I generally consider myself to be a pretty routine-driven, systematic person.  Laundry on weekends.  Solid school morning routine that works great.  A cleaning schedule that is formalized enough to keep the house clean but flexible enough to adapt to our family’s changing daily schedule (and mess!).  All in all, I feel like I have things under control.

But what I can’t seem to stay on top of is grocery shopping.  I’m curious how other people handle it.  For awhile we were pretty good about going regularly.  But we are so busy with, well, life, that it seems like one of two things are happening.  Either A.) when I have time to go to the grocery store, it’s after a very busy time during which we haven’t eaten a lot at home and therefore don’t need much; or B.) when the stockpile is low, I’m so busy that I don’t have time to go to the grocery store.  So – you see – I’m either shopping when I don’t need to … or not shopping when it IS needed.  Surely there has to be a better way.

Please share your ideas!

Diet Coke

There really is no way to describe my affection for diet Coke.  First thing in the morning, always.  My day doesn’t start until that first sip.  (OK, not really – because by the time I get downstairs I’ve already dressed myself, two girls, and done two heads of hair. Not including my own unless you count a headband as “doing” hair.)  And periodically throughout the day.  I probably shouldn’t admit how much I drink … I’d say the equivalent of 4-5 12 oz. cans a day is pretty average.  Note I said AVERAGE.  Some days are more.  Some days are less.  Err on the side of more.

I have a very particular way to drink diet Coke.  Fountain is my first choice, followed very closely by from a can but with a straw.  I don’t like drinking it from straight from the can or straight from the bottle.  If poured over ice, the ice must be fresh from the freezer.  Not reused ice that was in a previous diet Coke or water.

McDonald’s is my diet Coke vendor of choice.  Theirs is just superior, I’m not sure why.  Has to be a medium, not a large – the ice-to-diet-Coke ratio is just all wrong in a large, but it’s perfect in a medium.  Though this weekend I had a diet Coke that might take the new first place, and that was from a mini pitcher at Red, Hot, & Blue – a BBQ restaurant in north Dallas. OMG, yum.  Ice cold with the perfect amount of bubbles and fizz.

I’ve thought about quitting a few times.  I’ve done it twice just to prove that I can.  But truthfully, it’s a joy for me.  The way I see it is that there’s a lot worse things to be addicted to: coffee (more caffeine and more money), alcohol, drugs, shopping, and a whole lot more.  I know it’s not the best thing, but it’s also not the worse.  And so, for now, this mom runs on diet Coke.

If you have an affection for diet Coke, share it here!  Favorite places to get it?  Specific ways to drink it?


The end of the school year always gets crazy.  OK, not just crazy.  INSANE.  It’s one special event after the other, and because I like to volunteer at my girls’ school, there is never a lack of things to do.  Science Fair.  Field Day.  Organize and shut down the library.  End of year meetings for Daisies.  Room mom duties.  Award ceremonies.  Then add all the extra-curricular stuff: the recital, the performances, the showcases, spring sports.  And all the details that you can’t overlook: sign up for fall soccer, order new uniforms, think about NEXT year’s extracurriculars, attend evaluations, get haircuts so everyone looks nice for these special events, meetings and preparations for summer camps and special projects, end-of-year gifts for teachers, Mother’s Day.

And this year in particular, we have an out-of-state birthday to attend AND an out-of-state wedding to attend in May on top of all that.  Add our annual vacation is in early June, and it’s a recipe for insanity.  In fact, the only reason I have time to write this now is because I’m waiting on an e-mail to come in that I need to print before leaving the house.  Were it not for that, I’d be out running errands … picking up snacks for 19 Pre-K kids, copying letters for teachers, and picking up a diet Coke at McDonald’s.

Oh, I haven’t told you about my love of diet Coke?  Yeah, that’s a whole other post entirely.  I’m going to be needing a LOT of diet Coke over the coming month.

The only way I get through it all is with two software programs: Mac’s iCal and Evernote.  Both sync automatically and instantaneously with my iPhone and I can see where I need to be and what I need to do at any given time.  Were it not for those two tools, I’d be in trouble.

  • Drop girls off at school
  • Breakfast with a friend
  • Straighten up at home, gather/sort/start laundry, sweep floors, general cleaning
  • E-mail to PreK class about school events next week (I’m room mom)
  • Several other calls and e-mails that took way too much time but were, unfortunately, necessary

That brings me to now, almost 2:00.  I have to leave in 30 minutes to go pick up the girls from school and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much done at all.  Therefore, I will be getting up off the couch momentarily and going into warp-speed mode so I can actually feel productive today.  

Plus, the longer I sit here, the stiffer my hips become.  I thought I was all that and more when I could do most everything at the yoga class I tried, but my body decided otherwise overnight.  Clearly I’m not 20 anymore. 😉

I found this recipe via Pinterest.  I’m not going to admit how many times we’ve made it since I found it just a week ago, but it’s more than two.  And for my husband, the chocolate lover, I also made a version with a chocolate crust (using a devil’s food cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix).  That’s delish as well.

Or so I hear.

They should totally make you take that oath when you become a parent, too.

One of my good friends and I have this theory about kids.  Every kid has their “thing.”  It may be physical, it may be emotional, it may be intellectual, it may be behavioral.  And that “thing” may be big or it may be small.  Maybe it’s a couple small things, maybe it’s really big and intertwined.  But every kid has their achilles heel … a part of their life that just doesn’t develop or function normally.

For our oldest daughter, her “thing” is a less-than-stellar upper respiratory system.  Hers is a Bermuda Triangle situation: a bifid uvula, which is a couple big leaps away from the same mutation that causes a cleft palate; that seems to impact her eustachian tubes, which currently do not function; and the ear problems seem to cause repeated upper respiratory viruses/infections which sets off her cough-variant asthma.  And you can throw in a propensity for croup, just for good measure.

She has had four sets of ear tubes and after a visit with her ENT the week before last, she’ll be getting her fifth set this Tuesday.  For whatever reason, her eustachian tubes cannot equalize pressure in her tears; so what happens is her eardrum gets sucked back and retracted, the ear fills with fluid (which may or may not become infected), and then obviously her hearing becomes mildly compromised and she gets sensitive about any and all things in her ears, especially when swimming.

Thankfully, though trial and error, we have discovered that the combination of ear tubes and a daily nasal steroid spray do an excellent job at keeping the upper respiratory infections under control, and therefore her asthma under control as well.  I also have to give credit where credit is due.  By chance, she was selected to participate in an asthma study through Washington University in St. Louis, MO and through that study, we have been working with an asthma coach each month for the last year.  She really helped us identify her asthma triggers, treat those correctly, identify her asthma early warning signs, begin treatment at the right time, and teach us how to correctly and fully treat her asthma flare-ups.  After our monthly calls, I am a HUGE supporter of asthma coaches and believe they should be MANDATORY for all parents of kids with asthma because it helps keep asthma better controlled (thereby reducing doctor and ER visits, which ultimately cost us all money) and do so using the least amount of medicine required.  Seriously, I’m a big, big fan.

Because her health has been very good lately – thanks to all of the above AND my husband’s discovery of epicor as part of our daily vitamin and supplements – we were very surprised when she woke up this morning at 4am with croup.  Thankfully this seems to be a mild virus, no worse than the average kid you hear in the grocery store, so it’s status quo around here and full-speed ahead to Tuesday and ear tubes, set #5.

Oh Deer!

It has been a little over a year since we closed on this house (though we didn’t move in until early July 2011 after the near-full renovation was complete), and everything that the previous owners had told us about the wildlife has been true.  There’s been a pretty big backlash in our local area against the overpopulation of deer, but I have to admit we have no problem with them at all.

Deer are definitely the most prevalent.  The previous owner said there was a herd of 11-13, though we typically see groups of 4-6.  The girls and I have done some research online, and with fawns due in about a month, the female deer and their recent offspring have settled into a social group for the spring and summer.  It appears as if the social group that lives in the woods near our house is made up of one lead doe, a younger female deer, and two very young deer (likely the two fawns we observed last year – though they have lost their spots now).  If my untrained eye is correct, the lead doe is expecting again … it will be fun to watch over the next 4-6 weeks.  Only one time since we’ve been here have we ever seen a buck – my husband saw him.  Once.  Our research has told us that the bucks are generally only ever around during mating season in the fall;  aside from that, they are off on their own.  I’ll withhold my comments about that.  My husband in particular enjoys yardwork and landscaping (I do as well, though only to a certain extent) and we do have to watch what we plant in the ground.  The only thing that didn’t survive last year was one particular kind of sedum, and I think we can blame the bunnies for that.

Plenty of bunnies as well – they are harmless.  Moles, unfortunately – we caught our first one in a trap this past week and it was beyond gross.  We’ve seen one hawk on the ground and one owl in a nearby tree, though we hear the owls a lot more frequently than that.  Last year there was a pair of coyotes – again our research told us that they mate for life – but after taking some pictures and talking to the Missouri Department of Conservation, we assumed that the female was close to dying of mange (a parasite).  I saw the male alone a couple times last year, and unfortunately the one time I saw him this year he looked a lot like the female did last year; so I’m not expecting to see him around again.  We also have wild turkeys – sometimes just one, but one time there was a flock of at least 30!!

The girls’ school recently had their nature trail named a Certified Nature Habitat and after doing some quick reading online, I think the woods in our backyard may be able to get that designation as well.  We’ll add that to our growing list of fun projects to do this summer!

Here are some pics of a few of our backyard visitors …