My Real Life

February 23, 2010

Birthday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:01 pm
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She slays me.

Seriously.  She does.

On their birthdays, each monkey gets to choose what they want for dinner.

Monkey Girl wanted baked macaroni and cheese.

I love that.

I love that she pauses to carefully consider her wish before blowing out her candles.

I love that she reads every word of every card before opening her presents…without being told to do so.

Yet, most of all, I love…

…that she is just as excited after the seventeenth book she opens…

…as she was for the first book she opens…

…and that to her…

…books are worth their weight in gold.

Nine Years Ago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 1:48 pm

I had no idea.

I mean, sure, I knew I’d love my baby.

I knew life would change.

Yet, even when I was pregnant, I had no idea.

You can’t know.

You can’t possibly know how much you will love this small person until you are actually holding them in your hands.

Nine years ago, last night, I was sitting on the couch in the first home that Real Man and I owned.

He worked the 11:30-8:00 shift every day, and although I had already eaten, I was hungry again.

I called Real Man at work and asked him to stop at McDonald’s on the way home to pick up a cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake.

Then, I put up my feet and started watching the Thursday night NBC shows.

I was tired.

I was big.

I was due in two days, and the baby I was carrying seemed to have no intention of going anywhere.

I was also feeling a little nervous, as at my doctor appointment that afternoon, they told me that the baby was probably around eight pounds.

Sounded huge.

Real Man came home with my food, and we ate and talked and watched tv.

After ER, we headed up to bed.

Not long after climbing into bed, I started feeling…weird.

Then, the weirdness turned into pain and I realized, ‘this is it.’

We called the doctor and they told us to keep timing the contractions and head on in when they got close.

Pretty quickly, they started getting close and in we went.

I’m not going to go into the whole labor and delivery story.

It’s quite a story full of scary things and ending in an emergency c-section that was performed after my epidural had worn off.  Yes, that’s right.  A c-section with, essentially, no pain medication.

Yet, in the very end, there was Monkey Girl.

All 9 pounds, 15 ounces of her.

We didn’t get “It’s a girl!”

We got, “Oh my god, she’s huge!”

And all we could think was, “Oh my god, she’s perfect!”

There will always be a special bond between my girl and I.

Together, she and I waded through the murky waters of how to parent.

Breastfeeding didn’t come easily to me, but I was committed, and together, she and I figured it out.

Everyone had advice and everyone told me we were doing it wrong.

Finally, Real Man said, “Forget what everyone else is telling you and do what feels right.”

And so, we did.

She was patient with Real Man and I as we learned to care for her belly button and change her diapers and give her sponge baths and feed her in the night.

It was such a learning experience for us.

She had us wrapped around her little finger from the start.

We’d hold her and rock her and she’d start to fall asleep and as soon as our minds would even lean toward putting her into her crib, her eyes would pop open and she’d cry saying, “No way, Jose!”

One night, Real Man was putting her to sleep and suddenly, through the monitor, I was sure I heard snoring.

I crept into her room, and there was Real Man; one arm in the crib on her little back, kneeling on one knee, head hanging, fast asleep.

Every day brought something new and it was all magical and new and wonderful.

I’ve never understood people who complain about a new baby.

“Ooh, I’m so tired.  The baby was up all night.”

Uh, yeah…it’s a baby!  How wonderful for you that you get to be with that baby in the middle of the night!

“Ugh, he/she cries all the time.”

Uh, yeah…he/she doesn’t have words yet to tell you what they need.  How frustrating for that little person!  Nurture them and get over yourself, because, quite frankly, it ain’t about you.

But, back to my Monkey Girl.

I’m going to show you some pictures now.

Be strong.

These may be some of the cutest pictures you’ve ever seen.

The mini-me resemblance started early.



Every single day of the past nine years have been amazing.

There is always something new, and as my oldest, together, we continue to learn.

She’s taught me just as much as I’ve taught her.

She is kind.  So kind.

Her heart is so big and she is the most loving girl I know.

She looks out for the well-being of everyone around her and works hard to make sure that no one is hurt or upset.

She is brilliant.

The way her mind works amazes us on a daily basis, and it all comes from her.  We don’t push.  She wants to learn and to know and to be challenged.

She is funny.

She knows how to laugh and loves to make others laugh.

She’s talented in so many areas.

She knows herself and doesn’t bend to peer pressure.

She is beautiful on the inside and out.

Although part of me wants to keep her little forever, the truth is that I can’t wait to see who she will become.  I can’t wait to see what lives she touches and how people are better for having known her.

As I re-read this post, I realize how completely inadequate it is, because there are not enough words to describe how very much I love this girl and how much she is a part of me. 

She is the best part of me and to say I love her doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about her.

So, Happy Birthday to my big 9 year old.

February 22, 2010

What I Did Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:55 pm
Tags: , ,

Otherwise known as: When the Doctor Says to Be Still and Rest, She Means It

So, I’m home recovering today, and after everyone left the house, I was feeling like a fraction of my former self, which, to me, meant that I should go ahead and get things done.

I’m not a good sitter.

Also, the next few discs of Battlestar Galactica aren’t arriving until tomorrow.

So, I pulled out the fabric and decided to get sewing.

Here’s my machine (thank you, Bonnie!).  I got her threaded up and was ready to go!

I had a hard time deciding what to do, but knew it would be something relatively small.

I went with cash budget envelopes.

Currently, I have bank envelopes that I use to stash cash for things we save up for, like vacations, birthdays and Christmas, and our Disney Fund.  (No plans to go to Disney, but I’m saving so when it’s time, we’re prepared!)

I had seen some cute fabric cash envelopes online, and thought it might be a good first project.

I think they came out pretty well!

Not too ambitious, but just right for today.

Then, I figured I better get to work with Monkey Girl’s birthday cake, as the big day is tomorrow.

While I was baking the cake, I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies, as well.

After that, I was exhausted.

Like, couldn’t keep my eyes open exhausted.

So, I went to bed and slept for three hours.

When I woke up, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.

More specifically, I felt like my nose had been hit by a truck, and I suddenly realized that this recovery is going to be a lot like c-section recovery.

Even though I felt fine to do the stairs in the moment when recovering from the c-sections, a few hours later, I was feeling the effects.

Same thing here, although I do find it hard to see the connection between sewing and baking and my nose.

Can’t argue the pain, though.

So, I got a lot done today, but tomorrow, I’ll follow doctors orders and just rest.

Eyes on the prize.

A little rest now will equal feeling fabulous later on.

Although, maybe a little sewing tomorrow wouldn’t be TERRIBLE!


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:08 am
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I pulled out the sewing machine this morning, pulled out all of my fabric, and now am just looking at it, trying to figure out what to do with it.

So, I’m faced with possibilities, but am not even sure where to start.

I’ve been checking out all these awesome blogs where people are making the coolest crafts, but I’m not quite sure where to start.

Part of it is, I’m sure, because I’m not really steady on the sewing machine, but I’m committed to doing this on the machine since I have it out.

I’m thinking I want to make something for Monkey Girl.


I’ve got time.  I’m not at work today, as I continue to recover, and I’m trying to be relatively still, as it still hurts a lot when I move my face.

Maybe today I’ll just consider the possibilities and tomorrow I can sew.

We’ll see.

Any suggestions?

Sunshine Award

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 3:34 am
Tags: ,

I received a fun award today!
Thank you Debbie, at Our Old Homestead
Debbie is definitely my most consistent commenter here, at My Real Life, and I enjoy her blog tremendously! 
It’s the kind of award you pay forward, and so that being said, here are the rules!
1. Post award
2. Pass it on to 12 bloggers that brighten your day.
3. Link to nominees.
4. Link back to givers.
Here are twelve blogs that definitely brighten my day!  Check them out and let them brighten your Monday, as well!
1.  A Beautiful Mess
2.  Beauty That Moves
3.  Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
4.  Soule Mama
5.  Hip Mountain Mama
6.  Wanderlust Productions
7.  Embers
8. Progressive Pioneer
9.  Sweet Juniper
10. 6512 and Growing!
11. Tiny Twig Goes Out on a Limb
12. Lindsay Brackeen
I’m adding a bonus blog here, for a blog that I really enjoy, but seems to be encountering technical difficulties over the past few days.  I’m going to add the link here, with the hopes that by the time you all click it, she’ll be back up and running!
13.  5 Orange Potatoes

February 21, 2010

Searching For

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:19 pm
Tags: ,

I realize that it is still February, and I have a long time to wait until Spring finally rolls around to stay.

However, I’m getting a little bit of Spring fever, lately, and when Spring and Summer roll around, so do garage sales.

I’m a frugal lady, by nature.

I do not like to part with my money.

However, I love a good garage sale.

I browse and browse, but do not usually buy.

Sometimes, though, I get it into my head that there is something, in particular, that I must have, and so I hit the garage sales with a single purpose.

This is going to be one of those years.

What do I want?

For what do I search?


That’s right, my friends.

I am looking for a record player.

Preferably one that is old and 70’s-like.

I miss records.

Don’t you?

I just had this conversation with some people the other day.  We talked about finding just the right groove in order to play the song you wanted.  If you wanted to hear the song again, you walked over, picked up the needle and set it back in place again.

My records from childhood are long gone.

When my parents moved (while I was in college) the movers actually stole a bunch of things, including my records.

I’ve always had a hard time imagining a bunch of burly movers, sitting around a poker table, drinking beer, listening to my Shaun Cassidy albums, but hey, stranger things have happened, right?

So, in addition to my record player, I guess I’ll need to find some records, as well.

I’m not shunning modern technology.

We love our cd’s, iPods, iTouches, and iPhones.

I am just craving a bit of my past, and if I can find it at garage sale prices, and share that experience with my monkeys, why not?

Monkey Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 4:25 pm
Tags: ,

Yesterday was a busy day for everyone around here, except for me.  There were birthday parties and basketball practices and Girl Scout events.  It was a long day, and they were all exhausted by last night.

After church today, they told me that they were “taking it easy” today.

Fine by me.

Baby Monkey and I have been snuggling on my bed this afternoon.

Real Man has been working on the computer and doing some cleaning.

However, Monkey Girl and Monkey in the Middle have been strangely absent and quiet.

I decided to get up a stretch a little and find out what they were doing.

When I got to Monkey Girl’s bedroom, the door was closed, and there was a sign taped to it saying “Quiet DS Playing Time.  Please do not disturb Jules and Patrick.”

I knocked, to respect the sign, and was invited in.

Upon walking in, here’s what I found:

The two of them, just hanging out on Monkey Girl’s bed, playing with their DS’s.

At the moment I entered, Monkey Girl was helping Monkey in the Middle in a tricky part in his game.

Not sure what I did to get so lucky, but I’m extremely grateful.

Chuck E. Cheese

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 3:15 pm
Tags: ,

I suddenly realized that I have been remiss and have forgotten to share with you an exciting event from last weekend.

The boys’ birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

Until this year, we have been able to get away with celebrating the boys birthdays by having the grandparents over for dinner on each of their special days.  No parties with friends.  Family, cake, presents, and we were good to go.

Monkey Girl didn’t have her first birthday party with friends until she turned 6, and it seems as though Monkey in the Middle somehow knew that 6 was the magic age around here.

So, in December, he started dropping hints that he would like to have a birthday party with friends this year.

Hints like, “I want a birthday party this year.”

So, we started talking about what type of party he would like.

Monkey Girl has always asked for mystery-themed birthday parties where we invite a few friends over, make up mysteries, and she and her friends solve them.

Frugal, fun, easy.

Monkey in the Middle?

He wanted Chuck E. Cheese.

Grandma overheard and said that she wanted him to have whatever he wanted, and she’d foot the bill.

However, Baby Monkey was listening intently to all of the birthday talk and decided that he, too, wanted a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party this year.

Grandma said, “If it’s fine with Mommy and Daddy, I’ll take care of that, as well.”

Hard to fight the generosity of a grandparent, especially a grandparent as stubborn as my mom, and so we agreed.

Each boy was allowed to choose four or five friends and we sent out the invites. 

Monkey Girl was also allowed to invite her cousin, who is her age, so that she had someone to play with.

It was a great time.

Chuck E. Cheese always has the potential to make a parent crazy, but Real Man and I went into it with the attitude that it really is a magical, fun place for a kid (especially our kids who never go there) and so we were going to relax and let it be whatever it was.

And, as I said, it was great.

They played with their friends, ate their pizza, ate their ice cream, waved at Mr. Cheese and had a blast.

The party lasted for an hour and a half, and after the guests left, we stayed with the monkeys for another hour or so and let them play and collect tickets and chill.

It was a great day for two great boys.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:50 am
Tags: ,

We don’t give in to fads much around here.

Whether it’s because my kids don’t watch a ton of tv, so they don’t see the commercials, or because they honestly don’t care what other people are wearing, doing, saying, buying, I don’t know.

However, the end result is that we’ve been able to escape the fads that seem to rush through the kids schools and groups of friends.

That being said, this time around, I’ve got a girl who will be 9 next week who is very into these “Silly Bands.”

Basically, they are rubber band bracelets that are shaped like animals.

Monkey Girl had these years ago.  Had we known they would explode into a fad, all these years later, perhaps we would have held on to them, but who has that kind of foresight?

Not us.

Anyway, she’s been talking about these silly bands, dropping hints here and there.

She’s not the kind of kid to say “I have to have these or I’ll simply DIE, mother!”

Instead, we get “Hmmm…it sure would be nice to be looking at a silly band on my wrist right about now.”


The problem was, Real Man and I had no idea where to buy these things.

So, I dedicated a recent Facebook status to asking the question where they could be bought.

Apparently, everyone knew what I was talking about, and had many suggestions.

In the end, Real Man happened to stumble across them at the pharmacy and bought a pack.

And, being the girl that she is, when he brought them home, Monkey Girl immediately gave a band to each of her brothers, and pulled out four more to share with her friend and three siblings, to who’s house she was going for a playdate.

Love.  That.  Girl.

February 20, 2010

I’m Guessing…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , ,

…that right now, most of you are feeling really thankful that I have a full-time job, as you are realizing that if I were home all day, there would be no end to the amount of posts I’d have in this blog that you’d have to make your way through.

So, bear with me through my recovery.  When my pain meds kick in, I feel productive and almost human, but I’m not allowed to move around too much, so board games and blogging it is.

So, in the last few minutes since I last blogged, Monkey in the Middle came in to sniff and snuggle for awhile.

Earlier in the day, we took a nap together. 

It was bliss.

Anyway this evening, he came in, and as we snuggled, he kept trying to make up signals and signs for us to use if we wanted to say “I love you” to each other, but we didn’t want anyone else to know.

Eventually, he came up with this:

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that this is the international sign for “Loser.”

I tried to persuade him to let us hold our “L’s” over our hearts, to further symbolize the love, but he was all about the “L” on the forehead.

So, if you see Monkey in the Middle and I in public and we happen to be making this symbol, please know we aren’t insulting each other.

It’s true love.

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