Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting Away

Right about now, I should be trimming the tree...

Wrapping some gifts...

And hanging the garland.

Instead I am doing a little of this...

and enjoying a little of that...

Jer and I are in Vegas.  He is doing a little work, while I take in the experience, enjoy some relaxation, and try embrace my soon to be new 20, 30 or whatever they call it these days. Wow! This place is overwhelming!  There is so much to do, so much to see, and WAY too much to eat. I have so many posts that I want to catch up on...Christmas decorating (I actually got it done before we left), being away from the boys for the first time, turning 40, oh so much to share!  But for now, I am going to take in the sites, and try to win enough money to buy myself a new pair of shoes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The alarm went off way too early this past Saturday.  I don’t know what was going on in my brain at the time, but I had made an 8:00 am appointment to have the kiddo’s pictures taken.  So much for sleeping in, then again, I don’t think I’ve had a Saturday that involved sleeping past 6:00 am since Cracker Jack was born.

I am not even sure how all three of my darlings got up, fed, and “picture ready”.  I can’t even remember how we got out the door and to the studio on time.  Don’t ask me how I made it with two diaper bags packed with formula, snacks and other various bribery materials.  It’s all a blurry memory now.

What I do remember, once when we got everyone set up in their first pose, is that…
  1.  I was frazzled from my morning feature in the Roden Family Circus.
  2. Jer was just plain grumpy about being in a kid’s portrait studio at 8:00 am on a Saturday during the holiday season...don't blame him.

Then I looked up and saw this…

I can’t really even describe the feeling I felt other than a rush of gratitude.  I was joyful, overwhelmed, and grateful…all in the same moment.

I am so proud to be “Mommy” to these precious angels.



Blessed to have a wonderfully happy, healthy family.

Thankful for the people in my life that have helped me to become the kind of woman that knows she is beyond blessed and thankful for it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jack the Nibbler

Look at that face!

This darling little baby would never hurt a fly, right?


Cracker Jack has turned into Jack the Nibbler.

He has taken to nibbling on his friends at school when they disrupt his toddler world.

Yes, my sweet boy has entered the stage of biting, and it is causing me much stress.

Monday was bad, but today was better.

Let's all pray that Jack learns to use his growing vocabulary instead of his teeth in times of dispute.

He will either outgrown this stage or become the star of the next Twilight movie.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thinking about Christmas...a little too early!

My friend Nicole had this as her Facebook status the other day...

"Before we had R I used to get so mad when people skipped Thanksgiving and put out Christmas decorations. Now that I'm a mommy... I totally understand!!!"

Well, Nicole...we probably won't have many turkeys and pilgrims making their appearance at our house this year either!  Maybe by next year I will have stored up enough energy to reintroduce Thanksgiving into my fall decorating.

I was so proud of myself for decorating for fall and Halloween for the first time in forever!  I gave myself a couple of pats on the back for doing it on the cheap with dollar store finds.  As I was taking down the Halloween decorations and thinking about how I could keep some out and transition others to Thanksgiving, I just decided to put them all away and start fresh with Christmas.  Hence, why I just needed to copy and paste Nicole's status onto my own profile.

The fact that Thanksgiving dinner is not being held at my house helped me to get rid of any Mommy/hostess guilt for having reindeer replace turkeys.  It also has saved me from the embarrassment of friends and family discovering that plastic pumpkins have now become members of Cracker Jack's bedtime stuffed animal club.

So with guilt completely stored away, my mind is swarming with Christmas preparation and decorating ideas...

  • Black Friday Shopping- I have NEVER, I repeat, NEVER gone shopping on Black Friday.  Paying full price has always won vs. getting up before dawn and fighting crowds.  Now with three little ones to buy for, I find myself addicted to this Black Friday site, and designing my game plan.
  • Dollar Store Finds-While most of my Christmas decor survived the great purge, I am itching to see what I can whip up with some dollar store finds...stay tuned.
  • Elf on the Shelf- Jer and I are beginning Christmas behavior modification this year with assistance from Elf on the Shelf.  While we are not using this actual Elf, this site is full of good resources for manipulating encouraging our children to behave during the holidays.  I have three little elves waiting for the festivities to begin right after Thanksgiving.
  • Christmas Card Pics-This was the most difficult task for me to accomplish last year.  Getting even a good candid shot of a 4 year old and 10 month old was almost impossible.  I can't wait to see how fun it is to get a good shot of a 5 year old, 1 year old and 7 month old.  Prayers are needed.

Are you already thinking about Christmas?  What plans are you cooking up?

Monday, November 8, 2010

My BusyBodyBook

Lately I have been getting the question...

"How do you keep up with it all?"

I am over-the-top organized...to the point of driving my husband insane.

I make lists, lists and more lists...to the point of driving myself insane.

Also, I am often sleep deprived.  I could blame it on the boys, but they pretty much sleep through the night.  It is mainly due to the fact that my brain won't rest until I feel like most things are neat and tidy.  

I have always used some sort of organizer to keep up with all my lists, appointments, notes, etc.  I have also always preferred paper over electronic.  There is just something about writing down and checking off a task that makes it much more satisfying.  Just another one of my many quirks.  

With my recent confession of having Mommy Brain, I have had to resort to writing down everything...everything!  I pretty much dump my brain on paper on a daily basis.  But, there has never been an organizer that has met my needs, nor one that I just LOVE.  Until now...

I have been using The BusyBodyBook for a few months now.  It is so versatile! The BusyBodyBook is a monthly and weekly organizer set up in a GRID format.  Each column can be assigned to a different family member, project, or other activity.  Mine is set up with columns assigned to the office, home, boys and blog.  My friend, Mel, uses her to keep up with work duties and assignments for her various graduate classes.

I use it to keep up with events and appointments, but I also use it to write down lists and record milestones for my boys.  It is my all-in-one sanity check.  In case you are wondering, the people at BusyBodyBook didn't ask me to write this or give me my book.  I just {heart) it and wanted to share!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gratitude-Blessings Board

My mother has taught me many, many things in life.  She has taught me how to be kind, considerate and polite.  She has shown me how dedication, loyalty and hard work are worth the effort.  She has even taught me how to thread a bobbin and scrub a tub!  But, the one thing she has taught me above all else is gratitude.

No matter the situation, my mother will come up with a list of reasons to be grateful. When I choose to let the chaos of life drag me down into a pit, I call my mother to whine about it a bit…well…a lot.  She is used to it.  She expects it.  It is my MO when I get tired and overwhelmed.  She usually snaps me out of it by making me count my blessings.  She has always told me, that when everything seems unbearable start counting your blessings…”you always have something to be grateful for, Tracey.  Always.”

To be completely honest…I haven’t been very grateful lately.  I have had one too many pity parties over the past few weeks, even ignoring some of my mother’s coaching.  It is actually quite silly.

So when I was browsing blogs the other day when I came across Julie at Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss.  I just love the name of her blog!  She had a great post about a Blessings Board she made for her family. I immediately thought of my mother.

A Blessings Board is a great little project to help your family remember and reflect on blessings.

Not only did this post get me thinking about making my own Blessings Board, but it also stopped me in my tracks…I am SO.VERY.BLESSED! I am over-the-top blessed, truly.  I have a wonderful, happy, healthy, and very supportive family.  I have loyal and encouraging friends and coworkers.  Not to mention the numerous material things I possess that make my life so much more convenient than many people in the world, country, and state…probably even on my block!

I am hoping my own Blessings Board will be a constant reminder that I have no reason to whine and complain, when there is so much to be grateful for.

Here is how I made my board…

Since we don’t have much useable wall space around our house, I decided to make my board out of a frame that could sit on a counter or dresser top.

I started with an 8x10 frame, some scrapbook paper and letter stickers.  I purchased all of these supplies at Hobby Lobby (my #2 happy place) for 40% off.  I {heart} Hobby Lobby.  I had the dry erase marker in my stash.

I cut down the scrapbook paper to fit the opening in the frame, and then attached the letter stickers.  I chose to use the word “gratitude”.  I am not really good with a numbered list.  I can come up with 50+ things to make up a list in my head, but if you tell me to write down 10, I swear I will suddenly only be able to write down 8.  Baffles me!

I put the paper in the frame.  Placed it on top of our bathroom counter, thinking it would be a perfect place to be an excellent reminder each morning.  I then begin to list my blessings.  Love it!  Even Jer is enjoying adding to the list.

We all are surrounded by blessings.  When you are sitting in your own pit, try writing them down…it helps…I promise!

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