Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Adios, 2009!

Adios, 2009! You were so full of ups and downs with unexpected twists and turns...I am more than ready for a calmer 2010! Time to re-evaluate, re-focus, and rebuild. We're in a new place. Pat likes his new job. There are new opportunities waiting for us. So this next year, I am all about setting goals...Goldilocks goals, as Fishful Thinking's Dr. Karen Reivich calls them.

Not too easy, not too hard, but just right! (Click here to read more about them.)

With the help of a handy, dandy Goal Road Map and taking the time to answer a few questions like these, I may surprise myself as to what I can personally accomplish and even what we, as a family, can accomplish. One thing we've been talking about for awhile now is becoming "engaged in a good cause" - like getting involved in a community service effort. Now we just need to map out the steps to make that happen.

I tell ya, I know that Fishful Thinking was designed primarily with kids in mind, but this program has been such a support to me, especially during the last five months as we've gone through so much change. The activities, the articles, the videos...they've all helped me to continue to "notice what's nice and to deal with what's not".
And for that, I am truly grateful.

And speaking of new opportunities, a really awesome one presented itself to me just a couple days before Christmas! One that I will share more about next week when it's all official. But I just have to say how excited I am...

So here's to 2010 - I'm ready for ya!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Strict orders from a five-year-old

I was under strict orders from Abby this Christmas - "No pajamas this time, Mom. I want to open a toy on Christmas Eve."

She remembered last year all too well...

I totally need to send this video to AFV. hahaha!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

(PSF) Merry Christmas - Smilebox style!

Now this is my kind of Christmas card! No stamps, no envelopes, no searching for addresses, and lots of pictures! And it gets there ON TIME! :) Enjoy!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Merry Christmas!
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*For even more Christmas fun, the Disney Christmas Day Parade is on ABC at 10am EST tomorrow morning. The kids and I can't wait!

*Click here for more Photo Story Friday hosted by Cecily*

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Treasures Box (a la Fishful Thinking)

Among the presents sitting beneath our Christmas tree this year will be our very first Treasures Box inspired by none other than that optimism-instilling resource that I have come to know and love - Fishful Thinking!

The holiday season is a time of reflection with family and loved ones. Reflect, collect, and share something good that happened this year by making a Fishful Thinking treasures box.

Here are a few treasured experiences we've added to the box so far...

Abby's treasures:
  • 4th of July fireworks
  • Daddy buying me a big lollipop at the candy store
  • Singing Christmas songs with the primary at church
  • Counting all the way to 1000 by myself (just yesterday!)

Noah's treasures:
  • Fishing with Papa
  • Going to the playground
  • Seeing the big rockets (at the NASA Space Center)
  • Hitting golf balls with Dad

Daddy's treasures:
  • Finding a new job
  • Taking the kids to the driving range
  • Going to a Dallas Cowboys game in their new stadium
  • Playing "mean guys" with Noah (aka wrestling)
  • Playing video games with Abby

Mama's treasures:
  • Snuggling my kiddos
  • Our trips to my grandma's house 
  • Having family come visit three times since we've moved
  • Taking the kids to visit my old elementary school and reconnecting with teachers and childhood friends
  • Seeing Abby accept her Reflections contest ribbon for her giraffe drawing
  • Singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at bedtime with Noah 
  • Taking family walks and catching fireflies 
  • Visiting a live nativity with the kids. (They wanted to walk through three times so they could see baby Jesus again.)
There are definitely more where those came from! We will be adding to our Treasures Box this week, and then we'll open our box on Christmas day and pull out some of the "treasures" to read and remind ourselves of the many things in life that bring us joy.

It is my hope that the spirit of Christmas will be felt in each one of our hearts this holiday season and throughout the year as we reflect on and give thanks for the wonderful blessings that we have been given.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A cautionary tale...

Christmas has really crept up on me this year. I've spent this past week finishing up shopping, getting ready for and helping out with Abby's school party, preparing and sending packages, and doing little holiday activities with the kids. I had every intention of posting about our Holiday Treasure Box last week for Fishful Thinking Thursday, but Thursday came and went before we had a chance to do it. Then I promised Abby we would do it on Saturday, but after standing in line at the post office all morning, checking out the model train holiday display at the botanical gardens (Noah loved it!), going to an interview for a possible Educational Specialist job (fingers crossed), and then dinner, baths, and playing a few more games on the Wii (an early Christmas gift/belated b'day gift from Gram. Pat was just as excited to get it as the kids were!) it was already bedtime.

But Abby was not going to let me out of this one. "Mama, you said we would do our treasure box today." She had been waiting do this treasure box activity all week. 

"I know, honey, but it's bedtime. We can do it tomorrow." (Same thing I'd been saying for the last three days.)

"But Ma-OHm, you said we would..."

I caved.

Instead of a bedtime story, Pat, the kids, and I sat in Abby's room and talked about things that we treasure or love and put some things in the box -  a picture of our family, the kids with my grandma, Abby drew a picture of the sun. Then I told her we could do more tomorrow, but now she and Noah really had to go to bed.

That was not what she wanted to hear. Being overly tired and a bit dramatic, she threw herself off of the bed, and suddenly let out a piercing scream. Pat immediately noticed that she still had her colored pencil in her hand. "My eye!!!" She's crying uncontrollably.

My heart stopped.

Pat and I are trying to calm her and look at what happened. Did she puncture her eye? Please, no. Please. Please.

I'm trying to stay calm and asking her, "Can you see, Abby? Can you see?"

I take her into the bathroom and see that the area just above eyelid is bleeding. The edges of the flat end of the pencil had broken the skin, but it's not deep and the actual eye looks okay. Still I feel nauseated, not only because I am squeamish, but because of how close she came to gouging herself in the eye. I felt sick inside imagining what could have happened.

After washing the area with a cold rag, she started to calm down. I put some ointment on the cut and tried to reiterate how we have to be so careful with pencils, etc..."You could poke your eye out."

I sounded like the mom from A Christmas Story.

I am just so relieved that she didn't ...and so very thankful.

No shooting Red Ryder BB guns or drawing with colored pencils at bedtime in this house. Thank you very much.

(Treasure Box post to come! I promise!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Only 9 more BOOKS until Christmas!!!

In an effort to make our first Christmas on our own extra festive and fun, I've been all ears for new holiday activities. I loved this Christmas book countdown idea that my awesomely creative friend, Diana, told me about a couple weeks ago. (Thanks, Diana!)

On December 5th, Abby helped me find all of our Christmas books...
I didn't realize I had so many! Still being two shy of 19 books, I printed out a couple stories from the online December issue of the Friend magazine to make up for it.

Later, we had a little book wrapping contest - Daddy and Noah vs. Mom and Abby!  (The girls won by a millisecond.) Then that night, the kids picked one book to open together and read before bedtime.(The taking-turns-each- night idea didn't go over well.)
Christmas in the Manger was a perfect book to start our countdown.  That story has been one our favorites to read since Abby's very first Christmas...six years ago.

The last book the kids unwrap will be the scriptures so we can read the Christmas story from Luke together.

Also on the agenda this Christmas season  - Decorating graham cracker gingerbread houses! (This mama is all about shortcuts.)  We made those last night for the very first time.

It was a lip smackin', finger-lickin' good time...and before dinner too.  YUM!!!

Next up - a Holiday Treasure Box! (Pictures to come on Fishful Thinking Thursday.)

Any fun ideas that you'd like to share? Do tell! :)  

Friday, December 11, 2009

PSF - All I want for Christmas is a KING size bed!

2 overly exhausted adults + 2 flailing children in a queen size bed do not make for a good night's sleep.

This picture was taken about a year and half ago while we were staying at a hotel. We actually had set up mini-airbeds for the kids. Lightning McQueen for Noah and Disney Princesses for Abby. Still they ended up in bed with us.

Like they still do...every.single.night.

Two o'clock in the morning hits, and it's like an internal alarm goes off inside their little heads, and at least one of them, usually Noah, comes running into our room.

The way that those kiddos toss and turn, I'm surprised that I haven't woken up with a black eye. Seriously.

So, Santa, if you could manage to squeeze a king-sized mattress down the chimney this year, I would SO appreciate it.
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Rachael

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - I'm one of the 85%

Have you taken this survey yet?  A quick Straight Talk on Parenting survey over on none other than There are just a few questions, but one stat that stood out to me is that 85% of moms surveyed feel that motherhood is the hardest job they've ever had.

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Especially on days when I need to take the kids to Kohl's in an effort to buy Abby a new Christmas dress and attempt to get the kids some new shoes for church. There is something about Kohl's that turns my children into crazy, hyper, wild animals. Every.single.time. You would think that I would have learned my lesson by now. Even using the double stroller/buggy thing does me absolutely no good. They won't stay in the thing for more than two minutes, and while they are seated, Noah is pulling at Abby's hair or trying to climb from the front of the buggy to the back basket and hide inside.  Abby is whining incessantly about Noah bothering her, of course, and she usually says she has to go to the bathroom about four minutes after we walk into the store. Oh, how I love going into public bathrooms with both of the kids at the same time....ugh!

So yes, I can totally see why 85% of moms surveyed feel that way.

Of course, I also completely understand why 94% of moms surveyed say that being a mom is also the BEST job they've ever had.

I'm one of those too.

Especially when my little boy runs up to me (out of the blue), throws his arms around my neck, and says, "Mama, I love you for-evuh. You ah my favorite mama in the whole wool-d."

I always reply that I'll love him forever too and that he's my favorite little boy in the whole world.

When we make our Holiday Treasure Box next week, the very first thing I will add is a picture of my sweet boy and my precious girl.

Despite my less than stellar moments (like making empty threats during shopping trips), my kids have made me a better person. They have taught me so much about love and gratitude and faith and forgiveness, especially over this past year which has been full of change and challenges. I know that they still have a lot to teach me, and I treasure each day that I have with them...even those days when I'm really feeling that 85%.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Wordful Way Back When-esday: Once Upon a Christmas Time...

Once upon a Christmas time, long ago, a young man with a skater-style haircut beckoned a young woman whom he had recently taken on a first date to help him decorate a Christmas tree. The young woman happily obliged as she had a teensy weensy crush on this young man.

They arrived at his humble abode (an old "trailer" that he shared with two roommates) fully equipped with spray-on snow, cheap glass bulbs from the local Wal-Mart, a few strands of lights, and some blue tinsel that the young man managed to find in his mother's attic.

Since the tree was only three and half feet tall, the ingenious young man and his buddies devised a way to suspend the tree from the ceiling, therefore eliminating the need for a tree stand. Due to the miniature nature of the tree, there were plenty of lights left over to string around a bicycle rim that the young man (a manager of a bike shop) had previously hung on the wall (with a red light bulb in the middle to add an extra touch of tackiness.)

The young man and young woman were so pleased with their decorating abilities that they decided to pose for their very first picture together in front of the dangling, overly spray-painted Christmas tree...

...both of them completely unsuspecting of the fact that fourteen years later, they would have celebrated their thirteenth wedding anniversary, have two beautiful children, and be decorating their fourteenth Christmas tree together....

 in "Sweet Home Alabama" no less.
*I couldn't resist posting this again this year with an updated family picture (courtesy of the self timer on my camera). I'm deeming it my blog holiday tradition. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cracks me up every time...

Abby and Noah and their cousins, Oliver & Amelie,
have just been "elfed" by their Uncle Michael.
I'm cracking up over here! :)
I can't wait to show the kids tomorrow.

Click here to see them in action!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"The Pout-Pout Fish"ful Thinking Thursday!

It's time again for a little Fishful Thinking! I am so excited to share my recent interview (via email) with Deborah Diesen, the best-selling author of one of 2008's TOP TEN children's books, The Pout-Pout Fish. One of my all time favorite read-alouds!

I first discovered this book last winter when I was working as the storyteller at our local library. Deborah just happened to see a comment I left on the CWIM blog about the 2008 Top Ten list and then emailed me offering signed Pout-Pout Fish bookmarks to give out at storytime. How nice is that? I've been following her blog ever since. :)

For those who haven't read it yet, The Pout-Pout Fish is a clever and colorful rhyming picture book about Mr. Fish whose chronic frown is turned upside down when a friendly fish gives him a kiss! This act of kindness turns this Pout-Pout Fish who "spreads dreary wearies all over the place" into a smiling Kiss Kiss Fish who "spreads cheery cheeries all over the place!" Because this story has a great optimistic and resilient message, I thought it would be a perfect book to spotlight for Fishful Thinking Thursday...and it just so happens to be about a fish!


Me: First of all, congratulations on The Pout-Pout Fish being such a big hit! When you first heard that your story was named one of the top ten picture books of 2008, what was your first reaction?

Deborah: My whole experience with The Pout-Pout Fish has been an amazing adventure! Time magazine choosing the book as one of the top ten children's books of 2008 was quite an unexpected piece of news. I think my first reaction to it (given that I have a good proportion of Eeyore in my personality) was disbelief: the news seemed too good to be true! But after that, my second reaction was just to enjoy it and to be grateful. There are so many terrific children's books out there, some of which get their day in the sun, and some of which don't. Much comes down simply to luck and timing. My knowledge of that, along with my great gratitude to all the parents, librarians, teachers, and others who have shared The Pout-Pout Fish with children, makes me appreciate the success of the book even more.

Me: What or WHO inspired the character of Mr. Fish, and how long did he (the idea) swim around in your head before The Pout Pout Fish splashed on to paper (or the computer screen)?

Deborah: I came up with the idea for The Pout-Pout Fish after a real life "pouty" encounter. One afternoon, my son was in a bad mood and being pretty mopey about it. Since sometimes humor is the best way to help someone out of a grouchy mood, I was being a bit silly with him and doing an exaggerated version of his pout. This Great Big Pout made my son laugh, and then he started making a giant pouty face back at me. My son and I did the big pouting back and forth several times, and then I laughed and said, "We look like fish! Like pout-pout fish." And suddenly there was a story idea! I wrote the idea down right away, so I wouldn't forget. I'm not sure if I started writing the story immediately, or if a few weeks passed before I started work on it. But once I started writing it, the first draft emerged pretty quickly - probably within a few days. (Of course, the second, third, and beyond drafts took a bit longer, but that’s another story...)

Me: I had the opportunity to read your story to my daughter's kindergarten class recently. The kids were captivated by the clever rhymes and colorful sea creatures. They loved repeating Mr. Fish's refrain with me and couldn't stop giggling when he planted "smooches" on all of his friends. When you make author visits and share your story, which parts tend to get the biggest laughs/smiles?

Deborah: Dan Hanna's art is amazing, as it captures the personalities of Mr. Fish and his friends so well. The cover perfectly represents the "before" portrait of Mr. Fish, and kids particularly enjoy that image. Kids also really like the recurring "bluuuuuubs" in the storyline, which I always have them say right along with me. Perhaps the overall favorite spot in the book is the page spread that shows Mr. Fish immediately after Miss Shimmer's random act of smoochiness: he's upside-down on a rock, looking mightily confused, trying to make sense of his transformative moment. I always slow down when I read those pages, to heighten the suspense before the smoochy denouement!
It's funny, though: the very last page of the book, which shows Mr. Fish and Miss Shimmer sharing a smooch, is occasionally a little too much lovey-doveyness for some of the older kids in attendance. I've heard a few good-natured groans during school visits for that page! But younger kids and their parents do like the ending. (And so does Mr. Fish!)

Me: As a young child, what were a few of your favorite picture books and why? Did you have a favorite author?

Deborah: I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Seuss books (and still do!). I particularly loved Fox in Socks, and even now welcome any opportunity to read it aloud. Another childhood book that stands out in my mind (if a bit vaguely after all the years since I've read it) is That's Good, That's Bad by Joan Lexau and illustrated by Aliki. And, later in childhood, I was a huge Little House fan. I read and re-read all the books in the series until they literally started falling apart!

Me: Did you write poems and stories as a child? Perhaps daydreamed about having a book written by YOU on the library shelves someday?

Deborah: As a child, I loved to write! The first bit of creative writing I remember doing was poetry. I wrote a poem about a butterfly when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and then launched into a busy period of producing rhyming poems about colors and animals. Around 4th or 5th grade, I tried my hand at an original "novel," which was pretty much a knock-off of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all...). Through junior high, senior high, and early college, I held on to the notion of myself as a writer, and hoped (without truly believing) that someday I'd have a book of my own. In my twenties and early thirties, I set aside writing. It just didn’t seem a very practical aspiration. But then my kids came along, and all that exposure to children's books reawakened my interest in writing. I'm glad it did! It's such an amazing thing to have become a published author - something I didn't quite dare dream entirely, yet still somehow managed to accomplish.

Me: One of my favorite things about The Pout-Pout Fish is the positive message it sends. As printed on the back cover, Sometimes a kiss is all it takes to turn things around. What do you ultimately hope that kids (and parents) will take away from reading this story?

Deborah: I hope that the story of Mr. Fish helps kids and parents to remember that the little things we do have a profound influence on those around us. As I tell kids, if you notice someone feeling grouchy -- even if it's yourself! -- you might think about The Pout-Pout Fish, and share a little encouragement with someone around you. It doesn't have to be a kiss, it could just be a smile. But it might just do the trick! I also hope that kids and others will take away from the story a little bit of book joy. Fun words, silly sounds, and stories of all types are a pleasure and treasure we should share together as often as possible!

The Pout-Pout Fish has definitely brought a lot of "book joy" to our family! Again, I want to thank Deborah for allowing me to spotlight her and Mr.Fish this week. I'm really looking forward to the release of the sequel, The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark (fall 2010). For more Pout-Pout Fish fun (word games, cootie catchers, a fish mask), click here!

For more optimism and resilience activities, click the fish!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10 truths about yours truly...

Warning: What you are about to read may slightly alter your opinion of me or what you know of me according this little ol' blog of mine.  My good friend, Terri, tagged me a couple weeks ago to confess 10 truths about myself.  I admit that can't resist a meme, so at the risk of unveiling a few of my idiosyncrasies and shortcomings, here goes nothing...

1) Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. I am all about being grateful, BUT cooking all day while men watch football, sitting down to eat for twenty minutes, and then cleaning it all up again (while men are watching football) is just not my idea of a good time. A couple years ago we went to Shoney's with my Grandma for Thanksgiving and I tell ya, it was the BEST Thanksgiving ever! I do look forward to the Macy's parade though and the desserts. I love dessert!

2) I am not a Twilight fan. (gasp!!!) I am actually a little nervous to admit this on my blog for all the world to see in fear of being ostracized by my handful of blogging friends or potential "followers". (haha!) Most of my friends, my youngest sister, and my sister-in-law have read all of the books and were counting down to the movie being released. I tried to like it. I really did. I read more than 300 pages of the first book when it originally came out, but I just couldn't read anymore. Co-dependent teenagers and vampires just aren't my thing.

3) Cake Boss (on TLC) is my new favorite show. Oh, what a person can do with fondant, rice krispie treats, and modeling chocolate! Before watching this show, I didn't even know there was such a thing as modeling chocolate.  (And did you see the one where the witchy, disgruntled bride ruined her gorgeous wedding cake...I couldn't believe it!)

4) I'm not really into crime scene shows, but I have been watching *NCIS Los Angeles...only because it stars Chris O'Donnell. I've had a major celebrity crush on this guy since high school. Ever see him in Circle of Friends? Love, love, love him in that movie.  He looked pretty darn good as Robin in Batman Forever too.

5) I do not drink enough water. With chasing the kids around, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc...sometimes I just forget. I am trying to get better about it, especially since a kidney stone about did me in a couple months ago. Yes, a kidney stone. Pain I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. Seriously, it was crazy (which is also what I kept repeating to the nurse as I was writhing in pain). My new motto - 64 oz. a day keep the kidney stones away.

***I have to go pick Abby up from school in a few minutes so the rest of these will be short and sweet. 

6) My favorite flower is a tulip. I always mean to plant bulbs in the fall, but never end up doing it.

7) I don't like to eat anything that is blue. Why? I do not know.

8) I am a bit of a backseat driver, but only when my husband is driving the car. Poor guy.

9) I cannot roller skate worth a darn. Abby has been wanting to learn how to skate, but I've been putting it off to avoid making a fool out of myself.

10) I am posting my very first interview with a best-selling children's author on Thursday! So be sure to come back by and check it out. Pretty please!

Anything you want to fess up to? Play along and post this meme, or leave a comment with a truthful tidbit about yourself. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Fishful Thinking Thanksgiving!

This is what we've been up to this morning...

family, friends, toys, job, health, golf course, animals, fish,
church, school, USA, Christmas, Jesus' birthday,
Mom, Dad, Noah, Abby, house, trees,
flowers, ocean, sun, stars, music

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PSF - In a galaxy far, far away...

In a galaxy far, far away, Christmas has begun.

Hundreds walk the garden path lined with lights galore.

An illuminated wonderland for all to come explore!

The journey comes to an end with a certain someone.

Hat on his head and dressed in red. He petrified my son.

(...although he did manage to tell Santa that he wants a racing car scooter for Christmas as he clutched Daddy's arm. So much for the free Santa photo opp.)

"May the force be with you" this holiday season.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Sue

Fishful Thinking Thursday - You've gotta see this!!!

 *Add some Fishful Thinking bling  to your blog & I'll add YOU to the 
Fishful Thinking Mama blogroll on my sidebar!

Over the weekend, I went on the Fishful Thinking website to watch Dr. Reivich's Optimism workshop from the Oprah magazine's O You event in 2007. Click here - It's found under RESOURCES, then Video Center (scroll about half way down to part 1). It was awesome!!! Well worth the 42 minutes. It's broken into eight segments and was so intriguing that I kept clicking one right after the other.

One of the key questions Dr. Reivich answers is  -
Can you be too optimistic?
 Yesiree, Bob! In part 4 of the workshop (@ 6 minutes), she discusses unbridled optimism vs. healthy optimism. Being an ostrich with his head in the sand vs. being able to see the good and the bad and then figuring out how to deal with those things (aka Fishful Thinking). She also gives proven strategies that help to overcome everyday obstacles like our inner critic, time urgency, and the negativity we are faced with every day just by turning on the news.

One of the ideas that I really liked is creating an AWE Wall. Posting cut-outs, photos, drawings, and/or notes that feature something awe inspiring on a wall in your home helps to make space for more beauty in our lives.  I found a spot in our kitchen where our AWE Wall is going to be, along with our Grateful Sayings poster that we'll be doing over Thanksgiving. What a perfect time to create these visual reminders of the things we are thankful for and that inspire us.

Watching this workshop reaffirmed why I am a such an advocate of Fishful Thinking.  I am grateful to be a parent ambassador and to have this opportunity to spread the word about this great resource.  I have been so inspired by all of you Fishful Thinking mamas out there who strive to instill optimism and resilience in your kiddos each day. You gals rock!

More than anything, I am truly grateful for my amazing kiddos who inspire me every single day. 

*Done any Fishful Thinking this week? Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WfulW - Ever heard of a Corn Crib?

Before Abby's pumpkin patch field trip a couple weeks ago,

I had never seen (or heard) of one of these.
A Corn Crib, they call it. Thousands of corn kernels for the kids to play in - sandbox style. They had corn in their socks, their pants, their shirts...the kids thought it was hilarious.

Before this trip, I'd never seen a tractor slide either.

That was one gigantic tractor.
I'm sure Noah would love to have one in our backyard.

I doubt the neighbors would mind. There are several chicken coops and a cow pasture just around the corner from us.  A John Deere tractor slide would probably fit right in.

*For more WfulW pics, click here!*

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Not Me" (or my mom) Monday!

This is not my very first "Not Me" Monday.

I have not been lurking around this meme for awhile now mulling over what I'd be comfortable fessing up to. :)

I would never finally be inspired to play along to exploit a little mishap that my mom had this morning. Nope! Not me!

My mom most certainly did not text me this morning saying that she accidentally swallowed her dog's heart worm pill. (There's no way that she would be holding her thyroid pill in her other hand and mix them up. Not her!)

I did not call her and start laughing hysterically when she told me that the only adverse side effect would be a strange desire to scratch behind her ears or lift her leg when she went to the bathroom. :)

She did not tell me that when she called her doctor's office, the receptionist told her to look up the number for poison control in the phone book because no one in the front office knew what it was.

I did not immediately realize my magnet with poison control's phone number was no longer on my refrigerator.

Of course, I have never had to call poison control, especially not that one time when I thought Noah swallowed a Tylenol that was loose in my purse.

My purse would never be left on the floor so my two-year-old son could dump everything out of it while I was making dinner.

Luckily, that pill did not turn up underneath the corner of the couch a few minutes later.

After hanging up with my mom this morning, I did not find that magnet and put it right back up on the fridge.

Not that we wouldn't have time to go looking up the number for poison control in case of an emergency or expect our doctor's office to know the number if someone just happens to swallow a heart worm pill...

Still just in case, the number is 1-800-222-1222.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reality check...

I had high hopes for this NaNo thing.

High hopes that I would be able to type away madly on my keyboard and watch my NaNo word count rise to 5000-6000 words each week reaching my down-sized goal of 20-25,000 words by the end of the month.

High hopes that my natural inclination to go back and revise, spell check, and correct punctuation would be overcome by my outpouring of cleverly written prose.

High hopes that my kids would play happily by themselves, the dishes and laundry would magically get done, my son wouldn't spike a fever, my daughter wouldn't get a cold, the kids wouldn't be waking up all hours of the night, and that my chronically sleep deprived brain would function at full capacity at least for these four weeks of novel writing frenzy.

Did someone need a reality check?

Um, yeah...that would be me.

I'll still keep working on my story. NaNo did help to jump start the process. I've actually got the first couple of chapters written (and somewhat revised - I couldn't help myself!). So thank you, NaNo. But I think I'm better off going at this at my own pace - in between taking the kids to the park, pumpkin patch field trips, making hot cocoa with marshmallows, pitching tents in the living room, and reading extra stories at bedtime. (And yes, those infinite loads of laundry.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Take a DETOUR...

Every have one of those weeks days when you just feel kind of  blah? Laundry is coming out your ears (as always), the dishes are piled in the sink, toys are everywhere, cookie and popcorn remnants speckle the carpet that you just vaccuumed less than 24 hours ago....ugh!  Not to mention your little boy was sick all weekend and would only sleep if he was draped across you all night, but still woke up every half an hour. Sigh.

So when Noah and I picked Abby up from school the other day, I decided to take a detour. First to Sonic for a Cherry Coke ( I really needed one!) and a couple $1 oreo sundaes for the kids. Then on the way home instead of just waving at the cows in the pasture that we pass every day on our drive, I decided to pull over into the grass, unbuckle the kids, and roll down the windows so that the kiddos (and the cows) could have a better look.

There were probably five or six baby calves out there grazing together, and they were looking right at us. The kids really got a kick out of it. Noah insisted on taking a picture with my phone:

Of course, then Abby (and her thumb) wanted to take one too:

Then I figured I might as well get in on the act:
I'm sure those cows were wondering what in the world we were doing.  The brown one on the right was totally staring us down. :)

It was pretty funny and definitely helped put me in a better mooooooo-d.

(hahaha! Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

***Taken any detours lately? Learn more about "beauty detours" and other optimism activities, by visiting Fishful!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WfulW - We have a winner!

We've had a bit of excitement around here this week! Abby received a big, beautiful ribbon at Monday night's PTA meeting for her giraffe picture that she entered in her school's Reflections contest - Beauty is...

From the first day she heard about this contest, she had set her sights on winning a ribbon. It's no wonder she could hardly contain herself as she waited for her name to be called. Jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear... She was beyond excited!

To Abby, "Beauty is animals."
She's been big into drawing giraffes lately.

She even took a few extra steps with this one by drawing it, cutting it out, and then gluing it down on another piece of a paper and adding a few extra touches...

Cutting and gluing have been big around here lately too.

And in case you noticed that little brown pile underneath the giraffe's tail,  Abby insists that it is a ROCK with a bug crawling on it.

I'm sure that's what the judges thought too. At least, I hope so.

Congratulations, baby girl! You believed in yourself, drew an awesome giraffe, and won that ribbon! We are so proud of you!!!

* Empowerment, or self-efficacy, is believing in oneself. It is knowing what your strengths are and how to use your strengths to navigate challenges and reach your goals. To learn more, visit Fishful!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shine on!

Last night, the kids and I watched Akeelah and the Bee on Disney. Loved it! And the kids did too. While we were watching, Abby got out a piece of paper and asked me to help her spell some animal words (lizard, guinea pig, turtle) so she could start practicing for a spelling bee. She can already spell DOG and CAT by herself. She was a little disappointed to hear that I had never won a BIG spelling bee.  Sorry, kiddo.

I tell ya, I didn't know what two thirds of those words meant, let alone how to spell them, once they got to the National Bee. Those kids are amazing.

There was a great quote in the movie that Akeelah's tutor had her read aloud before they started preparing for the Bee. One that I want to remember and want my kids to remember so I thought I'd share:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are 
powerful beyond measure. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be 
brilliant, gorgeous, 
talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
We were born to make manifest 
the glory of God that is within us. 
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously 
give other people permission 
to do the same.

- Marianne Williamson

Friday, November 6, 2009

I've never been much of a daredevil...

As I was updating my sorry excuse for a word count yesterday(2328), thinking that all the other NaNo participants have left me in the dust, I was re-inspired after reading this on the NaNo homepage:

"It's so great seeing the word-count numbers rising upwards! If you're among the 70,000 authors who've signed up but not started writing yet, I applaud you.  That's the kind of cheeky daredevil-ism that this event is based on. Please do have a word count by the end of this weekend, though, or we'll cry."

No tears will be shed for me! 2328 is better than ZERO!!!  Still, I've got some major catching up to do. And I have to stop revising. I'm breaking the rules, I know. A NaNo rebel. I keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be "literary abandon!" I'm working on it though. That's one of the main reasons I wanted to embark on this noveling frenzy. I just need to WRITE!!! Not rewrite!!! The first step is to admit there is a problem, right?

Honestly, I really doubt I'll hit the 50,000 mark. Most middle grade novels are usually closer to 25,000 words, if that. Seriously, if I finish a 20,000-25,000 word rough draft during this process, that will be a major accomplishment for me. Of course, I could try to write two of them. Set my sites on a series, perhaps?

Now that would be daring!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fishful Thinking Thursday - Banners, Wallpaper, & More!

Have you been wondering how you can get a Fishful Thinking banner for your blog or maybe a copy of  "The Goldfish Guide to Raising Optimistic Children" (a printable version of this cute video)?

Wonder no more!

Go to the Fishful Thinking site, click RESOURCES on the top menu bar, and then click DOWNLOADS. Under RESOURCES is also where you will find the links to the Storybook Maker, Book Club, Video Center, Keeping Kids Active, and more!

Or if you want to go straight to the printable guide - click here!

I tell ya, there are so many cool features on this site! Just cut out the booklet and staple it together - VOILA! Or you could even use it as coloring pages for your kiddos. Can never have enough coloring pages in this house!

Speaking of this house, here's a little Fishful Thinking follow up from our Halloween Savoring activity from last week's post. I modified it a bit since the kids were so excited about their treats they didn't feel much like coloring or writing the words, but I did ask them to pick out some of their favorites and describe them. I had to help them a little bit since they are so young, especially Noah, and ask "is it sweet?" "what color is it?" etc...

Abby picked a Laffy Taffy because "it's pink...and sweet...tastes like's chewy."

Noah was all about his lollipops. "I got lots of lollipops!!! That my favorite! They tasty!" he said as he tried to shove two of them in his mouth at the same time.

My husband and I both picked candy bars as our favorite - chocolate, creamy caramel, fluffy nougat. (Just typing this is making me hungry!)   

Too bad candy isn't one of the four basic food groups. :)