· Manic Monday

A Manic (birthday) Monday

I haven’t had a manic Monday in ages.  
Especially since I quit working (for pay).
Mondays are usually mine and Amelia’s time to rest up from a busy weekend.
Not today.
Today Annabelle is six.
When you are six, you request doughnuts for your birthday breakfast and mommy makes cheese grits too because she knows you love them and it makes her feel less guilty about feeding you powdered sugar for breakfast.
When you are six, you are allowed to invite your ENTIRE kindergarten class to the park for birthday cake and celebrations.  
Except it rained and we had to move part of the party back to your house and your mommy tried really hard not to freak out about it since the house was NOT party ready.
But it was a bigger mess when the party was over so all’s well that end’s well.

But then the rain went away and the sun came back out and we jumped into cars and drove three miles to brave muddy conditions at the park.

When you are six, you pose a lot for pictures.
Actually, your two year old sister poses a lot too.
Maybe it’s because you’re girls.
And when she remembers it, your mom is obsessed with the camera.

When you are six, you are smart enough to stay off this when Daddy is pushing.

When you are six, mommy might forget the birthday candles, so you find your own.  
Tealights make perfect candles and are oh-so-special.
Happy Birthday, Baby Belle!
Thanks for filling my Monday with McDonald’s and cupcakes and laughter.
Christmas · cooking · Manic Monday

Managing the Mania

When I was working full-time at parenting one hundred middle schoolers in addition to my own three, I used to write these Manic Monday posts.

I thought those days were behind me when I became a stay-at-home mom.  Wrong, again.  Yesterday was straight from the manic files and I couldn’t even post about it because I collapsed, literally, into my bed at nine o’clock.  Of course, that meant I was wide awake by five to bring you this blogging goodness.

So what kept us so busy yesterday?

Well, it takes a lot of cookies to get a face like that.  Batches of peanut butter with kisses, which I’ve always called silver bells.  Yum….this recipe is from my Land of Cotton cookbook I posted about last week.

And Daddy’s favorite chocolate chip.  No fancy recipe here, ya’ll.  Just read the bag of Nestle (or Laura Lynn) morsels and don’t skimp.

Best if eaten warm from the oven and assisted by little elves.

I made two chicken pies for dinner, one for us and one to give.  I mailed Christmas cards.  I braved Ingles with all three.  Why is it the big ones are more work than the little ones?  We went to Jazzercise and Madelynne worked out with me.  Oh, and because it’s the first day of a vacation we went to the pediatrician because the beginning of a break is Annabelle’s favorite time to develop strep throat.

I know, she looks really sick doesn’t she?  We’re so used to this that I felt like super smart mama and caught it early.  A weak positive on the test and ten days of antibiotics.  And no, she didn’t contaminate my cookies.

How was your six days until Christmas Monday? · Manic Monday · sisters · summer

(trying) to avoid the Manic

I hate when I get so behind that everything feels like a chore.  Blogging is supposed to be my release, my spread wings, my therapy.  I don’t like for it to be something I feel like I have to do.  Like the laundry.  Or the dishes.  Or brushing Amelia’s teeth, which FYI, we forgot to do again. 

Oh, well.

My sisters are begging for an update on all random things Brackett since for the past week I hosted my 8-weeks-older than Annabelle niece, Hailey….

Here she is.  Princess of the Stephens family.  Also known as Lava Girl.

and my 15-year-old-I’m-glad-I’m-not-her-mother sister, Audrey. 

Here’s Audrey enjoying some fine literature provided by her nieces.

It was VBS week and they always come.  It’s tradition, Audrey says.  Like macaroni and cheese at Easter. 

We had a fun, extremely busy, week.  And I found out that I’m glad I only have three kids.  Five is too many for this manic mama.  If someone wasn’t crying, they were fighting because three girls never works.  And someone always needed a popsicle, or a dry set of clothes, or a nap.  And they turned their noses up at my Pioneer Woman chicken spaghetti.  Seriously, what’s wrong with these kids?

To be fair, I should insert here that it was Annabelle who cried the most because she did not want “green things” in her spaghetti.  Spaghetti is red.  Lesson learned.  Next time, I’ll call it Mexican pasta.  After all, what’s in a name?

Here’s a little look at our fun times this past week and an answer to your question of where I’ve been.  I know you’ve all been wondering. 

Millie Moo napping on the deck of our friends’ pool.
Popsicles in the pool. 

Aunt Audrey giving Amelia her first water slide ride.

Tacky Tourist day at VBS.  Which I was informed meant they could wear whatever they wanted.

My living room on Tuesday afternoon.

The office on Tuesday afternoon before some major work.  It looks about 10% better now.

Playing in the sand at the state park beach.

Exhausted by Friday afternoon.

Playing with Moto at Uncle Corey’s campsite on Saturday.

Sliding Rock.  Belle’s only trip down into the 50 degree water.

Daddy and Madelynne trying it out.

“I’m n-n-n-not c-c-c-cold!”

Letting Amelia play.  Crazy kid loved it.

You know what?  I do feel better now.  Even chores can be therapeutic….

finding the glory in the mundane…on my way to 1000 gifts
#114  ooey gooey olive cheesebread
#115 Audrey playing Bananagrams
#127 5:45 a.m.
#133 children around my neck
#135 finding the lost box of summer clothes
#136 Annabelle cleaning her plate
#144 quiet hum of convenience

1000 gifts����perfectly imperfect����reflections · Manic Monday

Light at the End of Monday

Not only do I want to believe it’s there, that elusive light at the end of the tunnel, I really want to embrace it with grace and gratitude.

Today was not filled with either.

Today was a day that made me want to run screaming toward that light that beckons of lazy summer days and the promise of a new and different future come fall.  Today made me want to throw away eight years of professionalism just to have the satisfaction of saying what I really think.  Today will not be a day I remember fondly when I write that memoir someday.  Today was a day that epitomizes why I think of naming that memoir Life in the Trenches of Public Education.

Now don’t steal my title.

Today I was not full of grace.  I did not turn the other cheek.  I did not bow my head and ask for forgiveness because I am harboring resentment and anger right now. 

Neither make a restful companion. 

Today I was not filled with gratitude.  I struggled to see God’s gifts all around me and instead wondered why He bothers with us, so full of ignorance are we.

I came home and made dinner and cleaned the bathroom because Belle decided to plant flowers in the sink and rocked Amelia and switched laundry and showered….and listened.

Jesus didn’t come for the saved.  He came for the lost.  And I haven’t spent eight years helping those who are taught at home.  I’ve been saving those who aren’t. 

So even though it’s not counted among the test scores or remembered in the conferences of late, I’ve done what I was called to do. 

I’ve taught.  We’ve read poetry and prose and realism and fantasy.  Banned books and the Bible and lyrics from Switchfoot and the Indigo Girls.  How to write a complete sentence, but more importantly how to know when to break the rules.  How to think.

Right from wrong.  Good from evil.  Like and equal are not the same thing.

I haven’t always been perfect.  But I’ve put books in the hands of boys who hate to read, pride in the hearts of girls who feel invisible, confidence on the shoulders of kids who still might make it if there’s someone along the way to care if they do.

I couldn’t save them all, but I think I’ve found my gratitude for today.

By God, I helped save at least one.

Manic Monday · monday

(Manic) Miscellany Monday

Ran into a co-worker of Joshua’s/friend from church/wife of a colleague of mine at the Rite Aid tonight.  (Small town, so folks wear a lot of hats.)  She asked how I was and when I said I was tired, she told me I shouldn’t be since it’s my spring break.

I enlightened her that I had worked harder today than I work at school and told her to go home and tell her husband he should be working hard too since it’s Spring Break.

Spring Break just means it’s a chance to catch my breath before the big sprint to the finish.

So, as usual I’m trying to do too many things on too short amount of time.  Today I’ve been to CVS, Rite Aid, and Ingles.  I’m down to $12 in grocery money from now until the 15th and I’ve got a plethera of infant medications on my table for Joshua to put in a gift basket for another co-worker who’s expecting twins.  Better her than me.

So here’s some random thoughts from this manic Monday:

Apparently Motrin and Tylenol have stopped making infant products.  This is disheartening to a person such as myself who has unexpired coupons of high value.

I heart CVS.  They are so nice and easy to deal with and let me buy regular Pampers since they were out of Cruisers and still use my manufacturer and store coupons.  Yay, diapers.  I won’t be sad when I don’t have to work those deals anymore, though.  Okay, maybe I will, but only because that will mean my baby is getting so big I can’t stand it.

Joshua and his dad replaced our crappy, shabby, broken aluminum piece of —–ahem, got on a roll, there.  We got a new storm door.  Can you tell I have no feelings of regret for the old one?  I can’t believe the difference it made to the house.  Tomorrow I’ll post a pic so you can get the full effect.  We should have done this last year when the house was first listed.  It really is all about curb appeal.

I also finally framed some pictures.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll hang them on the wall, but let’s not get too crazy here.  You folks know how I feel about finishing projects.

I’m off to bed now so I can escape into my historical (smut Joshua says) novel about star-crossed lovers who can time travel.  Nothing like escapism.

Happy Monday!