NaBloPoMo: DONE. (+ A Peak Behind The Curtain)

I did it. BARELY. But I did it. I only had ONE day where I kinda missed but I declared since it was STILL the same day somewhere in the U.S. (Hawaii) then I was okay. And I think that works. That’s not TOO far of a stretch.

I thought I’d show you guys a snapshot of my dashboard, but in grabbing a screen grab I remembered that I’ve been needing to do something for AWHILE now. Back in the ole days of this blog, I would randomly change the password and let you all log in and write things on it. Usually it was like, “Tell your secrets here!” or “Vent here!” but recently someone remembered they had done that or something and asked if I would delete it and I had TOTALLY FORGOTTEN that I had done that! And I’ve been meaning to just delete them all for a LONG TIME. I mean, I don’t have time to read them all and ask people – but when my blog started getting a little more traffic I probably should have removed those things anyway. I just forgot. SO. I think I got them all and NOW my dashboard is all entries I wrote myself. I hope! Here’s the before/after! (And it shows you how many people wrote to my blog! Cool, huh?)

dashboard

That’s a LOT of posts. So, obviously I don’t need NaBloPoMo too much for reminding me to post. But it’s still a great motivation because I do still ebb and flow with my content over here.

Although – like with running – it’s a part of my routine so I always feel better when I’ve posted something!

Thanks for bearing with the good and the bad days of NaBloPoMo!

Something About MY Coffee at MY House…

This is my first morning waking up in my own house with my own coffee in three days and finally I feel like all is right with the world.

I would not really say, “I love coffee” in any situation because – as a general flavor or indulgence – I don’t really like it. In terms of home-brewed coffee I really only like MY coffee from MY pot with MY creamer/almond milk/sweetener. If you take one piece out of the puzzle, it doesn’t ever seem to work. I’ve brought my own creamer/sweetener/etc places before – on vacations etc – and it still doesn’t taste right because it’s done in someone else’s pot. I drank a cup of black coffee this weekend because I had the headache from hell and I was hoping it would help, but that might have been the only cup of black coffee I’ve ever had in my WHOLE LIFE.

I don’t even like Starbucks. HOWEVER – I do have ONE drink I really like and I indulge on once in awhile but it’s a $5 drink so it really is a treat/reward. I get the vanilla soy lattes and it’s REALLY good. But it’s a lot like my coffee – where the “coffee” flavor is just the hint behind something else. At home I use Hazelnut grounds and vanilla flavored powder.

But man – even as a not “real” coffee drinker – I’m still totally addicted. When we were gone for an extended weekend 2 years ago I actually brought my Keurig and stuff with me. It’s a one-person machine so it fits in one of my re-usable grocery bags so I brought it and plugged it in, in our room. I TAKE IT THAT SERIOUSLY.

Anyone else? Just me?

Cutting it SOOOO Close…

We made it back from Louisiana, it was a whirlwind trip and I’m exhausted but it was great. The kids both stayed invisible for hours while they hung out with cousins and I got to actually hang out and converse with adults without chasing Wesley down and begging him to quit talking about farting and balls (his two favorite subjects) everywhere he went.

It was great.

Wes doesn’t really have anyone his EXACT age but I thought he’d do okay with the boys who were in the 9-10 range. Nope. He hung out with the teenagers, deciding that Donnie’s 18-year old cousin was his new best friend. It was hysterical. And because these boys are just good guys, they totally welcomed him into the fold on the basketball court. I went out to bring him in for pictures and he was the youngest by AT LEAST 7 years. Yet he still turned to the adult-sized boys out there when he left the court and said, “I’ll be right back guys.”

It was hysterical.

IMG_3230What was also hysterical was that he took his basketball shoes off to play basketball. Doing THIS to his socks. When I asked WHY? he said, “Because my feet were cold. And the shoes were cold. So they were making my feet colder.”

OF COURSE THEY WERE.

All in all? Great trip. Too short. And now I’m getting the kids ready for a 10K/5K tomorrow. I’m ready for bed and JUST BARELY made it to NaBloPoMo!

What Keeps Us Sane On Road Trips

Neither of our kids have tablets or devices that they have free reign to play with. On special events or occasions or when we’re just desperate for a quiet dinner out – we’ll let Wes use our iPhones but that’s about it. The only screen they have to help them on road trips is the movie screen built into the van.

I’m very glad someone told me early on in my van ownership, “Don’t use the DVD player around town. Save it for road trips. It won’t do ANY good on long drives if they’re used to it around town.”

And man…I’m so glad they suggested this! Because it is SO TRUE. They truly look forward to watching movies in the van on a road trip because it’s so rare that they get to do just that. So, it tends to entertain them a little more. Which makes the trip a little less painful.

We’re heading 6+ hours away this afternoon, so when you’re reading this we’ll be in Slidell, Louisiana with Donnie’s family. I don’t know if we even have any good movies to take this trip – we usually rent from Red Box – but I’m hoping we find something to keep them sane because we are traveling at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME. It will be rush hour in Birmingham AND we’re traveling on the heaviest travel day of the year AND it’s Ironbowl weekend and we have to drive through Tuscaloosa.

Lose. Lose. Lose.

You know what? Screw this. We’re going to Red Box.

(P.S. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!)

Unexpected Gifts

I’ve had the joy of being on the receiving end of dozens and dozens of unexpected gifts in my adult life. Whether it’s hand-made stuff from my mother-in-law who has cornered the market on Best Personal Gift Ever, or whether it was an accidental headband purchase by my husband who THOUGHT he was purchasing a face buff but ended up being one of my favorite headbands! I’m a lucky girl, is what I’m saying.

But as Christmas creeps up I think of my kids asking for gifts, and how some of my most treasured gifts are ones I didn’t ask for.

IMG_1772 I’ve mentioned my Ewok before – but it was random gift on my 10th birthday. I didn’t ask for it, although I might have asked for a stuffed animal. Yet that little thing went with me EVERYWHERE my ENTIRE EXISTENCE. Even now it is still my favorite pillow, and it goes in my “Go Bag” when we’re under a tornado warning. I tried to recreate this attachment with E, giving him random stuffed animals in his childhood. I even bought him a “new” Ewok on Ebay one year so we could be twins! But he didn’t connect with any of them.

Not a birthday or Christmas seems to go by without me making at least ONE attempt to buy something NOT on the list in an effort to really surprise them and to HOPEFULLY create an unexpected attachment to something they didn’t even know they wanted. I will say that I’ve been suprised by some things my kids have been attached to – like Lego men. Wes will build a lego set and enjoy it, but then he’ll take the PERSON out of the set and carry it around for days. It’s really weird. I wish I could request anyone getting rid of Legos to send us JUST the people from the sets.

In reality – my kids are probably too pampered to become too attached to ONE thing. They have TONS more stuff than I had growing up. So much stuff that Wes has forgotten what all I’ve taken away recently as punishment. He cried that day but has since forgotten.

I have a lot of friends who love me and sometimes treat me to random surprises and this makes ME The spoiled one in the world. I want to be the kind of person that does the same thing to others, and I have to small degrees, but there have been many gray days brightened because of unexpected gifts from friends.

Do you have any stories of Unexpected gifts that left a mark on your life? What about things you’ve given your kids that they didn’t ask for?