The greatest idea ever invented. Ever.

Last week, I shared with you the Husband's brilliant idea for spring break. Remember how I told you we handed our kids a pile of cash and told them they were in charge of what we did over spring break, and any remaining money at the end of the week was theirs to split three ways? That idea. [For better details, click over to the link.]

Anyway, I am here to report our success. And what a success it was.

The kids set a goal to only spend half the money, leaving the last day of spring break as a shopping day where we would hit the mall and they could buy whatever their little hearts desired with the rest.

Which, thanks to budgeting and prioritizing on their part, they were able to achieve.

For once, I was not the entertainment committee. And I was not stuck home, listening to whiny kids beg for something to do. In fact, they didn't whine or fight once. NOT ONCE. We ate out several times. We saw a movie. We had friends over. We snuggled up together in my big bed and had movie nights. We went bike riding. We (or I should say they) went fishing. And, at the end of it all, they got to shop for something new.

Though, the interesting thing to note was how much less willing they were to buy things when the money was their own. When it's me shopping at the mall with the Husband's my money? They want everything in sight. When the cash has to part out of their own grubby little hands? Not so much.

Here are some highlights of the week --

At the zoo with their BFFs where, clearly, they did not have any fun:




The photographer's son taking approximately 900 pictures in three hours, and all of them animals:


Don't you want to come over and look at slides from his vacations?

We had three days of near 80 degree weather, so we took advantage of that and went on several bike rides (as my very sore heinie can attest to. Yikes. How do people ride bikes? Tour de France? I am thinking Tour de Pain in Your Pants):


Even the Husband got in on the fun with a little basketball at the park:


It was seriously such a great week. So great, in fact, that we are planning on implementing this new idea over summer vacation and on any future trips we take.

I highly recommend it. It just might change your life the way it has changed mine. My children's travel agency is officially closed. Yay!

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

How many of those words came out yelling?


Answer? A lot.

Today was a faow day [pronounced faux, as in fake snow day]. You know, the kind where they keep everyone home for no real reason at all? Normally I am a huge fan of these days, as it means sleeping in, lounging around in PJs, and hanging with cheerful and happy kids all day.

Today it started at six a.m. when the phone rang with the [then] joyous news. I was the only one who went back to sleep.

I was startled awake by the first fight of the morning a mere hour later.

I fed them, showered, and was getting ready when I was interrupted by the second and third fights of the morning.

Apparently, brother one had been throwing ice balls at the sister, resulting in tears, heartache, and tattling galore. Brother two staunchly defended his own innocence. (Though me thinkest thou protesteth a bit too loudly...)

I came downstairs to find three doors flung wide open to the frigid cold outside, soggy piles of melted snow at every turn, and a lonely trail of discarded snow gear leading the way to a large mess in the kitchen.

All before ten-freaking-thirty in the morning.

Lord, I love them something fierce, but sometimes they make it really, really hard to do so.

Faking it, for history's sake

The first day of school came and went. I had planned to stand on the driveway, camera in hand, and dutifully capture every detail of their departure.

After making breakfast and lunches, cajoling, nagging, and cleaning, I went to grab my camera. Tragically, the batteries were dead.

What is it they say about the shoe cobbler's kids never having shoes? A photographer's children never having photographs?

Yeah. Something like that.

So we staged some first-day-of-school-photos on the second day of school. Honestly, in 20 years, no one will be the wiser.

Plus, they'll be too busy mocking their hair and outfits (and blaming me for both) to really care, I am sure.


This boy came bursting home on the first day, eager, happy, and thrilled with his new grade. Second day? Eh. Not so much. Turns out that teachers like to give homework; plus, tests and studying will be requirements this year.

Unlike his hopes and dreams otherwise.

Good news is he will survive. Really, what choice does he have?


This kid wore his new clothes the first day (which, mind you, I forced him to purchase) then happily threw on his oldies for the second day. Don't know why I bother spending ANY money at all on him. He would prefer to dig through the trash and find old things to wear, use, and undoubtedly, eat.

He is excited to be playing violin this year, and when we went to rent his instrument, they offered a wide price range of options. When the sales lady assured us that they all play the same, but vary in looks only, he requested the oldest, most scratched up violin possible. She laughed, looked at me like, "Is he serious?" and I just shrugged my shoulders.

I am pretty sure he is the first kid in the history of the world to request the old, ugly violin. Most are probably begging and pleading for the newer, unscratched models.

Not Chase. Gotta love that kid. He's saving me thousands of dollars against my will.


The little princess has been THRILLED with her first few days of school. Her BFF Jilian is finally in her class this year, and they have been two peas in a pod. Every day is a new adventure in chatting with her besties. School work, reading, tests? Not on the priority list for this social butterfly. School = friends.

She dresses herself daily and (to my dismay) always looks way cuter than I do. I am thinking those critical comments she makes about my wardrobe might have some substance to them after all. Crap.

And me?

Well, I'm holding my own and trying not to have too much fun during the day. In three days, I have already treated myself to lunch, a movie, a shopping spree, and a nap. It's glorious. I think I love school more than anyone else in the world.

Except for one thing: Its constant interruption of my sleep.


(As modeled by Hannah for you here)

The six a.m. alarm clock is killing me. It will soon be dark at that hour, and cold, and I don't know how I will survive another nine months of this. I'm a frightful beast early in the morning and look something like this:


Yikes, right?

How many days until Christmas vacation?