"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Little Weekend Project

I posted this on my Debt Blog, but for those of you who don't read it, I wanted to post it here as well. I started a website for my stay-at-home-mom friends (well, really for anybody, but especially those moms who want to bring in a few extra dollars to help make ends meet) The site is eventually going to grow, but for now it is focused squarely on making money through online surveys.... my history, some tips & faqs, and my own personal list of the best paying sites. Check it out.

Best Free Survey Sites

Finding Our Groove

Confession: I find the first year with a new baby incredibly hard. With Spencer, we were a little spoiled because 1) he was a very laid-back baby, and 2) he was an only child! Paxton spent a good portion of his first year of life screaming, despite my best attempts to console him. Everett was a little more carefree, like Spencer was, but his first year was difficult for other reasons. Plus by then I had a 7 year old and a 3 year old who needed me as well.

With Tegan, thinking about her first year makes me sad in too many ways. I feel like I missed so much of it, being so sick with my gall bladder (then the surgery and subsequent recovery period) Even now, nearly a year post-surgery, I'm still not "right," and it puts me out of commission way more often than it should. Everett has had a very difficult time with the amount of time and attention that a baby needs, and it breaks my heart a little bit to know that he feels like he hasn't had enough of me for the past year. Its a cliche, but I have wished so often in the past year that there were two of me. I've been feeling stretched, at times nearly to the breaking point.

Lately though, there's been a shift. It's been gradual and slight, but it's there. Tegan isn't quite as grumpy as she was a few months ago. I'm able to set her down more often, which allows me to play with both her and Everett more easily. She's actually playing with her brothers, instead of trying to hit/throw/destroy whatever it is they're doing. She's taking a fairly predictable afternoon nap, and I'm able to devote more of my time to the boys. The house is running more smoothly, and things are just... calmer. Happier. There are more good days than bad.

Yesterday there was a huge Spring celebration at church, and we were there for four full hours. The boys had an absolute blast on the inflatable bouncy houses and obstacle courses and slides (there were over 18 of them to choose from!) Mike and I were able to listen to the lesson while the kids enjoyed their kids' classes. We all got dinner from the grill and sat on a blanket in the crowd and ate it picnic-style. On the way home, we decided to cap off the day by stopping for ice cream.

Life is still busy, and at times oh-so-stressful. But yesterday was good. Right now, here in this moment, it's all good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Like every other major holiday lately, Easter completely snuck up on us. And, like every other weekend lately, it was a busy but joy-filled few days. The boys enjoyed coloring eggs, and even Tegan joined in on the fun with a little marker.

We ultimately ended up throwing out all two dozen eggs, because their age was a little questionable, and Mike felt "off" after he ate one... but no one minded. The fun was in the coloring and the hunting.

We went to Easter services on Saturday night - just us and 4,000 other members. It was the second of 5 weekend services, and they were all expected to be filled to capacity. It was awesome! Since we've been going to this church, we've gotten many negative comments - some veiled, some not-so-veiled - about its size. I'm not sure what it is that people find so (Off-putting? Scary? Objectionable?) about large churches, or why they assume that a large church can't be intimate or warm or inviting. I love our church, and I love its services. I come away feeling touched and inspired every week, and Easter was no exception.

We were up early - early early - on Easter morning, because the boys were excited to get to their basket. We got dressed up again and joined Mom and Dad at their church for services too. I missed most of the sermon though because I was in the nursery with Tegan. Yes, that was my daughter you heard happily screaming "Dada Dada Dada!!! Lalalalalalalala!" while you tried to listen to the minister's heartfelt lesson.

We spent the afternoon at Mom and Dad's, my favorite way to spend any holiday. Good company, good food, good times.

Happy Easter, and a blessed Spring, to all.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Life and Death

This is Bailey, the newest addition to our menagerie. She is a dumbo rat, and has so far been a sweet and curious girl.

Last week, we said goodbye to Miley, the rat that started it all. She showed us what wonderful pets that rats make, and she laid the path that saw us buying (so far) 5 more. She was nearly four years old, and she went peacefully in her sleep, just one day after I noticed that she seemed to be declining.

I recently heard someone say that she didn't want to buy her 4 year old a pet, because she didn't want her to be sad when the pet eventually (and inevitably) died. Pets do die. And the all-too-painful reality is that people die too. But learning about death also means learning about life. It is precious, and fleeting, and can only be appreciated and understood if you actually let yourself live it, rats and all.


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