'Tis the season.  The first day of Fall is right around the corner - and with it - brings the cooler weather and yes, cold and flu season. 
    We spoke with our Pediatrician about getting the flu shot or mist for the kids.  This year we have another decision to make though.  Our oldest is 11, which means he's at the age to consider getting the HPV vaccination. 
    I go back and forth with these issues.  Not that I want to Jenny McCarthy it or anything, but it also scares me that once it's done...that's it.  You can't take it back and you just hope that your child's system doesn't have an adverse reaction to anything.
    On the other hand, if all goes well - as it should, how could I not want to protect my children from getting the flu or a disease which can lead to cancer?
    What are your thoughts?
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5 'n 5



    The ladies at themommyblogchronicles.com are running a five-part series on how to laugh and keep your sanity during mommy hood.  They generously asked me to be one of their guest bloggers!
     Please check out my post and "like" their page! http://www.themommyblogchronicles.com/2014/09/five-n-five-2-another-moms-view-on.html
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    Early in the morning, my husband and I got ready for work.  For about the third time, we yelled down the hall for the kids to wake up for school.
    After a few minutes of no results, Adam marched into each of their rooms, opened their windows, turned on their lights and pulled them out of bed.
    Four crazy haired and groggy zombie kids later, he came back into our room. 
    Looking exhausted, he said, "From getting them ready in the morning, to making them go to bed at night, it feels like all we ever do is lose our minds.  I constantly feel like the bad guy who does nothing but yells and disciplines."  
    I understood him completely.  His days are spent from sun up to sundown providing for his family and shaping it in one way or another.  That's what a real dad does though.
    Real Dads put their kids and family first.  They're there to raise them to do what's right and shape their moral compass.
    Real Dads have daughters that snuggle up and fall asleep on their chest because they feel safe and protected.
    Real Dads watch their sons take the field for their first scrimmage of the season with as much pride in their hearts as if they made the NFL.
     Real Dads are not the richest or the poorest, they don't give their kids every toy in the world, but instead, they give them their time.  They're there.  Even when it's impossible to be physically available due to work or service, they're still present.  
     Real Dads are not their friend, they're their father.  They make the tough calls, discipline with consistency and yes, are at often times...the bad guy. 
     They're also their hero.  They are the rock that holds them together through life's adventures and challenges...with an unconditional love that's infinite. 
     To all the real Dads.  Thank you for doing what you do everyday.  Every single morning and zombie bed-headed day at a time.
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    Our three boys are playing football this year.  They've had practices for the past few weeks and are getting ready for their first game of the season.
    During these weeks of practice, our daughter and I have spent hours together sitting through everything from scorching heat to pouring rain, watching them play.
    The other day, a brother and sister were running off to our left and I overheard the older boy laugh and yell at the younger girl.  She was trying to throw something to him when he said, "You can't make it.  You throw like a girl."
     Let me back up a minute.  I've never really cared much about stereotypes when it came to boys vs. girls/men vs. women.  It's never bothered me when an issue came down to a gender related argument because I've known where I've stood.  If I wanted to do or not do something, the decision was up to me...not because I was male or female.
    Then we had a daughter.
    Ironically, I had recently seen a Dove ad regarding how younger girls were asked to "run like a girl," or "throw like a girl," and they ran and threw with all their might. 
    When older girls were asked to do the same however, they mocked a silly awkward run and throw, as though girls can't manage to do things with strength or control. 
    When does this transition occur?  When do our girls switch from thinking they can do anything, to well...that? 

    Something came over me that wanted to protect her from these ideas of what "being a girl" infers.  I turned to our five year old and asked, "What does it mean to run like a girl?"
She looked at me with a smile, "It means to go really, super fast."
    "And what about throwing like a girl?  What does that mean?"
    "It means that if you have a ball, you can throw it as far as you can."
    I was relieved from her answers.  In her five little years, she's had no awareness of what the concept means...but when will that change? 
    It's up to us to help girls feel confident and secure. 
    I knew the boy who said it, was only joking around - but it made me realize that she's going to hear things like this to whatever degree, for the rest of her life. 
    I hope she'll always stay strong though. 
Many things will come her way but I pray we'll give her the tools that every daughter should have, allowing them to be as happy and successful as they possibly can. 
    Daughters should always know and believe they can
run as "super fast" as they could ever dream, making them forever and completely...just like a girl.
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    This morning, I stood in the kitchen making eggs for breakfast.  As I cracked each one, I had to stir them while the heat from the stove began to rise.  With the last egg, some of the shell accidentally fell into the skillet.
     My first reaction was to reach in and pull it out.  I tried, but it was impossible to grab through the slimy egg white...and besides that...it was really hot. 
     As the eggs continued to cook, I had to think fast.  Using the spatula, I tried to fish it out.  No such luck.  It was a small piece and it kept slipping away again.
     Suddenly I remembered hearing that the easiest way to get a bit of eggshell out, ironically, was with an eggshell. 
     Taking one broken half of the shell, I scooped it slightly through the skillet and sure enough, the tiny piece came right along with it.
     The solution was right there in front of me the whole time, I just hadn't realized it yet.  It was a simple fix that actually worked well, but I had to do what I thought I should do first.      In life, this seems to happen quite often.  We can beat our heads against the wall trying to do things our own way or how we feel they should be done.  This doesn't always lead to a clean cut solution, however.
     God puts answers right in front of us, more than we could ever imagine.  Sometimes the solution can even be found right in our own two hands.  
     It's up to us to be willing to put our own agenda aside and see what possibilities might come. 
     After all, you never know how wonderful discovering the answers in life might be...even if it's only one eggshell at a time. 

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    It's back to school time, which inevitably means...school picture day.  I loathe this day.  I'd rather take all four kids to the dentist than to deal with school picture day. 
    Every single year...it never fails.  I vow to get everything ready the night before to avoid the chaos.  I instead, wake up with the gut wrenching realization that I forgot to get their outfits. 
    At six in the morning, my eyes pop open as I shoot out of bed to scurry around the house in search of clean dress shirts and pants. 
    With the boys in check, I try to find an outfit for our five year old little girl, which is a task in and of itself.  This was only the second year of picture day for her and I've learned that for girls...it's nothing short of a miracle to get it done.
    By 6:20 I'm ironing, starching, looking for ties, belts...forget the belts, headbands, dress shoes...hopefully it will be from the waist up because there are NO MATCHING DRESS SHOES ANYWHERE. 
    I hate the morning, I hate the running around, the crazy, messy bed-head that's most definitely the worst on picture day than any. other. day. of. the. year.
    The kids need to have breakfast but they can't eat or brush their teeth until after they're dressed because they'll spill.  Their pajamas will stay clean, but oooooooh you put a nice outfit on and they'll have pancake syrup dripping from one shoulder to the other. 
    Finally getting them in the car only makes me sigh as the seat belts and backpacks flying, make their perfectly ironed outfits wrinkly and scrunchy.  They don't care though...and neither should I, I guess. 
    It's a maddening, hectic, crazy-wild day of hustle and bustle that will represent a moment in time, which will last forever.  It's that one day a year that does nothing less than act as a reminder of how quickly they're growing - and that pulls at my stomach as they run off to school...crazy haired and untucked. 
    Yes, I hate school picture day.  Next year, I'll be ready for it though.  I just know it.  :)   
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     Growing up in Ohio, I used to wait all year for it to get cold enough for our neighbor's pond to freeze over.  It was so much fun to grab my skates and spend the day with my family.  
     Never in a million years would I believe that one day I'd live in North Carolina and be able to ice skate in the middle of summer. 
     Dressing everyone for winter and heading out in 90 plus degree weather, seemed a little bizarre to say the least.  Especially when we ran through the grocery store and people looked at us like we were nuts.
    We introduced our two younger ones to their first lesson nonetheless...and the hardest part was taking that first step onto the ice.
     They worried about falling - so the best thing the instructor did, was just that.  She began by teaching them how to fall and get back up. 
    Before we knew it, they were off and running...well...skating.  They ridiculously loved it and can't wait to go again.  It made me remember how much fun it was to skate the day away...and who knows?  Maybe I'll even dust the old skates off and give it a whirl again. 
     Next post: my trip to the ER. 
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     So...you worry all day that your five year old little girl will do alright on her first day of Kindergarten. 
     When the end of the day finally comes, you wait in car line with butterflies and mixed emotions.  Did she like it?  Was she scared? 
     As you stretch and try to find her somewhere in the mass of students lined and waiting to be picked up, you notice that the Assistant Principal is calmly approaching your car window.  He's walking directly towards you and it's hard to determine his expression.  Suddenly, there's a crack in his smile when he simply says, "Could you please have your daughter refrain from doing cartwheels in car line?"
     I think she'll be okay. 
     Here's to a good year of school.  Cartwheels and all.  XO

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     I've spent the last two hours with busy work, getting ready for the first day of school.  There's so much to do.  Backpacks, forms, lunches, ironed clothes...my mind keeps racing with the wonder of anything we've forgotten. 
     Then, my five year old Lauren Elizabeth, approached.
     "Mommy?  What will kindergarten be like?"
     "What baby?"
     "What will it be like?  What will I do?"
"Well, you'll get to meet lots of new friends...and play...and learn so many fun things."
     Feeling my throat tighten a little, it was hard not to think back just five short years ago when our first born son Christian, was getting ready for this day too.
    Lauren Elizabeth was just a few months old when Christian marched in with his backpack, and the very same Kindergarten teacher that will greet us tomorrow, welcomed Christian and held Lauren as a baby, way back when. 

     But tomorrow...tomorrow it will be Lauren who'll be skipping in with her pink polka-dot backpack instead.  My heart will go with her, while the disbelief that the day has arrived will do nothing less than overwhelm me. 
     Her three big brothers will be right with her which gives me comfort...and the same wonderful and amazing kindergarten teacher that held her not so long ago, will now welcome her as a student. 
      Yes, my mind keeps racing with questions of anything we may have forgotten - but more than that - it spins with the hope of wanting nothing more than to remember this time...so that I'll keep it in my heart forever. 
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    Our youngest son had his seventh birthday back in July.  It was right after I had neck/back surgery so we told him that he'd have to wait to have a party with his friends.
     Holy moly was it worth the wait.  The kids got to jump, play, run, scream and eat to their heart's content.  Our four were falling asleep in the car on the way home.  In the car people. 
     Thank you to the Awesome friends who made his party so much fun.  It was so Great to see you!  XO
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