Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Un-Martha Double Birthday Party

Not all bloggers are Martha.

Here's one that's not even close.

We threw a double birthday party for my girls this past weekend.

It was super fun but I can assure you, Martha wouldn't have been proud. The only thing homemade were the cupcakes (all 72 of them) - from a boxed mix.
I'm so dissapointed that I didn't take more photos. I kept meaning to take some cool photos but it all went by in a blur!

Why didn't I get a photo of them together?! Urgh. In my defense, their parties were at separate times. The 4 yr olds party was at 10:00 and my 6 yr olds party was at noon. Two separate cupcake decorating events. :) 

You guys, i suck. This photo isn't even from this party! This is from a party we went to a couple weeks ago, when I got the idea to decorate cupcakes! I forgot to get a cool photo when my kids were decorating, so I threw this one in for effect. I cannot tell a lie.

It may not have been up to Martha's standards, but the parents seemed to have fun. And the kids didn't notice anything but the bounce house, cupcake frosting, and goodie bags.

We had games, yes we did. But did we play them? No! Everyone was having so much fun, I backed off and let them enjoy themselves. I'm not type A, in case it's not abundantly clear here.

look at this poor child panicking to get out of the bounce house to decorate cupcakes.

Nothing fancy. Just a bunch of kids coming together to wish two special girls a happy 4th and 6th birthday!

I have to give a shout out to my wonderful husband who set up the bounce house three times until it was perfect, and went on four different car runs for me during the party.
Thanks Sugar. You are the best!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crazy busy and a quote by Rockefeller

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great"
-John D. Rockefeller

I've been super busy with Physiology and planning my kids double birthday party (which was a total success!). I will post a real post soon. In the meantime, I thought i'd share a quick quote. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Laundry "Room"

A little self-depricating humor for your evening...

Laundry is a problem in my house. Mostly because I hate doing it.

I don't have a good system and I don't have a good place to fold/sort, etc. I am grateful for the abundance of socks, workout pants, uniforms and t-shirts we have been blessed with, but I don't like doing laundry.

This is what I WISH my laundry room looked like...

Earlier tonight I read this post. I want her laundry room too.

Want to see MY laundry "room"? Have you eaten lately? If so, you may want to wait until your food is digested...

This is the top of my dryer. Isn't it nice. Who knows why those tid bits never made it to where they were going. I use bounce free, cuz it doesn't contain perfumes or dyes. I like that in a dryer sheet.

This is my view from the small garage door that goes into my house. That's my car crammed in near the dryer. Oh, and notice the moldy old wood block that the water heater sits on.

I might need to do something about this sloppy mess soon.

Power Thinking Wednesday - Over-thinking it

I drafted this post last Wednesday but never sent it because it's so long.

If you want the short version, here it is: I think too much. There you have it. I make too many lists and don't live in the moment.

That all changed after this post. Literally, it did! I've had an amazing week since I wrote this. I've played with the kids, laughed a lot, smelled flowers, enjoying life.

Okay, if you want the longer version... keep reading.

Over Thinking It: For the Last Time

This is the last power thinking post for a'll see in a minute.

Yet again, God has answered my prayer for help. The answer was not what I was looking for. I was looking for something I could do to finally feel in control of my life. Finally feel caught up and ready to be the mom I want to be. I prayed for this because I’m tired of feeling like I’m treading water. I’m never ready for my kids when I pick them up from school. I always have tasks hanging over my head and the need to study hanging on my back. I never feel ready to play. Never feel ready to live.

So I prayed for an answer.

And this is what I got.

Stop thinking so much.

I am always in my head. Thinking non stop. Making lists, both mentally and on paper, of whatever is on my mind at the moment. Things I need to do, ideas for getting my kids to behave, how to improve a situation, what’s bothering me. The lists go on and on.

Sometimes I think I’m being smart by thinking so much. Like if I think hard enough, all of my problems will find answers and life will be perfect.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a “deep” person, always giving my thoughts room to grow.

But the truth is, all of this thinking is robbing me of mental serenity and it’s keeping me every where but the present. You see, if I’m thinking about what went wrong before school, how I will discipline the kids when they get home, or ideas to stay cool during the summertime – if I’m thinking about all of those things (and more), I’m not living in the present. I’m living in the past and the future. Every minute of every day. Because, see, when school gets out and it’s time to discipline the kids in the manner I have so well thought out, I’m thinking about something else. I’m making another list, of what to study for my next Physiology exam or what needs to get done when the kids are in bed.

Not to mention that all this thinking makes me tired! Thinking all day takes mental energy. Then when the kids require my mental energy – say to break up a fight, think of ways to entertain them, or pull together a dinner with a bare cupboard – well, by then I’m drained. My mental reserves are on empty and my brain says, “on break”.

Up until this realization, I have whole heartedly believed that what was keeping me from serenity was all of the “things” that need to get done. If I could just complete my list, finish my tasks, think it through completely, I could have peace. Now I realize it’s not the “stuff” on the list that’s robbing me of peace. It’s the list itself.

Yes, I need to stop thinking so much.

But how does one stop thinking? I’ll tell you how. I stop thinking by being present. If I’m living in the moment, I am noticing green trees, feeling a cool wind on my shoulder, witnessing a belly laugh from a 3 yr old. There is no room for deep thought in the present. Living, instead of planning to live. That’s what I’m doing.

Indeed, God is worthy of my praise. This simple realization, that I’m wasting today thinking about tomorrow, changed my whole day. I am pretty sure it’s going to change my tomorrow too. How do I know this? Because there are dishes in the sink but the only thing I want to do is go pick my kids up from school. Nothing else seems important now. I miss them and I want to play. I haven’t felt that way in a long, long time. That tells me God is working on my heart. Peeling back the layers to allow me to love like He wants me to.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A picture...

is worth a thousand words...

Yes. Those are underwear on my daughters head. Her idea.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blessings in Disguise

Meet my 3 yr old.

This is what happens when you leave her alone with a glue stick.

This little girl has lots of good qualities:

She is silly and full of personality

She loves to dance, skip, run, color and play.

She's rough and tumble and likes to climb trees...

She rubs her lips on the frayed corner of her purple blankie to calm down... how cute is that?

She adds joy to my life.


She's also a strong willed child.

If you prefer, call her a "spirited child". Heck, call her a "difficult" child. It's the plain truth. She fights  me on almost everything. All day long. She screams if her sock isn't aligned perfectly, says potty words, kicks me in the shin, kicks the back of my car seat, throws things and has melt downs. Call it whatever you want: she gives me grey hairs.

She is birth control. It's true. Just ask my husband.

She has been difficult since birth. For the first 6 months of her life, if she was awake, she was crying. My husband and I point out babies who are awake and not crying. We think it's weird and not fair.

But even at her worst, she's mostly good. No, having a strong willed child isn't "all bad". Besides all of her good qualities, she is also a blessing to me.

God doesn't give anyone challenges just for the heck of it. We are given challenges so that we can grow in character or learn something. Challenges are blessings disguised as difficult situations.

God has given me this spirited child for a reason. I can learn a lot from her. If I look at all of the qualities I will need to possess in order to be a good mom to her - I am looking at a list of the gifts that God is trying to give me. These are the blessings I can learn from my child...

1. Patience
2. Strength
3. Slow to anger
4. How to love the unlovely
5. Kindness
6. Empathy
7. Sensitivity
8. Determination
9. Enjoy the little things
10. How to find peace in all situations

Wow! What a blessing this child is to me!

I hope your day is as blessed as mine!! Ha! :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life Lesson #37: Choices

Sometimes the most obvious truths are "AHA" moments to me. I wonder why I ever had to clarify it for myself in the first place. It's just a quirky thing about me, I guess.

Life Lesson #37:
Seemingly insiginficant choices made now have the potential to imact the quality of your life later. Choose wisely now and you will feel happier, healthier and more peaceful later.

The outcome is determined by the actions.

You reap what you sow.
If you want peace, act peaceful. Stay calm. Don't yell. Show kindness.
If you want to feel healthy, act healthy. Eat good. Exercise.
If you want to feel less rushed, plan ahead. Prepare for the next day. Leave early.
If you want an organized house, act like an organized person. Finish your tasks. Put things away.

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today" - Abraham Lincoln

Practical examples from a real (imperfect) life:

Choosing to pack the kids lunches before bed (now) makes my morning less stressful (later)

Choosing to leave the laundry in the basket for 3 days (now) makes me irritated every time I look at it (later).

Choosing to eat a deep fried chicken sandwich and fries at lunch, instead of a salad (now) makes me feel uncomfortable and dissapointed with myself (later).

Choosing to spend my spare time studying (now) will allow me to feel a sense of accomplishment when I get a good grade on my exam (later)... 100%!

Choosing to yell at my kids instead of staying calm (now) sucks the peace out of my house and makes me feel like a bad mommy (later).

You get the point. Peace. Out.

Hope you are having a wonderful day!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Sad Truth

I haven't felt like posting lately. We've had a rough couple of weeks here in the Plummer household. Both kids were sick and there was a lot of whining going on.

When everyone is happy and healthy, I am excited to post! I love to share about my life and my journey as a mommy. But when things aren't going great, I don't feel like sharing. I don't want to burden anyone with my complaints and sorrows. I would much rather share positive things and spread brightness. But as bright as my life is, it's also real. And real life is sometimes messy.

I shared last week that my youngest daughter was diagnosed with "constipation". She had been having stomach aches off and on, and many potty accidents both at home and at school. We took her to the doctor 2-3 times in two weeks, trying to get to the bottom of this issue. After many tests, the doctor suggested she just needs to poop. But the problem stayed, even after she pooped. And it got much worse.

Last Friday I called the doctor again, telling her that my daughter is in a lot of pain. She was complaining about her vaginal area burning. The doctor said she must have a yeast infection and suggested we give her over the counter cream.

I ended up taking my daughter to the Emergency Room on Saturday afternoon when it because clear that her problem was neither consiptation, nor yeast infection. We left the hospital with two prescriptions. The poor thing had a bladder infection and a vaginal infection.

Just last week, this photo of my daughter made me laugh. When I saw it I thought of a silly little 3 yr old who refused to go potty when she needed to. Now when I look at it, it breaks my heart. Now I see a little girl in serious pain, needing to be fixed but not getting help. She had complained about her vaginal area before, but she complained in the same way she does when  the seam on her sock isn't lined up right, or when she gets peanut butter on her shirt... she would be really upset for 2 minutes and then run off and play happily.

Needless to say, the day I took her to the hospital, her complaints were loud and clear. She was in real pain.

I'm happy to say that she is feeling better now. We haven't had any accidents and she's her playful, happy self. I haven't fully recovered from it yet, as I have so much guilt for not insisting on better treatment weeks ago. I should have known. It all seems so obvious to me now! The million trips to the potty, the accidents, the tummy aches, the fussiness.

I'm also embarrased. Although they say vaginal infections are pretty common in little girls, what does that say about me? That I haven't taught her proper hygeine? Do I not clean the tub well enough?

I can't even begin to tell you how upset I am that the doctors couldn't figure one or both of these problems out in one of our many visits. Effective next  month, we have a new pediatrician.

Anyway, that's my not so perfect life, in a nutshell.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kids are Funny

Here are a few gems my kids surpised me with this week...

We juiced some grapefruit from our tree this week...

Because my daughters mysterious stomach pain was diagnosed as being constipation (she's full of "it"), we have to give her miralax. It's a laxative. She's thrilled to have a special drink - and a reason to get juice. When I was giving it to her today, she got all excited and told her sister, "mommy putted salt in juice for me!!" Yum.

The excitement was contageous, because soon after I started prepping the little ones miralax, my 5 yr old came in asking if she, too, could have some of this special juice. I told her that I would give her some too (she's always a bit backed up too). I told her that it's a laxative. She responded with, "ooohh, that sounds good!". Hmm.

The other night, when putting my daughter to bed, she lovingly pulled my hair back to get a good look at my face. She said, "mommy, when your hair is like this, you look like a teenager... except for here and here (pointing to my eyes) because you have dark circles and wrinkles. You need some sleep". Nice.

My 3 yr old has a tendency to hold her pee for as long as humany possible (sometimes even longer). Unable to walk, many times she does this cross legged, funny little squat walk to the bathroom. If I ask her what she's doing she says, "I breathing". The other day she told me (warning: it's a little gross), "mommy, I breathing from my who-who (our word for privates).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Power Thinking Wednesday - Pity Party Pooper

Today is power thinking Wednesday. It’s not something I plan, it just sort of happens that way. On Wednesdays, I drop the kids off at school and head over to Mission Viejo for a 3 mile walk around a beautiful lake.

It seems that when I power walk, I tend to start power thinking at the same time. Thinking with a purpose. I drafted a super long post last Wednesday too, about the mind/body/spirit connection but didn’t post it for fear it was too long.

Today I was thinking about my attitude. I have noticed a change in my mood lately and consequently, the way I treat others (and by others I actually mean my family). I have been impatient, quick to anger, negative, unkind and just plain not fun to be around. I’m sure my family has grown tired of spending time with me like this. But today I realized that I’m tired of spending time with myself too.

An attitude adjustment was in order, but I wasn’t in the mood to make it happen. Sometimes it’s hard to pep yourself up when you are feeling grouchy. Today I enlisted a little help from the man upstairs.

Normally, I breeze around the lake at a fast clip, sometimes power walking and sometimes running. There is a spot on the path, where the lake peaks out from behind the trees and the lush green foliage builds a quiet sanctuary. It never fails that at this spot, I am taken aback by the view and I think about stopping on the nearby bench to soak up. Usually I just keep on going but today I decided to do just that.

I sat and closed my eyes, listening to the birds chirp. I became aware of the breeze blowing on my face. It was there that I felt God with me. In the silence, I asked for help. In the silence, I got an answer.

In a knowing sort of way, I understood what was going on and what to do to change it. What became clear to me was that I have been feeling sorry for myself too much. In the last two weeks, I have been feeling sorry for myself almost constantly (kids are sick, I’m not getting enough sleep, house is messy, husbands back is sore, no one has manners, kids are fighting… I could go on but you get the picture). I’ve been having a pity party for one. The fruits of this pity were clear: anger, negativity, unhappiness, impatience, unkindness, etc. Basically, the opposite of who I wanted to be.

Then I thought, if feeling sorry for myself is producing the opposite of what I want for myself, maybe I just need to DO the opposite of ‘feeling sorry for myself’ in order to yield opposite results. Is that confusing?

If I feel sorry for myself, it means I am not being grateful. I am not appreciating any of the blessings that I have in my life. I have so been focused on the few bad things that I have missed seeing the many good things. It’s understandable that I have been a grump!

The problem that had, only ten minutes before, felt so overwhelming and complex, suddenly felt so simple and easily rectified.

I felt so much better just knowing what needs to be done. I pulled out my blackberry and started making a list of all the things I am grateful for at this moment. It won’t surprise you to know that my list was very long. I live a blessed life. And I felt better. Way better.

And so my attitude has been adjusted. I am off to write a positive message to myself on my white board… “Don’t miss the abundance of good things by focusing on the few bad things.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Decorating on the Cheap

My husband and I live like college students. I'm not proud. Just honest.

With the exception of a flat screen TV and a sleep number bed, almost all of our furniture was acquired from friends or family. In fact, we have a rule, called the Plummer's Rule. It goes like this: If you want something and are willing to wait long enough, it will fall into your hands. It's true!

note the gorgeous framed artwork ala my 5 yr old daughter

Proof of Plummer's Rule:
coffee table: from sister in law
hideous off white sectional: from a friend 9 yrs ago
small table: good will
white hutch: built by my dad when I was a kid
curtains: from my step mom

Oh, I dream of someday having a magazine worthy house filled with pottery barn furniture. But right now we have messy kids and private school tuition. Note: I'm all for public schools but ours is bottom of the barrel.

But every once in a while, we make a small purchase. And it's always shocking to me how much pleasure I get out of looking at it! Case in point: yesterday we bought a rug for the family room. It's an indoor outdoor rug from Costco. Translation: inexpensive and durable. I wasn't sure about the pattern, but i'm glad I listened to my hubbies input. The colors match my "curtains" perfectly! Curtains are sheets, hemmed and put up on a curtain rod.

poster art, at 37?

The rug gave me the bug to decorate (pardon the pun). So I rearranged our hand me down sectional sofa and bought a few inexpensive red accents at Target today. I heart cranberry red!

Our livingroom is huge. And although I love having a nice, airy room, it's really hard to decorate. There is a giant vaulted ceiling and one big wall with a beam going across the top of the room. We have lived here 9 years and still haven't figured out what to do with this wall. Anyone have any inexpensive ideas for how to decorate this wall (or room!)??

Update on the Gold

photo found here

A couple of you have asked how my husbands swim meet and my training run went. Here's a quick update... they didn't.

Friday I shared that my husband shaved most of his body for a swim meet. He's part of a Masters Swim team and has only recently started competing in tournaments. He was so excited for his second swim meet this weekend, but woke up to a tweaked back on Saturday. The whole reason why he joined the swimming group was because he has a bad back and swimming is one of the only exercise options for him. Plus he's really good at it. His back is feeling much better and hopefully will stay that way so he can enjoy competing again soon. I'll be sure to post photos of him in a speedo at a meet. Ha! (Oh, but I might!).

And remember my early morning Saturday run? That didn't happen either. The kids were up not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times on Friday night - thanks to their various ailments. So when I woke up to pouring rain (as prayed for) I was happy to get right back in bed. I WILL join my training group next week though. I'm signed up for the mud run in June, and the San Francisco Half Marathon in July!!

On the bright side, we are all back to (pretty much) normal! One kid is on antibiotics for an ear infection, and the other, well, she's home sick again complaining of stomach pain. But she'll be better soon. In the meantime, she's redefining crabby!