The Most Annoying Sound

Aaaah, Christmas vacation. Time to relax and really focus on the reason for the season. No more school. Just me at home with my five little angels making memories. Time to listen to sleigh bells, children laughing, Christmas carols, and STOOOOOP!!!!!!  What? STOOOOOP!!!!!! isn't on your list of traditional Christmas sounds? It is in this house. Listen to what I'll be hearing my kids say to each other 5948304039 times a day...

(If you can't see the video, it's basically a one second clip of my daughter yelling STOOOOOP!!!!!!)


Is there a more annoying sound? I can actually feel my blood pressure rise and muscles clench when I hear it. I have an immediate urge to scream STOOOOOP!!!!!! saying STOOOOOP!!!!!!

Sibling rivalry does not take a Christmas vacation. They must be plotting ways to annoy each other...constantly. They all know which buttons to push and they never get tired of getting a reaction.

Thoughts that run through my head when I hear STOOOOOP!!!!!!

What. Are. They. Doing?????
Do they like getting in trouble??!?
Why can they not just mind their own business???!
If I have to get involved, it's not going to be pretty!!!!!

So if you're at home enjoying the sounds of sibling rivalry mixed in with When can we start opening presents? How come so and so has more presents than me under the tree? I just thought of something else I want for Christmas! Can I open just one present today? I felt the presents and I think I know what you got me. Know you're not alone. It's not Norman Rockwell, but it is Normal Everyday Life!

P.S. Video credits to my middle schooler who recorded that annoying exchange between his two younger sisters and then brought it to me so he could get them in trouble. I guess I forgot to add tattling to my list of unwelcome Christmas sounds! :)

Turning Your Blog Into a Book

I decided to give myself a Christmas present this year and printed off my blog in book form.

I had heard about this when I first started blogging, so the thought of doing it has been in the back of my mind for awhile. After a year of posting, I decided to get serious and found out it's really quite easy!

I couldn't find a lot of sites that print blogs, but one that kept popping up was Blog2Print. It works with both Blogger and WordPress. Basically, you enter the web address of your blog and it creates a book that you can then edit and order to print. There are several options for customizing your book and you'll want to spend some time experimenting with what works best for you.

Let me tell you, I'm thrilled with how my book turned out! It's 300 pages and includes 69 posts with comments. You can choose to print your posts without comments, but they felt too special for me to leave out. 

Here's a few pictures of the pages in my book. So fun to see a whole year's worth of work in one place!

Not everything prints exactly as your blog looks onscreen. You can see in this picture that the photos that aren't separated by words in a post are printed as a group in the book.

Also, captions aren't printed directly under photos as they are on a blog. You can see here that they show up in a sentence below, as if you're starting a new paragraph.

I chose to include the comments in my book which added considerably to its length, but it's fun to look back and see what other people said about each post.

There are several different pricing options for the books. For example, my full color book with comments ended up costing me about $125, but if I had printed it in black and white and left out the comments, it would have only been about $20. Also, you don't have to include every post on your blog. You can choose the ones you want and all of them are listed in a Table of Contents with their corresponding page number. I chose to not include link party posts and posts that didn't have a personal meaning to me. 

As I said before, I'm very happy with how my book turned out. It's nice to know that even if I stop blogging, I'll have a record of what I've written. Seeing my thoughts in printed form was motivating and made me think of why I really have this blog. It's a great way to document our family life! I hope to have plenty of material to print off next year, too!

Have you ever thought about turning your blog into a book? Think it might make a good Christmas present for you or someone you love?

A Birthday Wish for My Son

This week was my oldest son's seventeenth birthday. That seems unfathomable to me. I can remember the day he was born like yesterday.

I want to mark this special occasion on my blog, but what you're allowed to say as a mom about a boy that age in public is very limited. Gushing words declaring my undying love would not go over well, though of course my love for him knows no bounds. Sharing silly stories or personal conversations on here is off limits, though I savor our conversations and store them up like jewels. 

I imagine we're to a stage many a mother and son have passed through before. One where I admire who he is becoming and wait with anticipation to see what he will do next. Physically, he is almost full grown, though when I look at him I still sometimes see my little boy. Intellectually, he's changing and maturing. We can talk politics and current events and I marvel that this has happened in the blink of an eye. He has embraced the freedom driving has given him this year and takes on more responsibilities and commitments outside of our home now. 

And yet, there still exists a boisterous boy a little too willing to take risks. One who isn't done maturing and could easily find himself making decisions he might later regret. This is also something I'm sure many a mother has feared for her son. There is parenting left to do. Important work and I want to finish well.

I view my son with pride and love and nostalgia as I know that all too soon he will leave and make his own way in the world. I hope he will always come home and allow his father and I to share in his life. Allow us to have conversations and laughter with him, allow us the privilege of knowing and loving him as he becomes the man God made him to be. 

I think of all these things as I wish him Happy Birthday!

Family Pictures: Behind the Scenes

Long time, no see! My blog break has been nice, but I've missed you and hope you're all doing well!

One of the things we did over Thanksgiving break was have some long overdue family pictures taken. You know the shops and obsesses over what everyone will wear, careful attention is paid to where each person is in the haircut cycle, and many warnings are given on avoiding bodily harm until after the pictures are finished.

If you decide to take family pictures, know that one or more of these things might happen...

1. Changing weather will make you pick and choose outfits more times than you want to admit. 

2. The thought of pictures will elicit a collective groan from every male in the family.

3. You will unwittingly schedule the session during a must see football game and your sons will beg you all week to change it.

4. Your college age daughter will text you that she dyed her hair the day before you told her about them. 

5.  You'll threaten, cajole, beg, bribe, and give your children "the look" all in an attempt to achieve the dream. 

6. After finishing pictures, your middle school son will have his shirt and sweater stripped off before you even leave the parking lot. 

7. In the end, you'll breathe a big sigh of relief and revel in the fact that for better or worse, the pictures are done and there's nothing left to do but wait and see how they turn out. 

Fortunately, our friend, Angie Helton, did a fantastic job and no retakes will be required.

Here are a few of my favorites...

There may or may not have been a little behind the scenes bribery to get my husband to pose for this picture! :)

Family pictures...they capture a moment, tell a story, and have the ability to transport us back to those special days. They can also drive us nuts and fill us with joy at the same time. Sounds a lot like the families they're meant to capture!

How about you? Is your family all on board and enthusiastic about pictures? Do you put them off as long as possible like I do? Time to confess what really goes on behind the camera! 

Changing Seasons

I don't know if it's this time of year with all the holiday busyness, or the natural ebb and flow of life's interests, but I haven't been as excited to write on this blog the past couple weeks as I used to be. The ideas and words aren't flowing. I think part of it is that I'm using my creative energy in other ways and I don't have as much left over for writing.

I don't want to just drop off the face of the blogosphere, so I wanted to let you know I'm going to take a break over the holidays from my usual posting schedule. I may post once a week or once a month as the mood strikes. If you don't want to miss anything, I'd love for you to follow me by email or on Bloglovin. You'll find both of these options to the right on my sidebar.

Thank you to all my regular readers. I really appreciate your support and look forward to be being back with more Normal Everyday Life soon!

Motivational Monday #116

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.

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs


Motivation Monday Linky Party

5 Tips for Dressing a Toddler on a Budget | Crystal and Co. Indoor Activities for Kids | Child Led Life Teaching Kids to Feel Blessed: Simple Thanksgiving Gratitude Garland | A Life in Balance 13 Thanksgiving Bible Activities | Christianity Cove November 2014 Letter Dear Getting Older | My Life as an Adventure Home and Friendship | The Little Farm Diary Keep the Happy In Your Holidays | Mom Hats and More Free Thanksgiving Learning Pack | Year Round Homeschooling

Motivation Monday Linky Party

Crock Pot Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos | Flour on My Face Cream Biscuits | Little House Living Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe | Little House Living Poached Egg Biscuit Recipe | Just Short of Crazy

How To Make Your Middle Schooler Mad

Mom confession time...Sometimes I take delight in teasing and annoying my kids just for the fun of it. Can anyone else relate?

If you're the kind of mom that thinks it's funny to annoy a middle school boy, this list is for you! You can send your kid into meltdown mode doing any of the following...

Dance. It doesn't have to be for long. It can be just a couple seconds of you busting out your moves! 

Sing. A few bars in the car are enough to make them cringe. It's also the best way to get them to change the radio station without argument. You sing a few words and they can't pick a new station fast enough!

Talk above a whisper in public. If anyone, anywhere, including the person you're talking to, can hear you, it's completely embarrassing and will get a rise out of your middle schooler. 

Let a younger sibling wear a costume out in public. The protests will be swift and immediate.

Use their nickname in front of their friends. A dirty look and warning eyes will shoot your way in seconds.

Make him go shopping...this is a sure fire way to make him miserable. Bonus points if it's for fabric or wallpaper. These are still haunting memories from husband's childhood! 

Enjoy yourself too much in any way. Laughing, telling jokes, smiling, getting excited. None of that is allowed. Again the potential for embarrassment by mom is just too high!

And last, but not least, write a blog post about how to annoy your middle schooler. Eyes are guaranteed to roll!