1. I blog in "list form" when I have lots of things on my mind rather than a well formed post with jolly pictures to share. Just so you know.
2. We've been at the beach since last Friday night. It has been so wonderful. I'll do a separate post about our trip when we get home (tomorrow maybe?). But it has been such a great getaway for our family. No work, all play. My kids LOVE the beach, the sand, the shore, the ocean, the breeze. Love it. They'd stay all day if we'd let 'em. Which is how it should be! No pool for us! (If we wanted to be at a pool all day we would've stayed home anyway.) But we do enjoy the pool as a nice way to cool off and 'de-sand' ourselves. :) We've enjoyed some good eatin' and some good go-kart ridin' and we've even knocked a big dent in our Christmas shopping. So I'd say it's been great.
3. As great as it's been, I'm so ready for FALL! Mainly because fall brings back a sense of routine, which I need desperately after a long hot summer of traveling, birthday parties, and having little to no bedtime/morning routines for my kids. I'm ready for some organization to come back into my life!
4. Speaking of organization, I've already been a busy bee making out my lists and getting my schedule into gear. I'm re-signed up for our E-Mealz (we get the Publix LowFat Meals for 2 and it works great for our whole family.) I've been stockpiling my coupons. (And by the way, I love that the Publix E-Mealz bases their meals around what's on sale and even tells you what coupons you can use to save even more!) I've got my fall books ordered ("Mission of Motherhood" at the top of my list.) I even made out a cleaning schedule for my house. Because I am that ready for some organization and routine in my life. Neurotic, I know. And a bit OCD. (Now, let's see how long it takes until life doesn't go exactly as planned in my newly ordered planner and I start pulling my frazzled little hairs out! I'm trying to prepare myself for that too. One day at a time...)
5. Our small group is starting back up and I'm beyond excited. I've spent the last 4 1/2 years getting to know some amazing, encouraging, godly girlfriends here in Birmingham, and I'm glad we'll finally be making a point to see each other again on a regular basis! We met at a 'newly married' couples Bible study back in 2007 - seems like yesterday now - and since then we've experienced all the highs and lows that life can bring - new jobs, unemployment, infertility, moves (some of them cross country, some across the world!), sickness, marital ups and downs, and the best blessing of all: collectively we have 8 (almost 9!) children between us. I'm just blessed to have met these folks and am looking forward to seeing them regularly again.
6. We've had life throw us a few curve balls in the last few weeks. Nothing we can't handle but it's funny how the Lord works sometimes. More on that when I have time.
7. FOR THE MOMMAS: I received a text the other day from one of my best friends (a fairly new mama herself) who asked me if I ever received unsolicited advice from anyone on parenting, etc. A big fat YES. I think we all have; we've probably all given it, too. But since having kids I've tried to be particularly careful about offering advice, especially unsolicited advice, to other parents or new parents. It's one thing if they ask you for advice (i.e. "Did your baby ever have diaper rash? What did you do for it?") But it is a totally different ballgame if you just thrust your information on them like you are the PARENTING MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE. All children are different and all of them will require different things. I remember crying after Mary Ella was born because she just wasn't like all those calm, sweet, schedule-oriented babies like in the Baby Wise book. And then I expected Sam to be like Mary Ella; but he was my super laid back, "sure I'll sleep now, Mom, if that's what you want," baby. All kids are different, all families and all parents are different, and sometimes even comments that are meant to be helpful are sometimes ill-received if they are not given in love and are not solicited. In other words, if I ask for your advice, please feel free to give it to me. If I don't, you can just look and stare and smile politely, and I'll do the same to you. Thank you and thank you. And all you new mamas out there and expecting mamas should know that this WILL happen to you. It will. There's no way around it. Bottom line is this: YOU do what YOU need to do for YOUR baby. That's the bottom line. And to contradict myself completely, I'm going to end with a piece of parenting advice that I usually give new moms who ask me for advice: Begin and end each day with the Lord. He offers so much more than any amount of caffeine, baby/parenting book, etc. You start and end each day like that, you can't go wrong. One of my favorite verses (that just happened to be in my devotional for today as well!):
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." Psalm 105:4
8. Before I left for the beach, I totally re-did my dining room. In a day. And I based the entire makeover on some fabric I saw on a particularly raunch TV show that might start with "B" and might end with "-achelorPad." The TV material is sketch but the fabric is fabulous. And though I couldn't find it anywhere, I loved the colors and went with it. And I love it. I will post pictures when I get home.
9. I bit the bullet. I have a pair of Toms. And so do my kids. I don't consider myself a trendy person by any means. Well, until now.
10. After some tedious researching and coupon-rounding-up and advice from my most trusted mama friends, (advice that I solicited, I might add), my kids finally have a new "ride" coming. As in, a stroller. And I am thrilled. Our consignment sale Combi has decided to retire; her brittle bones are literally cracking; the front safety bar is gone. The harnesses are frayed. The sun shades are slap thin. If she had an odometer, it'd read "DONE." I'll blog about that later too. Must. get. sleep.
I've made a lot of "I'll blog that later" promises, haven't I? Please remind me to follow up. I'll put it in my new planner. :)