Friday, March 30, 2012

Flashback Friday, Island Style

Can we just sit back, sigh, and praise God that it's finally beach weather again! Ahhhhhhhh!! If you're reading this up nawth, just know that I am praying for you. I spent my first 18 springs under a fine dusting of snow. I empathize. Really I do. But those days are over for me! So rejoice with me! The handful of times we've been to the beach this spring have been downright renewing. I sit down and can actually relax and watch the kids play (and they get along 10 times better than at home).  I can almost hear a church choir inside my head singing 'It is is well... with my soul!'
First beach night 2012
Kids actually forgot what sand felt like on their feet.
It was hilarious. 
Now this wasn't always the case. Several summers have gone by where there was a lot of extra kid anxiety, some real, some self-inflicted.

"Yes, you need to walk to the beach so I can use the other half of the double stroller for beach toys. Step it up. Let's go."

"Did I put sunscreen on you yet? What number did I use? Did I get your face? Is your cheek red? Is that sunburn? Oh whatever, let me reapply everywhere. Is this bottle empty ALREADY?!"

"No, don't eat the sand, I brought really food. What is that crunching sound? Is that a shell? What?! Is that a dead crab?!"

"Kids, be nice and share. We have enough shovels. No, there is only one green shovel. Go play with the blue shovel. Ok, we can't play with the shovels at all if you're going to hit your brother in the face with it. Go find a stick."

"We have to leave this very second if we're going to have nap on time. Drop those shells and put on your shoes. I'll change your wet, soaking diaper as I push the stroller through the sand dunes. Let's move. Oh no, naptime is ruined. We're off schedule now. Great!"

You get my drift. The beach hasn't always been blissful. We have earned this summer! 2 & 4 seem to be the perfect beach ages for my kids. The hubs and I are giddy with delight that our most favorite place on earth is now their most favorite place on earth. I am fast and furiously couponing for my sunblock stockpile and last year's style of Crocs have been purchased on clearance and are headed to my house! I won't even be miffed when the UPS guy rings my doorbell during naptime!

So here are a few pics and a video from the past few years to celebrate this Flashback Friday... island style.

And then there were 4. 

This video was from 2009 when I was pregnant with Davis. I love it, but can't watch it during the winter or towards the end of summer. It gets me sad. But now that we have a whole summer ahead of us I can enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I married a maniac!

(Life seems to have kicked into high gear with the blooming of spring. It's like we have left hibernation and are giddy with the warmth of sunshine on our faces. So, blogging has been at a minimum, but I'm getting lots of great material for future posts! Hang with me!)

My husband is one of those people who can just DO something he puts his mind to. He decided last year he was going to read the whole bible and day by day he read until he finished. Ahead of schedule. And he casually mentioned it over dinner. "So, I finished the bible." Like it's no big deal. Had that been me, there would have been a blog post, a Facebook post, a twitter post, and a few Instagrams thrown in for good measure. I don't think it's necessarily a pride thing (well, maybe a bit), but I usually cannot believe that I finish something I set out to accomplish that I go overboard in sharing. Of course, all things are done in Christ, so we couldn't do any of it without Him! That's it, I just want to glorify God. That's all...

Last year my husband's annual physical revealed some terrible blood test results. High cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure. At first, I was angry that the doctor didn't immediately prescribe medication. He has genetic tendencies towards these things so I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry. But my husband heard his doctor loud and clear when she told him to exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. So, like all things he does, he set out to start a new exercise plan and he followed it. He began to wake up at 5am every morning (ugh!) and do some pretty intense lap swim. He now does 3-4k a day before I even wake up. At home, we changed our eating habits and he lost weight rapidly. Now ladies, you know how it can take us a month to lose 5 pounds, but when we do we want to throw a party for ourselves? Well, he lost 50 pounds in 3 months and didn't blink an eye. When he went back to the doctor his blood tests were all glowing with normal numbers and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. I was so proud of him! He actually did it all without medication! 

And the healthy exercise part became a new normal for him. He continued to swim and last May he swam in a race which went right under the Ravenel Bridge IN the Charleston Harbor. I think the kids and I were more freaked out watching him than he was doing it. 
See those tiny splashes? One is my hubby!

He continued to swim, but slacked off on the diet part and that lead him straight back to the high cholesterol. Boo. So he buckled down again with things and added running to the mix this past winter. I have a total admiration of people who can run. I will tell anyone (and probably have told you if you know me) that I could not run down the street if I was being chased by an ax-wielding murderer. When I see people with a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car I am in total awe/ disbelief that the human body can carry one person so far without death being the end result. So when my husband started to run I was all for it. I saw a Living Social deal for the Rugged Maniac 5k and bought it as a Christmas present. Yeah, I know. 'Merry Christmas! Here's some physical punishment!' But he was pumped. He continued to run and swim and did a great job of running the through the muddy 5k this past weekend. 
The clean before picture
Through the river and over the woods...
Davis' shirt says it all: Rad like Dad. Yep, he is pretty rad!
Luckily it rained afterwards so we just left the shoes out for cleaning
 I am so proud of him for tackling this new feat and for taking charge of his physical health. Good thing he didn't listen to me and just go on medication! It makes me look at my own physical health and think maybe one day I could be well without medication. (Recap of my health woes here) We are starting to exam our physical health more and more and find a new normal. More to come on that later!! Less bon bons and cupcakes? Perhaps...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wacky Wednesday recap

Last week's Wacky Wednesday was a blast again. I hope we can continue to come up with new and fresh ideas! (ANY SUGGESTIONS WELCOMED! PLEASE!) Our theme for the night was 'Tiny Food' and I had fun with it.
Lily helped make the mini pigs-in-a-blanket
Mini piggies, Mini hammies, mini carrots, mini corn, mini sweet potato fries (click for recipe) 

Been having lots of fun with my vintage Little People.
So the hamburger doesn't look so mini next to him, but it was!
Mini chocolate milks! I knew we could find a use for these shot glasses!

Cut a straw in half for mini straws!

This is Lily's expression while she painted my face. Serious artist at work here!
Our Wacky Wednesday wardrobe! Can you tell which ones Lily did?
We went opposite for dessert with GIANT s'mores. I know microwaving marshmallows isn't ideal, but eating marshmallows isn't really ideal either. But the jumbo size really grow! Glad they didn't explode!
He was a little freaked by the whole thing and didn't eat too much (which is shocking!)

Loved every unhealthy, messy bite!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flashback Friday

This week's Flashback Friday is one of my all time favorite videos of Lily Belle. She was about 9 months old. This was back in the days when we actually had to wake her up in the morning. Now she seems to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:15 on her own. Daylight savings time has had an opposite effect on our house- kids are getting up earlier instead of later- and this mama is tired!

Watch for the sweet moment when Lily realizes who is there to wake her up. Melts my heart.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Golden Girls moment

The other day I had a serious Golden Girls moment. Not a moment where I remember a funny, yet cliche punchline of Sophia's or where I see a scantily clad, sassy, older woman who reminds me of Blanche. It's a moment where I realize I am getting exponentially closer to becoming a Golden Girl myself!
I may get this as a tattoo
It was while I was driving home the other day. I passed by a boy driving a Jeep with the top down. And I do mean BOY. I thought, "I can't believe this kid is out joy riding in his parents car. Maybe they don't know. Maybe I should call the police. Someone could get hurt!" And then after I resisted the 911 call I started to think. "Maybe he is old enough to be driving. Is that possible? I've probably been driving since before he was born!" And then I started to do some math and my mouth actually fell open and I said out loud, "No way!" I've been driving for 17 years and seeing as how they really do give licenses to children in this state, it is totally possible and probable that I have been driving since before he was even conceived. Golden Girl, go get your glasses chain and old lady purse and start looking at real estate in South Florida! When did time hit warp speed? It seems like just yesterday that I was riding around in my own Jeep with the top down. 
That's me in the driver seat.
It was my last summer in Buffalo with my gal pals.
Circa 1997. 
Now don't get me wrong, I am totally fine with getting older, but I can do without all the constant reminders. All those young people flaunting it in my face. My joints not working properly. My hairs rapidly turning gray. So after much debate I finally decided to take away some of those reminders. There will always be younger, more energetic people who have cat-like reflexes and nimble joints. But as for the gray hairs... I bid you farewell, good sirs.

A few weeks ago at a get together I casually mentioned to some girlfriends that I was thinking about just letting my hair go gray naturally. You could almost hear the sound effect of a record scratching. "Say what, Stacie? We think not." I even had a few offer to come to house and hold me down and douse me with dye. So I started to give it some serious thought and I came to this conclusion: I am getting older, but I have enough reminders of that fact, so why do I have to be reminded further every time I look in the mirror.

My major resistance has been that I haven't dyed or highlighted my hair in years. It's been 100% my own color. Not Revlon's, not Clairol's, not Loreal's, not Garnier's, not a super overpriced salon's. I know you're all shaking your heads and can't believe I'm outing myself on my blog, but guess what? I'm not trying to fool any of you. I am 33, going on 40, then 50, then 60, and by God's grace a few years more. No, I'm not trying to fool anyone, but maybe myself. If I have to hobble out of bed in the morning I should at least look my best doing it! That's what Blanche would say.

And so it begins! Hello Dark Mahogany Brown! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wacky Wednesday!

Family dinner time is something I pretty much cherish. As soon as our daughter started to sit at the highchair and eat (which was a little later than most since she eats like a bird), we have been enjoying that time-honored tradition of family dinners. Even when my son was a newborn he would enjoy dinner time with a nursing cover on the side. It's not only a great way to end the day, catch up with Daddy and build family identity, but it provides us with loads of training opportunities! Table manners, interrupting, sitting at the table until everyone is done, how to say grace, not smearing yogurt on your face with your hands... Endless opportunities!
How not to eat....
During the spring/summer/fall we cherish having Family Beach Night once a week (yes, we are blessed and a little spoiled.) As soon as Daddy gets home from work we are all packed up to go to the beach for a picnic and some sunset playtime. It's something we look forward to all week long and when Friday night rolls around we cross our fingers for good weather and head to the beach!
The beach at sunset is amazing
So over the long winter (ok, it only feels long, because I love summer) we have continued to have our regular, sometimes mundane family dinners. Even on the nights when mommy has to leave for work or an event, if we have a 10 minute overlap of all of us home at the same time we sit down and eat and play a quick round of catch up. Last week I took my son out to eat for a Mother- Son date 'knight' at Chickfila. They did a great job putting the event together! And it was a good excuse to get dressed up and use a little gel on Bubba's hair.
My knight armed with a balloon sword and chocolate milk
Yes, I wore a fru fru dress!
While we were out that night, my husband made my daughter breakfast for dinner and she thought that was so hilarious and talked about it for days! So we came up with the idea to do something a little different for dinner once a week. We tried it for the first time this week and we are calling it 'Wacky Wednesday'. I made up a new version of Eggs Benedict since I had just made some fresh homemade salsa. And the kids went for the more reserved Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes.
Huevos Benedictos!

Wacky Wednesday Wardrobe
The Wacky Wednesday dinner coordinator is taking suggestions NOW! Any ideas what to do next?!?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flashback Friday

In honor of Flashback Friday I thought I would share a video from about a year ago. We had just converted to iPhones and Davis was very intirgued by the turn-around feature of the video camera. We probably need to make a video of the kids watching this video, too. It's their favorite to watch and they get tickled every time! Hope it makes you smile as much as it does me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hi. My name is Stacie. And I'm a hoarder.

I made the mistake of watching A&E's reality show "Hoarders" for the first time sometime last year, late at night when I couldn't sleep. I was enthralled at the perverse nature of these people to save every single item, every newspaper article, every knick nack, one woman even recorded every show and stashed the VHS tapes. Yes, VHS tapes. She apparently missed the news when they announced the digital revolution. After the show was over, my eyes were wide open. No sleep for me. No time soon. My brain was still wrapping my mind around how these people collected stuff until they no longer had room to walk, eat or live in their own homes.
Then my mind drifted to the rubbermaid container in our attic of old VHS tapes, and the box in my closet of old newspaper clippings, and the other box of knick nacks from my childhood.

Meet Freddie Bear. He is 33 years old and deserves to be on display. 

Holy moly! I'm a hoarder!! I mean, these people had to start somewhere, right? It didn't just happen overnight! That night I collected 3 trash bags of things and took them to Goodwill the next day. And then a little more the next week and then a little more the next week. My addiction has been getting better and I can safely say that the A&E producers will probably not be knocking on my doors for at least the next 5 years, maybe 10.
But the past 2 weeks I have been doing some spring cleaning and getting ready for a local children's consignment sale. I've been sorting through old toys, clothes, shoes, baby items and deciding "Consign, Donate or Keep" Every single item I looked at brought on an onslaught of memories. I have never been one who wants to go back in time. So many of my friends say, "Oh, I just miss the newborn stage" or, "Don't you miss being pregnant?" Uh, no and no. Don't get me wrong. I loved those stages (mostly), but I never want to reverse the flow of time so I can do it all again. Call me in 20 years and I may sing a  different tune. But for now I am fine with having moved past the prelude and into the chorus of life.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself surrounded by old things wanting to relive all these moments of time. I wasn't even just wistful, but downright nostalgic. And I haven't been the only one. My husband's face said it all as he took out the last (after potty training) of the dirty diapers from the Diaper Genie. Lower lip pooched out, frown line in the eyebrow. We are moving into a new season of life whether we want to or not. More children may or may not be in God's plan for us and we may have changed our childrens' last dirty diapers (let's hope). I scoffed at his sad look and said "C'mon. Gimme a break. It's NOT sad." But yesterday when I dropped the Diaper Genie off at the consignment sale (yes, you could be the proud owner of a used diaper genie!), I felt the smallest tear well up in the crease of my eye. And then I laughed at myself. Out loud. A few women looked at me, but whatever.

But what I've realized is that 'hoarding' can also be genetic. As we've been cleaning out things and digging to the bottom of the toy box, my daughter has been clutching, nostaglic, wanting to keep things and breaking down in tears. I did the exact same thing as a child! I can recall selling my Berenstein Bears books in a garage sale and screaming and crying that night as if we lost a family pet. Guess what was on my wish list for my 16th Birthday? The complete Berenstein Bears library. Sentimental much? But my mother wasn't wrong in wanting to clean things out, move onto the next phase of life. Now I am on the other side of that drama. I guess I am being paid back!

Now please don't think I'm completely hard hearted. There are certain things we won't ever give up. And they are random toys, worthless to others. For example, we still have the cake toppers from Lily's first birthday cake. 3 plastic Disney princesses. She loves them and still plays with them during room time! We even had a scare with Belle on a couple of occassions. She broke in the bathtub so we tried to glue her back together, but glue and baths don't work, so she is now held together with a screw through her sternum. We found her just the other day wedged into the couch cushions smooshed a bit, but still resilient as ever. My husband and I exchanged a knowing glance. Ahh the memories. So, we hoard cake toppers. Who doesn't hoard something?!
Belle is now forver bending over to smell the Beast's rose thanks to a stint in the couch. 
Personally, I am a hoarder of smells. Yes, that's right smells. The power of a certain scent can bring on a downright tsunami of memories. I still have the perfume I wore in high school. I don't wear it anymore and I'm sure it's technically gone bad, but every once in awhile I will pop the cap to my little bottle of Ralph Lauren Polo Sport for Women, take a long sniff and reminisce.

This past fall we lost my grandfather suddenly. We had to travel to Louisiana and pack up my grandmother and 65 years worth of memories and move them and her back here. It was an emotional task for certain. I took my grandmother through each section of the house and asked her what she wanted to bring. Did she want to expensive china? No. The crystal? Please. The things she had us pack were the things that had memories attached to them. She was flooded with memories the same way all of us are at one time or another. When all was said and done I had to go through the rest of the things and decide what I wanted to take home to remember my grandfather, to remember the house they called a home. I chose a few random things that also had memories attached to them. But the one thing I brought back that I have treasured is a old nightgown of mine that my grandmother kept in an old cedar chest. The nightgown itself doesn't hold a lot of memories for me. I do have a picture or two of me in it as child. I thought I would pass it down to Lily and let her wear it since it's her size. But when I unpacked it at my house I noticed it had THE smell. The smell of Grand & Gramps' house. A distinct odor of cedar, mothballs and a little something else. Something undefineable. Something sentimental.

So, naturally the nightgown went directly in a plastic bag and I take whiffs from time to time to permeate my memories. So I don't forget my grandparents. Their house. The hot summers in Louisiana. The crawfish boils in the backyard. My grandfather's garden. Fishing at dawn. Old candy in a dish. Coffee in bed as a two year old. Eating cake until I threw up. Friday nights watching "Murder She Wrote". It's amazing what a smell can do for me.

As I sifted through all our children's belongings the past two weeks I kept reciting this verse over and over.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destory, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
Matthew 6:19-21 

Now, I do interpret this as being about wealth and assets and probably not knick nacks and newpaper clippings. But I do so desperately want to impart the importance of this onto my children. I want them to know that our identity is not in things, in toys or even in the momories of this world. That our identity is that we are sons and daughters of Christ and there is a treasure more than all we can ask or imagine waiting for us in His kingdom. 

So I am slowly figuring out how we do that while still preserving our family history and memories. It's a fine line, I can tell you that! The line between living in the past and living for the future while still enjoying and learning from the present. 

You all may see me on a future episode of Hoarders kicking out the psychiatrist from A&E while clutching my cake toppers and smelling my nightgown. Pray for me, y'all. 

Hi. My name is Stacie. And I'm a hoarder. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Big Top Phobia

I know a lot of people have weird, irrational phobias that I scoff at and don't begin to undertsand. Like selenophobia which is the fear of the moon. And not the full-hiney-hanging-out-of-the-pants kind of moon, but the real up-in-the-sky-tide-inducing moon. I mean c'mon. Is that real? And then the new modern, chic fear called Nomophobia: the fear of losing cell phone contact. I totally believe this one and Verizon made a entire commerical campaign playing off this fear. 'Can you hear me now?'

Don't get me wrong, I'm not without my own weird phobia. For the majority of my life I've been afraid of the circus. Most people would automatically assume I had coulrophobia which is the ever-popular fear of clowns. Now, I'm not a huge fan of clowns and they are kind of weird. I've seen the movie 'It' and can somewhat understand people with this fear. Men wearing make-up, pants that fall down, annoying pranks. Doesn't seem too kid-friendly to me. But I don't fear them. 
Me as a clown, Halloween 1981

My fear doesn't even have a clinical name it's so weird. I'm a case study. I am afraid of watching people who are up high. No, I'm not afraid of heights myself. In fact, the first year we put up Christmas lights on our house, I preferred to climb on the roof myself rather than watch my husband climb the ladder. Lots of head shaking from the neighbors ensued. Now I just stay inside and hide when he's up there (and periodocally peek out to make sure I don't have to call 911.) But this fear isn't exactly unfounded. When I was about 4 years old my grandparents took me to the circus and I really had a great time. Right up until the end. The death defying moment when the human cannonball gets shot out of the cannon...and flies through the air... and misses the net. Yep, the human cannonball flew his last flight that day as this wide-eyed four year old took it all in. The circus was halted and we all watched as he was taken away in an ambulance with a snapped neck and not by the circus clowns dressed up as paramedics, but the real deal. And then, "The show must go on!" Cue clowns, ringmaster, music! Like it never happened. Well, that ruined the circus for me. I went a few other times after that, but I was terrified at any acrobat, human cannonball or  high-flying trapeze artist. No circus, no thank you. 

Fastforward about 20 years. My sweet, thoughtful new boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the circus! Yay! Great! The circus! How fun.... I didn't tell him until we got there about my past issues. I got nervous and sweaty all through the elephant act, then the tigers, then the horses. The knot in my stomach got tighter and tighter and then the trapeze act came out and it was more than I could stand. I actually had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Nice. Good impression, Stacie. But he saw my freak flag flying high and the man still stayed with me. Married me actually. At least he knew what he was getting into. And he never surprised me with circus tickets again. 

Fastforward another 10 years and 2 kids together. Last month my husband playfully mentions that the circus is coming to town. Ha, right, I thought. I'm not going to scar my children by taking them to that fiasco.

But then I thought about it and felt very convicted. That was my fear, my anxiety, my phobia. And it was irrational. And it ends here and now. I'm not going to pass this irrational fear and anxiety and nausea-at-the-thought-of-a-man-flying-through-the-air onto my kids! Enough! They have their entire lifetime to come up with their own crazy phobias. I don't need to add to that right out of the gate!

So we went to the circus! And I didn't throw up! And here's the video my hubby made to prove it!

And just so you know, they don't even have the human cannonball anymore. No, that is so 1999. Way too tame. Now they have the human torch. They light a man on fire and launch him through the big top where he lands on a inflatable landing pad while still ON FIRE and then the circus clowns put him out with fire extinguishers. I have to admit I may have tasted my popcorn a bit during that one. But he made it. And I made it. And my kids are clueless of their mom's crazy circus phobia.

Who knows, maybe this year I will even spot my husband while he's on the ladder going Clark W. Griswold on our house instead of cowering inside listening for a thud. Hmm. Maybe. Baby steps.