Saturday, March 31, 2012

My memory is GONE


I know I've heard of Mommy brain before, but, folks, it a real thing. I think there should be some sort of transplant or, at the very least, a daily pill to restore memory after having children. I'm pretty sure if it's not written down, it's not going to get done. In fact, there's a chance it won't get noticed if it IS written down. Or I won't remember where I wrote it. That's also likely. I have a special forgetfulness with emails. I remember seeing them, but then I can't locate them. Or I read them on my phone, intending to write back on my computer (because who wants to type a full response on a phone!?) and then I forget. I need a special folder in my email for pending emails or something. But I'd probably forget that, too. Not to mention the fact that life right now is busy. Really busy. I normally spend my days doing something for someone else. And I like it that way. But, my Scentsy business is busy right now. And for that, I'm really thankful! I am so excited about a lot of the opportunities coming my way this month. I am working at Kidsmarket, a giant consignment sale, and I've been trying to get in there for the past 3 seasons. It's always booked! Well, at the last sale, their Scentsy consultant didn't show up. I'm embarrassed by that. I don't know her. In fact, she didn't even tell me her name, but I think it looks bad on our company. However, her loss is my gain! I will show up! And so will my team. I hope to put up some pictures of our table at Kidsmarket. I'm setting up tomorrow (partially) and then I have a Scentsy party in the neighborhood Monday morning and I'll work the rest of the day at Kidsmarket. I'll also be there all day Tuesday. If you are there, come see me! My teammates are working Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Since we will be in Nashville, we won't have anyone to man the table on Friday, but we will leave a drawing box so that people can still register to win a prize!
With that time at Kidsmarket, and all of the birthdays this month (what in the world is the deal with April birthdays???), Jason and I are having to sit down with our calendars to figure out how we are going to get everyone to their destinations on time. I still don't know how we are going to swing it... but we will try!
So, all that lack of memory leads me to these two friends...

Meet my Erin Condren planner and my MomAgenda all in one folio. I don't know what I would do without these two. If it's not in here, it doesn't get done. Seriously.
I got my Erin Condren life planner in August, I believe and I love it. It is seriously the best planner I've ever purchased. I used MomAgenda before that. I liked them too, but I love the spiral binding on this one. I like that I can lay it all the way open. I love that I can personalize it. At the bottom it has our name and a line from one of my favorite songs, "Do everything you do to the glory of the one who made you, for he made you." That needs to be the theme of my life... so I thought it was important to include it on my life planner. It also has month at a glance pages, every day broken down into morning, day and evening, pockets, encouraging quotes, bright, cheerful colors... I think it's perfection. Erin Condren also has lots of other products that are awesome. I have some of their notepads, a case for my iphone that matches my life planner.... I love them! It's a bit pricey, but I think it's totally worth it for a good planner. And you all know how much I like for everything to match! I wish she made a couch in that print. Just kidding... kind of.
The hot pink number in the photo is my momAgenda all-in-one folio. This guy plays second fiddle to my planner as I don't use it everyday. Almost, but not quite. In it, I have rosters for all three of my girls classes, with parents' phone numbers, party dates, who's bringing what... that kind of stuff. I have all of my room-mom information. I keep my newsletters from their schools in there with important dates. I had soccer info when that was going on, and I'll have Irish dance stuff going in there soon. Basically every piece of paper that is important and pertains to our family goes in this book. And it's all filed accordingly. So, for the PTO meeting, I will show up with both of these friends. They are like my brain, living outside of me. I'm thankful for them! In fact, without looking in the momAgenda, I can't even remember what all is in there. :)
If you are in the market for a good planner or overall way to stay organized, you really can't go wrong with Erin Condren or momAgenda. I wish I got a referral fee for these folks, I can't tell you how many people have taken one look at my fabulous planner and gone running to order their own. For reals. It's awesome!
http://www.erincondren.com/store/index.php?cPath=129_956
http://www.momagenda.com/products.cfm?cID=10&pID=67

Friday, March 30, 2012

Home again, home again...

We are home!!! I am so very thankful to be back with my girls. Sleeping in my own bed... cleaning up sticky messes... that last part wasn't true.
We got home yesterday morning, and by the time we got our bags and drove home, it was 9:00. We let all of our children choose if they wanted to go to school or stay home to greet mom and dad. Guess what they picked! They all went to school. Every. Single. One. Nobody missed us enough to stay home and see us when we arrived. Adelaide did ask for us to check her out early, but that was as much as we got.
We ate lunch with Mimi and Pops (they deserved a quiet meal out!) and went a few minutes (or 30) early to pick up the little girls... can you tell we missed them!? Lucy's class was on the playground, so we went to Julianne's room first. We watched her for a minute through the one way window. She was happily playing with play-doh. I poked my head around the corner and she looked up. Her eyes caught mine... I thought for sure she would come running at me with open arms. I couldn't wait to see the excitement in her eyes and the thrill in her voice as she cried, "Mommy!!" And.... then she went back to playing with her play-doh. She couldn't have cared less that I was there. She did, eventually, come to me. And she acted excited. Probably more out of pity for me than true excitement. But I'll take it. By this time, Lucy was coming in. We went to her and her eyes did light up. She came running, REALLY fast... and went right past me. Into her daddy's arms. I guess that's okay. She is a daddy's girl. Big time. But it would have been nice to get a hug on the way... or a fist bump or something. :) Oh well... Adelaide didn't disappoint. We left Hunter Street to pick her up early and when they paged her to come to the office for checkout, she came running!! She gave us both a hug and I carried her long legged self all the way to the car. I really missed them.
Now it's time to get back to reality... for a few days. We leave Thursday for Nashville... all of us. It's time for Lads to Leaders convention again. Every year, on Easter weekend, our church, along with thousands of other Church of Christ-ians, travel to Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis and other locations to compete in lots of different categories. These are all ways to teach the children (and teens) about the Bible and leading and serving in the Lord's church. They are taught song leading, Scripture reading, Scripture memorization, speech (essentially how to prepare a sermon/lesson) and other events. They learn so much in preparation for competition (and so do the adults that are helping them) and I think it's a great opportunity for them.
video
This year Adelaide is leading a song (Blue skies and rainbows) and participating in Oral Bible Reading (John 3:16, I think). Lucy and Julianne are going for the first time, too. Well, Lucy has been when she was a nursling, but she doesn't remember it. Lucy is participating in Good Samaritan, where she performs good deeds throughout the year and is rewarded at convention. These good deeds can include, visiting a nursing home, making and sending a card to someone, taking food to the sick, etc. I hope they always enjoy doing things for others and that Lads to Leaders is as special to them as it is to us. I think it's an amazing program. :)
Otherwise, the next couple of weeks are jam-packed with birthday parties and events. Girl scout meetings... dentist appointments. I'm working Kidsmarket this year with Scentsy and I couldn't be more excited about it!!!! I'll be doing that Monday afternoon, all day Tuesday and Sunday April 14. I'm a working girl. :)
Thanks, everyone for reading. I'm shocked at how many people are commenting to me that they've read... I feel special!!! I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Change of plans... again.




How do you respond when things don't go as planned? I'll admit, I act like a total baby. I like to have a plan.... even if it's to stay in our pajamas and play with play-doh (which isn't often enough). And when the plan changes, I don't always adapt very well. I like to start thinking about our next meal while I'm eating this one. Just to be prepared for it. Is that weird? Don't answer that. Please let me start this by saying, I'm not trying to complain. We've had a great trip and we are very blessed to have this time together. I'm thankful for the opportunity we've had to be Jason and Tiffany instead of Mom and Dad for a few days. However, I had a picture in my head of what would happen this week. Most of it hasn't turned out that way. Some of it was my fault and some wasn't. I had in my head that the plane ride was 5 or 6 hours. I'm not sure where I came up with that, but someone that was a fact.... in my head. Well, I didn't find out until I was buckled in my seat that it was actually 10. That's a big difference for me... and I felt myself losing my marbles for a minute. Is it worth it? How am I going to sit in this seat for 10 hours!? I got over it... after about 10 hours when we were off the plane. Until then, I pretty much acted like a baby. The next misconception, on my part, was the whole city. I have no idea where I got this idea either. I've never claimed to be good at geography. I have no clue where most things are. But I knew Argentina was near water. The little inlet by Buenos Aires looks a lot like our Gulf.... so I pictured something sort of tropical. Like a big city that led to a beautiful beach and on the other side of the big city would be beautiful grasslands and mountains.... like the picture on the travel book. It's not like that. At all. The little inlet of water.... is a river. It's brown and yucky (a lot like the Mississippi). There's no beach. It's downright cold. I thought at the very least, I could sit by the pool with my kindle and a Coke Lite while Jason attended a lecture. I brought my swimsuit with that in mind. Nope... I've worn my jacket every. single. day. We explored the city on Saturday. It's busy. And loud. And smoky. It was fun, though. We enjoyed being together and figuring out where things were and how to get around... but that was enough for me. I was tired of bumping into people. I was tired of feeling like I've smoked someone else's cigarette just because I walked behind them. The one day in the city... was enough for me. Sunday, I thought we would run to the convention center for about an hour, sign in and figure out the layout. We were there all day. Again, Jason and I could spend some time together... so I wasn't too bummed out. Frustrated, but still moving forward. Monday we had a "cruise" planned. We were to board a boat and travel along the tributaries to see the houses of the rich and famous... at least that's what I read between the lines. It really did boast the richest people in Argentina lived in these houses. I love expensive real estate. I love looking at ginormous houses. I love seeing how other people live altogether. We had a great time on our trip... but it wasn't at all what I was expecting. We road on a bus for about an hour and a half picking up other passengers (in crazy traffic... I'll get to that, too) and the tour guide told us some things about the city and the surrounding areas. That part was really fun. And informative. We were told on the bus that our tour would last one hour. 30 minutes down the river and 30 minutes back What!? I thought the cruise part was the main attraction. The houses were tiny, decrepit, for the most part. I'm sure it is more expensive to live there since everything has to be brought to you (groceries, trash services, etc), but that just seems like poor decision making to me. Why would you choose to live in a shack on an island if it costs an arm and a leg... Again, not what I was expecting. I loved sitting in the sunshine and enjoying a break from the city, though, so it was fine. Another example of not getting what you expected... Jason and I bought ice cream from Freddo (Baskin Robbins of Argentina). I ordered mousse de chocolate and Jason ordered coco con dulche de leche. He thought it was going to be chocolate and caramel. It was coconut. He hates coconut. So, I traded him my yummy, delicious chocolate ice cream for his, and it tasted like sunscreen.
We met friends of Jason's for dinner last night (after a long walk of more pushing and shoving and watching our backs so we don't get mugged) and it was another meat-house like the first one we visited... with the carcasses hung up around a fire pit. I had just eaten the other steak and today we were schedule to do some horse-back riding and meat eating on a range or something, so I decided to go with chicken.... so as not to wear out the red meat. Well, I ordered chicken with spinach sauce and this is what they brought me.
I laughed when he set it down. Green eggs and ham was the first thing to come to mind. It was also fried and covered in green stuff... I thought it would be baked. It was good, though, so I moved past it and ate quite a bit of it (while trying not to look at what I was eating). Jason got salmon or something thinking the same thing about the red meat... he wasn't terribly excited about his, either.
After the meal, we headed back to the hotel to sleep and gear up for the most exciting day of our trip. Jason had seriously been looking forward to today. A lot. I was skeptical at first, but after being here and in the hustle and bustle for a couple of days I was ready for a relaxing day on the grasslands. We were scheduled to be picked up at 9:30 at our hotel. We got up and dressed, ate breakfast (did I mention we've had ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast every day? I'm ready for an omelet or something), and ran to Starbucks for some coffee. The coffee here is gross.... so we go to Starbucks every morning. We were back in front of our hotel at 9:25. Jason even made the comment, "I wish we would quit getting places early... we know everything here is late." We sat... and stood... and sat again. I went in for some yogurt... Jason ran down the street for a new antibiotic for me (at separate times, one of us was there the whole time). After about 45 minutes I went in with the card from the travel agent that booked for us. I asked the concierge to call the number on the card and find out what's going on with our shuttle. Traffic was terrible, I thought maybe it was just running late. He tried to call, no answer. We waited some more... he came back out and said he tried to call several more times with no answer. So, after more than an hour, we were stuck with nothing to do today. The tour today was supposed to last all day. We would get to explore the plains on horseback. We would lunch and dinner on the grasslands. Now what would we do??? It was 11:00. Halfway through our day. And we had NO plans. I know, and I fully admit, I acted like a moron. I was tired of this city. I don't want to wander around it again. I'm tired of the wind and the cigarette smoke. I'm tired of the rude people and the honking cars. I'm tired of being pushed and shoved. I'm tired of feeling unsafe. I was so looking forward to today. And now it's done. We flew 10 hours here and will fly 10 hours back. We have 4 days to do what we want... and now 25% of that has been snatched from us. Grrr!!! So we wandered around the city (again) and went to the convention center to straighten things out with the travel agent and Jason went to a lecture while I slept with my head on a table. I was ill most of the day. I really am sick. I'm up to about 2 packs a day. Kleenex, not cigarettes. I don't feel well. I have tried to suck it up and fake it for the past few days, but today it just bummed me out.
Anyway, the travel agent says the tour people picked up the wrong passengers. I don't believe this. We were standing there for an hour and a half. The only people that were picked up were going on the boat tour we took yesterday. We asked. Nobody else got in a shuttle in front of our hotel. Anyway, they gave us our money back. Now we are back at our hotel... I'm in a better frame of mind. We will enjoy the rest of our trip... I just needed a minute to be a brat. I have to do that for at least a day. It's required. I have no clue what we're doing for dinner tonight. Jason is speaking tomorrow, we are packing up and heading home tomorrow night. I've had fun. I really have.... but nothing has been what it was in my head.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What's everyone looking at!?



What’s everyone looking at?! I’ve asked Jason that numerous times this week. Evidently, it’s not a big deal to stare here. Lucy would fit right in. J I’ve been confused at why people are staring at us so much. When Jason and I traveled in Austria for 6 weeks the year we were married, we did our best to fit in. We knew where we were going (or we faked it) and we walked fast… like the locals. Jason, sort of, spoke the language, and could at least read the signs. And we don’t look that different from Austrians. Fair skin, fair hair, blue eyes… we look normal. Here, not so much. My spray tan isn’t kidding anyone. People are downright staring at my “yellow” hair. Not men… women, mostly. One old lady in the pizzeria last night just about kissed me. The lady she was with went on and on, and all I could understand was “beautiful.” It’s nice to get so much attention. At home, I just blend in. Here I'm like a celebrity. There are some “blonde” Argentinians, but they are obviously not naturally blonde, so it’s a totally different look. It just doesn’t look right. Kind of like my blonde hair with this silly spray tan. Nobody’s buying that I’m tan anymore than I’m buying that they’re blonde. Ha!!

Jason doesn’t blend in well, either. I was wondering why people were giving us such weird looks… well, with both of us having “yellow” hair and him being 7 feet tall, we draw a lot of attention. It’s very intimidating, actually. I might start standing on a box in the square and letting people take pictures of my amarillo hair and put money in a hat.

Remember me telling you that we are staying on the widest street in the world? The one that held the protest. There will also be a car race on it this week. Awesome. I should have brought ear plugs.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What. A. Mess.




Well, today was a total disaster. Thankfully, I had my best friend with me through all of it, or I would have been miserable!! We slept great last night (12 hours!!!), which was much needed after our rough night on the airplane. When we woke up at 9:00 (no English speaking churches to be found), we got ready and headed for breakfast. Our shuttle was supposed to run at 12 to check in at the World Congress of Anesthesia.... that's the whole point of our trip. We thought, like any other academic meeting we've been to... and there have been several... we would run over, check in, look around, and leave. We'd have the day to explore. We were invited to a banquet and reception tonight and then we would hit the tango show next door to our hotel at 10. Pretty much none of that happened. We got to the hotel where the shuttle was running. It was 30 minutes late. Not a huge deal, but it still put a damper on the day. Then, when we arrived at the convention center, we realized quickly this was not very organized. Which is weird. Anesthesia meetings are normally extremely organized. Not today. There were lines everywhere. Pre-registration, Faculty/VIP, cash only, kiosks for who knows what, another line to receive your tote bag (who cares about a tote bag!?), lines to book tours, a (closed)information desk... how do you have the information desk closed during the registration hours!? There were seriously lines everywhere!
Once we stood in one line, we were directed to another line. In that line, we would move to another line. Nobody working at the meeting spoke English (all of the talks are in English, so you would think they would employ English speaking people... they didn't). The building was one large room... with no vending machines, no food vendors, 1 restroom about 2 football fields away and through a parking garage. It was crazy! I have never seen anything like it. Nobody knew what was going on. I was extremely irritated. I hate when things are not organized. This convention happens once every 4 years... they've known for more than 4 years they were hosting this, and they don't have anything together. I answered more questions for people than the people at the information desk (which did finally open, about 2 hours into the registration). We found a nice, Belgian guy that finally printed my name badge so that I could ride the bus and attend this "reception." His coworker... looked JUST LIKE Jim Halpert from The Office. Jason pretended to take a picture of me and got a great one of him. :)

So, we left the hotel across the street at 12:30 this morning and at 5:00ish, we still hadn't had lunch, or anything to drink, we were done. We didn't really have time to come back to the hotel and change into our dress clothes like we had planned. So, we ran through the rain to a pizza place across the street. The bag actually came in handy.
It was the best pizza I've ever put in my mouth. Delicious!

And while we were in there, Sweet Home Alabama was playing on their radio. How weird is that!? That also happened to us in Austria about 9 years ago. Cracks me up. Anyway, after a long day of standing in lines, sitting in the floor (did I mention there were no benches, chairs, NOTHING in the whole place to sit on), eating the one package of m&m's we had in the bag, we were done. Come to find out, the reception and banquet was actually some juice in a wine glass while you walk around the vendor hall. No, thanks. We'll just go back to the hotel.
I should also mention that we've heard of 4 people that have been mugged today. Apparently, the trick is, the thug throws foul liquid all over you and while you are trying to clean up, they steal your wallet. For any thugs reading this, just ask for the money. Don't pour anything nasty on me. Please.
Here's where we'll be seeing our Tango Show tonight!!

Argentina!!!



Well, it's Sunday morning in Buenos Aires! We had a pretty rough night Friday night. Our flight left Atlanta at 7:45 and lasted 10 hours. Somehow I thought the flight was only 6 hours, so I was not mentally prepared for the extra 4. I already don't sleep well on a plane (or anywhere really besides my bed... or the couch) and add to that the enormous amount of sinus pressure and I was pretty much miserable. I finally started to dose off in the middle of the night when our plane started pitching from one side to the other and dropping. I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I grabbed Jason and was freaking out. It woke everyone up. There were sounds of seat belts buckling all over the plane. A flight attendant came on the speaker reminding everyone to buckle up. (Duh!) I don't understand, at all, how airplanes stay in the air. Jason has tried, bless his heart, to explain the physics to me. It just doesn't makes sense. A plane that big, with that many people and all that luggage just shouldn't stay in the air. It just shouldn't. I also don't understand how a gigantic ship stays on top of the water... but that's a story for a different day. I normally don't freak out the whole time we're flying, but I hate take-off and any turbulence. I always think of driving a car. Any wrong move or over-correction and you've lost control. What if that happens on this plane. My three babies are at home and their mommy and daddy are BOTH on this plane. Ugh... it still makes me scared. Jason admitted after we landed and all was well, that he noticed on the screen in the cabin that we were over Columbia... so we would have crashed in the jungle. Lovely. I was trying to come up with ways to get back home without getting in an airplane. Alas, we are here, safely. And we are so thankful for that!
Yesterday was spent just wandering around the city and checking out the layout. We found the popular monuments, the Presidential palace, and a pretty cool little flea market with tango dancers and local artisans.
I felt pretty much terrible all day and had fever last night, so we ate dinner at a pretty nice little restaurant with a ton of mounted horses and a cow, and deer and stuff hanging and standing all over the place.
Yuck. It was tasty, though. We turned in pretty early to the sounds outside our window. We are staying on the widest street in the world (seriously... it's in the book) and apparently that also makes it the loudest street in the world. Not to mention the demonstration (aka protest) that is going on. We asked the people at the desk what the deal was with all the people with the flags and signs and chants... they explained, "It's not a protest. Some people died several years ago and they don't like they way the government treated it... so it's a memorial..." Sounds like a protest to me. So, people were honking and yelling and beating drums outside our hotel. I'm pretty sure I slept through most of it, though. I was exhausted!
Anyway, we are dressed and ready for another day. We have to check in at Jason's conference. We have a banquet/reception tonight, and I think we are attending a Tango show after that. We are having a great time and I'm enjoying some time to recharge with Jason. Our time together is so short these days and I'm loving every minute of hanging out with him. Did I mention he's speaking at the World Congress of Anesthesia! I married someone really smart!!! :)
Did I also mention there are pigeons everywhere!? For those of you that know me well, I hate birds!!! That's what prompted the look in this photo.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scent-sational Saturday

Buenos Dias!! We are safely in Argentina! The flight was MUCH longer than we expected and very bumpy. I honestly thought we were going down in Columbia... thankfully we are here safe and sound. I took a nap and we are trying to figure out what we are going to do today! I wanted to tell my Scentsy story since I haven't done that on here yet. I can't leave out a huge part of my life on this blog!!! I know most of you know (and probably are my customers, ha!) about my Scentsy business. I started a year ago. Happy anniversary to me!! I absolutely love it! It gives me an outlet... I love folders. Is that weird? I like to know that I've finished a task. There aren't many tasks in motherhood that are ever finished. Everything I do (just about) are like a revolving door. I think I've finished the laundry and bam! The basket is full again. I unload the dishwasher and there is another meal or snack to clean up. I vacuum and someone walks through... that's all it really takes. I'm not meaning to complain, but a mother's work is never done. However, with Scentsy, I can start a task... and complete it. Once I've delivered a customer's order... it's done. I've satisfied that customer and completed a task. It's such a great feeling! Not to mention that I get to have guaranteed "girl's night" a couple of times a month. This isn't a career for me (although some women and men have made it just that), it's a part time job. I normally do about one home party a month. Sometimes I do more, sometimes less... and then I normally have a couple of online parties a month. These are just times when post a facebook status asking if anyone needs anything and I get a ton of responses. I put in the order and, hey, I get a payday! You can't beat that! And I lurve it! I can work when it fits my schedule! And I can tell the kids, "mommy's working" when I need a few minutes to practice being a grown up. It's just the perfect fit for me. I love the product. I mean, really love it! I use it in almost every room of my home. It's safe, it smells awesome and it's beautiful!
I am so thankful for the blessings Scentsy has brought to my life. I have met so many new friends. I have laughed more than I thought possible, and I get to have something that is just mine. It has nothing to do with my family. I love my family, but I need some time away. I need some "me time." Scentsy is a wonderful product to sell because 1. It sells itself. Once people smell the wax... they fall in love. 2. It's consumable. The wax loses it's smell after about 120 hours... so that means people come back to buy more wax. And I don't have to work for that. I just provide it and I get paid! I tell people all the time, I don't sell Scentsy, I just provide it. It truly sells itself. I get a warmer every month and this month's warmer is called "Mother's day" I think it's beautiful!!! The photos don't do it justice... but it's stunning. It's a great, neutral color that would work in any decor. And I love the touch of bling on the front. Such an eye catcher! The scent is ah-mazing! I love it! I wasn't wild about last month's scent. I'm always honest when you ask my opinion about a scent. However, everyone's sniffer is different. What one person loves, the next can't stand! This month's scent is wonderful!!! To see a picture of this month's warmer along with all the new warmers, which I can't seem to upload, check out my website http://tiffanymckeown.scentsy.us. Scentsy also just released a new line of bath and body products. The lotion is perfect! I love the scents they chose, I love the way they feel on my skin.
I hope you'll check out my website and ask me any questions you might have about the products or starting your own home business!

Jason cracks me up!!!


This post probably won't mean as much to anyone that doesn't know Jason, but for those of you that do... I hope you find it as hilarious as I do. Jason is funny. That's all there is to it. He's a lot like Lucy, though, in that he's not all that funny if he doesn't know you. He holds all of his good material for those closest to him... I guess. Sometimes he's funniest when he doesn't mean to be. That's my favorite. Well, those of you that know Jason, you know that he doesn't get in much of a hurry to do anything. Ever. He's just sort of slow. He talks slowly, he walks slowly (it only appears fast because he's got such a long stride... ha!), he thinks slowly, he blogs REALLY slowly. These qualities are great normally since he normally thinks through things a lot before he says them (unlike me) and that gets him in less trouble than if he were to blurt out all of his thoughts (like me). He tells me this isn't the case at work, but I'm not sure that I totally believe him.
Well, Monday, on the first official day of Spring Break, Jason broke his toe. He ran into a door facing. He claims he was going too fast. It turned all kinds of blue and purple. He tried (unsuccessfully) to stay off of it. Well, ever since then he's been running into things like crazy. He has grunted all week because he has hit his toe on something (sometimes it's the other toe, sometimes it's the broken one). As Chuck said in Ladies Bible Class last week, it's a big deal when Jason breaks a toe because his toes are as long as our fingers. :)
Anyway, he said today, after running into another corner with his toe, that he's just in too big of a hurry. He's trying to go to fast through the house and he keeps cutting corners. I just about doubled over laughing. He moves in slow motion through the house. I love to listen to the footsteps in our house and know exactly who they belong to. Jason's are SO SLOW, Julianne's are the fastest (because she's usually running), Adelaide's are heavy (I think she likes to hear her own footsteps just like she likes to hear herself talk)... and Lucy's are almost silent (she's sneaky like that). Anyway, it cracked me up that he keeps running into things because he is "going too fast."
Also, yesterday, I asked him if he would wear a too tight shirt with angel wings on it like the guy working in our yard (jokingly, of course) and his reply was, "that will be hard [to find a too tight shirt] because I'm a little guy." I died. Again. I don't think anyone has ever called Jason a little guy. He isn't little in most people's eyes. :)

Bloglovin

I just found this app through another blog I follow. You can use it on your home computer, or as an app on your smartphone. It will keep up with your daily reads and notify you on your phone when a new post comes up. I just signed up and am putting my blog on there too... see if you like it! I also have a couple of new posts in the works. One on my new Birchbox love and one on my daily planners and organizational tools. I'm addicted!

These girls are demanding....


One of the things we struggle with, a lot, is how the girls talk to us and how they ask for things. They are spoiled. I do realize that. Jason and I are leaving for Argentina tomorrow and I was making a list of odds and ends for my parents who are taking a week off of work to keep my energy suckers. Anytime people keep my kids for an extended period of time, I try to make a list... actually lots of lists. I make a list of our flights, our "normal" day and what the kids like to eat, how bedtime usually goes... etc. I never expect others to keep that schedule. But I like for them to know what usually happens. My mom says she likes it (I hope she does and she's not just shaking her head at my micromanaging tendencies). When I was making these food lists I realized just how demanding our kids are. I know some of it is just because they're kids. They do get what they want a lot, but some of that is what I've taught them. Not intentionally. They like frozen blueberry pancakes... but they like them plain. No syrup... no butter... nothing at all. And Adelaide likes her's stacked while Lucy likes her's cut up. Julianne goes back and forth between stacked and cut. It's weird. I know... but that is real. Julianne and Adelaide like oatmeal. With just a little bit of water... like a really gooey cookie. They don't like it runny. Adelaide doesn't like crusts on her sandwich... Lucy doesn't like cheese. Well, she likes cheese, just not on her sandwich. She likes it on the side. Adelaide can't have regular milk... only soy. She can, however, have dairy in small doses.... as long as she has a full stomach. No yogurt first thing in the morning. Julianne likes apple juice... but it makes her poop, so you have to mix it with half a cup of water . Lucy likes to pick out her own clothes, but sometimes you have to guide her to change her choices. "No, honey, you can't wear that to church..." or "it's warm outside, let's leave the jacket at home."
Julianne sleeps with a lovey and an old blanket she found at my in-laws' house that belonged to Jason's sister. It has the alphabet on it. She likes the letters to be right side up... and if you put it on her upside down, she will let you know. Have no fears. She likes certain songs at bedtime.... in a certain order.
These things don't seem like a big deal when I do them every day. I know what everyone likes and what they want. So, that's just what I do.... but it seems so ridiculous when I'm writing it for someone else.
As crazy as the above posts sound, I do fix one thing for dinner. If you don't like it, that's fine... but that's what's for dinner. This is a new concept for me. My mom always went around to everyone in our family (my dad, brother and me) and asked what we wanted for dinner every day. I didn't think anything about it before, but now it seems crazy! Sometimes we all picked something different, and she would fix 3 different dinners. How in the world did she manage that!? A lot of times, she would fix one main dish and all the sides we liked. At any rate, I don't have the sanity for that... nor the patience. So, it's one entree and a couple of sides for us at dinner. I try to make something everyone will like. If there's a veggie on the table that Lucy doesn't like (which is very likely), I try to have fruit or meat that she likes... she's the hardest one to please when it comes to food, so she's the example. Anyway, the motto at our dinner table (and I think I'm going to put this on a sign in my dining room) "You have two choices for dinner: 1. Take it 2. Leave it."
The phrase "you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit" is also said at our house numerous times a day. I am a firm believer in the children asking appropriately for what they want. There will be no "i want a drink!!" Actually, there will be a lot of that, but following every demand, we respond with, "How do you ask for it?"
We have entered a stage with Adelaide (6), where she will argue with anything and everything we say. Unfortunately, her sisters are very observant and they often follow her lead... so lately there's been a lot of talking back and such. It's not usually defiant or ugly... they just want to plead their case. So, I say a lot of "yes, ma'am is all I need to hear." I ask them to make their beds and pick up the barbies. "But, mommy, we want you to paint our nails." Me: "yes ma'am will be fine." I hope they learn... one day. Before they're 20.
They are really good kids. They are very respectful to other adults... at least that's the report we get. They always get lots of complements from their Bible class teachers, mother's day out teachers, babysitters etc. I guess they save their sassiness for their mama... and daddy. I'm sure that's for the best. I would hate for them to be angels at home and rude at school... or in Bible class. For now, we will do our best to teach and model good behavior. Perhaps one day there will be a reward/consequence system for good manners. We'll see... for now, that's just what is expected of them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Playground pictures and wacky world





First of all, our backyard renovation is almost finished! They laid the sod and mulch today (woohoo!!) and I think all we have left is... well, I'm sure there's anything left.

I also have to pose a couple of questions... totally unrelated to the playground.
1. Who hires the morons that dance around at the street holding various signs? What's the job description? What are the qualifications? What are the instructions given to the these guys? I saw one fella today holding a sign notifying the traffic that he buys gold. I'm sure he, personally, doesn't buy gold... at least not professionally. But whomever he works for does. And why, pray tell, do they also pay people to dance around like fools with a sign. He's not just holding it... or even wiggling it... he is skipping up and down Highway 31 holding this ridiculous sign. I don't get it. What happens if the bossman drives by and notices he's not dancing enough? Hmmm..... I wonder if there are tryouts... it's just to much to wrap my brain around.
2. Why are the makeup ladies at the mall so.... scary?? I mean, the MAC girls are a little unique in their makeup choices... I get that. It's sort of the brand... I like it. On them. But there were some other makeup ladies set up in the middle walkway of whatever is in the old Parisian today and they were down right frightening. It looked like a facelift gone bad. I love makeup. I've been known to wear too much... I get that. It makes me happy. Trust me, the alternative is ugly. Literally. But, I think if you sell makeup for a living, it should look good. Right???

Monday, March 19, 2012

Best. Weekend. Ever.


We had an awesome weekend... and it's carrying over into Spring Break! We started out on Friday with a trip to the zoo (minus our Daddy, unfortunately). We had a great time and the girls enjoyed our first taste of spring. On Saturday we attended the visitation of a great guy from church that suffered more than his share and died way too young (in our opinion... God knows what He's doing, of course). You can read more about that here: www.mckeownsbevel.wordpress.com. Jason puts into words better than I could ever begin to do. After that, we skipped nap (something we RARELY do!) and packed up, all clad in our St. Patty's day green, to watch the parade downtown. After a quick lunch at Jimmy John's, we found a perfect spot on the parade route and before we knew it, the parade was right in front of us!
We stayed and watched Hooley (the Irish band a friend from church plays in) and the girls sang and dance and drank green sprite!! We had a great time with great friends!! When we got home, the girls played outside with Jason while I bought a TON of flowers for our beds. Sunday, Jason and I planted 4 flower beds while the girls napped. They look great (I think) and I'm so glad we have that done. It's been long overdue!!
For our first day of spring break, my girls slept until 7:30, 7:45 and 8:00 respectively. That is nothing short of a miracle for my 3. AND Jason made a Starbucks/ Krispy Kreme trip... I am one happy girl today.
On the agenda the rest of spring break: finish swapping out closets and drawers, buy shoes for the girls, get a spray tan for our trip, nails... a lot of very important stuff, as you can see....
This is the life.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lucy-isms




Lucy (4) is a shy little girl. She doesn't like to be the center of attention.... usually. There are a few, very few exceptions. One happened last night. When she does decide to show off for us, we have to tread lightly. Any unwanted attention, even from Jason and me, and she will shut down. Or worse, melt down. Lucy was wanting to act silly and she was doing a great job of it. Lucy was begging Adelaide (who doesn't like to share the spotlight) to "oos-da-doos" me ... translated, "introduce me." ha!!! I love the fun little things that kids mispronounce. Adelaide used to say "mazagine" instead of magazine. I miss those little things. So, I really loved hearing her say oos-da-doos me... so stinking cute. I also loved seeing her act out and laugh. I love Lucy's laugh. She is hysterical. I wish she would let that side out for others to see. I wish other people knew the Lucy that I know. She's complex to say the least. She's smart and beautiful. She's thoughtful. She's intuitive. She's amazing. I'm so thankful for the little girl that God blessed us with 4 years ago. She misses a lot of the spotlight... and sometimes that's because she's a middle child, but usually it's because she prefers to stay out of it. When she does decide she wants our undivided attention, we try to give it to her. Who knows, maybe one day she'll choose to do something that draws a lot of attention. I can't wait to see!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cleaning heads, beds and and closets

Well, the head lice have hit the McKeown house... again. It's disgusting, it's embarrassing and it's a pain in the neck, and back and everywhere else you've ever heard of a pain. ;)
This is the second time Adelaide has had them and it pretty much means I will be spending hours on end picking through her hair, strand by strand (she has a lot of hair) and then washing all of our bedding (just in case), vacuuming all of the mattresses and couches, the car... you get the idea. It's a nightmare and a good couple of days of work. I hate it. A lot. So, I'll let you guess what I've been doing today. That's right... spending a lot of time in the laundry room. There has been no shower for me... no makeup... I did brush my teeth. That felt like an accomplishment. And I'm working on a cup of afternoon coffee... just so I can make it until bedtime. Is your head itching yet? I don't think you can get them from reading a blog, but I know it will itch just from talking about it. Yuck.
In other news, since I've spent so much time with my washer and dryer today... and since Scentsy came out with a laundry line that smells delightful (just in time for my massive washing day), I started cleaning out closets and drawers... and such. It's hot here. Like really hot. I love it (except for the fact that cold weather helps keep the head lice away). Anyway, my kiddos have no spring/summer clothes in their closets. At all. So, I'm working on switching out their closets. We have a little system (that I had LOTS of help with) that works really well for us. It's still a pain, but it is less of a pain than it was before. Here's how it goes. Since it's a total disaster in the interim, I'll try to post pictures when I get everything put back where it belongs.
Since we have 3 girls, all super close together (not necessarily our plan, but God knew what He was doing... at least that's what we keep telling ourselves), it was getting sort of silly to pack up all of their clothes in bins every season-change and tromp into the attic only to be up there again as soon as things warmed up to get them out for the next girl to wear... then they all had to be washed and rehung... you know the drill. We are blessed to have an extra closet in our guest room that I cleaned out and repurposed as our very own thrift store. When one of my older girls outgrows something or the seasons change, I grab up her hanging clothes and hang them in the thrift closet. I bought a bunch of those "as seen on tv" cascading hangers and we use those. I also have some cute closet dividers from etsy.com to keep the sizes separate. The only other categories we have are Memphis attire, Alabama attire and Holiday. I decided to separate those because a lot of our cheerleading uniforms can be worn through 2 sizes... I was afraid I would miss them if they were stuck in their size. And the same with holiday... I didn't want to miss anything just because it was filed in the "wrong" size.
The folded clothes go into a labeled bin and placed at the top of the closet. Other bins also include holiday and coats/sweaters. There is a hanging shoe holder in the back side of the door labeled with sizes. That has really come in handy on Sunday mornings when I realize Julianne's dress shoes are too small (how does a child's foot grow that much in 1 week!?)... I've made a last minute frantic trip up the stairs more than once on a Sunday morning.
Sadly, Lucy and Adelaide are wearing a lot of the same sizes right now. That was NOT part of my plan. The 2 girls had the same due date for crying out loud... they should be able to pass down clothes, right!? Well, it's not happening, folks. At least spring/summer clothes are more forgiving for my long-legged-no-fat-on-her-body-Adelaide. Shorts, capris and skirts are much easier to fit than "long" pants that turn into super-short pants. We will definitely be shopping some for her this year, though. And probably Lucy, too. Julianne should be set!
Speaking of Julianne, since we don't have anyone coming behind her to wear all of her hand-me-downs (yet), I do put them in labeled bins and they get stored in the attic. Same thing with shoes. Once she outgrows something, it goes into long term storage in the squirrel shack (attic). And we hope and pray that "Fifi" our seasonal friend doesn't have any interest in her old digs.
So... that's our system. Today I did clean out Julianne's drawers and brought down hanging clothes. I hope to go through her hanging stuff tomorrow and box up what doesn't fit. Lucy and Adelaide's drawers will hopefully get done tomorrow. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cleaning schedule and meal planning

Okay, I've been harassed into blogging today (I'm pointing at you, Liz) and I don't have a lot to talk about. That last part isn't true. I always have a lot to talk about. Where should I start!?
Well, first of all, Jason is home! I'm SO thankful he's back! Last week, Jason went to Cuzco, Peru on a medical mission trip. They saw like a gagillion patients. For real! I am super proud of him, as are his girls, but I am so relieved that the trip is behind us. We all missed him terribly, but Lucy had the hardest time of all. She was crying about any and everything. I kept trying to get her to talk about Daddy. Where is he? "Peru." What's he doing? "He gets to be Jesus' hands." She kept saying she was so proud of him, but she is the most intuitive child. She knows when something just isn't right. She sensed that a piece of our puzzle was missing and nothing else was fitting right with him not being here. I hated seeing her go through that and not feeling like there was much I could do to help her. I tried, but I didn't know what to do. I lost my patience. A lot. I fussed right back at her and acted like a child. I admit it. I prayed for months before this mission trip, that I would handle the stress of him being gone with grace. I failed. Big time. I'm not a very calm person. Nor am I patient. At least not patient enough. Is it possible to be patient enough? If so, I'm not. I'm ashamed at how I behaved in the middle of the week. I wish I could do it over again. Well, not the trip, but I do wish I could change my attitude about it. Anyway, I'm glad it's over. I'm glad my children have a Daddy that wants to do all that he can to repay the debt we all have. He was able to show over a thousand people last week the love of Christ. And that was just in Peru. I know he made an impact on many people here... especially his family. Our girls kept saying, "I'm so proud of him." I'm glad they are... and I hope they always will be. Their daddy is pretty special and I'm thankful for him.
He is also the author of a brand new blog that has quite a following already. You should check it out! www.bevelup.wordpress.com. He explained to me what bevel up means, but I don't really get it. Something about a needle. He's so nerdy.... er, smart. :)
In other news, I've created a new cleaning schedule in hopes of getting rid of my cleaning lady. She currently comes every other week... I love her. She's been cleaning for us for the better part of 7 years... and I think I'm crazy for letting her go... but she's expensive. Really expensive. And I should be able to do this myself. Right? I normally can keep up with things just fine, except for the floors and the bathrooms... let's face it. We have a lot of floors... and bathrooms. But I'm hoping with my new cleaning schedule, I'll be able to stay on top of all the cleaning and save some money every month. I can do it, right!? Right??
Here's the plan for now... I'm sure I will tweak it. I have flylady habits running through my veins, but I have a hard time with some of her daily challenges... sometimes they just don't fit my house... you know? So I'm trying to make a schedule of my own. The last couple of weeks I've stuck with it and I've done the whole house with every step. I think, starting next week, I'll break it down to upstairs one week and downstairs the other. We'll see how that goes....
Monday- daily routines (I'll list them below), clean toilets, wipe down bathtubs (alternating upstairs and downstairs... there are 5 bathrooms altogether... that's a lot of toilet scrubbing...)
Tuesday- daily routines, change bedsheets, dust wood, clean glass (I'll do all sheets every week, because I just can't stand leaving them on more than a week, but I'll alternate the wood/glass for upstairs and downstairs)
Wednesday- daily routines, empty garbage, wipe out microwave and fridge (this won't alternate obviously)
Thursday- daily routines, vacuum, mop floors, vacuum cabinet doors and vents, under furniture, stairs and pick a closet (I'll focus on upstairs/downstairs with the exception of our high traffic areas downstairs)
Friday- daily routines, a monthly task (these will alternate... I'll list them below)
Saturday- daily routines
Sunday-daily routines

Daily routines:
Kitchen-
1. wash dishes, load/unload dishwasher
2. wipe down countertops
3. vacuum after meals

Bathroom-
1. wipe down counters in main bath
2. wipe down to and back of toilet

Make beds/open blinds/turn on lamps (it just makes everything look cleaner)

Laundry
1. wash a load of laundry and put it ALL away (usually I do more than one load, but I try to do at least one a day)
2. collect all dirty laundry at night (I like to pick up all the dirty laundry when I tuck everyone in and sort it at night. I put a load in the washer at night and put detergent in... so all I have to do in the morning is push the button. This cuts down on procrastination in the morning and helps to get everything started as soon as I'm moving in the morning. I also have a recipe for homemade laundry detergent that I love... I'll post that soon. :)

Tidy up seating areas
1. fold blankets
2. fluff pillows
I'm bad about leaving the blankets sprawled over the couches during the day from our lounging on the couch at night... no more! It looks so much better when the pillows are properly fluffed and the blankets are folded!

Pick up!!
1. 15 minute tidy at nap time
2. 15 minute tidy at bed time

Monthly chores:
clean out garbage cans
vacuum wall corners and ceilings
vacuum inside couch
clean stove top trays
cycle clean the dishwasher and washing machine (this is usually done more like bimonthly)
vacuum inside vents
wipe down switch plates and door knobs
dust ceiling fans
sweep/vacuum garage
launder bath rugs
scrub grout

Quarterly
change air purifier filter
clean oven
wash bed linens (for the kids, this is usually more than quarterly)
vacuum mattresses
vacuum window treatments
clean coffee maker (usually more than quarterly)
clean out fridge and freezer (thorough clean), vacuum crumbs, wipe down with soapy water

I've also made a meal plan for the year... here's what's for dinner this week:
Monday- we had the Pioneer Woman's meatloaf... yummm!!!! with mashed potatoes and macaroni... yes, I realize, there wasn't a veggie... it wasn't meant to be healthy. :)
Tuesday- chicken rollups ( a can of chicken, block of cream cheese, package of ranch dressing mix all mixed up... put a dollop onto a crescent roll, roll up and seal the edges and back on 350 for like 30 minutes... delish... found on pinterest) with green beans.
Wednesday- italian grilled chicken with corn
Thursday-leftovers (Jason working late)
Friday- english muffin pizzas
Saturday-??

That's all I've got for today. Lucy and Julianne are performing in Hunter Street's spring program tonight. I'll have pictures shortly. :)

Oh, and if anyone knows how to get that weird white box at the top of my blog to go away, I would greatly appreciate it! ;)