Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ten Ways to Kill Time In Carpool Line

This week, my girls have headed back to school which means I will be spending lots of quality time in my mom taxi minivan.  Each day I will spend between one to three hours in my minivan (depending on how early/late I get in the line, my middle schooler's carpool rotation, and any other errands I have to run).  A good portion of that time will be spent sitting in a line of cars waiting for my kids to be dismissed from school.  I figure, since I'll be spending so much time sitting in the carpool line, I might as well do something productive, right?  So, here's a list of ten things you can do to pass the time while sitting in the carpool line!

1.  Read a book - Like perhaps this one that I won from some other lovely bloggers this summer!
I have really been trying to dig in deep and read this, but, during the sumer, I kept getting interrupted.

2.  Cruise Pinterest for Recipes -    I already have some recipes listed here and some of them came from Pinterest.  Thanks to modern technology, I can spend my time in carpool finding some new recipes to try.  
3.  Cruise Pinterest for ideas - If I get tired of looking for recipes, I can just start looking at other things on Pinterest.  That's where I found this nifty idea for displaying your sign during carpool line  - on Pinterest - while sitting in carpool line last year!  Ironic, huh?
In case you can't tell, that's one of those plastic hangers they use for kids' clothes.  Just make your sign with the kids'  names (or number or whatever your school uses), clip it onto the hanger, and hang it from the rearview mirror so school staff can see it clearly.  
4.  Listen to music I like without having to explain the lyrics to my kids. -  Pretty self explanatory.  While I sit there alone, I can listen to whatever song is currently on my iPod top 25 without explaining what a Payphone is or what it means to wear a dress that will "show a little uh-uh".  Hopefully, I will remember to make sure the windows are UP as I sing along!
5.  Browse Facebook and Twitter -  Is it wrong that I get most of my "news" from social media these days?  Truthfully, this is what I usually spend my carpool time doing.
6.  People watching - Have you ever just watched all the people going in and out of the school at pick up time?  It is quite an eclectic group of folks (at least at our school) and you are practically guaranteed to see something entertaining!
7.  Clean up in the minivan -  I try to keep some plastic grocery bags and some Windex wipes in the glove box.  Occasionally, while I'm sitting there, I'll grab a bag and collect all the trash in the car and/or wipe down the dashboard, etc.  (DISCLAIMER: If you ever get in my car, this does not mean you should expect it to be clean.  I have three kids and I said I do this "occasionally.")
8.  Catch up on blog reading - Do you follow me on Bloglovin?  Well, you should!  Then you can download the Bloglovin app and catch up on posts like this one and posts from other bloggers while you  are wasting time waiting in the carpool line.
9.  Plan - I'm a planner and a list maker and, since I'm also a mom, there is always some kind of list I could make - grocery lists, Target lists, etc.  Or, I could bring along that editorial calendar I have been meaning to implement for my blog and work on that.  If that's not enough, I could do some menu planning or work on a Sunday school lesson.
10.  Write - If I'm feeling really industrious, perhaps I could use my time in carpool line to come up with some better blog topics for my Tuesday Ten.  That way, I wouldn't have to sit down at 9:00pm on Monday night and type up some lame, last minute list.  Not saying that's what I did this time.  Nope.  Not saying that at all! :-)

If you enjoyed this post about how to kill time in carpool line, you should hop on over to this post from The Dose of Reality gals to make sure you are behaving properly whilst you sit and do all of these uber productive activities! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Word

I wasn't myself when I looked in the mirror.  The person looking back at me seemed like a stranger.  She was almost unrecognizable.  It had been a little over nine months since I had seen the person I was I was trying to find in that mirror.  No matter how hard I looked, she simply wasn't there.

The person I did see was fatter and flabbier than I remembered.  She looked tired and her eyes were droopy.  Her hair was a mess and she hadn't worn make-up in days.  Her clothes were strangely too big and too small all at the same time.  In addition to all of that, there was something attached to her; something that seemed almost part of her.  I watched this stranger in the mirror as she held this new thing carefully and awkwardly.  She seemed acutely aware of it's every breath.

Slowly, I came to realize that the stranger in the mirror was me and that "something attached" was a baby -  my first daughter.  I had read all the books and thought I was ready.  I quickly realized that no book could prepare me for the transformation that was happening.  The fact was, I wasn't my old self at all anymore and I never would be again.

I was a new and different version of myself.  I wasn't just Lisa anymore.  I was no longer just a wife, daughter, sister, teacher.  Now, I was a mother.

As a writer, I know about the power of words.  I have read words that made me angry and words that made me cry and words that made me feel joy deep down in my soul.  I never realized, though,  until then how powerful one single word could be.


That word changed everything.


It changed my priorities and responsibilities.  It certainly changed my schedule.  It changed my relationships.  It changed my body.  It changed my future.  It changed every aspect of my existence.

My life wasn't just mine anymore.  It was hers.  She was my daughter.  I was her mother.  

That baby turned eleven a few weeks ago and there are two more now as well.  The person I was looking for in the mirror that day when she first came home is now distant memory.  When I look in the mirror today, I see someone who is still a little tired and maybe not as slender as I might like.  But, I also see a woman who is stronger than my old self ever knew I could be.  I see a woman who is prouder of my family than my old self would have ever dreamed possible.  I see a woman who is more like my mom than old self would have believed.

When I look in the mirror, I'm not my old self anymore and that's okay.  I've changed and grown in ways the old me could never have imagined.

I'm not my old self.  I'm different.  I'm better.  I'm a mom.

Finish the Sentence Friday

This post was written as part of Finish The Sentence Friday which is hosted by the following bloggers.  Please give them a visit and see all the other blogs that participate as well!

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter Upon Entering Middle School

Next week, you start middle school.  Since you are the oldest, this is uncharted territory for all of us.  Right now, you are excited about meeting new people, having new experiences, and gaining more independence.  I am excited, too.  It will be a new adventure and I am looking forward to watching you grow and bloom.

I will admit, though, that I am also more than a little scared.  You see, I have heard lots of stories about kids - adolescents - making bad decisions, succumbing to peer pressure, using social media for inappropriate purposes, and trying to do grown up things like sexting and drugs far too soon.  I'm sure you have heard some of these stories, too.  

Part of me wants to think you are too smart and too good to fall into those traps.  However, there is another part of me that refuses to be a naive parent who is blind to the truth.

We are currently standing at the bottom of a mountain - a mountain called adolescence and puberty and middle school and high school.  We are preparing for the climb that will lead us to a peak with the most wonderful views and a fantastic sense of accomplishment.  On our way there, though, as we climb to the top, I want you to remember these pieces of advice.  I will do all that I can to remember them as well.
  1. Work hard.  Remember that school work comes first and everything else is secondary.  That includes sports and friends and other hobbies.  I don't expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to try your hardest every time.  If you do, I will be proud, but you will be prouder.
  2. Be brave.  You are going to have so many new experiences.  Some will be good.  Some will not.  When you face these challenges, be brave.  Stand up for what you believe even if it makes you "uncool."  That will fade, but your courage will make a lasting impression.
  3. Be yourself.  You are unique and wonderful and just the way God intended you to be.  Don't ever change in an effort to "fit in."  If others cannot see how fantastic and remarkable you are, that is their loss - not yours.
  4. Do what you know is right.  When others are pressuring you to do something and your gut tells you not to - LISTEN!  We have tried our best to teach you what is right and what is wrong.  You will know it in your heart.  You just have to follow your instincts.
  5. Get organized.  School and life are only going to get harder and busier and more complicated from here on out.  Get organized now.  Learn how to manage your time.  Don't procrastinate.  These are habits that will help you in middle school, in high school, in whatever career you choose, and in life for a long time to come.
  6. Be kind.  Adolescence can be tough and awkward and uncomfortable.  Remember that everyone  is struggling with something.  Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.  Even when it's not popular, be compassionate and courteous.
  7. Be confident.  You are awesome.  Don't ever forget that.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  You will change the world - I'm sure of it.
  8. Surround yourself with the right kind of people.  There is an old saying (that I heard many times from Memaw and Paw) that says something like "you are no better than the company you keep."  If others are mean or deceitful or immoral or if they try to change you, then they are not the kind of people with whom you should spend time.  Rise above them.  
  9. Remember that we will always love you.  Daddy and I are here for you anytime you need us and there is nothing you can say or do that will make us stop loving you.  If you have questions, we will find answers.  If you are unsure how to handle a situation, we will gladly give you guidance.  If your heart is breaking, we will dry your tears.  If you have made a mistake, we will help you amend it.  If you are about to explode with joy, we will share your happiness.  All you have to do is come to us.  We are NEVER too busy for you and your "problems" are NEVER too small or too big.  All you have to do is talk.  We will listen.  I promise. 
  10. Have fun.  You are on the brink of learning so much and experiencing so much.  It won't all be easy going - there will be bumps in the road.  But, despite the bumps, there will also be lots to enjoy.  Smile.  Laugh.  Make new friends.  Soak it in.  Enjoy this stage in your life.  Believe me, it will go by faster than you can believe!

The Golden Spoons

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Julia Child I am Not

When  I first got married, I wasn't the greatest cook.  My husband was kind enough to endure my kitchen experiments and ate more than a few things he'd rather not have eaten.  Over the years however, I got better.  I learned more tricks and techniques.  I have never considered myself a gourmet chef by any means, but I can hold my own in the kitchen.  

Over time, as I was learning to be a better cook, I grew to enjoy cooking, too.  I have shelves full of cookbooks and a Pinterest board full of recipes.  I even have a page with links to the recipes I've shared here on my blog.  I use to look forward to watching cooking shows on television.  Successfully trying a new recipe gave me a sense of achievement.  I anticipated seeing the satisfaction the faces of my family when they enjoyed a new entree.  It was gratifying when I took a dish to a gathering of some sort and received compliments and requests for the recipe.  I used to love to cook.

But, now??  Now, cooking has lost the allure it once held for me.  I have a house full of picky eaters including a meat and potatoes hubby, a vegetarian eleven year old, and a super picky six year old.  Add in my eight year old and myself and the only recipe you get is one for disaster.   No matter what I cook, there's always somebody who doesn't like it.  On top of that, we have busy schedules that make it impossible to casually peruse recipes like I used to do.  Even if I do find a recipe I want to try, finding the time to prepare it is nearly impossible.  More often than not, I retreat to my standbys - the ones I know I can make quickly and that I know the "Spoons" will eat.   

I suppose, if given the time and a willing audience, I would still enjoy cooking.  In fact, I was just thinking earlier today that it has been while since I shared a recipe here on the blog.  Sadly, though, meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking have just become another chore, ranking not much higher than doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and mopping the floors.  

Perhaps, someday, when my children are older, I will again be able to channel my inner Julia Child and enjoy being in the kitchen the way I used to.  Maybe, I'll take the time to find a new recipe to try next week.  Or, maybe we'll just eat pasta and tacos - again!

How about you??  Do you enjoy cooking??  What are your "go-to" recipes?   

Finish the Sentence Friday

This post was written as part of Finish The Sentence Friday which is hosted by the following bloggers.  Please give them a visit and see all the other blogs that participate as well!

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Phone Etiquette Lessons For Kids

A few weeks ago, I posted this piece called Ten Things I Didn't Realize I would Have To Teach My Kids.  One of the things I included was "How To talk On The Phone" and that one really seemed to strike a chord with my readers as several comments alluded to this being a problem for many other parents as well.

When I first had my daughters, I envisioned them spending hours and hours on the phone talking to friends during their adolescent years.  My two oldest daughters have now reached an age at which they actually do occasionally have friends call them at home.  As I stated in the original post, often the initial conversation goes like this:
Me: Hello.
Friend: Hi.
Me: Who are you calling to talk to?
Friend: Megan
Me:  Ok  She can't talk right now because she is doing her homework.  Can she call you back?
Friend: O.K.
Me: Well, who is this?
Friend: [gives first name only]
Me:  Well, I'll have her call you when she finishes her homework.
Friend: 'K
Me: Bye
Have you ever had a conversation like that with one of your child's friends?  Personally, I find it rather frustrating.  They called my house, yet I'm the one doing all the "work."  It's like going on a archaeological dig for information.

The fact is that kids these days are so busy emailing and/or texting, they don't have as many opportunities to practice actual verbal communication skills.  It seems that the phone is only used as their last resort method of connecting with others.  Adults do this too, which means kids rarely even overhear their parents talking on the phone.  As a result, I have found that phone manners among young people are severely lacking.  The phone may be used less and less, but it is not going to disappear.  Therefore, I have come up with some basic points of "Phone Etiquette" all kids should learn.

  1. Identify yourself.  Contrary to your egocentric state of mind, I do not automatically know who you are simply by the sound of your voice.  Believe it or not, some people don't have caller ID either.  When I say "Hello" your response should be something similar to, "Hello.  This is (say your name)."
  2. Tell me WHY you are calling.  First of all, I have three daughters and, since I may not know who you are, I've only got a 33.3% chance of correctly guessing which one you want to speak with.  After that first introduction, your next words should be a POLITE request specifying your purpose such as, "Could I please speak to ____________?"
  3. Use your manners.  Why is this important?  Because I'm listening and, right or wrong, I'm judging.  They are my little girls and, ultimately, I decide who they are allowed to have as friends  (At least until they can pay to put a roof over their own heads.)  If you are disrespectful or unable to communicate intelligently durning a simple thirty second phone exchange, it is likely that you are disrespectful and unable to communicate effectively in real life.  Therefore, it is also likely that I will have serious reservations about the amount of time my daughter is allowed to spend in your presence.  I know this sounds harsh, but I'm just being honest.  There is a quote that says "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."  So, take my advice and do your best to make a good first impression.
  4. Speak clearly.  I'm old.  At least compared you.  If you mumble, I can't hear you.  If you speak super fast, I can't keep up.  If you use use popular slang terms, I won't understand what you mean.  Make it easy on me and just speak clearly in a language that makes sense to us elderly folks, okay? 
  5. Give adequate information.  In the conversation I outlined above, did you notice something was missing??  The kids' phone number perhaps?  How is my daughter supposed to call you back if she doesn't know your number?  Remember, I said that not everyone has caller ID.  It is perfectly appropriate to give additional information as well.  So you need her to call you ASAP because you have a question about homework??  Or maybe she should wait until tomorrow because your younger brother is going to bed.  Perhaps you are calling from your mom's cell phone which means my daughter should prepare to follow all these same tips since it is highly like that your mom will answer when she calls.  
  6. Respect family differences.  You go to bed at 11:00pm?  Fine.  My girls go to bed earlier than that (much earlier, in fact) so don't call too late.  Also, don't call right at 6:00 when we are probably eating supper.  In short, before you call, think about the person/people you are calling and, as much as possible, make sure you are being respectful of their schedules and lifestyle.
Although my list or "rules" is slightly tongue-and-cheek, I really do believe that effective communication is an important skill to master and I really don't think these expectations are too much to ask.  I promise you we are trying very hard to make sure our daughters learn these "rules" as well.  Hopefully, the next time one of their friends calls our house, they will put these kind suggestions into practice so that it's a little less work for me and a little more productive for them!  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Ten - Back to School Edition

Kids everywhere are heading back to school.  Some have started already and some, like mine, have a few more days of summer to enjoy.  Lots of parents are ready for the kids to go back.  I am, too, in some ways.  However, on the other hand, I am not sure I want summer to end.  For today's Tuesday Ten . . . . . .

The Golden Spoons

The Pros and Cons of Going Back To School

  1. PRO - I will finally get some quiet time.  With the exception of a date night and my one day a week part time job, I haven't really had a break from my kids since early June.  I love them, but, everyone needs a reprieve sometimes, right?  Currently, I can't read or write or finish a complete thought or do much of anything without interruption.  I could really use some quite time!   
  2. CON - Mornings.  I am soooo not a morning person. During the summer, the kids sleep late; I sleep late.  It's great.  Once school starts, those alarms clock will once again be sounding bright and early.  We'll all roll out of bed grumpy and delirious.
  3. PRO - We'll get back to a routine.  I'm a planner and I like schedules.  Although it includes early mornings, I like to have a plan for the day.  Hopefully, I can get back into a writing routine,  housekeeping routine, and workout routine.  Right now, we are just being lazy and, many days, by the time we are ready to leave the house, the day is already halfway done.
  4. CON - That routine I'm talking about?  Well, it tends to get really busy and I tend to get a little stressed.  On top of homework and dinner, we end up rushing from here to there and everywhere.  Bedtimes get juggled and baths get skipped.  I've limited my girls' afterschool activities this year and I'm really hoping that will help!
  5. PRO - Friends.  The kids miss theirs and I miss mine.  Once school starts, we will all be reunited!
  6. CON -  I will once again become one with my minivan.  During the school year I spend hours in my minivan.  This year, I'll spend even more time there since my oldest starts middle school.  The other two will still be at the elementary school which menas TWO carpool lines every morning and every afternoon, plus all the after school stuff.
  7. PRO - I might actually have a clean house for more than thirty seconds.  Right now, if I am cleaning in one room, they are probably in the kitchen dirtying dishes.  When I go to clean up those dishes, they will get out the play dough.  When I am sweeping up the play dough, they will probably be making a snack or getting out some paint.  Seriously, it's impossible.  Once they are in school, I might be able to get the house clean and keep it that way at least until they get home!

8.  CON - Homework.  As a former teacher, I would say homework is a necessary evil.  I know that kids need to practice the skills they are learning in school and that there is just not enough time to get everything done while they are in the classroom.  However, the last thing my kids want to do when they come home is more work.  It ends up being a struggle to get them to do it.  They whine;  get frustrated.  It's just not pretty.
9.  PRO - My kids' brains will stop turning to mush.  At the beginning of summer, I felt guilty when they watched too much TV.  Now, I'm just happy to get through the day with minimal arguing and if that means TV, then so be it!  They have read some books, but overall, we're not exactly being intellectual these days.
10.  CON - Packing Lunches.  My oldest is a vegetarian and the youngest is just a super picky kid.  The middle one is not really too picky, but she is not fond of sandwiches.  Packing lunches for them every day becomes a real hassle and a task that I totally dread.

So, when do your kids go back to school and are you looking forward to it???  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bittersweet Memories

Hi there readers!  I was a little blog MIA last week.  I actually got quite a bit of writing done, but not much of it was for immediate blog posts.  Plus, if you read this post, you know that we were in the midst of our annual Birthday Blitz!  My hubby, my oldest daughter, & my youngest daughter all have birthdays within a five day span.  We've spent the last two weekends fully entrenched in birthday party madness and we've eaten enough birthday cake to satisfy even the most gigantic sweet tooth.

There is something about birthdays - kids' birthdays in particular - that is rather bittersweet, isn't there?  On their special days, both of the girls wanted to know exactly what time they were born.  They had questions about their first moments of life that brought back floods of memories for me.  I had flashbacks to their first few moments and their first few years.  We talked about past birthday cakes and parties they had had.  We recounted lots of memories.  It was a little sad to think about how quickly the time has passed and that, now that the youngest is six, we are completely finished and pretty far removed from babyhood and toddlerdom.

On the other hand, though, it is so wonderful to see the people they are becoming.  They most definitely have their own personalities, their own interests, their own uniqueness.  (Truthfully, I'm kind of glad that we've moved past babyhood.  We are able to go places and do fun things without worrying about naps, or bottles, or dirty diapers.  That was a wonderful stage of life, but we were all ready to grow up and move on.)  It was fun to see the joy on their faces as they opened presents and saw friends they have missed over the summer.  All those memories are fun, too.  It is always interesting to hear the parts of the stories that the girls find funny, or weird, or amazing.

Obviously, the whirlwind of the birthday blitz always leaves me feeling a bit nostalgic.  It leaves me with mixed feelings of happiness, reflectiveness, and a tiny bit of sadness.  And, I am always reminded of my favorite Dr. Seuss quote:

"Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened!"

So, today I am smiling.  I officially have a first grader and a middle schooler (Yikes!).  I also have a third grader who absolutely cannot be forgotten even though she has to wait until December to celebrate her birthday.  We have exactly two weeks until they go back to school and we return to the busy, crazy schedules of school, homework, and extracurricular activities.  I plan to spend that time enjoying our last few lazy days of summer, making a few more memories, and hopefully crossing a few more things off our Summer Bucket List.

How about you dear readers?  Have you celebrated any birthdays lately??  Are you ready for the kids to go back to school or do you need just a little more time???

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Ten - Birthday Edition

Today begins the annual Birthday Blitz in the Witherspoon household.  My hubby, my oldest, and my youngest all have birthdays within a five day stretch this week.  It's maddness!  Since we have a birthday Triple Whammy this week, I thought I would do a Triple Whammy Tuesday Ten, too!  Here are three lists, each listing ten special things about the birthday boy and girls!

The Golden Spoons

Ten Things About David

  1. He makes me laugh.  He is always the one cracking a joke and lightening the mood - something I didn't' even know I needed until I met him.
  2. He works hard.  I used to call him a workaholic and, I guess, he still is to an extent.  But, now I realize that he 1) is doing all he can to provide for all of us girls and 2) he really loves what he does.
  3. He is really good at his job.  He works for a very, very large company yet people know him - important people.  His reputation precedes him, as they say, in a good way. 
  4. He is really smart.  Tech stuff - he knows it.  Current events stuff - he knows it.  Financial stuff - he knows it.  I consider myself pretty intelligent, but, as evidenced by my use of the word "stuff" these are subjects that I am not too smart about.  He is.
  5. He is a great daddy.  He has high expectations for our girls.  He loves them unconditionally and always puts them first.  I've seen him reschedule things and practically bend over backwards to make it to an event or something that was important to them.   Just last week, he literally ran through the Atlanta airport to barely make it to his flight home because he knew his girls would be waiting for him.
  6. He is super supportive.  Let's face it, nobody really understands blogging except for other bloggers.  However, David realizes that it is something important to me and he supports me.  He has taken time to help me figure out some tech/code stuff.  When I hesitantly mentioned going to a conference, he said "Do it!" And, he only gets slightly annoyed when I sit beside him on the couch catching up on social media and reading blogs!
  7. He's my Mr. Fix-it.  He is handy with a toolbox and can fix most anything around the house.  Hang a ceiling fan?  Sure!  Unclog a toilet?  He's your man.  AC not working??  He can definitely tell you what's wrong and can probably fix it if he has the needed parts!  (In fact, just a couple weeks ago, a guy from the power company came out to put a new meter thing on our AC units.  He broke something so the thermostats weren't working.  David went out, told him what was broken AND how to fix it!)
  8. He doesn't smile in pictures.  Ever.  I looked for recent pictures of him to include in this post and this was the only one I could find where he was kind of smiling.  We even had a family portrait done in the fall and quite a few people have mentioned his lack of a smile!
  9. He's never met a stranger.  I'm a bit more of the wallflower type, but not David.  He can make conversation with just about anyone anywhere.  He always has stories about who he sat next to on planes.  We can be in line somewhere and he'll strike up a conversation with the people behind us.  Since he's in sales, I guess this is a good thing, though!
  10. He is quite possibly the hardest person on the planet to get a gift for.  His birthday is today.  Know what I got him??  Nothing. That's because I absolutely could not come up with anything to get him.  He never asks for anything. If he does want something, he goes and buys it.  If I was to buy him something, there's a good chance he wouldn't like it.  He's got plenty of shirts and ties.  He's picky about how pants/shorts fit.  I wouldn't even attempt to buy him tech stuff.  It is seriously impossible. 
 Ten Things About Rachel

  1. She is incredibly smart.  She's going to a Magnet Middle School this fall that is specifically for "Academically Gifted" kids.  School has always come easily to her and she always gets good grades.  
  2. She hates to have her picture taken.  Maybe she gets this from her dad (See #8 above), but she is going through a phase in which she does not want her picture taken - ever.  Since this is already a long post, I won't add more pictures, but anyone who has seen our family Easter photos for the past two years knows exactly what I'm talking about.  I had to crop her out of a photo from her 5th grade graduation ceremony to get the one above!
  3. She is very creative.  She has come up with some very inventive games and projects over the years.  She is currently writing a novel, too!  (Can't imagine where she gets that!)  Here's one of her ideas from a couple years ago - still one of my favorite posts!  The only downside to this is that sometimes she sees the big picture, but doesn't consider the details.
  4. She loves animals with a passion.  She has been a self-procalimed vegetarian for almost 4 years now.  I thinks that's pretty impressive for an 11 year old kid!  For her past three birthdays, she has asked for dog/cat food donations for the local shelter rather than gifts for herself.  She wants to be a zoologist and already has her path to that career mapped out.
  5. She is just about the most determined kid I've ever met.  (I'm not just saying that because she's mine.)  Once she sets her mind to something, there's a really, really good chance that she will accomplish it.
  6. Her freckles.  She is rather indifferent about them, but I love them.  She has almost always had them and I can't even imagine her sweet face without them!
  7. Her favorite colors are teal and neon green.  In fact, she's a little obsessed with them.   At least 75% of her summer wardrobe consists of these two colors.  When she loves something - anything - she does it all the way!
  8. She loves little kids.  This past week during Vacation Bible School she helped in the nursery.  She LOVED it!  I used to be the same way when I was younger.  
  9. She HATES doctors, dentists, etc.  In our state, kids are required to get a TDAP booster before entering 6th grade.  I took her a couple weeks ago.  Our doctor recommended adding in a meningitis vaccine just for kicks.  She honestly had a bonafide little mini-panic attack when the nurse came in with the needles.  She doesn't remember anything she said or did for a good 3 minute chunk of time.  (At least she says she doesn't remember.)  If she has a cavity, laughing gas is automatic and I'm not sure who dreaded that recent trip to the doc more - me or her!  Hopefully, someday she'll outgrow this and we can all look back and laugh about it.  Hopefully.
  10. She is so excited about going to Middle School.  I'm not sure I am all that excited, but I'm glad that she is.  She's excited about having a locker, not being treated "like a little kid" anymore, and meeting new friends.  I know she will be successful and I hope her enthusiasm continues.     
Ten Things About Emily

  1. Of all three daughters, Emily is by far the "girlie" one.  She only wears dresses.  She loves all things pink, purple, and princess.
  2. She's a chocoholic.  She loves chocolate cake, brownies, etc.  And who can blame her, right??  Her latest flavor fascination is Red Velvet.  She has requested Red Velvet cupcakes with chocolate icing for her birthday party!
  3. She's a super picky eater.  I honestly worry about her nutrition.  Despite my best efforts, she won't try much of anything new.  I'm trying to crack down without starting huge power struggles, but it's really hard.  I hope she will soon learn to be a little more flexible!
  4. She's great at playing by herself.  Sometimes, she will go to her room and just play for quite a while.  She listens to her music and has a tea party with her stuffed animals or plays with Barbies or creates something from recyclables.  Which leads me to . . . 
  5. She's like a little engineer.  I wrote a post about that back in January.  She loves to get things out of the recycling bin and build something with them.  She comes up with some really creative stuff!
  6. She is NOT a nature girl.  She is terrified of bugs.  (Here's an example.)  Mosquitoes love her.  She doesn't like being hot or sweaty or dirty.  Other than being in the pool, convincing her to go outside and play is nearly impossible.
  7. She is so loving.  She's a hugger and she tells me she loves me multiple time a day.  There's not much that makes her happier than to just sit and snuggle on the couch while watching TV or a movie.  
  8. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll tell you that she is going to get married and have 20 kids!  I'm sure that, over time, that number will change, but for now, I think it's just adorable.
  9. She's the baby.  Because of that,  perhaps I've coddled her longer than I did the older two.  I honestly believe, however, that some of it is her personality as well.  She still has minor separation issues.  She still has her blankie.  She still sleeps with a bazillion stuffed animals.  She can still be clingy.  I have to remind myself that she is just now about to turn 6, but, on the other hand, she's about to start first grade and maybe it's time that I expect a little more independence from her.
  10. She is silly.  Now, she can be shy - especially when she has an audience.  However, when she is comfortable, she can be super silly.  She has the best giggle and she can do a spot-on Honey Boo Boo impression (even though we don't watch that show!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer Bucket List Update

Back in June, I posted our Summer Bucket List.  Since today's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "My bucket list includes. . . ' I thought I would take the opportunity to give you an update on how we are doing with our Summer Bucket List!  Overall, I think we are doing great and we have crossed off a lot of stuff.  We have about three weeks to see what else we can get to before the girls go back to school!  (Yes, I really did just say 3 WEEKS!!!)  Here goes:

Go To The Beach
Done!  See the evidence here.

Get Sunset Slushies
Done!  This is a place at the beach where they make a very unique slushie/Italian Ice that the girls love!

Take a trip to a new city
Not yet.  We had planned to take a trip in July, but just got too busy and it never came together.  A trip to another state is probably out of the question now, but maybe we can go somewhere new that's a little closer.

Go to the new Science Center Aquarium
Done!  Our local science center opened a new aquarium in July and we went a couple weeks ago.  We saw penguins, sharks, otters, and touched some rays!  It was lots of fun!

Go to the Zoo
Not yet!  The first few weeks of summer break the girls had camps and then we went to the beach.  After that, it rained for three weeks straight and then it got hot.  IF there is a not-so-hot day during the next three weeks we might do this one (but summer in NC is not likely to yield many not-so-hot days!)  We did see the outdoor animals at the science center when we went, so I guess we can count that if we don't make it to the big zoo~

Go Swimming
We've done plenty of this!

Have sleepovers
Yes!  The girls have slept in each other's rooms, they all shared a room with their cousin for a week at the beach, we spent a few nights at my parents, Rachel is having a birthday slumber party tonight, and Megan & Emily are going to sleep at my in-laws with their cousin!

Watch 4th of July Fireworks
Done - Finally!  On the actual 4th of July it rained.  A week later, we went to a minor league baseball game and planned to see fireworks afterwards, but it rained again.  A couple weeks ago, the same team had a Christmas in July promotional game complete with Santa and Fireworks! And. . . .it didn't rain!  We watched great fireworks with Christmas music playing in the backgournd. :-)

Go to a Grasshoppers baseball game
Done!  See Above - 

Mom & Dad date night
Done!  Last week, we left the kids with my in-laws and went out to a wonderful dinner and then went birthday shopping for our two August birthday girls.

Go to Blowing Rock
Done!  Read about it here!

See Monsters University in the theater
Done!  We did this on a rainy day at the beach.  (I was not impressed and Megan cried through most of the movie!  Glad we didn't put any other movies on our bucket list!)

Plant an herb garden (Rachel)
Done!  I DO NOT have a green thumb, so my mother-in-law helped Rachel with this.  Sadly, Rachel decided to water the plants with pool water one day and most of them did not survive the dousing of chlorine!  She does have some basil, though!

Make ice cream
Done!  We made vanilla and chocolate! Yum!

Cookout/PoolParty with friends
Done!  We had some friend over for the 4th of July and we will have family over next weekend for birthday celebrations.

Read a book (or 2 or 3)
Done!  Well, all the girls have read at least a couple books each.  Me - not so much.

Family Movie Night
Done - kind of.  My Megan is not fond of movies (long explanation) so we haven't pulled this one off yet.  However, David and I did hang with the girls one evening and suffered through 90 minutes of Disney shows so I'm counting it!

Go Bowling
Done!  The girls and I went bowling with cousins when we were visiting my parents.

Make "Dirt" Pudding
Done!  See here for proof!
Make ice cream sundaes
Not yet, but I'm sure we can work this in in the next few weeks.
Go Night Swimming
Done!  The girls just love to go swimming with the pool lights on when it is dark outside and now that they are getting older, we can let them stay up a bit later.  We've actually done this a few times!

Family Game Night
Done!  We played a Pictionary-like drawing game together!  (A grand feat because I loathe board games!)

Eat Chocolate Fondue
Not yet - but we can always make time for chocolate!
Get Mani/Pedis
Not yet, but might be good on a rainy day before school starts.
Do at least 10 Random Acts of Kindness
Getting there - so far we've counted 6 including holding doors, taking trash cans to the curb for someone else, and donating canned food during Vacation Bible School!

Whew!!  We have certainly done a lot.  I've always been a list maker.  At first, I was a little concerned that this bucket list might stress me out.  So, instead of viewing it as a to-do list, I thought of it more as an idea list.  The girls have actually had lots of fun checking things off - literally!  I tried to include some things that I knew we would do (setting us up for success), but I also included some things that would push us a bit.  All-in-all, it's added an extra element of excitement to our summer - albeit a small amount - and I'm glad we did it.  Hopefully, we can come up with some new ideas for next summer!

Finish the Sentence Friday

This post was written as part of Finish The Sentence Friday which is hosted by the following bloggers.  Please give them a visit and see all the other blogs that participate as well!

Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Stephanie at Mommy, for Real

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?

Dawn at Dawn’s Disaster

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