Thursday, April 30, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} April showers

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~

The girls were so excited to show me this pretty flower growing on Annie's plant this morning. Several weeks ago we let the kids pick a packet of seeds and a pot to plant them in. The things that sprouted have not been pretty, and we had to start all over with new seeds for Timmy after his little plant succumbed to too much water. But the girls' pots have been growing just the ugliest, scraggliest things that look nothing like the pictures on the packets. Annie's plant, especially -- I walk by it and go, what is that thing, it looks like a beanstalk? We got a LOT of rain yesterday and the night before, and I thought maybe all three of those little pots had gotten way too saturated. Then this morning, lo and behold, Annie's "beanstalk" has this gorgeous bloom. Now Delaney really wishes hers would grow flowers too, and poor Timmy wishes his would grow at all.

There's nothing like playing in the giant puddles left by 12 hours of heavy rain. Timmy's favorite thing to do is race through them on his "motorcycle", while the girls like to search for things in our swampy yard with a shovel. And they were wearing their school clothes and Keen sandals. Actually, Annie wasn't wearing shoes at all. But I like to see them outside having fun.

Tim took this picture a week ago when Annie started examining my belly, trying to shift it around with her hands and putting her ear to it for a listen. I said, "The baby's the size of a blueberry at this point, so whatever's jiggling around in there is NOT the baby." She is the only one of the three who is taking any interest in my belly, and it cracks us up. I think she'll enjoy the midwife visits.

I'm afraid I don't have anything much to offer in the "real" category, so.. here's a picture of the aftermath of fun in the puddles! Dirty socks, underwear, shoes, and clothes. Boring. I'll see if I can come up with something better next time.

For more {phfr}, go to Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spring break in Cincinnati

We finally took our long-awaited spring break trip to Cincinnati, and it was a wonderful time. So many great memories! This was our first time back there since two Christmases ago, so way too long.

The drive was an easy 12 hours with the speed limit usually 70, and so much pretty scenery along the way. The views in North Carolina and Tennessee had me wanting to plan a mountain vacation next. I think my mom may have assigned me the duty of planning us a mountain vacation. It would be perfect being able to meet in the middle.

It made it a little easier to say goodbye knowing that my parents and my brother Scotty and his family will be making their way down here in a couple months, and we'll be staying together at Folly Beach in Charleston. But I really, really miss everybody, and I don't know yet when I'll see my sisters again. It's hard being so far away. 

We couldn't have asked for better weather, and we did a lot of fun outdoor things. The kids were in heaven with how much there is to see and do here. Their cousins got to play hooky from school a couple times and do things with them. They're growing so fast. When we all got together, it was gangly legs and elbows all around.

I simply cannot seem to put together any coherent blog posts anymore, so now I'll just share our best pictures.

We went to Krohn Conservatory and saw the butterfly exhibit there. 
We stayed at my parents' house and the kids played with Georgie, the sweetest little dog ever. She's a Boston Terrier and French bulldog mix, but I would never know about the Frenchie part to look at her. Even Annie, who doesn't like dogs or really any living thing bigger than a butterfly, could not resist Georgie, and the two of them were snuggling in a chair by day 3 of our visit.
We went out to dinner by ourselves at least twice. Luxury.
The kids fished at their Uncle Scotty and Auntie Faith's house. Little Scotty (in the striped shirt) was very patient about all the kids taking turns with his fishing pole. 
My sisters Anna and Grace and I took the kids to the zoo one day. It was overcast and with just a little chill in the air, which is perfect zoo weather as far as I'm concerned. All other trips to the zoo in my memory are sweaty walks up and down the big hills. The tulips were gorgeous.
L-R: Rosemary (just turned 2), Miles (8), John Paul (3), me holding Timmy, Delaney, Grace holding Sophie's son Damien (2), Annie, Anna
In the picture below, Delaney was showing Papaw all the money in her little blue purse. I love that porch. Dad had just finished that before we got here. Behind the porch you can see the deck, and there's a pool behind it. Doesn't get any better than that!
On our last day there we went to Sawyer Point and walked, biked, rollerbladed, and scootered across the Purple People Bridge and got ice cream. It was quite a parade of us. The round trip was about four miles total, and all the kids did really well. I didn't have to carry anyone's bike or scooter.
We were all way too spread out to get a picture of everybody, so at one point Faith and I just told all the kids we had in that vicinity to pose together for a picture. 
L-R: Timmy, little Scotty (4), Jaden (7), Roman (8), Aspen (9), Damien (2). Aspen, Roman, Jaden and Scotty belong to Scotty and Faith.
Here are the five of us siblings. There are three pregnant sisters in this picture: Anna on the far left is due with baby #4 in November, and Grace in the middle is having her first in late July or early August. And of course there's moi.
L-R: Anna, Sophie, Grace, me, Scotty
And then we drove home.
We stopped for lunch right after crossing into NC, both on the way there and the way back, and you can't beat the views. There were hills for the kids to run down and roll down, so it made for a nice little break in a long day of driving.
And just like that, most of April is over.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

When it turns out you're not done after all

I want you all to know what a pleasure it has been oversharing with you on this blog. It really makes me happy (and sometimes uncomfortable too) and I hope it sometimes makes you smile (and doesn't make you too uncomfortable). So,there was a draft that I'd been working on for a few days, planning on sharing in a few weeks. Last night I was tired but not quite tired enough to sleep, and thought it would be a good time to add to it.  I would get it just right and then share it after some other things had happened, according to my plan. But my fat fingers and the finicky Blogger photo uploader disagreed with that plan, and in a split second I published something that I was nowhere near ready to share. I deleted it in a panic, but I knew that it was too late for anyone who gets reads me via email subscription or reader. So it all went straight to the inboxes of my handful of dear loyal readers -- some of them close family whom we had not yet told but planned to very soon. The horror! I called Tim, I apologized, I lamented what an idiot I am at least a dozen times, and said I never wanted to blog again. He calmly said that this is not that big of a deal, it's really OK, I'm not an idiot, and I'm going to want to blog again. In fact he encouraged me to fix the post and publish it again, sooner rather than later. At that moment I thought I'd rather stick a fork in my eye, but I knew he was right. I knew I'd be back here today. "As reliable as night following day", haha. 

I posted this a couple months ago, and it proved to be very cathartic for me. I hit publish and then I was like, 'phew.' I felt relieved after addressing the thing that weighed most heavily on my mind, and free to think and write about other things. And free to get rid of most of my baby stuff. Every time I sold or donated something, I just smiled and wished the new owner well. I liked the thought of all my baby gear having new life.

But then I just continued to wait and hope. I didn't know how to stop. It was pretty frustrating to continue being disappointed every few weeks. But then that would fade and I would again remember how great my life is and how much I like sleep.

I could not quit the thermometer and chart either. It's an ingrained habit by now. The pattern of low temps followed by high temps, then a low temp, then a new cycle. Again and again and again, as reliable as night following day. I began to think that a diagnosis of infertility would be very helpful, and that maybe it was time to see a doctor. If I was told that I could not have babies anymore, I could stop hoping and praying for what was never going to happen.

Then, on a morning that I was supposed to have a decline in temperature and get my period, I got a really high temperature and no period. It was the 13th day of my luteal phase. I thought, 'Hmm. Well, I had a sore throat last night. It could be a low-grade fever. But the sore throat is gone and I feel fine now.' I tried not to read too much into it even though it was significantly higher than my normal luteal phase temperatures, and this was supposed to be the end of the cycle.

The next morning, April 1, my temp was the same, and I became hopeful. Then I tried not to be hopeful. But I couldn't help it, I was. I prayed. Then I tried not to think about it. Then I thought about it some more. I tried telling myself I could wait one more morning and then buy a test. But as I was on my way to yoga I decided I did not have that kind of patience.  At yoga I tried to still my mind and be calm and centered, and it worked. Mostly. After we left the Y I drove straight to Bi-Lo and bought a test. I made sure it was the kind that you could use 5 days before your period because I wasn't taking the chance that it wasn't sensitive enough to use with midday pee.

When I saw that it was positive, words can not describe the elation I felt. I thanked God more times than I could count and then kind of floated around the house in a haze. I made lunch for Timmy and me and put him down for his nap, but my mind was elsewhere. I looked at that test again and again. There's nothing like the feeling of looking at two lines on a pregnancy test. Nothing in the world. In that instant your life is changed.

I was so impatient to tell Tim, but he was away and wouldn't be back for two days. Two days! And I knew because he'd mentioned it before, if this happened he wanted to be told in a special way. He didn't just want me to be like, "So, I'm pregnant." I think even if he hadn't told me that, I would still want to tell him in a special way since this is something we've both been wanting for so long. So I began brainstorming fun ways to surprise him with the news when he got home.Over the next two days as I just went about life doing the things I always do, I would suddenly remember, 'I'm pregnant, and Tim doesn't know!' I was so impatient.

At last he got home and dilly-dallied before taking his bags back to our room, as I got more and more antsy. I followed him back there as he told me about this and that. Then he stopped when he saw this on his nightstand:

Then he walked over to me and wrapped me in a big, long hug. Then he asked me some questions and I told him all about the past few days. Then he thanked me for putting the test in a plastic bag.:) It was very considerate of me, wasn't it?  

And that's that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day in the Life: Spring 2015 (with a mini Stitch Fix review)

Today is Tuesday, April 7.

4:30 a.m. I am awakened by Timmy at the side of my bed saying, "Mama, I had a bad dream. Can I come in your bed?" This rarely happens. "Fine, get in," I mumble, and immediately go back to sleep.

5:30 a.m. I hear giggling and talking in the direction of the hallway. You've got to be kidding me. Most days it takes several minutes to get these girls up and moving, and now they're talking and giggling at 5:30.  "Girls, be quiet and go back to bed," I try to say loudly enough for them to hear, but not so loud as to wake up Timmy. I have to say it again and I'm not happy about that..  I think they're starting to get really excited about our trip to Ohio this Friday, and they might be talking about their packing lists. The anticipation builds.

After this, I try to go back to sleep. I still hear some noise from the girls, and I know they are wide awake. It's going to be a very long day for them, for us all. I really need to be up and going BEFORE they are. It works out so much better that way. It really messes up the morning the few times they wake up too early.

6:00 a.m. My alarm goes off, not that it matters because I never got back to sleep anyway. I go to the kitchen and start a pot of coffee, go back and make the bed and brush my teeth. By then Timmy's up too, and I've sent him to stay in his room until I tell them all to come out. I go to the living room with my coffee and phone, read my daily devotion and pray. I'm feeling pretty tired from my interrupted sleep. Not only did Timmy come in at 5:30 to sleep, but he also woke up crying and confused at around 1, the way he sometimes does when he needs to pee. So I had to help him with that too. So I sit there for a little while and I do what I can to get my mind and heart in a good place and ready to attack this day.

6:40 a.m. The kids' usual wake-up time. I'm just going to go ahead and skip over the details of what transpired between here and 7:30, because it was the worst morning we've had in awhile. It would be very long and tiresome to read about in detail. I do want to share something that occurred to me later in the morning: When we have just babies and toddlers, we do everything for them to the point where it's as natural as breathing. We carry them around, clean up their messes, feed them, dress and undress them, pick up after them, and don't think twice. And it's a lot of work, very physically taxing, even more than I remember, I'm sure. But it's automatic, and it's just what needs to be done.  What I find to be much more difficult as they grow bigger, smarter and more able-bodied, is teaching them to do things for themselves and to help out. That is the real challenge -- not doing it for them, making them do it. I get a lot of resistance from them. I'll tell them to do something, and they'll be like, "I know!" All exasperated. Then I'll walk away and come back and it won't be done. I feel like I might as well bang my head into a wall a few times as tell them again and again to do the same stupid things that ought to be a habit by now. Add to that a meltdown or two (by the kids, not me!) and you've got yourself a recipe for a bad morning.

I feel so defeated at this point, but in the last five minutes before I take them to school I try to salvage a little bit of my time with them and read today's devotion from their VeggieTales book, and say a morning offering. I have to keep trying.
7:30 to 8:30 a.m. I take the kids to school, a 25-minute drive each way.

8:30 a.m. I make and eat my breakfast, three eggs and a halo. I open the silverware drawer and this is what I see. Grrr.
A little token of the particularly horrendous time that a certain eldest child of mine gave me this morning
8:45 to 10;30 a.m. For awhile I am pretty productive this morning. The drama earlier is over and now it's time to focus on getting things done. On today's list: put away laundry, change sheets and vacuum the girls' room, water the plants, and get dinner started in the crockpot.
The girls' room.. sigh. I am so sorry for all the whining in this post, but it doesn't seem to matter how much we de-clutter and organize in here. There is always clutter in here. It's like debris, just little pieces of things here and there. Maybe it's just one of those days. I see several toys carelessly thrown onto the shoe shelf of the closet, and I say to myself, 'If they can't put it where it goes, I'll just throw it in a bag and put it up for awhile.' They may not ever notice.

I don't know if you know this about my husband and I, but we are people who like our home to be orderly, with a place for everything. When the girls were very little, I also thought this meant having a nice playroom full of toys, a Pinterest-worthy (ha! It was NOT, but that was the ideal) place for the kids to make-believe and have hours of fun. So, in NC we had this big room full of toys -- not as many as a lot of people we know, but still a lot. And every evening we would ride the kids until they got everything put away. Because we do not tolerate messes. Nor do we think it's our job to pick it all up. So much frustration ensued.
Over time, we found that the less we had, the less we had to worry about. We just kept paring it down over time. In the months before we moved here, we gave away or sold a TON of toys. And you know what? The kids don't miss the play kitchen or the little play house, or tool bench, or doll baby gear, or any of the things I thought they needed to have a happy childhood. Today we have a bare minimum of toys. Delaney is very attached to her stuffed animals, and little else. [Here's where I have to reveal what mean parents we are. When we arrived here we had a large appliance box filled with all the stuffed animals left AFTER we had gotten rid of many others. It sat in the garage for weeks while we deliberated about what to do with it. I knew if we opened it we would end up wanting to keep it all, and we didn't have space for a dedicated playroom here. We finally decided to just donate it all. I was sad about it but I couldn't let those things take over our house! Delaney still asks about things that she thinks were in that box once in awhile, and I feel like crap when she does. First world problems, right?] Annie has a few things on her bed but really doesn't care about or play with anything she has. She's a strange girl. Timmy has a toy box in his room full of toys that he doesn't care for much, either. He rolls some cars around sometimes and that's it. They all like books and we have plenty of those. But I'll tell you what, it is really nice not to be overcome with toy clutter anymore. We still have problems getting the kids to pick up, but there isn't nearly as much to pick up.

Still, as I look around their rooms, I think it might be time for another toy purge. They want to dump things out and then not pick them up and if that's the case they don't need to have it. We just want to teach them take care of their things and put them away when they're done playing with them. That's it. But this time we'll do something different. They will participate and decide what stays and what goes. Sometimes I think I spend way too much time thinking about things -- too many things, not enough things, what should I do with all the things..?. Do these things rule my life? Sometimes they really do. And that should never be the case.
Here I am in typical housework attire.
10:30 a.m. As I'm watering the ferns -- oh, those poor things! -- I see the FedEx truck arrive, and it's my Stitch Fix, a day earlier than expected! Speaking of materialism... Have you heard of Stitch Fix? (Note: that's my referral link. I get credit, I think $20, if you click and sign up.) It is a service in which someone picks out five pieces of clothing and sends them to you. You decide what you want to keep and pay for, and then send the rest back with free shipping. I tried to resist it, but after reading so many reviews from other bloggers, I knew I had to give it a try. I'm a fashion dummy, and having a personal stylist pick out things that are customized to my likes/dislikes, my size, and the current fashions is a dream come true

You can schedule shipments however often you like. I have mine scheduled for every other month, and I can cancel anytime. There's nothing to lose except the $20 styling fee, which is applied toward anything you keep. But be warned, the price tags are hefty. The first time, I was like, 'This shirt costs how much? I could get it for a fraction of that at Old Navy or TJ Maxx.' Then I remembered that I hadn't gone to the stores, looked through all the racks (I hate shopping!), and hadn't had to try anything on. And in the case of Old Navy, yes the clothes are dirt cheap but they are pretty much disposable after one wash, so is that really worth it? Instead, someone else had gone to the effort of choosing these things for me and sending them complete with pictures that show me how I can wear them in an outfit. So yeah, it's going to cost you. If you're accustomed to putting together cute outfits and getting great deals on clothes, then carry on. This service is not for you. Or maybe you want to try it anyway because it's fun.
The rest of my to-do list flies out the window as I open the box and start trying on clothes. This is so much fun! Timmy, who is still in his pajamas, settles in to watch.

I don't want to dedicate the time or space in this post to a detailed review, but I'll just post a picture of my keepers. My stylist missed the mark this time with a couple of things, but the more feedback she gets from me, the more things will improve in the future. And since I didn't buy the whole shebang, I have a few dollars to spend this month on clothes at a store.;) My favorite thing about this experience: my stylist has nailed my size every time, and I never have to worry about whether it will fit -- only whether or not I like it. That was the case with the black ankle jeans she sent in the first shipment too!
On the left, I had specifically requested a maxi skirt, and I love this one. On the right, I LOVE this top. I needed new tops for spring and summer and I also tried this one on with my white jeans and turquoise drop earrings. Perfect!
Just like that, I have two new additions to my wardrobe! I wish that Stitch Fix did men's clothes too. Tim needs new things all the time but he hates to shop and he doesn't know where to find what he wants. Also, sizing is an issue for him in the last couple years as he's become more fit. He's right between a medium and large in shirts. He's always telling me that things don't fall right on him, or feel right or something. He could really use some new business casual clothes for his work trips.

11:30 a.m. I feel bad for ignoring Timmy all this time. I make us lunch and tell him when we're done we can go for a little walk. It's another warm, sunny day and we can use some fresh air.
12:30 p.m. We go for a little walk. Timmy rides his tricycle.
12:40 p.m. It is a VERY short walk. We usually go for about 20 minutes, but I am tired after our rough morning, and then coming down from the new clothes high. When we get in the door I rush him to his nap and then go lie down for about 30 minutes myself.

I've been checking Instagram all day, eager to see a baby update from Nicole. When I wake up from my nap I am rewarded when an adorable baby girl pops up in my feed. Born last night right on her due date. Congratulations, Tully family!

2:30 to 3:00 p.m. Timmy sleeps on. I email Tim pictures of me trying on the clothes I got today. I've already decided what I like, but I'm curious to see what he thinks. Last time he got to see me try them on in person, and I ended up keeping something he didn't like. It was a cargo vest. It grew on him after a week or two. Then I have to wake up Timmy so we can pick up his sisters.

3:05 to 4:00 p.m. Again we drive to school, 25 minutes each way, plus a five or 10-minute wait in a line at Delaney's building. I'm counting the days till the end of the school year, when I don't have to drive two hours every day. And since we won't be sending them to this school next year, that will be the end of it entirely. I'll let my tax dollars do the driving, as my mother-in-law once says.

4:00 to 5:10 p.m. Here goes the whirlwind that Tuesday afternoons are this spring. As soon as we get home I send the girls to change into soccer clothes while I hastily get dinner on the table. Delaney and Timmy don't like tortilla soup so Delaney eats a couple hardboiled eggs. Timmy has .. I don't even know what Timmy has. As little as he can get away with having, I'm sure. (I only make the tortilla soup twice a month or so, so it's not like I'm tormenting them all the time with foods they hate.) Then they all run outside and play while I race through cleaning up the kitchen before we have to leave. I do not want to come home to a messy kitchen ever if I can help it.
5:10 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. We go to soccer practice.  Annie's practice with the five- and six-year-olds is the first hour. My neighbor Kim has her Delaney and Timmy on the team with Annie. We chat and I tell her about my bad morning. That somehow leads to talking about food and the pickiness of my kids. I tell her how I'll let my kids substitute something healthy for whatever dinner I'm making that they don't like. Something that doesn't require me to do anything extra, like a hardboiled egg, banana, or PB&J. Tim will actually make other meals for kids, and he is especially nice to Annie when he's in the kitchen. He'll ask her, "What will you eat?" And then make it. He does it because, for him, it's easy. He's not here every day. Heck, lately, he's here on weekends and that's it. And he wants those to be good times, not battles over food.

Kim tells me about an 18-hour standoff with her Delaney over a piece of meatloaf that she once refused to eat for dinner. She asked for a snack later. Kim said, "Here's your meatloaf." She refused it. Next morning, Delaney was hungry for breakfast and Kim said, "Eat your meatloaf." Delaney refused. Finally, she came to her mom a couple hours later, by now really, really hungry, and Kim gave her the meatloaf and she ate it.  Kim says in their family, you get the meal the family is having, and there are NO substitutions. No ifs, ands or buts. You eat it or go hungry.

I said, "You know, I think you've got the right idea. I'm such a wimpy mom. I hate the idea of my kids going hungry. But that's the way it ought to be, take it or leave it. I think we are creating our picky kids." It's a revelation for me. I sigh as I stare at the soccer field. I think we need to be making some changes in our household. Things are not working. At every meal I frantically throw food at them "zookeeper style" as Tim calls it, just trying to get them to fill their bellies (especially Annie, because she's like the worst little hungry monster there is, who never knows what she wants). I just want them to eat enough food that they'll leave me alone. I've failed to realize how undisciplined this is, and how impractical and unsustainable (not to mention wasteful, if I can't finish all the leftovers) it is to keep making meals that only one or two of us will eat, while raiding the fridge for the others. We are spoiling them. 

I feel convicted after talking with Kim, but also heavyhearted. How did we let it get this bad? For as much as we love order and discipline, we let this food issue get way out of control. (First things, and now food in this post. Truly, we are blessed if these are the kind of problems we have.)

At 6:30 Kim and her brood leave. She usually takes Annie and Timmy with her back home with her, but she's forgotten to put the seat she has for Timmy back in her van. She feels bad about that, but it's really OK. The practice takes place at an elementary school with a nice big playground. Annie and Timmy run over there, and I watch some of Delaney's practice while swatting at the sand fleas which are increasing in number as the evening wears on.
Delaney is thrilled that the team mascot "Carolina" is joining them for practice.
I join Annie and Timmy at the playground and swing on a swing. I watch Annie's face a couple swings away. She's beaming with satisfaction because I'm not swinging as high as she is. I'm afraid to. I can feel the thing moving and hear it creaking and groaning. There are no sand fleas, and even if there were, they wouldn't be biting while I'm swinging. Ahh..
7:20 to 8:30 p.m. Delaney walks toward the playground saying, "Can we leave now? I'm sooooo itchy." Poor Delaney. Itchy from bugs, itchy from eczema too in this weather. I say, "But it isn't time to leave." She says, "But it is!" I look and see that, indeed, everyone else is leaving. 10 minutes early, fine by me. 

I get them home and get them all to shower, brush their teeth, and put their clothes in the hamper (only took telling them three or four times). I put Delaney's eczema medicine on her after her shower. An 80 degree day + running and sweating = eczema flares. 

Once they're in bed they go to sleep fairly quickly. I pack lunches for tomorrow and go plop down on the couch. Then I remember that I doused myself in Skin-so-Soft and I could really use a shower too. I go do that, change into something comfy, and then go look at my email and Facebook on the couch. I don't last too long, though. At 10 I start the dishwasher, go to bed, turn out the light and gratefully drift off to sleep.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

We had a really nice Easter here, just us.

On Saturday, at the end of a busy day of soccer games, errands, and Tim looking in multiple stores to find me some fresh flowers (sorry hon, I know I'm a pain in the butt), the kids dyed eggs.
On Sunday morning I took a pictures of the Easter Bunny's handiwork before the kids dove in.  This year he brought the girls new earrings, including their first pairs of danglies, which they had been eagerly awaiting since they had their ears pierced last April. Timmy got a couple of the trucks that he'd fallen in love with the last time I took him to CVS. 
We Skyped with Grandma and Grandpa in Massachusetts, and they showed them their goodies. It was snowing there -- what?
I admired the mason jars I'd painted at Craft Night, with the flowers that Tim had procured for me the day before. The pink blooms came from a bush down the street. He walked down the street with Annie yesterday to get them and he felt like a thief doing it. They are so beautiful. I wish we had them growing in our own yard so we wouldn't have to feel guilt about clipping a few here and there.
Tim found this letter that Annie had written for him a few days ago while he was away on yet another trip. It says, "Dear Daddy, I miss you. I want you to come back on Thursday. You are 'pose to come back on Friday. I love you. You are coming back in two more days. Love, Annie." That just melts my heart.
Here they are ready for Mass.
After Mass, everyone went outside for an Easter egg hunt.
Back at home we asked our neighbor to take some pictures of us.
Tim gave me a hard time about the stepstool on the porch. I hadn't gotten around to taking it back inside after watering the ferns that morning. He said, "That's what you get for being lazy!" I said, "I wasn't being lazy. The stool was wet. I needed to let it dry before bringing it in." 
It was a beautiful, happy Easter Sunday for us, and today it's back to business as usual. Tim is off again on another trip and the kids are back to school. Spring break doesn't start until Monday. We're going to start the break early and drive to Ohio to see my side of the family for a week. I'm so excited. I haven't been back there in a long time -- I think two Christmases ago. I've got a busy few days to prepare!