Monday, August 30, 2010

My Mom

Link over to Brooke for more info on Mommy Guilt Monday.

Today we're all posting a little something about our moms.

I think the thing I should appreciate more about my mom is how firmly she believes in me. She accepts me for who I am and doesn't expect me to be like her, but she believes in me so much she won't let me believe lies. Whenever I start to act like a martyr or feel sorry for myself, she speaks truth. Sometimes it upsets me. Let's face it, when life sucks sometimes you just want to sit in a big ol' pitty pot for a little bit. Considering my spiritual gift is mercy, when people I love are hurting I like to jump in the pit with them and stay awhile. I believe this is good initially, but not for too long. That's where my mom comes in. She is just amazing at pushing her loved ones to be what God has in mind for them.

There's a quote that says "A friend loves you for who you are, understands where you've been, and still gently invites you to grow." She is just so wonderful at that. Whenever I throw out my dreams ( I have a lot of ideas) she is the one to say "Well what would the first step to that be?" When I got a grant writing position she believed in me and said "Yes I believe you can do that!" even though I had a lot of doubts.

Even though I say things like "let me be" or "leave me alone" or "quit pushing me" to her fairly often, I am so thankful for a mom who wants me to grow. It has nothing to do with measuring up. I know she loves me where I am; it's about her knowing what is best for me.

Love you mom.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mom of the Year

I volunteer at the church every Thursday. My job is to send out postcards and call all the parents of preschoolers who visit our church. I love it! It's so fun to meet with all these new people and get them plugged in.

Anyway, now that Addison has started preschool we have to bring a lunch to church and eat there because she has to go right to school when we're done at church. On this particular day I had little Lucy with me (one year old girl I nanny for twice a week). I manage to get all the kids outside to the playground at church, settled and eating lunch. Ainsley as usual wanders over to the playground to play, Addison's munching, and I'm spoonfeeding Lucy. All of a sudden I hear the words few parents enjoy hearing when they're in the middle of something:

"I have to go to the bathroom"


We are outside, on the opposite end of the church where the restrooms are. Our food is all laid out, the kids are all settled. There's no way I'm getting three kids inside in time. Not happening.

There was lots of nice grass around the playground. Hmmm....
No one is around right now.....the parking lot is dead....... Hmmmmmm

Plan B!

Addison and I walked over to the side of the playground, I maneuvered her in squatting position, and she went.

In the middle of the "going" I hear a car beep. Uh oh. I look up and there is Judy, the director of our Childrens' Ministry opening up her car door. Right next to us.

I was mortified. I started stammering something about having three kids with me...too hard...bla bla bla, but inside I was DYING. I mean, who lets their daughter pee in the grass right in front of church?!

She just chuckled and said "Ohh I'm just smiling." I take it she's been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. One can only hope.

P.S. Addison loves preschool
P.S.S. I love the delightful 2 1/2 hours I have to myself while Addison is in preschool.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I love to laugh.....HA HA HA!

(Mary Poppins)

but sometimes my sense of humor gets me into trouble. It's been this way since I was in jr. high. Even to this day, I can take it a touch too far. People who don't know me that well think I'm a weirdo or just completely inappropriate. It even messes up my witness as a Christian.

Like how at Spring Canyon (when I was 15) I got in trouble for my "I Never" statements, and I felt so terrible about it, telling my supervisor "I don't want people to think I'm nasty!!!!"

Or the time at 17 how my friend and I made up a fairy tale that involved trolls and dragons and one particular staffer that we didn't care for. It got in the wrong hands. Oops again.

Perhaps 25/30 facebook status updates? Oops.

Or my snarky comment about my co-worker at Baby Gap. I felt so bad about that one that I had to go back and tell him what I had said and ask if he'd forgive me. That was tough.

There are so many other instances. I'm 28 and sometimes I still do and say stuff that I wish I hadn't. I wish I had remembered the filter. I call it "foot in mouth" disease.

Gossip is right up there with that stuff. There is something about having a nice piece of juicy gossip--you just can't wait to tell it to someone. I am not sure if it is because you want to fit in or again, make people laugh. The thing is, once it's feel disgusting. You feel like a failure. You lose people's trust. It's really pretty awful. I am making a pledge to give that up forever. I know I will fail at this more times than not, but I was thinking how amazing it would be to never gossip again. To never say "have you heard about so and so?" What if you had that legacy? And you all know me well enough to know I don't think I'm better than anyone else. It's hard for us all. The thing is, I've seen what gossip can do to people when it gets bad. It destroys relationships. It's terrible.

Let's just be real for a quick sec: I'm not talking about celebrity gossip!! Like Jake and Vienna: will they get back together? and should the Duggars really have another baby?! That doesn't count!!

Anyway I'm still learning, and I'm trying to be honest about where the line is. Sometimes it's hard to find the balance between "real" and inappropriate. It's so wonderful to have a great laugh (a belly laugh) but not at someone else's expense. You know?

Like I said. I'm still learning. No this is not about that triathlon shirt comment on facebook. That shirt was hysterical. I want one, but my dad thinks it was only funny because the lady wearing it was well in her 50s and quite heavy. Then again Devin would be mortified. Or would he be proud?! See, here I go again....I CAN'T STOP!

This is actually referring to my wine picture on my facebook page. We are supposed to submit pictures for our first Mops meeting. I stumbled across that one of me drinking a glass of wine at Cheesecake Factory and thought about sending it to the girl collecting them to see what she'd say. Thinking she might not get the joke I instead posted it for all of my 700 friends to see......

That would be fine and good except for now I have a leadership position at MOPS and have 95 new friends. Some of them might not get that I only had one glass and not 6. :::sigh::::

Live and learn. And keep on laughing, but maybe I should try to take it down a notch.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Yesterday afternoon was a little crazy. Devin took Addison for the afternoon to scope out Longview Lake, and I was home with Ainsley (18 months). I was putzing around on the internet and texting and basically not paying much attention to her. Our house is pretty childproof these days, and I saw her running back and forth so I wasn't too worried about her getting into anything.


I see her toss a big handful of something onto the couch next to me and realize what it is. Oh dear Lord it's cat litter. It's everywhere. She dumped it on both of our living room chairs, all over the kitchen floor, all over the living room floor, and all over the couch. It was a mess. It was disgusting. I wanted to cry thinking about cleaning/disinfecting all of this nastiness. Thank God almighty Devin had changed the box right before he left or it would have been even more disgusting.

It seriously took about 45 minutes to clean up in there. I had to empy the vacuum cleaner three times.

Normally Addison and Ainsley are together 24/7, so that means Ainsley has her own security detail all day long. Addison tells me EVERYTHING she is doing (or thinking about doing). But toddler-cop was out with Dad for the afternoon, and Ainsley was having some serious fun making that big (disgusting) mess.

I definitely learned a big lesson about watching that little munchkin. She's only in the 3rd percentile for weight, but she sure does know how to get into some big trouble.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A silly post...

I grew up an Army brat, so my mom mostly shopped at the commissary. Even when we lived a good hour or so from the closest commissary, my mom would take the cooler once a month and load up. The commissary doesn't (or didn't back in the day) carry generic items, so I grew up with Kraft singles, Yoplait yogurt, Teddy Grahams, Ritz crackers, Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Wheat Thins. The result of my upbringing, is that I turned into a total food snob. This lasted through college. I refused to shop at Aldi (when we should have been shopping there the most) because I heard they didn't carry any brand names. I thought about the one or two experiences I had at Food 4 Less when I literally saw a roach crawling in the produce section, and figured Aldi would be the same way.

Then we had to get on a budget and that included food. Oh and there's no more commissary (even though my mom still takes me sometimes and I have a grand 'ol time there with all my coupons). I love using coupons and combining them with rock bottom sales, so I haven't had to completely give up the good stuff. In fact, sometimes it's cheaper to buy name brand with a coupon and a good sale than generic stuff. Like with toothpaste. I haven't paid for toothpaste in four years.

Well sometimes there are no sales and no coupons, at least when it comes to stuff you need and I am here to tell you that in these past four years, I HAVE EMBRACED THE GENERICS! THEY ARE MY BFF'S.

$3.50 for a box of Ritz crackers? I think not. I'll go with the "Thin Wheat Crackers" for a $1.75 thank you very much.

My mom and my brother were arguing about who makes the best peanut butter, and while Peter Pan still remains my fave, I piped in "I like Midwest Country Fair!!!" They all looked me like I was a frugal freak. It's ok. A lot of people think that, including my Grandpa who said "She just might have a little Yiddish in her" to my dad.

We buy generic toilet paper (it's true; sometimes our bathroom is no different than a gas station--just cleaner), generic applesauce, generic pasta, generic brownies (those Aldi brownies are really good) and even Aldi's whole bean dark roast coffee. My pantry is a smorgasbord of generic goodness.

Let's be honest for a minute though: does anyone else cringe when they have to reach for the Always Save brand? I'd almost rather pay 10 cents more than reach for that disturbingly florescent yellow can. They should really look into changing their packaging.

Although I am no longer a food label snob, there are a few things I won't budge on:

-Tide (it's my favorite). I use it for the really dirty stuff and use whatever else is on sale for the dark stuff.

-Oscar Meyer lunchmeat. I am ok with Hillshire Farm or some fresh deli meat from the counter, but I can't choke down some of those other brands. Neither will the kids.

-Sliced Cheese. Have you ever noticed there are levels in quality with the sliced cheese? Even at Aldi. There's the good stuff and the plastic stuff. I've made this mistake. I go for the good stuff.

-Coffee creamer. I get that there's "bad stuff" in there, but it's my fave. It makes coffee drinking an experience. The generic brands have even more bad stuff than the name brands, so we go with the name brands.

-Nutrition stuff. We buy whole grain bread rather than white bread because it's better for you; same with whole wheat tortillas, low fat shredded cheese, whole grain pasta, etc. etc. I'm starting to see more and more versions of healthy generic stuff, but it's just worth it in the long run to pay a little more. You can buy 3 boxes of fruit snacks for the price of a pint or two of blueberries sometimes, but it's just worth it.

Soapbox moment: Does that really bother anyone else? I hate that about this country. No one should have to stand in the grocery aisle and debate a pint of blueberries vs. box of graham crackers for a snack. When our grocery envelope is really low, I have had to do that and frankly, it pisses me off! I tried growing my own strawberries but my lawn guy killed them all (he's no longer our lawn guy).

What are your favorite brands? What won't you budge on? How do you keep your grocery budget down?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are you sure you want me on your leadership team?

Here's a tip for all you moms out there, and this is free advice:

Make sure when you get a text invite for a playdate that you know who the text is from.

Otherwise you will get your kids + little Lucy (nanny for her twice a week) packed up in the car (in the rain), unload them (in the rain) , get them up two flights of stairs, knock on the door only to be greeted by your friend's very confused four year old. You will realize very quickly that the playdate was actually 25 minutes away at a different friend's house. You will feel quite stupid, but this friend has been your friend for a long time and will just shake her head and chuckle at you.

Thankfully this friend was invited to the same playdate, and is running late too. Then, the two of you will somehow get all 6 kids down the stairs, back out to the car (still raining), buckled in, and to the correct location.

The friend of the correct playdate location might think you are totally crazy, but still lets you show up an hour late, serves you and your kids a delicious lunch, and all the kids have a great time together. The moms do too.

Her name is now programmed in my cell phone. :)

Good thing my kids are relatively flexible. Life with me is always an adventure.

Saturday, August 7, 2010



Hello, My name is Marie, and I am a Mommy Guilt-a-holic.....
But not anymore!

Here are some of the reasons why I think I am a pretty dang good mom:

-My heart swelled with pride when Devin showed me a "camera" Addison made out of duplo legos, complete with a "flash" and viewfinder.
-I may not use organic this or that, but I can make some pretty rad designs out of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and carrot sticks.
-I discovered my kids will eat blueberries like candy (and beg for them) if they are frozen.
-I let Addison crack the eggs even though I grimace seeing the bits of egg shells in the muffin and cookie batter
-I let my 18 month old fingerpaint even though it was the messiest disaster you've ever seen (see post below)
-I let Ainsley fall asleep in my lap last night instead of screaming in her bed. She is getting some molars and I can tell she's in a lot of pain. I had a lot of work to do on the computer for MOPS, but she needed me.
-Addison asks "Is this on sale?" instead of "Can I have this?" when she wants something from the store because she knows I'll say "No, it's not on sale" I guess this is more of a "good frugal mom, but it makes me laugh"
-Ainsley yells out "AMEN!" multiple times when we're praying because she's heard us say it.
-Both the girls will know how much God loves them.
-I have swirled many a poopy panty in the toilet and washed them (WITH BLEACH) instead of throwing them away because it's usually Addison's favorite pairs that get pooped in, and I try my best to salvage them.
-I let Addison wear a black, long sleeved, VELVET dress w/ mismatched socks and brown shoes in 98 degree heat because that was what she wanted to wear. Thank goodness we were only going to the goodwill store, and she played nicely with a little boy who wasn't wearing any shoes.
-We spend a lot of time with friends. I am hoping I'm teaching my girls the value of a good friendship, and that sometimes it's ok to let all the housework slide to develop a relationship.
-I love making up songs and singing them. Once we made up a song about being late for church. Another time we made up a song about how much Ainsley likes to eat bananas. Addison thinks my songs are the greatest thing ever, and Ainsley likes to dance to them.

Good idea Brooke. Moms need to do this kind of stuff more often!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why we haven't fingerpainted in over a year

Someone gave us a whole bunch of finger paints, like, two years ago. I've let Addison use them a few times, but it really just stresses me out. I'd think I'd be the kind of person who would be fine with my kid making a big huge mess and well, I just really hate cleaning up all that paint.

Anyway, Addison was begging me to let her "hand paint" and Ainsley has never
had the chance to give it a try, so I let them go outside and paint.

Things started off ok: Ainsley started off by taking a big taste of the paint (of course), but then figured out what to do from watching Addison

Look of pure delight

Starting to get a little messier now. Hmmm...going off the table.

Oh dear....

Mmmk. Where's the hose?

See you next year fingerpaints.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nag Alert, neeeeenerrrrrrr

Please don't let this silly post keep you from reading about my mother-in-law Roz and praying for her (see below).


I blogged awhile back about being a nag/ control freak. It hasn't been too pretty lately. I owe lots of people apologies. I nag my four year old about wearing weird pool shoes with a cream colored poofy party dress just in case someone at Hy-vee thinks I can't dress my kid.

I nag my poor friend about MOPs stuff instead of patiently waiting for her to get back to me.

Poor Devin. He's been the prey of the nagging; I've been the hawk. Before the words even come out of my mouth, I am prodded by what I'm almost certain is the Holy Spirit "Don't go there Marie. That's't say it! You'll regret it.....d'oh. Too late." I don't think the Holy Spirit channels Bart Simpson, but you get the idea.

So what is it with the controlling thing? Why do I want control so much? I guess there are lots of reasons:

So other people will perceive me as having it altogether or being dependable
Because I always think I'm right....
Because it feels good to get my way?

I don't know. I just know that I need some help. I reallllllllly don't want to be like this mom who called into Dave Ramsey today. Her adult daughter was in a lot of debt and the daughter was completely inept at handling any decision making. The mom was calling all the creditors, negotiating everything, etc. etc. When Dave asked where her husband was the mom said "Oh I've basically been in charge of this household for the past 23 years." I thought that was really sad. There wasn't any partnership. She was the helicopter mom who always saved the day but coddled her child. The dad basically ignored her and let her do whatever.

No one likes a micro-manager. There's no trust there. I need to do a better job of trusting those around me and having patience. I need to remember "apart from me you can do NOTHING" and that ultimately God is in control and it's not always about me me me all the time. I need to let my daughter feel some sense of pride in choosing her own clothes and brushing her own hair. I need to be more respectful of Devin.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Do you like being a control freak too?

Prayers appreciated

Hey Everyone,
Devin's mom (Roz) is in ICU at Walter Reed (Washington DC). She just had surgery to remove a benign tumor on her brain. This is something that we have known about for several months. The doctors aren't sure how long it has been there (could have been years), but it was starting to cause sinus problems, headaches and other problems. The surgery went great on Tuesday, and she is doing well now. The biggest prayer requests I believe we have at this point are

- That she'll continue to recover without any complications
-That the "taste and smell" nerve was not severed during surgery (I guess this happens 9 out of 10 times) Don (Devin's dad) said she ate some soup yesterday and liked it, so hopefully that is a good sign.

I apologize for my horrible lack of details, but God knows all that stuff. Just lift her up in prayer please!

She'll be in the ICU for one more night, then recovery room for 4-5 days, then she'll be home.

I just had to include an excerpt from Don's email, that nearly brought me to tears:

I will stay with her again tonight (recliner, pillow, and blanket) to just help keep watch on her -- I can help notice her symptoms, translate her moans, hold her hand, rub her arms, and pray. She enjoyed listening to Bible reading this morning (especially Psalm 91). Will also be able to wake up with her on our anniversary - and look out the window towards the Chapel (just a hundred yards away from her room) where we were married 32 years ago. A speciall treat!

He is such a loving husband.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blueberry Oat Muffins

I bought 5 lbs of blueberries at Hen House on Monday and have been thinking of ways to use them. I really like making these muffins because they are healthy and hearty enough to eat for breakfast along with a hard boiled egg or something. I craved hard boiled eggs when I was pregnant with Ainsley. Isn't that gross?

I found this recipe a long time ago on a blog, and I apologize that I don't remember which one. Please don't sue me for copyright infringement!

Blueberry Oat Muffins

1 c. oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 egg white (I just used two eggs)
1 c. milk (I used 1%)
2 T. butter, melted
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw before adding to batter)

1/2 c. oats
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. butter, softened

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl combine the egg, egg white, milk, butter, lemon peel, and vanilla; mix well. Add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in berries. Pour batter in muffin tray. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until top is lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched. Cool five minutes.

Note: Last time my batter seemed overly thick, so I added in some unsweetened applesauce. It made these muffins a little sweeter and a little more moist. I have no idea how much I put in; just kind of threw some in there.