Monday, October 6, 2014

The Anti-Climactic Gender Reveal

Things always happen so naturally and my head. Much like today. I had this beautiful picture in my head of exactly how our family's gender reveal was going to go. For the first time, Jelani wasn't able to go with me. None of the available appointments worked with his schedule, so I went very early in the morning while he and the kids were still sleeping. I asked the nurse to please write it down, so I couldn't see it. In my head, we'd slowly open it, the anticipation just tickling us! The kids would be bouncing around in excitement waiting to hear, and as we'd pull open the envelope, we'd smile from ear to ear, no matter what, and hug and congratulate one another.

Oh, it just sounds perfect, doesn't it?

So I got up at 6 am this morning, got ready for my appointment, woke baby up with a little Earl Grey so we could get some cooperative photos, and went out to my 6:45 am appointment.

I've never began a Monday so beautifully. The nurse was informative and sweet, showing me every little detail. The baby moved rhythmically, in perfect timing for every photo she needed. We got great footage of the healthy beating heart, the beautiful brain, all the perfect little bones, and saw the most precious yawn. I was still imagining how beautiful our family's morning was going to be, as I arrived home with the magic envelope!

I was exhausted, but I smiled all the way home from the appointment. There's something truly beautiful in that moment of anticipation, in the not knowing.

I returned home to a quiet house. The kids were all still sleeping. Jelani was quietly getting ready for work.

I sat down to crochet, all the ultrasound pictures beside me, with the one telling picture tucked away in the envelope beside me. As the kids stirred and came downstairs, Chastity asked to see the pictures. Of course!

"Do you know yet if it's a boy or a girl?" she asked me.

"Not yet, but we're about to find out!" I explained, in far too little detail.

She sat down beside me, right next to the envelope, and begin looking through the string of pictures of baby's feet, head, and arms.

I couldn't get the internet to connect to the laptop, and I was trying to get the school lessons set up, so I took the computer over to the router to fix it, while Chastity still excitedly browsed the pictures. Just one minute before Jelani made his way downstairs, I heard, "Oh, Mommy, it's a girl! It says it right here." In a very quiet, very nonchalant voice from my daughter who had been praying for a sister for months. And in a tone that said, "Didn't you see this?"

In a split second of horror, I realized my moment was gone! That beautiful moment I'd imagined so thoroughly in my head...poof...thin air.

"Oh, Chastity! You weren't supposed to open that yet! That was supposed to be a surprise!" I said, before thinking, while silently cursing the moment I'd taught her to read.

She burst into tears.

Now my moment was gone, her moment was stolen, and Daddy still hadn't made his way downstairs.

I immediately backtracked, "Oh, sweetie, you're not in trouble! Don't cry! It wasn't your fault! You're going to have a SISTER!!!! Yay!!" I got the hint of a smile from her, as Daddy came downstairs.

"Would you like to know what we're having?" I laughed.

"Do you know? I thought you were going to wait for me."

"Yes, well..." I briefly recounted the morning's quick, unraveling events. Having already missed all the excitement, he looked at the pictures, ate his breakfast, and went to work.

We can't expect that our lives are going to get any more predicable, or that our moments are going to

always ever go as planned, but they will always be our moments to hold dear, and we are perfectly excited to know even more about our final little treasure! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Camera Ready or Not

I've always wanted 4 children, ever since I can remember thinking about the children I might one day have...back in high school. Four seemed appropriate; not too many, not too few, everyone has a buddy. There have been times throughout our marriage, my husband and I weren't sure we'd have 4. I've had a lot of discomfort during pregnancies, I tend to gain a lot of weight, we've had financial hardships, and frankly, I just don't like being pregnant.

With each pregnancy, I held out hope, hope that one of my 4 might just be a cute pregnancy; hope that I might, just might, have one of those all-belly, skinny everywhere else, can't tell I'm pregnant from behind or in head shots pregnancies.

It didn't happen with the first. It didn't happen with the second, even though I worked out and walked regularly throughout. And it didn't happen with my third, even though I played basketball well into the second trimester.

Then, for the first time ever, I became pregnant before losing the previous weight. My first concern was to hear the healthy heartbeat of the baby. Having had a miscarriage just 9 months prior, it was a concern I'd never known before. A miscarriage never even occurred to me or entered my brain...until I'd had one. But then, a very close second concern was, "Crap! I'm already overweight. This pregnancy is going to be my most hideous yet!" Yeah, I'm a fabulous mom, I know.

Of course, I started showing almost immediately. I put on weight during that first trimester just like always. It was embarrassing to have people think I was much farther along than I actually was, asking me, at about 14 weeks, "Do you know what you're having?" or even worse, thinking I was due this fall.

Greeeeaaaaat. I became much like a hermit, only going to church and attending things I'd already committed to, and I wasn't sure I was ever going to let the Facebook world know of this pregnancy. Come February, I'd just post a picture of the new little one all nonchalant like, "I'm so crafty, lookie what I made!"

Then, when I finally decided to let my Facebook friends in on our little secret, I wanted to use pictures of each of my pregnancies to announce this fourth one. And ya know what I discovered? There's not a single pregnancy picture of me with Isaac, our third. I remembered my mom trying to take some and my refusal, because I couldn't stand the look of my face, and how my whole body looked pregnant, from my toes to my hair. I hated my face, in particular, and how when I would smile, my cheeks themselves, all swollen and rosy, looked like they were about to give birth to a family of elves.

It occurred to me, that no matter how little I actually enjoy pregnancy, it produces my greatest joy, and to not have any proof of the love I had for them, in my being, is heartbreaking. Poor little Isaac. :( So today, I (me, I did it, I organized it, my idea, mine), planned a family portrait for us while apple picking. My mom was more than happy to photograph us, and I didn't hide every time she pulled up the camera. I smiled, I laughed, I embraced the family of elves living in my cheeks and cherished this moment with my growing family.

 I'm 19 weeks and huge, and I'll be just fine. Baby is healthy, I am healthy, and we find out the gender on Monday. My husband thinks I'm beautiful, my children think I'm pretty, and their love can conquer all of my insecurities.

Besides, for the first time in my life, I can actually say this; when am I ever going to experience this again? Never. This is it, the last hoorah, the final piece to the Greene puzzle, and I'm not going to keep running from it. There will be plenty of time for dieting, and running, and being fit and fabulous after the elves, I mean babies, ;-) no longer need my body for their growth.

From this moment on, I will stop allowing moments to pass me by just because I don't believe I'm camera ready, and I challenge you to do the same! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Letter from a Bad Friend

I, for one, have never been a big fan of seeing everyone's relationship dramas play out on Facebook. Marriage, engagement, and dating are the first that come to mind. But posting about how bad our friends are is an ongoing and consistent trend from even those who are private about their other relationships. Even Zooey Deschanel is sharing blogs about the 12 Signs It Might Be Time For a Bestie Breakup.

And listen, I'm not here to tell you what you can and cannot say or post on Facebook. That's totally up to you. I just think that when it comes to friendships, our expectations are really inconsistent, and often outrageous, and maybe a touch hypocritical.

I am the bad friend who forgets to call.
I have three kids and a husband, a house to clean, and three meals a day to make and clean up after. Before this life there were jobs with odd hours. Before that life, there was basketball and school which was a full-time + overtime job. I have never intentionally avoided someone, but different seasons of my life have called for different priorities. It never meant I stopped caring about my friends.
I am the bad friend who prioritizes her husband and family ahead of you (in many, but not all, circumstances.)
Ummm, there's something wrong with a family in which the BFFs are constantly taking precedent over the spouses and children, right? Even in a dating relationship, many are dating with intent to see about a future. Now if the guy is all bad for your girl friend and causing her to make horrible life decisions, that may be different, but ladies, try to understand the life changes that occur when your friend falls madly in love with someone they want to create a life with.
I am the bad friend who often uses social media as her main form of communication.
I'm home all day, every day, with three loud kids. During the school year, I am their teacher, and I often forget to even turn my phone or ringer on until afternoon. But the computer is always on for walk-bys, and I try to communicate as much as I can on there. It doesn't mean you're not important enough for a phone call. It just means phone calls are often a frustrating task in my household. Ask my own sisters how often I call them!  
I am the bad friend who will be honest, even if you don't like it.
I like the truth. I appreciate the truth, and I will always try to be honest, even if it is hurtful. I often ask questions people don't like because of that as well. If you can't have an honest conversation with a friend, then things are pretty superficial, in my opinion.
I am the bad friend who often gets wrapped up in her own mess and may, selfishly, forget to ask about yours. 
I admit it. I am selfish sometimes. I am tired, or I'm so worried about something going on in my own life that it's often all I can think about. Haven't we all been there? No, it's not all about me. I don't ever expect it to be all about me, but sometimes, my brain gets stuck. Don't be offended by momentary lapses. We're all allowed to be a mess sometimes and sometimes, for some people, those messes last longer than others.

I am all of those things. And, if we're being honest, you probably are too.

I have spent years calling myself a "bad friend," and believing it, because I have never fully been able to meet all the expectations that come with the fun moniker, BFF.

But those are almost always unfair expectations to ask of anyone. Your bff shouldn't ever be your everything. It is ok to have lives and even close friends outside of each other. It should be ok if you miss a few phone calls here and there; even ok if they are sometimes one-sided. And it is OK if you disagree on things. Different seasons of our lives are going to provide different amounts of time for each other, and I think friends should understand that and be able to reconnect at any time. That doesn't mean your friends are never going to be without fault. No one is perfect, so no relationship will ever be perfect, but why oh why, do we not lend our friends the same forgiveness and consideration we would lend a significant other?

Ladies, I have seen y'all go through Hell and high water to forgive a man for horrible things; abuse, adultery, good old fashioned condescension and inconsideration, and yet, we can't forgive each other for minor mistakes, and often, completely unintentional ones. 
Nobody reads minds. Hardly anyone who has ever unintentionally hurt someone, realizes they have done so if you don't tell them. And when you tell them, don't expect an automatic apology, but a give and take conversation. Often our own behaviors are reactions to hurts as well, so you may have hurt them too! Keep in mind that your emotions may be your reality, but that doesn't make them truth.

So your friend made you feel like this, and you posted it on Facebook.
Just because they may have unintentionally made you feel that way, doesn't mean they actually feel that way about you. Maybe they're going through a lot, and just know they can turn to you. It could just be a season of your friendship, but if you're starting to feel bitter about it, talk to them.

I've had friends who were there through the good times, when I was a college basketball prospect and then player, with a lot of potential, and people knew who I was. They sort of disappeared when that all came to an end and I became "just a stay at home mom," struggling financially and struggling with my own identity. Most people don't know this, but I really struggled through my first year as a mom. I felt very alone and unsure of myself, and for years I felt like friendships ended because I was just no longer "cool" enough. I didn't have enough to offer them. And it wasn't fun hanging out with a new mom who was tired and cranky, and whipping her boobs out every couple of hours. My feeling that way, doesn't make it true. It was a new life I was unused to, and I may not have even known how to be a good friend at that time myself. Life happens, people and friendships change, and that is OK. We shouldn't go around pointing fingers, assigning blame, or playing passive aggressive Facebook games. Doing any of those things will only prevent you from ever reconnecting down the road, past the seasons of busy-ness in your lives. It's as if we're not ok with the uncertainty, so we make good and sure it's over.

I can't help but notice that women struggle with these things so much more than men. Men don't get all bent out of shape if they don't hear from each other all that often. They don't assume they've been ditched or replaced, or that it's been done out of spite. They pick right up where they left off the next time they talk. "Oh, sorry I missed your birthday man. That was a crazy week." "You missed my birthday? No big deal. I was out with friends all day anyway. How've you been?" And the thing is, they really mean it. It's not a fake, "No big deal," while they spitefully plan to intentionally miss your next birthday. We women, myself included, need to stop battling each other inside our own heads! Stop letting our own emotional struggles and insecurities effect the way we feel about our friends.

No relationship is completely one-sided, or it wouldn't be one at all, and no argument, misunderstanding, or fight, is ever the complete fault of one person. There are always multiple sides to a story, so let's not all try to assume the worst.

Signing off and hoping to remember (and find the quiet time) to call my sisters tonight.

Yours truly,

The Bad Friend

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Striving for 'Exellence'

I have never taken a compliment well. Never. They have always made me uncomfortable in a really itchy, Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) anxiety attack, sort of way. I have never known how to respond, and I would typically counteract them by insulting myself. I believe most people find that annoying, as though I am fishing for more compliments or insincerely modest, but it is honestly the only way I know how to respond to a compliment. My husband has been very vocal about the ways in which this bothers him. "Just say, 'thank you!'" I hear from him repeatedly, but 'thank you' for what? Pointing out something that is not of me at all? Because I think, deep down, I have always felt that everything found good in me is not, in fact, me.

When I was young people were constantly complimenting my basketball skills. It made my skin crawl. I could instantly think of all of my flaws, and all the players who were better. This was more of a hindrance than anything, because not fully realizing my abilities held me back from being the best I could be. I know that now, but I also know that if not for the Lord, basketball wouldn't have even existed in my life. I had asthma so bad as a young child, that I couldn't even run across our yard without an attack. I never should have been able to play...but I did. Then, as I became more involved in basketball, and it became less and less affordable for my parents to help out, God kept providing extra income and ways for them to do what they could for me to compete. Basketball was never really mine, but I took it, I defined myself with it, I used it to pay for my college education, and I took it for granted. When my career ended prematurely with an unforeseen injury, all I could think about was how I had idolized basketball, and how I did not use it to glorify the One who gave it to me.

And so, compliments of any kind became even more difficult for me to accept.

Any physical beauty found in me was designed by the Lord.

Any talent or ability I have was given from the Lord.

Any good or kindness found in me is the work of the Lord.

And obviously any undesirable, unlikeable, horribly awful imperfect trait found in me, is me; wholly humanly little 'ole me. I tend to focus on those because those are the things I most want to change, and because those are the things within me, that make my skin crawl whenever a compliment is thrown my way.

Then I had children. And my children, imperfect though they may be, are amazing. I see them for who they are, their faults, their strengths, their struggles and triumphs. They are beautiful. Then someone compliments me, "What well-behaved children you have!" And I hear this a lot, because really...they are. And again, I can't just say "Thank you," and move on. I stumble and stutter, and think of all the times they are not, because this compliment falling on my ears, is not mine to claim. Everything good in them is from the Lord. Any good parenting decision we have made on their behalf, is from the Lord, and I thank HIM for the wonderful children they are.

But every now and then, I don't have to say a word, because every so often, in a perfectly timed, humbling moment, they will do it for me.

At a spaghetti dinner a few weeks ago the kids were quietly eating. They ate up their salad before moving on to spaghetti, which, I guess, in a lot of homes is pretty amazing. My kids love salad. They said their 'please' and 'thank you's, and finished their plates. As Elijah took his last bite, a woman to my right said, "Your children are so well behaved! They are very polite and well mannered at the table!"

I smiled, as my skin began to crawl uncomfortably, and Elijah promptly wiped the spaghetti sauce from his face with his sleeve.

She and I both laughed, and I felt relieved. Why? Being reminded of our humanness is comforting. Being aware that our greatness comes from Him, reminds us there is something more, something better, something perfect we have not yet seen.

All through high school I had a quote hanging on my closet door by Michael J. Fox, "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Exellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business." And yes, you read that right. I can't remember if I typed it up myself, or if one of my parents did, but there was a typo in the quote. The word 'Excellence' was misspelled. I never fixed it. I liked the irony.

Maybe one day I will be able to gracefully receive a compliment without getting squirmish. But sometimes, that humbling discomfort is a great reminder of who I serve and why. I am not here to serve myself. I am not here to collect rave reviews. I am merely a child of God who has some food on her sleeve.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why Frozen Makes Me Melt

Dick Clark once said, "Music is the soundtrack of our lives." For me, I know this to be true. A song, a few lyrics, or even the first few chords can take me back to a long lost memory; good or bad or somewhere in between. As a writer, I've always been sensitive to music and the implications of the lyrics. I liked story telling in a song, but I could also be mesmerized by something fantastically unique or a great beat.

Music stays with you. I can't even remember all the Presidents anymore, at least not in order, I have difficulty remembering very key historical facts and dates, and I often forget what was so great about that last book I just loved. Don't get me wrong. I'm no ditz. I was a great student, but I'm a memorizer, a crammer, a forgetter of all things I just needed to ace that exam the moment the test is done.

However, if everything I ever learned in school, had been put into song, I never would have forgotten a thing, and I'd be a stinkin' genius.

Alas, the soundtrack of my youth is not so much filled with history lessons, as it is overflowing with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and...The Little Mermaid.

To this day, I can sing every single lyric to every single song in The Little Mermaid. In fact, I can recite the entire movie line by line. But the songs were most important. If I even hear a hint of Ariel's voice, or a chord from Under the Sea or Part of Your World, I am instantly transformed into the little blonde girl with green hair from chlorine, swimming through the pool with my ankles held tightly together, certain that everyone saw me as I felt right then, a beautiful mermaid with a perfectly groomed head of hair flowing around me, beneath the water (ahhh the imagination of Disney).

I can picture the happy faces of my parents, like they are sharing an inside joke.

Only now, when I find myself in these reminiscing moments, I understand the looks their faces capture. The look of a parent basking in the moment, hoping to remember it forever; hoping against all hope that their little mermaid stays little forever.

Sometimes these old songs and old memories trigger emotions I don't fully understand; tears I'm not sure are happy or sad, and a longing for the slowing of the clock.

Today we took the kids to the roller skating rink nearby. Jelani skated with Elijah and Chastity, while I chased our toddler, who was causing skating accidents at every turn. At one point, with Isaac on my hip, I watched as Elijah and Chastity skated so slowly and delicately, scared of what might happen if they really tried. The song Let it Go came booming over the speakers and I watched kids (of all ages) begin belting out the lyrics. Little girls were stopping in mid skate to swing their arms open like Elsa in the movie Frozen, and a really strange thing happened to my eyes. Tears began to well up, completely unprovoked, seemingly brought on by a song that holds no really significant meaning or memory for me. We watched the movie once with the kids a couple of weeks ago, and that was it.

But what occurred to me as I forced back these tears which were bound and determined to embarrass me, is that I was listening to the soundtrack of my present; the soundtrack of my children's childhood. These were the songs my children would never forget, Let it Go, and Happy in particular will forever remind us of that moment, or silly dancing in the living room. For the first time in a series of busy days, in a bunch of busy weeks, on a string of busy months, I found myself frozen in a moment, realizing my husband and I are now our parents, sharing the inside jokes, and basking in the joy of our children...

...and I don't ever want to let that go.

Friday, January 31, 2014

What Does Your Favorite Bible Story Say About You?

My two oldest children usually get along very well. They play well together, and they prefer to be together rather than apart. Elijah (age 6) and Chastity (age 4) play better together than any mommy could ever hope. They are not perfect. They still sometimes argue, but it never gets out of hand.

One of the factors in this, I believe, is that they are very different. They often times will be playing the same thing together, but they will be doing it differently. It's quite amazing to watch.

Elijah, my first born, is cautious and careful. He is very deliberate about all that he does. He's mindful of his actions, and remembers to pray for things even when I do not. He feels strength in numbers and comfort in having someone with him at all times. He still takes his sister with him to the bathroom even, where they will talk about books or movies while he's stinking up the house.

Chastity is independent. She doesn't mind company, but doesn't always require it. She is my little girl who likes to do big things, always behaving in ways much older than her age. She does not like to be told to be careful, or that she's too young or little to do something. Her response is almost always, "I can do it." or "I won't get hurt." She will pray, and she loves Jesus, but she doesn't like to be told when to do so. She's more about action, less about thought.

Today, I was doing some research for Easter basket gifts. I am trying to have an all handmade Easter this year, so I'm placing orders early and even working out craft trades with fellow crafty ladies who make things I cannot. I stumbled across a woman who makes hand painted, wooden peg dolls HERE, and she is so talented! I thought a fun and engaging way to teach Bible lessons with the kids would be to have some of these wooden figures painted is biblical characters, but I was really torn as to which ones to order...first, because I can't afford them all at once. ;-) Instead of stressing about it myself, I asked each child, separately, "What is your favorite Bible story?"

They answered without hesitation.

Elijah: Daniel and the lions!
Chastity: David and Goliath!


My quiet, mindful, prayerful son, who desires to be obedient, and who finds comfort in knowing God is with him, loves how Daniel was protected in the lion's den just for being obedient to the Lord.

My independent, adventurous daughter, who loves to take action rather than sit and wait, and who wants to do and be used for big things, loves how little David took action and was protected from a giant.

So I took a minute to think about my all time favorite story in the Bible. It was tough to decide, but I narrowed it down to two: Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers, and Jonah and the whale. In one story people Joseph loved and trusted sold him out of jealousy, BUT God protected him and used it for his and even his brother's ultimate good, saving them from starvation. In the other, Jonah refused to listen to God and thought he could run away. Once tossed from the ship, and expecting to die, God allowed a horrible thing (being swallowed by a whale) to happen to Jonah, to prevent certain drowning, but spared his life and had the whale spit him back out on dry land to continue doing what God had asked him to do in the first place.

In both stories there is the hope for second chances. Joseph didn't do anything wrong, but his horrible circumstances led him and his family to a better life. God not only saw him through it, but brought them all out of it stronger and brought the family back together in forgiveness which only comes from the Lord. Jonah was disobedient, and rebelliously decided he wasn't going to listen to God. It was a mistake, and God still saved his life, and allowed him to repent.

I have always been a firm believer in second chances. I believe some things have happened to me because I was being disobedient, and others because, though they were difficult at the time, they were and still are, leading me to something better. These stories give me hope, just as Daniel and David give Elijah and Chastity each hope.

Maybe their favorites will change still, and maybe mine will too, but I am enjoying watching them grow, and growing along with them in the Word of our Lord.

What Bible story or character gives you hope? If your kids are old enough, have this conversation with them as well. I think they understand things better than we realize.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Making 14 Better Than 13

13 is my favorite number, and I always just assumed 2013 was going to be my favorite year. It wasn't, and mostly I only have myself to blame for that, so I have been collecting (in my brain) ways to make 2014 better than 2013, and thought, maybe my list could even help my readers!

1. Play with my kids MORE - I sometimes have to really motivate myself to get in the right frame of mind to play with my kids. I am with them all the time, but most days, I find I am only doing the necessary things, so really, I'm only keeping them alive and educated. Playing with them takes energy and patience and many things I run short on, but I have never regretted neglecting the cleaning to play with them, not ever. I have, on the other hand, regretted ignoring them to troll the internet, clean, crochet, or cook, but never have I ever regretted a moment spent on the floor, covered with toys, cuddles, and giggles. More of this is a requirement.

2. Spend less time on social media - There are many reasons for this. The above resolution being the most important, but also, I've discovered something. The internet wants us all to hate each other. I have read countless articles about what not to say to whom when they're going through any struggle from being a stay at home vs working mom, to miscarriages and infertility to single vs married friends, and it seems that every list out there really, desperately wants us to be offended by everything anyone says to us about anything...ever. Listen, as if we need any help at all misinterpreting someone's typed out words with no inflection or facial expressions with which to gauge them by, the internet is coaching us on how to be offended by everything they say! Seriously, there are very few, very few people out there who are actually seeking to offend, and I imagine most of us don't have friends like that in our circles, so no one is out to get us. And this brings me to...

3. Stop worrying about others' opinions - I actually don't get offended very easily and I enjoy hearing differing opinions, but I do tend to allow these opinions to consume my thoughts and take over my day from time to time. It's not just that someone's opinions differ from mine. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me and takes up space in my brain is how my differing opinion could have/might have/probably did offend them in some way. I am a chronic apologize-r. I tell people I'm sorry even when they were the ones who hurt me in some way. But I've learned a few things.
     a. I cannot control how my opinions or beliefs make someone else feel, no matter how diplomatic, kind, or loving I express them.
     b. I can, however, control how I allow them to make me feel. I don't have to be sorry all the time. I can be ok with being myself and stop worrying about those who are not ok with that (even if social media dictates that everything I've ever said to them should be viewed as offensive).

4. Angry less = Happy more - Contrary to popular belief. This can be controlled. If I stop allowing #s 2 and 3 to bother me and do more of #1, it stands to reason that # 4 is completely and utterly achievable. I find my children much less irritating when I am playing with them than when I am trying desperately and unsuccessfully to get some things done. Those things can almost always wait. Areas of my house were a disaster when we had guests over here for New Year's Day, and though they may have gone home and talked about my mess after leaving, everyone here still had a good time and ate some good food. And thanks to #3, I do not have to worry about their possible opinions on my cleanliness. :)

5. Take better care of myself - Aside from #s 1-4 helping in this department, I also need to spend more time in God's Word, and not just to get it done. I need to find time to exercise, even if it means getting up before the sun and finding the money to pay for decent running shoes. I need to make doctor's appointments for myself; see everyone from the family practitioner to the dentist regularly. And last, but certainly not least, I need to allow for time and money for regular hair cuts. I like long hair, but it's been nearly 2 years since I've seen a trim, and I get a little crazy and want to chop it myself when that happens, so this must get taken care of...soon!

Last but not at all least!!!!
6. Spend more REAL time with my husband - We get caught up in the exhaustion and have days when the only time we spend together is in front of the TV, and me with crochet hook in hand. That is nice and relaxing, but shouldn't be our daily norm, and it has been. The days when we've had guests, and had to clean up together after the kids go to bed are the most treasured times we've had all year, because the TV isn't on, and we're both in the kitchen, washing and drying and wiping things down. And we we haven't talked in months (probably because we really haven't, at least not about anything important). And in spite of the fact that we're cleaning, and our hopes and dreams now revolve around our children, it feels like we're dating again. Most days we do not clean together, because most days the mess isn't that big, so this happens rarely, and usually only before and after a party, but I hope to do much more cleaning with my husband in 2014. ;-) After all, he is never more attractive than when he is cleaning something. Seriously, he took it upon himself to clean and organize our small storage closet on New Year's Day, and I just couldn't take my eyes off of him the rest of the day! Mmm! You know I'm right, ladies! 

I hope I've given you some things to think about, and maybe you even have some you can add that would be beneficial to me as well! Thanks for listening. Thanks for being my metaphorical ear to bend, and I hope you'll stick around for more of my future writings. Happy New Year!