Friday, August 17, 2012

confetti balloon invitation popper awesomness

Little Love is turning 4!! Oh my! I had not realized how big this girl was getting until after school started back. She's like a little genius I tell you. (It helps her birthday is Sept. 3rd in a Sept 1st cut off county. So she will be almost the oldest kid...always. yay!)

I have always liked to do parties big, but last year I had an eye opening experience during Alex's party, so now we tame things down a bit more. (I can share more with you about that at another time)

This year the theme for Ada's party is...wait for theme. Just Party! Just Ada. Just everything this girl likes. (If someone knows where I can rent a unicorn let me know) But I guess if you really wanted to label, confetti, balloons, pinatas, bubbles, donuts, cake, pink, bright colors....happy and let's throw in cheap. Pick one.

To get this party started I had hoped to show everyone what we had in store for them. The invitations were to be FUN. It doesn't take long to look on Pinterest and find hundreds of incredibly creative ideas. I love to be inspired but I also love to use what I have. So our invitations were inspired by here and here but evolved with whatever I had on hand.

I knew confetti must be involved, balloons too. Check. I didn't want to spend money on helium so a stick perhaps...check. and maybe a tassel?...check. So get to the run down already....

I gathered whatever randomness I could put my hands on. I had sticks left over from another project, would you believe exactly as many as I needed? woot. I had intended to paint them white and stick colorful balloons on top, but Ada was present so everything went pink instead. Whatever, her party not mine.

I had made some circle dot garland already (running punched paper dots through the sewing machine) and managed to get a section of it into a big 'ol mess I couldn't up, it became part of the invites. Use what you have friends.

I used a section of four dots for each invitation and just wrote the details on each dot. Front and back.

Then Ada was in charge of filling an empty glitter tube with confetti to dump in the balloon. Quite a mess that girl made! note: bags of confetti can be found at Dollar General for $1.

I started off my placing the balloon around the tube and dumping, at this point I was wondering why I don't own a funnel. This proved to be a slight pain in the keester so I eventually just held it open why Ada dumped it in.

Then the info went in. I started by rolling it up in the tube and following the same method but again, ended up just holding the balloon open while she placed it inside. I would recommend the other method if you don't have two pairs of hands.

Then Blow. :)

I failed to take further pictures of the rest. (I was a bit stressed about handing these out in time.) But basically, slipped the stick into the knot of the balloon, found some tulle from an old tutu hanging out in a box, wrapped said tulle around the knot/stick joint, tied, and cut. Easy peasy. 

And since we are inviting boys, we made a few colorful versions for them. Those sticks were already blue, the balloons were leftover from another party and the tulle came off a different old tutu. done.

I could've gone the extra step and made a cute note that says POP ME. But I got lazy and decided I'd just tell the mom instead. I mean after all...the info is inside. I figure they might realize they need to do something about getting it out. They're smart cookies. ;)

There you have it. Ada's confetti balloon popper whathaveyou invitation.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

a tween space?

What the heck is a tween anyway? I'm under the understanding it's what used to be called pre-teen. Or is it the pre-pre-teen? Either way... my kids are almost there. And our home is noticing.

The fact that they just won't quit growing is the main reason we had to buy a bigger home. Two boys in one room, wasn't going to fly much longer.

I have always hoped for my kids to have a place of their own.  Not a personal room but a gathering area.  A place that was a "kid zone" or just a hang out. Invite friends over, pop popcorn, watch a movie, play games, rock out....whatever. A place that they wouldn't feel the need to leave. (I'm turning into one of those moms. Watch out or my helicopter's blades might take you out.)

Now that we have a basement, I feel I can finally give it to them. So the goal of that particular space is not necessarily a family zone, but a kid zone.

Lately I've been googly eyes over the PBTeen catalogs. I love the style these lounge areas have to offer....

Cushy Lounge Super Sectional Set + Base

Cushy Lounge Sectional Set + Base

View in Room

View in Room

View in Room

This last one is my favorite. A fun, gender neutral activity room. And look at those floors! My unfinished, concrete slab basement is just waiting for me to come love it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

what we've been up to...

Well, it's been a full week of school. The routines are slowly but surely coming along. I'm afraid to say we're a bit more hurried in the mornings than I'd like but we're working on it. 

Alex shocked us all when he jumped on the bus on the morning of the second day of school. Proud as he could be. We have bus issues in this rural county and my kids have always been toted to and from school by dear 'ol Mom. Like most of the kids (that we know) in this town. So that was a huge step. And needless to say....both boys have been bus riders ever since. Loving it!!!

AdaLove's first homework was to create a Mini Me. She did everything herself. (Well, I man handled the glue) I love how it turned out...sparkly...just like my Love.

The boys on the other hand, have been busy catching frogs. Apparently we are in no short supply of the hoppy little green things around here. I was actually impressed with how well Andy thought out and designed a home for them.  Engineer? Architect?

And back to Alex, dear Alex...I looked out the other night as he was running in the backyard and noticed his limbs were completely white. What in the world? Upon further observation I realized the little loves of mine had completely covered themselves in sunscreen. Completely. (don't you watch your kids? I heard you.)

Alex was mad and embarrassed as I took a picture but Ada just kept on grinning. Both of them went to bed with eye drops in their eyes, guess all that sunscreen burns.

I tell you, it's been one week of back to school, but we still have yet to have a dull moment. I welcome it.

As far as the home front goes....I've managed to catch up on laundry and then somehow lose control again so nothing too exciting there. We've moved on to birthday party mode around here instead. We have a little girl turning four! And we're going to celebrate big! I can't wait to share with you her invitations. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

a health update and a new way of thinking

Yesterday, after all the kids were off to school, Alan and I had a follow up appointment with his doctor. This was to follow up with whatever, we still don't know, happened to cause him the heart/chest pain that put him in the hospital for two days. We knew Alan was fine but I was actually a bit surprised as to what information followed us home.

 Here's a couple shots from that big day. I wouldn't have shown you the first one due to Alan's creepy eyes and immodest covering but look at how that girl is looking at him! Crazy, their love. (and yes, she was a princess that day, heels and all. Kinda hard to hide a kid who isn't supposed to be in a patient room when she's clacking down the hallway.)

We all know what we were taught in health class, books, magazines, Oprah, Dr.Oz, right, get plenty of water and exercise. Simple enough right? Well, we, too, knew these things and are apart of the massive number of Americans not doing it.

Eat right? Well, we don't buy Doritos for snacks. My favorite cereal is Kashi Go Lean and we always have fruit. BUT...we also enjoy Popsicles, chimichangas, the convenience of the frozen food section of the store. Still not good.

Water and exercise? Needs improvement.

But..that's not my point. The major mind shift came when he explained WHEN we were eating.

Alan has never been a breakfast eater. Sometimes he won't even eat until he gets home from work in the afternoons. He usually starts his day at 3:30am and will have about 2-3 pots of coffee during the work day and nibble on whatever food he has to taste test (he's a restaurant manager) but will not eat a meal. Sounds good on your body right? Well, the doctor seems to think that was the problem. He was taking all his pills in the mornings, without food, eating heavy in the evenings, then sleeping. Not what your body needs.

So we were given a basic lesson in how carbs and proteins work in the system as well as how the medicines effect your body without food.

We also talked about how Americans have somehow managed to turn the meal pattern around and save the largest meal for dinner. I can understand why. I will always want to have a family meal with everyone gathered around the table and somehow 6am, while trying to shove everyone off to their destinations, doesn't seem to be the right time. But now I understand that by not taking the necessary measure to ensure we are ALL full of proteins and healthy carbs to start the day, I'm doing us an injustice.

We should be eating our largest meal in the morning (have you ever heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day?) and allowing the meals to get smaller throughout the day. Snacks are good, but dinner should be like "your the poorest person on earth"...his words. And we were all backwards.

This isn't just for our family. This is how people were made. He explained it on a very basic level (thank you). You wouldn't expect to drive your car into the city on an empty tank of gas. And you wouldn't come home, fill the tank to park it in the garage. Nope. I wouldn't do that. But yet, that's exactly what we were doing to our bodies. Running on empty or half full or cheap gas, then filling with the good stuff to park our fat butts in the bed. Only difference is...our cars don't store extra gas we're not using overnight into the love handles. My body sure will.

We also got into more fun details like the color of pee and whatnot. I'll let you discuss with your own doctor. But the basic information we left with: we weren't treating our bodies right and Alan's heart/chest/stomach (the are closely connected) started to notice.

So here's the Dr.'s orders:
Spread medicine throughout the day
ALWAYS eat a healthy breakfast
always eat protein and carbs together, never just carbs
let your meals get smaller throughout the day
basically go to bed on an empty stomach
and that exercise thing

So we left the doctor and drove straight to the store to pick up some staples for the mornings. We picked up easy things like high protein granola bars (not protein bars, we still have to watch carbs and sugars) After examining the labels we found the Nature Valley High Protein bar to be a good fit. Something easy enough Alan can grab as he goes out the door.

We also picked up some Greek yogurts, more high protein cereals (I love Kashi Go Lean Crunch), eggs and whole grain bread. This will be a major mind/habit shift for everyone, especially me. I hope to be able to prepare a better meal and a better day for my family.

I decided to share all this exciting info because it was information I already knew yet would never have thought NOT considering would put a family member in the hospital. But thankfully it did. So hopefully you too can be reminded to treat your body (or vehicle) with care and love and make your days the best as well.

Good luck. And maybe I'll find some yummy new breakfast recipes to share!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy New (School) Years!

Today was the first day of school and it was wonderful!! I am so excited about this year. Each one of my kids is in a fantastic class, we have a new home and new routines. I am really feeling great about this next chapter. And you can clearly see how excited the kids were this morning as well....

Maybe it was a little early to be having a party...but they quickly came around.

To get everyone excited, we went with a New Years theme/mindset/whathaveyou. (I totally ripped off the idea from a friend, so thanks ALM!)

For teachers gifts we filled a plastic champagne flute with kisses...the whole kiss at midnight thing....and topped it off with a cheap party blower. For under $5 I had 4 little acts of love.

The boys did excellent this morning. Andy was dropped off, no more walking that boy in, while Alex got the whole crew escort. But in the end he took off in front of us and was embarrassed to have me chasing behind him with the camera. Too bad.

AdaLove,on the other hand, was proud to show us she knew the way. She ran right up to her teacher and gave her a hug. I love that about her. She loves instantly. Just look how happy she was...

And since she does half days, we were able to spend a little more time with her after school. She loved it!

All of the kids had fabulous days and came home raving about their classes and teachers. What more could a Mama want?

*Yes, each one of my kids picked out their own clothes for the first day. Stripes and plaid and blue shoes? Of course!  

I hope everyone else has great first days back as well....back to routines...

Monday, August 6, 2012

the count down is on...getting set up for back to school

We actually have three different count downs occurring in our home right now but the first and my fave is school starting. (other two are birthday related)

Two more days.

I know I should be more upset about summer being over and losing my kids to a whole day of education instead of the never ending "there's nothing to do" around here. But I feel I am a much better mother when I have a moment away from my loves to regroup, find peace, do some planning and creative thinking...and really just have a minute for me. How selfish is that?

Well, now that we've covered the what an awful thing for a mother to say part of the post let me move on....

I had high hopes (probably a better title for this blog) for projects to finish before school started. But I'm going to pat my self on the back for what I HAVE accomplished.

Here's the rundown:

grocery shop (with coupons and a sale ad no less)
set up lunchbox station
organize fridge
kids haircuts
set up closets
set up desk/homework station
organize mud wall
school supplies shop for kids

Not too bad.  Is it sad to anyone else that one needs to write grocery shopping on the list of projects to complete? Well, with three kids, no food and not a drop of creamer for the desperately needed coffee, I put on some long sleeves (I'm still ivy infested) set out to another town and only ran into one person we knew. She was kind enough to not to ask about the welts. Mission completed. My kids will get through at least one week with a well nourished lunchtime. Put better lunch box planner on the list of things for Angie to work on.

The lunch box station is a must have in our kitchen. It took me a little while to figure some things out with our new kitchen cabinets but I think we're off to a good start. 

I always like to have my lunch boxes, baggies, Tupperware, napkins, utensils and a marker in one central location. That really helps streamline the mornings. The last home had the typical drawer-over-door base cabinets so it was easy to put the larger items in the cabinet and the smaller baggies and whatnot in the drawer. This home is set up a bit differently. I do not have any drawer-over-door cabinets but I am blessed with two deep drawers next to the fridge.

It was pretty easy to figure out where to put all the Tupperware and large items, but less obvious as to where to put the smaller items, they would be eaten alive in that deep drawer. I remembered I had a utensil basket and quickly filled that joker up with all my smaller items and placed it in the drawer. Now everything is in one place, I can pull it out when needed and put it out of sight when not. The lunchboxes are in the other drawer for now but they will soon be in the book bag/wash rotation. Lunchbox station: check.

The fridge: how I love the fridge. If you were to come into my home at any given, expectant moment, my fridge would be the only area I would be proud to show off.  Not always mind you, but the only.  I am not a neat freak in any area of my life (right, Mom?) but the fridge is the one place I can not stand filth. So after I grocery shop I typically have a date with the Clorox wipes. Yesterday I also managed to move around some shelves and drawers to better use the space.

The bottom fridge drawer is always the snack drawer in our home. Easy for the kids to see, grab, and for me to replenish. the drawer above that has less of a purpose. It will probably become the meat thawing drawer. (don't worry, my restaurant industry husband will quickly correct me if this doesn't comply with the health department standards)

Whenever I store my fruits and veggies in the drawers I forget I have them and then end up throwing money down the drain. A better place for the foods we should be eating? The top and in plain sight. Same goes for our leftovers. Why waste the food I wanted to save just because it's in the back somewhere never to be seen again? So up they went. I moved the milk shelf and deli drawer lower (this works because you usually are going into the fridge for milk, creamer and sandwich stuff and don't need a reminder to reach for them, same reason they put these items in the back of the store, plus the boys are better able to help themselves.) and the two shelves for fruits, veggies and leftovers went to the top. I also have the basket of fresh fruit on the counter above the lunchbox drawer. So far, so good. My kids have been reaching for the fruits and I already have a leftover lunch reminder.

Now on to the closets. I don't know about you but the getting dressed routine is the biggest hurdle of the morning. It really doesn't matter if I have them pick out their clothes the night before, their minds will change over night. I gave up this battle a long time ago. I really feel it's more important if it's clean, they are comfortable and it's weather permitting. (They walk out in a flannel coat in August if I let them) So most of the clothing chaos around here comes down to the storage. The kids have adequate amounts of clothing storage. It's a matter of how to set it up. I originally thought I could put out all the kids clothes and have a summer side and a winter side. But like I said, they wear everything, all the time. So I'm ending up washing jeans and long sleeve shirts that were worn for only a moment because it was too hot. So I think I'll go back to the swap out method we used at the last house. I'd rather do that than unnecessary laundry.

To the current situation... I'd like to create cute little decals for the closets labeling each shelf and area, but I'm still undecided if I will be painting the interior of those spaces anytime soon and don't want to waste the effort and decals. So the temporary fix?...painters tape. I walked each kid through their closet storage system and had them help me label. This will hopefully help the putting away of clothes process. Simple, easy, done.

One of the absolute favorite things about this house...a office in said basement. I have wanted my own space for a long time. Now I have it, OK I share it with Alan, but since I have yet to organize the space it is more of a storage closet now. It's on the list.

That said, I find myself still using my laptop upstairs in the living room or dining room. It really is the center of the home and makes the most sense for me to be able to have access to the computer without going downstairs. I love the idea of a mom's nook in the kitchen. No place in ours so I set off to create my own little nook of the home. The solution...the old foyer table we use in the dining room. Perfect. I currently have my computer stuff set up and one drawer designated as mine. The other drawer is to be the homework drawer. I'll get to that in a minute. The artwork above the table/desk has evolved from the masterpiece the boys made (below), to a cork board but now I think I'm thinking this is the place for the chalk board. I still want to write down our meal blessings as well as any other notes to self. A chalk board can also look stylish and not as cluttered as the cork board. I figure I'll save the abundance of artwork for the fridge and basement. Hopefully I can jazz up the space a bit more soon. But for now it's function before form.

The other drawer will be the homework station. Inspired my The36thAvenue, I would like to create a single destination for all of the items we will be using during homework time. I probably told you before that I wanted to use an area of the basement as their work zones. Well, school hasn't even started and I'm seeing fault in that plan. The best place for my kids to do their after school work is near the kitchen, where I will most likely be. So the same desk area I plan to use for me I will also store all of their school work goodies.  Simple enough.

The mud wall...because it's not a mud room. I have made some progress in the mud wall area. I managed to paint the bench a lighter, more fresh shade of gray. Really just to cover up the old red scratches that were taking over. I had hoped to have this area ready for the start of school but it really has everything it needs to work for us now...hooks. On the list of things to do in this area...hang a sorter of mail and paperwork (that stuff floods in the first few weeks of school), possibly an umbrella pot, and way down the road...a built in bench. Stay tuned for all that excitement.

And as far as shopping for school supplies goes, I have one out of two kids who has a list completed. This year after unpacking all of our clothes from the move I decided we would not be doing any back to school clothes shopping. Not a lick. Of course, this week I have been trying to get outfits ready and starting to rethink this for the little mess Miss. None the less, that was one thing off the to-do list. I do however have a pair of shoes for two of them I got on a crazy clearance at Target. One more pair for the middle child I will be mommy of the year in their eyes when I break them out the night before school starts. That's the idea anyway. 

Back to supplies...I decided, before the ivy outbreak, to take the boys out separately to do their supply shopping. A date of sorts. I might have spent more than I would have because I was buying for one and not two but it was still less of a punch in the gut at checkout opposed to previous years. So now Alex still needs his date with mom. Last minute?...why yes, I am.

Not on the list but equally necessary...AdaLove's nails. She has me paint them half blue, half pink. I hate it but she loves them. I'm trying to see them as Sleeping Beauty style.

There you have it. A rundown of our crazy back to school setups. Hopefully more to come...

And since this post took a whole day to complete here's a peek at the daily happenings....

The basement was the perfect setting for entertaining 6 boys and two girls. The boys played wii (and science projects, and puzzles, and swam...twice) while the girls played house...loved it.

And our little fashionista as she went to meet her new teacher tonight. She's going to have a great year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

one step forward, two steps back?

Anyone else out there ever feel like life, or hell, I’ll just say it…motherhood, is one step forward two steps back?  I don’t mean to be a downer but lately this has been the theme of my days.
As soon as I feel good about the accomplishments I’ve made, I look up and not only have the kids gotten into something, they have now created such a mess that, truly, it’s up to me to deal with. I know, I know. I should teach them responsibility and make them clean it themselves….but let me elaborate.

When my niece was here a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty good about various projects and progress we’d made in the home. Only to walk downstairs one morning and discover the kids had completely shredded the Styrofoam packaging that came with our new IKEA furniture. Luckily (ha!) it was the type that when broken down is in large balls. Large, as in slightly less than ¼ inch size. I walked down the steps, turned the corner, still patting myself on the back for whatever great advancement in home decorating or aunt/niece relationship building that I had made (I don’t even remember) when I turned my eyes and discovered all three of my precious gifts from above covered in little white floaty balls. I gasped, they all pointed…at each other. It was not any of them who had done it of course. I’m talking shredded people. There was no evidence of previous packaging left to be discovered. None.

So, I did what any mom would do and told them to clean it up. That was a joke. After a couple hours of listening to them bicker (not my first choice of words) and moan about whose fault it was and who should pick it up, I gave in. “Just go to your rooms”. Truly there was no way those crazy kids could have ever been able to tackle such a disaster zone. (This was not one of those occasions when your kids get into something and it’s kinda funny so you say ‘hold on’, and grab the camera before you yell…I was mad.)

 It was up to me to correct the situation. It was up to me to get those darned kids out of the way so I could get this issue resolved today. Or who knows how many weeks it could have taken for them to clean it up. It was up to me to put all my mommy/aunt/homemaker/ duties aside and clean up someone else’s mess.

 Have you ever tried to clean up Styrofoam balls? It is no easy task. The junk flies when you try to sweep it. Just what I needed, a day of chasing little white balls around my basement. But I did it anyway. Was there any real option? Leave it for dad to see? No, I like my kids too much for that. So a whole afternoon was lost to the great Styrofoam sweep of 2012.

Two steps back.

Two days later a precious angel dumps her lemonade in the car…my fault again. Why give them lemonade in the car? I could bore you with the details of us being in another town shopping all day and they finally got to have a $1 store drink but that really doesn’t matter…what mattered was the 3 hours I spent after our one-step-forward shopping trip, taking two-steps-back to clean the aftermath. Another afternoon not spent with my niece. (I could also bore you with the details that we have ants in the driveway so it was imperative that I get any sugary sweetness out of my car pronto!)

 Here’s a good one…. (this is just within a few weeks mind you) after busting our butts in the yard for a few days, the honey and I are chilling in our room one night (I’m doing more itching than chilling but I’ll get to that in a minute) when the little Love of ours needs something and Alan goes down stairs to get it for her. Only to discover that while we were chilling and we thought the kids were all also relaxing watching a movie together, Miss Love had actually gone into the office, got a sharpie and continued to draw sweet images all over the door, walls, washer, dryer, ironing board, laundry baskets and who knows what else.

Alan came up to tell me and in my already out-of-my-mind state I decided not to beat (I exagerate) the child. I would wait and take a look at it the next day. Only...the next day found some early drawings on the brother’s carpet, and later Alan’s nightstand and computer. You can imagine his delight. I guess the “lets wait to discipline” wasn’t the right approach. Strike three for Mom.

 To top off all of the sharpie sweetness and to get back to my original complaint point…after two days of sweating our tushys off making progress in the yard I started to notice some itching sensations on my upper body. I can’t even go back and tell you the when and how, (I really had spent more time outside), but come Tuesday an allergic reaction I thought I was having to a cosmetic, in fact, turned out to be poison ivy. Yea! So I type this with arms and hands covered in the lovely pink goo that accompanies the blistering reminders of a hard days work. My face has also taken a beating from the leaves of three. Oh and did I mention I managed to also strategically place the back of my hand on a wasp nest resulting in the, not one, but two, wasp stings that have made my hand swell up and look like one of those hospital gloves you blow up to entertain kids in the emergency room…oh yea, we did that this last couple of days also….

So while I’m a mess trying to take care of three kids, while not busting a ripe blister and making arrangements for all four of us to head to the dr. (Poison ivy on your face isn’t pretty people.
Imagine one eye swollen and my saying “HEY YOU GUYS!”…. that’s what I felt like),

my dear hubby calls me and says “don’t freak out, but I’m having chest pains and going to the emergency room”…cool. Why not?

So my pity party of itchy, red loveliness went out the window and into prayer mode. The prayer requests went out (and were answered) and my whole mind became devoted to him. I even managed to suck up my pride and go into public to meet him at the hospital.

Alan spent the night at the hospital, underwent stress tests, poking, prodding and the ripping off of chest hair (he was attached to all kinds of medical stuff I don’t understand) to discover that he was, in fact, fine. We still don’t know what happened but his risk factors don’t leave any room for error.  I however spent the night pacing as I suffered from insomnia due to the meds I was prescribed, tried not to itch myself, took a number of oatmeal baths and prayed for sweet relief.  

To catch up to the present moment…he’s home, I’m itchy, the kids are alive and healthy (and hopefully not doodling as I type), the basement is still covered in black squiggles, and life continues to be good. Why good?

Tonight, while waiting for Alan to return home, which seemed like forever, I caught the Artist drawing in her brother’s notebook. A bit peeved, I asked her what she was doing, she showed me she was writing a letter to Jesus. “Yea, cause I love him”

Now I don’t know if it was due to the prayers we were sending up, or the praise. But my little girl had decided, on her own, to write a letter to Jesus. I can only imagine what her little heart was trying to articulate.

In all this junk life has thrown at us in the past couple of weeks…I type with a still swollen hand, itchy skin, serious need for wine and full heart...all of my family is home, safe, and with me.

So, after taking quite a few steps backwards…I’d like to say, we’ve made it out ahead.

Mr. A*Love

It occurs to me that I've introduced you to all of my A*Loves with the exception of the most important... the Mister, Alan.

I don't know the words I could use to describe how wonderful this man is to our family.

He seriously does everything for us. Like working a ridiculous amount of hours each week just to make sure we're taken care of.

He does the dirty work for us, like moving our entire home on his own (one pair of hired hands to help with the large furniture) and catching lizards in the house.

He comes home and still helps with the kids and with the home. When I wasn't feeling well Sunday, after working all day, he picked up some groceries from the store, made dinner and then even put the kids to bed. No complaints.

He plays with his kids. I've seen and heard of dads who would rather watch sports or go do their own thing when they get off work than spend time with their kids (not that we don't all deserve a break), but Alan will genuinely want to spend time with them. Like when he stayed home an extra hour just to teach them how to fly the boomerang (we no longer have a boomerang).

He also has a great sense of humor, like the other day when he asked me if I wanted to switch cars for the day so I could clean his while he was at work....I'm telling you...the guy's a hoot.

He even goes along with pretty much anything I throw at him.... "You're going to need to wear this cape and steal all of the gifts, then let the kids chase you down and spray you with silly string. cool?"

But he is no saint.  It always amuses me when towards the end of the day he starts to get aggravated with the kids. I literally laugh out loud when he has to yell. (I do try to hide my chuckles from the kids.) I can't help but find it funny when they team up on him and not me.

This man of mine is not perfect by any means. Neither is his wife. But he's perfect for us.