Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Women's Retreat and Declutterification

By the looks of this post title, I've been reading a bit too much Dr. Seuss.


After a great weekend away with women from our church, I'm still adjusting to "normal" life: making my own breakfast and coffee and eating it in-between getting two kiddos dressed and out the door by 8:00am, and not getting a second cup of coffee, and no one to sit at a table and chat with for an hour; washing the dishes and doing chores every day; going back to work; and, finally, juggling everyone's schedule with my own. It's l.o.v.e.l.y. to have a weekend to do what you want, whenever you want, not clean up puke or toys. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my family...but I think if you had the fun weekend that I had, you would be struggling with reality adjustment, too. Our group of 80 or so ladies spent the weekend eat and drinking, (water, juice, and coffee, people! Did you think I meant...? Get your head out of the gutter! ;o), talking A LOT, laughing EVEN MORE, catching up with one another, and gleaning wisdom from a great speaker. Ahhh, yes...the Keystone Women's Retreat. How I SO look forward to you again in two years! Maybe then I will take the camera AND remember to take pictures with it!

Speaking of the great speaker...her topic was simple and much-needed for many: decluttering, simplifying, and organizing every area of your life...a topic that has been near and dear to my heart over the last several months. I've just felt this need to rid our house and our lives of the extras. We have SO much compared to other people (for example, JAPAN!), and it's part of our U.S. culture to think we need more, more, more when in reality we need to cut back, spend less, and enjoy what we have. This speaker really kicked it into high-gear for me! Here's the link to her blog if you are interested in reading her ideas - Mom by Example.

We started Monday night with the playroom...oh, boy. I told some of the ladies at the retreat that I thought burning it down would be the best solution to solve the clutter problem once and for all. After thinking it through and realizing our homeowner's insurance would probably argue otherwise, ;o) Hubby and I (with some kiddo involvement as well) went through the entire room and put probably 70% of the toys in boxes for 1) a big ol' yard sale this summer and 2) donation. It's so nice that we can walk into that room and not step on toys anymore and also clean up any messes in 5 minutes or less! And the kids still love and play with the toys that stayed in the room!

Next up: Danae's room. My little princess likes to collect/keep the little things: stickers, cool stones from outside, little broken toys that somehow made it to the trash can without her knowledge. ;o) Things like that. On the flip-side, though, Danae also seems to understand when it's time to get rid of things that she doesn't use or need anymore...and she has joined me in the declutterification! Hopefully she won't change her tune when I go through her room after lunch today. ;o)

And as the weeks continue, we plan on going through specific areas of the house and improving. I'll try to take pics and post!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthdays, sickness, pinging, and other thoughts

Does anyone realize that we have only one week left in March? Seriously, how did the first quarter (sorry, I see the year in bookkeeping terms) slip by so quickly?

I'm also not sure how I got to be 32 years of age this month...St. Patty's Day, to be exact. The good thing is that a week or so prior to my birthday, I was convinced that I was 32, turning 33. So, I pretty much gained a year in my head! Yay for my forgetful mind! ;o)

Yes, a St. Patrick's Day birthday. Not quite like having a Christmas birthday or another holiday birthday, but one where you must endure green cards, clothes, hair ties/bows, balloons, and cakes for pretty much the rest of your life, as well as being referenced to as a Leprechaun (or, in my case, a Puerto Rican Leprechaun). ;o) But to be honest with you, I actually LIKE it! One of my favorite birthday cakes as a child was the Cookie Puss cake from Carvel, complete with a bulbous mint ice cream nose. He is in many a childhood birthday photo, as shown here:

4th birthday - pre-frizzy, curly hair

This year was the second year in our marriage that Hubby surprised me with good ol' Cookie Puss! What a dear, he is! (Hubby, not Cookie Puss.)

Besides celebrating my and several other family members' birthdays this month, we have also had our fair share of sickness. The little man recovered from a double ear infection a few weeks ago, then fought off a stomach virus last weekend, and this morning I awoke early to the sound of screaming and gagging from my little princess. I must say, though, that Danae's aim for the toilet has remarkably improved, whereas Caedon...well, puking on the couch last weekend while sitting right next to me and the puke bucket pretty much ruined his odds. So, kiddos seem to have the stomach virus that was running rampant about a month or so ago. They were just a little late in catching it. FYI: Did you know that the flu does not present itself with vomiting? If your kid is puking, it's more than likely a virus, NOT the flu. Good to know!

In other non-puky news: In the midst of vacation, birthdays, and vomit, I began a new job this month in the finance/accounting department at a digital signage company. Part-time for now, possibly full-time once the kids are both in school...and it's actually going well so far! I haven't even been there a month, and I feel like I've learned and done half a year's worth of work...which explains why my brain is fried some days and I thought I was turning 33. ;o) Oh, and I also learned, after a week of trying to figure it out, what it means to "ping" someone. I knew what pinging meant in computer terms, but when your boss says he will "ping you", well...I wasn't quite sure if I should run away fast or just see what happened. In the end, it meant he was going to send me an instant message when he was ready to start our meeting. Good to know. :o) Please tell me I'm not the only person on this planet who didn't know what "I'll ping you" meant!

And now I must go and pack for a weekend away at our church's women's retreat! I don't think I have EVER been away from the kiddos AND Hubby for a whole weekend, so this should be interesting. Pray that Hubby and I don't get sick this weekend, and that he survives being on his own with the kiddos! :o)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Florida 2011

Ladies and gents, thanks SO much for your thoughts, prayers, and notes during our trip to FL. We made it safe and sound, and we are home. And TRUST me, your prayers were needed!

No, seriously. Definitely, absolutely, 100% needed and appreciated!

The trip started last Friday evening...with our little man developing a double ear infection. His doctor called in a prescription, though, and his body began healing overnight...thank God!

We continued on with great weather and great day-trips in the Bradenton area, one of which included several hours on the beach. Ahh, yes...a day on the beach in the beginning of March was definitely needed! Danae planted herself right at the water line for the longest time, and Caedon loved throwing sand at everyone and everything (to which we put a stop to several times).

We swam in this beauty many, many times...

...painted some toe nails...

...spotted a bald eagle on the neighbor's roof...

...and saw lots of alligators.

Aaand then we ended our trip like this:

That would be our family vehicle attached to the back of a U-Haul. We decided to switch it up a bit and see how driving a U-Haul from VA would work. ;o) No, really...our car decided to give out as soon as we arrived at my sister's house in VA on Saturday morning, and this was the only option to get us and the car home. Some sanity was lost, but goes on and things could be a ton worse! We are alive, we had some relaxation time, and we are very much used to God's sense of humor in our lives. ;o) It was an adventure that will be remembered for years to come!

Friday, March 4, 2011

And we're off!

See that plane? Nope, we're not on it. ;o)

We are about to embark on a week-long vacation with Hubby's family to FL. But first, we have to d.r.i.v.e. there.

Oh, boy.

I'm not worried about myself or Hubby, and not even my 5-year-old daughter (although she has been graced with the car sickness gene from me, poor kid). It's my 2.5-year-old lovable, huggable, not-so-great-in-the-car little boy. He's a REAL doozy when traveling, I tell ya! The boy loathes being buckled in and having his freedom taken away. He's a mover, shaker, and wrestler at heart...three things that aren't cool to do in a moving vehicle.

So, how will we survive the 18-hour drive? Besides your thoughts and prayers (*hint, hint*), we'll be relying on a portable DVD player, a few Thomas the Tank Engine DVD's (thanks Grandma!!), his Pillow Pet (thanks Nana!!), several Matchbox cars, some more trucks and cars, some other movies, lots of books, and TONS of snacks. My girly girl will have her own stash of books, toys, her VTech V.Reader, and some snacks as well.

Our toiletry bag will be used as a back-up...more specifically, the Benedryl and cold meds that it holds. You just gotta be prepared! I kid, people! But seriously, though, Caedon gets a nightly dose of Benedryl, so that will just come in quite handy, I believe! ;o)

Speaking of my little man...I neglected to mention the horrible rash he has been dealing with over the past two months. No rhyme or reason to it...just bumps and severe itching. The boy has been scratching so much that his back and belly and covered in marks and scabs. I'm talking like skin ripped open stuff...really yucky. :o( After several doctor's visits (and working hard to convince my doctor that I didn't use anything else but Charlie's Soap in my laundry, as usual), Caedon was finally tested this week for food allergies. Well, duh! I seriously felt like kicking myself on Monday when the thought entered my head. Why in the world didn't we think of this sooner? Anywho, the doctor entertained my thoughts, sent him for blood work, and called us yesterday to say that my egg-loving, I-can-eat-three-in-one-sitting son is indeed allergic to eggs.

He has been egg-free since last weekend, and we already see a difference in the itching and in his, uh, excrement, shall we call it. (That was another issue we've been dealing with pretty much since birth. No lie. Blegh.) We are ever so thankful that things are clearing up and and my boy is healing!

So, have a wonderful weekend...and we're off in search of weather that's sunnier and warmer than here in the Northeast!