A Perfect Day

Sometimes you have a perfect day. 

The sun shines, the plans you made go well, and the people you spend it with fill your heart with joy. 

Sometimes a perfect day is being by myself, sometimes it's spending time with friends, but most of the time it's being with family.

Waiting for a hayride...

At the pumpkin patch...

In the corn maze...

Appreciating farm animals...

Carving pumpkins...

and lighting Jack-O-Lanterns...

Whatever we do, it's always more fun when we do it together...

Motivational Monday #113

Welcome to another Motivational Monday Link Party! I can't wait to see what you've been up to this week! 

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with others, too. That way, each post will get more exposure.

The Great Minimizers

Have you ever noticed that kids are great minimizers? They seem to think that nothing they want you to do takes any time, money or effort. Everything they want takes just a few minutes, a couple dollars, and is so easy. They have a way of making rock solid parenting reasoning and requests sound ridiculous.

My boys say things like...

Why can't you run to the car?!? Just because you don't want to get two raindrops on you?!?

Shutting off the TV, Mom? It's really important to save that 5 cents.

Can we stop at Sonic? Why not? It will take two seconds!

I don't want to go to New York City. There's nothing to do there.

Every job is easy, and all skills are attainable for them.

I could be a surgeon. What's so hard about cutting people open?

Dad takes out people to dinner. He eats dinner for a living. 

If I was the coach, we'd win every game!

You name it, they'll claim they can do it better, cheaper, and faster than any experts. No training or education needed.

Sometimes, minimizing comes in handy. Like for doing projects. I think maybe my girls might get a little of their attitude toward projects from me...Anyone else ever attack home improvement with the idea that it will be fast, cheap, and easy?!?

With their minimizing talent, my girls can create things out of nothing. Dad won't build a swing? No problem. Just grab a tree branch, cobble together some bungee cords and jump ropes, and voila!

I have no idea how that thing didn't come crashing down!

Mom and Dad won't buy a hammock? No problem. Just take the net from the back of van, hook who knows what else to it, and trust your entire body weight to this contraption. A thin blanket will for sure break your fall in the unlikely event something you create doesn't work!

On the one hand minimizing is annoying and on the other inspiring. If only we could keep such confidence in our abilities, intelligence, looks, and all around general awesomeness into our adult years. Think of the things we could accomplish, or at least attempt to accomplish. All in just a couple minutes for a few dollars and very little effort!

Fall Break Highlights

We've been off from school and our usual routines due to fall break the past few days. We didn't leave town, but Steve's been home and we've enjoyed just doing whatever pops up. Here are a few highlights from our weekend...

1. We took the boys to a hockey game Thursday night. The last time I went to a Predators game, this guy was a baby.

It's always fun to go out with my boys. There's an ease about it that's refreshing. Zero drama and no guilt. I like hearing their sense of humor and seeing life through their eyes. When I asked my husband how long we should plan for eating before the game, he said half an hour tops. That's in, out, ordering, eating, and everything. Now that's some focus on food! 

2. It's been raining, so I had the perfect excuse to be lazy and get a lot of reading done this weekend. I started the Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth and finished the first two books. They're really good. I've heard the TV series on Netflix is great, too, so I'm looking forward to watching that after I finish the third book. 

3. Halloween costume shopping. I mentioned in this post that my mother in law usually does Halloween costumes. This year though we decided to give her a well deserved break and hit up Party City. Here's one of the things we bought.

My oldest daughter told me I would have never let her wear that mask and she's probably right. I guess that's an advantage of being the baby. By the time you're the youngest of five, wanting to dress in a scary mask for one night doesn't seem like a big deal to mom anymore! :)

I'll leave you with this scene. Several people mentioned that my post from last Thursday felt sad. Funny how after I wrote all that, my girls asked to bring over Nanny's Calico Critters and have played with them all weekend. I guess lazy, rainy weekends lend themselves to playing and using your imagination. I was glad to see it!

Motivational Monday #112

Welcome to another Motivational Monday Link Party! I can't wait to see what you've been up to this week! 

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with others, too. That way, each post will get more exposure.

Deciding What to Keep and What to Let Go

I usually have no problem parting with things we don't need anymore. In fact, I throw away/donate/get rid of so many things that my kids don't believe me when I say I don't know where their treasures went. I'm the first person they suspect when something goes missing. But today I was cleaning the bathroom and came across these in the far recesses of a cabinet.

The end of an era. Our last bathtub toys. They probably haven't seen water in at least a couple years and I can't imagine my girls will be asking for them again, but I hesitated to just toss them. Long gone are the days of starting the tub, throwing a couple kids in it, and dumping the toys in the water to provide a little entertainment. The squeals of delight, the bubbles, and the slippery smooth bodies cuddled in a towel have all disappeared. Only the toys remain.

Then I thought about all this in the playroom...

For some reason, the boys outgrew their toys more quickly and they all disappeared gradually. Getting rid of these will require effort. I don't want to let go of the dollhouses, Polly Pockets and Barbies. Many of these things belonged to my oldest and were passed down to the twins. They've been moved from house to house and entertained children over and over. We've gotten rid of a lot of toys over the years, but these have always stayed in the "keep" pile.

My youngest are in their last year of elementary school. There won't be many more scenes like this one greeting me in the hallway.

They don't need wheelchairs and strollers for their stuffed animals anymore.

This will be the first Christmas I don't think I'll have any toys to buy. It's freeing and it's sad. I always had fun looking at their lists, choosing their special presents, and picturing their happiness at finding them under the tree.

I'm going to say goodbye to the bathtub toys, but hold off on cleaning out the playroom a little longer...until I'm sure they won't be entering that particular world of imagination anymore.

And someday, I hope I have the joy of picking out more toys and seeing the faces of my grandchildren light up like this when they open them!

So excited to open their Dora Dollhouse while wearing their new Dora pajamas!

Leapfrog and Lipgloss

Romance After Twenty Years

I love a good romance novel. Not the Harlequin bodice ripping variety, but one with an actual story mixed in! The problem is that when I read them, I start expecting my life to be like that. I want the grand gestures, the pretty words, and the thrill of the chase. And somehow being married for almost 21 years with five kids just doesn't cut it.

Whoa now? What are you saying, Marie? 

I'm saying that some days you have to look long and hard to find romance in such situations. But this weekend, I was reflecting on and appreciating some of my husband's romantic gestures.

Going to the grocery store for me. Seriously they never include this kind of thing in romance novels, but it sweeps me off my feet.

Playing outside with the kids. When I see him out there throwing the lacrosse ball around or playing basketball, my heart skips a beat. 

Helping me with the dirty work. Who needs flowers and candy? If you'll figure out how to fill out college financial aid forms and take the garbage out in the rain, you're my knight in shining armor. 

I love you and You look nice. I'm blushing, flattered, and so thankful you still say it. 

Movie night. Cuddling on the couch watching a movie with no kids in sight? You're a Casanova!

Suggesting we go out to eat, or even better, order in. Don't have to cook? I'm feeling more in love by the minute.

Go shopping. Spending time with me doing things you'd rather not do...smooth.

Helping with math homework. You've still got it!

Driving a minivan. Don't be fooled. Anyone can look good in a little red sports car. It takes a real man to pull this one off!

Being my best friend. Loyal, trustworthy, faithful, loving, always choosing to see the best in me. That's love. 

Raising a family, growing older, taking care of a home, they all tend to suck the life out of romantic feelings. I mean there's a reason they don't show clearing the plates, figuring out why the car engine light is on again, and cleaning up the bathroom in the movies. But it's the showing up, sticking around through the arguments, listening, helping, laughing, supporting, being there day in and day out that's really romantic!

And fancy date nights and trips alone together don't hurt any either! :)