family visits & family love

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”

– George Bernard Shaw

It has been busy, busy in the Mighty Milner household. Between Fort Sumter, school performances, stomach bugs, teething & the Holiday of Lights display, these last two weeks have been an utter blur.

Dr. M landed safely & securely from Denver. He had a heck of a time at his latest conference, hanging out with old and new colleagues. He was super tired once he landed [he doesn’t remember most of our conversation on our way home from the airport], and crashed hard once home. He pulled himself together, though, and got back to grindstone the very next day for work.

Sophia had that Monday off due to a teacher work day, so she helped me clean the house. Grandma and PopPop were headed this way! Yea, yea, yea! She was super excited to realize that not only were the grandparents coming in all their glory, but staying for TEN WHOLE DAYS! She was psyched, I was psyched, everyone was psyched. Even Gabe was excited; he didn’t do his whole “I-seemingly-hate-men-with-beards” thing and scream when they walked in the door. So, that was nice.

We had a full ten days in good ole CHS. We celebrated Halloween [Sophia was IronMan – not IronWoman, by the way. Get it right, other parents. Yeesh.] Mom & Dad saw her school, they took us to Savannah for a day-trip [super fun, by the way, and we’ll definitely be headed back again], Dad & Dr. M went to Fort Sumter and came back gushing with all sorts of new facts about the Civil War, and we walked all over town and ate way too many delicious, over-filling meals. They also watched my kids, took Sophia to the movies, did my dishes, and blessed me in so, so many ways.

I texted Dr M this brochure - he was all the more excited to head to Savannah the next time around!

I texted Dr M this brochure – he was all the more excited to head to Savannah the next time around!

We headed to the famed Leopold's Ice Cream shop. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe [this is Honey Almond Cream, in their waffle cone] Oh my!

We headed to the famed Leopold’s Ice Cream shop. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe [this is Honey Almond Cream, in their waffle cone] Oh my!

Grandparents. Are. Awesome.

I got a huge break Friday morning, when my parents shoved me out the door, gave me some cash, and said “Don’t come back until school is over.”

Yeah, you don’t have to tell me twice.

I went to a bookstore. I ordered coffee; I browsed, slowly and thoroughly, and found titles that desperately wanted to read. I went to clothing stores; I browsed, slowly and thoroughly, and found clothes that filled out my wardrobe for both now and the summer. I shopped for Christmas; I browsed, slowly and thoroughly, and found the perfect paper, the perfect ribbon, the perfect gifts.

A book I knew I wanted to buy, and was excited to see on the shelves of the local B&N. I read it in a day, and will definitely reread it as I continue on my faith. It's amazing.

A book I knew I wanted to buy, and was excited to see on the shelves of the local B&N. I read it in a day, and will definitely reread it as I continue on my faith. It’s amazing.

Never once did I say “Sit down”; “Get back in the cart!”; “And just where do you think you’re going?”; “Oh, okay, we’ll find a bathroom ASAP”; “I know you’re tired, just five more minutes”.

It was heaven. Seriously – heaven.

*All moms of small children, you know you’re nodding with me*

They left on Saturday, after a send-off breakfast. Those good-byes are always so sad; so full of thank yous, I love yous, of almost tears [that later morph into real ones]. The kicker this time around is we have no definite date as to when we will see each other again. We’re not going to Kansas City for Christmas, so the next guaranteed time is summer. That’s a long, long way away. Sigh.

Sophia was definitely sad. We swapped stories about how sad we were, and about how when I was a kid, I used to be sad when I had to say good-bye to my Grandma Dee. She’s smoothed out now, and is focused on Atlanta and Thanksgiving and the next round of family she gets to see.

No sooner had my folks left than I got sick. It was/is no good. I thought I had indigestion, because let’s be real – I ate like I haven’t in a long, long time. We had a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday and I ate a funnel cake at the Holiday of Lights [awesome, by the way – the lights, I mean]. So, I chalked it up to bad food and tried to get through my day. But I didn’t get better. It’s now Day Six, and I’m mostly better. I tried to do too much on Wednesday, and paid for it yesterday. I slept all day long, which means Gabe had free reign of the iPad, because it meant he would actually sit still for more than five minutes. We snuggled on the loveseat after the school run, and when he went to bed, I went back to bed myself.

apparently I have the stomach of an 80 year old woman. and I didn't even finish it. yeesh.

apparently I have the stomach of an 80 year old woman. and I didn’t even finish it. yeesh.

I’m 90% sure I’m on the mend now; I woke up this morning feeling much better, and wanting to do things that normal humans do. Like, eat real food and drink coffee. Y’all know I’m sick when I can’t handle coffee, and I absolutely could not handle it for the last five days.

But, there’s always something to balance the good, right? Gabe is teething [I’m pretty sure it’s all four of his #4s – oh. my. god. He is a crabby mess]; Dr. M came home yesterday, worn out and sick with a head cold. I’m crossing my fingers that he’s not totally, super, stuck in bed sick. We’ll see. Sophia is fine; she had her own fair share of illness last month, and I’m hoping we all get it out of our systems before the holidays. We’ll leave it on a positive note. How do you see this smile, and not feel happy? Try it, I double-dog dare you.

see? she's peachy-keen and loving herself some Cheetos.

see? she’s peachy-keen and loving herself some Cheetos.

I am a grown-up, I am a grown-up, I am a grown-up [Repeat until you believe it]

“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”

-Julie Andrews

And now, all I want to do is watch “The Sound of Music”. Anyone else? So, speaking of discipline, I hit a wall with our budget. It was an ugly, brick wall, where I got a nasty black eye and then I punched it because I was mad, but broke my hand, because, you know … it’s a brick wall. Silly me.

After some serious wailing & gnashing of teeth, I think I’ve figured it out[ish]. Dave Ramsey & I are now best buds, and what I previously thought were well-constructed budgets were not, and I’ve mostly fixed it them. All my researching and typing and [poor] math over the last week has been a good thing, and forced us to realize some ugly truths in our spending habits [because let’s say it right now, Dr. M is not the problem in the money world here. He spends nothing. Ever.] The big issue I found in our money is food, pure and simple. I tallied what we spent on groceries and eating out last month, and oh-my-god-it-was-horrifying. Like, go hide under a bed and never show anyone that number. To anyone. Ever.

Part of the trouble was I hated [or, more accurately, still hate] cooking. I’m not that great at it [ask my family]; I have to do it every day [ugh – dishes]; and overall, I’d rather be reading than standing over a freakin’ hot stove in the subtropical climate that is CHS. I admitted as much to Dr. M, and got a wonderful stare down that made me realize how foolish I’ve been. Yes, I hate it. So, make it better and find a solution so that we’re not spending $30 every other night on pizza. [That stare was mighty powerful, right?]

So that’s my new goal. To not eat out [except for when it really, really is important & it’s budgeted for] and feed my family. Streamline the dinner process, make it simple and realize that I will always be making dinner forever and ever, and get over it.

The big lesson I’ve learned over the last week is one of discipline. Saying, planning, and talking are all nice things – and you know me; I love a good list and organized calendar. But the bigger point is to actually do what you’ve planned. Make dinner for pennies at home, and then be able to put money in savings. Don’t buy junk food at Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds, and feel healthier AND have money in the bank. Amazing, I know. I just have been defaulting to what’s easy.

And easy has been killing us. Here’s to better health, eh?