how does this impact my ability to pay on a loan that is owed?

This has happened to us before, believe it or not. Last year, when we were just about to pull the trigger on the kitchen project, we were informed that the HELOC we had for 5 years (and never used, I might add), was being closed due to home value decreasing. Okay, fine. We just went and got another one without a problem.

Fast forward to now. We haven't used the entire HELOC amount we were approved for and had no intention of doing so. We didn't ever use it like an ATM--we used it for the remodeling of our home only, figuring that we would get the value out someday (like 20 years from now). I needed to get a little more out of it to pay a no interest for one year purchase at Lowe's--a bill I hadn't been paying (because it isn't due until November) because I had been sinking all I had into paying off the HELOC. Now I have no way of getting the money I needed to pay that Lowe's purchase off and I haven't even made headway on it because I figured that I should pay the loan with interest first.

And to top it off, the freeze was effective on July 17. Yep, got the letter today. Would've been nice to know on the 17th. This is such a wimpy way out for these banks--they force us to go electronic on everything but if there is something negative to report (canceled account, bounced check), they send it snail mail thus ensuring they have at least 5 days in between the event and you finding out about it.


Friday, July 10, 2009

a few of my favorite things...

I haven't been blogging much lately because I have been a cleaning freak. When Ethan had mono I spent the week cleaning and organizing closets, my scrapbook room, my laundry room, etc. It was so satisfying! I found a couple cool things that I am loving right now so at the prompting of my sister, here they are!

1. Shoe organizer

I found this at Storables but they also have it at the Container Store (my favorite store!!). I got it in chrome but this one (in bronze) is on sale now for $20! It holds 18 pairs of shoes and each tier spins so you can find what you are looking for easily. Plus my kids think it is fun so they actually put their shoes away!

2. Closet rod dividers

Some might say this is the pinnacle of craziness but I think it is amazing! I got these at the Container Store for 99 cents each. I wrote on them with dry erase marker and organized my closet. I have categories for tanks, short sleeves, cardigans, hoodies, pants, dresses, skirts, etc. You get the idea. It not only helps me find things, it also helps me put clothes away--there is a hanger in place for everything!

3. SIGG water bottle

I have two of these--one is 20 ounces to take out with me and the other is 33 ounces to keep at home. I love the way tap water tastes out of these! I keep them in the fridge filled up so they are nice and chilly. Plus, you don't have to worry about any gross chemicals leeching out into you water. And you can wear your ecofriendly badge proudly when carrying one around. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Olivia just jumped out of her crib. I have been dreading this moment for quite some time. We heard a huge thump and ran up there--she was standing in the dark screaming and seemed a little confused as to what just happened.

I tried to reinforce the idea that we stay in our beds, not jump. I didn't do that with Ethan--and it was terrible. I don't want to go through that again. Hopefully she scared herself tonight by falling and won't try it again for a while. But knowing Pibs, she will soon realize how much freedom can be found by not being caged.

Time to start looking for a big girl bed!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

who has he been kissing?

Ethan has mono! Seriously. I was shocked--I didn't know that little kids could get mono. He has had a high fever since Friday morning so I took him in yesterday--mono. He is on an antibotic to help with the lymph infection but other than that there isn't much to be done for the mono. She said he will most likely start feeling better in the next few days. Needless to say, it has been a miserable few days at the Olson house. Now I'm just waiting for Pibs to get sick!

Jay took yesterday and today off work so we could do some fun family stuff. Yeah, we aren't able to do much of anything, except break up fights between the kids (apparently you can fight just fine while having mono). And now Jay is feeling sick! He is still in bed with a really sore throat and the start of a summer cold.

I was able to clean and organize Ethan's room and our bathroom linen closet and I must say, I feel a little high from it. Really! I get really juiced up when I do a really good cleaning that results in good organizing. And I didn't spend a dime--usually my organizing requires a few trips to the store. Jay and I have bets on how long the clean will last. My money is on a week.

That's it from our part of the world. I feel like melting but I sure would love to be at the pool with the kids. Maybe soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

good for a laugh

A friend introduced me to literal music videos a while ago and this one is by far my favorite! It is good for a laugh. Sometimes I find myself singing the words in this video instead of the actual lyrics!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the first of many difficult questions

Tonight Ethan asked me how babies come out of mommies tummies. Hmm. I was utterly unprepared for this question. I answered it as best I could, hoping he wouldn't move on to the next question that I knew would come. But he didn't rest--he asked how babies are made. WHAT?!?!? He is FOUR. Isn't that too early to expect a decent answer out of a parent? I really hadn't thought about this topic because I figured I had at least another five years before I'd have to answer it--guess not. I did okay with my answers and he seemed satisfied, at least for now. Ugh.

Today was Olivia's 2nd birthday! She was very sweet today. We've had a busy week of playdates and park time. Olivia's most favorite activity is sitting in a swing. She calls it the "whee" and will pull and tug on me to get me to push her. She also will take a swing at me when I try to remove her from the whee. I was going to buy her a swing for her birthday but then I found the very one I was going to pay full price for at a garage sale--for 2 bucks! I don't normally garage sale but the rush of finding the swing was exquisite. Might have to do it more often.

Ethan and I have been working on being respectful lately. When I tell him no or won't let him do something that is against our rules, or when he isn't listening to me, he gets angry and yells at me about how I am ruining his day, destroying his day, making him so frustrated, etc. I am trying to get the point across that despite those feelings, I am still in charge and deserve his respect. It is a tough concept for a kid, especially a talker like Ethan. But we had a great day today. He listened, obeyed, and was very respectful all day. I praised the crap out of him and told him the specific things he did to show respect and how told him how thankful I was for such a great day. Hopefully that will hammer the lesson home for him and we can continue to have great days like today. Sometimes I look at him and can't believe he is my little boy--he is getting so big!

Tomorrow we head up to Baker for camping with Grandpa Jimbo. Ethan and I are going; Pibs and Jay will stay home. Pibs at a campground is a little difficult to handle. Plus, it is fun for Ethan and I to have a special thing to do together, and I love camping so it works out for everyone. We'll swim, throw stuff in the lake, eat tasty food prepared by Camp Chef Jimbo (seriously, he made homemade pesto last time), throw more stuff in the lake, stay up super late and get up super early, chase after fish in the lake (I will only be spectating this one; I hate fish--but Ethan is passionate about sea creatures so I try to keep this a secret), and throw more stuff in the lake. Anything that isn't tied down. I think most kids respond really well to alone time with one of their parents and Ethan is no exception. We will have a blast.

That is about it from our homestead. It has been almost a month since I've blogged! I'm not even sure why I haven't posted. Just didn't have anything interesting to write about I guess. I'll post pics soon--they are on the other computer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

midweek update from our house

Greetings! I don't have one specific topic to blog about today so it shall be a hodge podge of items.

1. I have cut way back on my pop consumption. I don't have much in the house (Jay told me I still had to buy since he hasn't stopped drinking it). I don't allow myself to drink it at home most of the time--I did have one yesterday while Rebecca was over. No sense in making her suffer too! :) I will drink it when out to lunch someplace. But I would say I go without at least 4 days out of the week--that is pretty good! I feel a little sluggish but I'm hoping that it will pass the longer this goes on.

2. Ethan is still obsessed with sea creatures. He got "The Complete Shark Collection" from Michaels. Yes, that is exactly what he calls it--I don't even know if that was really the name! I had to give them water yesterday while he was playing soccer. I don't know about this kid sometimes!

3. Olivia. Sigh. This girl is totally nuts. She started taking her diaper off anytime she was in her crib (no poop though--thankfully). I had her in a onesie for a while and that seemed to do the trick. But then she managed to get out of the onesie without unsnapping it so that was over with. I pulled out an old sleeper without footies and put it on her backwards. That seems to be working so far. I have to put her in it at naps and bedtime. And I only have one so we'll be hitting Once Upon A Child later for some more. I just can't stand the idea of buying a brand new sleeper and chopping the feet off so used will have to do it. But wait--there's more! Now she has been taking her diaper during the day. I was in the kitchen cleaning up yesterday and went into the family room to check on her. There she was, naked as a jaybird, watching TV. She had taken everything off--and her diaper had poop in it! Thankfully it was a hard poop but there were little niblets all over the carpet...nasty. She did again later in the day. I can't tell if she just honestly doesn't get that she shouldn't do that or if she totally gets it and is just tormenting me.

4. JT (my brother-in-law) and I have started a child swap. We've been at it about three weeks. It is the BEST!!! He gets a day to go golfing and I get a day to just do whatever I want. It is so nice to have that break from my kids. I love them and I know that my job is to be home with them but sometimes I just need some time off. Real time off, not just time off during naptime. The unexpected bonus from this on my end has been getting to know my nephew, AJ. I admit that I haven't paid much attention to him since his birth (although I did put in quite a bit of time in the delivery room, much to my chagrin). But hanging out with him on my swap days has been really fun! I'm getting to know him and figuring out how to take care of him. He is warming up to me--yesterday he sat on my lap at Ethan's soccer game for quite a while even though Em was right there. He and my kids have a ball together and he is figuring out how to torment Olivia as good as she gives it. :) It gets a little chaotic with three little ones running around but knowing that there is a day off coming up makes it a little easier!

5. Josie helped me do some serious cleaning of toys last week. I pitched a bunch, donated a bunch and put most of the remaining toys in the storage room. It means a lot less mess to clean up every day and it feels more manageable.

That is it from here. I wish the weather would shape up. I need to do some serious damage to my garden with a bottle of Round Up but it is always either raining or blowing hurricane force winds down here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

delicious bubbles

Lately I've been really feeling like I need to give up my diet pop addiction. If I'm being honest, I probably drink 36 ounces each day (much, much more if I go out to lunch). I don't think it is so much about the caffeine, although I never drink it after lunch. It is more about the bubbles and the flavor. I do drink quite a bit of water but I think food tastes so much better when washed down with a little bubbly. It has become very clear to me though that diet pop is basically just chemicals, some of which are probably harmful to my body.

Have you ever given up pop? I've tried to cold turkey it but that didn't last long. What would some reasonable substitutions be? Can I mix Crystal Light in club soda? Or is the carbonation just as bad as the chemicals? Insight?

Also, take my new poll about the (not) Swine Flu!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

my sweet little man

I was recently reading some of my blog posts from last year around this time. Most of them were about Ethan and how I felt he was out of control and didn't know what to do.

I think it is time for me to say a few things about him now, one year later. The rough stuff from last year was clearly just a phase, a part of the growing up process. He is such a wonderful kid! I'm sure we had to go through the really difficult times in order to get here, so I guess it was worth it.

Ethan is completely obsessed with sea creatures. I have learned so much more than I ever thought necessary! :) I am amazed at how bright and curious he is. I am certainly not that way, nor was I that way as a child so I'm assuming that comes from Jay. He asks great questions and really hungers for information. It can be challenging to keep up with him since he asks questions literally from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed. "Mom, what does "species" mean?". "Dad, how big is a manta ray?". Even though I get tired of it, I can still appreciate his need to ask. We do our best to answer what we can. We DVR everything we see about the sea and have recently begun checking books out of the library. These books come from the big kids section and although he can't read, he devours the pictures.

His memory is uncanny. And his vocabulary is amazingly large. This from a kid who talked later than normal and caused me angst. I clearly didn't have anything to worry about!

He is sweet and careful with Olivia (most of the time). He helps her get up when she falls, finds her sippy cup for her and helps her out when she gets stuck behind furniture (yes, this does happen). He is an extra set of eyes for me and I appreciate that.

He gets up early in the morning but is happy to just watch PBS Kids and let the rest of the family sleep. He sometimes cleans up his room without being asked. He tries hard to please us and to be helpful. We don't have those same discipline concerns we had last year.

I hope this doesn't come across as bragging about my boy--I don't think I'm that kind of mom. I just want to shine the spotlight on Ethan for once--he doesn't get much positive attention on this blog.

Ethan, you are the best kind of boy I could have! I hope you remain a curious boy ready to explore your world and continue to just be you. Love you buddy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

our worst nightmare has come true.

Olivia, my sweet girl, has been taking her diaper off lately. Only in her crib. On Friday night, I checked on her only to find her diaper discarded on the floor and Olivia curled up in a huge puddle of urine.

Here comes the bad part. Today, we heard Olivia crying after her nap so Jay went up to get her. Then he calls down and says "Remember what we said our worst nightmare was?"--yuck. I knew immediately what he meant and hoofed it upstairs. Yep, it was NASTY. Diaper (completely dry, mind you) lying on the floor and poop EVERYWHERE. Seriously. Olivia was dirty head to toe and all her bedding and her crib sides were covered. I only hope it didn't get in her mouth!

Jay tossed her in the shower to first rinse off the poo and then put her in the tub to soak the rest off. I dealt with the laundry (just switched it to the dryer and amazingly, it is all clean!). She was pretty upset during the clean up but seems to have forgotten about it.

We decided we have to put her in full zip pj's at naptime and bedtime. Anything else and the diaper comes right off. Now I need to go to Target and see if I can find full pj's that are big enough!

Pibs is not only crazy, she is also gross. Ew.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

jimmy legs

I gots me the jimmy legs. For the past two nights I've barely slept due to this problem. My legs feel like they are humming, almost vibrating. It is such a uncomfortable sensation. Not painful but it does keep me from sleeping. I don't think it is Restless Leg Syndrome because I don't feel an uncontrollable urge to move them, although I do move them a lot. I toss and turn, go hang out downstairs for a while, try going back to bed, go back downstairs, etc. It is a long night.

Anyone have any advice for me? I'm going to try stretching for a while before sleep tonight and see if it happens then. It only happens once I am in bed going to sleep. Although today they feel a little weird but I just worked out.


Monday, April 6, 2009

bridging the gap

I went to a women's conference with some friends this weekend. I wasn't going to go because conference = snoozefest in my mind but in the end I decided to go. We stayed at a hotel overnight and just had a great time all around. The conference was called Bridging the Gap and featured some excellent speakers. The first one was Priscilla Shirer. Her message felt like it was being spoken directly to me.

As you know, I have struggled mightily with my weight these past two years. It has consumed me, become an all out obsession. Lately it has become especially bad. I have been very diligent the past 30 days with diet and exercise and have not lost a pound. Every day when I wake up I start thinking about how gross I look and that continues throughout my days and nights. I find myself nearly having panic attacks about it at times. I will start thinking about how I look and what I used to look like and I can feel my heart start palpitating and my throat closing up.

On Thursday night I was reduced to tears after finding out that despite all my hard work this past month, I gained 1% body fat. I was so discouraged and felt like if this is what happens when I try hard, I may as well just give up. Jay was doing his best to be empathetic but it wasn't really helping. He kept asking questions and I just threw up my hands and said that I had googled EVERYTHING and couldn't find the answers.

So then I'm sitting there listening to Priscilla Shirer and she is talking about being in our dry, dusty wilderness and what we are missing when we are always looking to the next thing. Suddenly things start to become clear in my head. All this obsessing has gotten me nowhere. I spend nearly all my time focused on myself and this problem. It is getting in the way of me being a good mom to the kids and it dictates my moods and affects them. Instead of just realizing that this is where I am, I only think of how great things would be if I could just lose the weight. I'm not able to enjoy life in the present and that bothers me. I don't ever think of the good things about myself--I only beat myself up for being fat and being a failure. I didn't realize how damaging this negative outlook was on my emotional health.

I also realized that for all my googling and seeking, I had never once asked Jesus for a hand. I have never thought to pray about this issue. I realized that that is one answer you can't find on google.

What does all this mean? It means that I am going to stop beating myself for being overweight. I am not letting it define who I am as a woman, wife and mother. It does not make me unworthy to be overweight nor does it make me worthy to be at my desired weight. I have been praying about this a ton and have been reading a book that helps me keep things in perspective. It is so hard--everytime I pass a mirror I feel myself starting the cycle again.

This doesn't mean I'm giving up on weight loss but I am going to stop depending on myself to make it happen. Maybe God is trying to teach me something through all this. I just know that it feels so liberating to just be me now. Yesterday I made it through the whole day without telling myself how gross I look or what a loser I am for still being so fat. I felt amazing!

Priscilla had good advice: take your eyes off what you can see and focus on what you can't see.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

R.I.P. Gill

Gill went to that big fishbowl in the sky today. Ethan was upset for a few minutes but quickly forgot about Gill once Jay told him he needed help making waffles. Not sure what kind of questions tomorrow will bring. Hopefully we will be fish-free for a while!

place your ad here

Has anyone noticed all the product placements that are showing up on TV and in movies? Seriously! That's what we get for fast forwarding commercials on our DVRs and Tivos.

I was watching Jeopardy and they just did a major plug for The Tudors on Showtime. That was a new one for me. The Biggest Loser is the WORST of the bunch. They always have these awkward "candid" discussions about the benefits of Cheerios or gum. Do the marketing people think we actually fall for this stuff?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dr. Phil is not my hero.

I'm not a huge Dr. Phil fan but I have the tv on right now and felt compelled to post. He is talking to three young couples with kids that have rough marriages. A few of these women have gotten physical with their husbands. I'm not talking a slap fight--I'm talking bruises, cuts, broken bones.

There has been such outrage lately about Rihanna getting beat up by Chris Brown. Yet women can beat the crap out of their partners and no one really says a whole lot. Dr. Phil hasn't really even said much about the physical violence in the family. But if the men were beating up their wives it would be a totally different show.

Why is it different? Maybe this is the green light I needed to really started whooping up on Jay. Just kidding! :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the kindle

I was listening to MPR tonight and they were talking about how the book industry is starting to take note of the success of itunes and how it can affect the way books are published. I admit, the Kindle seems awesome and I know it is almost always sold out. Jay raves about it at least once a week after seeing someone on the bus reading it.

I am torn though--I really like the feeling of holding a book and turning the pages myself. It is a nice break from using a computer. I like when a friend passes along a good book to me. I like looking at books on my bookshelf and remembering bits and pieces about them. I like pulling a book off the shelf that I've already read four times and digging in a fifth time.

I'm not sure I could get into a Kindle. I don't mind not owning CD's (I love itunes!) but not owning actual books seems wrong and weird. Like if the grid crashes no one will know how to pick up an actual book and get information from it.

What do you think? Take my poll!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG will never have my business...what do they do exactly?

I think it is safe to assume we are all unhappy with this AIG nonsense, with emotions ranging from irritated to outraged. If you aren't, better start reading the news. This situation is just ridiculous.

I think it is in serious bad taste for AIG to give bonuses while the company is being propped up by the taxpayers. But why wouldn't they try to get as much as they could? Some of the execs that got these bonuses are most likely some of the same ones that put the business in the crapper. Did the government really think they could just hand over billions of taxpayer dollars with no strings attached? Did no one in our government have the foresight to imagine that perhaps these companies would use the money inappropriately? Really?

The real reason people are outraged is that execs are profiting (with our money) at a time when most of us are feeling the pinch. We aren't being rewarded if our companies don't do well--why should they be? But no one is really talking about the much more concerning issue of our government acting like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. There is so much reaction and not a whole lot of thinking, foresight or vision. I find that way more concerning. If they would've just thought this out a little instead of rushing into a bailout we wouldn't be talking about this.

I don't know if Obama is responsible for this--I don't know when AIG got their bailout money. I suspect this was on Bush's watch (but with a democratic congress either way). I do however think the man is a fantastic speaker--seriously. He talks like a normal person--have you noticed that? He doesn't sound rehearsed or forced. I admire that. Good thing he is a good speaker--he is going to have a lot of explaining to do as things continue to fall apart.

Let's hope this downward spiral is over soon. There has to be a bottom somewhere, right?

Monday, March 16, 2009

"One day, one night, Saturday's all right..."

What jingle (TV or radio) do you find the most annoying?

I have several:
-National American University
-Empire Carpet
-Warner Stellian (duh duh duh duh, I feel free...)
-Health insurance that uses that "What have you done today to make you feel prou-DA"

I also can't stand the Watson's girl although there isn't really a jingle with that. The Menards guy made me crazy but then the woman that replaced him made me even more crazy! There is no pleasing me. :)

What's out there that makes you crazy?

Monday, March 9, 2009

interesting news today

So the quest for stem cell research is on. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't really know much about it so I can't really discuss it from an educated point of view. I have this idea that they will create embryos just to take their stem cells and if that is the case, I find that morally repugnant. But at the same time, I am intrigued by the potential to stop diseases. What if Jay could be made un-diabetic? It would be so hard to say no to something like that! I wouldn't have to worry about my kids getting it someday.

I heard someone on NPR today say that if you are opposed to stem cell research then you shouldn't take part in any of the benefits it may offer down the road. Thought that was an interesting comment.

What about embryos that are fertilized for IVF but never used? How does that fit into this?

What would happen to our population if we could cure all these diseases? Not to be harsh but isn't that how the population is controlled, to an extent?

I don't even know if what I am writing has any basis in fact or if it is just stuff I've put together in my head over time. Do you have thoughts on this?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

little church on the prairie

I'm a member at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie and have been attending there since I was 12. I loved it as a junior and senior high student but kind of lost my place there once I graduated from high school. Jay and I attended very sporadically (sleeping in on a Sunday usually won out!) and truthfully, we didn't see much of an issue with it. We figured that we still had our faith and what did it really matter if we went to church?

Then last summer Wooddale announced that it would be starting a daughter church in Shakopee. Hmm. We checked out a launch meeting and next thing we knew, we were knee deep in the planning. I was excited but a little apprehensive--it's been a long time since I went to a small church and leaving Wooddale somehow seemed scary. But we really started enjoying the group that was forming and were excited to see what happened when the church went live.

We went live in October 2008--it is hard to believe it's only been six months! I am totally loving going to church again. It is a part of my life that I didn't even know I missed until I got it again. I never lost my faith but I definitely didn't do much to engage myself in it. Now I feel like church is a big part of my life again. Our pastor, Rob O'Neal, teaches from the Bible but finds a way to apply those lessons to life in 2009. We have a children's program that Ethan runs to every Sunday--it has been so fun to see him involved with it. I have done a little bit of everything there--part of the fun of being at a small church! I do strengths coaching, service leading, children's programs, greeting, Connection has been fun for me and given me more confidence in what I can offer.

Best of all, I've made some close friends with good women and I feel blessed to have them. Today, three families met for lunch--it was crazy because there were 5 kids but it just felt so right. I have such fond memories of after church lunches growing up. We are also in a small group which is another great experience. Again, there are lots of kids running around but it is great to connect on a deeper level with other people in the same life stage.

If you feel so inclined, please check Brookwood out! We have two services: 9:30 (birth-5th grade programs available) and 10:45 (birth-preschool programs available). We hope to have a junior/senior high ministry available soon.

Here is our website!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh indeed--these hotties made it into itunes tonight

a quiet saturday night with itunes

I LOVE playing computer games (nothing nerdy, just Tetris type games) and listening to my music in itunes. However, tonight I looked at the "Purchased" section and saw there are 93 songs in there--yikes! That means we've spent $93 on music in the last few months! It is so easy to grab songs and you figure they are only 99 cents, big deal right? I guess it adds up! Doesn't mean I haven't grabbed at least six songs tonight though!

Took Pibs to get a haircut tonight--it was TERRIBLE!!! The cut is fine, but she screamed like a crazy person and was getting violent with the stylist. She made me pay for it the rest of the evening and took to throwing her shoes on the floor and dropping her bear as we walked through the mall. So delightful! :)

I was thinking back to when Ethan was this age and I remember feeling annoyed and anxious a lot of the time. I think I was really concerned he was going to be difficult forever and I was somehow failing as a mother. Now I really enjoy him. Yes, he trys my patience multiple times a day but I really enjoy being able to talk to him about all kinds of stuff. I love the person he is becoming!

Friday, March 6, 2009

lighter fare...

Random bits from our house...

--I am getting a kick out of sending the kids on a mission (get their sippy cup from the other room, find their blanket, etc.) and watching them start out and then very quickly get distracted by something else or get a few feet away and completely forget what they were supposed to do. Makes me laugh.

--Ethan is suddenly able to do so many things by himself. He can get dressed, brush his teeth, get ready for bed, get ready to leave the makes me proud and happy but also a little sad. He is growing up so fast!

--My ipod that I thought had miraculousy healed itself did not actually heal itself at all. Still broken.

--I had my high school girlfriends over last weekend. People are astonished when I say that I still hang with my high school (and junior high, in some cases) friends. I think it is pretty awesome--having moved so much, I never thought I would have long-term friends like this. We had a delightful time and I so enjoyed it. However, I learned not to drink martinis mid-afternoon--I was ready to sleep at about 5 PM! Save your scolding--I wasn't drunk at all, just tired. :)

--Olivia has been taking longs naps this week. It has been delightful. I have watched several fascinating shows on the History Channel whilst enjoying the quiet time.

--After many inquiries, I have decided not to get rid of my maternity clothes. If you are in need of some clothes, come over and shop! I will keep them here for you.

--How about this weather? Loving it! Keeps a person hopeful that winter will indeed be over at some point.

--Nine in the Afternoon by Panic at the Disco is a delightful song to make a Genius mix to in itunes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

strap on your magic oracles

I was approached by a Mormon missionary today outside the EP library. I understand they are on a mission but I don't appreciate them loitering outside the library. Anyway, she came up to me to tell me about the LDS and I declined to chat. She wanted to give me their website but I told her I've been to the Temple in Salt Lake City and learned as much as I felt I needed to know. She seemed a bit taken aback and let me move along.

I was thinking about it on the way home and was all prepared to do a post today about Mormonism. But then I started thinking that I might offend people, although to my knowledge I don't know anyone who is a practicing Mormon. I ultimately decided to post anyway--I hope I don't offend you. You have been warned!

A few years ago, the fam went to Utah to go skiing. We had a few hours to kill the day we left so we went down to the Temple to do the tour. Although I've been to the Temple Square a number of times (it is beautiful at Christmas!) I had never done the tour and was interested to see what they had to say. We sat through a presentation about the church and I remember thinking that it didn't seem so different from what I believe. The only thing that really stuck out is that the Mormons on duty seemed extremely interested in getting my personal information, which I declined to give. So I was intrigued and started doing some reading when I got home. I learned some interesting things and have to say that it didn't endear Mormonism to me. Like Joseph Smith digging up the magic oracles and reading the book of Mormon. Or being told by divine revelation to take up polygamy only to give it up a few years later after being threatened by the US Government. Or keeping your place of worship a secret place only for the highest up members. Or excommunicating people who leave the Mormon church. Or being required to give a certain amount of money to the church.

I have been a Christian since I was a child and I will say there are denominations of Christianity that I feel involve sketchy things much like the LDS Church. The older I get the more firmly I feel that denominations are all a bunch of nonsense anyway. Three things weird me out the most from the list above. Number one--not allowing many people into your place of worship. Most churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. are open to any and all that may want to enter. Seekers are usually not required to give out their personal information and are certainly not pressured to give it (I definitely was pressured at the Temple Square to give them my info). Number two--being required to give money at church. All churches ask for money, either directly or indirectly. But I haven't heard of many that consider a certain dollar amount a requirement for membership. I know there are probably some and I think that is wrong and against the spirit of giving. Number three--cutting ex-members out of your lives if they leave the church. Is that at all what Jesus asked us to do? No way! Love your neighbor. Period. And the Mormon church claims to believe in the Bible and its teachings.

So those are my thoughts. I could go on for a while but I won't. I know some of you reading this are thinking, "Well, Christianity is the same as Mormonism in my mind." I encourage you to speak with someone who can give you the information you need to understand the differences. I am not that person. I make decisions with my emotions rather than fact. I know that the missionary today will never convince me to go her way and I could never convince her to come mine. But I do admire their willingness to give up two years of time in order to find more converts. I don't know that I would be willing to do that.

Do you have thoughts on this? How do you deal with missionaries approaching you?

Monday, February 23, 2009

you can stand under my umbrella...or gazebo?

We've decided to bit the bullet and buy some sort of shade appartus for our deck this summer. I kept waiting for deals last summer and by the time they came, there was nothing left to buy.

I am going back and forth between a big umbrella and a gazebo. By gazebo, I mean that freestanding kind you can get a Target--basically a decorative tent.

An umbrella would be nice because it can be tilted to block the sun. It would also be easy to take down.

A gazebo would be nice because it has mosquito netting. And it would block rain a little better than an umbrella. But it would be hard to move and take down.

What should we do? I need opinions. Cost is basically the same so don't use that in your decision making. Let's hear it!

dude acts like a lady

Took the kids to the gym today. When I went to pick them up, Ethan was having the time of his life playing with another boy his age. He begged to stay for a few more minutes so I obliged. I watched him play with this boy for about 5 minutes. They were running and throwing balls and basically just being boys. Then Ethan lobbed a ball at his face. Oops. Ethan immediately said he was sorry because he knows you aren't supposed to throw balls at faces. The kid growled at him. Yes, he growled. Then he ran to get a worker to tell him that Ethan threw a ball at him. Then he pouted even after Ethan apologized again.

Just to be clear, Ethan should not have thrown a ball anywhere near this kid's head. He knows that. I know that he wasn't trying to be malicious and hurt this kid. I blame this more on his lack of throwing ability than anything else. He doesn't really show the seeds of athleticism just yet. I also blame this on 4 year old boys that just play rough and tumble---that is what they are supposed to do, right?

I am just getting fed up with these kids that feel the need to go rushing off to find an adult to tell on someone who has done something mean or hurt them. I get that we should be teaching our kids not to do mean or hurtful things. We should teach them to say sorry when they accidentally (or purposefully, for that matter) hurt a peer. But we should also be teaching them how to accept apologies. Ethan apologized to this kid but that didn't stop this kid from telling on him. How is that helpful in this situation? Is this a kid whose mom treats every bump and bruise as a near fatal injury? Or is this just a sign of our culture feminizing our boys? I don't know.

I don't want my kids to be tattle-tails. I don't want them to make every little event a major deal. I want them to learn when it is the right time to tell an adult about something that has happened and when it is the right time to accept an apology and move on. Someone bumps heads with you while you are both roughhousing? Apologize and move on. Someone punches you in the face and then laughs? Go tell an adult and make the kid apologize. Kids MUST learn these lessons or they will never be able to get along socially with their peers.

The child center worker didn't even bat an eye when this kid told on Ethan. I was standing right there and asked Ethan to apologize again. He did and the kid ignored him and walked away. I should point out that this kid was in no way injured. This was a soft play ball. I'm glad she didn't make a big deal about it. I talked it over with Ethan in the car and I think it was okay. I now understand that teaching to accept an apology is just as important as learning how to give an apology.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

i'm all a-twitter

Okay, now I am beyond super cool. Jay had me sign up for Twitter. I'll be honest--I don't totally get it but I am game to try. Come find me. My screen name is PartyofFour--RachelOlson was taken, imagine that. Let's be virtual friends!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

raise your hands up and say "all done"!!!

As you know, Jay and I are done having babies. I have chosen to trust in the vasectomy and get rid of my maternity clothes. If you or anyone you know is looking for free maternity clothes, please email me pronto.

Sizes are L and XL. Brands are mainly Old Navy, Target and stuff from Kohl's. Nothing super awesome but some comfy tanks and hoodies. Some work-type clothes.

Let me know if you'd like to do a lookie loo!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

meet the newest member of the olson family

His name is Gill, Ethan's new fish friend. Ethan, Jay and Robb went to The World of Fish tonight and picked him out. Ethan is nearly beside himself with excitement! He was part of setting up the fishbowl and is having a great time showing Gill all his toys. He is obsessed with fish and sea creatures and Finding Nemo--this is a perfect fit right now. We'll see how it all plays out! It is his first pet--kind of a milestone for a kid in a family that is adamently opposed to pets. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

disney pics

disney magic

It was magical this year! No one got sick and no one ended up in the hospital. Victory!


--AWESOME weather! We really got lucky--it was in the low fifties the week before and the week after we were there. We had beautiful summer weather nearly the whole time. Lots of pool time was had.

--We loved letting our kids run free! It was so great to walk out of the hotel room and just let them loose. I don't think Olivia has walked/run so much in her life!

--Swimming in the rain. The kids (the adult kids, that is) left their sleeping children in Gummie's care and went to the pool on a warm rainy afternoon. We spent several hours going back and forth between the hot tub and the big pool. It was delightful!

--Everest. Loved it. Didn't even feel sick. Screamed and laughed.

--Olivia clapped the entire time during the Lion King show. It was adorable.

--Ethan got super excited about the Nemo and Little Mermaid attractions. He also was totally into the Dumbo ride.

--Ethan asking funny questions after watching Stacy, our Disney tour guide, on the hotel room tv repeatedly. "Hey guys, does anyone have a question for me about Everest?"

--Watching Olivia display her newfound love of shoes. Good girl!

--Sticking to our guns about how much we planned to spend on stuff for the kids. Okay, we pretty much stuck to our guns. Might have gone over a little bit. :)

--Tossing Olivia from the edge of the pool. Jay tossed her, I caught her. And I was decently far away from the edge. She would go completely under and then come up laughing and begging for more. Pibs is crazy.

--Ethan chasing the fish in the lagoon at Caribbean Beach. He was just wading and I told him not to get his clothes wet. Next thing I know he is up to his neck trying to catch fish. I just laughed and gave up. He also fed the ducks with the housekeeping lady.

--Watching Emily and Jon's jibjab from Spaceship Earth. Never has an uglier photo been taken of those two. ;)

All in all, a wonderful trip! Many thanks to Jimbo and Gummies for taking us!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

focus on the negative?

Why do I consistently focus on the stupid, rude, immature, and/or thoughtless things I have done in the past? This has been happening to me a lot lately. A memory pops into my head regarding a time where I have done something regrettable. Instead of focusing on all the good things I've done, I instead ruminate on this one thing. It bothers me for a while and then it goes away. Examples of things I get stuck on:

--being rude to some stupid teenagers at Universal a few years ago
--getting chastised by a craiglister who was angry at me for asking people to just make an offer on the kitchen cabinets; he thought I was trying to start a bidding war--I was just trying to deal with the 200 emails I had gotten and I wanted to get as much money for them as I could (duh!)
--getting in trouble 7 (SEVEN!!!) years ago at Best Buy for having a conversation with peers about how much money we made. I had a very bad manager.

Why do I do this? Does anyone else do this? I am normally a pretty positive person; however, I HATE to get in trouble and I HATE to have people think poorly of me. It gets borderline neurotic; it is why I know that I am not cut out for corporate America.

Does anyone have advice for me as to how to deal with these thoughts?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

tips for traveling...

We just got home from Disney this afternoon, which I will blog about later. For now, allow me to share a few helpful tips for traveling.

1. Do not allow your 19 month old child to sit in your lap. Suck it up and buy another seat. She will annoy both you and those around you. She will make your legs feel bruised and draw angry glares from the people sitting around you.

2. Do bring a DVD player for your 4 year old. You will not hear a peep from him.

3. Do not hoard around the plane waiting for your stroller. Do not keep your whole family with you while you wait for your stroller. Send a delegate. Do not insist on setting up your stroller, situating your child and arranging your luggage just outside the plane door. Take your stroller, child and luggage to the gate and get set up there. It is annoying, even to those of us waiting for a stroller.

It was a long day, folks. I am almost looking forward to Olivia's 2nd birthday, simply so we will be forced into buying her a seat. Pibs is crazy, we say it all the time. The kids are unconscious in their beds now though--Disney World wrecked them! All in all, a great trip!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

confessions of a mean mommy

"You're a mean mommy!". I seem to be hearing that a lot from Ethan these days. He usually says it in response to me saying that no, he can't have M&M's for breakfast or that no, I will not take him to Target to buy a new toy (apparently the fact that Christmas was less than a month ago escapes him).

In response to being called a mean mommy, I tell him that my job as a mommy is not always to do what will make him happy. He doesn't get this, and sometimes neither do I. It would be so much easier to just give in and quit the fight. Almost daily I find myself teetering on the edge of giving up. Yesterday he told me, quite forcefully, that he hates me in front of some of my friends. Yikes. That hasn't happened before. I wasn't sure exactly what to do (I know what I would've done if there were no witnesses! Just kidding.) so I just told him that it is not okay to say that and that it makes mommy sad to hear that. He apologized later, which I do feel was sincere. I know he doesn't really think I'm a bad mommy. I just think he gets so angry when he doesn't get what he wants. It is that he wants it---that is the only thing that keeps me from giving up. If I give up, he wins. And he will continue to act like this and become an adult that I can't stand. And I love him too much to let that happen. I guess I'd rather fight the battles now rather than later.

I haven't blogged in a while...mainly because we have been hit with illness after illness lately. Both kids are on their second rounds of antibiotics for ear infections. Ethan had a fever for a week and now has a sinus infection. Olivia, besides being crazy, is starting to ooze snot all over the house. Oh, and did I mention that we leave for Florida in 10 days? I am very much looking forward to getting out of this house and for my kids to be able to run around as God intended. Minnesota in the winter months is a hard place for little kiddos. I see the older boys that live behind us out sledding almost every day--they can actually stay out and have a good time. Olivia can't move in all this snow and Ethan is so skinny that he turns purple after about 3 minutes.

As long as I'm continuing with this down blog, I might as well add more to it. I'm feeling restless lately. I'm wishing I could work more. I need a break from the day to day with these kids. I love them and I am so thankful that I have the ability to stay home--don't get me wrong about that. But I miss feeling like I am good at something. Most days I feel like I am really sucking up this parenting thing and my kids will pay for it later. I miss seeing my friends. I miss getting out of the house. I know I can go out anytime but sometimes it isn't that simple. Some days I just can't stomach the idea of getting everyone dressed, bundled up and in the car, only to go out and deal with the tantrums and the whining. And I'm trying to save money these days so going to a mall or Target is just a bad idea.

On the bright side, I had a great time at book club last night and am thankful I have a monthly date with those women. We are a lively bunch and several of us (myself included) have strong opinions that we aren't afraid to share. I always come away fulfilled and glad that we had such good discussions.

Ethan is in the kitchen asking for Cheetos for dinner. Here we go again.