Friday, February 5, 2016

Winning the Lottery

I'm taking the day off from work today. The kids are out of school for a teacher work day and we are having some windows replaced in the dining room. I had tried to avoid taking the day off for just the kids, but the window guys called and I didn't have much choice. I'm trying to save up my personal days so I don't run out in June like I did last year. I do try to be thankful that I have personal days in the first place.
Our dining room has always seemed like an afterthought to the house. We think it was originally a patio or screen porch area. It's set a step lower than the rest of the main floor and the interior walls are the same cinder block as the exterior of the rest of the house. It's not well insulated and we're hoping the new windows will help the room stay a little warmer than it does now.
If we had the money, I'd have the whole room redone. Actually, if we had enough money, we might just move. I don't hate this house. We've been happy here and it mostly suits our needs, but I'd love some more space, a second bathroom, and a better neighborhood.
With the right amount of money we could finish paying off our debt. We could get Ken the new truck he's overdue for. We could have a buffer that means I wouldn't have to stress each month as the money comes in and goes straight back out.
I know money won't buy happiness. I'm actually quite happy now. There are just a few things I would wish for if money were a bit more abundant. I don't want anything extravagant or flashy. I just want less worry (and more toilets!)

What would you do if you picked a winning lottery ticket?
Your “Secret Subject” is: If you won $100, 000 on a lottery ticket what would you spend it on and why?

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there: Baking In A Tornado The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Southern Belle Charm Never Ever Give Up Hope My Brain on Kids Confessions of a part time working mom The Lieber Family Blog Someone Else’s Genius

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If Parenting Were a TV Show

I know I'm not alone in saying that parenting has its share of ups and downs, good days and bad days, crying for the sweetness and crying for the madness kinds of moments. I've come to expect all the little curve balls life sends my way, but I still get caught off guard from time to time. It got me to thinking...

Wouldn't Parenting Be Easier as a TV Show?

  1. TV shows typically come in two lengths: 30 minutes or 60 minutes (give or take with commercials and such). And all of life's problems get handled within that time frame. I think I'd breathe easier knowing that any problem I would encounter during the day would be able to be solved within a set time period.
  2. Speaking of commercials, wouldn't it be nice if life had commercial breaks? Just a brief moment every once in a while to just stop, take a break, and let someone else do the talking?
  3. Aside from commercials, another thing I'd like to do in life is hit the pause button. Got screaming kids in the other room while you're up to your elbows in raw chicken? Pause that scene, wash up, and calmly walk over to diffuse the situation. Kid running towards the parking lot when you leave the grocery store? Hit pause and give yourself time to catch up. Kids cuddling on the couch reading each other stories and telling each other how much they love one another? Who are you kidding?!?! OK, OK, take a pause to bask in that rare, unicorn moment.
  4. As my kids get older and become more and more of their own person, I am finding a lot of situations where I just don't know what to say or do. It's in these instances that a script would come in handy. Whether I'm living in a comedy or a drama, someone else can do the research into the perfectly worded response or course of action. All I'd have to do is read!
  5. And if I get it wrong the first time? Retake! We'll just shoot that scene again! I'll say my lines with various different inflections until they produce the coveted tween smile, instead of the all-too-common eye roll.
  6. While I'm not in the scene currently shooting, I get to take a break. That's nice, I'm not really used to breaks. On occasion, I'll probably sneak over to the other set so I can spy on my kids at school or see what hubby's doing at work. That'll give me a better idea of how their days are going so I know what to expect for the mood at dinner time.
  7. Besides the breaks I'd get when I'm not featured in a scene, I'm also looking forward to the off-season. Most shows typically run 10-14 episodes once or twice a year and take time off in between, right? I could do that!
  8. After a long season of living, I'm sure one of the things I'll enjoy doing during the off-season is watching the blooper reel. Every family has one, they just don't necessarily have one on tape, perfectly edited together. Wouldn't it be nice to sit down to a family blooper reel after a long, hard week and just laugh ourselves silly together?
  9. Hair, makeup, and a personal trainer. I don't think I need to explain much more than that, do I?
  10. The memories. If my life were a TV show, I'd buy all the DVDs and line them up on my shelves to proudly watch as the years go by. Life is wild and sometimes I want to pull my hair out over someone's latest antics, but I really wouldn't trade it for anything!
What TV show would best represent your life?

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Snowmageddon 2016

Well, we survived! Were you worried? I guess if you follow me on Facebook, you'll already know that we made it through the snow storm. If not, (WHY NOT!?!) here's your announcement!

Here in the Shenandoah Valley we got about 25 inches on snow within a two day period. Most everything was shut down Friday through Monday, with school struggling to get back to their regular schedules even today. My kids were already out Monday and Tuesday for Teacher Workdays, and they had delays yesterday and today. Most of the roads look clear, but there's a lot of melting going on during the day and then re-freezing at night. Many area sidewalks are still covered and the city is having to fill dump trucks with snow and move it to other locations because there's just not enough room to pile it all up where it fell!

Before the snow got started, my mom recommended that I park my van in the yard. Most of the houses in my neighborhood do not have driveways or garages, so plowing the streets is quite a problem. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for the city to clear the snow, so feeling a bit foolish I drove my van up into the front yard and parked it on the sidewalk.

I wanted to set up my phone or iPad to take a time lapse video of the snow falling, but then I'd be without my phone and iPad while snowed in with the children. That sounded like a recipe for disaster, so instead I set my alarm to take a photo every 30 minutes. That messed with my potential for a nap, but us bloggers have to make sacrifices for our readers, you know?!

We spent a good deal of time inside: reading books, watching Netflix, plugged into screens playing games, etc. It's not how we typically spend our weekends, but this wasn't really a typical weekend.

After the snow stopped falling the kids spent some time outside playing in it. I'm not a big fan of the cold, so I was thankful that they are old enough to play in the yard by themselves. I'm also thankful that Benjamin has a lower tolerance for the cold and cut his playtime short to come inside and snuggle under a blanket with mommy.

By Sunday, I was getting a bit of cabin fever, so I went out to dig around the fire hydrant and my van. Two neighbors across the street ended up coming over to help and we got the whole van dug out in about two hours.

Monday we called up a friend of Frances' and went out to eat at Chick-Fil-A. For being the only restaurant in town with an indoor playground, they were not as busy as I had anticipated. The kids got a chance to eat and play and I got to get out of the house for a bit.

Tuesday was mostly clear and we spent the day playing outside, cleaning inside, and running errands. The kids went back to school yesterday (with a delay) and despite the huge banks of snow piled up around town, the Blizzard of 2016 is in the past. Here's to hoping that's our one significant snowfall for the season and we can move on to Spring!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rainbow Colored Crayons

Sometimes I serve a dinner that makes me really question my commitment to nutrition. Maybe it's chicken, rice, corn and apple slices. Or pork chops, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and squash. I blandly proclaim, "Today's dinner is brought to you the color beige!" My children do not laugh as much as I do. Possibly because they did not watch as much Sesame Street as I did growing up.

Much like way that a bland, colorless dinner is not nutritionally sound; a life free of color is not good for you. We need variety around us in all sorts of ways: variety in our diets, variety in the opinions of our friends, variety in our exercise routines...or so I've heard, anyway.

Usually when there are arguments on social media, I scroll on by and ignore them. "Don't feed the trolls" right? I acknowledge that there are much better platforms for making a difference. I acknowledge that some people get their jollies just from pushing other people's buttons. Heck! I have brothers and kids and pushing people's buttons is pretty much a sibling job description!

Unless people are consistently racist, xenophobic, or hateful, I tend to just scroll on by. I don't require everyone on my newsfeed to think exactly as I do. In fact, I have a few close friends or family members that I disagree with on some fundamental issues. I find that it is possible to disagree with someone without hating them. It's not always easy, but that's just how I see it.

My kids go to school in a very diverse school system. They interact with students from all different cultures on a regular basis. Most of the time they are in the minority. In fact, Benjamin is one of two Caucasian students in his whole Kindergarten class.  I enjoy the fact that they see so many different colors and ways of dressing around them. This is their normal. I hope that it helps them to respect all people as they grow.

The thing is, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. It's quite possible for us to disagree and still get along. Sometimes I might learn something from you sharing your opinion or you might learn something from me sharing mine. We don't all have to agree. We do, however, need to be civil to one another.

Think how bland your plate looks at dinner with only beige foods. Isn't it nice to have some bright orange carrots, or some leafy greens on your plate? At first glance it seems safe to be surrounded by people who agree with you, but it's hard to grow without stretching and changing. They don't call them "growing pains" for nothing, you know.

I try to keep an open mind when people with differing opinions. I like to be around people from different cultures or with different life experiences. Sometimes I might change my mind about something I've always believed. Sometimes I might become more sure of something in my life by comparing it to someone else's experience. Different doesn't mean wrong or bad and disagreeing doesn't mean we can't be friends (or at the very least, civil to one another).

That's why, if I were a crayon, I'd be like one of those old square crayons my grandmother, the third grade teacher always had. They were thick and square and made up of all different colors. You didn't always get the picture you set out to draw, but whatever you colored it always looked bright and happy.

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday.

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