Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How to Have a Fabulous First Communion #CatholicHippieMom

The milestones are just flying by while I'm homeschooling, carpooling, going to track meets and soccer games and practices, going to co-op, running errands, making meals, doing dishes and laundry. FLYING BY! I'm trying to grab on to them and enjoy them as much as I can. Sunday was my fourth kid's First Communion ceremony and my last kid to wear a beautiful white dress and veil and shoes ... which of course then starts me thinking about my kids getting married and then I'm a blubbery mess. So let's get back to the photos of the big day!

Yeah, this one is the WORST for making me cry! Imagine this in 15ish years!

Heading into the church. Her dad and I stood right there in June 1998 watching some of our newly married friends come out of the same church before we were even married ourselves.

Waiting in the vestibule.

She made this at her retreat the day before.

Processing. Not prah-cessing, but PRO-cessing.

She also got to help take up the money!

Waiting for First Communion and a little nervous.

We love Father Saiki!

Grandma Mac!

Bridget, the Director of Religous Education and overall sweetheart.

Eva and Samuel, partners in grime.

Eva Gavin, my Eva's godmother and my friend for 14 years and one of the neatest people I know.

Yes, My Little Pony is on the cake!

Parental units in front of the house.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget Without Losing Your Sanity #DIYKitchen

Just kidding! Some sanity was lost, but not much. Nobody was injured in the making of our kitchen, the dream kitchen for some fabulous person in the future. Thought you'd want to see some pix. There is already some interest in purchasing our home so bring on the bidding war ... we are hoping to get half a mil for it so we can find our dream property in the country on 10 acres complete with butler, cook, and personal trainer so TELL YOUR FRIENDS about our lovely home on the corner across from an elementary school at 9028 Grant Street in Overland Park, KS!!! (I put the address because I like to Google addresses I find on Realtor.com or Zillow and there's never anything cool or personal about them ... and I want potential buyers to know we put a lot of love into this kitchen to make it nice for them and that we believe in karma and did not create a crappy product just to hurry up and move!)


Here is my wonderful husband's handiwork. Countertops bought at Home Depot and installed by TopMaster and they did a great job. Undermount sink so I can wipe junk right into it and not into my hand ... woo hoo! New faucet. New hood. Newish gas stove and dishwasher. New backsplash, which took Aron all weekend to put in and looks amazing. Yeah, I know the white fridge doesn't match, but the buyer can move their own stainless one in to matchy matchy.

Aron will make doors for the pantry and redo the floor to be some sort of wood or lookalike ... I don't know what I'm talking about.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6 is National #Walking Day! My Walking Story

My awesome new shoes from Elite Feet in Leawood, KS that practically cured my plantar faciitis, which I was worried would keep me from walking anymore. Mention my name and I get a $10 credit!
Back in the 1990s, before I became a mom, I really enjoyed walking to lose weight, to feel good listening to music and talk radio and to just get away from work on my lunch break. I just always felt better after a walk. It all started when my mom took me on a few walk and talks. My dad walked for a living as a mail carrier. Then I met a man coming out of my abusive marriage and his name was Steve Walker. No joke. His mother would walk the number of miles equal to how old she was going to be each year. So if she was going to turn 75 on Sunday, she would walk 75 miles from the previous Monday through Sunday. That’s over 10 miles a day! 

The day came when she talked us into doing a 5K with her in the cold. A 5K is only 3.1 miles … totally doable for many people. Keep in mind I was 23 years old, so walking 3.1 miles on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza should have been no problem. Let’s just say I was a bit sore because I wasn’t used to walking so much. Even though she has passed on and Steve and I only lasted a couple of years, what she did never left my mind.

I met my husband Aron in 1995, we married three years later and had our first child in 2001. In the years before I became a mom, I walked a few 5Ks for various causes (one with my friend Shelley for breast cancer) and walked on my lunch break from work quite often. Sometimes I would walk around the park behind our apartment.

October 2000 found my husband and I walking a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Downtown Kansas City after zero training and coming straight back from a two-week New England vacation. Little did we know our son Joel was walking with us in my womb! I was proud that I had gone from walking 3.1 miles at age 23 to 13.1 miles at age 29. Yes, I was sore by the end but it was so worth it! 

So why didn’t I keep it up? Why didn’t I prioritize my health, as well as something I loved doing? It was like a hobby that kept me healthy in body and mind. And I just stopped doing it.

Well, I fell in love with mothering like falling off a cliff … I was all in and there was no way back for me. I was a breastfeeding, cosleeping, diaper-changing, puke-cleaning, cloth diaper-washing, baby-holding machine. My son Joel was very fond of being held and I was fond of holding him, so putting him in a stroller often made him cry. I did not want him crying so I just skipped strollers altogether most of the time.

I should have left the house alone for a 20-minute walk sometimes but I was a new mom and didn’t trust just anyone to care for my baby. Besides, when I was out of his smelling range, he would cry. Again with the not wanting him to cry. It was just easier to stay home and with him, I reasoned.

When I was pregnant with our second child, Michael, I got the chance to go to California with Joel and my husband for his work. I walked around an office park pretty much every day just to have something to do and Joel did just fine in the stroller as a toddler with some Cheerios and a sippy cup. 

We added four more kids to our family and rarely would I go on a formal walk. Walking around the zoo or a nature park or to the park, sure. But it was not often that I would put on my headphones and tell my husband I was heading out for 20 minutes, because my kids were all attached to me and I didn’t want to leave them anyway.

I walked a 5K with my son called Battle of the Bean a couple of years ago and it was amazing! They are for a good cause but they can get costly. These days I’ll pick a kid who wants to come walk with me and we just go for 20-30 minutes. We chat, we learn the days of the week, we gripe, we just hang out. It rocks.

Mostly I head out alone for 30 minutes to return a RedBox or a library book or hit the grocery store. When summer hits I'll walk as early as I can in the morning then maybe again at night with my husband or with a kidlet. When it's warm I wear my OOFOS sandals because they are like butter on my feet. Check out my review here!

UPDATE: now we live in Peculiar, MO, the country. My walking days are quite different now: more quiet, cars not zooming past me, no retail or other establishments close enough to walk to (I miss walking to the library), much more quiet and oh so beautiful! Now and then I'll walk some of our neighborhood loops and enjoy a podcast or journal into my phone or listen to music. I'm 47 now and would love to do some 5K walks again! I'll keep you posted!

I hope you have a happy walking day ... I'd love to hear your walking story!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tax Day Freebies 2016 #TaxDayFreebies

Here are some tax-day freebies! Enjoy!

By the way, are your taxes done? Who does them at your  house?

I used to do my own before I was married, then Aron took them over and does them quite well. Even though we get money back on federal for being breeders, he still procrastinates doing the taxes. It's kind of a pain, and I don't blame him. It's nice to lead an uncomplicated life so the taxes are pretty simple.

Those poor rich folks and their complicated taxes ;-)

So, yeah, our taxes have not even been started. We've been busy with this:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Your Kid Should be Fundraising #JudgyMom

Yes, fundraising can be a pain. Check out my article about the 10 benefits of it, though, please, over at Calgary's Child

I run the risk of getting tomatoes thrown at me here, but I think you are doing your kid a disservice by letting them get out of doing it at least once a year, by not even sending them to ONE HOUSE or asking ONE RELATIVE or friend. Yes, I help mine out by posting on Facebook, but they also have to pound the pavement and ASK and get rejected. It's good for someday when they have to ask for money for a charity walk they are doing or ask for money for a mutual friend in need. I used to say kids should do it 100% themselves but I'm an enabler and I also like to help raise money for causes, so sue me. Who cares if we are doing it TOGETHER as a team? Certainly not the charity.

Sure, every family has to do what's right for them and not over-extend, but we have to teach our kids about doing things for a GREATER REASON THAN FOR OURSELVES. This recent Scout flower fundraiser my teen did results in my kid getting ZERO MONEY ... but his troop needs tents desperately so he did it anyway. The goal for each kid in the troop was $250 and he surpassed that with just a little bit of effort built into his homeschooling, refereeing, co-op homework, socializing, soccer practices and games, helping me out, mowing and a zillion other things he has going on.

And yes, it's a pain for his dad and I to ride his case about doing it when we also have jobs and lives and four other kids and carpooling and sports practices to get people to and games to get to and remodeling our kitchen so we can move off this racetrack they call a street. 

Yes, it sucked going around putting fliers on doors about our Christmas tree pick-up service then going to pick them up during Christmas break. No, I didn't really have time to whip up those boxed brownie and cake mixes for the bake sale ... so I'm going to go all "life coach" on you and say: I don't want to hear your excuses! It costs you nothing to stand on the sidewalk while your kid knocks on a door, that's all I know for sure.

I remember getting a letter from my brother-in-law because he was going on a mission trip to build houses in another country. He needed money and sent that letter to all his friends and family. The other night I ran into a teacher from our local Catholic school and she had to raise money for a 60-mile, 3-day walk she does every year in Texas and it's for charity. She raises it for breast cancer research and says some won't donate because of the Komen/Planned Parenthood link ... so you know she is facing rejection when she asks yet she does it anyway year after year!

I'm not saying your kid has to win awards here, but at least send him up the block to 5 houses and call it good. If all 5 neighbors say no, at least a shot was given. He can say he tried instead of shrugging and saying, "Oh well, who cares?"

And, yes, send your kid to my house. I will always buy something if I can!

What do you think?


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