Friday, September 28, 2012

The House of Unfinished Projects

You know how they have those shows on HGTV where the host surprises someone at Home Depot and follows them back to their house to do a free makeover? I'm pretty sure that those are never filmed in the Midwest. We pretty much get the shaft, which is unfortunate because having someone make over my house or even a room or two would be fantabulous.

The house that we currently live in was purchased by Jason and his ex-wife which he then got in the divorce. Needless to say, I do not particularly care for this house, but with the markets being what they are we won't be moving any time soon. The house is what you call a row house meaning a group of 7 or 8 houses all attached side by side. They are actually quite picturesque from the front, but were built back in the 60's meaning that they come with their own set of problems. I'll have to get a picture of the front of our house later today. It has been dark and gloomy when I've left the house every day this week.

Jason is always thinking and has a million and one grand plans. That being said, he loves to start projects but finishing them is always delayed somehow. After he moved into the house, he ripped up the carpet and put in wood flooring. That did get finished and it looks great, however, the baseboards never got put back on the walls. You never know how much you miss baseboards or trim (if you prefer) until you don't have them.
Another project that got started before I moved in was on the walls between the living room and dining room. It is basically a long open space and there used to be wood poles on either side of the divide. Like I said, built in the 60's. Anyhoo, Jason ended put up some sheet rock/drywall to cover up said poles and create a divider for the two rooms. The project got derailed at some point and so the mudding of the walls and subsequent sanding and painting has never been completed.
Ignore the messy living room on the left
Moving on... One day he got a wild hair up his butt to refinish the kitchen cabinets. He removed all the doors and took them downstairs to the basement/garage (its like a two-fer) and there they sit to this day. That was two years ago. I really don't mind the doorless look on the upper cabinets, but I would prefer to have doors on the lower ones, especially under the sink.
Try not to be jealous of my aged and peeling cabinet liners
Last, but certainly not least is his latest shower remodel. He noticed that some of the grout was missing from between the tiles in our shower. Worried about the wall getting we and potential mold growth, he had his dad come up to help him remove some of the tiles and replace them. Unfortunately, once they started the removal, they noticed that there was already mold on the wall behind the tiles. Turns out that the builder had used drywall instead of sheet rock to avoid moisture. They ended up tearing out all the tile and the subsequent walls. We now will need to replace the walls and either re-tile or buy a pre-made shower insert. I'm leaning towards the insert because it seems easier and I have now been without a shower in the master bathroom for four months.
There is a shower in the other bathroom which is a shower tub/combo, but that one has its own issues. The faucet is a perpetual leaker and it is getting progressively worse. What started out as a small trickle is now a constant stream of water coming out of the faucet and it is wreaking havoc on the water bill. The cat loves it because she uses it as her own personal water fountain. She has issues with drinking water out of a bowl, apparently. Further proof that my cat is an asshole.

Please disregard the ring around the bathtub. Emmeline likes to roll around in dirt at daycare.
This is what the water looks like when the faucet is completely off.
Help is on the way! Jason's brother is driving up today to help work on the leaky bathtub. He has previous work experience with plumbing and I am all about free labor. I also need to get him to fix our garage door which will not close all the way unless you hold the button down completely until it is closed.

I love my darling boyfriend more than anything, but he is no longer allowed to start a home project until these are done. So, if anyone is close personal friends with Holmes on Homes or is super handy around the house, let me know. I will cook you dinner, buy you alcohol, as long as you work cheap you are welcome in my home, unfinished as it may be.

Any fun projects that you have started recently?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winning at Life

I'm sure that most people are familiar with this phrase (thank you Charlie Sheen), but what does it mean exactly? For me, I have never really felt that I was winning at life or even placing, for that matter. Usually, I'm on the sidelines watching it go by.

When we are young, it seems that we have so many dreams for ourselves. The world is completely open with possibilities and we can do anything. I wanted to be an actress and wildly famous. I thought that sounded so glamorous and I loved the idea of playing the parts of different people. Why would I want to be myself when I was so boring and nothing ever happened to me? It didn't occur to me to think that the parts were only temporary and I would still have to be myself the rest of the time.

In college, I had a great time. I was free to explore who I was and what I wanted to do. I was in a sorority and had lots of friends. I also got the opportunity to spend the summer in France which was one of the best times of my life.

Then came marriage and kids and I feel like I gave up on myself. My dreams were shoved aside so that I could help nurture my husband and my beautiful girls. More than that, though, I didn't participate in my life like I should have. Too many nights on the couch watching TV instead of going out and having a family activity or a date night. Too many complaints about being broke instead of looking for solutions on how to save money in little ways or finding fun free family activities. I was so bored with my life and unhappy about the person I'd become, yet again, did nothing to make myself better. I was so jealous of single people because they weren't tied down with family and responsibility and could do anything they wanted. My eyes had not been opened to the fact that my family was not holding me back, I was. They could have been my biggest cheerleaders.

I am starting to see the pattern repeat itself in my life again. I'm becoming bored with the day to day humdrum and wishing that it could be different. What I finally realize now, however, is that it can be different. It is all up to me. I need to figure out what I want and how to get it. I need to use the love and support of my partner in life instead of pushing him away and sabotaging our relationship.

My mom was 58 years old when she passed away. For me, that is in 20 years. Will I have lived life to the fullest in that time? 20 years can seem like a long time, but it is really not. I just went to my 20 year high school reunion a couple months ago and it seems like the time has gone by in the blink of an eye. I don't want that to happen with the next 20 years.

I want to be happy with my body and not be fat when I turn 40. I want my kids to have amazing memories of times we spent together. I want to travel and see the world and tell stories to my children and grandchildren. I want to be remembered for more than my family or my job, I want to make an impact on people. Will I be able to do all this? Of course I can do it, it is a matter of me actually doing it. I need to be getting off my ass and on the treadmill; setting aside a few dollars a month to save up for that trip to Ireland or Italy or where ever it is that I want to go; but most of all, not hiding in my own little safe world. I'll still need to deal with the day to day hum drums, but I don't have to let that be my whole day. I need to stop making excuses for why I can't do something and start making plans how to do it.

Is this going to be easy for me? Hell no. I am so used to putting things off or complaining about them or silently fuming about how something made me mad. It is way too easy for me to talk myself out of doing something for one reason or another. I'm tired, I have to get up early, I don't have any money, blah, blah, blah.

I'm not sure why these feelings struck me this morning all of a sudden. Maybe it was that accomplished feeling I got for actually getting out of bed and getting on the treadmill and completing W5 D1 of C25K. That was a big deal for me considering how much I love to sleep in. Maybe it was finding out that my oldest, Hannah, has started running and getting healthy which makes me so proud. I have to celebrate the little accomplishments so that I can get to the big ones. Most of all, be present in my own life and not a spectator watching from the sidelines. Maybe I'll look into getting a new passport...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lazy Weekend

Had a pretty laid back couple of days this past weekend. I'm actually lucky I even got a shower in there since I was mostly a hermit. Saturday, I lazed around all morning and then ran on the TM when Emmeline went down for a nap. I was pretty proud of myself, I actually ran the longest time without stopping that I have yet to date. Nine minutes! I had started off running originally using the C25K, but then kind of trailed off and started doing my own thing. I can't decide if I want to pick it back up (I'd be around week 5) or just keep on keeping on.

We decided to actually stop being shut-ins leave the house and head over to Target Sat. afternoon. Miss Em needed some new clothes now that fall weather is setting in and her warm clothes don't fit anymore. We also managed to load up the glass bottles that have been accumulating in our basement for over a year and took them to the recycling place. Hallelujah! Two recycling bins and a large trash can that were overflowing with beer bottles, wine bottles, pickle jars and other assorted glass are now empty! Wow, did I really drink that much?

Dropped the usual $100 bucks at Target, but got some cute stuff for Em including new shoes.
Little Chucks, are they not the cutest?

Yes, she wore her jammies all day
 Although it was a huge struggle, I did not buy any clothes for myself. Mostly because Jason wouldn't even let me go over to the women's section. Killjoy. I did, however pick up Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. I plan on starting that on October 1 with a bunch of great ladies on the Mama Laughlin's Fit Camp Facebook group.

I have mentioned before that I have a hard time maintaining friendships, but it should be no problem with this great group of women. Despite the fact that there are over 5000 members in this little group, everyone is united with a common goal of becoming healthy and fit. And everyone on there is so supportive. I have not seen one nasty comment or any troll looking to stir shit up. Blows the mind when you think about how catty and mean some women can be especially on the internet.

Back to Jillian, I will be sure to post my before pics and stats as I'm sure you're dying to see them. I'm not expecting to drop a ton of weight, although it would be nice, but will take the inches lost as a better measurement. Gotta love smaller sizes! Speaking of which, I dug out an old pair of jeans on Saturday and tried them on and they fit! They were actually even a tad loose, woohoo! I used to wear a 14/16 size pant and to have a size 12 be loose is so rewarding. Now Jason will have to let me go shopping. Heh heh.

These are the pants I wore today. You should see the sag in the butt.
As a close to my lazy weekend, I busted out my culinary skills and made Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes and homemade gravy a la The Pioneer Woman. I realize that it is not weight loss food by any stretch of the imagination, but it was sooooo good and you need to have a cheat meal every once in a while. All in moderation, right? Plus, J's a good ole southern boy and this is his favorite meal and I like to show off for him in the kitchen.

What is your favorite cheat meal? And who has a good store suggestion for pants? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Clothes make the woman

I feel like I have a pretty good sense of style, yet I am constantly second guessing myself on what to wear and how to wear it and whether or not something looks good. I would not consider myself a fashionista by any means. I mean, 90% of my wardrobe is from either Target or Old Navy and I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. I tend to buy things on a whim, from the clearance rack and I tend to keep clothes for years (regardless of whether they still fit or not). It is rare that I will go shopping with a specific item in mind. Lack of funds plus an aversion to shopping will do that to you. Maybe if I felt that I actually looked good in clothes would help me to like shopping better. That being said, I generally feel like I am pretty put together. Plus, I follow a couple blogs that really help give you ideas for different outfits. That and Pinterest, of course.

So what is the actual point of my ramblings, you may be asking yourself. Excellent question. Now that fall weather is starting to creep in, I'm excited to get out the sweaters and boots. Summer is my favorite season, no question, but fall clothes are so much better. Maybe it is because I am used to layering to cover up the pudge. I was trying to come up with a cute outfit for today involving leggings and boots. I seem to struggle with this combo because I don't really have any adequate tops. I feel like if I'm wearing leggings, the top should be long enough to cover my butt because, really, no one needs to see that. I had pulled an old button down shirt of Jason's from his closet that was blue and white striped and topped it with a maroon cardigan. Then I belted the whole thing and rolled up the sleeves. I was feeling pretty good about it until I went downstairs and Jason told me that I looked like a pirate. (sigh) Back upstairs to rethink my outfit. Here's what I ended up with. I scrapped the leggings and went with jeans instead. Yay for casual Fridays!
The bathroom at work has the worst lighting
I would like to get some skinny jeans, but I'm hesitant to buy new clothes while I am losing weight. Granted, my weight loss has slowed waaaaay down, but I'm still working on it. I stepped on the scale this morning to 164.4 which means another half a pound down and 15 lbs lost total. WooHoo!  I have had to retire a few pairs of my work pants that are now too big for me to wear, so I've been going with a lot of skirts and dresses. Maybe I'll treat myself to some new skinny jeans when I hit the 20 lb mark. Always helps to have a goal, right?

And just because, here are some pictures we took the other morning. Emmeline is too cute with her pigtails and I love Jason's cheesy grin.

Anyone else neurotic about clothes? Do you have a monthly clothes budget or just buy things on a whim?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Randoms for a blah Wednesday

Woke up today feeling crappy so I stayed home from work. I think my regular fall cold is settling in. I've been blowing my nose all day. Tried to do some work from home, but just wasn't feeling it so I logged off and started a Glee marathon. Was doing alright until the cat decided that she wanted some love so she crawled up in my lap. Now, I smell like cat ass. Awesome.
Here's the little asshole snuggled up in Emmeline's bed

Just finished the second season on Downton Abbey last night. I need to find a new series to watch until the third season is available. We don't have cable so we pretty much watch everything on Netflix or Hulu+. Much cheaper than paying for 100 channels I don't watch. Oh, and I have to ask your opinion for those who have seen Downton Abbey. Is there a resemblance between Edith and my Cordie or am I just crazy? It freaks me out every episode. Both second daughters too, eerie.
Edith Crawley as played by Laura Carmichael
Cordelia Grace age 12
Not much else going on today. I did have a call with Paige's teacher as she is going to be tested for the gifted program at school. I have no doubt that she'll pass with flying colors. I have some crazy talented artists in my family and she was lucky enough to get that gene. Sadly, it missed me. My uncle very generously gave me this painting that he did and it now hangs in our dining room. He knows I like orange. Here is more of his art if you want to check it out.

I really should get off my ass and go for a run. It is gorgeous outside and I'll actually be able to run in daylight! I have been working the treadmill since it has started getting dark earlier now. With our 45 min.- hour commute each morning and afternoon, those daylight hours are really cut into when it comes to workouts. Plus, the last time I ran at night, I got chased by a dog. Okay, not chased exactly, he stood on the other side of the road and barked at me. I walked past until he decided I was no longer a threat. Stupid white trash neighbors. So, I'll leave you with this gorgeous pic of me in my super coordinated running outfit. Please ignore the missing trim from the wall. That's a whole other post.
Ready to run

Anyone else feeling blah today?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekend Recap

I meant to get this out yesterday, but our internet went out at home (thanks TimeWarner) and that is where all my pictures were. Emailing pictures to your work email doesn't work out too well either when Outlook blocks emails with attachments over a certain size. I can't win.

Anyhoo, I had a pretty good weekend with some drama which was mainly focused on this lovely girl.

Paige has started her fall soccer season so instead of meeting on Friday night, I drove to Topeka to watch her play on Saturday morning. Her league only has games on Saturdays. The teams were evenly matched, but they did pretty well and ended up winning the game.

Drove back home and relaxed for the rest of the day. The girls painted and crafted and now I need to get a new tablecloth. It was a cheap plastic one from WalMart so no big loss there. Sunday was another lazy day, but I decided that Paige needed to work on her earrings.

Backstory - Paige initially got her ears pierced last year, but she did not take good care of them. They ended up getting to the point where her ears did not heal properly, but instead were growing around the earrings. Her dad had to take her to the ER where she had to be physically restrained and held down by nurses to get the earrings out. Awesome and no doubt traumatic for a 9 year old. Fast forward a few months and Elsa is going to get her ears pierced and Paige decides to get hers pierced again. WTF? I would have said absolutely not, but I was not consulted. Five months later and Elsa has done fantastic with her earrings. She has taken excellent care of her ears which have healed up and she changes her earrings daily. Paige, on the other hand, has gone back to where she was before. She still has the same earrings in from the initial piercing and "cannot" get them out. She has made a show of trying to pull the backs off and get it out, but it feels forced to me. She also freaks out if anyone touches her ears.

So, yesterday, I was washing dishes and called Paige in to the kitchen to try and work on her earrings. I have been doing this for a while and even had a long talk with her about taking responsibility. I did not want to have to forcibly hold her down to get them out again. Lo and behold, she was able to take the back off of her right earring. The earring itself, however was a lot more stubborn. I think her ears are starting to grow around the posts again. We sat in the bathroom for several hours as she worked on it. She wouldn't let me touch her ears. I was beyond mad and frustrated by the end of the day. She was an emotional wreck and so was I. She said that she wanted me to get them out, but anytime I came close, she would pull away and fight with me. We finally had to go meet the ex and that damn earring was still stuck in her ear. We didn't even begin to tackle the left one. We are never going in Claire's again.

On a more positive note, here are my five beautiful girls in the car waiting for the ex.

Have your kids been so absolutely stubborn about something that it caused a major tantrum? Any tips on dealing with it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

To Know Me is to Love Me

With all the "If you really knew me" posts going around, I thought I would do a little twist on it. Since all three of you that actually read my blog are new friends, you don't really know me at all! Sing with me now, "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you..." Color me impressed if you can name that movie.

  • Girls rule the roost in my family. My dad and stepmom have six daughters between them and eight granddaughters. My poor brother was the lone male until my sister had the first grandson this past March.
  • I have a quirky sense of humor and love to be sarcastic. I also am way too judgemental of other people. Judgy Judgerson, party of one, right here.
  • I love musicals of all types. My mom introduced me to Rodgers and Hammerstein at a young age and I thank her for it. Even now, it is hard for me to watch those old movies without singing along.
  • Music is actually a really big thing for me (cause no one else likes music, right?). The right songs can pump me up, or move me to tears. The wrong songs or songs I don't like can put me in a really bad mood as Jason knows only too well. Our taste in music is rather divergent.
  • I cry very easily at movies, or movie trailers, or commercials... you get the picture. Animated Disney movies are the worst and will make me cry every time. Also, I am generally moved to tears during a really good vocal performance or moving song. Anyone else tear up watching Glee? No? Just me, then.
  • I have always been really interested in Astrology. For some reason, it has fascinated me to no end. I don't believe in it religiously as there are so many other factors that can go into warping molding a child's personality, but I can't shrug it off either.
  • I rarely ever have my nails painted. I'm too lazy. I only had my first pedicure two months ago as a birthday present from my sister. She was rather appalled when she heard I had never had one.
  • I was married for nearly 14 years before divorcing in 2009. Our final court date was on our youngest daughter's 7th birthday.
  • The majority of my work experience has been in customer service/call centers. No wonder I hate talking on the phone.
  • My favorite color is orange. Has been for years. Must be because I'm a ginger.
  • My boyfriend is 11 years younger than me. My oldest daughter is 11 years younger than him and his mom is 11 years older than me. Weird stuff.
  • I am great at making friends, but horrible at maintaining friendships. Out of sight, out of mind. I know, I'm a terrible person.
  • I haven't really told any of my friends or family about this blog yet. I guess the need to be adored by strangers is just too great. I use the term 'adored' very loosely here.
  • I am a grammar nazi and cringe whenever someone misspells a word or uses the wrong version. there-they're-their, your-you're, lose-loose... I could go on for days, but I'll spare you.
  • I lost my mother to breast cancer four years ago and now I am petrified that I am going to get it. I know I need to schedule a mammogram, but haven't done it yet.
  • I have major guilt that I don't see/talk to four of my daughters every day.
  • I cuss way, way too much. I really need to curb that now that Miss Em is talking a lot more. She's starting to repeat things she shouldn't. Bad mommy.
  • I am not a dog person. They are too needy and loud, and I cannot stand the barking. However, I do find the teeny toy breeds and puppies adorable. I'm not a monster, people.
  • I have lost 14 pounds since the end of June and am on my way to becoming an actual runner (gasp!). Now if I could just get a working treadmill...
That's about it for now. Admit it, I have completely captivated you. Okay, not really. If you'd like to know more about me, or stalk me or whatever, I am on Instagram @zanda674 or Twitter or Pinterest. You should totally follow me on Pinterest. I have excellent taste and pin cool shit. I need to start posting about things that I've actually tried. Or, you can always check this website out. Pintester - funny stuff.

Feel free to ask any questions about things I covered or didn't. I do not get offended easily. Lucky me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day in the Life

As part of the link up party with Holly, here is what an average day for me looks like:

My alarm goes off at 5:00 AM and I will usually hit snooze about two times. Jason nearly always gets up before I do because once he's up, I know I can't languish in bed any longer. I shower and get ready and then one of us gets to wake up Miss Em, who is not a morning person. She takes after her momma in that respect. Usually, if you wake her up and give her some time, she is fine and cooperative. If she has to get up before she decides she's ready, then we have a screaming toddler on our hands. Like inconsolable, can't even focus on why I'm crying tantrum. Not fun.

Once she's dressed and her hair is done (seriously, this child's hair is out of control), we bundle up in the car and drop her off at daycare, then proceed with the 45 minute commute to the office. Jason and I actually work at the same place so it is a lot more convenient that way, especially since we only have one vehicle. Traffic in Kansas City is never a pleasant experience, although some days are better than others. Currently, we are trying out different routes as our usual one is backed up due to road construction on a bridge. Thanks MO-Dot.
DVD player makes car rides so much more pleasant

We usually get to the office around 7:30-8:00 AM and I have my morning ritual. I get a big glass of water with lots of ice, put my lunch in the fridge and then I have to read all my blogs. Our ice machine has crushed ice which makes me very happy as I am slightly obsessed with eating it. I work at a desk job in my own little cubicle so I don't have people hanging over me all day. Jason and I will usually eat lunch together (we work in different departments) and then back to my desk for the remainder of the day. I do usually try to get outside once a day, especially if the weather is nice. Our office is in a great location with lots of walking trails (i.e. sidewalks) so I like to get a good 20 minute walk in. My favorite place is a group of waterfalls that you can go sit in front of. They are really calming and make me feel peaceful.

Quitting time is around 4:30-5:00 PM, depending upon whether we had to work overtime or not and then it is back to traffic. After we pick up Emmeline, we'll stop at the grocery store about once or twice a week to get any items that we are low on. I know that one-time huge grocery shopping trips are the way to go, but I am the queen of mini trips to the store.

Get home and start fixing dinner while trying to keep Miss Em entertained. Once she's eaten, I throw her in the bathtub and then get her in bed. She usually bathes every other night unless she has been rolling around in her favorite dirt pile at daycare and is especially dirty. The amount of dirt left in the tub after a hard day of play is really amazing. I should get a picture of it. After she's in bed, I'll try and get a run in or do a workout video if I'm in the mood. Some nights, I'll just veg out on the couch and watch TV and then go to be around 10:00 PM.

Sweaty and red-faced after a workout

Weekends are a little bit different. If I have the older girls, then we'll try and go somewhere fun and cheap to get out of the house. We spent a lot of time at the pool this summer. Otherwise, weekends are for relaxing, cleaning and doing laundry. That's it for me, I have a pretty low-key life.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weight update

To give a little background into my weight ups and downs, I was always skinny when I was growing up. Of course, I never saw myself as skinny. What is it with women and our crazy body image issues? Anyway, after my first daughter was born I lost the baby weight pretty easily. Four years later when I had my second daughter, it was a different story. I ended up gaining 50 pounds with Cordie (and a lot of stretch marks) so the weight was a lot harder to lose. Add to that having two more babies in the next three years and my weight just kept creeping up there. I topped out around 175-180 and have pretty much stayed there for the past 10 years.

About 5 or 6  years ago, I joined Slim-4-Life and ended up losing about 20 pounds. The whole system is a crock, though. You have to follow a very restrictive diet, plus you have to buy the diet supplements, bars and shakes. They pull you in with promises of it being very inexpensive, but I spent a lot more money on that program than I should have. Plus, I gained all that weight back.

Pic of me after losing the weight with my Dad and sister, Rachel 
So in June of this year, I made a commitment to myself to actually get up off my ass and lose this weight. It isn't going to get any easier as the years go by and I don't want to be fat when I turn 40. My goal is to lose about 45-ish pounds. I would like to get down to 135. When I first started tracking everything, my weight was 179 and in the first month, I lost a total of 11 pounds. Since the end of July, I have hovered between 166 and 168. I've been plateaued for over a month now! Beyond frustrating. I am renewing my commitment to get this weight off of me. I want to be able to sign up for and actually run and finish a 5K without walking. I do want to give a shout out to Mama Laughlin because it was her blog that inspired me to get this whole thing started.

I need to pick a specific day of the week to do my weigh-in instead of stepping on the scale every day, so I can be held accountable for myself and for anyone else who reads this. I need to get this last 30 lbs off of me! Here are my progression pics so far. Once I get down to 159, I'll be sure to post some more. Please excuse the dirty mirror and the darkness of the second photos.

179 lbs
179 lbs
169 lbs
169 lbs

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My (imagined) failings as a Mother

In my heart of hearts, I know that I'm a good mom, however there are still some days that I have doubts.  To start with, I still have a tremendous amount of guilt regarding the fact that I don't have custody of all the girls. Now, I know that my ex is a great father and they are very well taken care of, but that doesn't change the fact that I do miss seeing and talking to them every day. I have never been that mom that calls her kids from work every single day to check on them and that is never going to change. Usually when I do call, I get silence on the other end of the phone or a couple of them are busy and don't want to talk to me anyway. I've learned not to take it personally. There is also the issue of dealing with a 16 year old with her own social life who periodically texts me (not calls, mind you) to ask if she can skip a weekend for one weekend or another. This weekend was one of those times.

On the weekends that I do have the girls I almost feel like I have to make up for the all the time in the past two weeks that I didn't see them. I try to take them out places or buy them things as a result of my own guilt. I know that my kids don't need me to buy them things to prove my love for them, it is just a hard idea to get past. I have been getting better about just enjoying spending time with them... until they complain about being bored.

A well stocked craft box helps entertain bored kids

Today we had plans to go to Crown Center to do a little shopping and hit up Kaleidoscope which is fun and free. Win-Win. There is also the Irish Fest going on which I thought we might do as a backup. Of course, after getting no rain all summer, it decides to rain this weekend and with the Irish Fest going on, parking was at a premium. Oh, and we forgot to bring the stroller. We had to walk a little ways, but got to Kaleidoscope with no issue and the girls had a ball. It is basically a free craft bonanza sponsored by Hallmark that allows kids to go in and color and make crafts with paints, markers and crayons. After that, we walked around and were going to look for a couple birthday presents for Elsa since her birthday was last week. She said that she wanted to shop with me for her presents instead of me buying them for her. We looked in a couple stores, but she couldn't find anything that she loved. We went outside to inquire about the Irish Fest, but discovered that tickets were $15 a piece. So, back inside to find somewhere to eat lunch. We stood in line for a cute little burger place with a train theme and Miss Em decided to turn into a giant pain in the ass. She had started acting up a little bit while we were shopping, but it turned into a full blown tantrum. She quieted down a bit, but after we got seated, she got mad about the menu and started screaming. I was so frustrated at this point as was Jason, so we just decided to leave before we even ordered. This decision set Elsa off and she started crying and basically threw a fit the entire walk to the car. I ended up yelling at her on the walk (and I'm sure I got some dirty looks), but I was at the end of my rope. I tried to do something nice and it turned to shit.

Now that I've had a few hours to mull this over, I realize that this is not a result of me being a bad mom. It was Miss Em's naptime and she is a stubborn two year old with the capability of shutting down everyone's good time. Elsa's behavior is nothing new and will have to go in another post as this one is too long already.
Perspective is a tricky thing and it is difficult not be hard on yourself when you are in the middle of a situation with your trying, cranky, screaming children. I'm still going to struggle with guilt, but at least I am confident in the knowledge that my girls do know that I love them very much. I'm not perfect, but who is?

Since you have stuck this far with me, here are a few pictures from our day today.