Friday, March 24, 2017

Bottomless Pig

It is the Science Fair time of year again. A dreaded time in my house. I usually have to help run two projects, which equals approximately 8 experiments, at a time. Let's be honest, the parents really do help out a lot with these projects. 

However, this year was a little different. This year the science teacher announced that siblings can work together even if they are in different grades. Hallelujah! AMEN! So very exciting. Saves me so much time and energy, let me tell you.

Joey and Tommy, thankfully, decided to work together and they chose their guinea pig as their subject. I have to say, this was the easiest, and cutest, experiment we've ever done. It was actually fun working on the project. And having older children once again paid off because they really did the majority of the work. 

Not only that but the boys ended up taking home 2nd place! Way to go, boys! I must admit I was a little surprised. It was a fairly simple experiment (Which food does a guinea pig prefer?). Perhaps the cuteness of the pig helped. 
Stanley is a very cute pig. I'm sure that Stanley loved his part in the experiment as well. Tons of food for days on end. I guess it turned out well for everyone.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Golden Dozen

Still as cheeky, and kissable, and huggable, and squeezable as he was back then. Now he is 12. He is one sassy charmer, this kid. Always the Goldensbear.

Tommy is always one to come home and ask how my day was. He is the one who will crazy dance with me for every song at a wedding. He is the one who can tell when I am upset and is quick to give me a hug and tell me he loves me. He is a good listener. He is a good son and friend. He goes out of his way to play with Grace when he thinks she is being left out. He always shares with Ben and Joe and is quick with a compliment and encouragement. He is a good brother.

He is also dramatic and emotional and moody. He can be demanding and impatient and persistent to annoyance. I kid him often and say, "You're lucky you're cute." He is lucky he is so charming too because it is easy to quickly forgive this kid. Especially since he gets his dramatic, emotional moodiness from me. I get it. I get him.

He is quick witted and fun. He is always making us laugh with his weird made up characters with goofy facial expressions and odd voices. He likes the spotlight but he doesn't steal the spotlight from others. He is generous and kind.

There are so many things to love about this kid. He is hard working and determined. He is naturally talented in many different areas. He is just as comfortable talking with adults as he is with kids and he puts people at ease. I know this kid will go far in life not only because of his gifts and hard work but with his charm as well.

This boy wears his heart on his sleeve. He is one big walking heart. I am so proud to be his mama. I love him so very much.

Happy Birthday, Thomas! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I've been fighting off a bit of the blues lately. The down in the dumps. A general blah. 

It has been going on for a few weeks (months?) and I just can't seem to shake it. I have been short tempered, cranky, and a bit depressed. I can't really put my finger on it. I don't think it is just a seasonal thing. I'm thinking that the state of our country and world is a big part of it. You just can't escape the anger and meanness of people these days. It is hard for me to deal with all the negativity. 

And, too, my personal life has been hectic. There is the usual but there are also some possible big changes on the horizon which are both exciting and nerve wracking.  Add to that the usual parenting dilemmas and uncertainty and growing pains and I am just a bit of a mess lately.  

For lent I decided to dedicate a bit of my day to prayer and reflection. It has become a rejuvenating part of my day. Like meditation. It brings a peaceful element to my day. I am really enjoying it.  

Today the sun made an appearance. It was much welcome from the snowstorms and gloom we'd been having.  It wasn't terribly warm but it was getting close to the 50s and my back patio had warmed up enough for me to venture outside.  The 40-50 mph winds were muted in my backyard by the house and the trees. It was a little haven. 

I made myself a cup of coffee, sat down on my patio, and began my prayers. I listened to the birds singing and fighting over the bird feeders a few feet from me, and Molly lay at my feet soaking up the sun with me.  I stayed there for quite a while. It seemed the meditation, prayers, coffee, vitamin D, little critters, my dog, and nature were just what I needed. 
As I finally got up to go back inside I really had to chuckle to myself. My mind recalled all the times when I was growing up that I would come home from school and find my mother doing the same thing I had just done. Sitting in the backyard on her swing, dogs at her feet, watching the birds, with a rosary in her hand and a book at her side my mom always looked so peaceful. And now I know why.

I guess it's official. The transformation into my mother has begun.

Monday, March 6, 2017

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Parenting success: When your 10 year old zings you with sarcasm.  😊

So, I'm pitching a proper fit about having to run out to the grocery store at the last minute before dinner for a missing ingredient (regardless of the fact that I was just at the store that morning- and the day before-twice)...

Me: "Gah!!!!! I can't believe I have to go to the store AGAIN!!! Ahhhhh!!! Stupid store. I am ALWAYS at the dumb store. Bah!!! Crap!!! NOOooooo!!!!! Dang it!!!!! Dang!!! DANG!!!! AHH!!!!!"

Ben, completely straight faced: "But at least you're being a good sport about it."

It honestly made me laugh so hard that it turned my mood right around. It was so perfectly delivered. So spot on. I laughed all the way to the store and back again. I tell you laughter really is the best medicine.

Looking at the picture above makes me laugh too. I wanted to capture Ben's straightfaced delivery but he was so pleased with how much he made me laugh that he couldn't stop smiling. I think he had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep himself from smiling and laughing.  Funny kid.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Don't Like The Weather In Wisconsin?...

wait five minutes.

Last Wednesday I went for a run outside in a t-shirt and shorts. I can honestly say I've never done that before. It was fantastic. Sixty degrees and sunny.

Then on Thursday the last of the snow and ice disappeared from our backyard.

However, I knew it wouldn't last. On Thursday night I woke up to some of the loudest thunder I've ever heard. I jumped nearly a foot in the air. My heart pounded in my chest as I lie listening to what I thought was rain.

It wasn't rain. Well, it wasn't all rain. It was rain for a while and then it was snow. By Friday morning we had three inches of very heavy, wet snow. After I dropped the kids off at school I ran over to my mom's to shovel her sidewalk. It was quite the workout. My back is still sore. That was some heavy snow.

Yesterday all that snow had melted (and was rained away) from the backyard once again.  Then today we got dumped on with another 6 inches of heavy snow and the backyard looks exactly as it does in the above picture.

That's how it is here in Wisconsin. The weather keeps you guessing. Mother Nature is a finicky beast here.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fantastic Fourteen

Joey turned 14 years old today.

This guy. This guy right here is now fourteen. This silly little weirdo is still making me laugh daily and making me smile.

I have spent much of my motherhood dreading my babies growing up. And to a point, I still do. I can't imagine a day when this little man leaves my home. I honestly can't even think about it. But I have also gained new perspective on what it means to have older children. There are certainly new struggles but there are so many more joys. And with Joey being my first teenager he is definitely making "teenager" a fun, pleasant, and enjoyable experience. 

It wasn't the greatest birthday for him. We barely had time to celebrate. There was school, a basketball bust up party, and then rehearsal for the school musical. It was jam packed. But we managed to sneak in a little bit of birthday fun.

Joe brought glazed donuts in for his classmates today for his birthday treat. And because he hasn't gotten any demerits at school he was able to pick a special incentive and he chose to wear jeans on his birthday. Being a uniform kid and being able to be the only kid in school wearing jeans for a day was actually pretty fun for him.  It turned out to be a fun day of school.

After school we opened his presents (lots of model planes, a Nerf gun, and some Nike stuff), sang "Happy Birthday", and Joe ate his birthday turnovers. Joe is not a fan of cake and didn't want brownies. I had to think of something and knew he loved cherry turnovers and he was pretty happy with that. I got cupcakes for his siblings (they were pretty disappointed about the no cake thing so I had to get them a little something to celebrate with) and Joey scarfed his turnovers down in approximately two minutes. Both of them. Egad. 

Before we knew it it was time to go. Joe had to get to his basketball bust up party. He had a great time eating pizza with his teammates and coaches and watching Hoosers. And I brought in a bunch of cookies for everyone as a birthday treat. Joey had a great time.

From there (luckily this was all at school) Joey had to go straight to the musical rehearsal. He had a pretty good time there too and I also brought cookies as a birthday treat for the whole cast as well. This was the most sweets (and junk food) Joey has had in, I don't know, EVER.  That always makes for a good day in a kid's mind.

We got home pretty late and yet Joe and I stayed up even later laughing and talking and having a blast. I showed him the Facebook post I wrote about his birthday and all of the comments from family and friends. He loved it. And when he saw a Pusheen the Cat emoji from one of our friends he couldn't stop laughing. We spent the next half hour looking up Pusheen the cat pictures. We were laughing so hard and being so ridiculous that when we saw mugs and stuffed animals of the cat we decided to order one for him and one for me. Todd thought we were crazy but I was eating it up. It was a silly little purchase but it will always remind me of Joe's 14th birthday party and how much fun he and I had together late that night.

You see, I have no idea how long this lasts. How much longer do I have with this boy like this? How much longer will he want to stay up laughing and goofing around with his mom? How much longer will he want to have inside jokes with me, or want me to be in a play with him, or be friends with me, or confide in me, or even like the same things as me? I'm sure there will come a time when this will not be the norm. I know it is probably coming soon. But for now, I am soaking it all up as much as I can. 

Tomorrow Joe has a Young Eagles meeting at the airport (for kids interesting in planes and flying- they eventually take him up in a plane and then teach him to fly) and then we will visit the EAA Museum (per Joe's request- he is SUPER obsessed with planes) in Oshkosh and visit with his godfather (and Todd's best friend). It will be a fun day for Joe. And he deserves it. 

This kid works really hard. He tries hard. He wants to be good. He wants to do good things. This world is a better place because he is in it. I am so proud to call this young man my son. I love him so very much.

Happy 14th Birthday, Joe!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


It brings me such joy to watch the lovely shades of pink and red creeping into my kids' faces when I yell their personalized messages of love out my car window as they enter school. I know Joe thinks that he will be getting a ride to school from his older cousin next year but I really think he will miss my public declarations of love. "JOE!!!! Hey, Joey!! I LOVE YOU!!!!! Have a great day, honey!" I think he would really enjoy letting his new high school friends see how much his mommy loves him.
Something he should keep in mind.

Today, since it was Valentine's Day I had to up my game. Along with special chocolates and little gifts that I gave them this morning I really wanted to "personalize" my love for them even more. As I dropped them off for school this morning they tried their best to outrun my pronouncements but I would not be deterred.  I was actually able to drive after them a little ways as I shouted out my personalized "I love you!"s.

Tommy was kind enough to hold the door for a bunch of people behind him and I seized the opportunity to shout, "Bye Tommy!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!"  He handled it well. Especially considering there was a mom walking her children into school and she turned around laughing and gave me a thumbs up.

Ahh, good times.

Ya gotta love Valentine's Day.

Special shout out to this guy:
I don't much believe in made up holidays but I certainly believe in us.

Happy Valentine's Day, all! I hope you all have a lovely day and are able to announce your love to all those who are special to you.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson