I'm making a list!

That button's barely hanging on...
Can you believe we've made it to another Christmas season? Yeah, me neither. I tell you, this year has flown by and my kiddos are getting so big--it crushes me a little!

In an effort to avoid as much insanity as possible, I'm making my kids' Christmas lists early this year. That's right, people, no last minute stocking stuffing, gift-wrapping til midnight on Christmas eve insanity for this girl. 

And since we're so far in advance (look at me being all organized and what not), please feel free to share your lists in the comments below or on the Facebook page. I haven't finalized everything, so if you wave a shiny, perfect gift in my general direction, I'll be all like "Squirrel!" (name that movie!). 

Share the knowledge/ideas y'all!

Alright, here's the list so far for my boys, ages 2-6. And yes, we do try to get them like items so that they can play together and each have something that goes along with whatever they are playing. We call this an avoidance tactic for the whole "if one more person fights over the same toy, mommy's gonna lose it." And it works. 

I linked at least one example of each one for you to see:
As a side note, my sister-in-law got us this race track for Mr. M's birthday and ALL of the kids love playing with it. Definitely a good one for toddlers and up.
And for that one and only BabyGirl, I got some really great recommendations from a friend (thanks C!) for things that she will like. 
So once I get all of YOUR great recommendations, I'll then finish the lists up on my old standby: Amazon.com. You guys know how I feel about Amazon, what with my proposal of marriage to them. Oddly enough, they never responded...


I have been using Amazon Prime since I started my Master's program ($100 textbooks, anyone?) and initially did the Prime program with them because I got the student discount. Now I do it because FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING and small children. Ever tried shopping with four littles? Yeah, just don't.

So Amazon it is. Click here if you want to sign up for Amazon Prime, I've found it's totally worth it, especially with all of the discount prices. 

I also took all of our favorite toys and some of the stuff I have on my wish lists and added them to my aStore, so feel free to peruse at your leisure, friends!

Alright people, hit me! Give me the best of your holiday kiddy shopping lists and and don't forget to add all the things your kiddos already love!

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It's no secret that I've been doing quite the balancing act since becoming a mommy over six years ago now. What with church, school, friends, babies, work, working out (luh u, gym), and of course, my main hobby of eating delicious foods, you could EASILY say that my life is rather insane. 

And at some point or other during each and every one of these last six years I've wanted to pull out all my hair, sit in a puddle of tears on my bathroom floor, eat a tub of nutella with animal crackers, and just give up. Give up on my degree (no really), give up on parenting (which you really kinda can't do), just give it all up and quit trying.

After I'm done with that little pity party, you know, every six months or so, I always manage to slip back into those big girl panties (though sometimes they fit a little more snugly than others, thx, Nutella) and keep on keepin' on. 

But no woman is an island. 

I've had a super supportive hubby reminding me all along the way that I can do all of these impossible, exhausting, incredible things, from the smallest to the largest. And let's not forget the friends (priceless, y'all) who help me keep my sanity, and the family that always serve as a sounding board and safety net. 

The hard truth, though? Finding balance in mommy life is really, like REALLY hard. I feel like there is always something that has to go undone. Always something that requires, nee demands, attention that I'm not always able to give in sufficient amounts. I cut ties. I release obligations (usually the things I love). I try to stay focused. 

And I try to show myself a smidge of grace when I fail. 

I recently took on an obligation that by all rights I had no business taking on. This particular obligation required me to step WAY outside of my comfort zone and trust in God's will and guidance. Man, was that hard and stressful for me. Cause I'm a bit of a control freak with this life of mine. 

But I did it anyway, and I neglected some other things, and I focused on that obligation and on some work items, and let the other stuff slide a bit. 

And you know what? That's what we might call BALANCE. This conscious decision that we all make to focus on certain things at the risk of others. We choose what to prioritize and then we go for it. And as long as we are shifting that focus from time to time, and sometimes from obligation to obligation, (and maybe from fire to fire), then we are achieving the ultimate result. 

We are keeping all the balls in the air and doing our best to refuse to juggle any more. There's power in that refusal--so much power in the two little letters that form the word N-O. And I'll admit, saying "no" is absolutely painful to me. It's like admitting defeat before we even try. I'm a "yes" kinda girl. 

Can you help me proofread this 200-page paper? 

Can you make 742 cupcakes for the end-of-year celebration? Of course, I can!
Can you just stop and take a break? 
You betcha! Wait, what?

So here's what I'm doing to "find" some more balance, lately. We, as a family, are simplifying. We are saying "no" to new obligations, when possible. We are focusing on the things we already have on our plates and trying super hard to not add more. 

Even you, delicious cupcake, get thee away from my overloaded plate!

It's a start, right?

What about you? What do you do to maintain some semblance of balance in these crazy mommy lives we lead?

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