Thursday, September 25, 2008

lemme explain

In recent days, I've had a few close friends ask me about my blogging habits. More specifically, they were wondering why and giving me a hard time (jokingly, of course) that I haven't been blogging much over the last few months. I was a little surprised anyone noticed, or even cared really, that I wasn't posting on a regular basis. I mostly keep it light on my blog, writing about the things my girls do that I find funny, or documenting the moments I feel are memorable. To think anyone else enjoys reading my ramblings and claim to miss reading them regularly is actually quite hilarious to me.

It was because of this I decided to explain myself to my few avid reader and friends, who open my blog daily, patiently awaiting another post.

To say I've been busy this summer is an understatement. Between training for my 1/2 marathon, getting MOPS off the ground at my church, working part time (as a Realtor), traveling almost every weekend, and trying to manage being a Mom and Wife, I've had little to no down time. And with the little down time I have had, I've had NO energy to sit at my computer and write. Writing requires you to think, or at least it requires ME to think. And because I'm a slow processor, I'm not someone who can pound out an interesting post in a matter of a few minutes. It takes me a while and exerts a lot of brain power. Brain power I lack when I still have yet to get a full night of sleep (this is a result of a blue-eyed baby who still wakes up 2-4 times a night).

But even with a busy schedule, I've still found time to blog in the past, so my "busyness" is a lame excuse and a cover-up to the real reason I've been MIA.

It all has to do with the power of addiction. Addiction runs in my family, but I'd be surprised to hear of a family that doesn't struggle with addiction in one form or another. Fortunately, I've been able to rise above and make the right choices in my life to keep me out of any major trouble. My entire family is living proof that by God's grace alone, you can overcome addiction and not let it control your life.

But even with choosing the right path, so to speak, I still find that I have the tendencies to be easily consumed by certain things and find it next to impossible to break particular habits. If you see where I'm going with this, you won't be surprised to hear me admit the following:

Hi. My name is Amanda and I'm a blogging addict.

Once I started blogging last winter, I couldn't stop. Whether it was writing my own posts or reading and commenting on other blogs, I was wasting away hours at my computer every day. My thoughts were consumed by topics I wanted to blog about and I found myself drawn to the computer, opening up my favorite blogs on an almost hourly basis.

Before my blogging days, I'd spend a maximum of one hour at my computer daily, only using it to check my email and possibly the weather. I'm a busy body, a trait I inherited from my mother, and just the idea of sitting for more than 10 minutes at a time makes me bored. Because of this, I had no clue I'd enjoy blogging so much and that is would control me in the way it did.

Yes, there are worse things I could be addicted to. Way worse. But when blogging started taking precedence over my family and my commitments as a wife and a mother, I realized I had a problem. I realized I needed to make a change. I've also been dealing with a lot over the last few months, emotionally and spiritually, and knew I had to make certain sacrifices in order to not succumb to the stress and pressure weighing on my shoulders.

When my children are snuggled safely in their beds at night, I will push the urge aside to run to my computer and spend the rest of my waking hours blogging. I need to spend what little downtime I have doing the things that are necessary to keep me sane and happy. Those include devotions with my Lord and Savior, because without HIM, I would be utterly lost. Running, cleaning my house, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, doing bills and responding to necessary emails are just a few of the other things that top my list of priorities.

But with all that said, I still absolutely love my blog and totally enjoy reading other blogs. I've just learned to balance things a bit better, and I've found that my family and I are better of this way. I have a feeling you'll be hearing more from me in days to come, though, because a couple weeks ago I sent Ella off to her second year of preschool and I now have three afternoons a week where I'm left with 2 hours of down time.

Sigh. Down time. It's been a long time coming!

simon ella says

Ella to Britten:

"Hey, Britty, repeat after me: My....Mom...Is...Cool."

I heard Ella say this to Britten from another room, and it totally melted my heart.


Ella to Britten:

"Hey, Britty, can I have some of your pretzel's?"

Britten shakes her head No.

"Britty, can I please?"

Answer still No.

"Britten, it makes Jesus very sad when you don't share. So I'm just going to take one from you."

Hmmm...Not sure it works that way.


Andy, trying to be conspicuous, asks me the following question last night...

"Hey, do you think I should take our eldest two daughters to the M-A-L-L?" Spelling it out so as not to give Ella and Britten false hope.

Ella, who overheard his question, "I'll sound it out. Mmm...Aaaa...Llllll. MALL." Runs off yelling, "Britty, we're going to the MALL with Daddy!!!"

Gone are the days for spelling out words so our girls won't understand us!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

three years

Three years ago today, we welcomed our middle daughter, Britten Lou, into our lives.
Weighing just 6 lbs. 13 oz., she was a peanut. The little thing had no fat on her body, including cheeks (and I'm not referring to her face), but the girl had LUNGS and wouldn't stop crying for the first two hours of her life! But apparently that was all she had, because once she stopped crying, she was the happiest baby in the world and rarely, and I mean rarely, did she ever cry again as an infant.

Today we celebrated her birthday by taking her out to dinner to her restaurant of choice. Surprise, surprise, she chose to sit by her Daddy.

Apparently we chose the perfect night to go out to eat because they had conveniently hired a guy to walk around making balloon creatures for kids. The girls were enthralled!

Britten's fish was the same size as her!
Ella chose a monkey hanging on a palm tree. It even had its own coconuts!
Chloe desperately wanted a balloon, but eight sharp teeth and a habit to bite made for a dangerous combination. She settled for her bottle of water.
We ended our night enjoying cake at home that Ella and I made during naps today. Someone forgot to pick up candles, so I improvised a little.
Happy Birthday, Britty Louskie! Your sweet, thoughtful nature and goofy personality brings joy and laughter to our family! You are an amazing little girl and we love you to bits and pieces! You told me the other day, "Mommy, I don't wanna be 3." Believe me, sweetie, if I had it my way, you'd stay 2 forever!

starting early

For whatever reason, maybe as a symbol for turning 3 today, Britten has a huge whitehead pimple on her cheek.

Britten, this morning, asks her Daddy, "What's this, Daddy?"

Daddy: "Well, it's a zit."

Britten's response: "Hmmm....A zit."

Daddy: "Britten, can you say "puberty?"

Britten: "Pu."

Daddy: "No, say "puberty."

Britten: "Pu."

Daddy: "No. Pu-ber-ty."

Britten: "Pew, Britty."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

mission impossible accomplished

WE DID IT!!!! Finishing the race (still running) in just over 2 hours (2:02 or so, though I won't know exact numbers until they update everything online), it was an awesome run and even better experiece. The weather was perfect and the view was beautiful, with most of the run taking us around a lake. My wonderful friend from childhood, Heather, joined me in the race and we had such a great time running together. It makes such a difference to have a running partner and I hope to never run alone again. Hmmm...maybe my hubby will take up a new hobby in running?
The medals worn around our neck are proof that we successfully finished. Everyone got a medal, so unfortunately that doesn't mean we placed in the top 10, but at least we felt and looked like winners!

Coming around the last bend in the final 1/4 mile stretch, I was greeted by this sweet little face:

Seeing Chloe and my mom standing on the sidelines, cheering me on, was so awesome! It gave me the little burst of adreneline I needed to push myself harder through the finish lines. I'm very happy with my time, though I had no expectations set, but even happier I finished. And I finished feeling great. No blisters or toenails lost to speak of. Sorry, that's gross.

One thing's for sure: I am absolutely and totally addicted to running marathons. I can't wait for my next race!

my little clowns

Friday, September 5, 2008

the time has come

Feeling a combination of relief, excitement and sadness, and with my nerves a bit frayed, I leave today and head north to run my 1/2 marathon. I know in a lot of people's minds, running 13.1 miles is not that big of deal. People do it and a whole lot more all of the time. I know it's not that big of deal. It's really not.

But then again, it is. I set this goal for myself in May, starting my training the first week of June. Juggling training among my already busy life was hard, but because I spread my training over three months, I found this gradual process very manageable. And because I've never done anything so structured or intense, I was surprised by how well my body adjusted to the increased mileage. Apparently training works! Who knew?!?

I'm very happy I did this. Proud of myself, in fact. I have set no time goal for myself, nor do I care in the least bit if I finish the race in last place. My only goal is that I finish, and that I finish running. I'm not a natural competitor and tend to shy away from situations where I feel pressured. But the idea of running with hundreds of other competitors is thrilling and I have a feeling will become addictive. I've had people tell me that once I start marathons I'll never stop. I think by this time tomorrow, I'll understand why.

Wish me luck. Or better yet, say a prayer for me. Goodness knows I'll need them! For as excited as I am about tomorrow, I am nervous and feeling doubtful that I'll finish. I don't know why I feel this way, considering I've already ran 13 miles and finished will little problems, but I do. Having confidence in myself, and my abilities, is something I've always struggled with my entire life, and in some ways, I feel God has sent me on this particular mission to show me that "with HIM, all things are possible."

As my mom always taught me, WORDS ARE A POWERFUL WEAPON. So I will only speak positively. I CAN do this, I WILL finish the race...still running. With HIM, ALL things are possible and that's a very comforting thought!

I AM a (1/2) Marathon Mommy, hear me roar! :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

sparkly shoes

The mission was simple. The goal obtainable. Ella needed a new pair of shoes. She starts preschool (3-days a week) next Monday and I'm not about to send her back wearing the same old Crocs she wore last year, now completely worn through in the toes.

First mistake. We took the entire family to the shoe store last night, thinking we could make it a fun, family outing. I naively thought that my girls were old enough to appreciate and enjoy their first experience with buying a new pair of shoes for the new school year! This was always a highlight for me. I'll never forget my first experience of my mom buying me a new pair of shoes:

I was 6 years old and heading into first grade. I had my sight set on a pair of Punky Brewster high-tops.* They were the coolest things I ever laid eyes on. From what I recall, though my memory may be a bit fuzzy, was that they were purple and blue, had multi-colored shoe laces, and they sparkled from top to bottom. That, of course, was my favorite feature. I loved those shoes and remember being so excited to wear them at my first day of school, proudly admiring them as I sat in my desk. And so began my obsession with shoes.

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

The second we walked into the shoe store, Ella instantly spotted her new loves:

A pair of pink, sparkly jelly sandals.

She was smitten. She grabbed a pair for herself, Britten and even Chloe. Surprisingly, grabbing the right size for all three of them. Had summer just started, I might have considered buying them for Ella. But with fall just around the corner, and Ella's feet growing at least 1-2 sizes a year, I wasn't about to buy a pair of (very expensive) jelly sandals that would only be worn for a handful of weeks (days, even!) before going into storage! It wasn't an option. But try explaining that to a very determined 4 year old who has her heart set on a pair of sparkly jelly sandals.

And so it began. It being a full blown, dramatically intense, wailing at the top of her lungs, meltdown. Instead of throwing herself on the floor, like she had done on many occasions in years past, she decided to run around the store, all the while screaming that "she wanted her sparkly shoes!"

My husband, who was trying to juggle a fussy baby and toddler (or is Britten considered a preschooler?) who claimed to have a "tummy ache" and needed to "go potty really bad,"
tried his best to reel in our screaming preschooler. To no avail.

All the while, I'm dealing with a very sweet, but very new, employee of the shoe store, trying to track down the right size and color of the shoes we did decide on for Ella. What was supposed to be a quick, fun and exciting trip to the shoe store, ended up lasting a treacherous 45 minutes. In the end, the most frustrating thing about the entire trip was that we left empty-handed, with no shoes purchased.

For whatever reason, the store clerk and her manager, probably distracted by my whiny, very misbehaved children, weren't of much help. They couldn't find the right sizes or colors and because their computer system wasn't "working properly," they weren't able to special order the shoes for a free home delivery.


My husband and I left the store completely and utterly drained. Not of money, just energy. Both grumbling under our breath, we vowed to never, ever do that again. Yeah right. We always say that.

To give my girls some credit, it was nearing their bedtime and I think we were partially to blame by expecting them to "behave" while we tried to find shoes for Ella. It's hard to get mad at them in situations like that, when in all reality, we knew better. We really did.

*I Googled "Punky Brewster high tops" to see if I could share a photo of the coolest shoes ever to be manufactured, but I was disappointed and a little surprised by the fact that I couldn't find even one picture.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

who ever said that getting the right picture was hard?

"Britten and Ella, hug Choe and smile! Chloe, look at the camera!"
"Chloe, quit crying. Here's a smile!"
"Okay, a stick will do. Now Chloe's happy. Britten, quick! Look at the camera and SMILE and Ella, open your eyes!"
"Ugh. Chloe, sweetie, open your eyes!"
"This obviously isn't working so let's try something else..."
"Hmmm...Let's see..."
"Nope. It's pointless."
All she needed was a little cuddle time with Mommy (Oh, and she wanted to eat, and she wanted out of her dress. She takes after her mom like that. She's not fond of dresses) before she finally decided to give us one of these:
In the end, we ended up with ONE picture, none in which the three girls are actually looking at the camera, but it still turned out cute. My husband is doing final touches to it and I'll post it later.