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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thanks, universe. I think.

At least it was pretty outside today.
I have had this van for almost 2 years now.

At the moment, I have a very tenuous love/hate relationship with it - but leaning more toward the 'hate' side of things. There are some things going wrong with it that are starting to make me nervous, and we're beginning to think about maybe getting rid of it a bit sooner than we had initially thought.

But one of the things about it that I've always enjoyed was the fact that the windshield was intact. The Escort that I had way-back-when had a cracked windshield. The Mom-Mobile that I got after that one had a cracked windshield. The She-Beast (surprise) had a cracked windshield. I have done everything in my power - even dodged flying boulders - to avoid having a cracked windshield on this one.

But it happened today. We were cruising along the highway and *smack* a rock hit the windshield, right in front of The Dude's face. I looked over and might have let out a slightly-louder-than-necessary expletive or two when I saw it. Of course at that point there was nothing that I could do, other than to keep driving.

I dropped The Dude and his mother back off at their house and went straight to the windshield place. I could tell just from looking at it that if I don't do something about it relatively quickly, the cracks are going to spread and I'm going to have to replace the whole thing.

Of course. I was all excited about having a little bit of extra money this month. Not much, but a little. Thanks, universe.

The guy could have fixed it today. I had the money and the time, and he was sitting in his shop, bored. Then he realized that he left his repair kit in his truck. At home. Thirty miles away from the shop. Thanks, universe.

So I'll take it back tomorrow, and hope that the cracks don't increase between now and then because of the cold weather and having to do the 30-mile run to get the kids to school in the morning. Oh, and if you look closely enough, you'll see that there are actually two chips - not just one. Tack an extra $5 onto the charge and about an extra 15-30 minutes onto the repair time for that one because they're a fraction of an inch too far apart to be considered one chip. Thanks, universe.

Great. Now I have to kill an hour sitting in a repair shop in the morning, when I have so many other things to do. Thanks, universe.

Hey, wait. I have an hour to kill. An hour of time where I will have nothing to do and no kids because they'll all be in school. Remember my 70 day plan? Well, it's now down to 67 days - and I now have an hour tomorrow to put toward it.

Hey, thanks, universe!

Perspective. Sometimes we just need to change it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Snowpocalypse v2.0

On Thursday and Friday, we got some snow. It really wasn't that bad but schools were cancelled for both days.

Over the weekend, the weather cleared up quite a bit - apparently so that we could prepare for the hugely anticipated Snowpocalypse v2.0. This storm was supposed to be much, much worse than the first one. Horrible. The end of the world kind of a storm.

School was cancelled for today in anticipation of it but it didn't really start getting bad out until about 3:00 - when they would have been getting out of school anyway. But, whatever. The boys and I went out and ran some errands and took care of a few things and did what we needed to do, then we came back home to hang out for a bit. The Dude stopped by for a few minutes after he went to the dentist, and then he went home to do what he needed to do. Pretty much a normal day.

1:15pm - out running errands.


9:20pm. It is still coming down though.

9:20pm. Kind of cool with the lighting from
the city
9:20pm - looking up through my front trees

Hey, those boots look familiar!
But yeah. It's cold. And it is windy. I guess the fear now is that it's going to drift, but it's so heavy and so wet that I don't think that drifting is going to be a huge issue. School is already closed for tomorrow (hello, 6 day weekend) and so we'll just continue on our merry little way.

Maybe we'll go to the grocery store tomorrow, just to get out of the house. Everyone else already went to prepare for the storm, so I'll just go during the storm and enjoy having the aisles to myself.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

70 days

I need to get my butt in gear. Literally.

I have 70 days to prepare to do my next half-marathon.

I did the first one in 3:13:32 on May 1, 2011.

I did the second one in 3:12:05 on April 29, 2012 in the pouring rain.

My third one is on May 5, 2013.

I have the same 3 goals as last year:

  • finish upright, and not in a body bag,
  • beat my time from last year, and
  • finish in under 3 hours.
I only improved my time last year by 27 seconds. I'd like to shave that 12:05 off this time and do it in under 3 hours, but I have to get moving. Seriously. I don't know why I've been putting it off for so long.

I've actually been using every excuse in the book. I'm too busy to go out and run. It's too cold. It's too hot. It's raining. It's snowing. My sneakers have a hole in them. 

I'm done with the excuses. I have no choice in the matter. Granted, the boys will be home from school again tomorrow so that will make it impossible to get out there (not to mention the now 7-10" of white stuff that is supposed to fall) but I've got to at least start watching what I eat and trying to do some working out at home on the days that I can't get out and run.

I need to do this. My physical AND mental health need it. I need to get out of this funk and the best medicine for me is to get outside and run and have a good old-fashioned brain dump.

No more excuses. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm wired. And I have hand grenades. And candy.

It's been another crazy day around here. Not so much in the physical-here, but in the blogosphere-here.

In bloggy news, I was contacted yesterday (was it yesterday? I think it was yesterday...) by a gentleman by the name of Roy Wood who writes for wired.com. He wanted to write an article about the Tooth Fairy letter and so we emailed back and forth a few times and talked about the specifics. I told a few friends about it, and they all had pretty much the same reaction.


Uh, apparently I didn't.

I can honestly say that before yesterday, I never even looked at that website.

I'm looking now.

Mr. Wood published his article this morning and emailed me with the link to it. I didn't realize it right away because for whatever reason, my phone has decided to quit notifying me about emails from that particular account. When I got the email from him with the link, I immediately went to read it and was really happy with what he had to say. Even the nasty comment that another reader had left didn't bother me. So I went and posted the link to his article on both my facebook page and my personal profile.

A little while later I figured I'd check the stats on my blog and see what was happening.

There might have been some hyperventilating involved at that point. Today was probably the third highest day for traffic on my blog since I started it over 2 years ago.

And it blows my mind. Seriously. When I wrote that letter, I expected nothing to come of it. Maybe a few giggles here and there. I'm amazed that it's still floating around out there and that people (for the most part) still like it.

But the increased traffic is stressful for me in a way. I've said it before - this blog has been so small for so long and I was used to that and comfortable with that. Getting this much attention is a bit unnerving. It makes me question where I want to go with it (I'm still pretty much dead-set against advertising) and if I'm good enough to keep going with it. I don't pop off with things like the Tooth Fairy letter or the food stamp post or the Boy Scout post very often and those are what have brought the majority of people here. But if they're looking for that on a regular basis, they're going to be waiting for a while and will have to tolerate stories about my kids and my crazy days and mountains of laundry and stuff like that in the meantime.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to keep on going the way that I have been for the last 2+ years. I don't know where I'll end up, but I'll just keep plugging along.

I had this discussion with The Dude tonight. We took Daniel and went out to eat and then did a little bit of shopping after so that I could get some stuff for a project, plus a few odds and ends that I needed wanted. My next project includes hand grenades, candy, yarn, and glue.

Because those are the ingredients needed for the perfect Easter surprise for the kids. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Don't worry - you'll see them when they're done. Unless they're an epic fail.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The snowpocalypse that wasn't.

You would have thought that the world was going to end over the past few days. The meteorologists were calling for massive amounts of snow that would surely mean the end of life as we knew it.

Granted, this part of Kansas doesn't get that much snow. But still, it happens. It's a fact of life. It's nothing to get all sorts of worked up about, but people do anyway.

Snow doesn't bother me. I grew up getting a lot more snow on a regular basis than Kansas gets in one of its "massive" storms. So I laugh when they forecast a snowpocalypse. And it irritates people, I know.

Anyway, the forecasters were pretty close this time, in some areas. I think we were supposed to get 8-16" according to one report, and according to the ruler stuck in my front yard, we topped out at 7" exactly. To me, it definitely wasn't worth all of the pre-storm hype. But, that's just me.

Anyway, here are a few pictures. Keep in mind that my camera (my wonderfully fabulous new-to-me camera) took a flying leap off of my desk and hit the hardwood floor the other day thanks to an overly rambunctious child who shall remain unnamed. So it's not focusing right. So some of these (the blurryish ones) were taken with the camera and some were taken with my phone. I'm trying to see if I can get the camera to work again, because you know, I think I know what I'm doing. Or something.

The backyard, as it was starting to come down.
The Dude cleaning off his truck the next morning.
My van, when it was about done snowing.

Neighbor's tree. It looked really cool with the icicles on it.

My ghetto-riffic house after I shoveled as much as I was
going to shovel. 

Gigantic icicles on the side of my house. They're
actually about 18-20" long.

More icicles. I suppose this means that I should get up on the
garage roof and clean out the gutter again.
(after it thaws)

Driving through town tonight - not only did we have to deal
with the mountain of snow in the middle of the street, but we
also had to wait on a train.

Looking straight out of my side window at the pile
in the middle of the street.

I've heard rumors that we're supposed to get some more snow on top of this, and honestly - I'm ok with that. After the drought that we've been dealing with, we can definitely use the moisture. And considering that I live within walking distance of anything that I could possibly need in this town, it can snow all it wants to - because I can still do what I need to do.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I dumped the pictures off of my phone tonight, so that's what you get. Random shots of the past couple of weeks or so.

Trip to the dentist.

Doesn't even bother him a bit.

Do you really need an explanation? 

Chocolate chocolate chip muffins - one of the kids' favorites
for breakfast.

Enjoying some froyo.

Compare their heights - does it really look like there's 3 years
between them?

Sunset tonight.

Waiting patiently for food.

Also waiting patiently.
1. Why I will never buy New Balance sneakers again, and
2. Why I splurged on a new pair of sneakers tonight.
So....we're supposedly getting something like 7-10" of snow tomorrow (according to just about everyone on facebook). I think we might get *some*, but I don't think it's going to be that much. And yes, I am well aware that I'm going to have to eat my words one of these days, but in 15 years in Kansas I don't think that I've seen one single winter storm live up to the hype before it hit. So for me, tomorrow is business as usual, although it will actually involve a trip to the grocery store - not for storm supplies, but because we are out of just about EVERYTHING that is necessary right now. And it's driving me insane.

Of course first, I have to meet a kid at the doctor's office for a potential toenail removal....

And I want to go through the boys' clothes to get rid of a ton of stuff.....

Wednesday night chaos....

Yep. Business as usual.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A bonding day

I mentioned the other day that things have been a little stressful around here lately. Today we had the opportunity to do something a little bit different, and so Sarah and I spent the day together. Just us. No one else.

And so we did. We "got rid of" the other kids and she and I took off on a little road trip. We didn't do anything crazy and exciting, but we just spent time together. And we had fun.

We were goofy and silly and did a few things that would have totally embarrassed the other kids if they were around - but they weren't, so we didn't care. And then we went out to lunch together, and then I took her back and dropped her off with her stepmother and got the boys from school (yes, they had school today) and did everything else that we needed to do.

Honestly though, I feel so much more relaxed now. Just taking a day off to go and have fun with ONE of my kids was wonderful. It was so nice to be able to have a real conversation with her without being interrupted or constantly having one eye watching everything else that goes on around us all of the time.

Now the trick will be to find the time to do this on a regular basis with all of the kids, one at a time. It's not so hard with the younger two just because of the way that the custody schedule works - but it's trickier with the older three. But I know how important it is for all of the kids to get their 'alone time' and I have to make more of an effort to make it happen.

However, I think it might just be the key to our sanity.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It was a sew-fest

So (sew?) for whatever reason, this weekend apparently became the official sewing weekend in this house.

I finished up my row to add to the rows that now get sent on to the next person...and I've already received the next set of rows that I have to add another row to and then send it off, but it can wait for a while because it's not "due" yet.

And I have to get my sewing machine serviced. Like, NOW.

But, while I was working on this, the girls decided that they wanted to sew too. I've tried to get them to do it before and they had absolutely no interest - but suddenly, the urge hit them.

And I had to fight to use my own sewing machine for the rest of the weekend.

But I really can't complain too much. They really focused on what they were working on, and even though they were using their own "techniques" at least they are showing an interest - and starting to learn the basics of using the sewing machine.

Now I just need to get my old one fixed and my new one serviced, and then it'll just be 3 people fighting over two machines instead of a single one - that got interesting a few times, especially in this tiny little sewing area.

But they had fun, there was a minimal amount of bickering, and they're learning a good skill. Whether or not they continue to use it will be totally up to them, but at least they'll have an idea of the basics.

 Sarah actually came up with some really cute ideas, so maybe she'll turn out to be the quilt designer of the family. I could handle that.

He spoils me.

In other news, because The Dude is so incredibly wonderful and awesome, he spent most of his weekend off under the hood of the van - yet again. I've been having some issues with it and we I thought that it needed a new thermostat. He took my word for it and starting trying to replace it, which was not as easy as it should have been. Long story short, after some more investigating, we he fixed it - or so we hope. Tomorrow morning will be the moment of truth.

And we're going to start shopping for a new van. I don't want to, but I think the time is coming - sooner than I'd like it to, darn it.

Anyway.....tomorrow, the two younger boys have school (yes, it's a holiday. yes, they have school.) but the older 3 don't - so I'm taking the two to school, and then taking Emily and Jared over to their father's house and then Sarah and I are going to spend the day together - no one else, just the two of us. We haven't decided what we're going to do yet, but there might be a run involved, and lunch somewhere (her choice). I don't get to spend nearly enough time with her, so I'm really looking forward to it. I think it'll be good for both of us at this point.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm not going to lie...

...but there are days when I wonder if I'm really cut out for this whole motherhood thing.

Things have not been going smoothly here in the Non-Stop household lately. I'm not sure what happened, or when it happened, but something happened.

Maybe it's cabin fever. The kids can't get outside and play as much as I would like them to.... partially because of the weather, or schedules, or sickness, or I have too much to do and can't go outside with them to make sure that they're safe.

Maybe it's the stress of living in a too-small house for far too long.

Maybe it's the pressures of school and sports and church and social activities.

Maybe it's the constant perceived lack of money as we curb our spending in order to get moved to a bigger house.

Maybe it's all of the above. Maybe it's not.

Whatever it is - it is taking a toll on all of us. There has been so much bickering, so much fighting, so much meanness and spitefulness and anger and disappointment and sorrow and even hate.

And I hate it. It makes me question everything. All of my past experiences come bubbling up to the surface and I start to question my every move.

Am I doing the right thing by taking away this privilege? 

Should I really have just said that to that child? 

What was I thinking when I allowed that to happen?

Is there maybe a better way to handle this situation?

Am I being fair?

Do they have even an inkling of how hard I am trying to be a good mother?

So many questions going through my mind right now as we desperately try to work through these growing pains that we are experiencing. And I haven't figured out a single answer yet. I sit here and I think and I try to come up with the magical solution, yet I know that there isn't one. What might have worked today might not work tomorrow. Parenthood is an ever-changing game, and one that doesn't have rigid rules that never change.

There have been times recently when I've been on the verge of giving up and throwing in the towel. Sometimes the stress and the uncertainty is unreal and overwhelming and totally unmanageable. But I know that no matter what, I am trying my hardest. I might not make the best decisions as a parent. I might make the wrong decisions sometimes. I might really really screw up sometimes. But I also know without a doubt that I love those kids more than anything else in the world - and no matter what, we are going to get through this whatever-it-is.

I might not be sane by the time that they grow up and are out of the house, but I'll get through it.

And so will they.

Just another sunrise ..... they can still take my breath away.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Just a day...

We didn't do anything amazing today, and I was totally ok with that. After the running and craziness and chaos of the past few days, it was nice to relax. Daniel actually let me sleep in a bit (actually more than I had planned on doing) and that was wonderful!

Once we finally got up and got motivated, we started puttering around the house. I was wandering around thinking about how much I really wanted something sweet to eat, but didn't feel like making anything (and felt that eating sugar straight out of the canister probably wasn't a good idea) and then he looked at me and announced that he wanted to go to our favorite frozen yogurt place.

*light bulb*

"Tell you what, kid. Pick up all of these toys in the living room while I get a shower, and we'll go and get some froyo - just me and you."

That was all that he needed to hear. By the time I got out of the shower, 95% of the stuff in the living room had been put away semi-neatly, so I finished getting ready and we took off to the other side of town.

He loves his froyo.
An added bonus was the close proximity to where The Dude works - so we got to stop in and say hi to him for a few minutes. We haven't been able to spend as much time together as we'd like because of both of our schedules, so even a couple of minutes here and there is better than nothing.

After we got home, he started pacing back and forth, anxiously awaiting the time when Alex was to come back from his father's house. He stared out the window for a while like a little puppy, and finally gave up and took a break........

........and promptly fell asleep while still about half standing.

I've been working on my sewing project off and on for most of the day - getting dangerously close to getting this row done soon so that I can get it mailed out to the next person. It *technically* doesn't have to be done until the end of March so I feel good being ahead of the game for a change!

Here are a couple of the blocks so far....

Kind of hard to tell from the pictures, but it's actually the same fabric in both - just different lighting. So the blocks are actually the same color. Anyway, I have to get this row done so that I can start on a really really cool really big project - but that project is a total secret. For now. But you'll see it. Eventually.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cake baking, quilt making, building burning...

Over the past day or so, Alex has gotten to bake a cake. His Blue & Gold banquet for Scouts was tonight, and part of that banquet is a cake decorating contest. And although I have mixed emotions about him being in Scouts - the fact is that he's in right now, and he will continue to participate until a decision is made otherwise.

Anyway....the cakes were being judged in a number of categories, but we decided to go for the Most Patriotic and/or Most Colorful categories.

He helped with every step along the way....

Dumping the mix into the bowl.

Separating the eggs. Love this trick!

Mixing mixing mixing....

Adding food coloring to the batter.

The finished layers.

Stacking the layers.


More frosting!

Flags. And sprinkles.

Can never have too many sprinkles.

The finished product - from the outside.

And the inside.
We had hoped that the cake itself would be red, white, and blue - not pink, white, and light blue. But at the risk of having everyone oozing food coloring out of their pores, we opted to not add any more color to the batter. It still came out pretty nifty though - considering that it's been many many years since I've done one of these cakes.

If you're curious, I used a thing from Pampered Chef to do this - I think it's just called a checkerboard cake pan or something like that. I don't know if they still make it or not. It's not difficult, there's no magic involved - but it is a little bit of a pain in the butt, especially if you're in a bit of a hurry when you're doing it.

Anyway, he didn't win any of the prizes, but that's ok. We had a blast making it, and it tasted great.


In the midst of all of this, I was working on a sewing project or three. And while I got a lot of it done, it also further reinforced the fact that we have GOT to get out of this house and into some place bigger. I can't deal with having to combine my sewing space and my sleeping space - since I worked on my project until the wee hours of the morning, I ended up sleeping on the couch because...well, because I couldn't find my bed.


This afternoon, I was outside changing the blinker light bulb in my van, and I heard sirens. I looked up and saw a cop go tearing past on the big street nearby. I didn't think too much about it. Then I heard and saw a second one. No big deal - they almost always travel in pairs. Then I heard a third one and when I looked up I realized that he had stopped and was blocking traffic on the bigger street. Curious, I put the light bulb down and walked to the end of my driveway and looked - and to my surprise the business three doors down and across the big street from me was on fire. As in - thick black smoke pouring out of the roof and the back of the business. 

Within moments every piece of emergency equipment was there and traffic was a standstill. People pulled into the parking lots of other businesses and got out to take pictures and to watch. Nice Neighbor had walked down there to give one of the employees a coat to wear (it was cold)(and that's why she is Nice Neighbor) and she said that there were only 2 employees inside at the time and they had both gotten out safely. The business had been remodeling, so I'm willing to bet that something electrical started the fire.

Alex came outside to watch the fire trucks for a little bit, but we were getting ready to leave for the banquet and it was cold - so I didn't let him stay out too long. But he still got a kick out of it, and we are thankful that no one was injured.


So now, after running around like a crazy person for the past few days, my feet and ankles are killing me. Alex went home with his father tonight so it's just me and Daniel - who is currently snoozing on the couch. But I promised Daniel that he could sleep in my bed tonight so I think I'm going to go uncover it and we're going to crawl into it. Tomorrow is another day - and I can take care of everything else then.