All Posts by Laura Fuentes

Mombulance: mɒm-by uh-luh ns

Mombulance: mɒm-byuh-luh ns. – noun

  1. A specially equipped mom-mobile loaded with first aid supplies to take care of sick or injured children, usually her own.
  2. (currently) a field hospital operated by mom

How often do you tell your children “NO RUNNING” in a store?  Me? All the time.  I’m in a hurry getting to the store, they are rushing to get out. This afternoon, we were leaving Barnes & Noble to go to swim lessons when Alex tripped while running to the exit door and sliced his knee with a plastic shelf. Upon tripping and slicing he then skidded on the rug and got a brush burn on top of the cut as well… and he wailing begun.

Within seconds I had a group of people around me as I am trying to stay calm and assess the situation.  I decided to take Alex to the bathroom to get him cleaned up but the bleeding would not stop. I was just about to send Sofia to get anyone to come help me when I had a revelation: my husband put a home-made first-aid kit in my car!

The Plan: Carry Alex to my car where I could patch him up. Use my little nurse Sofia to carry some things and help me keep mommy Alex calm.

Step 1: Assess the damage in the mobile clinic (SUV trunk is the triage room & emergency/extra booster seat as patient table)

Step 2: Use nurse Sofia to hold pressure on would with gauze while Dr. Mommy gets supplies ready.

Step 3: Not pictured: clean would with beta-dine swabs, re-apply pressure, close with steri-strip, then put band-aids on top.

Step 4: Assure patient he will be ok (note nurse Sofia’s loving hand) and discharge (to their seats in our case).

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to my husband for having put the first-aid kit in my car! He told me a few months ago that it’s better to be prepared than to be sorry.  I couldn’t agree more.  Could you buy a first-aid kit and put it in your car? Sure… but it probably doesn’t have some of the things I had and you might have had to go to the urgent care clinic in a situation like mine today.  My hubby’s savvy thinking  just saved us $100 and a trip to the slow-care-clinic or ER with 2 kids in tow.

What’s so great about my first-aid-kit? It costs less than $20 to put together, you probably have much of it already at home, and it all fits inside a gallon size zip-lock bag!

Mombulance first-aid kit includes:

  • 4-6 packs of gauze
  • Roll of medical tape
  • Neosporin (packets or a tube)
  • Band-aids
  • Betadine swabs in single packs
  • Alcohol swabs in single packs
  • 2-3 pairs of latex gloves
  • Elastic band to wrap around limb in case of major bleeding (like the ones they use to draw blood)
  • Elastic steri-strips (these close the wound instead of stitches)
  • 2 empty gallon sized zip-lock bags (to hold bloody items, garbage, or puke)
  • Wet wipes
  • A clean diaper (it makes a great ice pack)
  • Benadryl chewables (specially if you have kids because of the dose, but double up for adults)

While the trunk of my SUV might not have been the most “sterile” environment, it served the purpose of patching Alex up and not having to go to the urgent care clinic (and saved us $100!).  In about 15min we were able to go to swim lessons and move on with our afternoon.

Now you know… and yes, it could happen to you.  It is better to be prepared than to be sorry.  Remember to replace the things you used when you get home… or the next time you won’t have all the supplies on hand.

Happy saving the money day!

2

My 3 & 4 Year Old Mechanics

Something is going on with me lately. I wish I could say that I didn’t know what it is… but I do.  In five days, my car’s rear bumper has suffered 3 times… and 2 of the 3 has been my fault!  How could this happen? I’m not a speeder, I don’t usually get pulled over well, 3 times in 10 years, and I try to take care of my car minus the kid’s cheerios and crumbs.

Last Thursday I closed my garage door on my own car. Stupid, I know.  Around 6:30pm, evening rush hour, I was trying to get the kids to eat dinner, get ready for baths, cook my dinner, fold laundry, and begin packing lunches for the next day (and I’m sure a few other things I just can’t remember).  I suddenly realized I had not closed the garage door, so I pushed the remote from inside my kitchen. Two hours later I went to get something from my car… and I nearly passed out. The garage door was closed half way with my tailgate as the stopper. OH NO!!

This morning, while I was either working out or  in a meeting, my poor car suffered again.  Someone hit the back bumper… and NO note.  What could I do? Who would I get mad at? No one.

To top it off, this afternoon I backed out of my garage and hit my mother in law’s car.  She was parked midway on my driveway… where there isn’t usually ever a parked car.  Where was I going in a hurry? Nowhere. I was bringing my laptop to get repaired but definitely not in a hurry.  I was functioning on autopilot; therefore, I did not see her car.  I called my husband and cried all the way to the computer place and then called my mom all cried on the way home.  By the time I got home, I must have looked horrible my mother in law saw my face and thought something awful happened (like an accident or theft).  I had to tell her that I hit her car on the way out! Mortifying.  Thank goodness she brushed it off because someone else had hit her earlier this week in the same spot!  After apologizing profusely, I told her that I would get it fixed (my car will have to wait).

Whoever said that all bad things come in threes… I couldn’t agree with you more.

The problem? My brain hurts. Seriously.  In addition to parenting, being the maid, cook, shopper, and household-CFO, I also work part time and have been mentally drained for the past two months trying to work on the start-up company and get my product manufactured.  I swore after each of my children that I could feel my brain cells slipping away slowly… and no matter how often I’ve been told that the brain cells do come back… I feel like I’ve checked in to brain-cell-rehab-supercharged.

Yes, it’s just a bumper. Yes, it’s just a car.  A car that I’ve slaved to pay off in 21months.  The humor in the story?  I couldn’t find it until my kids told me “the car will feel better soon mom, we fixed it.”

Band-aids $2

Repair estimate $800

Finding Humor  in Your Freaked-out-moments: Priceless.

Thank You Sofia & Alex.

The Woody, Buzz, Aurora, Cinderella and the big-daddy band-aids will fix it for now!


3

Professional Photos Are Worth Every Penny…

I love the feeling of satisfaction when you get a first look at the photos taken by a professional photographer.  Maybe it’s the anticipation, the planning of outfits, props, bribing your kids before, during and after each shot is taken… or maybe wanting to see the results. The first glimpse is always magical… to look at yourself and your family through someone else’s eye and think: “WOW.”

When looking for a photographer to do our SuperGlueMom.com photos, I wanted someone who could capture my experience with motherhood: playtime with my children, to-do lists, chores, juggling work and parenting, mommy-chauffeur, and the unconditional love we have for our children.  Impossible? Maybe. How can so much be captured in a single shot?

Meet Toni Hamel.  The one woman who “got” what I was trying to capture. Toni and I spoke several times over the phone and email before the photo shoot in my back yard. I explained to her that I would have lots of color, different props (yes, even an ironing board) and two young kids who needed to cooperate.

Every prop has a meaning.  What’s up with the ironing board? -My friend A. asked.  Ironing is not part of my marriage contract.  I only iron when it’s absolutely necessary.  It has become an inside joke between my husband and I, he will go to work with wrinkled clothes for as long as I’m around… unless he irons himself.  The laundry is often forgotten inside the dryer, towels and clothes are folded at midnight, and thank goodness our washer has a delay timer.

I borrowed a Vizzini bag (I now have my own) because as a mother we sometimes have to buy, beg or borrow things from our friends to fashionably fit-in at a social event (workout clothes or mommy-wear are just not an option for certain occasions).

Sofia and Alex love books. Reading kept them occupied and it portrays something we do every night. Alex is the kind of kid who can wear a white shirt and usually keep it “white” the whole day (even at school and at the playground). He likes to be clean and have things in their place.  Sofia on the other hand, is my artsy kid. She loves tu-tus, bright colors, twinkle toe shoes and playing dress up.

One of the things to consider when doing a photo shoot with young kids is the time of day.  Do they need to nap? Will your kids be tired? Do you have any ‘treats’ or rewards for good behavior? Our 1.5hr photo session was at 5:30pm.  The cupcakes and lemonade were their treats during the last takes.

Toni said to me: “I will take pictures like crazy, you just go on with the show.”  In other words: don’t worry about pausing every 2 minutes, let me do what I do best and you continue to interact with your kids.  Love it! I hate posing and my kids are incapable of sitting still.  Here is where I really knew she would be able to capture what I wanted people to see.  A few days later I received my online proofing information and I could not be any more pleased.  I wanted to order every picture.

Unloading…

The entire experience was so much fun that I may take family photos more often; and yes, next time I will include my husband.

2

Keeping Your Cool, at 35,000ft

Yesterday, Alex (2) and I came to California to visit his Chichi (my mom) and Yanni while I spend a few days working on my new business.  The thought of flying across the country with a toddler in non-direct flights can scare most parents (specially when flying alone +kids); but not me only when I fly to Europe with both of them on my own.  One kid, totally manageable.  I embrace the adventure actually. He loves planes and gets very excited to be going on one (or two).  Both my children have more airline miles than many adults I know; they’ve been flying the friendly skies 2-4 times per year since they were 6weeks old.  It is, however, a total test of my patience.

Here are some of the things that make my trips manageable:

  1. Always bring a stroller if your kid(s) are under the age of 5. There is nothing more frustrating than dragging your kid through an airport when you are running late for your next flight and you are carrying a backpack, carry-on, and their bag.  There are never enough free hands to pick up your kid and run to the next gate with them.  They don’t want to sit on the stroller or you are not pressed for time? The stroller now becomes your personal butler where you load up your stuff and push it and walk along with your kid. I own a single and a double stroller.
  2. Bring a tote filled with toys. While you may be thinking: “Oh, great. Another thing to carry!”  My response: What do you expect your kid to do while you wait for your next flight for 2-3hrs at the gate?  What is your child going to do while you are on the plane?  Alex and I had almost 2hrs to kill between flights.  We passed the time on the ground playing with his trucks and the farm.  Trust me, after ten minutes other small kids will join the play time and you can sit back and read your magazine (or not).  Yes, I let my kid crawl around the nasty, dirty floor. Those clothes go straight to the wash and he goes in the bath as soon as we arrive.  What is he supposed to do?
  3. Bring Snacks/Food that your kid will love. Hungry child means cranky child.  Alex will not eat airport food, so it’s my job to bring things that he may like.  From a sandwich to fig bars and treats.  An empty sippy cup also prevents in-flight spills!
  4. Bring movies and books for the flight. You know I am not pulling out the farm with its tiny pieces inside the airplane.  That can only mean lost pieces and lack of space to play= frustrated kid.  I buy one new movie for the trip (seriously, you think they are going to sit still watching something they have watched over 200 times?) and that usually keeps their attention for a while.  I lay my kids down on my lap with the promise that after they take their plane-nap I will read their exciting new book.  Your kid doesn’t nap? make them take a 20min ‘rest’ or ‘quiet’ time instead (they will more than likely fall asleep with the cabin pressure noise) and then you will read that exciting new book. Mommy needs some sanity-rest herself.
  5. Bring a Pillow. Airlines no longer provide pillows who wants to put their face on someone else’s drool anyway? so you need to bring something that your child can use; a sweatshirt will work fine too.
  6. Bring a change of clothes. You may think it’s a ‘duh’ statement. I’ve seen mad frustrated parents yelling at their kid because they wet their clothes with the drink (I know you are bringing something with a lid, right?) or peed on themselves.  I bring a wet-bag (or zip lock bag) to put the wet clothes in when this happens; because nobody wants peed-on-clothes in their purse.  I doubled the use of the wet-bag; I stuffed it with the dry clothes and used it as a pillow instead. One less thing to bring!
  7. Bring your smile on! When Mommy smiles, so does Alex.  You have to remember that you are flying in a sardine can for God knows how many hours. It is going to be exhausting, frustrating, and you-are-going-to-want-to-pull-your-hair-out at times.  So what. Flying with kids is like labor pains: necessary & temporary.

Remind yourself often that you are almost there.  Tell the kids that soon they will be at their destination.  I find it most difficult to keep them in check the last hour of the flight. This is when I become Van Gogh.  I begin to paint a picture of the fun and exciting things they are going to be doing when we get there; but we just need to hang on a little longer.

Happy Flying!

PS: It will be 5 o’clock somewhere!

Daily Negotiations With My Kids

Many days I struggle to get things in my ‘to-do’ list done while juggling my 2 & 4 yr old’s play time wishes. After all, they don’t stay little forever… and then…all I will have is an illusion of how it used to be… and wonderful memories.

Can we just play all day long?  We could, but then the house would be a wreck, we’d have no clean clothes, no food to eat, bills would go unpaid, mommy’s business would be non-existent, and I would get zero exercise (this makes a healthy, happy mommy).  I think this is what I have struggled most since becoming a parent; finding ways to get what I need to get done for the day and raising happy, balanced kids who don’t feel like they are a second priority. Thus, the board room was created at the Fuentes-Schneller house.

Before I go to bed, I create my to-do list for the next day.  In the morning, while the kids eat breakfast (not always at the table) I go over the things in my to-do list that they are going to be dragged along to (like exercise or grocery).  As I bring up the items on my list that they are going to be involved in, I make sure I bring up one thing that will be positive in the experience. For example:

Mom: Alex, today we are going to go to the grocery store. Will you help mommy pick out some of the things we need to cook yummy meals?

Alex: (Reluctantly) OK….

Mom: And you know what? We can write a treat (or snack) for Alex in the list. Would you like to pick out a treat for Alex?

Alex: YES!

Although he is 2 and can’t read, I take my pen and write down “alex treat” or “alex snack” on my list.  At the grocery, when he pics a couple jelly beans from the bulk dispensers I cross it off the list.

The same thing goes on when I tell him that we are going to the gym.  I state, that while mom exercises to feel strong, healthy and happy; he can play with his friends and have a great time (or something along those lines).

My children no longer get ‘choices’ (well not as many). I’m the parent. I run the show. I am no dictator, but I have realized that they operate much better this way.  In almost every decision or activity in the to-do list there is something in it for them.  Other times, it’s their daily contributions to the family (like picking up their toys or taking care of the pets) that they must do without a reward.

I have learned that it’s more appealing when I say: “lets get your homework done so you can spend time outside in the playground.”  Do we still have rough moments? Absolutely.  Especially bed time.

My Young Chef

Every year I have to plan two birthday parties (at least). I am not one of those “crafty” moms… I was raised by a corporate mom and recently left the corporate world myself.

This past Saturday, my daughter was invited to a birthday party at Young Chef’s Academy in Mandeville.  What’s this? I thought. A cooking school?  Better.  It’s a place where kids get to learn how to cook one thing (at the party it was pizza) and learn about the ingredients, measuring, waiting for it to be cooked (patience) and enjoying the fruit of their work.  Here is Sofia measuring her flour:

I found it very amusing to watch Sofia follow directions in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but I get slightly frustrated when I am trying to bake at home and I get the “can I help youuuuu???” or the lack of “listening” skills (specially when telling her to not crack the egg just yet!)

The instructor gives the children directions of what they are going to do next and shows them how to do it. The place is also as colorful as can be… I felt inside a colorful cookbook!

At this birthday party, the parent chose to have YCA teach our children (the guests) how to make pizza. I was very proud of my girl when she was kneading the dough and paying attention to the instructor.  It amazes me how ‘controlled’ the party was.  The kids sit at their tables beaming with anticipation of their pizzas!

Sofia Kneading her pizza!

The toppings: cheese, pepperoni, ham, and black olives.

Ready for the oven!

While they wait for their pizzas to come out the oven, every kid in the party signs an apron for the birthday girl (the party favor from YCA for having a party there)

Cheese!!

The pizzas take 10-12min in the oven.  Kids get their areas cleaned up (and themselves), wash their hands, and sip some pink lemonade while they wait to enjoy their pizza.

“Mom, my lemonade is empty!”

After everyone gets their pizzas, the birthday girl goes up front to the kitchen island and everyone sings “Happy Birthday”  (something must be done while the pizzas cool off!)

I have to say that the party was a success. My daughter had a great time and parents talked and took photos for the 1.5-2hrs.  I didn’t feel like I was at the party “forever” nor did I get exhausted from running after my child in a bounce house (that’s next weekend).

Activity based parties are definitely the way to go.  This leaves me with 3 weeks before my son’s birthday party. YIKES!

Thank you Natalie for inviting Sofia. She had a fabulous time! 😉

Turn a Sick Day into a Productive Day

Most of us aren’t thrilled when one of our kids has to stay home sick from school.  Not only do we still have things to do at home or work, but now we also have a whinny, needy “hold-me, hold-me” child at home. This came at a perfect time since I just cleaned out my pantry and I’m in need of snack items and breakfast items.

Today I decided to make the best of it and get Alex involved in baking some clean cranberry flax seed breakfast muffins from Tosca Reno’s book: The Eat Clean Diet for Family & Kids. I pre-measured, he scooped and stirred.

The mini muffin pans worked perfect.  I can see myself putting a few mini muffins in his lunch box and not feel guilty at all! He was so proud of his muffins when they came out!

Yummy Yummy for Alex’s Tummy!

Once they cooled off (mostly) he proceeded to eat a few himself!

He said “deeeeliiicious! Alex made them!! Alex made them!!

Shortly after, I put half in a Tupperware container to keep for the week, and the other half went in the freezer! I can take a couple out in the morning and put them in the lunch bag, or, pop them in the toaster oven and they can be enjoyed warm before school.

Clean Cranberry Flax Seed Breakfast Muffins:  Makes 12 muffins or 24-36 mini muffins

Preptime: 15min  Cook Time: 15min (mini) & 25min (for full)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 Cup Oat bran/or Organic Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup Whole Grain Flour
  • 1 Cup Power Flour  (basically a mix of other flours or use whole wheat)*
  • (PF: 1/4 Spelt flour, 1/4 Barley flour, 1/4 wheat flour, 1/4 brown rice flour)
  • 1 TB Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 1/2 Cups Plain Kefir (or Org. Yogurt -what I used)
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tins with paper liners or a light coating of cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl add: Flax seed, fours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Use a fork or whisk to mix dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl mix egg whites, applesauce, kefir (or yogurt) and oil.  Once mixed in mixer, pour dry ingredients slowly until just combined. Add Cranberries and Almonds until all is distributed. Do not over mix.
  4. Fill muffin cups with batter about 2/3 full and cook (15min for mini & 25 for reg)

These muffins are high in healthy, unsaturated fats with lots of Omega 3s.

Enjoy! & Off to Work I go tonight.

HFCS, How Did You Sneak In?

This is ONE ingredient I have been VERY careful to not miss at the store (along with other sweeteners you will read about shortly). But it’s in MY RITZ CRACKERS!!  This is bad news for the home made lunch*bles I’ve been making for my daughter.

What’s the big deal about High Fructose Corn Syrup?  I will first say that if you have a whole website ‘defending’ your cheap, chemically processed sweetener… It’s not looking too good.

The side effects: weight gain (or lack of weight loss), metabolic syndrome digestive issues and some believe cancer risk.  In a 2009 article,  The Washington Post wrote that over half of the HFCS has tested positive for mercury!  Fantastic.

You ever wonder why 8 people have a heart attack and they pull a very helpful drug off the market (Vioxx) and millions of people are obese, have metabolic syndrome and many other health issues and HFCS is still used widely?  The answer: government subsidies. These make corn syrup (in all its forms) be the cheapest sweetener out there. The biggest eek factor is that it almost always goes in highly processed foods and most of the time we aren’t even checking the labels!

You can also find HFCS (or corn syrup) in pasta sauce, salad dressings, yogurt (buh bye Yoplait Thick & Creamy), candy bars, bakery products, drinks (buh bye Gatorade), juices, canned foods, cereals (buh bye Kellogs Raisin Bran), granola bars… Once you start looking; you’ll find it everywhere!

High fructose corn syrup doesn’t exist naturally. It can’t be squeezed out of corn kernels and requires a long and complicated process to make, which can only be done by people.  The verdict: It’s coming out of my pantry completely.

Stay tuned for pictures and what comes out of my pantry… Part 3 of the pantry make over!

No Beach? No Problem! Create a Make-Believe-Beach-Day

We live an hour north of New Orleans. No matter how it may look like to you on a map, there are no beaches here.  You have to drive at least an hour east to hit one in Mississippi; however, anyone from here will tell you that you have to go “at least 3hrs” for a good beach.  Today, I was looking for quality time not quality beach trip.

We have Fountainbleau State Park 30min from our house.  It does not have a “real” beach… but a man-made sand strip that resembles a beach right on the lake. It’s very small.  My kids are 2 and 4… they are small. Perfect match!

We packed our beach towels, folding chairs, soccer ball, buckets and shovels, food, coffee, change of clothes, sunscreen… What else would we need for this beach?

The kids were ecstatic when we arrived. They were at the beach! We spent a few hours making sand castles, playing with other families, walking up and down the man-made shore and had play time by the fountains.  Total trip cost: $3 entry fee to the state park.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Saturday off from work.  This afternoon we spent some quality family time and for a few hours we felt like we were on vacation.  The kids were sad to leave, but we promised to come back before it’s time for long sleeve.

Don’t have a Fountainbleau near by? Here are some ideas for you to create your own beach day.

1. Back Yard Beach.

You’ll need:

  • 5 bags of playground sand from home depot ($20).
  • kiddie pool
  • umbrella and any of the other props you may want to “take” to the beach

Inflate and fill kiddie pool in back yard.  Pour playground sand about 3-5ft from pool in mounds.  (Don’t worry, if you have grass you can just spread the sand when you are done). Set the stage.  Open the umbrella, set the chairs, bring out a picnic and let the kids play! Make sure you take lots of pictures!

2. Hike to da Beach

Do you live in the mountains and have no beach? No lakes nearby? I will never forget my Colorado summer back in 2000.  I saw a family in the middle of the mountains that were having a “hike-to-the-beach-day”.  They had done a short hike and settled in the middle of a clearing and staged a beach (no sand and no pool).  They had brought a volleyball net, ball, umbrella, blankets to sit on, food, drinks, radio, bathing suits and spf.  They were having a blast playing cards, eating their lunch and joking around!  Yes, they were in their bathing suits!  Who says you can’t have a beach 6,500 ft up? It may be all make-believe… but that’s ok with me!  Cost: FREE

Whether you go to the beach, go to a lake, create a beach in your back yard, or hike to da beach… Your attitude is what makes the day!  Not everyone has a few grand to spare for a three day vacation to the beach on a long weekend. Get creative… and make your own!  It’s the fun times that create the memories… not the money you spend to get them.


3 Late Night = Mommy time

Like so many other moms out there, I find myself finishing my daily to-do list late at night.  I just can’t seem to finish everything I set out to accomplish for the day.  Good thing that it’s 11:35pm and I still have 25minutes left of the ‘same’ day.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Experts in time management always suggest doing daily to-do lists. But why? Do they not know how many things moms have in their list?  Apparently those experts must not be “moms” themselves; otherwise, they would warn us against making them too long, too detailed, or too time consuming.  Today’s list was LONG and it only got LONGER.

I googled “How to make a good to do list” and not only did suggestions for apps, programs, widgets, and all kinds of things that are beyond my tech knowledge.  I did, however, stumble upon a web blog that caught my eye: Dumblittleman.com.  Why would I take advice from someone who calls herself dumb? Curiosity-Here-I-come.

Dumblittleman suggests the following:

  1. Make sure that the tasks you enter (in your t-d-l) are  single ones, ideally taking no more than an hour each. Seriously? I almost fell off the chaise! I have never met a mom who could dedicate one hour to a single task without interruptions.  1hr is how long it takes a mom to build a monument!  A task is 5-8min… thank-you-very-much!
  2. Don’t try to go into too much detail. If a task takes less than 15-20 minutes, it shouldn’t be on your list. Point #2 that his person isn’t a mom.  Has she heard of motherhood-induced-ADD?  It’s the little things I can’t remember… and they are usually important.  For example: Take carpool tag from husband’s car so I can pick up kids. Yes, I write this down too. Why? Because I am usually half way to school when I realize I forgot it at home (like today).
  3. Do you prefer a paper or electronic to do list? Can you really expect me to believe that I can get the same feeling of satisfaction when I click “done” on the electronic version than I get when I manually cross it out? Heck NO. It’s called “pen therapy.”
  4. Should you assign priorities to your tasks? If by priorities she means: GET IT DONE BEFORE KIDS GET BACK, then yes.  Otherwise… just write that stuff down!
  5. Do you use a closed or open to do list? If my list had three things written on it I think it would classify as a closed list.  But the REASON we write a list in the first place is because it has MORE than 3 things in it, right?

I searched further on Google and Bing and again came up with nothing useful. Whaaaatt???  I am realizing that my to do lists are mine. They are my way of staying on track of what my goals for the day may be; no matter how big or how small a task.  Did I write “take carpool” sign? Nope.  Did I forget? absolutely.  My brain is constantly racing and working on what’s coming up next.  I feel the need to cross things off my list that is written on a piece of paper.

Tomorrow is another day… with another list. 🙂

My to do list before and after.  Lots of things crossed!!  (although the list did get longer)

Good Bye Christmas Lights

Christmas decorations meant one thing to me: tedious set up and take down.  All the lights and garden decorations must be brought up and down from the attic every year… so I only put up minimum outdoor decorations (wreaths & garlands).   Some people put up blow up Santas on their lawns, candy cane driveway lights, or even fill their gardens with poinsettia plants.  On the other hand, there are some homes that look like the seasonal department at Home Depot threw up on their front lawn.

image

There is a house down the road from my neighborhood that goes above Christmas season decorating duties.  If you are just driving by, the house looks like many others, lit up with many lights that flash at intermittent times.   However, if you drive by often enough, you soon begin to realize that other cars are parked on the road watching the lights.  Who sits there watching lights? I thought a few times. It was only when I had to wait to pass because cars were blocking the street that I saw the the sign on the corner of the front lawn that said: Watch our lights on 89.5FM.  Curiosity got the best of me so I tuned in.

What an amazing show it was!  Since I discovered “free” show about three weeks ago, we have made it a point to take our kids, friends, family, and even ourselves in several occasions to watch their lights.  Take a quick look at the video below (turn up volume)

The synchronized light show has 4 songs that play over and over.  We usually stay through at least one (if not two) rounds… a good 20min with the music blasting inside our car.  Most nights we drive there in our pjs with the hope that one or two kids will fall asleep on the way back home (yes, we even take the scenic route back).  This next video is my daughter’s favorite:

I have never met the family who lives in this house but I am very grateful they take the time to decorate their yard, trees, house, porch, and lawn for the rest of us to enjoy.  I can’t imagine how long it takes to set up and take down every year.  Some nights, Eric and I try to guess how much their electric bill may be… although I’m sure we don’t come close.  Other nights I wonder what it would be to have all those lights blinking at night while you are trying to sleep!

Every time we drive to enjoy the show, I am grateful that someone would do something that requires so much work for the rest of us to enjoy.  I don’t know how many Christmases they have been putting up the lights… but I hope they continue to do so.  Because of this, I decided to leave a little note in their mailbox to express some of our gratitude.

To this family  we would like to say: thank you so much for giving my family a Christmas experience to remember.

Sincerely,

The Schneller & Fuentes Family

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