Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sometimes You Need...

People who care, especially when you are in ministry (or the military). 

I write this blog because I'm tired.  I'm not tired of ministry, I'm tired in ministry.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I love ministry, and this blog reflects zero on how Aaron feels, and quite frankly, he's off doing ministry and doesn't even know I'm writing this.  I guess I needed to mention that before I offend people, because if there is one thing that I've learned in ministry, it is easy to offend people (even if you have zero intentions of doing so).  Just forget to take your hat off when you walk into a sanctuary.  Just saying.  (And I'm not advocating wearing hats in sanctuaries, but I am advocating showing others the same grace we've received by Jesus.) 

Anyway - this blog actually was not intended to talk about why I'm tired in ministry right now, though that could be a blog all in its own, but rather a look back at the sweet people, or events, that recognized our needs and have gone above and beyond to meet those needs... kind of a two fold blog that says "thanks from the Gregg's for those of you who take the time to really notice our needs and meet them" and a "how to bless those who minister among you" blog for all of those in churches everywhere. 

(Another side note:  this is not all inclusive.  We've been blessed a lot by a lot of people.  But these are the big neon signs that say "so - and - so noticed at just the right time and expected nothing in return.")  Also - I've left names out, for a lot of reasons. 

  • An amazing pastor friend who required Aaron to take off extra time when he put in extra time... a constant reminder of the importance of family.  This one is a big one and wasn't necessarily a one time event- but was a huge blessing in our lives.
  • A different pastor friend who handed Aaron the keys to his cabin on the lake and $30 - then said, "take a few days, turn off your phones, go spend some time with your wife, and go to this restaurant and have a nice dinner... on me."  THEN - when we commented on how much we enjoyed a game of theirs at their cabin - they found that game - which was out of production, and got it for us as a gift.  Amazing thought and a very much needed few days away.  
  • Another dear friend who has been awesome at providing us with family pictures, pictures of our babies, engagement pictures, and even our wedding pictures.  The kindness of this family is such a precious gem to us.  
  • The same family who, just weeks ago, came to me and said, "Give us your children for the afternoon, take a break, take a nap, spend some time together, and take a load off."  Want to bless your pastor, youth pastor, choir director, or even just your neighbor.  Don't just offer to watch their children... make them tell you a time that you can do so and encourage them to spend some time together as a couple.  Childcare has been some of the most precious gifts for us.  And just a side note on this one: a lot of times offering to watch children isn't enough.  Sometimes we need that extra 'push' so that we feel like you actually want to do this for us.  I know 100 people who have offered to watch our kids, but maybe 10 of those that I actually have a number for, and fewer of those who have actually expressed any desire to actually watch them after the initial offer.
  • The many friends in our lives who have been 'sounding boards' in various ministries.  Two families here stick out heavily in my brain (one of which has been in ministry as well and who knows the stresses), and another couple, probably the only couple (Mark and Jenny, well, and Clay, though he's not a 'couple' :) ),  who will ever really know what being on the road was like for us.  They could offer counsel and sympathy where others had no idea what we were feeling or experiencing.  Friendships like these are irreplaceable.  Ministry is hard, it is taxing, it can wreck havoc on families, relationships, and children, and good friends who understand this and care for you are the ones who can say, "Hey, how has your relationship been with your wife lately?" or "Have you been praying with Bryton?  Maybe you should take a day and just spend with your family."  Those are the ones that really care for us enough to care about the spiritual and relational well being of the family.  When the family is 'off kilter', ministry in a church setting is never as effective either.  If only people would realize this... It was even brought up in our Sunday school class the other day that pastor's kids are typically the ones that are the most rebellious or hardened to 'church' (as poor Lindsay sat right there).  And I really got to thinking - this bullet is probably why.  Somewhere along the lines we've expected so much of our pastors that we've asked them (maybe not with words, but with expectations and calendars) to sacrifice their ministry to their families for the ministry of the church.  If one studies scripture they will find that our first ministry is to our families.  Just read some in Deuteronomy... especially chapter 6.  We're supposed to be passing our faith on to our children, the church is a place to grow in that faith and find fellowship, support, encouragement and accountability, but faith is to be cultivated, encouraged, and passed on at home.  And sometimes one way to cultivate and encourage that faith is by building a relationship with your children by being able to make their baseball game rather than sitting in a luncheon with the WMU.  Just saying.  (And I use that as an example because our church doesn't have a WMU.)
  • Those people who see your tiredness and can genuinely say, "We appreciate you and we love you."  The key word here is genuinely.  I could go into a whole soap box and monologue about how easy it is to mess this up, but rather than focus on what not to do (because there are so many "what not to dos" in this situation) I'll just say this:  there are very, very few people who have this down pat.  I'll even mention a few names here, Sarah and Amber - thanks for being this kind of person for us - always.  There are a few other families that fall in this category for us, and they are spread all over the place.  A few here in town, and others all across the United States. 
  • Food.  We're definitely baptist, but who wouldn't list this as a blessing.  Specifically in situations where life is difficult.  For example:  right after pushing out one large 10 pound child (and at a previous time with an 8 pound child).  We did not go hungry, and no, we did not have to eat out every meal.  For a week, both times, meals were provided for us every evening, prepared, warm, in disposable (or easily washable) containers, and were not only delicious but provided for us something that I was not physically up to the task of preparing for my family.  People who coordinate this are GOD SENDS!  Needs being met!
  • I'll mention another name, because it cannot be described any other way.  Ms. Fern.  She sports a huge, legitimate smile, she's always encouraging, she really cares how we are doing, not as ministers, but as people.  Awww, Ms. Fern.  
  • Art Dearmond and Dave King - special friends in ministry when ministry was really hard.
  • Pulling in your driveway to see a sweet soul on a ladder cleaning out the gutters of a house you recently bought... without ever asking, and who was hoping to not be caught doing it.  Wow. 
  • Home cooked meals when we were on the road... because we never had them! 
And this is just to name a few.  Sometimes when you're tired it's helpful to remember those who have blessed you in the past. 

Well, off to be a blessing to my offspring, who are now awake.  They'll go to bed another night without their daddy.  Hopefully we'll make up for that tomorrow. 


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let's Talk About Royal Weddings

Maybe I'm the only one in the world that doesn't get it.  And it could be because I'm ignorant.  I'm just throwing that into the equation right now.  That could very possibly be the case.  But I can't understand what all of the hype is about...
I mean - I've heard about it all week on television... people have been talking about it on facebook, it's all over the news... WHY?
They are two above average people (by society's standards), who live together and are finally getting married.  It's unsure if Kate will actually get to be a 'princess' when this is all over (The queen gets to decide? What's up with that?  I learned that on the news, by the way.), so I'm just not getting it.
I'm sure there was a day where Prince and Princesses who married was important and lavish, etc (not to say it's not lavish now, yeesh), but what is the importance today? 
Personally - the only hype I can see in it is that it satisfies a lot of people's (especially women's) 'fairy tale' dream.  The prince marries the princess (uh hem, maybe), and they live happily ever after. 
But we all know that wasn't necessarily true of Diana.  I've learned more about her in the past few days than I've known my whole life, like her adulteress affair... really?  Had no idea.  (Ironically enough, I remember where I was when she died... I was spending the night at my grandma's house and she was scratching my back when the news reports started flooding the television.  Even then, though unbelievably sad, I was trying to understand where this fairy tale world was where they still had 'princesses'.)
And to be honest - the part of the wedding that I think about the most is that a son will be getting married absent the presence of his mother... and how sad that must be for him, but if the mother were able to 'feel' at the moment, how devastating it would be for her.  I can't imagine not being able to see my babies walk down the aisle, or find love, or insert any milestone here that you wish.  It's outside of our nature.  In fact, I would imagine, though completely a guess, that if Diana had even a moment to comprehend and think about life before she passed, I'd guess she'd think about not being at her babies weddings... and what their lives would be like without her.  Life may go on without us (as mothers) around, but we sure like to think that it'd be much more difficult without us... and maybe it is... and maybe it's not.
That all being said, I've come to this:  With all of the hype with this royal wedding, all of the media, all of the fanfare, all of the lavishness, it reminds me that there is a wedding coming, where Jesus will take His bride, the church, and there will be a wedding above all weddings... more lavish, more beautiful, more important even than the royal wedding of William and Kate.  And at that time all 'kingdoms' will fall, and all 'rulers' will crawl before the throne of God.  That'll be a wedding worth making a fuss over.


8 Weeks

There's not many things we can do in 8 weeks. 

We can't finish a normal college course.  We can't lose all of the weight we want to lose.  We can't learn a new trade, become a millionaire, or, in today's world, probably even get a new job. 

Normally, your life doesn't change over a time span of just 8 weeks. 

But mine did :)

8 weeks ago I learned what it meant to become the mother of a girl.  8 weeks ago I learned how it's possible to have two children, love them exactly the same, but yet still appreciate and love their differences.  8 weeks ago life was easy and it seemed difficult.  Now, I'm sleeping better and it seems impossible at times... but a good impossible.  8 weeks ago I held a daughter in my arms for the first time... she stared through me and I loved her anyway.  Today, she looks right at me and smiles. 

8 weeks ago I began learning how to balance the needs of a 2 year old and the needs of a newborn.  8 weeks ago I began to really appreciate my play time with Bryton for possibly the first time ever.  8 weeks ago I realized that my Bryton wasn't a baby anymore.  I realized his feet were huge, his little baby chub is gone, and he's learning new things at the speed of light.  I realized how precious every moment is with him, because his 'babyhood' passed before I could realize it. 

8 weeks ago I remembered what velvety baby hair felt like, all of the smells of becoming a mother again, and the fragility of new life.  And in just 8 weeks, I've forgotten all of those things again.  Only the linger of formula remains.

In 8 weeks, I've learned it is possible for time to continue to speed up with the more children you have.  Bryton's baby time felt like it lasted an eternity, but I woke up on March 4th and realized it had been gone for some time and I hadn't even seen it go.  March 3rd I welcomed this precious, ten pound little girl into our family, and I feel like it was yesterday... but it wasn't.

In just 8 weeks she has changed so much.  And 8 weeks from now, she'll be completely different than she is now... and as her first year continues to fade on us... I cling desperately to the 'babyhood' that will be long in the past much sooner than I'm ready.  And I cherish every. single. moment. with my children, who despite their age, will always be my babies.  Every proud moment, every tough moment, every sad moment, every milestone, every step, every fall, every time out, every moment of joy... all beautiful, in that God has ordained me to experience and cherish every one with them... and what can I do with that privilege besides be grateful? 

And as I go, yet again, to put a pacifier in the mouth of my newest precious child as she wakes and stirs before her nap is done, my oldest put himself to sleep a half hour ago and he will need nothing from me until it's time for his sucker when his nap is done. 

Time seems to go faster as we become older because we can see more of our lives that have gone past.  When you become a parent time speeds up even more because it is no longer just reflecting on your own past that proves how hastily time flies, but you now have witnessed the entire lives of beings who continue to get older, do more for themselves, and rely less on you. 

And so 8 weeks ago this darling child came into our lives.
8 weeks from now she'll be trying cereal for the first time.
8 weeks from then she'll be sitting up on her own...
And 8 weeks from then she'll probably be crawling and have some teeth...
8 weeks from then we'll have a little girl who can stand with help...
then one who can walk... and talk...
and then she'll be one. 

And then another 8 weeks, and another, and another, and before you know it this baby of mine will be a baby no more.  We'll walk Bryton into his first year of kindergarten, then I'll walk her in what seems like 8 weeks after that...

And my goal - as these 8 weeks goes by, and by, and bye, is to cherish, record, and remember every second that I can... as these, I know, will be the days that I will forever deem as the 'good ole days' - and I don't intend to give them up without a fight...

Happy 8 weeks, baby girl.  And happy 8 weeks X 16 to Bryton, my baby boy. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Dyson and Cold Chicken

I've accomplished exactly 3 things today:

1.) FINALLY getting Ansley down for a nap.

2.)  Showered.  (Thanks to my darling husband for coming home so I could do that.  It's been a  long morning.)

3.) Got my Dyson ordered!  Kohls was having a sale and I had a 20% off coupon.  I shopped through Ebates AND I used my Old Navy card (this all makes sense when you get down to it) sooo....
I went with this model:
It's the Dyson DC33 Multifloor Upright Vacuum.  I went with this instead of the animal for two reasons.  One, the reviews on this one said it picked up dog hair / pet hair just as well as the other.  Two, the multifloor is very important for me being that half of our house is hardwood / half is carpet.  And (I guess there are 3 reasons), there's a great chance after Zeke departs we won't have a pet again until the kids are old enough to 'want' and 'help' with one.  (Not that I'm wishing Zeke away anytime soon.)

So here is the breakdown:
The vacuum retailed for $449.99
It was on sale for $399.99.
I had a 20% off code, which made the price $319.99, and the final cost with tax (and free shipping), exactly $339.99.
I shopped through ebates, earning 4% cashback which will score me a check for $13.60 (making the cost really only $326.39.
I earned $60 in Kohls cash.
AND I used my Old Navy CC which is on triple rewards right now, so this purchase earned me a $10 rewards card to Old Navy ;)

I was happy with this purchase!

And now the fourth thing I'm accomplishing today, besides this blog:
4.)  Lunch, at 1:40 p.m:  A piece of cold fried chicken, a clementine, and 5 yellow peeps.  How's that for a nutritious lunch?  May as well make the last few days of April count, I suppose.

Until next time:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May's Goals

After much debate, I've decided to set my limit of goals for the month at six.  Six goals seem attainable, yet seems it'd make me have to work at it as well, and that's what I'm looking for.

So here they are in black and white, the goals for May 2011:

1.  The Generic Goal:  Work out (to feel better and tone up).
     The plan to achieve that goal:  I ordered a Jillian Michael's DVD and plan to borrow a Zumba DVD from a friend.  Though I'd eventually want it to be more, I'm striving for 3, 30 minute workouts, a week, for the month of May.  I currently weigh 128 (or 130 on the doctor's scale).  I think a healthy 'goal weight' for my frame and body type would be between 120 - 125 so I'm not far off of the numerical value, but I'm more interested in toning up.  I fit into most of my pre-Ansley pregnancy clothes, though I'd like to have a flatter stomach (when sitting down) in a lot of my shirts.  BUT - my goal is to fit into these (my pre-Bryton size 28 waist jeans) and feel better about me:

 (Notice Bryton just had to be in this picture ;) AND - I had to cover the ugly belly button... bleh.  Hopefully that gets better soon.)  I know this won't happen by the time May is over.  But I'm giving myself 5 months... I'm shooting for the end of September.  I've never, ever, worked out to lose inches before in my life (not even after Bryton), so this will be a new experience for me.  Five months is a total guess for me.  (Not to mention I'm a little nervous that the 'change' of shape of my body after carrying and birthing children may not ever allow these jeans to fit 'right'.  So we'll see how it turns out.  I'm also wanting to tone my arms up. 

2.  The Generic Goal:  Get into the Word more.
     The plan to achieve that goal:  I'm usually a 'sprinter' when it comes to reading my Bible.  In other words, I'm out for quantity rather than quality.  I'm setting out this time to base my 'success' in Bible reading on something other than length.  This time, my goal is to take one book, in this particular instance a shorty - Ruth - and study it.  I want to find out everything I can about this book.  Be prepared to see blogs on my findings.

3.  The Generic Goal:  Do something for myself that I've been wanting to do, but haven't.
     The plan to achieve that goal:  I'm beginning to lose site of me.  I know I'll regain myself again (as I felt this way when Bryton was born too), but I really just feel like a robot designed to meet needs at this point.  I'm a juice-filling, bottle feeding, supper making, diaper changing, rock and bouncing machine.  I mean, that's what I do all. day. long.  So, I found this book, that, though maybe not completely 'spiritually' correct, I've ordered to take out of it what I can get out of it.  I'm sure you'll see some reviews on it.  But my 'me' goal this month is to read this book:

And we'll see what I can gain from that :)

4.  The Generic Goal:  Spend more time with Bryton.
     The plan to achieve that goal:  Two-fold.  First - Bryton knows his numbers (and can actually use them to count) from 1 - 11.  He knows colors red, blue, orange, yellow, green, purple, pink, brown, black, and white.  He can sing his ABC's.  BUT - he doesn't recognize his ABC's.  So, goal for May (a loose goal - since I'm not sure how fast he'll learn) is to learn letters A - J by site recognition and by sound by the end of May.  To add to that goal - one project of some sort every week (baking, an art project, making something, etc.)

5.  The Generic Goal:  Be happy with the house.
     The plan to achieve that goal:  Develop (and carry out) a schedule that works for house cleaning (the big things, not including dish washing, picking up, etc.)  Here's an idea of the 'schedule':

  • Laundry - This one is difficult for me.  I feel like I could almost do one load every day, but not quite.  One load every other day doesn't seem like enough, so, I'm going to shoot for a load of laundry, washed, dried, folded, and put away, every other day.  And catch up as needed.
  • Vacuuming - Sometimes done by Aaron.  Do every Tuesday.  Takes 15 minutes.
  • Dusting - Every Monday.  Takes 30 minutes to complete everything.
  • Organizing - No time frame - tackle a 'project' every Wednesday.  Complete as needed or in the following week.  (Find toys better homes, clean out drawers / closets / cabinets, etc)
  • Bathroom Cleaning - Do every other Friday with shower / sink spray downs in between.  Takes 45 minutes. 
  • Hardwood Cleaning - To be done every Thursday.  Takes 45 minutes. 
6. The Generic Goal: Social time with adults.
    The plan to achieve that goal:  Going back to my New Year's resolution - two scheduled date times with Aaron.  One will be easy this month with the golf outing.  To add to that, a girl's night out with friends.  We should really do this more often... dinner, maybe a movie... we'll see how it plays out.

And so there they are, my goals for May.  I'll keep you posted as I accomplish, or fail, at things, and see how it works for me and my level of satisfaction in life.  Stay tuned for all of the details.

Also - I must mention, a loose goal for myself is to blog at least 4 times a week.  More than half without the pressure of 'everyday'.  It may be more, but I'm going to try not to let it be less.  So please be checking back... I feel better writing when I feel like someone is reading ;)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Setting Goals

It's amazing how easy it is for me to get overwhelmed.  Seriously, one day I wear a cape and feel like I've conquered the world, and the next I want to go crawl under a rock, wave a white flag and scream at the top of my lungs, "I can't do this anymore!"  {Read 'can't': unable, don't have the patience, persistence, motivation, or endurance to do this successfully, so I (pause) give (pause) up!}

Today is kind of one of those days, the "I give up," kind.  One week ago I was able to lay Ansley down both for her morning nap and for bed with minimal work, and not hear from her until her sleepy time was over.  Fast forward through power-outages resulting in travel, Sunday church, and Easter, and now I'm working my rear off again to get this girl back on schedule.  It's very frustrating, especially when you are used to being able to lay down a two year old without any prep whatsoever.  (Not to mention the fact that I did, indeed, do quite a bit of work to get Ansley to the place where I could simply lay her down for those naps.)  Ugh.

On top of that I have the 'blahs' of a house that is filthy (okay, so it's not filthy, but it feels like it is), toys that are scattered everywhere, (not to mention about 3 dozen plastic Easter eggs and an ample amount of new stuff that is adding to the obstacles on my floor.  I mean, what do you do with old Easter baskets shaped like Mickey's head and 36 plastic Easter eggs, anyway?  (I must admit, for those of you with 12 month olds, Easter eggs were awesome for making snack time in the car last a looong time on car trips with Bryton!  I may just keep some of those eggs for that with Ansley.) 

So with all the new stuff accumulating with the old stuff, I feel like I need a whole new organizational system to make me feel 'put together,'  But, ahh, that takes work, effort, and free time to accomplish, and let's be honest, what parent of a two year old and 7 week old has 'free time?'  Or at least free time that they are willing to give up to completely reorganize a house? 

Add on top of that the anxiety (yes, anxiety, I'm a control freak by nature) of constantly wondering, "Was that her?  Did I hear her?  She's still supposed to be napping!  She's only been down for 20 minutes, the afternoon nap always lasts 1 1/2 hours at least! Ugh, all the work of having to get her back down, because if I don't, well then the whole evening is shot..."  Ugh, makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.  By the way - that sound that I thought was her... a bird outside.  All of the stomach churning for nothing. 

Ooops - nope, that's her.  Be right back... churn, churn, churn.

*Sigh*  Paci is back in.  We'll see how long that lasts. 

And so - it's safe to say that I feel amply, completely, utterly, overwhelmed some days.  Admittedly, half is due to my own anxiety ridden nature.  (And that fear of failure I mentioned previously.)  And so if I am the cause of at least half of what overwhelms me, then it seems only common sense to believe that I should be able to wipe out 50% of my anxiety by figuring out how to use my controlling nature to control me.  (Much easier said than done I may add.)

And so I started looking at the things that cause me stress (or anxiety).  Here is the list I came up with:
  • Ansley's sleeping habits (though not bad at all)
  • Bryton's daily routine (is he playing enough, getting enough playtime attention)
  • The house looking like a trainwreck
  • The house not being as 'clean' as I'd like
  • The 'to do' list that forever exists
  • Needing 'breaks' but not taking them
  • Couponing / dealing (I know, though I love it, finding time to do it right now adds to the anxiety)
  • Taking care of myself (in every sense of the word - I know I'm not doing well at it now)
And that's the short generic list.  So I got to thinking about how I could tackle each thing most easily and set achievable (achievable being the key word in this sentence) goals for myself.  I realized that I need goals that are 'long term' enough that they keep me motivated for a period of time and help me establish habits, but that are 'short term' enough that I can track and record progress.  You know, actually feel that I've accomplished something... enough to give me the drive to keep going.  And so I decided that I'd make monthly goals for myself.  Mostly dealing in areas of wellness and family, but also throwing in some goals to push me outside my limitations, make me take risks, and help me continue to 'develop' myself so to speak.

SO - that being said - tomorrow you'll see a list (I'm currently still developing this list), of goals designed specifically for the month of May.  I'm hoping this blog keeps me motivated to carry them through ;) 

(Btw - this blog is also a goal of mine.  I've found there are things I just have to make time for in order to bring myself some 'happiness' - and writing brings that out in me.  It's important that I keep this up.)

So until tomorrow -

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When You Fail

If you know me you know that I'm afraid of failure.  No, really, I am.  It wasn't until my married life that I realized that I would rather not try and never know rather than try and risk the chance of failing and knowing that I couldn't do something.  I guess you would say I'm not much of a risk taker.  I have a track record for it.
  • I've never attempted the book I always wanted to write because, well, what if I put all of that time into and nothing comes from it.  That's too big of a risk, too much of an investment. 
  • I've never tried to work out hard.  What if I can't do it?
  • I've never learned to play that instrument, what if I just can't cut it?
  • I mean, even here recently I've found myself interested in Zumba, but seriously don't have any rhythm what-so-ever, so why would I risk the embarrassment? 
It's a viscous cycle, but a cycle that I'm trying to overcome.  I believe my 'overcoming' this fear is to face it head on, which doesn't necessarily mean just trying things that I've always wanted to do, but more-so, trying them and failing.  Tasting failure will allow me to see that it's not that bad.  Then getting up and trying again until I succeed may just make me much more confident.

Which brings me to this.  I have failed and failed miserably.  The last 7 weeks or so have been great.   They've been weeks of learning and frustration, weeks of joy and elation, and weeks of sickness and healing.  Overall - they've been busy, very busy.  So busy, that, in the last 7 weeks, I've made it to church twice, and have only been able to sit through the service once.  When you have three weeks of healing (as requested by the dr.) and two weeks of sickness (blasted allergies), it makes it difficult to be there... and I'm feeling it spiritually. 

Not that I'm expecting the church to be my spiritual nourishment, I'm not naive enough to think that I should get my spiritual 'meat' from the church, but my spiritual life at home has been sparse too.  With so much responsibility on my shoulders with Ansley, Bryton, the house, meals, etc, my quiet time has virtually become non-existent.  The little bit of time with Jesus I get is when B and I are listening to music in the morning, which isn't any overly spiritual experience in and of itself, but it is a reminder of what I'm missing. 

It's fair to say that I miss Jesus.  And thus I've failed.  But this time the failure doesn't run me the other direction, it doesn't keep me from trying, but it makes me more persistent to get in and get it done.  It may be awhile before I make every church service again (whose idea was an 8 o'clock service geared towards young families?) for awhile due to sickness and such, but, by golly, I am going to make my quiet time and my church time as often as possible.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What I Do All Day

Stay at home mom's get this rep of sitting in front of the tv all day and hanging out.  Well, I'm certainly not complaining about being able to raise my own children.  I'm in fact very grateful for that opportunity.  I am going to give you a (possibly not so brief) look into what my day actually looks like.   So here is a typical day in the life of me: (I'll start at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning.)

12:01 a.m. - Been in bed since 9:30.  Still can't sleep.  All of a sudden I'm all stuffy and snotty myself.  Although this isn't typical... it's how my day is starting.

12:32 a.m. - Wake Aaron up and ask him if he wouldn't mind doing Ansley's nighttime feeding when she wakes up... I'm moving to the couch because all my sniffing and coughing I'm afraid may wake her.  He agrees to do that for me.  Thank you, Jesus. 

7:45 a.m. - Officially awake for the day.  I've been awake several times in between, but this is when the day... today... starts.

8:00 a.m. - Inform Aaron that I'm sneaking in the shower while both kids aren't making any noise.  As I'm stepping in I hear Ansley start crying.  Could really use the steam from the shower with my nastiness today, but it's going to be a short shower so I can get things going for the morning.

8:06 a.m. - Out of the shower and listening intently.  Apparently Ansley decided to go back out.  Woo hoo!  May get a chance to actually get dressed and ready for the day all at once!

8:08 a.m. - Scratch that.  Dried off and went to our room to pick out clothes and Ansley's crying again.  Throw on a t-shirt and comfy shorts with the idea that I'll at least change into jeans later... when they finally get out of the washer, into the dryer, and brought upstairs.  I make the decision to let Ansley fuss long enough to at least dry my hair.  She's not screaming yet.

8:10 a.m. - Drying hair when I realize Bryton is now awake too.  I get it 'pretty much' dry - and tend to him first.  I peek my head in the door to tell him good morning, that I hear him, that I love him, and that I'm going to make his breakfast. 

8:16 a.m. - Making Bryton's breakfast.  Pour Kix in  his bowl, cut up strawberries, pour a glass of milk and put it on the table.  Ansley is now screaming.

8:18 a.m. - Get Bryton up and to the breakfast table.  The diaper and his clothing will have to wait.

8:19 a.m. - Get Ansley up and go to the kitchen to get her bottle made.

8:21 a.m. - Decide rather than ticking her off even more at this point, that I'll wait until after the bottle to change her diaper and her clothes. 

8:30 a.m. - Have given Ansley half her bottle and burped her twice when she decides to get the hiccups.  Not wanting to add insult to injury, and being that she's not fussing to have her bottle back yet, I decide to lay her on the floor for a bit to get rid of the hiccups.  I use the opportunity to start other projects.

8:31 a.m. - 8:42 a.m. - A whole array of projects are underway.  I go pick out Ansley's clothes and get a new spit cloth.  I decide this is a perfect time to strip the beds of the sheets to be washed for the day (we're wondering if residue on our sheets are making us all sick, so this HAS to be done today).  Once Ansley goes back down for her morning nap I won't be able to get in our room.  Bryton is now asking for more strawberries, so I'm back to the kitchen to cut up more strawberries for him, then I decide while I'm doing laundry to go ahead and pack everything else up that needs to go to the basement.  I deliver the strawberries on the way to do so.  I move all of the laundry and bedsheets to the kitchen floor (the last step before the basement), and decide to pick up all of the 'debris' from the night before (Ansley's bottle, her diaper, her spit cloth from the middle of the night feeding, etc.)

8:43 a.m. - Bottle is resumed and finished by Miss Ansley.

8:50 a.m. - Put up baby gates, shut doors, and get the house ready for B.  Clean up his breakfast, pick out his clothes, give him some saline, change his diaper, and get him dressed.  Blow his nose.

9:00 a.m. - Come back to realize that Ansley is mad because she's pooped.  We celebrate poop in this house, as it seems it is difficult for my children to come by.  Change Ansley's diaper with Bryton's help.

9:02 a.m. - Bryton sees his first time out of the day after he threw his basketball at sissy's head and successfully hits her.  In the meantime I put lotion on Ansley's poor little face / head.

9:04 a.m. - Get Bryton out of timeout and have him tell me what he's done wrong.  He comes and apologizes to Ansley and we hug and kiss and he goes off to play.

9:10 a.m. - Ansley's fussing like it's naptime, so I decide today to try to just lay her in her bassinet to see what happens, knowing full well it could mean a very stressful morning if she doesn't go to sleep.  So I wrap her in her swaddle and put her in her bassinet.  I return to our room to reinsert the pacifier four times in the next ten minutes, but she does eventually go to sleep all on her own... well, with the help of the pacifier.  I have a love / hate relationship with that thing.

9:13 a.m. - Bryton gets time out number two for the day after he yells at me.  (No words, just a little rebellious "ughhh!") 

9:15 a.m. - Another little talk with B-man and an apology and we're off to watch Mickey.  (Well, he is, I have things to do!)  Mickey is our save - all for keeping him doing a quiet activity while we are trying to get Ansley to sleep. 

9:16 a.m. - I finally get to brush my teeth!  Yay! 

9:20 a.m. - Bryton gets his teeth brushed!  Success!

9:23 a.m. - I get to put my make up on.  Granted it doesn't happen every day, but it happens more often than not.  I have to do something for me everyday, even if it's just having make up on and my hair partially straightened.

9:27 a.m. - Receive phone call from Aaron.

9:30 a.m. - Finish the make up and do a quick straightening of my hair.

9:35 a.m. - Balance check book and call Aaron back to see if he'll do a deposit for us today.  Make sure bills are good to go (I usually do them and write them in the check book a few days in advance, as I never know what my days may look like when they are 'due'.  I only do bills two days a month.)

9:43 a.m. - I now have the opportunity to go down and bring up a basket of laundry, move the stuff in the washer over, and get our sheets going in the washer.  I bring up the clean laundry and spend what seems like eternity folding it and sorting where it goes. 

9:50 a.m. - The 45 minute intruder makes an appearance in our house and Ansley is awake and crying.  I go reinsert the pacifier and pray it works.  Praise Jesus, it does.  Naptime is not over.

9:52 a.m. - Continue folding laundry.

10:00 a.m. - Realize that standing for the last two hours is giving me a lot of pressure so I decide to break with the folding and go take some ibuprofin.

10:02 a.m. - I continue folding again and start putting away what I can.  (All of our stuff has to wait to be put away until Ansley is not asleep in our room.) 

10:07 a.m. - I realize I haven't had breakfast yet.  This is not typical.  I am usually an avid breakfast person, but our house needs food in it right now and I haven't had the time yet to stop to grab something or figure out what I want... so I continue putting clothes away.

10:13 a.m. - Thinking of food reminded me that I'm doing a crock pot meal for supper, and the way my day is going, I know if I don't put out a physical reminder that I may forget about it all together.  So I get my crock pot out and all of the dry ingredients I'm going to need to get it thrown together around noon. (You'd be surprised how many days since Ansley's been born that Aaron has come home from work - at 4 - and I've thought to myself, "Oh crap - I haven't even THOUGHT about supper yet." Ugh.)

10:22 a.m. - I'm finally getting my morning time to check my stuff online.  What is not a big deal to everyone is to me.  As a sahm I try to cut corners on our budget as often as possible, so I check my 'deal sites' everyday, as well as browse through my email (that was checked and cleaned up last night right before bed, but had 48 new in my inbox this morning.. and this is typical!)  So I clean out my email, check my deal sites, realize that I can get a pair of shoes for Bryton cheaper than what I'm getting ready to get them for in store at TCP and so I do that transaction online, and then I check my facebook page.  (Which I do often for the sake of knowing what is going on in the world and in the lives of our youth kids.)  I then decide that if this blog is ever going to get finished I should start typing it out too.  (This continues until about 11:20, with breaks in between to do the next few things...)

10:25 a.m. - Move Bryton's basketball goal into his room so he can play basketball (with his footballs since his basketball got taken away due to the aforementioned ball to the head incident) without waking his sister.

10:28 a.m. - Bryton decides basketball with footballs is silly and decides a snack sounds better.  So I'm up again to fix Bryton a snack.  He finally decides on raisins.  This of course means he has to watch Mickey... again.  *Sigh*  Remember when he wouldn't watch tv to save his life?  I think I miss that.

11:20 a.m. - I realize I've not been to the bathroom since I woke up at 7:45... time for a momma potty break.

11:25 a.m. - I start fixing Bryton lunch and serve it, while trying to start Ansley's waking up process.  (she'll sleep forever in the mornings sometimes, and that can lead to very bad afternoons) I go in our room, open the door and open the curtain to let light in to see if that helps get her up.

11:30 a.m. - Bryton has finished his hot dog and wants more.  Mom to the rescue. 

11:35 a.m. - Still no signs of wakeness from our bedroom, so I decide to go ahead and move around in there and put away our clothes that have not been put away yet.   Still nothing.  So I unwrap her swaddle and walk out.

11:45 a.m. - I go back and realize she's completely unswaddled and still sleeping, so I decide to get a picture of her.  Bryton is once again out of food so on my way to get the camera I veer off to bring him his next 'course'.  I come back, grab the camera, and by this time she's awake.  I snap a few pictures anyway... I mean, I went to all that work to get the camera didn't I?

11:48 a.m. - I lay her on the floor and change her while Bryton is finishing up.

11:50 a.m. - She's happy at the moment so I decide to do some other little things that are plaguing my brain: check the mail, make the bottle, and move the laundry over again.  Laundry out, laundry over, laundry in, and laundry up... and I even have time to fold it before she's fitting.  I decide to put the laundry away while I have three seconds. 

12:00 p.m. - My darling husband is home with a cape on.  He asks if I'd eaten lunch yet (he'd gone out with a friend already), and I laugh a little in my head because, well, I haven't even had breakfast!  He takes Ansley to feed her so I can eat, but I decide to use that time to get the roast in the crock pot.   (Definitely shot noon in the foot...)  I dredge the roast, brown it, get the crock pot going and the seasonings going, cut up some potatoes and carrots, and get it all, finally, going.  Then I clean up the mess I've just made, realize I have a whole dishwasher of dishes now, and decide to get those going. 

Meanwhile - Aaron is feeding, burping, and eventually changing again (woo hoo poop!) Miss Ansley.  He then changes Bryton for me as well, and spends some time just spending time with them... man I've got to make time for that in my schedule at some point...

12:30 p.m. - All of the above is finished and I can hear in the background that the washer and dryer have both stopped... got to get on that quick, I'm sure our sheets need to be rotated and put on for a little while longer... but Ansley's fussing.

12:40 p.m. - Aaron is headed back to work and I've already tried the swing for Ansley, thinking surely she can't be tired yet?  Maybe just bored?  Nope.  She's tired.  So I get her swaddled up and decide to see if I can get two unbelievable naptimes out of her today (by putting her down minus rocking, bouncing, shhhing, or standing on my head.)  No such great luck for nap number two.

12:45 p.m. - I've put the paci in more times than I can count at this point, and quite frankly, I'm tired, so I get her up and decide I'll turn Mickey back on for B while I rock her for a little bit. 

1:00 p.m. - She's dozed in and out some, but she's not staying asleep.  We're going to try just laying her down again.

1:02 p.m. - Paci back in.

1:03 p.m. - Paci back in, wrap the swaddle up around it so maybe it'll help her hold it.  (I know, bad mom.) I'm able to go downstairs and shift around in the dryer to get out B's sheets and get ours, which are still damp, tumbling again.

1:08 p.m. - Success for 5 minutes, but she's back awake.  Paci in yet again.

1:10 p.m. - Go to dress B's mattress so it's ready for his naptime in 15 minutes.

1:15 p.m. - I'm back out with Bryton at this point and can hear that Ansley is grunting and hiccuping like crazy.  Oh well, it's not crying... maybe she'll self soothe.  I decide to eat doritos in the meantime, standing in the kitchen of course, who can sit down to eat?  Good lunch.

1:20 p.m. - Mickey is over and Bryton's naptime has arrived.  He fits, but I bribe him with a snack when he gets up, and he relents and walks to his bed.  It's then that I realize that I'm almost two hours past due on his allergy meds (epic fail), so I walk him back to the kitchen, drug him up, and have him blow his nose. 

1:25 p.m. - He's in for naptime, and I sit down at the computer to once again check my email (13 new this time), and continue writing this so I know I have it caught up.  This should be my 'me time' for the day... and Ansley and Bryton are both sleeping laying down at the same time for it today.  Woo hoo!  (Can't say sleeping, I can still hear Ansley grunting and moving around in there... grrrr....) I turn the television off so that I can think without Mickey in the background.  You betcha!)

1:40 p.m. - Hear Bryton screaming in his room... more like yelling... happy yelling, but yelling none-the-less.  In I go to calm the beast... tuck him back in, and remind him why he's in there. 

2:00 p.m. - I finally get this blog 'caught up' to the minute, and I decide to take some time and do damage control of what still really needs to be done today (like, I'd feel as if I'd failed if it didn't get done).  I come up with this: our bed redressed, some more laundry done and put away, Ansley a bath before the day is out, grocery shopping accomplished and the floor vacuumed, yet again.  I'd love to get the house dusted and the bathroom cleaned, but I'm not getting my hopes up.  The bathroom has been on my list of things to do since, well, since I made the list, and I can't even remember how long ago that was... grrrr.

2:03 p.m. - I realize I need more saline and decongestant, and I make the choice to go do that.  I come back to start tackling the things left on my list, which basically leaves me at the moment with finishing our menu plan for the next two weeks so I have a grocery list raring and ready to go.  Off to Kroger's ad to see what's on sale and start stacking coupons...

2:45 p.m. - Check facebook and hear Bryton in the background - he's still not sleeping, beautiful.

2:55 p.m. - Ansley is making noise... going to get the laundry out, moved over, and more in before she gets tuned up.  (Last load of laundry is in the washer!  Yay!)

3:35 p.m. - Bryton's awake.  I get him up, realize he's not slept at all, and deal with an unhappy child who gets no snack for no nap.

3:45 p.m. - Ansley is up.  I get her up, get her changed, and get her bottle ready.  I feed her.

4:00 p.m. - Aaron is home, he decides to do the vacuuming for me.  While he's doing that I get Bryton cleaning up the floor in the living room and I go dress our bed with our sheets.

4:15 p.m. - I start getting our food cut up for dinner while Aaron feeds Ansley another two ounces.  How do single moms ever do it?  They have to never eat. I also use this time to unload the dishwasher, again.

4:30 p.m. - Dinner is on the table.  This is actually really early for us, but I've got to go grocery shopping tonight, and being I slept very little last night, I have my eyes set on an early bedtime tonight.

4:50 p.m. - Cleaning up dinner and reloading the dishwasher happens.

5:00 p.m. - Ansley is fussing for her last nap of the day.  It's a shorty.  Aaron is going out to mow before I can go to the store, which leaves me with one extremely fussy / fit throwy little boy, and one really tired little girl.  I spend the next 45 minutes putting in pacifiers, getting onto Bryton for a number of things, telling him 'no' to a snack time and time again, rocking Ansley, putting her back down, getting her back up, putting her in her swing, sending Bryton to time out, and finally sitting for 10 minutes before I leave to go do the grocery shopping.  I have this ten minutes because Aaron is showering... whew.  Have I mentioned that I'm tired and really not feeling well?  Consider it mentioned.  I use this ten minutes to update this and insert pampers points into my account.

6:00 p.m. - Aaron and I spend the next 15 minutes trying to decide if I'm going to go ahead and go shopping and bathe Ansley in the morning or do it now and me grocery shop after.  Being that it's a two store trip, we decide to go ahead and let me go shopping and he'll put her down.  Failed on the bath tonight, guess the morning will have to do. There's one thing on the list that's not getting done.

6:20 p.m. - I've got my list, my coupons, and I'm off to grocery shop.  Wal-Mart first (need new bottles for Ansley, as the little ones aren't helping anymore.  Also need some headbands for myself, and I'm finishing up Easter basket stuff.)  Kroger is next.  Half way through Kroger I realize I've forgotten to buy hamburger at Wal - Mart (it's so much cheaper for the lean stuff).  Good thing I don't have many hamburger dishes on my meal plan, and I still have two rolls in the freezer.  I struggle with one of my deals because my whole reason for doing it was for paper towels, and the count and kind of paper towels that were part of the deal were no where to be found.  Seems to happen often at our Kroger.  It's a bummer.  Get all checked out and have to go the pharmacy for more sudafed.  Of course that's a ten minute affair because of all you have to go through to get the stuff... filling out paper work and them entering your license, etc.  But I finally get out of there, get home, get it all carried in, put away, get the remains of tonights dinner cleaned up and get the dishwasher going for the second time today.  And that brings us to -

8:15 p.m. - Thankfully Ansley is already in bed, dad has done that duty, and is currently putting Bryton to bed as well (he didn't nap today so his bedtime is earlier).  I'm sitting down currently to finish this blog.  Within the next hour, barring all unpredictable events, I'll recheck my stuff for the last time today, eat a snack to make up for the lack of lunch and breakfast today (ugh, as if my doritos weren't enough calories to take care of both), spend a little adult time with my husband debriefing the day (which is going to consist of looking at his new guitar), and will head to bed to do it all again tomorrow...

And at the end of the day - I can look at all I've accomplished and I ultimately feel like I've failed most days.  Failed because I've not been able to hang out with Bryton more.  Failed because if I'm missing out on time with him, I at least want a lot to show for it.  Failed because I've put my quiet time, once again, at my least opportune time of the day... which means it probably just won't happen today.  And it makes me think of how nice it'd be to be able to sit down with B in the mornings and read his Bible, and I resolve, yet again, to do that in the morning.  That'll kill two birds with one stone. 

I'm really cherishing the mommy / Bryton time I get when Aaron can watch Ansley occasionally. 

So I'm getting an idea of Ansley's schedule (as of now anyway) and I'm trying to figure out how I can better 'parent' and nurture Bryton because of it. 

Being home with my children is one of the greatest blessings I've received.  I know Ansley's cries, I know Bryton's needs, I have both of their routines down pat, I see them reach milestones 99/100 before anyone else... and somehow, amongst all of it, I can say, "I miss my son," and it makes me hope that he doesn't miss me, that he doesn't feel neglected, because just because I'm home, doesn't mean there is nothing for me to do.  Just because I'm home doesn't mean I'm shooting hoops with B all day. 

And I intend to do the best I can to change that.  Sure there are things that 'have' to be done, but ultimately, I need Bryton to know that he comes first.  Aside from Jesus and daddy, he and Ans are the loves of my life, not cleaning, or doing laundry, or checking deals.  All of which are important, but have their times. 

And this momma - she could use a little fun in her life anyway. 

If you've stayed tuned this long, I commend you... I've been writing it, and just writing it makes me tired. 

Until next time -

So I'm Cheating --

I really want to get on this blogging again... so I'm writing a post this evening and telling it to actually appear tomorrow (when you will actually be reading it...) Why?  Because this is one free time of day I actually had, and because I've already posted once today... err, yesterday to you who are reading this... you know what I mean...
So anyway - I thought I'd take this ten minutes before I go to bed to give a short update... here is the generalized news:
Life has been hectic around here.  Aaron has had more 'church' stuff than usual, and me, well I'm still trying to adjust to life with two children in the home (or at church, or in the grocery store, or in a restaurant, etc.)  On top of all of the craziness, Bryton decided to get sick a week or two ago... like "threw up all over our floor for the first time ever" sick!  It's really sad, but honest, to say that I didn't even know what to do with him.  I've never had to clean up throw up before.  (Nor do I remember a time when my mom did.  I got sick sooooo often with my migraines that I learned at a very early age how to hit the trash can every time, and to be more honest, I don't understand how people "can't make it" to the nearest canister of some sort.   Granted, I know a two year old can't, but come on adults.)  Anyway... of course I was in the middle of bottle feeding Ansley when all of this happened, and I was at home by myself.  Fun.   Long story short, that was the only puking episode (praise Jesus), but we fought a 103 fever for almost three days, resulting in a very lethargic little boy.  (Not to mention trying to keep Ansley as far away as possible.)
In other news, at the same time we were and still are fighting the Gregg family plague, constipation.  Figures, we just get Bryton figured out and now Ansley's starting with her own set of issues about it... so we're back to prune juice in almost every bottle.  It's a battle I really don't want to battle with her until she's almost two, like we had to Bryton.  We're praying that God will get her little system figured out for her and this would prove to be a short lived thing.
On Aaron's front, he on a whim (well, at least it was a whim) to me, decided to buy a new guitar (and sell two of his old ones).  I pretty much sit back and watch these transactions happen, it's just easier that way ;)  I did get the opportunity to take a day and go to Guitar Center with him to 'play some'.  He ended up buying one the other night, and he's pretty sure he'll be happy with it.
Me?  Well - I'm struggling with the mental / emotional wants and desires that go against my physical limitations right now.  Need me to clarify that... how are these examples to confuse you:
  • I'd love to be able to pack up both kids in the stroller and take them for a walk every morning (how's that for being over zealous).  The pain and pressure that I'm still feeling, plus the pollen and the allergies that are plaguing our house right now, are making that impossible... and keeping us locked inside.
  • I'd love to be able to get out during the day to take the kids to the mall or something, but two at the age they are at vs. one tired one (me), equals a disaster.  I've not been willing to take that risk yet. 
  • I've successfully 'got into' all of my pre-pregnancy clothing... jeans and all.  The problem, I'm happy one day with the girl in the mirror (I mean, after all, I did just have a baby six weeks ago), and another day I think she's hideous (what if you have that little pooch forever, Alicia?)  It makes getting dressed in the morning realllly daunting.  And to be honest, I've worn sweats and t-shirts for way too long!
  • I'm back in familiar territory with some granulated tissue in my 'healing process.'  With Bryton it took one silver nitrate stick (ouch), and I was a new girl the next day.  This time I was told I had two spots of granulated tissue (one which I didn't even know about), so we did the silver nitrate stick again this time (not so much ouch this time around), but it sure isn't helping the one area that I knew about at all... seemingly.  (Oddly enough, this particular spot is a mystery as to why it is there or how it got there.  It's not in a place I was torn or cut or anything.  All I know is it hurts like the dickens... some days more than another... but it's really getting on my nerves.)  And despite hearing 1,000 times from 100 different people "it's going to take awhile to heal, your body went through something traumatic, she was 10 pounds" I still wonder if I'll ever completely feel 'good' again.  I'm sure I will, but I think I'm seeing another silver nitrate stick in my future... and I hope that is all it takes. 
  • And lastly, for the mental / emotional vs physical capabilities:  I'm a control freak, and if I get something in my mind that needs to be done, I want it to be done now... sooo... say I've just snuggled down with Ans to give her a bottle... a good 20 minute feat, sometimes longer.  And I just get that bottle put in her mouth when I notice that I've not put the diaper bag away, nor have I unpacked it.  Then the entire time I'm feeding her I'm thinking about that dumb diaper bag that is just sitting there screaming to be unpacked and put away.  I know, it's ridiculous.  It will still be there when I'm done, but still yet... I'm thinking about it... and that spawns another 12 things that I'd like to get done in the 10 minutes I'll have of 'happy time' with Ansley before it's time to start getting her ready to go back to sleep.  I know what I need... a clone, or another arm, or a robot that I can make my slave.  Hmmm, I may have to take that last one into consideration.  
So anyway, that's what I'm doing lately, just trying to figure out life, and get back to 'normal' as quickly as possible... more like, defining a new normal right now.  Each week feels a little bit more 'normal', although each week is proving to have it's challenges.  I'll be happy when we can have a week minus any plans... and for those of you who know me, I'm a planner and a doer - but this momma is tired right now and just wants a whole day to lay in bed, sleep, and maybe read a book.

I see that happening in about 10 years... as long as I'm not with kids at ball practice.

Oh well - it's the greatest blessing, and I'm thankful for it.

Until next time -

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Challenge and An Apology

The apology first... apparently since Ansley has been here I stink at blogging.  It's funny how priorities shift ;)  As they should!  But because I use writing to clear my soul (so to speak), I'm going to try to do better about getting stuff out... even if it's just my latest, greatest deal.
Which brings me to this:
I've been long enough at this parent of two thing, and missing many deals as my couponing has taken a much needed back seat for awhile, that I feel it's time to get back into the swing of things... and to take a good swing at things... I'm looking at getting a Dyson.  The model I'm looking to get - 'the animal' (much needed for our yucky dog) - retails between $550 - $600 depending on the model I get (ball or no ball, hmmm). 
Anyone who knows me knows that I don't want to spend that much money on anything (or if I was going to I'd probably choose something along the lines of, I don't know, a new wardrobe or an ipad if I was going for a material thing), but this seems like something more of a necessity for us right now.
I've always owned a 'cheap' vacuum.  It didn't matter much when it was Aaron and I and we weren't on the floor a lot.  Now, everything happens on the floor... diaper changes, play time, all of Bryton's snack times, you name it.  Sure, it's usually on a blanket on the floor, but it's on the floor none the less... and to be quite honest, I hate vacuuming because I hate seeing the 'yuck' that comes out of our cheapo vacuum.
So Aaron took that cheapo vacuum and vacuumed TWICE yesterday.  Yes, the whole house once, and then again immediately when he was done.  He filled the canister with grossness more times than I could count and had to use his leaf blower (I'm not kidding) several times to 'unclog' the nastiness so that the vacuum would continue to 'suck'.  (Used as a very and an adjective here.)
Our lovely friend, Amber, offered to let us borrow her Dyson Animal and give it a whirl so to speak.  And this morning, that's exactly what I did, and may I say, "GROSS!"
It easily picked up an equivalent of what Aaron picked up yesterday and filled that canister too (which is larger than ours.)  With kids all over the floor, I need the precious time I spend vacuuming (and away from my children) to be productive and for me to feel like the house is clean after I've cleaned it!
So - I'm out to find the cheapest way to get a not used Dyson as possible.  I've got tons of ideas - ebates, free shipping, plus a sale and coupon codes all sound like the way to go :)  I've checked into some refurbs, but think I'm going to try to find the real thing as cheap as possible :) 
I'll keep you posted on the results.  I'm not in a horrible hurry, we've had nasty carpets this long...
Also, be looking for some new blogs and updates about our lives here and faith and all that jazz... maybe even a boooook review?  I know, I almost gagged typing it out.  I used to love reading, but with days like mine, who has the time or wants to exert the energy to do it, but I'm out to give it a whirl... maybe ;) 
Until next time (hopefully sooner this time) -