Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Readying for the next big event...

Three little noses are pressed to the window this morning watching the entertainment next door. The man who plows our neighbor's driveway apparently backed his truck into the snowbank and buried his back tires and another truck has been spinning his tires trying to pull him out for the past fifteen minutes or so. So of course when I spotted this scenario you know I called out, "Hey kids! Come look at this!" You can't buy this type of entertainment, folks.

I wonder if the men milling around outside appreciate their cheering section at all- Wahoo! He's gettin' out! Yeeeaaah! come the enthusiastic cries from my kids who are perched on the back of the couch.

Moments later... Okay, that did not end well. At some point, Hannah left the viewing stand and got into Jack's new markers that were left on the kitchen table- to which of course he flipped out and pulled her of the bench. Now Hannah's sporting a bobbed lip, the plow guy is gone, and a new war is brewing over whose candy Hannah just found on the kitchen counter. Ahh... The peaceful week that follows Christmas day is pure bliss, I tell you.

Quite truthfully it has been a fun few days. My sister and her family are in town which means lots of time speant drinking coffee, visiting, and- for the kids- endless opportunities to play with cousins.

I undecorated the tree yesterday to discover the top is nothing more than some scraggly sticks, and even the mere act of breathing within a two foot radius of the beast causes a rainshower of pine needles. The crispy brances at the bottom are as wide as an elephant, though, so I'm waiting for my husband to clip some limbs off before we attempt to haul the thing out.

I never take my tree down this early- I ususaly like to leave it up for this week after Christmas but this year I suddenly have the pressing desire to clear out December and move on to 2010. Slight nesting instinct is beginning to kick into full gear over here. Approximately six weeks to go combined with my fears of going three weeks early again have me on a sudden time crunch to ready this place for a new baby. Wait a minute. Let me digest that please. Three weeks?! I know it's not likely that I'll go that early again but... I was so unprepared last time, I feel like I have to be ready by that point this time.

Woah. Didn't realize myself I was narrowing in that closely on the final stretch until I typed it. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Please excuse me while I go hyperventilate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day was peaceful and happy. Santa came to this house last night and unloaded a pile of presents under the tree- my kids said they heard him on the rooftop.

This morning both sets of grandparents came over to watch the kids open their presents. The kids amazingly slept in until 9 a.m.- all the Christmas partying has finally caught up with them. However, by about 9:08 all presents were opened. Okay I exaggerate... but only slightly- it didn't take them long to tear through the paper to discover if Santa had delivered their little requests.

My parents then moved on to their next stop while Ryan's parents stayed for lunch (that they provided.) Usually we've gone to their house for lunch on Christmas day, but with the weather unpredictable today and Ryan having to work the afternoon shift, we decided it would be easier to cook lunch here. Talk about easy (for me)! They came in the door with all the fixings for a delicious ham dinner- and all I did was I provide the oven.

So, now the kids are content as can be- busy with their new toys and I'm relaxing here with a cup of coffee musing at how quiet they're being.

What a perfect Christmas Day. So thankful for all we've been blessed with in this life and for that first Christmas day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twas just days before Christmas...

...And ooh, those Oreo truffles in the front porch are killing me. I'm scrimping with them on the party trays, I can't stop thinking about them when I'm sitting down to a cup of coffee. Or right after I've eaten a meal. Or first thing in the morning when I wake up. Or right before I'm heading up the stairs to go to bed. It's rather distracting. And I have this sinking feeling that by the time our last party rolls around on Sunday evening there will be no more Oreo truffles to stick on the plate. They're that good. Or I'm just that pregnant. Either way, I can't let them be. Just one more. Okay. ONE more. And that's it... After the next one. Wait, that one has an odd shape- better get rid of it quick.

I'm trying to waste some time waiting for the kids to fall asleep so I can finish up some last minute things. But they continue to talk and giggle and anticipate, I'm sure, as they have every night for the past week about Santa coming and what he might bring them. Their excitement is no longer containable and it's rather contagious as well. I'm feeling a bit giddy with anticipation myself. Or that could just be the sugar buzz from the truffles.

Or it could be the fact that I'm already slightly overtired. I did something completely uncharacteristic this morning- woke up at 6:30, quickly ate my breakfast and drank my morning coffee while I put the finishing touches on my to-do list, and then went crazy. By 7:40 a.m. I had the entire kitchen cleaned (not a small feat, I might add), the cupboards scrubbed (thanks to my Norwex cleaning rags), and had the floor mopped. I tackled the bathroom as well before the kids awoke. And after they were up and fed, I moved on to the living room (hauled some toys up to the kid's bedrooms, quickly stuffed a few things into a bag to get rid of while they weren't watching), waded through the entry way, cleared out the hallway that seems to be a clutter magnet of miscellaneous homeless items. I have to admit, I was inspired by Juli last week. Thanks Juli- my Christmas present to myself is a clean house! Feels nice.

It's those truffles, I tell you.

Okay, I think the kids are finally settling down. It's been quiet for a few minutes. Time for me to get back to work!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas program

After going to the Sunday school Christmas program this evening and hearing all those sweet little voices telling the Christmas story, I feel like Christmas has truly settled in my heart. The presents are (mostly) wrapped, the baking is done, the tree has been up for some time... But it isn't until I hear those Christmas peices and listen to all the children singing of the very first Christmas day that I finally feel like it's Christmas. I tried to tell the kids, this is what Christmas is really about as we were on our way to the program.

The day we went to visit Santa, I was warmed by Lydia's words as we were on our way to see the jolly old elf himself. We were walking in the door and she slipped her hand in mine and said, I know why we really have Christmas- it's because it's Jesus' birthday. Yes, sweetie, you are exactly right. Amidst all the other excitement that goes on with Christmas I'm so glad they can realize that is the true reason we celebrate.

So as the countdown blazes on- five days to go!- I'm feeling quite peaceful. The next few days promise to be busy (and I gauruntee you this peace will slip away more than once- probably only to be relocated in the box of truffles keeping cold in the front porch). Yet, I'm looking forward to all the Christmas parties and seeing family and friends. And of course, the excitement in my children's eyes on Christmas morning.

I hope you too are able to find some peaceful moments this week- and enjoy the sights and sounds and whispers of Christmas swirling around you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final exams & Christmas cookies

Wow, it's been a while! The semester finished up yesterday with our final exams and it feels so nice to have some time off now. I know how fast the time goes by, and I know this little four week break is going to be gone in a blink between Christmas and parties and family in town... But I'm going to enjoy every minute of not having any papers due or tests to study for!

And then when we go back- one more semester! Even typing that seems unreal. And I don't think I'll believe it until I'm actually done for good. But, oh it's so close now!

In other news- the energy in my house is reaching all time highs this week in the five and under crowd while my patience is waning. I took them to see Santa last weekend and both L & J sat on his lap. J usually isn't so brave, but I think he figured if he didn't voice his wants he might be left with nothing on Christmas morning. Mom keeps threatening that Santa's not going to leave them anything if they're not good so I think he had to take it to the source himself.

We frosted cut out cookies tonight. The kids kept at it for about an hour before they finally tired of it. J spent most of the time frosting a snowflake cookie all different colors and sprinkles. It was quite the work of art by the time he finished with it. I thought I might attempt to do some other baking after the kids were in bed, but somewhere between putting them to bed and scraping the frosting off the table I lost all energy. There's always tomorrow right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. My house is still quiet this morning as the two older kids are gone with Dad to the hunting camp. Every year the dads in my family take the kids out to the hunting camp to spend the night, and this year I was happy to send Ryan out the door with two kiddos.

The grounds are covered in white today which has such a pretty effect- although I'm sure the roads are sloppy. Still, the frosted trees, the puffs of white on the window panes is beautiful from right here.

When Ryan and the kids come home we're off to his parent's for dinner. Family, good food, and so much to be thankful for... Ah, I love this time of year.

Take care in your travels today and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Five years old

Dear Lydia,
You are five years old today which leaves me wondering where the years have gone. You told me you still feel four, and four is still your favorite number. For now. Trying on a new age always takes a little bit of time, dear, and truthfully I think no matter how old we get we always feel the same inside.
The other night I overheard you making a wish as you picked out a 'wishing star' in the clear black sky. You wished you could be a beautiful princess. That is how you are these days- princesses and dress up clothes, imagination and little-girl dreams. Yet you transition so easily between playing with your dollhouse and playing trucks or dinosours with your brother.
You're always skipping and running and fluttering around. One minute you are a figure skater twirling around the living room and the next you're a cross country runner doing laps around the entire downstairs. You're full of stories and hope, childhood dreams and 'happily ever after alls', as you like to say. I love the conversations we have these days.
Someday, as the years go by and the candles on your cake increase, maybe you'll remember your five year old birthday and your princess cake the way I remember the day you were born like it was just a few feathery moments ago. And as you grow older, remember I am always right here for you.
Happy Birthday, Lydia. You already are my princess.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm sitting here drinking my coffee, thinking ahead to what the next weeks might bring. My little girl's birthday, Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas time, and all the busy, crazy joy that goes with that.

There is so much to be thankful for right now. The older I get, the more experiences life brings, the more I realize how grateful I am just to be here, where I am, right now. This pregnancy has really taught me a lot about slowing down and just appreciating the moment we are living in. It's all about finding moments of quietness between the chaos and holding on to those. Moments that let me breathe, let me create, let me be still and appreciate the littlest things.

So right now, with so much to look forward to, I'm happy being right here. My daughter drew a picture yesterday (I wish I had taken a picture of it to share, but I accidentally left it at my Mom's house.) It was a picture of our family- with everyone sporting a bellybutton in the middle of their stomachs. I've often thought it's amusing that kids put bellybuttons in their pictures- just seemed like an odd thing to include. Until my mom filled me in.

She said awhile back a nurse informed her that when children put bellybuttons on their drawings of people it means they have a deep connection with home. That made me smile because- however real that may or may not be- I'd like to believe it's true. This week, especially I was feeling worn and exhausted from unexpected doctor's visits and shuttling the kids from one place to the next for the past several days. So to hear that, I didn't have a choice but to believe it's true- because it warmed me in a way I can't explain.

So today, I'm thankful to be right here with my children. To not have to rush anywhere or be some place else, but to just enjoy being home. There's so much to look forward to, but yet so much to appreciate right now, right here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A little reminder

Here it is Juli. This poem used to hang on my mother's kitchen wall:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
for babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow.
So, quiet down cobwebs,
Dust go to sleep;
I'm rocking my babies,
And babies don't keep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is there a storm coming that I don't know about?!

Oooh, we have an ornery crowd over here today. Before 8 a.m. I felt my nerves were wearing dangerously thin. For some reason, before breakfast I don't do too well with squabbles and whining and wailing declarations of, "I didn't get enough sleep! Jack woke me up too eaaaarllllyy!"

Well, after breakfast in an innocent attempt to improve the situation around here, I proceeded to make construction paper turkeys with L & J. For some crazy Susie-homemaker reason I thought doing something creative might put them in more agreeable moods. Crank up the Christmas music, have a cup of coffee and it will be a fun experience for all, I thought. My rosy plans quickly turned on me because Hannah wouldn't stay off the table and began depositing paper and crayons around the kitchen floor faster than I could get the pieces cut out. As I was reaching for the glue sticks on top the fridge I knocked over a container of foam beads which quickly attracted Hannah's attention. I didn't even try to stop her. Just let her drop them around the house like Hansel & Gretel's bread crumbs (did I get it right this time?). We'll be finding them in various locations until 2012, I'm sure of it.

Then Jack decided to glue his whole project to the window because foolishly I'd mentioned we could hang them in the window when we were done. By this point I was ready to toss everything, but in all attempts to remain calm, I tried to finish what we'd started exclaiming ridiculous falsities over the growing commotion like, "This is such a fun project, hey guys?" while Lydia scowled at me across the table. In the end it was me sitting at the kitchen table gluing the remains together while the kids moved on to something else.

And then the fights continued. Fights over chalk, fights over paper clips, fights over who gets to look at the back of the cookie box. And amidst all that, Hannah continued to perfect her technique of tipping over buckets or boxes or whatever works as a good stool to reach places she shouldn't be... In the process she managed to spill my coffee all over a pattern I'd been reading and a ball of white yarn. And now I just heard something crash in the kitchen followed by a "Whoopsies."

All the while my husband sleeps soundly upstairs after a working the night shift.

That's it. I'm running away. You didn't hear that from me, and you have no idea where I went.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crochet much?

So, I had this naive vision that I could go to Wal-Mart, pick up a crochet hook, come home and type "Learn to crochet" into youtube and within minutes I'd be whipping my way through a hat.

Well. Apparently my hands are all set up to knit and when I put just one needle, uh, excuse me- hook- in my hand I'm all lost. My left hand doesn't know how to hold the yarn- my right hand wants to keep taking over, and therefore I am incapable of keeping any tension on the yarn so by the time I get to the end of the row I've got holes and gaps and crookedy loops going every single direction.

For a quiet hobby that's supposed to be rhythmic and relaxing, I'm doing an awful lot of grumbling and complaining under my breath as I once again tear out the row I've just completed only to try. one. more. time. Because I'm as stubborn as they come. And I want to get this. But oh, it's frustrating.

At this point, I would like to take a moment to negotiate the cruel falsities crocheters (is that a word?) led me to believe throughout the years.

Myth #1: Crocheting is easier than knitting. Uh-huh. Sure it is. If you've never knitted before it's easy to say anything.

Myth #2: Using one hook is so much easier to control than two needles. Well, the concept is nice but when you've learned to knit first there's something so unnatural about dropping a needle.

Myth #3: Crocheting is quicker than knitting. Just for the record I've been sitting here for nearly four hours (yep, four) and the best I have to show is two rows of approximately seven stitches- and ooooh, it's so not pretty. I can't count how many times I've torn back my work. Can't seem to get passed that second row.

So there you have it. It's five after eleven and I'm beat. I hate to admit defeat, but I think for tonight it's time to set aside the crochet hook and the ball of yarn and call it a night before I get vicious. Phooey.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome, November, I'm ready for you

Hellloooo... Is there anyone left out there? It has come to my recent attention that this blog is becoming rather dusty and out of date. Mothballs are piling up in the corners and cobwebs are stringing themselves across the ancient posts. Apparently it's time to do some housecleaning and get back to date.

So, what have we been up to. October was a whirlwind. To break it down quite simply: life was busy. School caught up with me and by the end of the month I was feeling quite overwhelmed.

However- I finished up the last of my clinicals this past week and won't have them again till mid-March! Ryan, on the other hand, starts his this week. While I did enjoy my clinicals this year, I'm happy to be done with them for awhile- time to focus on other things... I'm down to one day of class a week so that should leave me with some time to pay attention to the other aspects of my life that are in desperate need of housecleaning as well.

I'm really looking forward to November this year. Yet, sad to say, an era has come to an end: this will be the first November in approximately 12 years that I won't be participating in the Christmas Bazaar. Which means no late nights scrambling to get things done, no pouring over sites and magazines searching for better ideas. That leaves me feeling slightly nostalgic, but mostly relieved. I had to make a choice this year about how much stress I needed to create in my life- and as it turns out- the least stressful way won out. How about that. Maybe next year I can do it again. Maybe. I might like this year off too much, however.

So what will I focus November on? Well, there are still three piles of material begging to be sewn into quilts. There's three half-started stockings that probably won't be hung this year but would still like a chance. There's plans to be made for Christmas projects and baking and, yes- of course- shopping. I enjoy this time of year so much! Let's put the Christmas music on, heat up a cup of cider, and welcome November.

I'm ready to get started, yet making to-do lists for this week with some reserve. Ryan was sick this past week and while the rest of us are still healthy I've been holding my breath waiting for it to strike in the kids. Every time someone so much as sits quietly and looks at a stack of books, I'm running over to plaster my hand across their forehead thinking for sure they're coming down with a fever. Maybe we'll luck out and they'll all stay healthy- me, included.

Happy November, everyone!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The merry-go-round ride continues and once again it's Friday. My house is upside down and showing severe signs of neglect as all I've done this week is run in and out. Finally, I'm home, and plan to stay here for a bit.

So here I sit, once again without much of a voice due to the world's longest cold. Seriously, I just can't get rid of this thing. Just when I think I'm almost over it it comes creeping back. Can't have much to do with too little sleep and too many 5 a.m. mornings, now can it? Not to mention a test yesterday that parralleled the boards in difficulty.

But, ahh... The weekend's here. And I think my older two have schemed up a plan to go spend the night at Grandma & Grandpa's which leaves my Saturday wide open. Hopefully I can whip this house back into shape while still spending an adequte amount of time with my feet up. Yes, I'm a dreamer.

I had an ultrasound this morning and the baby was so active the tech was having a hard time getting measurements. It took her awhile and at one piont she commented, "If this baby comes out this active you're going to be in for trouble." Oh? Sounds like one of the family to me.

Oooh, mom's aren't meant to lose their voice. Let me vent here for a moment: it's not fair. The kids completely ignore me when I try to talk to them and Lydia just laughed at me and said, "It's kind of funny when you yell."

Thanks. I'll just take a bowl of chicken soup a good book now, please.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Here's the recipe I mentioned in the post below... Perfect meal for a cool fall day! (I increase all ingredients a little to make about six pork chops). Enjoy!


4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

4. Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Hello, October

I'm enjoying this gray, cold October morning over here. It looks like a good day to tackle some projects around the house and clean out some corners. I admit, I'm really liking the cooler weather- I feel like I have a lot more energy and inspiration... exactly what I've been severely lacking since the start of the school year.

But today... today I feel like overhauling my room and the kids rooms, packing away shorts and summer shirts and pulling out the fleece pajamas and cozy sweaters. I feel like lighting my pumpkin spice candle and letting it's aroma fill the kitchen. I'm in the mood to use up some of the apples from my parent's tree and make a hot meal of carmel apple pork chops.

Autumn is a nostalgic time. Crisp breezes that bring me back to cross country meets and football games. Falling leaves to press between pages in a book and make collages with the kids. Hot apple cider steaming from a mug that always reminds me of the first fall my husband and I lived as a married couple. Big sweaters, extra blankets on the beds, and hot breakfasts.

Ah, fall is definitely upon us! And I'm loving it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here it goes...

One of the added bonuses of being a student means sitting in germ-infested desks and catching undesirable bugs. I'm taking it easy today- I've been plowed over by a cold and I'm hoping to knock it out fast with Vitamin Cs and Zinc because tomorrow is the big test out day in lab and Monday starts our clinicals. (Had orientation last week, now it's the real thing.)

The next five weeks are going to get a bit crazy. At least Ryan and I have opposite clinicals so he's able to be home with the kids on my clinical days and then I'll be home when he has his clinicals. I'm already looking forward to my clinicals being done and his beginning because I'll only have one day of classes at that point. So the last six weeks of the semester should be much. Easier. To deal with.

On a brighter note, we saw some beautiful fall colors on our drive to I******d yesterday- a good added bonus of having to make that drive every Thursday. I have to remember to take my camera along next week.

Well, the kids have broken into the stash of paper bags and are filling them at alarming paces with toys and treasures. Jack's lugging around five of them himself. Lydia's single bag consists of a pile of dress-up clothes that she scored from her auntie's house the other day (my sister found a huge bag of dress up dresses, shoes, crowns and wands for $2 at garage sale!) So for the past couple of days I've had a princess teetering around on plastic heels over here.

OOh. The kids are in for a treat today. I just was telling Jack- for the third time- not to monkey with the vacuum cleaner cord and I felt my voice giving out. Something tells me it's only going to get worse from here.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mental Health for Moms

Note to self:
Do NOT make an ooey-gooey chocolate covered concoction that my husband with the decidedly missing sweet tooth declares he could 'take or leave' and my kids don't really particularly care for on the same week that I have a big test coming up. Because, as one might imagine, that leaves me to dig through the pan, bar-by-bar, inch by inch until all of the sudden I find myself starring at my reflection in the bottom of my 9x13 declaring in mock-horror, "Who ate all these? I just made them yesterday!?" as if I might convince anyone within earshot that I had nothing to do with helping them dissappear.

Then again... It does help those mental health terms sink in a little better for the upcomming test. For example:

Denial: the refusal to acknowledge the existance of a real situation or the feelings associated with it. As in There's no way I could have eaten all of them by myself. Someone else must have had some.

Displacement: the transferring of feelings from one target to another that is considered less threatening or neutral. While stressing for an upcoming test, the student decided to take out her frustrations on the innocent pan of scotcharoos.

Projection: attribution of feelings or impulses unacceptable to one's self to another person. The individual 'passes the blame' for these undesirable feelings or impulses to another providing releif from the anxiety associated with them. i.e. Really, if someone else would have eaten these with me I wouldn't have consumed half the pan by myself!

Rationalization: attempt to make excuses or formulate logical reasons to justify unacceptable feelings or behaviors. Hah. hahahah. I don't normally eat like this. It's only because I'm studying for this test, you see.

And so on and so forth. You get the picture. You see... It really was all part of my plan to help me learn these therms afterall. Ahem.

Enjoy your day. I'll be enjoying whats left of the scotcharoos.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lack of sleep & heavy pigs

Whose smart idea was it to only make enough coffee for me to have two cups this morning? Or... In other words...What was I thinking? Ugh. Lately I've been unable to sleep well- not really too shocking- but last night I thought I'd get to bed at a decent hour. So, I was exhausted by 10:00, went upstairs to read for awhile- and around 11:00 as I'm just about to fall asleep- the phone rings downstairs. And of course, I didn't make it down in time.

Well. For reasons I shall not go into in great depth- except to say that during a lightening storm something happened with the phone wire that runs into the kitchen and apparently this is not something my husband deems a real neccesary item to fix- my answering machine is in my basement. In the darkest, most spider-filled, dirtiest corner of our one hundred year old basement. And my husband was working the night shift.

As anyone does, I hate when the phone rings so late at night. Well, there wasn't a great chance that I was going to be creeping down into the basement to see if whoever it was left a message, but all sorts of interesting and horrible scenarios began to clutter my mind. Multiplied by the fact that I was the only adult in the house.

So, I called my husband several times, trying to get ahold of him to see if it was him calling. No answer. By this point I was wide awake, jittery, and well past the point of feeling like I could easily fall back asleep. Finally, closer to midnight, my husband calls and says it was him calling, but that he got busy at work right after he called and couldn't return my calls right away. Understandable and not his fault. But there went my plan of getting to sleep at a good hour.

That brings me to this morning. Foggy and sleep-deprived. And laughing because I just overheard Lydia telling Hannah as she hoisted her up, "You're one heavy pig!" Hello? A heavy pig?

Lots of stuff to get done today: studying for a test, finishing an autobiography, and hopefully getting a start on the several chapters I need to get read by Thursday. And later today- which I'm looking forward to, which should propel me through the day- a fun evening with Lydia. Every once and awhile (very rarely, actually) we go out for a "girl's night". Basically consists of Wal-mart, the Dollar Store, and maybe ice cream. But, I love those times- even if it's something that's only happened a time or two in the past year.

Haha, groan. Now they're naming their toy horses after their grandparents and hanging them upside down by the legs. Jack just exclaimed in great mock-horror, "Grandpa B. fell down!!!" Oh, boy.

I must get moving, the morning is slipping away. Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another beautiful fall morning

Ah, man, I missed it. I was aiming for a post at 9:09 on 09-09-09. No, not really, just thought of it right now after I talked to my mom who said someone was getting married this morning at that time. Funny.

Well, we've jumped into fall. School started last week and despite my several mini-panic attacks in the days leading up to it, I think it will go okay. The schedule isn't bad and so far the workload seems manageable. Oooh, I just set myself up for things to get a whole lot worse, didn't I? Despite all that I debated all last week if I should be going or not. That's just me adjusting to change.

My kids- the ones I worry about the most with me going to school- love it. They get to spend Thursdays at Grandma's house because we both have to be gone. They can't wait to get there, and even after several hours there, they're not ready to leave.

Did I ever tell you what Lydia told me on the way home from church one day? We were sitting in the grocery store parking lot, waiting for Dad to pick up some lunch and she pipes up from the back seat, "Mom, are there any other Moms we could have?"

"You mean, instead of me?" I asked.

"Well. Yeah."

Huh. So she thought she could just trade me in that easily. Just to be safe I took her and Jack for Icees that afternoon and when I asked her after that if I was okay then she said I was. Woo-hoo! Got me a little worried there for a moment.

Anyways, one of my kids just tapped the Publish Post button and I wasn't exactly done rambling so I suppose I should add on my edit here and be done with it. My coffee pot is calling and I think I need to oblige.

Friday, August 28, 2009


It was one of those moments. I was standing in line at the bank, waiting for the next available teller, ready to get myself some cash to hit up a few garage sales. At the counter, I made my request and waited while the teller processed it.

"Any certain bills?" She asked, looking up at me.

Well, huh. That's rather personal, I thought. Now why would she need to know if this money is for bills?!

"Uh, excuse me?" I said hoping for some clarification.

"Would you like any certain bills?" she repeated as she opened the cash drawer.

And silently I went, Ohh. Yeah, bills. Those greenbacks I came in for? Yeah, them things. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Holding on to Summer

I know I haven't updated very frequently these days. Summer caught a hold of us this past week and we crammed all that we could into those few warm days. And even if the weather isn't supposed to be as beautiful as it was, we plan to cram as much as we can into the next week as well.



School starts in little over a week. I don't know how I feel about that. A little alarmed that summer will soon bow out for the year, a little nervous how everything, if everything, will work out. But ready (I guess) to get it going, get it over with. One. more. year. And a baby due halfway through to make things a little more enetertaining!

But for the time being I'm holding on to summer. Ready for a few more bonfires, a few more saunas, a few more days of cramming sandy beach towells into the bag, packing the cooler, and trekking out to the camp to visit my sister and her family.

Let the seasons change, let it be what it will. But, summer's not over yet!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Announcement of the month!

Attention! Newsflash! Stop what you're doing and check this out. (Well. Okay, I don't really expect you to appreciate it the way we do, but still. An event of this magnitude must be chronicled.)

My little girl who is 18 months old today officially walks.

Yes, you heard correctly. We have been waiting and waiting. And waiting. And cheering and clapping at the sign of anything that remotely resembled an unassisted step. But, alas she kept us waiting until this past week to really take off on her own. And as predicted, she hasn't stopped since. She almost runs already. Turns around, walks sideways, backwards, whatever the mood strikes. Why start walking before you can do it all, right?

She is enjoying herself so much. Loves when the other kids run with her and makes me feel like she is now a toddler and no longer the baby she's been up until this point. Her new found freedom makes her so happy and it's contagious. The other two are still exclaiming with amazement, "Mom! Hannah's walking!" Yes, we thought this was a feat that was worthy of some serious enthusiasm.

Okay, you can go back to whatever you were doing now. Just had to share.

It looks like a beautiful day to be outside. A day to put everything else aside and soak up the warm weather. Enjoy your day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Road Trip Weekend

What an awesome weekend we just had! Life seems to have been in non-stop motion since our vacation at the camp came to an end, and it's only going to increase at snowballing speeds as the month goes on, but that's okay. It's a good thing.

We went out of town this weekend for a cousin's wedding without our kids. It was one of those trips where- from the second you fasten your seat belt till the moment you roll back out of the van at the weekend's end- you feel like you never stop laughing. We went with my sister and her husband and met up with my other sister and her husband as well as my niece. Combine this crowd with some rellies that we don't see all too often and the result is: little sleep, late night runs for ice cream, big breakfasts, and lots of quirky family laughs.

The night we pulled into Milwaukee, we thought we'd just swing by a Wal-Mart to pick up some flowers for my Aunt's birthday. So, Ryan plugs it into the GPS and being the naive small-towners we are we jump off the freeway the sign of the nearest Wal-Mart. Turns out we pulled into a not-so-good section of town. Later my cousin told us when she goes to that part of town for work they give her an escort to her car. Oops.

Well, we finally made it to my Aunt and Uncle's house- picking up some flowers at a store nearly right on her corner- and decided to play a bit of a prank on everyone that was already there as it was dark and we were the last to arrive. So, as we're walking up the driveway I grabbed my cell phone and called my mom who was inside. I told her we were lost, gave her the name of what I thought was a fictional street, and told her I couldn't talk- that we had to try to get out of there. Turns out my "fictional" street name actually was a really bad street to be stuck on. My aunt was on the other end of the phone going, "Tell them to get out of there!" Oops, again. But this time it was worth it.

So without going into to much else, I'll sum it up: A happily married couple, good company and good foods- well, uh except for that spicy Asian chicken, and a radiator that didn't even need replacing. Oh, yeah- and a sixth anniversary for my husband and I on which he declared, "Feels like six months!" with great conviction. Successful weekend indeed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

And we're off to a week at the lake

It's quarter to three, my husband will be home in approximately 45 minutes, and open bags and boxes remain scattered about the house in half-packed states. The kids are in the backyard with round two of freezies- one's screaming about something I can't understand, and the other's yelling, "You can't have this!" I'm trying to pretend I didn't just hear the the third moving around in her crib upstairs and convincing myself she'll go back to sleep.

It's funny how a week at the lake sounds so relaxing utnil you start preparing for it. I always get this notion that we're somehow going to starve out there- therefore I find myself packing enough food to get us through a month just in case, you know. Let's also not forget the fact that we're a whole fifteen minutes out of town and that my husband will need to come in for work four of the seven days we're out there. So, technically if we were to run out of something crucial, like... oh, let's say hotdogs, chances are we wouldn't need to wait too long to restock our supply. Nevertheless, I go on putting in extra kool-aid packets and a summer's worth of freezies in the food box because- gasp!- what would we do if we ran clear out? Hate to run out of sugar-loaded treats for those youngsters. It is a bummer when they don't have enough high-fructose corn syrup pumping through their veins.

My other downfall is packing too much clothes. Maybe it will be hot- like really hot- and then again, maybe it we will have to deal with record-low temps so everything from tank tops to sweatshirts (and I'm seriously considering winter jackets) comes along. Truthfully we've had weeks where we've seen it all so this one comes more from neccessity living where we do. I've learned to scale back a little and we usually end up washing things out in the sauna halfway through the week... and that works well. Still, I have this problem with trying to be overprepared.

Just got a call from my hubby who will be a little late. Perfect. Buys me a little more time to make/consume a cup of coffee and scramble like mad to finish stuffing things in boxes and piling it into the van. The only thing that's keeping me going right now is the thought of the Jodi Picoult novel I found at the library earlier. It's tucked safely inside my bag along with some Christmas stocking projects I hope to get a start on while I'm chasing my still-crawling 17 month old through the dirt and trying to keep her off the road... Uh, I mean. Ahem. While I'm sitting with my feet up enjoying a clear blue sky and the laughter of happy children playing in the sand.

Let the vacation begin!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Morning

Well, after a fun and busy Fourth of July weekend with family I'm enjoying the quiet that a summer Monday morning brings. My kids finally got to sleep in this morning after a few late nights. They- and I- needed it. I'm feeling well rested.

I think after I get my fill of sitting around with my feet up- or when the coffee finally runs out- I'll get busy wading through the mess that's left from a whirlwind weekend of running back and forth to the camp. As my husband was getting ready for work this morning I head him say something along the lines of Could you please wash socks today? So, among other things laundry is high on my list today. The sky above me is gray right now, but I'm hoping that doesn't mean rain so I can utilize my still relatively new clotheslines.

I also need to get back to the studying today. It got put aside all weekend and my boards are quickly approaching. My husband passed his last week which has me really anxious to get them over with so I can quit thinking about them. It's always on the back of my mind these days.

Okay, one more cup of coffee and then I'm off to regaining some control around the masses of mess.

Enjoy your Monday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grace, Coordination, and all those other myths

So, I got a little overexcited to go for a walk the other day, Monday, with my niece, her son, my sister, and my kids. We were rounding up the troops to go- changing out of swimsuits, locating strollers, up righting bikes, tying laces. And I went running back upstairs for something, came flying back downstairs in far too much a hurry... and proceeded to slide on a blanket that was left on the steps and catapult myself right over the baby gate at the bottom of the steps. (I had a dream about running hurdles last night, something I've never done in real life, and I wonder now if there could be some correlation here?!)

Anyways, I've never been known for my gracefulness. Did I ever mention I once ran right into a tree with thorns and got a thorn stuck right in the middle of my forehead? Or how once when I was fishing I threw the whole rod in the water? Or how about the time I chipped my tooth on a necklace?

So, back to me flying through mid-air over the gate. As you can well imagine it did not end in a graceful leap in which I landed on two feet, straightened my shirt, blinked, and said, "Phew. That was close." Nah, right in character with me, it was more like a thrashing pile of arms and legs with an awfully loud crackling noise in my ankle that instantly made me feel like fainting. Turns out it wasn't broken or anything- just sprained, to my surprise- but I spent the better part of Monday evening and Tuesday on the couch with an ice pack draped over my ankle and the fan blasting in my face.

Ah, fun. At least it's not broken. At least I'm walking a little less awkwardly this morning. I keep thinking maybe it will teach me to slow down, but I'm not convinced. I think when you're accident-prone it's just they way you'll always be. No matter how much you 'grow up'. And, the thing is, I look at my kids and I think... Oh, Jack... You got it coming. I see so much of my clumsy self in him that it makes me cringe to think of how many bangs and bumps he might encounter over his life. When you don't have grace, you just can't help it and let's just say his coordination (uh, lack of) mirrors mine in so many ways.

Anyways, looks like the sun is going to shine today. #3 is already back for a nap because she obviously woke up too early and could do nothing but complain from the time I lifted her out of her crib till the time I set her back in. #1 and #2 are happily coloring on the floor- content with some quiet time before the start of another warm, sunny, busy summer day.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


* The other day Lydia was coloring a picture of a traffic cop directing students. She got to the man's moustache and she looks at me somewhat puzzled and asks, "Mom, what color should I do his beak?"

* With the other two in bed one evening, Lydia was prolonging her bedtime snack by acting silly. She told me she could do a "boy voice". Okay, let's hear it. She was suddenly overcome with giggles and throwing her head back she said, "Just wait, Mom. My tummy is too full of laughs right now!" (She did proceed to lower her voice and say hi which made her fall into another fit of giggles.)

* Lately she's been into searching for infinite answers... Such as... What's taller than me? What's taller than the ceiling? What's taller than the next ceiling (on the second floor)? What's taller than the roof? What's taller than the chimney? And so on, and so forth. Each time you answer, she challenges you.

This girl keeps me thinking, that's for sure. And laughing as well. The things kids come up with are sometimes so far beyond the scope of what we actually see. As adults we tend to think a lot in black and white while kids are more likely to go outside the lines we've set up for ourselves. Our answers are how they learn from us, but their questions are how we learn from them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


LOST: A good amount of sanity

LAST SEEN: Date unknown, has been spotted here and there approximately sometime in the past few years or so

SUSPECTED REASON FOR LOSS: Could be directly related to, but not limited by: spilled milk at every meal, mud tracked over a mopped floor, rainy winter-like days in June, whiney kids who desperately need but refuse to take a nap, fingers slammed in bedroom doors and toddlers emptying out garbage cans. Might have also been lost due to: sticky popsicles melting on the kitchen table, tripping over toys spread from one end of the house to the other, and kids calling each other names like, "babysockyblueah!" and then listening to the victim whine about being called something so cruel.

DESCRIPTION OF LOSS: Also known as: a quiet moment, a cup of coffee disguised as relaxation, a pair of earphones carrying peaceful tunes into my head. Looks like a blue sky with blushing white clouds or a sunset bleeding over a still lake. Often seen in field of wildflowers or a white sand beach in the middle of a summer afternoon. Known to be found in a good book, the company of a caring friend, the words of an understanding mother, and a bear hug from a little child.

IF SPOTTED: Take a moment and don't let it pass by without connecting to it. Soak it in, close your eyes, and just be there. Because chances are, by the time you open your eyes you'll see it slipping away again in the form of your child in the backyard uprooting all the flowers you just planted.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gum anyone?

My littlest is at that age in which it seems we never make it through a Sunday without one of us taking her out of church. Today she was her usual self: standing on the bench, making faces at the people behind her, sprawling on the bench, kicking her brother... and a new thing for her- chewing gum. Yeeup. I have come to the conclusion that whoever invented gum obviously never had kids. And this mother that continues to buy her kids gum and give it to them in church on Sunday morning obviously needs a mental examination. (Now might also be a good time to mention the fact that this very same mom willingly bought a bubble gum machine from a garage sale a few weeks ago, filled it up, and set it up in the kitchen corner. Come to find out the thing is broken. Which means you don't have to put money in to get a piece of gum out. In fact if you breathe within a three foot radius of the thing, out tumbles a handful of gumballs- much to my kid's excitement.)

Anyways, back to this morning. So there she was, chomping her gum with her four front teeth (that's all the poor girl has), blowing snot bubbles out of her nose at the people behind us thinking everyone was focused on her. I'm sure the girls behind us were so impressed with her unique talents. Especially the point where she picked up a songbook and pitched it right at those girls to which I spun around, mouthed Sorry! and hastily grabbed up all remaining songbooks within her reach.

Nearing the end of the first sermon she decided to lean back over the bench and spit her gum out on the floor. I looked back to see where it landed and there was one of those girls holding out the chewed up gum between her forefinger and her thumb with a slightly grossed out expression on her face. I humbly accepted the gum, gave another apologetic glance, and quickly sent Hannah over to my husband who scooped her up and headed out.

Flash forward a few minutes to halftime... er, uh... to the song and Jack needs a drink of water. So I bring him out for water and as we're getting back to the bench where we're sitting I notice he's crying. My gum! he sputters. So... I glance at the floor, find no gum in sight and realize now I need to retrace our steps to the drinking fountain to find another chewed up wad of gum- all the while hoping I don't encounter someone along the way with a puzzled expression and a string of gum attached to the bottom of their shoe and the floor.

Anyways, the gum was located, Ryan left again with Hannah sometime during the second sermon and the rest of us amazingly managed to keep our gum in our mouths. Whew.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Congrats Grads!

Remember graduating from high school? The buzzing excitement pulsating through your veins, the open-air feeling of freedom, decorating cars, counting down to the last seconds of high school, the hoarse voice and nasty cold that came along with all the late nights and all-nighters?

I'd like to wish my niece and nephew, M and D, a Happy Graduation Day! I can clearly recall these two as little kids- can it really be they are all grown up now? Two little kids that were just jumping on the trampoline in the backyard at my parent's house. Playing with brighthly colored tubes in the river at the camp, twirling sparklers on the fourth of July. And, yet now they are on their own, ready to move on with the next segment of their lives.

Still, I see two little kids smiling with no reservation, shining from within. Then I look at their graduation pictures, hanging on my fridge and see the adults they have become. Yet if I squint my eyes just right, I see the familiar faces of yesterday- two wonderful kids ready to gather all the experiences that await them like stones plucked from a stream.

I don't have any words of wisdom to instill upon this year's graduating seniors except: keep your head on your shoulders and always remember where you come from. The rest should be a breeze.

Enjoy this time, M and D! Congratulations, you made it, your future is waiting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Camp cleaning

Okay, summer can start now.

My sister, some brothers, a brother inlaw, and sister inlaws opened up the camp tonight- scrubbed fingerprints and dust off of walls, vacuumed up dead flies, and washed down the ceilings. Ahh. Always feels good to see that place again after winter- ahem- leaves for the year. It was a whopping 4o or so degrees by the lake with a nice stiff breeze blown in off of waters that looked suspiciously like November. Wind chill probably put it somewhere right around 28. Not too bad.

Anyways, I thought it would be nice if they all just hauled their rags and buckets over to my house now and we could just continue on in the same manner. Wouldn't that be the way to clean? Hah. Won't they be surprised when I invite them all over for lunch some nice afternoon and they find the cleaning supplies lined up on the kitchen counter. I once balked at the idea of my sister coming to help me clean because- gasp!- she might see all my heaping piles of junk and discover that my fridge had stuff growing in it from 2004. Happily I quickly got over that fear and now realize it is a rather efficient way of cleaning. I mean, how can you stop and take a break when someone else is scrubbing your bathroom floor?

Actually, I cleaned our bedroom yesterday and in the process my children overturned their bedrooms and the hallway between them as well. They were "cleaning" too, they said. Apparently their method and mine are a bit out of alignment because rather than cleaning things off the floor they cleaned things out of the bins and toy box. Huh. One step forward, three steps back. At this rate I'll be seventy-five before my entire house is clean all at one time. I always have great plans to master this, but as I'm folding clothes in one room, Hannah's in the other tearing them out of drawers. And while I'm making the bed in my room, the other two are busy striping their own. Ryan said the stuff from the hallway was trying to creep into our bedroom today. He quickly pushed it out, of course. Note to self: keep door closed to avoid spreading the plaque that consumes the rest of this place.

Ah, anyways what does it really matter? The camp is cleaned for the moment and all we need is a little increase in the arctic temps around here and we'll just cruise on down to the lake and forget all about heaps of laundry and dusty corners. Because when the warm days of summer are here I- and here's a real shocker, folks- refuse to clean. Bet you didn't see that one coming. We get such a short summer there's no time to spend on the forward, backward game of housecleaning. Unfortunately, that leaves me no excuse when the thermometer lingers in the forties or fifties like it's had the habit of doing lately.

So, anyways. Anyone want to come over for lunch real soon? hehehheh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lessons from a butterfly

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." ~Hans Christian Anderson

Perhaps the best garage sale find of the season in Lydia's eyes- a pair of butterfly wings to fly her around the house, singing, humming, skipping. It seems just the act of putting them on makes her happy. And how couldn't they?
Strap on your butterfly wings and enjoy the day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Three years ago today my little boy was born and I'm quite certain that I simply blinked three times and turned around once and now here he is, celebrating three. He had his cake last night and never stopped grinning the whole time we sang to him.

So, here are my thoughts to him at three years old...

Jack, it seems to me you've grown up so much lately and while it scares me, while the mother in me wants to slow things down just a bit, I'm still so happy to see you growing and changing each day.

At three, you are...

Smiling. With a gleam in your eye that suggests you're up to something, you share your smile with anyone... And when you do, it never fails to light up the world around you.

Learning. Sometimes I'm caught by surprise to hear your interesting expressions, your way of placing words together, and conveying your thoughts to me. I love talking to you, hearing your side of the story, and I'm sorry we don't always understand everything you say clearly- I know that's frustrating to you. But I so enjoy listening to all your stories.

Determined. You know exactly what you want and you will not settle for anything else. You align your blankets just so in your bed at night and we know not to mess with the system. You put up an impossible argument- not wavering or giving in to the yellow cup when you really wanted the green.

Loving. You wrap your little arms tightly around my neck, press your forehead to mine, and say, "I love you, Mom," many times a day. Someday, perhaps, you will understand why this simple act means everything to me. And sometimes I think, you already do.

Growing. We finally moved you out of your crib and you are so proud to be in a "big boy bed". The fist morning you woke up, I had to finally come check on you because it was so late and I still had not heard from you. You were there, sitting in your bed with a smile, happy as can be, content just to be in your bed.

Mischief. Yesterday you discovered a bag of pop bottles & cans to be returned and happily dragged them out of the porch and deposited them all over the backyard. You did the same with a bag full of paper bags. You discovered how much fun it is to throw balls and other miscellaneous sandbox toys over the fence and into the neighbor's yards. You mopped the sidewalk with my mop. And that was only yesterday morning.

A good brother to your sisters. Of course you have your squabbles with them, but being sandwhiched between two girls you handle your position as the big brother and the little brother pretty well.

.. And as you continue to grow, as the years continue to slip by, I'll enjoy watching your changes, your aspirations, your dreams. And even when one day I find myself having to look up to meet your eyes, I'll still be staring at the image of you- standing at the back door with a full grin on your face holding out a tiny handful of violets picked just for me.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jack.

Love, Mom

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Had an enjoyable lazy Sunday today. We spent a little while in the backyard- the kids running around, working up a sweat while I bundled in a blanket (to keep warm against the wind) and sat in a lawn chair to browse some "hand-me-down" home magazines.

Just being outside, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun on my face is so reviving. No matter what the temperature this summer- we are going to spend a lot of time in the backyard, at parks, by the lake, at the camp. Enjoying the beauty that surrounds us.

I'm looking forward to a busy Monday and Tuesday followed by a trip out of town on Wednesday. Lots to get done before then so I'm hoping for more nice weather in which the kids can play outside. Also hoping to not spend too much time indoors if the nice weather does (as forested) arrive.

Hope you have a super Monday!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trip to the library + kids = serious time frame that should not be messed with

So, I had been looking for good reads the other day- trying to drum up some response on FB, and got some good replies. Unfortunately my trip to the library was made before the responses came so I have yet to look for any of them.

What I did encounter at the library was a tired-out baby who was in bad need of a nap by the time story hour was through. So there I was, scanning the books in the new fiction section as fast as I could desperately hoping for one of my old faithful favorite authors to jump off the shelf at me while Hannah was squirming in my arms trying to tear through the books I was holding... Because the other two decided today that I had the honors of carrying their choices through the library. Last time I couldn't pry them out of Jack's hands longer than it took to get them up on the counter and scanned without him throwing a fit.

Anyways, it didn't take more than a minute or two for Hannah to decide enough was enough. Her selfish mother was trying to look at books for herself while being oblivious to the impending needs of her child. How dare she! I obviously wasn't getting the message that she needed to leave, like, ten minutes ago so she began to scream causing me to grab the first book that happened to be sitting in my line of vision at the moment. She screamed unrelentlessly, I raced to the desk to check out the books (flustering the poor high school boy that was working behind the desk, I think), and we left.

Well. Finally got around to opening the book today and I'm kind of disappointed. Not too impressed with the author's style of writing- or the story itself for that matter. I do have to commend her on choosing red for a cover, however, because it obviously caught my attention quickly.

Speaking of red- I found a red toaster oven at the L girls' garage sale and I'm already enjoying it! And not just because it's red either (although that does have a huge positive going for it.) I told my sister I'm turning into my sisters after all. Red is just so... alive.

Still- back to the whole library mishap- I think from now on I bring the kids to story hour and then return at a completely different time sans kids to browse at my leisure. Oooh. And then drive down to the water and start reading it after I purchase a 25 cent coffee from the BP. Now, that sounds luxurious. My idea of a five star mini vacation.

But I will just settle for going to the library alone. Can't get too carried away, after all.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where did April go?

So, I see it's been awhile. I've been preoccupied with the end of the school year. And chasing around my one-year old who has suddenly morphed into a calloused-knees, babbling, cupboard-emptying, busy-body.

She never stops. Up at seven, bouncing in her crib, ready to go.

Therefore, I've decided to forgo house cleaning until further notice. It's no use. And you think I'm kidding. I organize the cupboard, she dumps cereal all over the floor. I fold the clean clothes, she throws them in the bathtub (while the other two are taking a bath). I mop the floor, she reaches up on the table and finds a cup of fruit punch that someone left sitting too close to the edge. She's constantly beelining for the bathroom and I'm constantly digging hairbrushes, combs, and barrettes out of the toilet while yelling, "This door HAS to stay closed!"

I know you've all seen one-year olds before... but this one... the one I had pegged to be laid-back and easy-going... hah. She's reminding me never to think that again- no matter how sweet and innocent they appear in the early months. Laid-back. Pshaw. What's that again?

Anyways. Other than that... I'm ready to find some good books, or get into a good sewing project, and let the tornado swirl around me. And hoping for warm weather so I can park my lawn chair in the sun in the backyard.

Oh- funny thing. We have a fence around our yard and a rowdy group of neighbor kids in the house behind ours. Our kids like to stand on the back steps to see what those kids (who are a bit older than mine) are doing- and then copy them. For example- today two of them were playing baseball so Lydia finds a busted ice scraper and starts using that as her bat.

Well, the other day Ryan poked his head in the door and suggested I look out the window. One of the neighbor kids was using a garbage bag for a parachute and jumping off their garage roof. And all I could do was wonder how long it will be before my own kids are falling off the porch steps in a heap of broken bones with garbage bags around their heads.

So, are you garage saling? Finding deals? I've been out a couple times but haven't found much yet. More on that later, though... This is getting lengthy. Starts to happen when I forget to post for awhile. I'm impressed if you're still reading.

Okay, that's all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Five minutes?

As I was sprawled across the couch this evening after supper, begging please kids... just let me close my eyes for ten.... okay, for five minutes, I understood why I'll never be able to give up coffee. Never. Five minutes- even three- must violate some code somewhere about mom taking a rest because as soon as I hit the couch I had three little monkeys lined up alongside me with all intents to disrupt my shut-eye as much as possible.

One is prying my eyes open (making the other two giggle right above my head), one is climbing up and down on top of me, and the other is obsessed with making sure I'm comfortable- do you want your feet covered, mom? Hmmm? No, thanks, I'm warm. I'll just cover them for you. Oh. Well, yeah, sure. Whatever.

Then one had the brilliant idea to throw the kiddie vacuum under the couch- while it was running. Please take that out, I asked trying to keep my voice neutral. Why, they ask, will it go dead? Uh, yeah. That's why. That combined with the fact that napping while having what sounds like a chainsaw running under my head is, come to find out, nearly impossible. No biggie, though.

Catch, mom! yells one and an orange rubber ball with a picture of Bugs Bunny on it connects with my forehead. The baby cries, the other two laugh, I roll over. Not surprisingly, the baby cries louder because now my eyes are not there for her to poke and prod to her content.

At last, I staggered into the kitchen, made some more coffee refusing to count how many cups I've already had today and admitted defeat. I'll just remain in my caffeine-induced stupor and we'll all be okay. Never mind that as soon as I stood, they all scattered to the other side of the room and suddenly became engrossed in some activity that did not- in any way- involve me or the couch.

As it turns out resting while you're still raising kids is against all rules. Huh. Who knew?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bubbles & New Beginings

We've been too busy chopping away at the snowbanks over here to be indoors, therefore I've neglected this blog. It felt so good to see the sun so early this morning, and to go off to story hour with no sweatshirts- just jackets- then return home for a walk and lunch on the back steps.

While the baby took her afternoon nap, the other two and I made tracks through the snow left in the backyard. They were attempting to dig out their sandbox with sand shovels and pails. It might be a tedious process but it kept them occupied for hours. They did, however, spend much of the time yelling, "Go away bugs!" at the top of their lungs while I offhandedly wondered what the neighbors were thinking.

The highlight of the afternoon was unearthing buried treasures left out in the yard before the snow settled last fall. A broken shovel, a set of wheels that once was a truck, a sparkly bouncy ball, and an extremely weathered, piece of sidewalk chalk.

After supper this evening, the kids happily marched back outside- each clutching the bubbles they got in their Easter baskets. They plopped themselves down on an overturned diaper box that just happened to be sitting in the backyard (please, please don't ask me why- it makes a good bench, okay?) and proceeded to blow bubbles. Suddenly, Lydia had the bright idea to chase after the bubbles- tossing her bottle of bubbles down on the box where they promptly spilled all over the box, all over Jack, and soon both kids were wailing- Jack was soaked, Lydia's bubbles were gone.

But wait. Not to fear, mom is prepared for these sorts of emergencies. So... off I trucked to locate the mega-size bottle of bubble solution from last summer to refill her bottle and stop her tears. All was well again for a few minutes until I ran inside for something and Jack decided to follow me. He got as far as the door before he dropped his bottle of bubbles on the porch floor- completely spilling the entire contents of his bottle.

And then we decided to call it a day. The kids came inside, I slipped off to class (1 of 2 left to go!) and returned after they were in bed.

I'll take the mud tracked across my kitchen floor, a slimy porch floor where the bubble solution spilled, and three pairs of soaked jeans because it means... spring is here. (Hush. I know snow is still lingering in the forecast, but I'm not thinking about that, okay?)

It might also be fair to say I'm overly tolerant of all of this because today my husband got a job! He'll start as a nurse-tech and then move into an LPN position once he passes his boards. Such a relief, I'm quite certain the kids could have moved an entire muddy snowbank into the kitchen then sat in it while it melted and I wouldn't have minded!

Enjoy the weather. Lift your face to the sun and breathe in the muddy, fresh, "funny good smell" (as Lydia calls it). Throw open your windows and let winter's stale air dissipate. Welcome the new beginings, because it's spring.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finding quietness

Returning from a quick skip out of town today I was once again reminded (as I always am when I'm on a trip) how nice it is to come home. And wow, do I feel old writing that because I distinctly remember my own mother saying that while I sat in the back seat not really old enough to care. I crave the change of scenery and change of pace that comes with car trips, but the older I get the more I realize I am right where I want to be if I just stay here.

I've been really trying to focus lately on finding peace in the moment in which I am living. This has not always been an easy task for me- especially when the kids are screaming and yelling in the backseat well into hour four of the return trip- and I've completely run out of options to entertain while once again they're bawling for the pencil/bear/book/water bottle that just got tossed to the floor for the seven hundredth time. Well, quite honestly at those points I just revert to a nice extreme noise-reducing pair of earplugs to regain sanity while chaos richocets around me in the form of soft, gentle little thuds and wordless, distant chatter.

But I'm learning. I'm learning to really concentrate on breathing and consciously relaxing because I'm tired of feeling tense. I'm tired of waiting for the next minute to come as I can often (and yes, reluctantly) find myself doing. So I'm pulling myself back to right now. Being still, thinking slowly, feeling quieter (without the aid of earplugs). Tomorrow comes and goes too fast, leaving dusty reminders of what it was, yesterday can often be remembered yet never relived, but today is the moment in which we create the life we want to be living.

That's not to say I'm not looking forward to things (like the upcoming end of the school year or warmer weather), but I'm just trying to pay attention to the scenery on the way there. It's easy to say, it's probably over said, but it still deserves repeating: slow down enough to enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What it all boiled down to...

Well. Several tries and a few changes of clothes later... He decided he wanted a diaper back on. Oh well. Perhaps it sparked an interest. I had the feeling it was just too soon for him.

So instead, I...

  • Washed the clothes
  • Made some jello eggs with the kids
  • Got puked on by the baby
  • Crossed my fingers it was just a side effect of her cold
  • Drank, like a pot and half of coffee
  • Tried to study
  • Tried to stay awake
  • Checked the forcast for the next ten days
  • Wished I didn't
  • Found it called for daily snow showers and highs of 33 degrees
  • (No kidding)
  • Checked on the availability of some books at the local library
  • And found they all had a wait
  • Tried to convince the kids to clean up the living room
  • Tried to study some more
  • Rocked the baby
  • Read some books
  • Put the kids to bed early
  • Put my feet up
  • Had some dark chocolate (and another cup of coffee)
  • Ahhh...
  • Life is good

This joke better not be on me

Disclaimer: If talk about potty training, snot, and dirty diapers makes you squeamish please read no further. If not, well then my friend, read on!

Here's a subject I would've never thought I'd openly discuss several years ago: potty training. It's right up there with the other subjects that I find so freely flowing out of my mouth possibly to the utter disgust and discomfort to those around me. Hence the disclaimer. If you're still reading, then it's your own fault now.

Hah! We're doing a test run over here this morning with Jack- he just decided he wasn't going to wear a diaper today much to my amazement. I've heard about kids doing this before. Legend has it that one morning they just wake up and decide they're going to wear undies. And just like that they're trained. I'm not, however, believing for even a second that we could get that lucky. My mind is still scarred by months of accidents that followed one first good week with the last one. And I'm wondering if I'm ready for that again.

So far no accidents... But no success either so I guess that might suggest we're treading neutral ground at the moment. The treat bag is set up, the potty chair is waiting, the funny vocabulary used to describe ordinary bodily function is being used in a high-pitched overly excited voice (by me, not him)... And the Lysol, paper towel, and carpet cleaner are lined up on the counter. Because as much as I'd like to be I'm not an optimistic potty trainer as much as I pretend to be for the trainee's sake.

I'm trying not to think of the fact that he's decided to wear undies on April fool's day. That can't be a bad sign... right?! I'm usually not superstitious like that but this is the same kid who- when it's even mildly suggested to wear undies- usually replies with a belly laugh followed by an adamant "NO undies! I wear diapers!" So you understand my skepticism then.

Oh wait. There's accident number one.

Just had to be April fools day today, didn't it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Real love

When each of my girls turned one, they received lockets from their grandparents. More recently, Lydia has taken an interest in hers- feeling pretty special when she gets to put it on.

On Sunday she was wearing it when my sister asked her whose picture was in the locket. Lydia wasn't quite sure what to answer because (whoops) I guess she really didn't know that's what lockets were for. My sister explained that the picture would need to be taken from a distance so it would be small enough to cut out and put in the locket.

Well, this afternoon as I was rushing around between clearing the supper mess and gathering my stuff for class, she told me to stop so she could take a picture of me, then she proceeded to move across the room. You're a little far away, I pointed out. She snapped the picture and answered, There, now it will fit in my locket.

She made this tired moms day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Part II

That same little girl that dragged me out of bed so early this morning, you know?

Well, she's now trying to see how late she can make me stay up.

She's always full of such good ideas, this one.

(I encourage you to stay tuned for part III, sure to arrive sometime between the hours of six and nine a.m. tomorrow morning.)

Good morning?

I'm trying to remain sane as my darling little thirteen month old peeks over the side of my chair, plops her thumb in her mouth and rests her head against the armrest. In other words- I'm ready for my nap now, Mom.

Where was that sweet getsture at 4:30 a.m. after I wearily trudged up the stairs to give her a bottle- imagining irrationally that this middle of the night waking thing might just have the cruel tendancy to last forever?

Or how about every fifteen minutes after that when she cried out, demanding to get out of her crib like I might somehow forget to feed her breakfast if she didn't make her awakeness known loud and clear.

Or when I finally admitted defeat and retrieved her from her crib for good- afraid she'd wake the other two- for no other reason than for her to spend some quality time pulling my hair and poking at my closed eyes while I made a false attempt to greedily snatch a few more precious minutes of sleep on the chair.

In case you haven't gathered, I'm losing ground quickly over here this morning- trying to stay afloat, consuming coffee at impressive rates, and finding my patience growing thinner as the minutes pass. I'm sure the fact that it's unnaturally dark out there for 9 a.m. has nothing do with my nagging need for sleep either.

Good morning, merry sunshine. And what kind of Wednesday morning are you having today?

Monday, March 23, 2009

M is for TODAY. (Er, uh, Monday, I mean.)

Is rearranging part of the change of seasons or what? I suddenly feel a bit claustrophobic in my living room that hasn't changed its furniture layout for nearly a year. I want to push things to the walls, free up some space in the middle of the room but I'm begining to conclude (after eight months of trying to come up with options) that I'm limited. I've got three doorways (one is double) and three windows to work with- none of which I feel like blocking off with furniture.

I'm also looking around and seeing for the first time since Januray just how many remnants of winter remain around the house. Snowflakes hanging on the wall, red berries in on top the bookcase. Oops, and on piano as well. Snowmen on the kitchen shelf. Gulp. These all must go- it's not conducive to encouraging spring along, I fear. I don't mind keeping these things around for the winter months... But we're almost into April now and even if I've been nummed by the lingering snowbanks, I can at least pretend spring is going to make a real entrance soon.

Jack just brought the kid's little computer to me claiming that the batteries are "deaden". Actually it's just the sound that seems to be gone. It's one of those things with little learning games on it and truthfully, I'm enjoying the absent sound.

I only see one slight problem. They're playing the "find the letter game" right now and since they're looking at the pictures with the letters (and no overexcited computerized monkey to tell them otherwise) I'm hearing them shout out things like, "Q is for BED!" (Uh, quilt perhaps?) and "W is for TIRE!" (Wheel?) Huh. How did we ever learn things before computers came along? I mean really. How did we know R was really for RING and not circle without that animated voice chirping at us? (Insert loud, exhasperated sigh and comment, kids these days, with an elaborate shake of the head.)

So much for all those times I thought they were so intelligent.

Oh, wait. There is some small hope. They've found paper and pencils and they're now playing school.

Have a great day.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Just wanted to say thanks for all of the positive comments that were left on my last post. I know I'll refer back to them when motivation is running low. It's great to hear from those of you who are or have been in similar situations.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Day At a Time...

When I began going to school, I did so becasue my husband was working in the construction business- which inevetably meant being layed off in the winter months. Deciding I needed to be doing something during that time, I made the chioce to go back to school for nursing. I already had some credits in from clases I had taken before we were married, and rather spontaneously I signed up for classes. To make a long story incredibly short- Ryan took interest in what I was doing, did some major desicion making and decided he needed a change of careers.

As most of you know- we're soon facing the end of the school year and the completion of the practical nursing program at G*****C. In approximately six weeks, we'll be done with this part of the journey. Which also means it's time for me to finally make the decision I've been waffling over all year long, the one I've been neglecting to involve any of you in because it's been so back and forth: go back in the fall to complete the RN program (along with Ryan) or wait another year. On the kitchen counter, my acceptance letter awaits my signature, the deadline is growing near.

My biggest fear has always been: how will my kids deal with it? I am, after all, a mother first. That has, and always will come before anything else. I've dealt with my share of irrational guilt. My consolation is- they're always with family when we need to be away and they're young; they'll have little to no memory of these days. And, up until this point- my part time schedule has been rather light- very manageable. Today we got good news- news that will probably make my choice a bit easier. We learned about the schedule for the RN program and found out (besides the one day of classes each week) we would be able to be on opposite clinical schedules. Which means our kids would almost always have one of us around.

Looking around at those I know, I've seen the struggles in this economy, I know times are difficult. We've felt the burdens here at home. And to wait it out a year might make it more difficult for me to return at all. So I'm leaning toward one more year. Two more semesters with an entire summer off. I'm just trying to regroup my motivation and understand if this is the right choice for us at this point.

I know people don't quite understand how we're both going at once... But it's like anything in life: one day at a time. I had a nurse tell me, "That's cute," when she heard our story and I laughed, then got serious and said, "No it's not." It's just the way things fell into place, the way it all worked out. And it's working for us right now. Somehow. This might not have been our plan several years ago, but it's amazing how life meanders and pivots and alters our direction in ways we'd never guess. Things happen, life presents us with difficulties and joys alike, and choices are made accordingly. In fact, if someone had told me we'd be in this scenario at this point in our lives I would have responded: Impossible! Because we thought we had it figured out. In life it's important to remember: we never have it all figured out.

I just wanted to share this with you because it's such a big part of who I am. Up until now, I've kept rather quiet about the details of our schooling on this blog. For some reason, this just felt like the right time to share.

And, now you know a few minor details to our crazy life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sleepyheads & Sunshine

Apparently spending Friday night and most of Saturday at Grandpa & Grandma's was just a bit tiring on these two. This afternoon I went into the kitchen for some coffee, was sitting at the table just enjoying the peace and quiet (and yes, silently chowing my way through- uh, not one, but, yes two- cinnamon buns) when I decided to check what they were up to. And here's how I found them:

I had to take pictures because this is an unlikely event at this house. My kids do not willingly take naps. Jack- who still needs a nap most days- always puts up a fight and Lydia gave them up a long time ago. So, for them both to fall asleep in the living room in the middle of playing... they must have been exhausted!
The warmer temps today had me longing for some serious snow melting to take place. I regret to say, aside from going to church this morning, we did not even get out to enjoy the sunshine. I need to get our stroller out since I heard the weather is supposed to be decent this week. We all need to get out of this house, throw open the windows, freshen up the stagnent air that's lingering around here making us all feel so blah.
Let's hope for an early spring: sunshine days, warm air, evening walks...
Don't tell me I'm dreaming-I'm well aware that in April last year I was blogging about a blizzard. Let's hope for better luck this year!