Tuesday, August 31

Preparing for Preschool

Sometimes I think that the things that happen in my life are simply for the pure comedic pleasure of others around me-- the one's standing by on the sidelines who don't look all sweaty and windblown-- they look like they have their acts together.

 The one's who know right where their calendars and their keys are (because they actually use their calendars and are thoughtful about where they place their keys).

My life is an allegory, a sit-com, a satire about motherhood...


Because we need someone or something to laugh at some days so that we don't cry. 

I was THAT mom today. 

The morning started off on a good note. Ava is starting pre-school next week and in the packet of information I received came an announcement that read, "Stop in between 10 & 11 for our "Meet & Greet" on Tuesday, August 31st."

Well, to me that means to stop in anytime between 10-11 and you can just say hi to the teacher see the classroom quickly and we'll all be on our merry way. 

Well apparently it was also interpreted as come at 10 and stay for a while and let your kids play in the classroom with the other kids. It was interpreted that way by MOST other parents.  

We arrived at the church at 10:40, Ava promptly ran over to the sidewalk, tripped on the curb and scraped her knee-- so now not only were we running behind but I had a crying toddler in my arms while trying to hold Ella's hand so that I wouldn't lose her. 

EVERYONE else was there. EVERYONE. Did I say EVERYONE? We were so evidently the last one's to arrive in a total flurry and with a crying child that several people who knew me asked me if everything was o.k.

I assure them all that everything is fine. "Just off to a late start," I say smiling.  

So...we walk in, in a flurry, scope out the room, wave to a couple of people and Ava's teacher walks over to introduce herself. We'll call her Sally Wilson for the purpose of this story...

"Oh, Hi Sally! Nice to meet you," I say. 

"Hi," she says as she squats down to greet Ava and myself. 

"Ava, say hello to Miss Sally." I look at Ava and then at 'Miss Sally'.

"Actually, it is Mrs. Wilson," she corrects me. 

"Oh...um...Ava, say hello to Mrs. Wilson." 

Mrs. Wilson goes on.

"So if you have Ava's art smock you can put it over there and I can take her medical forms." 

"If I don't have them today I can bring them next week to orientation right?"

"Oh right. That's fine."

[The packet DID say bring them to orientation not open house. I swear!)

So...already...it's not even Ava's first day of preschool and I've broken rules #1, #2, and #3-- evidently the parents of preschoolers are supposed to A) show up early and B) know to call teachers by their last names and not their first, and C) have all supplies ready at open house not orientation. 

We slowly worked our way into the classroom. I sat Ava down on a chair and got her a cold paper towel for her knee and occupied her with a puzzle while I tried to catch my breath. 

Alright Lisa, fill out the information card the teacher handed you....

I look down...

"Please provide:
     Your Name/Child's Name
     email address
     street address
     phone number"

Shit. What is our address? Is it 26, 29? Is it 28?

[I know you all think I'm making this up...but seriously I was SO flustered I couldn't remember my own address]

Come on Lisa...you're an adult. What is your address?

Want to know what I did? 

I walked over to our diaper bag, pulled out my calendar in which I had stuffed the packet of preschool information that arrived at the house and looked at the addressed envelope to find that I in fact live at #28. 

After I fill in the information, sign up for a parent teacher conference and am about to walk out the door I overhear a conversation another mom is having with the teacher. 

"So, should I put a change of clothes in her backpack? Anything else?"

Backpack?!!! Ava needs a backpack. Lisa! Your daughter needs a backpack! You should KNOW these things!

Thank goodness I overheard this conversation because I was about to break rule #4 next week: NEVER EVER send your pre-schooler to school without a labeled backpack!  

So anyway, after we make it out of the room I meet up with a friend whose daughter is also starting preschool. She and I had decided the day prior to grab lunch after the open house. She is mommy to a 3 year old and and almost 1 year old.

2 moms + 4 girls =  well...I know I've done the math on this before and it's not good...I don't know why we thought it would be any different today. 

 The thing is...her girls are great. They sit in their seats, they're well behaved. My girls on the other hand... let's just say the restaurant probably has our pictures posted in the back with warning signs on it for all employees to reference in the future. 

The place was a mob scene first of all, but we figured anywhere else we went would probably be busy and chaotic anyway so we scoped out a row of 5 chairs by the front window, grabbed high-chairs and headed to get in line...Well, go figure, Ella is CRANKY because she has been sitting in a stroller (Oh, I forgot to mention- we went to Carter's to look at fall clothing for the girls beforehand and Ella spent 30 quiet minutes in a stroller while our 3 year olds pulled socks and mittens off racks and played hide and go seek in them)  and has ZERO interest in sitting in a highchair in a busy restaurant and Ava reports that she needs to go to the bathroom. 

I entrust some lady in her 50's who happened to be sitting next to us to watch Ella (she offered...I had no other choice!) and took Ava to the bathroom. We finally get out, get our food and sit down and just as I think I'm going to be able to eat my salad Ella starts pitching a FIT. 

Seriously, the girl has the biggest temper I have ever seen. 

I break up some quesadilla. She bats it to the ground.
I give her some shredded cheese. She kicks and shrieks and bats it away.
I give her a tortilla chip- she says no 8 times, screams and bats it away. 

She goes to reach for Ava's chocolate milk. Ava turns her head. I ask Ava to let her have some and I'll got get her another one. 

Ava starts sobbing! Sobbing! She does not want to share her chocolate milk. 

Screaming toddler batting food. Sobbing toddler clutching chocolate milk. 

I run to the register, cut in front of a dozen people and say to the cashier, "I'm so sorry. I really need a chocolate milk. My children are having a fit."

She obliges, grabs me one, and cashes me out quickly. 

I take it back to Ella. 

She screams . She says NO. NO. NO. She tries to bat the chocolate milk out of my hand. 

I finally take her outside because she is having such a fit. She calms down for a moment. I take her back inside and the tantrum ensues. 

Three minutes later we decide I should just take my food to go. 

I throw the girls in the car...my purse, leftovers and shopping bag are sitting on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant unattended while I do this, but I can't carry the girls and all that stuff. 

Some random lady comes running out of the restaurant. 

"Miss! Miss! You forgot your stroller!" 

"Yes. Thank you. I know." 

Can she not see that I don't have 8 arms?! 

I put my bags in the car. I run in, get the stroller, throw it in the car and we start driving home. 

Ella continues screaming. SCREAMING. I try turning the music up, she screams louder. I offer her water and binkies, she screams louder.  I finally stop the car on the side of the road, get out, open her door, hold her hands down in her lap, push her binky in her mouth and hold her until she calms down. 

She finally does. 

She doesn't say a word the rest of the way home. 

We make it home and she's smiling again. 

Oi! Girls. 

So anyway, I've decided that preschool is more for me that it is for Ava. It is a chance for me to get into the groove of being a responsible parent. Of getting my children up and dressed. Getting them fed and out the door ON TIME! It is a chance for me to learn the protocol that I OBVIOUSLY did not get the memo on...you know, the one all the other parents got! 

So...if I'm missing anything else here let me know...I'm hoping to be on top of things a little more going forward if not for my own sake than in an attempt to not embarrass my child...because as a former high-school teacher, I've seen those parents who are good at embarrassing their children!

Here's to Happier Preschool Days and my becoming a more organized momma! 

Tuesday, August 17

Mommy Friends and Children's Laughter

You'd be crying if your house looked like this too...


How does one's house get THIS messy SOOOO quickly! 

I won't go into details about how I think the house got this way (a.k.a. I left the girls alone with Daddy last night (while I helped a friend with a baby registry and then went grocery shopping) who is an incredibly playful father, but not so much a multi-tasker when it comes to taking care of the children and cleaning up in their wake!) 

But, nonetheless, the house was messy and it makes me a bit crazy when it gets like that and while I didn't exactly cry about the house being messy it added to my sensitivities this morning that things felt like they were falling apart at the seams. 

The story gets better....

Shortly after we woke up, I heard Ava saying to Scott, "Daddy, can I watch this movie?" 

One glance at the DVD cover had me saying "Oh Crap!" Because the said movie was "A Bug's Life" and it belonged to the Lancaster Library like SIX DAYS AGO. 

Now, first I thought that the damage was a mere $6, which would have been bad enough ($1 a day for every day that it is late).  We took out 4 movies last week before we left for NJ and I thought I had taken them back to the library. When I saw "A Bug's Life" in Ava's hand I logged online quickly to check my account status. 
Imagine the look on my face when I saw that not only had "A Bug's Life" not been returned but neither had the other 3. Go ahead, do the math...That's right folks, $24 stinkin' dollars in late fees! (there are the movies on my messy table!)

In my slight defense, we got back from NJ last week and in the process of pulling all of the stuff out of the car and putting things away, the movies got stuck at the bottom of a big "put away" pile that evidently never got "put away".  

I was REALLY down on myself. I think because this was a manifestation of a lot of things going on in my life lately; all said things leaving my brain screaming "Lis, you NEED to get your act together. YOU ARE the mother now!" 

A few other bonehead things I've done in the last two months:  
  • I missed Ava's 3 year checkup not once but TWICE; the first time because I hadn't written it down, the second time it turned out to be scheduled while we were on vacation and I while had written it down this time I temporarily misplaced the calendar it was written on!  

  • I've had a bunch of other less significant library fees. 

  •  I missed the 3- year birthday party of one of my other closest high-school friends' sons because I hadn't written it on the calendar! 
As you can see I really do need to work on remembering things here. 

As frustrated as I was, I held it together with hopes that maybe the librarian would grant me some reprieve when I told her my sad story. Not so much. 

That's when the tears came! 

Fortunately, not while I was standing in front of the librarian-- I held it together there. But, as soon as we walked away, tears, tears, tears. Enough that I avoided looking at several other people as we walked out to our car. 

I'm a pretty sensitive person, so this will come as no surprise to those who know me well...for those of you who don't, please don't feel badly...it doesn't take much to get me to cry. 

We got home, I made the girls some lunch and then several things happened to cheer me up...namely, sympathy from some mommy friends and the laughter of my children. 

I called my friend Sarah from MA earlier today-- she and I have a LOT in common-- she simply said, "Lisa, you're sounding more and more like me. I'm notorious for showing up at the doctor's office on the wrong day or at the wrong time and we had to pay a $19 fine for overdue books and movies earlier this year!" 

Whew. I'm not the ONLY one! 

Several other facebook friends admitted to similar foibles and recommended that I sign up for email notifications from the library which I plan to do before the day is out! 

Then, as I was cleaning the kitchen the girls started playing this silly game in which Ava threw a bouncy ball into the laundry basket and dug around for it until they could find it. When they found the ball Ella would cackle so hard all you could do was laugh with her-- it was infectious-- and then Ava started laughing at Ella who was laughing.

Shortly after the laughing ball game Ava and I headed upstairs to get her settled down for her nap. I was reading her "The Little Mermaid" and when we got to this page in the book the commentary that ensued had me cracking up...

"MOMMY! Look at her boobies!"

I ignore her and keep reading. 

"MOOOMMYY! Look at her boobies!" 

at which point I crack a smile. 

"MOMMY. Her boobies are bigger than yours!" 

At which point I can no longer hide my amusement and start laughing aloud. Ava thinks it's hilarious that she's gotten this kind of reaction so now she just starts saying, "Boobies. Boobies. Boobies!" 

Now I feel like I'm an 6th grader in health class all over again...laughing aloud at what I know is ridiculous and inappropriate, but really quite funny out of the mouth of a 3 year old! 

I put Ava down for her nap, took one myself, got up and had a cup of coffee. Though the day hasn't completely turned itself around I think that we owe ourselves to laugh and enjoy the little moments of joy as much as we can tend to get upset about the little moments of frustration. 

When we think we may be the only one's royally screwing up as parents in one department or the other, chances are we are A) probably wrong in our thinking that we are the only one's and B) are sometimes crumbling over things that, while they might cause momentary irritation, have really not affected anyone's well being (except our own!) at all! 

Here's to tomorrow being a better day and to attempts to not make mountains out of molehills.

Monday, August 16

An Act of Laundry Defiance

Since I just had a "not me" moment and realized it was Monday I figured it was meant to be that I join the Not Me! Monday blog carnival ( hosted by McMamma-click here for more!).

So this is how the "not me" moment began...

Well, it actually began weeks ago when I started hitting up garage sales and end of summer consignment shop clearance sales in search of items that, while they may have technically been summer merchandise, would be appropriate for my growing girls come fall, i.e.: sweaters, pants, jeans, etc.

I had gathered several piles of clothing; one in 18-24 mos. and another in 4T. It has been sitting in our spare bedroom where I sort laundry just waiting to be tended; it has been staring and looming at me, in addition to all of the "normal" laundry. Here is where the "not me" part starts...because I would NEVER do anything like this!

Since I ALWAYS wash things from the store before dressing my children in them (wink. wink.) I would never decide to just throw all of those gently used clothing pieces from complete strangers into a laundry basket and whisk said laundry basket down to the basement for a bit of a non-traditional laundry treatment.

Furthermore I would NEVER decide that it would be a completely ridiculous waste of my time to launder all of those clothes before my children were to wear them based on the very known fact that they are going to dirty them all within miliseconds of putting them on and I would be washing them soon enough anyway.

I would never then throw all of those said clothing items into my dryer, with not one but TWO dryers sheets in an effort to reduce the smell of attic and consignment store.

AND, I would certainly never pull said clothes out of the dryer, sniffing them and agreeing they smelled enough better than they had before that they were perfectly acceptable to hang in my children's closets and await fall.

Because I would never do any of this I certainly DID NOT hear voices in my head, namely my husbands and my mother-in-laws, screaming "OMG. LISA. That's DISGUSTING!"

And lastly, because I would never do any of this, will not feel obliged to tell ANYBODY which clothing pieces they are!

So...if you happen to see my children in early fall, and catch a whiff of "attic" or "consignment shop" you can rest assured it is NOT coming from my lovely children because their mother would NEVER do such a thing...so take your littler sniffers elsewhere and let's all get on with life!!!

He. He. He.

(p.s. perhaps if I had a gorgeous looking backyard and clothing line like the one pictured here I could have considered "not" just hanging them outside instead!)

Friday, August 13

Diet Check In

Alright, so here is a little breakdown of what has been going on with the diet.

First of all, it works!

It probably should not come as a surprise that when, for the first time in my LIFE, I stick to a plan to cut calories that it would result in some sort of weight loss. In the defense of my love for food I have allowed myself to live in denial for a very long time that I was eating poorly, which translated into, "Lisa, you eat very healthy foods, your weight shouldn't be a problem. Just try to exercise a little more and it will go away."

Yes, I did eat healthy foods and LOTS of them, along with other things, that while not "unhealthy" in and of themselves (the pasta, cheese, mayo, salad dressings, bread, etc.) they were adding up over the course of the day and allowing me to maintain the weight that I was at instead of ever losing a pound no matter how much running, walking, jumping, skipping or standing on my head I may have tried to do. I also snacked A LOT, especially late at night.

So, in the two and half weeks that I have been on the diet I've lost about 7lbs. which is quite significant for me!

I'm excited that I have found a system that is manageable for me, that WORKS and which allows me to eat food that I think is really tasty. In a nutshell it allows for about 1,600 calories a day, or roughly three "meals", all of which must include a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid such as oil, nuts, avacado, seeds, olives or dark chocolate (yes, chocolate is part of this plan!).  The MUFA's allow you to feel full longer and are really good for your body so it is a win/win situation.

I have a learned a TON about myself and my eating habits in the last couple of weeks. I have learned how little 1,600 calories can be, which means I've realized I was probably eating upward of 2,500 calories on many days before!

I've learned it's o.k. to be hungry for a little while, I'm not going to turn to dust!

I've learned that you don't need all the extras all the time; the mayo, the butter, the extra cheese and bread, etc.

I've learned that my eating in the evenings was a very emotional process; I was tired and overwhelmed from a long day of taking care of the girls and I was "rewarding" or comforting myself with food. Lately, if I'm STARVING at night and I've reached my calorie total for the day I'll allow myself a rice cake with 1/2 a wedge of laughing cow cheese- a 55 calorie snack-- with a big glass of water. It takes the edge of and I make it through the night.

If any of you are looking for a diet plan I would highly recommend this; I suppose you have to like the foods that are on it. My mother in law, for example was laughing at me because she despises avacado and all things olive, so it might not be the best option for her! (I've been eating a LOT of avacado's, olives and olive tapenades!). They sell the books at Target, next time you are there check them out...I really like the Family Cookbook (see image) for recipes.

It caught my attention because there is a picture of a pasta dish on the front and a recipe for mac & cheese inside! And, yes, I can have those things, but in MUCH smaller portions than I've ever eaten them before.

Wednesday, August 11

Traveling With Toddlers

Traveling with toddlers is...well, just plain nutty.

We just got back from a trip to New Jersey where we visited Scott's mom. It was a wonderful trip- we did some fun things with the girls, it was great to see Scott's mom and have the girls spend some quality time with her, and she was so sweet to watch the girls on a number of occasions so that Scott and I could do some things together as well. I feel rested and rejuvenated from having been away from the day to day grind of life and from having had some one on one time with Scott.

All that said, the car rides to and from New Jersey, well, they were not so fun. Painful at times if I must be honest.

When women tell you that the years go so fast and that these are the best years and to cherish every moment, well blah, blah, blah...I get what they are saying BUT they CANNOT be talking about a 6 hour each way, 12 hour total ride in the car with toddlers. This part of life has GOT to get easier.

I won't go into long tedious details here, but to summarize-- on the trip there I don't think Ava stopped talking for more than 22 minutes total and let's see, if the trip took 7 hours total (with stops) that is 22 out of 420 minutes! That means there were approximately 398 minutes of constant requests, complaints,  shrieking, whining and, when we were lucky, some plain old questions and conversation.

There were the "are we there yet?" "are we closer?" "does Nanner live at the end of this street?" questions.

And then there were the "what do you have for me?", "can I watch a movie?" "can you read me a book?" "can you play with me?""can I have a snack?" "can I have some candy?" "can I have ANYTHING?" questions.

And then the "I have to pee", "the sun is in my eyes" "my legs hurt" "i want to get out of the car" requests.

And the "No Ella! You can't do that" statements. Yes, poor Ella gets bossed around, even in the car!

I did not photograph the 1/2 of box (literally) of Cherrioes that dumped on the floor behind the passenger seat, or the gooey carmel mess left in Ava's cup holder from her McDonald's apple dippers, or the smashed orange cheese cracker, raisin conncoction stuck in and around the back seats. Nor did I photograph the random toys, books, crayons, marker tops and stickers thrown to the floor.

If you have small kids I'm sure you've seen versions of this very scenario yourself.

I think some people are lucky. While I can't claim that all other kids are good in the car at all other times (I swear, I'm not having a "Woe is me moment!") I do know that, for example, when I drove with my girlfriend Sarah to Michigan in April, an 8+ hour car ride each way, her girls slept for a couple of hours each offering some nice, quiet, downtime.

Not ours. Oh no. That would be a waste of time. I mean, who wants to sleep in the car when you can shriek and whine and eat peanut butter sandwiches and raisins?

And if you had seen our car, well, you would have thought that perhaps we were the Beverly Hillbillies...our 2000 Passat wagon has seen better days internally and externally. The trunk was jammed to the top with bikes and clothes and food and toys and the car top carrier that held the rest of the food and clothing and toys necessary for 2 adults and 2 children is actually cracked so besides looking pretty crappy we're lucky it didn't rain!

As a matter of fact Scott got pulled over on the way home for momentarily crossing over a double yellow line while trying to fix the portable DVD player for Ava.  I am convinced that the  reason the officer didn't give Scott a ticket is that he felt so bad for this poor guy with two kids in the backseat, and so much crap brimming over and out of every nook and cranny, that we looked like a traveling yard sale, that he just let him off with a lecture about his responsiblities as a driver, especially as a dad, and a warning to keep a better eye on the road!

I did manage to snap a few shots on our way back.

(The girls were actually MUCH better on the way home...a moment where they are both entertained!)

(I recently bought this clipboard for Ava and would recommend one for EVERY traveling toddler. It is a GREAT surface for coloring, stickers, etc. You can see her cupholder became the marker holder!)

(Ella is a little small for a clipboard and when I turned around and saw THIS and almost yelled and took the marker away Scott so calmly said, "Lis, she's happy. Leave her alone." And so I did. And so we took a bath later. I mean, hey, they're called "washable" for a reason right?!)

(Ella is trying to figure out how to smile. When you say, "Ella, Smile for the camera!" you get the funniest darned faces!)

(Scott. After 5 hours in the car!)

(A blurry picture of NYC taken from my i-phone the night we went into the city by ourselves!)

(a blurry i-phone photo of the DELICIOUS Caprese salad we had for dinner in NYC. This dinner momentarily wooed me away from my diet without ANY regrets! That is homemade stinkin' pesto on top...mmmmm....yummy!)

So, all in all, a good trip. Trying to get back into the swing of things over here. The car is unpacked but our bags are not...one day, one task at a time! 

Wednesday, August 4

Mealtime Madness and other Misc. Meanderings

Mealtimes are just plain nutty...

The crazy part is, when you add up all the time you spend on them,  you swear they take up like 2/3 of a mommas life: between the planning, the shopping, prepping, preparing, managing and then cleaning up afterwards-- it so often feels like it's time to make the girls lunch shortly after breakfast ends! 

Mealtimes are especially difficult when your children are on a food strike...Ella is on one right now. I made her eggs this morning (one of her favorites!) and they were a no go, as were the blueberries, the toast and the yogurt. 

I gave her a ham sandwich this afternoon...not so much...Same with the cheese, craisins and applesauce...

Seriously, the only thing she will eat these days is baby food. In between breakfast and lunch this morning I managed to get her to eat an entire jar of baby food while sitting on my lap on the middle of our kitchen floor. 

I know she has molars coming in BUT it makes you crazy as a mom because you know that not only are they going to be crabby because they're teething, but now also because they're hungary too!! I was ready to offer her a piece of chocolate cake after lunch, just to get her to eat something!!

At the end of the day (or  the meal!) the "experts" all say that kids bodies are pretty good at indicating what they need and what they don't so I guess I just have to trust that she's getting what she needs for now. 

This was Ella's chair after lunch this afternoon (it was worse than it looks, I swear!)...

I've decided she is going to be one of those kids that tries to hide broccoli under the table and/or in her shorts when she gets older! She is constantly jamming food into the side of her chair...I swear to you, this food did not simply fall, it was deliberately placed there! 

AND, as if it wasn't crazy enough with trying to get Ella to eat and have her fling half her food at me and shove the rest down to her side, as I was trying to get Ella to start on her lunch I went to grab Ava from the backyard and found this...

"AVA!!!! WHAT! IS! ON! YOUR! FACE???" I asked. 
"Sunscreen," she says innocently. 
"Oh dear!"
"What mommy?"
"Oh nothing...come here...actually, let me take your picture and then come here!" 

At least she gets that she needs sunscreen when it is 85 degrees outside...

So Ella sat screaming in her high chair because she was crabby and done and I still wanted her to eat and Ava started screaming  from the bathroom because when she tried to get the sunscreen off her face it started to burn her eyes and mouth! 

I ran to Ava (at least Ella was contained), helped her, threw her lunch at her and then just stared at Ella...

All the while, mind you, I am STARVING! 

THE hardest part about being on a diet is being a mom on a diet. I'm trying to figure the whole thing out, like the timing of meals and such, but by the time we got home from the library this morning the girls needed to eat asap and so with a GROWLING belly I made sandwiches, cut fruit, poured milk, found paper plates and tried to feed Ella applesauce...

Finally, I gave up and put Ella and the remaining half of her string cheese on the couch in front of a Baby Einstein, finished my salad and let me tell you...

...we had pure, SILENT, peaceful, bliss for the next 20 minutes, as I finally sat to eat my lunch and the girls recited words like "chair", "house", "table", and "phone" as Marlee Matlin taught them sign language for them. 

I have a serious love/hate relationship with the television these days...I HATE the idea of sticking my children in front of it to calm them down, to serve as a babysitter, to give them something to do, but lately I LOVE that it does sometimes calm them down and buy me a few minutes of no screaming, no climbing, no craziness, no fighting, no whining...boy, give them a lollipop and an episode of Curious George and SCORE! 

I would never do that for real. I swear! 

wink. wink. wink. 

On a happy mommy note...I LOVE my babysitter Ashely! She is THE best! Truly...she loves my children and most importantly she loves God and is the sweetest 20 year old I have met in a LONG time and I am so blessed to have found her. 

When I came home yesterday I found these on our patio table out back...

What I LOVE about Ashely is that I had absolutely nothing to do with this. She got all of the supplies out and must have taken the girls out back on her own accord...painted with them, cleaned them up and left the finished product on the table for me to find. 

Yesterday, Ashley's mother dropped her off because her car is in the shop and I was reminded that Ashley is so sweet because her mother is as equally as wonderful a person! Her mom was actually my 6th grade Health/Gym teacher at a local Christian school her and is still teaching there. 

When she dropped Ashely off yesterday she was telling me stories about how when her children were younger and she was trying to figure out whether or not to keep working she remembered praying and saying, "God, if you want me to keep teaching you have to bring me the BEST babysitter."

God answered her prayers with a pastor's wife, a retired elementary school teacher, and eventually a former student, all on separate and needed occasions. 

I think it's so cool that this mom, who prayed for the BEST person to care for her children has raised such a wonderful daughter who has been an answer to MY prayers for the BEST person to take care of my children! 

I've told Ashley she is NEVER allowed to go away to school, get married or engage in any other activity or venture that would take her away from me! 

And, while I'm thinking about it, Ashley is the product of not just a wonderful family, but also of the said Christian school her mom teaches at, which sometimes makes me think all the more about wanting to send Ava there even though I may eventually need to get a job to do so! 

Anyways...the girls will be up soon and I have a cup of coffee to drink before round two begins.

By the way, this is the cup I grab when I'm needing any extra measure of a reminder that God does love us and will help us through our tasks as moms!  My brother gave it to me for Christmas...such a sweet gift. 
Hope your afternoons are happy!