Tag Archives: Spin Cycle

Celebrating firsts, whether I’m with her or not

I’ve been there for most of my first daughter’s firsts. First tooth, first steps, first day of preschool, first time riding a bike without training wheels.

First day of preschool
First day of preschool

I listened to her read her first book, Olivia’s Opposites, I held her hand when the dentist pulled out her first loose teeth (they wouldn’t come out on their own!), and I held her hand as we walked to her first day of Kindergarten.

First day of Kindergarten
First day of Kindergarten

However, there are some firsts that I missed. When Lily slept in a big girl bed for the first time, I was in the hospital after giving birth to Emmy. My parents had brought my old twin bed and set it up for Lily, so that Emmy would have a crib to sleep in when we came home from the hospital. Lily’s first sleepover was away from home. Oh, how I missed having her in her twin bed in the room next to mine! And there have been other firsts that I have missed because she was in school and I was at work; first visits to plays and museums that she has done without me.

As Lily grows older, there will be many more firsts for her that I will miss. It will be bittersweet for me; I was sad to miss her first night in a big girl bed, but was also happy that my parents had helped with that transition when I came home with a newborn. Some of her firsts make me nervous; such as the first time she crossed the street alone. She came home safe and sound after that first. Lily will not want me with her for some future firsts; she will definitely not want me there the first time she kisses a boy.

Safety patrol
First day as Safety Patrol

When Lily went to the Museum of Science and Industry without me, she came home and talked nonstop about her first visit. I know that I won’t always be there for the many “firsts” to come, but Lily knows that I’ll always be there to listen to all her “firsts.”

This week on the Spin Cycle, your writing prompt is Firsts. First day of school? First date? First driving lesson? First job? Write about a “First” in your life. Link it up here!

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Not So Thrifty

I have to admit, I am not one for thrift shop shopping. I do go into Good Will occasionally when I need to look for a Halloween costume. I’m more of a thrift shop giver than a thrift shop buyer. There’s a box in the family room right now, filling up with donations as we clean my kids’ rooms to get them ready for a new school year.

My mom, on the other hand, was an excellent bargain hunter. She dragged me and my sister all over the place looking for good deals. Thrift stores weren’t quite as abundant in the rural community where we lived, but we went to yard sales and farm auctions, looking for good deals. At one auction, I remember snow flurries flying around in the crisp autumn air while the auctioneer barked bids out into the crowd. Mom splurged that day and bought us some hot chocolate.

It wasn’t just that Mom wanted a good deal; it was also that we didn’t have much money. She was very thrifty and it seemed like nothing we owned was new. My sister always got the raw end of the deal, because when I did get new clothes and shoes, she always got my hand-me-downs. That’s just the way it was.

And then there was my grandma. She practically brought the thrift store to us. When we were in high school, we had moved up to the suburbs and there were now four children in our family. Grandma would scour the church rummage sale for clothes for us, and since she volunteered at the church, would also bring us all the clothes that didn’t get sold. She would bring garbage bags full of clothes for us to try on. Mom, Grandma, my sister and I would go to the basement to sort though the piles of clothes. They smelled musty and made me sneeze. When I tried on something she thought was nice but I didn’t like it, she would shake her head and lay on the guilt trip. How could I turn up my nose at these perfectly good clothes? It was a question I could answer easily; the kids at school were wearing Guess jeans, and wearing someone else’s castaways was not going to make me popular. Not that I would have been popular any way!

When I turned 16, Mom drove me around to various stores in our suburb to apply for jobs. It was time for me to make money from more than babysitting. A new Pizza Hut was opening up in a strip mall close by, and I became a waitress there. It was ideal job because I could walk to work, and the cooks would make me personal pan pizzas for my break. And now I had money–mostly to save for college–but some money to buy clothes! From the mall! I still couldn’t afford Guess jeans, but my jeans were now not preworn!

What about you? Do you shop at thrift shops or garage sales? Have you found any bargains lately? Share with us in the comments or link up your blog post below!

NEXT WEEK is back to school! I’ve been seeing a lot of first day of school pictures on Facebook. Look for the linky on Monday!

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4 Ways I Relieve Stress

There have been times in my life when I’ve been under a lot of stress. Ugh, I hate stress! One of the ways I deal with stress is by banging things, like cabinet doors and laundry baskets. This is not good and only tends to damage things!

A much healthier way for me to let off steam and relax is to take a walk. Walking is something I used to do often when I was single and living in DeKalb. I would walk for at least an hour; crisscrossing the quiet streets and looking at old ivy-covered houses. When Lily was first born, I felt a lot of first-time-motherhood stress and was dying to get her outside for walks. But it was November, and of course with my new mom anxiety, I thought it was too cold to take Lily outside when it probably would have been good for both of us!

Sometimes I also use visualization to relax. I tend to get tension headaches after stressful situations, and a few years ago I could count on getting a headache after one of my many doctors’ appointments. Those headaches are just paralyzing! I would take a couple of ibuprofen and lie down on my bed, visualizing the pain leaving my body through my hands and my feet. I do the same sort of thing when I’m really nervous; I shake my hands and let the anxiety drain out through my fingers. My mom taught me this trick; she would use it when she sang solos; and I do the same!

And that brings me to another way I relieve stress–singing! Whether it’s belting out a Dixie Chicks song while I’m cooking dinner or choir rehearsal on Wednesdays, singing always makes me feel better.

Singing with my sisters

But my favorite way to relax is to sit down with a good book. Much of my stress comes from within myself. I can’t stop worrying about things I can’t change. Reading is definitely an escape for me; it helps calm my mind and relaxes my body. I love to read right before I go to bed; reading helps me sleep!

Emmy in pink
Reading makes me happy!

How do you get stress relief? How do you relax? Share your relaxation tips with us for the Spin Cycle this week!

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Monday is National Thrift Shop Day, and for the Spin Cycle next week we’ll write about “one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

See what this week’s newsletter looks like by clicking HERE!



Sugar Sand of Michigan

It’s been a week since I last dug my toes into the sandy beach and watched my kids play in the waves. I love the beach!

Sand castle

I love hearing the waves wash up on the shore. I love sitting under my beach umbrella reading a book. I love walking on the beach, looking for treasures among the rocks. This year we found some sea glass and a really big dead fish. I didn’t love that so much.

mermaid tail

I love watching my kids have best time ever playing on the beach, building sand castles, pretending they are mermaids, and jumping in the waves.

Lake Michigan beach

One day the water will be as smooth as glass and you can see schools of silvery minnows darting this way and that. The next day the water can be choppy and rough, boogie board ready. I spent so much time among the waves that my fingers turned into prunes. The water was gorgeous and warm, something that you can’t take for granted in the Great Lakes.


There are things I don’t like about the beach, however. I don’t like getting too much sun, even when we tried to be careful and reapplied the sunscreen. It’s not fun taking off your swimsuit in the bathroom and having clumps of sand falling to the floor. It’s been a week since we left, and I’m still finding sand in Lily’s hair.

The worst part about the beach? Leaving.

What do you love/hate? Link up your blog post here and be sure to stop by and say hi to all our Spinners!

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Trekkie or Trekker? And Other Geekiness.

Even though my sister and I refer to ourselves as “Trekkies,” we are actually “Trekkers.” Why, yes, there is a difference! Trekkies have the reputation of being slightly off-balance in their devotion to Star Trek, while Trekkers are more rational and just have fun with their Star Trek fandom.

Our devotion to Star Trek began back in the 70’s and can be blamed on our father. I remember watching countless episodes of the original series with Dad. They were all reruns, of course, and it was so exciting to see a rerun airing on TV that was rarely shown!

flip phone or communicator? Beam me up, Scotty!
Flip phone or communicator? Beam me up, Scotty!

We’ve never attended a Star Trek Convention or put on pointy ears. But we have played Star Trek Trivia and have bought Dad all the Star Trek spaceship Christmas tree ornaments, much to the dismay of our mother!

Of course, I also watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager, but I never got into Deep Space Nine or Enterprise. Even though I’m a die hard original Star Trek fan, however, I really enjoyed the newest Star Trek movies. Chris Pine plays Captain Kirk brilliantly!

Alas, I have not spread my enjoyment of Star Trek to my children. I have the original Star Wars movies on video tape, and they enjoy watching Princess Leia stare down Darth Vader. I’m okay with that.

Emmy is more of a Star Wars fan.
Emmy is more of a Star Wars fan.

So that takes care of my T.V. show inner geek, but I am actually even geekier when it comes to books. I also blame this on my father! There was a huge bookshelf packed full of Dad’s books in our house when we were growing up. Most of the books did not look interesting to me, but the ones I did grab off the shelf soon became favorites. Growing up in a small town meant that we didn’t have access to a public library, and our school library was very small. Dad and Mom helped us build our own collection of books, buying us the Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew series one book at a time. My sister and I cherished those books, and reread them over and over. In 6th grade, I developed a new book obsession; I grabbed my dad’s copy of The Lord of the Rings. It must have taken me forever to read, and I’m sure I didn’t understand some of what Tolkien wrote, but I was hooked! I found that when I reread those books, I discovered new points to the plot that I had missed before. On my last rereading, about a year ago, I made sure to actually read the words to all the songs and poems that I had always skipped over when I was younger. You know that question that asks what book would you bring with you to a deserted island? My answer has always been The Lord of the Rings. (This may be cheating a little bit, since it’s actually three books, but that’s my final answer!)

What brings out your inner geek? Is it a television show or a movie? What book would you bring if you were stranded on a deserted island? Share your inner geek here!

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