2014, here we come!

It seems as though I cannot keep up with this old blog and for that I am sad.  My mother-in-law has been here celebrating Christmas and she encouraged me to keep up with it.  My initial reaction was, “Oh I wish I could, but that is the last thing on my list of things to do”.  Then I took a peek at it and I just adored looking back at what I had written.  Not because I write so eloquently at all, but because it takes a snap shot memory I may have and focuses in on what I was thinking, doing.  These kids are getting older by the minute and I’m already forgetting things.  I know that I won’t write as much as I hope to.  But for now, I’m trying again, for you (my 3 person audience), but mostly for me.  To remember, to reflect and to share.

Its a bit ironic I think that the last blog I posted was titled Christmas.  and here we are after another Christmas season has passed.  I told Brenda that I wished I would have read that post in October.  But I had totally forgotten that I wrote it.  This year I think we did a decent job at keeping Christmas about Christ.  I didn’t find a way to totally separate the wordly from the spiritual aspects of this season, but I know that the kids have no question as to why we celebrate this special time.

Some of the things we did this year were:

- We told the kids beforehand that we were buying them 4 gifts.  Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.  In addition they got stocking stuffers and new pjs the night before.  I thought it was going to feel really skimpy, but it really didn’t.  They all got stuff that they were really happy with and the fact is they don’t need a darn thing, so it was just ENOUGH!

- The other one thing they got was a gift from their Secret Servant (i.e., same thing as Secret Santa, but we try not to focus on the jolly old man at all in this house, not that I think Santa is terrible thing, but any focus on any other “magical” man takes something away from the truly miraculous man who came to this earth to save us).  We drew names in early December and they each had $15 to use during the month and for a gift on Christmas.

- We didn’t seem as busy this December, which was wonderful.  That also meant that we only missed about 3 nights in December of celebrating Advent.  This is such a special tradition in our family that we have done now for 10 years.  Ethan and Eli can basically recite the Christmas story because we read it little by little every night in December until the 25th is here.

All of these things really helped my anxiety this year.  The best thing I have done, I think, is journal about what worked, what didn’t and what I want to change.  I’ve heard of people doing this and sticking it in their Christmas decorations box so they see it first thing next year.  I have it written out on Evernote and I am really looking forward to just making this celebration even more special next year.

Over the past 4 days Sean’s family has been here celebrating with us.  Sean’s brother Adam and his wife Julie came out from California.  They are definitely the fun Aunt and Uncle because they don’t have other kids to distract their attention :).  It just feels so complete when they join us! And possibly the best Christmas gift we got was them telling us that they are planning on moving to Cincinnati in the next year and a half!!!!  We were all so very excited!

Sean’s Mom was here visiting too!  Besides her not feeling 100%, we had such a nice time with her.  The kids just adore her and she runs herself ragged to soak up every last minute with them.  Now that she lives in Florida her visits are going to be a bit more spread out.  It’s so nice to have a good relationship with your in laws.  I feel pretty blessed to have in laws that treat me just like family and that I can talk with, past that surface level.

This weekend we are hanging out with my family.  This is our gift to each other.  Time.  There will be game playing, swimming, eating, skiing, eating, sleeping, movies and eating.  Should be a great time!  This is our first time doing this instead of physical Christmas gifts, so I can’t wait to see how it goes.

So again, I know I won’t be on here as much as I would like.  But I will do what I can to let you into this little thinker of mine.  Happy 2014!!


How it is possible that I haven’t blogged since December 3rd?  Tell me.

I guess we have been a little busy with Christmas and all!  We had a really nice Christmas with a whole lot of family.  Christmas is such a weird time for me.  Really it is.  I feel like I can talk about it now since the season has passed and won’t be back for another 11 months.

On one hand its my favorite season with all its traditions and the celebration of the birth of the King.  But on the other hand its just TOO MUCH!  Really it is.  What I get confused about is as Christians we are all fine and good with dedicating a long (sometimes) weekend to the resurrection of our King.  I think our “little” family does a nice job keeping Easter focused on God.  But really the actual celebration of this occasion (a more important one than the birth, I would argue) is done within the confines of one day.  There might be a little preparation for the day, but nothing like the Christmas hoopla we have.

There’s just so much pressure to do and buy and celebrate and buy and give and eat and buy that it takes so  much of the joy out of the actual holiday.  I am tempted to really separate the 2 things we are doing in December very intentionally.  The celebration of our King’s birthday and then the traditional American Christmas stuff.  I need to think on this more and get a better game plan for next year.  It’s sneaks up so quickly and we are just back into our old routines every year!

A few years back we stopped giving our kids Easter baskets.  We still do spring baskets on the first day of spring because we like to give our kids gifts of things they need and/or will enjoy.  We don’t go overboard for sure, but it is a fun tradition.  We stopped pretending that those baskets had anything to do with the fact that Christ defeated death on this day.  I’m thinking something along those lines with Christmas- but it will be a lot trickier for sure!

Also around the Christmas season I feel sadness that I don’t feel at any other time of the year.  I’m not really sure what that’s about.  But I do know that I am more concerned than ever about my kids safety during that time and just about everything.  I think its all a part of Satan’s plan to ruin any kind of sacred celebration.

Wow, I didn’t plan on writing all of that when I opened my blog.  Just shows that God is still nudging me to figure this out.  It’s still there in my mind and I don’t want it to lie dormant for 11 months.

Other than all of that, my kiddos are doing well.  They were all sick right after Christmas, but have all bounced back!  The cat has a UTI, I’m sure you were concerned!  I do have another post I’m working on that should be up late next week.  I’m doing an experiment of sorts!  Hope I’ve peaked your interest!

A whole week of Thanks!

This year the boys had a lengthy Thanksgiving break.  They were off from Wednesday through Monday!  So we thought this would be the perfect year to head out to Illinois for the holiday.  We had promised Sean’s mom that we would visit since we hadn’t be out there in like 4 years (Crazy!).  As the week got closer Sean found out that he couldn’t get the Friday after Thanksgiving off of work because he had had it the last 2 years.  So I offerred to drive the kids out (easy right?) on Tuesday after school.  Then Sean would fly into Chicago when he got off work on Friday.  Then we would all drive home together on Monday.

I started to get worried about a week before we left.  What was I thinking driving 4 kids 5 1/2 hours away.  I wasn’t too concerned about the driving, but more the stopping.  Keeping my eyes on all of them.  I had some people praying for me and I have to say that it seriously couldn’t have gone better.  The boys were troopers, like usual.  They read a lot.  I could handle the DVD player, so we didn’t do movies this time.

The girls were amazing too.  I don’t even know what Emelia did, but she does enjoy kids music, so I guess it was enough.  Ella slept a lot and was a happy camper.  There were two times I thought she might cry and I handed her a piece of bread and it worked!  We did one quick stop, basically to give Ella a bottle and we did it in under 30 minutes!  We ended up getting there in time to grab dinner and eat it at Jen’s.  It was amazing!

We spent Tuesday night through Friday morning at Jen’s.  The boys had a blast with Aiden and Zac.  They played A LOT of Wii, watched A LOT of Disney channel and played A LOT of DS.  This was a huge treat for them.  Emelia and Josie really hit it off this time.  They were actually playing together when Josie didn’t ask for ‘alone time’.  I get it girl!  Ella has a good time wherever she is as long as she has a ba ba and some food and her blanket.

It was a nice time.  We didn’t do a whole lot but talk and eat.  On Wednesday Karmen and the kids (and my parents, who came to town as well), came down.  At one point we had 13 kids and 7 adults in Jen’s house.  It was a zoo, and then we all went to get pizza.  Can you imagine?  It was nice though, Aurelio’s (yum!) had a nice big room in the back (good thinking Aurelio’s!).

Thanksgiving Day was delicious.  We were with Jen’s family and Dan’s Mom and sister.  My parents also celebrated with us!  It was nice.  And delicious.

Friday morning we headed up to Palatine to spend time with Sean’s Mom and Roger.  Brenda spoiled (in a good way)the kids by taking them to Legoland that afternoon.   That place is crazy.  It’s incredible what can be created with little plastic cubes.  They all had a good time!

On Saturday we went to this awesome indoor playground.  What was really cool is they had comfy couches and chairs for the adults.  I met a really nice couple and we chatted a whole lot as the kids (& Gramma & Daddy) played.  I wish we had more things like that around here.  That evening most of Roger’s kids came over for a big Thanksgiving dinner again.  And again, it was amazingly delicious.  It was fun to get to know them better and see Brenda and Roger’s other grandkids.  Such cuties!

Sunday we decided it was less stressful to skip church with the kids.  I knew that one, probably more of us woudn’t get much out of it with the kids there.  Instead we took the kids to the mall to play.  Woodfield mall has an awesome play area and they all had a good time.  Each boy took a girl to watch, since they were technically too tall to play.  They were great guardians!

And then Monday, after a quick stop at Brenda’s office and another delicious lunch at Giordano’s we were off.  I learned some things at Brenda’s that I intend to use at home.  Always use COARSE kosher salt, olive oil and fresh ground pepper on vegetables, it makes them taste amazing!  Also, flip the lid on your garbage can during the week, so when you have to run something out there it is super easy to get the lid off and shut it again.

The kids had such a great time at both places.  Ethan said, “I don’t which place was more fun”.  I told him he didn’t need to pick a favorite!  The drive home was easy peesy as well. So surprising!  Here are some of my favorite photos from the week.












There are things, topics, in this world that seem to be taboo.  Everyone deals with them, but no one is allowed to talk about them.  I wonder why.  I think its because the topics are personal, therefore making them embarrassing.  But it wouldn’t be embarrassing if everyone talked about them.  Right?  I have been fortunate to be blessed with a handful of girlfriends that I can talk about anything with.  And I mean ANYTHING!!  But something happened to me recently, on a personal note, that I think I want to share.  (I bet you are going to keep reading, aren’t you?).

Two months ago I started feeling a tenderness in one of my breasts (AHHH, there I said it!  Did you know I had breasts?!  probably not because I never talk about them!).  Anyways I just lived with it for a few weeks before telling Sean about it.  I googled it, which in this instance was a good choice (I don’t always recommend looking up different pains online!).  From what I was reading it said to wait until my period (AHHHH!) came and see if the tenderness stopped.  So, that is what I did.

Here is a side story that will probably make you chuckle.  My period was SIX days late.  Also in that time I had the stomach flu.  So, you can only imagine what I thought was wrong with me.  Sore breast, nauseous and late period.  Lord help us all, I thought I was pregnant.  But one pregnancy test later and the beginning of my period had me singing the Hallelujah chorus!

Anyways, the tenderness did let up some at the onset of my period.  But it didn’t completely go away.  So I made an appointment with my girly doctor (he’s actually not girly at all, he probably wouldn’t like to be called that!).  After a breast exam he suggested I get a mammogram.  He wasn’t concerned at all, he thought it was something called Fibrocystic Breast Condition, which I knew all about because of my Internet research. But when it came down to it, he felt something that wasn’t ‘normal’.   He said that it is very common, and what I read online said that over 60% of women between 30-50 have this ‘condition’.  This is what I don’t understand.  If 60% of us are walking around with this benign condition why haven’t I heard of it before?  We don’t talk about it because it has to do with our breasts?

Anyways, he sent me off to the machine of pain!  I had had a baseline mammogram done at age 32 because I wanted one.  All I remember was it wasn’t a comfortable 10 minutes.  Not only did it hurt to get a part of my body squashed, it was pretty uncomfortable for the technician to be positioning me without any inhibitions……… I was super concerned about how the tender breast would react in the machine of pain!

Another side note- I have had an overwhelming sense of peace through this whole thing.  I haven’t felt reassured that everything was going to be “okay”.  But I have felt the Lord by my side reassuring me that everything was going to be okay according to His plan.  I know it was God because I am a worrier by nature, for example the three days I thought I was pregnant, I was a hot mess.  Wasn’t feeling a lot of reassurance during that!

So I went for my mammogram today.  Fully expecting that they would also need to do an ultrasound and they would probably see something and I would need a biopsy.  I was prepared for all of that.  I wasn’t prepared to see an acquaintance of my in the waiting room waiting to go back for a biopsy.  She was having a really hard time and I just continue to pray that she feels God’s peace.

So after the squashing, which wasn’t as painful as I had remembered.  (Maybe that had to do with the 3 ibuprofen I took before I went.)  The technician came in and said that the mammogram looked good.  It actually looked better than the one I had done four years ago.  Something about how my breasts weren’t as dense because I’m older.  They said that they didn’t see anything that they wanted to look at closer.  They told me to just follow up with my doctor about the tenderness.  HOLY COW!!!!  I wasn’t prepared for that!  And I have to say, it felt really good!

So I am guessing that the doctor will say I have this Fibrocystic Breast Condition.  I plan to talk about this with people.  If 60% of women my age and older have this, we need to talk about it!  It is not comfortable and I would like to know what other people do. It’s no different than saying that I get leg cramps, right?  There’s nothing taboo about that.

If you will please say a prayer for my friend who is waiting her results.  She has three young boys and is really having a hard time with the waiting.  Thanks friends!

Happy Birthday E!

My Ethan turned 11 today.  This is getting serious people.  11 is heading toward the teenage years.  How can we slow this down, and yet speed up my girls ages?  Not happening I suppose.  Here are 11 things I hope for my son on his 11th birthday:

1. I hope that Ethan will understand his amazing qualities and not be so critical of himself.  He has so much to offer God and this world and sometimes he gets down on himself.  I want him to see himself the way God sees him.  A precious life that is gifted and unique and unlike anyone else on this earth.

2.  I hope Ethan continues to grow.  Ethan is shorter than a lot of other kids his age.  We haven’t found anything medically wrong, so we just pray and feed him dairy and hope.  We know he is growing, we just hope that it continues.

3. I hope that Ethan and his brother have a unbreakable bond.  These two are so close to each other and I would love to see that flourish into adulthood.  Ethan has big plans of living with Eli so Eli can cook for him when they are older.  For now Eli is on board, I can’t wait to see what 10 more years bring!

4. I hope that down the road, way down is fine, that Ethan finds a girl who loves God first and him with all her heart.  Someone that can be his best friend and life partner.  Someone who will encourage him and love him for who he is.

5. I hope that Ethan will learn to pick up his room, without being asked, before he moves out.  (Mom- don’t say a word!)

6. I hope that Ethan will have a strong desire to serve those who aren’t as fortunate as he is.  Love the poor, pray for the sick and serve those who God puts in his path.

7. I hope that Ethan will find a solid group of friends  in his middle school and high school years.  Kids who look out for his best interest and make smart choices.

8. I hope that Ethan and his sisters will continue to bond and that he can be a leader to them as he’s getting older.  I can just see them thinking that he is so awesome when he’s 17 and they are 9 and 7.  But even after that, that he will be able to be an example to them and guide and comfort them when needed.

9. I hope that as God is changing our hearts and minds about the way we live, how much STUFF we have, where we spend our time and money that Ethan can learn and grow with us and not feel cheated out of anything.  I hope that he knows that stuff is so temporary and there is only one thing that is not temporary.

10. I hope that Ethan continues to play sports.  It seems to be such a desire for him now and I would like to see him continue to follow this dream.  On the flip side I hope he truly understands that making a career out of sports is very unlikely even for the best players!

11. And most importantly I hope that Ethan will daily give his life over to our Lord, the one who knit him together 11+ in my womb.  I hope that he fully claims this faith as his own and listens to where God leads him.

The love I have for this boy is not able to be portrayed in words.  He is so special to me and such an amazing gift from God!

My Ethiopian Princess

So, it’s Halloween and like many things in life lately I am not prepared.  Its not like I haven’t thought about what the kids will dress up as.  And its not like we haven’t talked about it and decided, its just that I hadn’t actually gotten down to the nitty gritty of holding the costumes in my hand until this morning!

Ethan was easy because my Mom and Dad bought him an early birthday gift of a Seattle Seahawks uniform.  All the pieces nicely in the box.  Except he tried it on last night and promptly spilled chocolate milk all over it.  Hey, at least he’s drinking milk!

Eli is my easy going one.  He just found an “old” costume downstairs.  He was a clone trooper and although he talked about making something to carry a toy gun on his back, that didn’t happen because it just didn’t.  So is our life now.

Ella was a ladybug.  She got Emelia’s costume from last year and it looked oh so cute on her.  I thought she’d object to it, but she really didn’t.  I had her look at herself in the mirror and I think she liked what she saw, she even kept the hood on!!

Emelia however was the tougher one (I know you are surprised).  We had talked for weeks about her being a princess.  I knew that someone had handed down to her a Disney princess costume to her and when I saw it I put it away so she wouldn’t see it.  I thought I could take it out when Halloween came and she would be so excited.  I kept meaning to find that costume, but just kept forgetting.  So, this morning (after puking my guts out all evening the night before -you are welcome for that tidbit), I started looking for this costume.  I could not find it anywhere…………anywhere!!

Emelia knew I was looking for it and said, “Mom, its in my closet, its the white one”.  I said, “No its not, you don’t know what I’m looking for”.  She said, “Come on, I show you”.  We went upstairs and she pointed to the Ethiopian dress that her Care Center in Ethiopia had sent her off in.  The dress was big on her when she was 17 months old, I was sure it wasn’t going to fit her.  She insisted that this was her princess dress.

So we tried it on and it still fit, although it was a little snug.  There is just something so precious to me about the fact that for weeks we’d been talking about her princess dress and she had been thinking about this very special dress.  When I thought a “new” one would be what would take her breath away!  And I love that she got to wear it again.  Had I had my way, she would have never worn it again because I thought it was too small.

Well, she indeed felt like a princess in this paper thin dress.  She was very disappointed when I proceeded to  put tights underneath, and leggings on top of those.  She also didn’t like the long sleeved onesie I put under the dress and she was sure she wouldn’t need a sweater, but we insisted.  And about 2 houses into trick or treating we also added her winter coat.

So when we got home (the girls only lasted 40 minutes), after I wrapped her up in a blanket to get warm and she laid on the couch and watched the Wiggles, of course.  I did a little photo shoot minus the coat, sweater and leggings.  She was all about it.  She definitely knows when she looks good.  Something I am having to get used to.  I beg the boys to look in the mirror before they leave the house.

Sean and I aren’t really into all the princess stuff but we sure are all about our Ethiopian Princess!!


Happy Happy!

This past Saturday we celebrated the girl’s birthdays at a local park.  We had about 40 friends join us and it was a really nice time.  The girls are now 3 and 1 (Ella not really yet, she still has a few more days until her b-day!).  Turns out Emelia really likes being the center of attention (like I didn’t know that!).  Her grin was endless when we were all singing to her.  This girl is going to do great things!

Ella was thrilled to have her first bite of pure sugar.  It didn’t take her long to realize that she wanted that yummy cupcake in front of her.  She is such a happy girl.  She just walked around the party (unless her buddy Ava was holding her) and just grinned at people and asked to be picked up.

I’m just so thankful to be the Mommy of these two girls.  It definitly is hard work, harder work than I have ever experienced (when you include their brothers too!), but when I look at them and realize what an honor it is to be given the responsibility of their care, it humbles me.  It brings me to my knees, because it is obvious I cannot do this without my Lord and it makes my confusion about the world we live in more clear.

Emelia and Ella, I love you more than you will ever know, until you are a Mommy.  God made you each so beautiful and He made no mistakes.  There is nothing I want more than for you to first love Jesus as you Lord and Savior and secondly to love each other throughout your entire lives.  I cannot wait to see how you grow this year!

Monday, Monday

October 11th001

I had a rough day (I know, boo hoo me).  And I fully acknowledge that most of my problems are 1st world problems, so when I put it in perspective they aren’t even problems at all.   So, maybe I should say.  My day didn’t live up to its potential today.

Last Thursday I thought it was a great idea to schedule our carpet cleaning for Monday.  So I did.  It was a great idea until this morning. Sean and I had gotten all of the furniture out of the rooms (with some help from some friends last night), so that wasn’t the issue.  They said they would be here between 10 and 12.  I just hadn’t fully thought through what it would be like to have my two little ones here with all the furniture piled in weird places.  And I really didn’t think through, ’what if they don’t show up until 11:40′.  Well, that is what happened and the morning was ROUGH.  The girls and I always need a plan for the day.  We need to go somewhere or do something and that was not the case this morning.

The good news is the carpet cleaning was great.  The carpets look so good, the have’t looked like this since we moved it!  So I was really happy about that.  As soon as he was done I piled the girls in the car to go to my least favorite store on the planet, Wal-Mart.  I wanted to get out of the house when the carpet was at its wettest.  I also had heard that Wal-Mart sold something that I wanted for the girl’s birthday party.  So off I went, thinking, ‘it can’t be that bad’.  On the way there I got a horrible headache, which later I realized was because I hadn’t had any caffeine today.

As I was pulling into the parking lot I saw a man holding a sign that said something about losing his job and needing to pay rent.  And then it said something about having 2 kids.  And I looked closer and his wife and kids were sitting at his feet.  My heart did this weird sinking thing.  And I knew that I needed to do something.  I never carry cash with me, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to give him what little cash I would have had in my wallet anyways.  So I decided to pass them by and go into Wal-Mart, do my shopping and bring them a Wal-Mart gift card so they could buy some food or diapers or whatever they needed.  It took me about 45 minutes to get through the store and find the things on my list.  When we came back out and loaded our stuff in the car, I headed to where they were sitting and………they were gone.  I was so disappointed.  I feel like I really missed out on an opportunity to be a part of helping them.  I told God, “I was trying to be obedient, why didn’t you let me?”.  I didn’t get an answer to that question.  I just hope that someone else helped them and maybe I will get an answer sometime, and maybe I won’t.

So we headed home and my headache was worse than ever.  I got the girls home and off to their naps.  And I took some medicine!  After school there was some mix ups with the kids I watch, which had me worried for a hot minute.  But that all got worked out.  I had 3 extra kids here after school (kids I watch), but it was hard because all of the furniture was still in the kitchen.  I was so claustrophobic.  Luckily they played outside a majority of the time.  After 2 hours and 15 minutes I woke Emelia up from her nap…….worst decision ever!  She had a 30 minute meltdown about gum.

At some point in there I realized that I didn’t want to try to feed my family in the tiny space we had.  So I called my mom to see if we could bring dinner over.  Of course she said yes.  And she gave me some caffeine!  Anyways, it was a day that could have been a lot better.  But I do  feel very fortunate to not have to stand on a corner with my babies and ask people for money.  Please say a prayer for that family.



Weekend, Birthdays and Recipes


This weekend I did something I’ve never done.  Took a trip with Sean’s Mom, Grandma and Sister-in-law.  It ended up being a girls weekend in Indianapolis.  Except for the meal that Doug (Sean’s brother) crashed the girls weekend.  I kid, he joined us for dinner one night because he was working in Indy and wanted to see his Mama (awwwww).  We had a nice time looking at gorgeous flowers at a conservatory, going to cute little stores, eating at some great restaurants, gambling (yep) and driving around the big city.  It was fun and a nice little get-away.

Brenda (Sean’s Mom) knew that her mom liked to go to a casino from time to time, so when she heard there was one near us she suggested that as  one of our activities.  Renee and I both spoke up quickly that we have never gambled and how fun that would be for Grandma to teach us.  So, because of that I think Grandma really decided she wanted to go.  It wasn’t until 8:50pm that we headed to the casino which was 45 minutes away.  I couldn’t believe we were doing it!  When we got there, it was busy- of course.  We all followed cute little grandma with her walker.  We had to keep up, because she knew right where to go.  We had to get this card to use in the machines.  We were all pleasantly surprised that we got $5 in casino cash because we were new to the casino (except Brenda who ended up with $15 because she misunderstood when the lady asked her if she was with the “trip”, it worked in her benefit!).

Anyways, we played the penny slots and none of the three of us had any idea what we were doing.  We just pushed whatever button Grandma told us to.  We were being silly and shouting when we would win 10 cents.  People definitely were staring at us.  I ended up spending $1 of my own money and bringing home $2.65!!!  I call that a good day at the casino!  The thing that struck Renee and I is that no one looked like they were having fun, no one.  For something that is such a “sport” or a “fun night out”, no one seemed to be enjoying it.  I guess its not really that surprising, I assume a lot of those folks were deep in their addiction and there’s not a lot of joy when you are that deep.

Grandma wanted us to make sure that we journal about our weekend so that we will remember it forever :).  I thought that was really sweet.


Do you realize that we have 6 major celebrations in our family within 6 weeks?  Sean bday- 9/29; Our anniversary- 10/10; Emelia’s bday- 10/17; Ella’s bday 10/26; Ethan’s bday 11/8………….I don’t have a whole lot more to say about that but, Lord help us!  Not sure how to manage it all.


I’ve been trying to find a way to get all of my recipes online without spending extra money doing it.  There are lots of sites out there where you can do this, but they all charge a monthly fee.  I’m not interested in paying, at all.  This weekend Renee suggested using Evernote.  I had no experience with this app.  But since I have looked into it and I think its going to work out really well.  Basically its an app that you use on all of your electronic devices.  So I can access it from my laptop, my phone and our nook. You can also share the information with other Evernote users!!   I am now in the process of transferring all of my recipes on there and I am super excited to eventually get a whole other cabinet to use where my cookbooks used to live!!!


In the 6 years we have had our boys at our local elementary school I’m not sure I have ever posted about the annual walk-a-thon!  I probably did, right?  Yeah, probably.  Anyways, I’m going to do it again!

This is no ordinary fundraiser!  And I LOVE it!  There are so many great things about it.  First of all, I am not having to sell wrapping paper, candy or knick knacks to all of my family and friends.  I actually don’t mind buying those things from neighbors or nieces/nephews because I know its supporting their school.  What I really don’t like is the fact that their school only sees a fraction of the money I’m shelling out.  The Walk-a-thon is different.  The kids (I) get people to pledge money per lap or just a flat rate for how many laps they can run/walk.  Then they (I) collect the money and send it in to the school.  The school gets 100% of the money!!!  How easy is that?  Its the best!

Secondly, this isn’t just a free-for-all running around the track.  Their gym teacher takes this thing super seriously.  I mean super!  They begin training within the first few weeks of school.  They talk about setting goals and pacing themselves.  She teaches them about carbing up, keeping hydrated, chaffing (ha, ha) and all those other runner-type things you need to know.  It is serious business.  Then she helps them each set a challenging individual goal.  The goals are based on the time they have and on past years totals.

This year Ethan had a goal of 45 laps in 2 1/2 hours.  Our Ethan, hard to motivate, Ethan.  But, you know what……..HE DID IT!!!  I ran with him on lap #43 (I mean really, its the least I could do.  I would have ran farther but Emelia NEEDED me!  I wasn’t winded at all!).  I was so proud of that kid.  And he did it only because he had set that goal, no one was giving him a per lap amount!!   Eli had a goal of 26 laps in 2 hours.  He had a good pace going, walk half a lap, run the other half.  That kid is fast.  I tried to run with him once (pushing the stroller) and I seriously couldn’t keep up.  He was probably trying to get away so I wouldn’t embarrass him!  Stinker!  Anyways, he did 28 laps, or 7 miles!  AMAZING!!

The last reason I love this fundraiser is, it is SO MUCH FUN!!  They have the music cranked up and each class has a brand new shirt on all color coordinated according to which grade they are in.  The teachers are happy because its Friday and they are outside.  The parents are happy because their kids are going to sleep well tonight.  They bring in local mascots like Red Robin and He Man (that was a scary costume!).  The middle school band came out to play and some of the high school cheerleaders were there.  Some local firemen were there to high five the kids as they went by.  It’

s just really a lot of fun!

What is totally insane is this fundraiser brings in over $20,000 every year.  Can you even believe that?  That amount of money makes my heart palpitate a bit realizing that our well-to-do-school doesn’t really NEED that much money (but that could be a whole different post).  But I say, “Do away with the wrapping paper and the chocolate turtles, if your school wants to make money send the kids around the track!”

Good Job High Point Elementary!!

Here’s Ethan coming in on his last lap with one of his favorite teachers encouraging him along the way!

Here’s Eli coming in!

Of course she was there!

This is the best picture I got of this grumpy girl. I was bribing her good behavior with gum and it really back fired. She didn’t want to walk, all she wanted was gum!