Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meatless Update

We went to dinner last night for mexican. She ate a taco...with MEAT! Not sure if it was a brief hiatus or the end of a very short era. Only time will tell!

Conversations with Alex

This morning we were discussing the precautions that we need to take with Abby now that she's on a special diet to prevent her allergies and how easy it would be for her to get ahold of the other dogs food. After a long concentrated facial expression, Alex says "Sometimes dogs can be very fragile, just like frogs." ????

Another conversation this morning...we were discussing the different methods of plant proppegation and I asked him if he remembers how we propegated our Sago Palms. He thought for a minute, gave me a silly look and said "You put the lime in the coconut?"

After the propegation conversation, he said he'd like to do a science project at school one day to test how a plant would grow in different soil types and one test could be "just water with plant vitamins".

I just LOVE how a 5 minute conversation with him can be so entertaining and so educational all at the same time.

Day 4 - The Love Dare

Love is Thoughtful

Day 4 Challenge:

Contact your spouse sometime during the business of the day. Have no agenda other than asking how he or she is doing and if there is anything you could do for them.

Day 4 was an all around challenge, but not necessarily challenge specific. Between the stressors of work, the sick dog, the leaking pool (a whole other post), and children with cabin fever Mark and I were not exactly on the same page yesterday. We took Abbie to the vet together mid-day and made a trip to Pets I decided that yesterday was not a good day for this challenge. I think it would have been more irritating than anything to get a phone call in the short span of time that we were not at home together and needing to catch up with work to see how the other's day was going. I know that sounds somewhat shallow, but really, despite my feeling as though I was at work for 12 hours yesterday, I was really only there for 3. We will take this challenge and throw it in on a random day.

Alex, my little buddy, had no problem with today's challenge. He has really surprised me these last few days. He's gone from complete challenge pessimism, to challenge king. He is always the first to ask what the next days challenge will be, and always the first to accomplish it. Yesterday, on three separate occasions, he asked each of us how our day was. I'm so impressed with how he's taken hold of this challenge and made it his own.

I'm not looking forward to the Day 5 challenge today, but I'm working on coming to terms with it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 3 - The Love Dare

Day 3: Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”

This was tougher than I anticipated. I really wanted to buy something meaningful, yet inexpensive and could not think of anything "worthy". I think I was over thinking it most of the day. I ended up buying all the ingredients for a new recipe for stuffed jalapenos (with bacon!!). Last night was poker night, so I waited until about 9:00 to give him his gift so he could share them with his friends.

Mark came home with one of my favorite bottles of wine, which I will enjoy this evening after work. Great choice, Mark!!

Alex started his gift for Ashley the night before, almost immediately after I announced the next day's challenge. He wrote her a poem and drew a colorful picture to go along with it.
Ashley drew Alex a picture...I know there's a name for it, I just can't think of it...anyway, she spelled his name and each letter was created with pictures that define Alex's favorite things. I will have to post a picture of it in lieu of trying to describe it. Very sweet!

Day 3 was another success! On to Day 4!

Oh, and on another note, yesterday's coffee surprise/sculpture from Mark was "MMMMPPA!!!" spelled with toothpicks. The dots on the exclamation points were coffee beans. He's such a sweetie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 2 - The Love Dare

Day 2 - Todays challenge was to do at least one unexpected gesture of kindness. Another fairly simple task, but I have to say, just spending the day thinking of something that would make Mark smile was eye opening. It forced me to think about him and his needs most of the day, which is always a good thing. This morning when I woke up, I came downstairs to my awaiting mug for coffee. Every morning I find something silly that Mark has done with my cup. Most mornings he had a little buddha figurine hiding underneath, but there have been many mornings I come down to find a silly mug sculpture with several items stacked 2 feet high with my mug and buddha at the bottom. Or, I'll find something silly inside my mug like a bottle of vitamins. Yesterday he made a smiley face with my mug as the nose, the creamer and sugar as the eyes and toothpicks for the smile. I can't even begin to express what that simple daily gesture does to start my day. I always wake up with a smile. This morning my grin was ear to ear when I found a message formed by toothpicks that said "I love Jamie". What really got me was the realization that I didn't know if he had done this for the "challenge" or just because. I feel so loved to actually have to ponder that question.

Mark had to go in to the office today and of course he rode his new motorcycle. On the two or so occasions that he has gone in and rode his bike, I have asked him to call me, or text me so I know he made it safe, I always worry about him in traffic on that little bike. This morning he made it out the door without me asking him to let me know he was safe. About 30 minutes later I get a message from him saying he's safe and he loves me. Another kind gesture that I'm pondering as to whether or not it was part of the challenge. I took to heart a lot about my husband today. What I learned today was to open my eyes and see what is right in front of me. This challenge has not forced us to do things we don't normally already do, it has forced us to see what is already there and take it to heart.

For my kind gesture to Mark today I couldn't decide what to do until I remembered the other day discussing my messy desk with him. I was analyzing my Myers-Briggs personality test with him, which mentioned a cluttery desk. I told him how different we were in that respect, and how clean his desk always is. Apparently, he doesn't think so. He actually told me he rarely ever cleans his desk. I remembered that today and decided to clean his desk. I dusted his monitors, desk, lamp, etc., cleaned between all of the keys on his keyboards and just did a basic clean up. Yeah, I know, nothing big, but honestly, it was hard to think of something out of the ordinary and simple that he wouldn't expect. He was very happy and thankful of course.

The kiddos actually completed today's challenge as well. Ashley's friend dropped off her straightening iron in the mailbox early this morning and Alex went to get it for her (in his underwear no less). And later on in the afternoon, Ashley bought him some candy at the Rec. Center. I'm so proud of my little monkeys! They are doing such a good job with our challenges!! I can't wait to see what's next.


Yesterday, Ashley declared that she is a vegetarian. Suddenly, she can't stand the thought of eating an animal. While Mark and I are, and more than likely always will be "meat eaters", I find this interesting and I fully support her in this "endeavor" It's so fun watching this little lady change and grow. (We'll see how long she can keep it up) :)

Day 1 - The Love Dare

Today is day 2 of The Love Dare, but I HAVE to post about Day 1 now while it's still fresh in my mind. I have to make this short and sweet since I'm already running late getting ready for work.

I prepared the kids and Mark for Day 1 the night before. Initially, Alex was completely turned off to it. He could not imagine not saying a single negative thing all day to Ash...and then the thought of 40 days of similar challenges had him up in arms. "No, I'm not doing it, that's too long" I was finally able to talk him in to it, by encouraging him to just look at each day individually. I had him only focus on tomorrows task. When he finally agreed, I was so proud of him...but really I knew an entire day of nothing negative towards his sister was an incredible task.

I'm happy, proud and elated to say that Alex and Ashley made it through the ENTIRE day without saying a single negative word. What amazed me most was hearing Alex talk about this challenge and how it made him happy to be positive, and then, he got it. He told me that he could see how this was so easy that it wouldn't be that big of a deal to just make it a habit everyday, and not just on this "challenge" day. My heart swelled. He GOT IT!!!!

Mark and I made it through the day just as easily as I suspected. We are typically positive people and always make that effort.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the challenge and what lessons we have in store.

Now, I'm off to work before it gets any later.