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Thursday, January 20, 2011

bedtime bliss

After months of struggling with Claire waking everybody up insanely early in the morning and me stressing out over how to keep it from happening, I have found a solution that works for now. I have been putting the girls to bed by 6:30 and it has worked out perfectly (thanks beth for the inspiration!). I finally realized that if I could not change the time they were waking up, I could at least make up for it on the other end. The girls fall asleep within minutes of their heads hitting the pillow and I have noticed that the big girls are much more rested when they wake up. I feel a lot less guilty when Claire wakes them up early on a school day because I know that they have gotten a full night's sleep. This week, Ryan has been out of town and it has been such a relief to have them in bed early and to have hours of peace and quiet to regroup before I start it all over again the next day. I know that this routine won't last forever...once the warmer weather is here and the sun is still shining bright at 6:30, I won't be able to fool them into believing that it's bedtime, but I'll take it as long as it lasts and we'll figure out what works when that time comes. Because isn't that how parenting always is? Getting things perfectly figured out just in time for them to change again. Keeps us on our toes, I guess. Or just gives us premature wrinkles and high blood pressure.

busy week

Ryan's been out of town all week and it's been busy, but yes mom, I'm still counting my blessings....

44. the snowfall that's on its way!
45. Claire gaining 4 pounds in a month and finally landing herself on the growth chart!
46. The Bachelor.
47. American Idol
48. Philosophy Advanced Makeup Optional. Sara, I owe you.
49. a week full of playdates!!
50. finding leftover christmas decorations at pottery barn for super cheap
51. hearing claire say, "you my best friend, emma!"
52. friendly's butter crunch ice cream with peanut butter sauce
53. people magazine in my mailbox!
54. rain boots
55. romans 5
56. breakfast at the pop shop!
57. emma's enthusiasm over selling girl scout cookies
58. the ridiculuous amount of cuddles and hugs i get from madeline every day
59. "i miss you" texts from my hubby when he's out of town
60. pushups
61. that i haven't felt lonely (or cried) even once this week :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

37. madeline playing with her bff all afternoon

38. watching the complete joy on the girl's faces as they sled down a hill
39. hearing madeline say, "i love winter!!!" for the first time
40. when claire says "actually"
41. the cheesecake factory
42. breaking a little bit of a sweat running uphill after sledding
43. baking in the early morning while it's still dark outside

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Twelve is my token number. The one I use to describe anything (larger than two or three when it needs to be or smaller than twenty or thirty depending on the situation). Get the picture? For example, if you have more than four kids, you probably have twelve. Or if I want to put into words exactly how young I was when Ryan and I got married....we were twelve. Obviously. So when my mom suggested this week that I look into becoming a real estate agent, my response was that nobody was going to hire me because I look like I'm twelve. To this, her response was, "I've got news for you, but you REALLY can't pass for "twelve" anymore." Sounds logical (after all, I am twenty years past my twelfth birthday and I've birthed three children), unless you know me and know my mom and know that my mom knows that twelve is just a way of me saying that I look young. So, what she was really getting at was that I look old. And it hit me like a ton of bricks....it's like she opened my eyes and I've seen it ever since. I'm OOOOOLLLLLLLDDDD!! I have wrinkles that I never knew existed and thin, saggy skin on my face. I am flat out, clear as day aging and I never knew it. I am bound and determined to invest in every skin care regimen out there and re-twelve-ify myself!!

30. story and craft time at the library for madeline and an hour alone with claire for me

31. philly soft pretzels dipped in buttercream frosting
32. a surprise day at the spa package from ry
33. seeing my hubby in the middle of a weekday
34. naptime with a warm blanket, a good book and a dunkin donuts latte
35. knowing that i have two different playdates to look forward to tomorrow
36. the sunlight pouring in my living room windows

22. the change of seasons

23. snow days!
24. sledding on stokes hill
25. salted caramel hot chocolate
26. unexpected emails and words of encouragement from friends and relatives :)
27. super cute Sorel boots
28. bare minerals faux tan bronzer
29. snuggies. seriously.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the long and lonely road

I knew this would inevitably happen. It took me a week of sleepless nights and lots of prayer to first process the move when Ryan initially brought it up to me over a year ago. I remember pouring over my bible all hours of the night, knowing that moving away and leaving my life behind meant that a time would come when I would be feeling empty, lonely and desperate. Fortunately, God prepared me ahead of time and even though this road is long and hard, He did promise "to bring me back to this place".....not the literal place that I left, but the place of contentment, happiness and knowing who the heck I am. I currently feel like a shell of my former self. I had so many defining circumstances that made me who I am that I feel stripped of now. The best friends in the world...the kind I prayed and waited my whole life for. So many of them, that I often felt pulled in many directions trying to juggle all the people in my life that meant so much to me. A church that was passionate and real and drove me to pursue the Lord like never before. A gym that felt like home where the equipment was lacking, the dirt was often collecting, but a place where everyone knew my name and I knew theirs. A place that sparked in me a passion for breaking a sweat in the gym and kicking butt in a race. I left behind a place that wherever I went...the grocery store, the beach, the doctor's office, I was bound to run into someone that I knew. The TANNING SALON, the sun and the gloriously golden color of my skin. A hairdresser that I completely trusted with my hair and chatted with on facebook. Birthday parties that took months to plan, millions of dollars spent on little details and a guest list that required the largest cake possible and then some. A bible study where I was completely comfortable with everyone in the room and I was completely free to laugh, joke, cry, tell my leader how hot her husband is.....to BE ALI. Now I sit in my car and cry before walking into MOPS because nobody there knows me. They have never met my children or husband and I have never met theirs. I see them for two hours every two weeks, say goodbye and never see or talk to them again until two weeks later. They know nothing about my loves and interests, my short comings, what makes me who I am. Now we try out different churches and nothing ever feels right and the word is never alive to us and the crowd consists of ten percent young families like us rather than ninety percent. Now I go to the gym to the most ridiculously easy class in a room full of emaciated middle aged women and the teacher asks me if it's my first time there even though it's my tenth. Now I have a little girl with an upcoming birthday and only one or two friends and therefore no party on the agenda. Now I have more split ends than I can count, roots halfway down my head and hair longer than it should ever be. Now I can go for days at a time without seeing a familiar face. Now my playdates are every other week rather than daily and my girls nights out are every other month rather than once or twice a week. Now I am a shell of my former self. But like I started out saying, none of this was a surprise. When you go from having the life you've always dreamt about and lacked for nothing and you uproot from that, it is expected that days like these will come when you realize how high you were and how far you've fallen. I am thankful that the Lord prepared me for this and trying my hardest to cling to that and cling to Him even when my circumstances seem hopeless. That all being said, I would be an enormous brat if I did not recognize how much I am truly blessed. So, here's an inconclusive list of what I'm currently thankful for and my hope is that as I recognize new blessings daily that I will post them as a reminder of the big picture and that as this list grows, I will grow and that through it all, I'll find "Ali" again.

1. the unfailing love of a savior even at the loneliest times
2. a husband that I adore and who I'd still follow anywhere, no matter the cost
3. the three most precious little girls in the world
4. a mom who will spend hours listening to me cry and moan and empathize with me and then counsel me
5. the gorgeous white snow outside my window
6. raising my kids with the kids of my childhood friends
7. the perfect house for our family (even if our electric bill made me cry)
8. the school bus
9. a new tradition of holiday parties with sara, beth, jill and our kids
10. a new partner in obsessively loving pottery barn and j crew crime (you know who you are)
11. rach living right next door
12. monday night bachelor dates with bec that bring me back in time eight years
13. walking into starbucks and at least one person knowing my name
14. my mini van (no matter how dirty and food encrusted it may be)
15. an unexpected text from a friend that can turn my day around
16. a pediatrician that cares enough about our family to call me himself
17. visits from my sister, maria and my parents
18. my weekly dates with emma and a time set aside to focus only on her
19. the loving, tender heart of madeline and her never ending hugs and kisses
20. a 2 1/2 year old that looks like a one year old, talks like a three year old and has every one she meets wrapped around her finger
21. knowing that this too shall pass

"I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you and will bring you back from captivity." jeremiah 29:10-14