Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about R

This time of year is tough. DH started back at school on Monday, and now I'm left with all of the projects that I wanted to accomplish and no way to do them. Plus he just told me that he'll be having Saturday rehearsals all day every Saturday. I used to get Saturday mornings to myself to do whatever (and he got Friday afternoons). I'm REALLY going to miss that. PLUS that means that I can't get together with friends one Saturday a month to scrapbook, something I had really really really liked doing!

Anyway, I had trouble going to sleep last night (and therefore feel tired today, even though I had two great friends over for a playdate and lunch this morning) because I have so many things I want/need to do running through my mind. This is the list:

1. Create visual schedule for A (my son who has Asperger's)
2. Create stop signs to put on things he's not supposed to open
3. Figure out how to get an advocate for him (I know there are lots of you who read this who might have this info)
4. Apply for medical assistance
5. Find out about our rights regarding an issue we're facing with him (don't know who involved with this might be reading the blog, so I'll stay discrete until we try to deal with this on our own)
6. Begin sending out e-mails to fundraise for WalkNow, raising funds for Autism research (Asperger's is on the spectrum)
7. Get A's physical therapy scheduled.
8. Contact the IU to set up a meeting with the Occupational Therapist, who we're supposed to be consulting with once a month
9. Read the new potty training book we just got in the mail so we can begin to implement the strategies
10. Contact the mom of the other child in A's class who has autism (much more severe, also has a full-time aide) to have her over and "pick her brain"
11. Create some "social stories" for A to read to him (and the other kids) about personal space and even about using the potty
12. Create a "Get Up and Go Chart" (Yes, I watch SuperNanny!) for all the kids (but really for A's benefit since the other kids don't seem to need this, though it won't hurt them) that spells out what has to happen in the morning and then at night before the go downstairs or go to bed.
13. Try to find a good support group in the area for parents of kids with Asperger's so I can bounce ideas off people.

Wow, and that's just A. I also have lots to do to prep for a new year in Hebrew School (LOTS of great new ideas!), Sunday School, and Yaldai Sholom (the Friday Preschool Shabbat program I run); personal stuff for myself like figuring out the basic new diet that my fabulous friend figured out based on all the info on line from the Mayo Clinic; household stuff like trying to finish the projects that are complete yet; etc., etc., etc. . . . . AARGH! Okay, enough whining, just gotta do it!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My update so you can all get your heads out of the gutter

To get Heather's head out of the gutter and so I won't be accused of slacking again by one of my favorite lurkers (you know who you are!) I better update my blog!

Yesterday was an off day for me. I was up too late the night before (no details are going to be shared about that - you already know way too much about my sex life!) and DH went back to work, which meant so did I. That would have been fine, but I spent ALL day Sunday finishing the living room walls (which look incredible, thank you!) and some other painting. I just couldn't get my butt in gear. Plus, we had nothing planned for the day. I find if I don't plan something (a playdate or an outing of some kind), get something on the calendar for us to do, we barely do anything. I literally was on the couch most of the morning reading and referreeing as needed. Bad Mommy. And I know I'm entitled to these kinds of days once in a while, but I don't feel so good about myself when I do.

So since I clearly needed a pick me up, as soon as DN-A and J were napping, DN-J was playing in her exasaucer (whoever invented that is a genius!) and the boys were having "quiet time", I made myself a cup of Chai tea with lots of sugar and that perked me up enough to get moving.

Therefore I didn't go to bed last night until I had breakfasts prepped (cereal in three bowls with lids, nothing complicated), lunches made for each of the kids AND for me (a sandwich for each of them, but of course they were all extra hungry today and needed TWO sandwiches), and dinner in the crockpot. Just doing that makes a HUGE difference the next day.

I'm starting my diet again today. I have just been too out of control with my eating to not monitor what I eat. Making my lunch the night before helped sooo much since usually I end up grabbing the fastest thing I can so I can eat my lunch before they need me again. I'll have to make sure to do that again tonight.

Since obviously I do better when we have scheduled activities to look forward to, I got on-line and started e-mailing various people to set up stuff for the rest of this week. My fabulous friend was able to come over today and even took some GREAT digital picture of me with the kids that she is going to fool around to make my blog look nicer. Cannot wait to see what she comes up with!

Before I go get J who just woke up from her nap, these are some funny things heard around our household recently:

B: (matter of factly) Daddy, I'm going to say it one more time. I need you to make me another sandwich or I'm going to cry. You don't want me to start quiet time hungry.

J: Hi, Angry Mommy (in case you missed it last week)

A: Yeah, Baby!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


If you are a family member or an IRL friend, you may not want to read this. I'm going to talk about... sex. Your choice, but don't read if it will make you feel weird. I use this as journal for myself, but truly don't care who reads it.

Still here?

Okay, you've been warned!

Sex used to hurt.

A lot.

After DH and I were married for about a year (we'd been together for four years before we got married), it gradually started to hurt. It didn't matter how I felt before hand, it was really painful. We tried everything we could think of, but really didn't know what was causing the pain. What made it even tougher was around this time we decided to begin trying to get pregnant. It wasn't until YEARS later that the pain was finally diagnosed as an actual disorder known as vulvadynia. We tried reading all about it, saw a specialist (yes, there IS a specialist in this), actually had physical therapy to correct problems with the pelvic floor which apparently went along with this. All the treatments eventually worked, on their own or in conjunction with taking acidophulus at the suggestion of one of my midwives. What a relief!!!

Through all this, we were seeing a fertility specialist for a couple years to try to get pregnant. Oh, all those internal ultrasounds hurts so bad! And I had to deal with so many of them. Eventually, five years after we started, I became pregnant with the boys. Sex was one of the last things on our minds. And then after the boys were born and I had lots of complications due to my eight weeks of bedrest and my bladder ruptering during my emergency c-section, and then dealing with premature twins, sex dropped even lower on our list of priorities.

So then throw depression into the mix.

I've suffered from major clinical depression on and off for YEARS. That's a whole other post that I will write someday. Throughout the whole inferitilty challenges, I'm sure it's no surprise that it came back full force. Surprisingly, the depression went away during both of my pregnancies and the post-partum period. In fact, while my hormones were clearly affected by nursing, I felt fine. Literally the month the boys weaned, I somehow became pregnant with J. What a shock that was! No interventions at all! But once she weaned completely, that was it - the depression was back.

Major clinical depression has a whole checklist of symptoms. I could check yes for each of them, including lack of libido. I began medication which helped the depression. But the libido did not come back. At all. Not even a little. Just wasn't worth the effort was my general attitude.

So recently I switched anti-depressants. It was a bitch to go off the one (Effexor), but I felt much better as soon as I started the new one (Celexa). And I'm thrilled to declare that my libido is completely back, and this time, there is no pain at all. Such a change for me. We've been married over eleven years. While we have had some good stetches, due to both the vulvadynia and the depression affecting my sex drive, it's been almost ten years since I have felt like this.

In addition to writing this blog for myself to serve as my memory and to give me a place to write my thoughts, I write this blog to connect with other moms out there. I know that every time I read something that I can identify with on someone else's blog, it feels like a validation for me, relief that someone else feels the same way. I recently found someone else who is currently suffering from Vulvadynia. I had NEVER met anyone else who had even heard of it, and I was thrilled to be able to share with her that it's possible to have a full recovery. I hope that this post may help someone else, whether someone suffering with pain or loss of libido, to know that help is out there, and you don't have to live with it.

As for me, I'm back, Baby! :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about R

1. J is driving me nuts! I swear, I don't remember the boys being like this at 2 1/2! This morning she purposefully took her sippy cup of milk to the new area rug and started shaking it out onto the rug. I took her cup from her and gave her a washcloth to clean it up, but she refused. I told her that I was very angry with her and "helped" her clean it (took her hand on the washcloth and wiped it up with her). Five minutes later, I walked into the playroom where she was playing. She looked up at me, smiled, and said, "Hi, Angry Mommy!"

2. Not fair. I went to bed on time two nights ago. The kids all slept fine. Last night I fell asleep a half hour later than I should have and BOTH J and A had a really rough night, taking turns keeping us up for about 2-3 hours.

3. DN-A and DN-J are late. Wonder what's up with that.

4. Monday we went to the train museum. It was fabulous! DH was going to take them himself and I would stay behind and paint some more, but then I decided that I would kick myself if I missed out on this great family time. Really glad I went!

5. DH is in school today and yesterday for training on this new computer system. So it was back to work for me too. Big change to go back to not having any other adult to rely on during the day.

6. Took the kids (yes, all of them) to the bowling alley for a playdate yesterday. It was great seeing the other moms, but man, even though the kids were pretty well-behaved, it was still so tough! "Put that ball down, DN-A! B, that's not our lane! A, don't touch those buttons! J, stop poking the baby! Okay, whose turn is it now?" I am usually up for just about anything with the kids, but I don't think I'm trying that again until the boys are at least six.

7. Did a good job sticking to my personal schedule yesterday.

8. So far, today is looking good too!

9. The library is having some kind of "Read for the Record" storytime today, trying to break some record for something or other. Don't really get it, but don't care - an outing with the kids - woohoo!

10. DH is taking the kids all day Friday. What to do, what to do.

11. I think I will try to convince him to go OUT with them. I want to (read: NEED to for my own sanity) finish the painting! One more (I hope) coat in the dining room, the top coat in the living room, one more coat on the wardrobe - ambitious for one day (to say the least) but would LOVE to get it done once and for all!

12. DN-A and DN-J just got here (about an hour later than usual). Put the baby down for a nap right away because I plan to leave the house in about 45 minutes. Hopefully she'll fall asleep right away.

13. Amazing how the addition of DN-A with the rest of my kids changes the dynamic immediately!

Leave your link if you also have written a Thursday Thirteen!

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

The phrase "I'll be so surprised . . ." can be heard a lot around our house these days. A has never been very responsive if simply requested to do something. In fact, when he was around a year and a half, we actually go his hearing checked to make sure nothing was wrong. He was fine, just ignoring us. Now that we know he has Asperger's, we're learning that there might be another reason why he doesn't come if we call him.

However, if we phrase a request as "I'll be so surprised if A _____ before _____" not only will A do it quickly, no one ends up angry. And he loves doing it, whatever it may be, before our time limit, and then yelling, "Surprise!"

Works for me!

Everybody's going back to school but me

I'm usually really content with the choices I've made in my life.
I really do enjoy being home with my kids, and can't imagine arranging my life so that someone else would raise them (not that I'm knocking that for other people, it's just not for me). That being said, this time of year is always tough for me.

Before kids, this was a crazy time for me, filled with anticipation and new ideas as I got my classroom ready for a new year. For the most part, I don't have that anymore. I'm trying to get excited about some new ideas I have for Hebrew School (which I will be teaching both on Tuesdays AND Wednesdays), but it's not really the same since each class only meets for an hour and a half once a week. And I'm planning out all the projects for the year for Yaldai Sholom, the preschool parent/child Shabbat program I'll be running again, and I'll be searching for new ideas to try with my Kindergarten Sunday School class. I really enjoy all the part time teaching I do, but it is not the same as being a full time classroom teacher.

Most teacher colleagues I know take the year off that they have a child and then start back to work. I wonder how things would have been if I had chosen to do that. I guess that's part of life, second guessing your choices at times. But ultimately, being satisfied with what I'm doing, the compromises I have made so I can teach a little and still be home with the kids, that is the most important thing of all.

Of course, it doesn't help that I STILL have back to school nightmares this time of year! Last night it was that I went back to school to teach and I had apparently forgotten to go for the last three weeks. Everyone was somewhat put off by that (understandably) so I just tried to ease back into teaching my class even though everything was really off. Very disturbing dream, and not too hard to interpret.

Alright, the kids' tv time is almost done. Let me go downstairs and do something educational with them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

So Much To Do . . .

Just for the record, I am NOT PMSing this week. Not that I don't feel the whole standing on the sidelines looking in feeling that I alluded to in my last Thursday Thirteen, but I have a bunch of great friends who left comments on my blog or e-mailed me to point out that they feel the same way and that they are indeed my friend. Plus, my incredible support group (the local FLYladies) set me straight when I suggested an impromptu "coffeefest" (everything we do is a "fest") and a bunch were able to join me. As we all sat around a long table at Denny's enjoying each other's company, someone pointed out to me quite sarcastically that it sure is a shame I don't have any friends. Okay, okay, point taken.

In any case, I am fed up with the state of my house. I'm trying to focus on all that we have done so far this summer, but what we HAVEN'T yet accomplished (that I still am trying to squeeze in before DH goes back to work) and the general piles of CRAP that are everywhere I look are driving me crazy!

Okay, focusing on the positive, here is what we have accomplished this summer:
1) New shed
2) Designated area for trash cans using slate and gravel
3) Painted hallway and stairwell (the only painting job that is 100% complete)
4) Widened archway between living room and dining room
5) Redecorated bathroom with shower curtain I actually LIKE, plus over the toilet cabinet and matching rug and hand towel
6) Carpet removed, hardwood floors finished in LR/DR
7) Got rid of my old dining room furniture, got new stuff that's just right

Not that that isn't a lot, I know it is, but it's far short of what I planned.
Here is what still needs to either get finished or that I had hoped to accomplish:
1) Top coat of paint in living room
2) Finish painting wardrobe
3) Final coat(s) of paint in dining room (It's taking 400+ coats so far!)
4) Additional coat of magnetic paint in playroom, mural to be painted on top
5) Vinyl tiles in kitchen
6) Painting cabinet doors/drawers in kitchen, new knobs on said doors/drawers
7) Shelves in downstairs hall closet
8) Install threshhold over exposed flooring when archway was widened
9) Rehang pictures
10) Touch up ceiling and baseboards
11) Paint and install 1/4 round to baseboard in LR/DR

Plus I just want to go through the house and clean/declutter from top to bottom.

DH is doing a training for school all day tomorrow and Thursday. He is taking the kids all day Friday and Sunday (he's working Saturday as well). Then he starts school on Monday.

Hmmm...think it's possible to do all of my list in those two days he's in charge of the kids?!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Painting Party!
For those of you that read my blog regularly, you know that this summer has been devoted to improving my house. I had gone back and forth over the last year or two on whether we should move or whether we should commit to staying in the house we currently own. We decided to stay for a variety of reasons. I declared this the "Summer of the House" and one of the big improvements I wanted to do was to paint virtually every room. Nothing makes a bigger visual difference than a fresh coat of paint.

So two weeks ago we threw a painting party. I sent out an Evite to a bunch of friends saying we would be willing to return the favor to anyone who helps us. I hired a babysitter to play with all the kids in the yard and we ended up with a bunch of parents (and their kids) in the AM and one trooper friend who stuck around for the afternoon.

The goal was to paint the dining room, the living room, the stairway/hallway, one wall in the playroom, and the wardrobe armoire. We were doing lots of dark, bright colors which took lots of coats, so nothing ended up getting 100% finished. My other WFM tip is how to finish everything: last night, after the kids went to bed, I worked on the finishing coats of the hallway. I've decided to do a little bit every night. Looking at everything that needs to get done is overwhelming - break it down into manageable chunks. That's what is currently working for me!

Go on over to Rocks in my Dryer for more tips.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fresh Start . . . Again

As I usually do every couple months, today I began a fresh start. I'm trying to do a sensible eating approach to my diet, trying being the opperative word. I'm going to focus on serving sizes, and on sticking to 3 proteins, 2 milks, 3 fruits, and here's where I'm kind of unsure, but I think it should be 6 bread servings (whole wheat if possible). Basically I'm looking at the food pyramid/old Weight Watchers approach. I have a white board in the kitchen, so I think I'm going to write the categories that I'm shooting for in permanent marker on it and cross it off with a dry erase marker as I eat each one. Then I can clean it off each night. So that's the plan, the way I am going to keep myself accountable, starting tomorrow. If any of you think the amounts I'm shooting for aren't accurate, please let me know!

Tomorrow I will get a chance to box up all the paperwork I have to do and take it to Border's. Hopefully I can get everything sorted out and paid and completed.

I have a HUGE list on the white board on my computer armoire. HUGE. I feel the summer ending rushing up with DH going back to work and my spare time ending, and feel like I have to get everything accomplished or I won't get another chance until next summer! I'm trying to divy it up over the remaining days, so hopefully I can get most of it done.

Well, off to make my list for tomorrow.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thanks for noticing I'm alive

I was so thrilled to get such supportive comments yesterday - really made my day to see that I was not alone in FEELING alone! :)

Took the kids to the park today (what a fabulous day!) to meet up with other moms from my Mother's and More group. J had brought her dinosaur flashlight with her. I lowered my dashboard mirror so I could watch her while I drove. I tried giving her lots of attention and complimented her a lot about remembering not to touch Baby DN-J and she did much better. I kept telling her to either hug her dinosaur or sit on her hands. So no hitting for this car trip. She pinched DN-J hard enough yesterday that she left a mark, leaving me to realize that I just cannot leave her alone with Baby DN-J even for a second until she gets over this stage. Not the easiest thing in the world. I'm also trying to give J lots of positive attention whenver I can. Hopefully all of this will work!

All the friend stuff that I was writing yesterday reminded me of high school. It's amazing, even when you think you're over all that stuff.... Anyway, I had mono in tenth grade - really bad. Didn't help that I was severely underweight (that will happen when you're anorexic for four years prior). I ended up being homebound for about half the year. I don't remember anyone calling or stopping by at all. Maybe they did - I have a bad memory - but I don't really remember it at all. Made me feel really invisible. Like I could just disappear and no one would even miss me. When I stopped working to stay home with my boys, the same kind of thing happened with all my work colleagues. I realized that they weren't really friends, just people that I saw day in and day out. But again, that same feeling about disappearing and not even being noticed sprang up again.

I don't even really know what my point is. I mean, of course I'm important to my family, but all these thoughts I've been having were making me feel that if I disappeared no one else would really miss me. That's a sucky thought! It really helped to be reminded of all the people IRL that do care about me, plus all the people in the "blogosphere" who care about me too.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about R

Random Thoughts

1. We had our hardwood floors finished yesterday. They had been covered with stained gray yucky wall to wall carpet. The "Sand Free" company moved the furniture, pulled up the carpet and staples, and then did all kinds of stuff to the floor to finish it without sanding.

2. I thought we would be able to go upstairs without going through the living room and dining room, but the furniture from those to rooms was blocking our way.

3. I decided that it would be easier for A to sleep at my parents' instead of seeing the house all mixed up, so the kids and I spent the night here.

4. I woke up with no voice at all. It takes so much effort to communicate to the kids using only a whisper and body language!

5. I'm hosting a playdate in my backyard at 9:30. Wish I had just cancelled it - love having people over, but I feel miserable now. And I don't have a voice to call them up and cancel!

6. I think I'll have DH call my tutoring student and cancel today's session. Kind of hard to give one on one instruction like this!!!

7. I can't wait to get home and see how the floors turned out, even though the furniture won't be moved back until this afternoon.

8. I feel like crap.

9. Why is it that I'm friendly with lots of people, but don't feel like I really have any friends?

10. I see other moms talking about getting together, or going out - why am I never included? I do make the effort once in a while to invite people to get together, but it's not usually reciprocated.

11. Many moms joke that I'm some "Supermom" - is that what distances me from them, or am I acting in some way that make them distance themselves from me? It's actually one of the reasons I started this blog, so people could see that I'm normal!!

12. I shouldn't feel this way - like I said, lots of moms are friendly towards me, and I have a few groups of people that I could turn to if I needed help, but I would love to be included more.

13. Why do I still feel like I'm in high school with all this crap?!!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday - NOT

Okay, I'm cheating a little bit. This isn't truly what works for me - it's just we're so desparate I was hoping that any of the wonderful people who come up with such great ideas at Rocks in My Dryer's meme will have some solution to help us out. Here's the situation:

My daughter J is two. Definitely going through the terrible twos, I guess to get us back for the fact that our twins never did and we thought we were so lucky. When we go for a car ride, she cannot keep her hands to herself. She sits next to the my seven month old niece! Lately she has been pulling at my niece's hands and hitting her on the head. There is no where else to move her - the back has three car seats/booster across the bench. When we tried putting her in the car seat in the middle (her brothers on either side of her) she hit them. We've tried reminding her ahead of time, threatening her with loss of privelages, even yelling at her to stop as we're driving. Nothing has worked so far.

At home, when she hits or pinches, she automatically goes into time out and then must apologize. She still is going into time out quite a bit (at least three-four times a day), but she is clearly unhappy in time out, so I'm hoping that being consistent will eventually eliminate the behavior. But I can't figure out how to give her a time out in the car!!!

PLEASE - any suggestions are welcome!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Boot Camp Bit the Dust

We started yesterday all so gung ho about our potty training boot camp, but as the day went on, A became more and more resistant to the idea. Big time. So . . . we wimped out. Is that what I should call it? Neither one of us wants A to think of going to the potty as a negative thing. He did ask to go to the potty twice today, and sat there for a while with his "special potty toys", so that's at least something. I ordered a book on teaching kids on the Autism spectrum how to use the potty and a special adaptive potty to give him more support while he's sitting. The OT had suggested giving him something with handles or bars to hold on to while on the potty, so this seems to fit the bill. They should both be here in a couple days, and after I read the book I'll go from there.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Potty Training Boot Camp

Today has been the first day of our boot camp, our attempt to help A learn to use the potty. A has Asperger's Syndrome (on the Autism Spectrum), and one aspect of that that is particularly tough for this situation is he really does not seem to be aware of his bodily functions, which makes it very hard for him to learn to do anything in the toilet. After researching many different methods and talking with other moms of kids with developmental delays, DH and I decided to implement a behavior plan for him now, while DH is still home and can help.

All day today, we have been setting the timer for thirty minutes. Whenever it goes off, either DH or I takes A up to the potty where he sits and plays with special toys and books we bought that he can only play with and read while on the potty, all while the other one of us takes over for the other four kids. Our goal is to keep him on the potty each time for 10-20 minutes, hoping that at least one of the times there it will just happen and he'll get the sense of what it feels like. That hasn't happened yet, but after sitting for 15 minutes on the potty at 1:15 with no results, he came downstairs and began playing with something, only to stop in a moment and announce that he just peed in his pull-up! You have to understand, A is 4 1/2 and this is the FIRST time that he has been able to make the connection about how it feels to pee, that the wetness you then feel means you peed. This a HUGE milestone!!! Hopefully it will translate into peeing on the potty, and hopefully he will not become too resistant about going up the bathroom so often. But if nothing else, that was a big hurdle!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Random Thoughts R Thinks Today

1. Effexor is a BITCH to wean off of. Man, I'm STILL not 100%!

2. I just spent 30 minutes trying to link to Monday's post so anyone who was curious to know more about the first thing I listed could just click there but I still couldn't get it to happen. AARGH!

3. We are planning to start a more intense behavior plan to get A to go in the potty at least once this summer. We will be setting the timer for every thirty minutes, keeping him on it for 5-10 minutes at a time. This starts on Monday. I hope this helps. He's four and a half and still does not seem to have any mind/body connection with regards to his bodily functions. Please pray that this is the answer.

4. DH has been in charge of the kids all week as my birthday present this year. Ha ha ha. :) He has already said to me that he just had no idea how tough it was to do this day after day after day. He's doing an incredible job with them, but it's so nice to hear that he has a "new found respect for what I do."

5. Our painting party is on Saturday. Yes, we found eight incredible friends who are willing to come help us paint our house. Woohoo!!!

6. Today I will clean the walls that will be painted with something called TSP, a product I read about in a do it yourself magazine that had an article about (can you believe it?) painting!

7. I got a quart of the each of the colors I will be using yesterday and will try them out on the walls today just to be sure I will really like them.

8. The living room will get a base coat of a cheery yellow and then another coat of a golden color over top, which I will run a new wisk broom over top of to make lines through. Hopefully that will create the effect I see in my mind!

9. The dining room will become a bright red. The color is actually called "Boing!"

10. The stairway and upstairs hallway will become a blue-green teal kind of color. I had wanted bright, electric blue, but couldn't find it on any of the sample cards. I started getting concerned that the color I want will just be too dark for such an enclose, small space. I really hope I like this color!

11. I'm going to try the same color in the bathroom. I think it will go well with the new shower curtain I bought.

12. We hired a financial planner yesterday. We actually took all five kids with us to the office when we met with them to go over all our financial stuff. They were so good! It seems so funny to me that WE would benefit from a planner, especially since we don't really have that much money. At all. Our first goal is to figure out how to create an emergency reserve of at least three months of expenses. Then we'll figure out other stuff like how to start saving for retirement. The planners are going to look at stuff like making sure we have enough insurance and adjusting our withholdings so we don't get that huge tax return check. Right now we have no disability insurance for either of us, and no life insurance for me. We would be so screwed if DH got hurt on the job - we should have insurance for that scenario. And it would be great to get more money each check instead of that big return (though that big check is nice). It feels great knowing that someone is working on all this stuff for us and that in two weeks when we meet again, he will give us a binder with all his suggestions on how to implement everything.

13. I stayed up way too late last night (dumb!!!) so I'm really tired right now, but need to ignore it and get to work taking everything off the walls so I can start cleaning them. Fun.

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