Monday, February 28, 2011

Cuddle Puddles and Big Steps.

We're huge fans of the Cuddle Puddle in our house. Recently, it's been the corner of the big sectional where the pillows all converge and a lime green blanket keeps toes warm and make impromptu forts easier to create. The morning Rohan's foot was getting infected followed a fairly sleepless night, so when daylight hit and we identified the sleep stealer as none other than an infected toe, I gave him a dose of Tylenol to take away some of the pain. He came and cuddled beside me on the couch, crouching on his knees and leaning into my shoulder, and eventually his little head started to bow and sleep took over his body. We were getting ready to head out for the morning, so I shifted my body and away and settled him into the couch under the green blanket.

As I packed the diaper bag, I noticed Luca making her way over to stand by the couch, and then I watched as she gently crawled up next to him and pulled the blanket over them both. I asked what she was doing and she said, "Romie is sick so I'm cuddle puddlin' him." And together they snuggled, her alternately holding his hand and eating her gummy vitamins, and him soundly and peacefully sleeping.

I love seeing these two together. Pure Mom Bliss.


Luca isn't always known for being courageous. She tends to sit back and observe situations rather than diving right in, and although she loves going on her belly head-first down slides at the park, the first 47 times she did it, Darrick or I had to be right there with her.

So, when we saw this slide at the Rennaissance Festival I was a bit shocked when she asked if she could try it. If you can't tell, the dragon's body is a tube slide which starts about 3 floors up and winds around the tower.

Imagine my surprise when she walked right up, handed the lady her money, and disappeared into the tower's staircase all by herself.

For a minute Darrick and I stood there, slack jawed with proud grins on our faces, silently in awe over her bravery.

In the next minute, we looked at each other, and just as Darrick said, "You know, maybe I should go up there and go with her?" I said, "You know, maybe you should go with her." We laughed and he reached in his pocket for more cash, but then we stopped ourselves. This was our girl's first lone adventure and she had to have a chance to do it alone. We were assured by the money-taker that there were adults throughout who would escort her out if she got too scared.

We waited at the bottom, and before we knew it, there she was!

It was a big moment for our little girl, taking on something big and new and kind of scary all on her own.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eating on the Cheap: Couscous.

We love mediterranean food in this house. We go to our favorite place, Pita Jungle, as regularly as we can, but the truth is we can drop a pretty penny there between dinners for each of us, a glass of wine for the over-21s, and an appetizer. Pita Jungle is, quite literally, the only restaurant we eat at where we always order an appetizer. And it's amazing: garlic dip garnished with tomato and cucumber slices, served with warm pita bread. In fact, even though the garlic in this dip is often so strong it makes your tongue tingle a bit, our kids devour it by the spoonful.

So I've been eager to attempt some mediterranean food of our own, but other than the grilled chicken-stuffed pitas we have for lunch sometimes, I hadn't ventured far into that territory.

But, last week we made a commitment to eating at home every meal for 7 days. We hit the grocery store, where Darrick and I each picked up ingredients for 3 meals a piece, figuring we'd have 1 night of leftovers and any other leftover food could be packed for lunch.

Last night I got home first, so I opened the fridge and spotted my fresh basil, which I'd selected with the plan of making a really simple and inexpensive pasta dish I love. But then my plans veered onto another track when my search for pasta in the pantry ('s waaaay past time to take out the recycleables, honey!) led me straight to a box of couscous I had purchased recently but not yet used. I've had couscous before at restaurants, but making it at home was going to be a new adventure, and instantly visions of pasta went arrivederci and I began to formulate a meal in my head.

I didn't follow a recipe, really, though I was pleased to realize when I looked on the couscous box for its instructions that a recipe very similar to what I was making was posted there.


boneless, skinless chicken breast
olive oil
fresh garlic
fresh basil

First I trimmed the fat and ickiness from the chicken and cut it into small pieces. I threw those into a large skillet with some olive oil, some finely chopped garlic, and a few large basil leaves I'd broken into small pieces. I cooked it all over medium heat until the chicken was cooked all the way through. Then I added just over a cup of water and the flavor packet (parmesan) from the couscous package and brought it to a rolling boil for a few minutes.

While the chicken was cooking, I sliced up some tomatoes, broke the ends off some green beans and put them on the stove, and crushed up some more basil leaves.

Once a rolling boil had been achieved for a few minutes, I added in the cous cous and mixed until all the couscous was wet and the moisture in the pan was almost gone. Then I covered it and removed it from the heat for just over 5 minutes. Sprinkled some feta on top and covered again. While that was all coaking and settling, I lightly sprayed a pita with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and sprinkled it with garlic salt, and let that bake at 425 for about 5 minutes. I took it out when it was browned on the edges but not crispy.

When all was said and done, our plates looked like this:

And our bellies were SO happy. This was some seriously good dinner, and the leftover chicken and couscous was taken to work today and turned into lettuce wraps, which was also amazing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Luca drew this picture at preschool the other day, and it's her first real family picture. I asked her to tell me about it, and she said:

"This is my family but they're skeletons. There's Luca and mommy and daddy and Rohan. And mt 2 cousins because I love them." She pointed to each figure and I made a mental note so that I could upload this later and label each one. She also practiced writing her name at the bottom (she knows the letters, though the order isn't always correct) and drawing hearts.

I sat there with her on my lap, listening to her desrcibe what she had drawn, and my heart ballooned with pride. Listen, I KNOW pretty much every kid will draw a picture of their family at some point, and that family will be a bunch of circles with lines coming out of it. But the thing is: this is my kid and she drew her family. Our family. And I was choked up with pride.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


A side effect of all the sickness we've been battling in our house lately is the ever-running and stuffy noses. Rohan has taken to lifting the neckline of his shirt to his face, saying, "NOTS!" (snots) and then wiping it off on the inside of the collar. Luca tends to be more demure, asking (ok, demanding) a tissue or wipe when her nose needs tending.

On Sundays we meet with my family for dinner, and though we were not feeling well this past weekend was no exception. I probably would have bowed out, but my Grandma is having some serious health issues and my mom wanted to update us, so we packed up the kids and headed to a little Mexican food place near our house.

My brother and his wife have been dealing with the plague I had a few weeks ago, and Sunday was the first day they were both feeling better, but they came a little later than everyone else because their stomachs are on weak legs still, and they had eaten a late lunch. Luca was super excited for them to show up, as they brought her cousin Julia, and Julia makes the sun shine in Luca's world.  She quickly abandoned my end of the booth to go sit by Julia's highchair and entertain her Aunt and Uncle.

We were all talking when Luca interrupted saying, "Uncle Bob! Uncle Bob!" He turned his attention her way, and she proudly bragged to him, "I just blew a booger bubble with my NOSE!"

I'm fairly certain my brother has never been so proud.

Monday, February 21, 2011

His Right Foot.

Saturday morning was cloudy and gray, and I woke feeling like death warmed over, barely. Apparently it wasn't enough that I spent my entire birthday on the couch or throwing up, because my body was wracked with coughs and my left eye was running so much Luca kept asking why I was crying. I soldiered up for a little adventure to the Superstition Mountain range, though, and I was SO glad I did. We had a trail almost entirely to ourselves, and not only enjoyed a cool and cloudy day, but also got to watch our kids stretch their wings in nature. I adore watching these two running together, throwing rocks and holding hands. I love her 20 Questions about everything, complete with her prompts in the car that sound something like, "Mommy. Let's talk about mountains." She stops there and just lets me talk, and when she feels mountains are an exhausted topic, she suggests another: "Ok Mommy. Now let's talk about bubble gum."

This is where I am honest: I did NOT want to go out for this little nature excursion. I wanted to crawl into a pile of warm blankets with a cup of tea and read a book and nap. But after? After I was so glad I'd gone.

About halfway through the morning, Rohan was trying to take off his shoe, telling us he had an ouchy. I felt around and found a cactus needle in the cuff of his pants, and figured that was the problem. It hadn't punctured his leg, but the scratch of the tip could have been enough to cause him pain.

On Sunday, Darrick took the kids to visit his side of the family, and I stayed home and napped, read, watched TV, and did laundry. Naptime wasn't so great for Rohan, and he woke telling me again that he had ouchies on his foot. An inspection led to the discovery that he had a small crack at the base of his big toe. We weren't too concerned, honestly, because my husband's family has a long history of people with what we call 'paw feet', meaning their skin is thick and when it gets too dry it cracks. We assumed this was a similar crack, so we gave him a long, hot bath (just in case something was in the foot, figuring the warm water would make it easier to draw it out of there), and my hubby did some exploring. Finding nothing, we slathered him with Neosporin and put a sock on him.

Bedtime came, and it was restless. He was up a lot, crying in pain. Stupidly, I assumed he was coming down with my cold since he was also sniffling, so we suffered through a night of bad sleep, bringing him into our room to help soothe him. In the morning, I looked at the toe again, and was shocked. His foot was swollen and the area was now a circle, red and puffy. I called the Pediatrician and couldn't get in until 2:45, so I gave the poor boy some Tylenol which helped him nap a bit on the couch while we got ready to go out for a day of fun.

The whole day, I knew it wasn't ok. He wasn't himself, sitting quietly in the wagon as we pulled it around the Rennaisance Festival, barely eating, and begging to be held by me. We left the Festival and headed straight to his appointment, with him sleeping and then waking to cry and beg for me. By the time we got to the doctor, the injured area was dark from blood pooled under the surface, there was a hot red line starting to creep up his foot, and he had a fever of 101 degrees. Alarmed, our pediatrician called another doctor in her practice in to examine him. We ran through possibilities including a splinter, a thorn, a crack in the foot that got infected, a spider bite, another bug bite, a sore combined with an allergic reaction to Neosporin...the list went on and on. Finding no real answer, his doctor referred us to a podiatrist in the same building who would see Rohan immediately. There was some talk about lancing, some talk about drains, and even some scary talk about possible hospitalization if the infection was too deep.

I was worried and sick to my stomach. My husband was convinced we should have just lanced it at home 'to see what would come out of there'. Our pediatrician was not touching it with a ten foot pole for fear the infection was too deep for her to simply lance it herself.

Three and a half hours and three doctors later? Our best guess is that it was a blister that got infected, and the infection was trapped under a layer of 'healing' skin. The podiatrist was amazing and calm (and a dad to 3 kids himself), Rohan was a trooper, and we escaped with just a foot wrap, orders to soak it in epsom salts, and a prescription for antibiotics.

(I am having issues uploading pictures to Blogger, so more to come soon!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ego Momiac

I'm sitting in my office talking to my co-worker, who's a mom of 4 kids. And I'm telling her a story about Luca, and I say, "I mean, I can't be the only mom thinking it, but still, I always find myself thinking that my kid is the cutest and smartest kid ever!" Silence. Blink. "Right? I mean EVERY mom thinks that about their own kid, I'm sure, but when I think it I'm positive I am the only mom who is actually correct!"

"Hm," she answers, "I don't remember ever thinking that about my kids."

And this is how I know: I am an Ego Momiac.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oranges and Masto

In our front yard is my favorite tree. All winter long, I watch the oranges grow and wait anxiously for them to be ripe enough to eat. We pick them straight from the tree and eat them fresh and still cold from the outside air. This winter alone we had about 50 oranges, all delicious and juicy and sweet.

Rohan loves oranges. He begs for them. He plucks them from the ground and asks us to 'open' them. He picks slices out of my bowl and sucks the sweet juice off the pulp.

He breaks out in a red, blotchy rash.

He begs for more.

His diapers after he eats oranges result in a red, angry rash.

He begs for more.

I always give in, reasoning that many kids are sensitive to the acidic juices of an orange.

This morning we went to visit my father in law. We sat in chairs on his back patio, peeling oranges and savoring a beautiful morning. We watched the kids run wild through the backyard, throwing a ball for the dogs and collecting pecans they asked us to break open so they could eat them straight away.

Within minutes, Rohan's skin around his mouth was red and raw. We washed it with warm water, dried it with a clean towel, and put some sensitive skin lotion on his face. He continued to ask for more. We said no. He went about his morning, falling asleep in the car after lunch and a run through a park.

He woke from naptime more red and raw. And by bedtime he was fussy. He woke twice, crying out for me. I got him back to sleep once, and the second time Darrick brought him into our bed, hopeful that a snuggle would be enough to soothe him back to sleep. I heard his cry get more desperate. I went up to him, armed with Benadryl (we now use this instead of the prescription histamine blocker he used to receive). He fought the medicine, crying and moving his head away, saying no. He curled onto his side and pulled his legs up to his body, sobbing. With Darrick's help, I got most of the medicine in his mouth. I pulled him to me and shushed him and, sandwiched between us, he fell back to sleep.

I don't want to deny him his oranges. His love for them runs deep. But I fear oranges may go the way of kiwis for him: on the no-go list from here on out unless we're in the mood to watch him suffer.

Sometimes, I think his Masto is so minor, I allow myself to forget about it altogether. Sometimes, I get mad he can't enjoy the simple pleasure of devouring a freshly ripened orange, straight off the tree.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today was a perfect day in Arizona, with a high of 77 and big, blue skies.

Our morning was split between crafts, baths (I tried to take one alone, but Rohan refuses to be left out of bathtime), and parties. We celebrated two birthdays, two soon-to-be-born new baby girls, and Valentine's Day. We ate bananas and cookies and allergen-free puppy chow and fat red strawberries dipped in pink deliciousness.

And after naptime, where my husband snuck out and got my tires rotated for me (AKA married romance) we went to the park to soak in some sunshine. We climbed ladders, watched our hair stand on end from the static on blue plastic slides, puddled wood chips into piles and then kicked them over, ran and climbed and jumped and made new friends. When it was over, we rode the carousel before heading to the car and grabbing dinner together on a patio in the waning hours of daylight. we ran out to the car with balloons bobbing behind us.

Half the year, your face melts as soon as the sun rises over the eastern horizon. So this time of year, we soak in the mild sunshine and feel smug about living here. I am really loving Luca and Rohan at this age too. They play together. They argue. The hug and laugh and she bosses him around and he steals her doll and runs away, laughing maniacally, and I love every second of it. We are blessed with two kids who are smart and sweet and kid and empathetic. She is wise beyond her years and so smart and intuitive it blows my mind on a daily basis. Her sense of humor is spot on, her memory is flawless, and though she's prone to stubbornness she must get from her dad's side of the family (ha.) she is such an easy kid to be around. And he is, hands-down, the funniest kid I've ever known. He will do anything to make us laugh, and isn't shy about asking for more tummy tickles or for someone to "Get Mo! Come on!" so that he can run wildly across the couch cushions and belly flop, hiding his face under a blanket and giggling like mad.

We eat up these perfect days, as the sun stays up longer and the temperatures woo us and draw us outside.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The End of an Era?

My love affair with Target may officially be over.

Believe me. I never, ever thought I'd utter those words. Never.

Tonight we took the kids out to dinner with the plan that we'd run to Target together after we were done eating. I have a 3 day weekend, and over the course of it I will be gifting 5 separate people at 3 different parties and I needed to get my shop on big time. I waited until tonight since today is pay day, and I had a plan. A PLAN I say. I had a $50 gift card from Christmas, and since I had 5 gifts to buy and already had wrapping paper at home, I figured I could sneak out of there without having to come out of pocket much. Three of the five gift recipients are under the age of 5, so a simple gift was all I needed, and I knew the other two gifts could come fairly cheap if I shopped smart and not impulsively.

In addition to gifts, we needed diapers for Rohan, socks for both kids, and cards to accompany the gifts. I was thinking after my $50 gift card I'd only need to come up with about $25 out of pocket. I knew this was an optimistic plan, but I was determined to make it happen.

In the end, I bought only things on my list. I was surprised to find the gift card I thought was worth $50 was only worth $40, so I mentally prepared myself to come $35 out of pocket.

$66 later, we walked out in a bit of shock. We double-checked the receipt. We peered into the bags to see if something was there we hadn't remembered purchasing. We couldn't figure out where we'd gone wrong.

We determined that Target's anti-theft door screening machines must be automatically programmed to deduct $20 from each person's debit card as soon as you walk through the door. There is no other plausible answer.

I thought a night doing some 'fun' shopping at Target would feel good. I thought I would enjoy it and find myself trailing 8 paces behind my husband as he pushed the cart, running my hands over clearance clothes and magazines I don't really need and swooning over the new spring bags and the adorable toddler jeans. I imagined feeling a bit sad about not delving into Target and then feeling very proud of myself as I walked out under budget. I would be smug, even.

Instead, I walked out deflated and simultaneously vindicated. I am feeling a bit over the whole thing now, and more resigned than ever to stay the hell away.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eating on the Cheap, Health Style.

This is how we're eating these days. A typical dinner for me. On the left is 1/2 a pita sprayed with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and then dusted with rosemary and garlic, toasted in the oven until crispy. On the right is a spinach salad with dried cranberries (bulk bin at Sprouts...SO flavorful!), rotisserie chicken, feta, and poppyseed dressing. I buy a big bin of spinach and a full chicken each week, so the total cost for a meal like this (which I eat 3-4 times a week, either for lunch or dinner) is probably $3 which sure beats the average $8-$12 salad most restaurants serve.

Spend Less: Month 1 Complete

The bottom line? $312.31. That's the total I spent at Target and Starbucks this January, which is just over $200 less than I spent at those places in January 2010.

And while I'm pretty thrilled with that and even more thrilled that the first of the month (and 75% of our bills) came and went and I didn't have to stress at all about money, I know we've still got a long way to go. We did our taxes already (a first for us to get them done this early) and for the first time I can ever remember, we're getting both federal AND state refunds. This is a mixed blessing of sorts because getting a refund is superior to owing the state, which has always been the case before. However, we changed our tax exemption status last year which created this upcoming refund but also contributed to some of our money struggled because it meant we both paid more taxes out of each paycheck. Sadly, those refunds are already earmarked for paying down our two highest interest credit cards. My sweet husband did the taxes, and when he saw the size of our refund, he turned to me and said, "This is awesome! We can put this all to one of our credit cards!"

Awesome was not how I would have described using the money to pay down debt, but when I told him that, he gave me The Look that told me he's the grown up when it comes to these things. And then he smiled devilishly and said, "Look, the sooner we pay that off, the sooner we can think about another baby." If you know me, you know 'think about another baby' is a phrase practically guaranteed to win my approval of almost any suggestion.


I've had some friends ask me to explain the 'how' of this financial makeover. And while I'm definitely no money management expert, here's a short run down of how we got here and how we're getting back out.

The story's not that interesting. Until we had Luca, we had almost no debt. When I was 30 weeks pregnant, we bought our current home in a housing market that was coming out of a bubble. We felt a bit rushed to buy, and looking back we both wish we'd rented for a year or so and given the market time to finish its descent and ourselves time to figure out the real costs of having a baby so we could better budget. But, we didn't, and as a result our mortgage is affordable but more than we wish we had to pay. Luca's daycare was 3 days a week, so we managed fine with just her. Even with my 'awesome' health insurance, we ended up paying close to $3000 out of pocket for her birth (no one tells you you pay your deductible, your co-pay which for me was 20%, PLUS a co-pay for baby in the hospital).

Right after Luca turned 1, I got pregnant again. My husband and I don't live/work/take the kids to daycare in an area where it made sense to take public transportation, and we had a car that was on its last tire. We sold it and used the cash as a down on a desperately needed new car. With a pretty high monthly payment we could totally afford at the time. The key here being: at the time. This was before we had 2 kids. We had private insurance with no maternity coverage and we were leaning toward a home birth anyhow, so in addition to our normal expenses, we were now paying  a few hundred dollars a month toward our midwife's fees and other pregnancy/baby expenses. Homebirth actually cost us less out of pocket than hospital birth had, and we had it paid off before I was 36 weeks, which was nice. It was a relief not to have outstanding bills for his birth while living in the new baby zone.

Once Rohan was born, we added him to insurance PLUS added the cost of his daycare 3 days a week. A year later, Luca moved to preschool (5 days a week + $80 more a month) and I had major dental surgery, which I paid for partly out of pocket, partly with insurance, and partly on a 0% interest credit line intended specifically for medical/dental bills. The 0% is awesome, but it comes with limitations, meaning we HAVE to pay a certain amount every month in order to get it paid off within the alloted time frame or the interest gets tacked on at the end. We ended up changing insurance plans as well, as I went back on my employer's insurance and Rohan needed a different plan because of his Mastocytosis. That added a little to our monthly budget as well.

All this came together to create a perfect storm. The next thing we knew, instead of living without credit card debt we had rung up several thousand dollars in charges. And we couldn't get back on top of it. It's embarrassing to admit this, for sure, but it's freeing as well. It was only through talking honestly with other people that we realized that many, many young families starting out like us faced issues like we had. People don't talk about it, so I had no idea how to deal with it. We were making it, and enjoying our lives, but hanging over our heads was this debt that was spiraling higher and higher due to interest rates.

We started small but sensible. My husband changed our car insurance, harassed our health insurance company to lower our rate for Luca due to both her age and her good health. He transferred 2 small balance/high interest credit cards onto 1 with a 0% APR for 6 months and a 9% thereafter as long as you kept current with payments. We put everything on auto pay so we couldn't ever miss a payment and our credit would be safe in that sense. We refinanced our car to a longer term at a lower interest rate and lower monthly payment (this is not usually recommended when considering the rapid loss of value new cars face, but we evaluated it from every angle and it made sense given the resale value of our car and our monthly budget). And, on top of that, we not only automatically transfer to savings and 'skim' from the top of that account to help pay down debt faster (i.e. we have a balance threshold, and when we had exceeded it at the end of the month, we skim the excess off and put it toward a debt), we also use money we get for things like selling items, birthdays or holidays, and tax refunds toward paying down debt.


It's still not enough. I mean, it IS in the sense that we're paying our bills, not accruing new debt, and making ends meet. But it's not in the sense we're not getting ahead. We had no plan and no direction and we were paying and paying and spending and then worrying every month. So I decided it was time to get serious.

I've talked at length about not spending money on things we don't need. I desperately want a new kitchen table, but until I can thrift one (or find one online, used) that fits my needs and is a price I can rationalize, I'm not buying one. I want new clothes, but I tell myself that when I hit X pounds lost I'll buy them, and that buys me time to save for them. But the other piece I haven't talked about much is food. Prior to this shift in our financial goals, it wouldn't be unusual for me to go out for lunch 2-3 times a week at work, for us to go out to dinner 2-3 times a week, and for us to grab breakfast and/or lunch on the run on weekends. On top of all that, we were spending a good chunk of change at the grocery store every 2 weeks on food we often ended up not eating.

Combining financial goals with health goals helped us curb this spending, big time. We made it a point to grocery shop once per week, changing our venue from a big chain to a smaller, farmer's market type store in our area. That change alone meant the bulk of our grocery budget was being spent on produce, dairy, meat, and bulk foods like dried cranberries and oats. Because our shopping choices were limited somewhat by a smaller selection, we aren't spending money on frozen foods, packaged foods, soda, and other things we don't need but bought for convenience sake. The reality was this: those things didn't look any more appetizing at home than they did at the store, so that $8 frozen pasta dinner sat getting freezer burn night after night while we chose going out to eat over eating it. So we were spending less because of the selection, eating healthier because of the selection, and going more frequently to replenish our fridge with the perishables we'd polished off within the week. I didn't tally up our grocery spending for either January 2010 or 2011, because in the long run we probably spent about as much each month. What I do know is we spent less on going out to eat (I didn't total that either, but a quick review of my bank account statement says it's true) and we're eating much healthier than we were before.


We're 9 days into February, and I'm happy to report we made it through the start of the month bill gauntlet without having to freak our or stress over money. I'm down almost 10 pounds, we spend more time cooking and eating together at the table, and I'm happier over all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Humor from the Trenches.

All my life, I knew I wanted to be a mom. There was never a question of 'if' just a question of when and how many (that last question has yet to be answered). I expected both great joy and great challenges, and more than any other age, Luca's third year has been a huge learning experience for all of us. Three ushered in the era of tantrums and screaming and defiance. Three also ushered in independence, personal style, sense of humor, compassion, and a love for school and her new friends, imagination play, empathy, and more. It's been an amazing year that's stretched us all, and it's not even over yet!

And so, when I saw this clip, I laughed my ass off. Really, he hit the nail on the head here.

Disclaimer: This video is completely not safe for work, nor is it safe for people who lack a sense of humor and think it means I secretly want to beat my kids or throw them out windows. Consider yourself disclaimed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Next Time...

...I get pregnant, I want it to be a surprise.

...I am craving chocolate I will eat a banana instead.

........I have a weekday off with my husband and kids, I will pack a picnic and spend hours watching my kids chase ducks and discover dandelions.

....I  feel inspired by something, I will take a picture.

...I go shopping for clothes I'll be one size smaller.

.......I talk to my husband about money, I'll do it without being defensive.

...I have a warm spring day stretching out in front of me, I'll spend it with my the palms of my hands in the earth outside.

......I wish we had a garden, I'll plant one.

...I do laundry, I'll use obscene amounts of fabric softener and then let them dry on the line, soaking in the sun's warmth.

...I take a vacation it'll be a road trip with snacks and songs and windows down.

.....I have the urge to cut my hair all off and get bangs, I'll follow that urge.

...A friend compliments me I will thank them sincerely and not try to explain or apologize my way out of it.

.....I make my husband laugh, I will bask in the glow of hearing him say, to no one or whomever is near, "Isn't she funny?". Because I am.

...I am debating between lying on the couch on a pile of pillows cocooned in a blanket reading a book and cleaning my kitchen, I'll try my hardest to choose the book.

.....I want a donut, I'll get one from my favorite local shop and enjoy every last bite of it, calories be damned.

...I have a fleeting thought about how much I love someone/how nice they look/how amazing their laugh sounds I will say it right out loud.

......I catch a glimpse of myself with my kids in the mirror, I will watch a little longer like a voyeur taking in every detail of that amazing and beautiful love.


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