Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today Was A Good Day

The days just seem to be flying. Life is whooshing by. I feel like I blink and another year is gone.

I started the day out kind of cranky. Definitely not looking forward to another birthday. Which is unusual for me. The minute I awoke I was feeling foul. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't care about my birthday. I didn't want a card. A present. Nothing. I just wanted to go back to bed.

A few minutes after I woke up my husband brought me coffee. Next Gracie snuck in my room as I still lay lazily in my bed and whispered in my ear, "Happy Birthday, mommy! I love you so much! I'll let you relax now." and snuck back out of my room closing the door behind her.

With a little smile on my face I dragged myself out of my bed to the bathroom and my coffee. A quick glance in the mirror and I couldn't help but laugh. I did look another year (or ten) older. Dark circles were smudged under my eyes and my hair was a fright. 

As I splashed water on my face there was a knock at the door. 

"Yes?" I said sleepily.

Tommy came in and wrapped his arms around me. "Happy birthday, mom! I love you so much!" he said as he hugged me. I hugged him back and kissed his head.

I shrugged into my bathrobe and made my way down the hall to make sure Ben and Joey were getting dressed. 

"Happy Birthday, mom!" Joey and Ben shouted the minute they saw me, ambushing me with hugs and kisses.

Within moments of waking my family had turned my mood from grim to giddy. From melancholy to energetic and excited.

The rest of the day proceeded much the same way. Signs of love around every corner. Heartfelt cards. Bouquets of flowers. Chocolate covered strawberries. Thoughtful presents. Every step of the way love and care was being shown. For me. 

It is amazing to have a group of people who want nothing more than to help you have a wonderful day. 

I am a lucky woman.

What did I do for my birthday? I took the kids to school. I signed 3 boys up for baseball. I did dishes. I did three loads of laundry. I picked up dog poop. I bought a fake snake for Joey's book report diorama. I visited with my mom. I picked Grace up from school. I read a book with Grace. I talked to my best friend. I made lunch. I did dishes. I cleaned up the house. I helped with homework. I read with Ben. I took my kids to swim class. I ate leftovers. I did dishes. I snuggled with the kids while we all watched a movie together. I helped Grace into her jammies and brushed lots of little teeth. I said prayers. I tucked 4 kids into bed. I had a birthday cocktail and watched "Deadliest Catch" with the hubby. 

It was a good day.

I'm a lucky lady. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

Another holiday has come and gone. Just like that. Blink and you may miss it.

There were colored eggs.
There were Easter baskets.
There were clean kids in church clothes.
There was even an Easter egg hunt.
There was also a wonderful brunch with my side of the family and a fabulous 77 degree day at the in-laws. It was a near perfect day. 

I hope you and your families had a very lovely Easter and a wonderful weekend.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hot n Cold

The house is unusually quiet. So quiet I can hear the ticking of the clock on the wall. Every once in a while a red-winged blackbird trills from the freshly filled bird feeder. Molly lays curled up at my feet, properly tired out from the rousing game of catch that we just finished in the backyard.

It is 4:20 and the kids are outside soaking up the balmy 48 degree weather. You'd swear it was summer the way they are behaving. Two of my three boys came home from school without their jackets on. "It's so warm! I'm sweating! Can I put on shorts?" they begged.

Homework was completed efficiently and swiftly so that maximum play time could be had. Snacks were handed out and gobbled down and school clothes were striped off and replaced with play clothes in record time.

My heart melted when I'd overheard the boys asking Grace if she would like to play with them too. "Why do you want me to play?" Grace baited them. "Because it's fun with you." they wisely and sweetly said.

Happy to be included as the fourth soldier Grace suited up in her pink play clothes and took off with her boys and down the road they all went to play in the woods.

The other day I was scolding the boys for bullying Grace and they complained about how sassy she can be to them. I reminded them just how lucky the three boys are to have each other to play with but asked them where that left Grace. I reminded them that she often gets left out and even though she has three big brothers she still has no one to play with. They must have taken it to heart because I have noticed the switch. It does this mama's heart good.

These long stretches of quiet always surprise. They still come rarely but as the kids get older they are able to play and amuse themselves for longer stretches without fights and crying and accidents. I take them as I can get them.

This past weekend was a good mix of peaceful, fun, and craziness.

On Friday we packed up the truck and headed up north. It was a bit of madness that we even decided on going up north since a snowstorm was expected but we figured as long as we could leave the snow behind when the weekend was done we could handle just one more weekend of snow.

Sure enough, the cabin received approximately 8 inches of snow on Friday. The roads were dicey on the drive up but the next day the temps were back into the mid 40s. Perfect conditions for the kids to spend the day outside playing in the fresh snow. We even contemplated going skiing but Todd and I decided we'd just hang out at the cabin and relax a bit.
The kids were up bright and early on Saturday morning, eager to get out into the snow. I really haven't seen this much snow at the cabin in the fifteen years I've been fortunate enough to visit. The snowbanks reached the bottom of the shed and the garage. Perfect for feisty young children to climb on top of to get on the roofs. Oh dear. The kids all think it is hilarious how much their mama worries and they love to pretend fall off the roof or pretend they were impaled by icicles. Hilarious.
When the kids tired of that they began making a snowman. Everyone helped.
I knew the kids were getting hungry when they began eating all of the icicles off of the garage. After a short break for lunch the boys went back outside and make an entire snowman family. Our family. Complete with Molly the snowdog.
It was a snow filled day. Warm, but snow filled. The snow was melting quickly and the kids came in three separate times to dry their clothes before going back outside. By Sunday morning the driveway was completely clean of snow and patches of grass could be seen.

It was a nice weekend. I was able to finish two books (The Paris Wife and Heaven Is For Real)and that is always a bonus.

We had a good time but it was definitely nice to come back home to zero snow and 50 degree weather. Hopefully we won't have anymore "surprise" snowstorms for the rest of spring.


Monday, March 31, 2014

A Good Ending

We managed to sneak in one more fun activity before our spring break officially ended.  After mass on Sunday Todd and I surprised the kids by taking them bowling.
It may not sound that exciting but my kids were plenty excited. We hardly ever go bowling and the kiddos just LOVE it. We really need to go more often.
Notice there are no pictures of me bowling. Can I let you in on a little secret? I stink at bowling. Really badly. All of my kids beat me in both games. Sure, they had bumpers on their lane, but still. No one will be asking me to join a bowling league anytime soon.

The first game I got a 78 and the second game I got a 112. I was shocked that I made it over 100 but my kids still beat me. I really stink. It doesn't stop me from playing though. We had a blast!

A little bowling, a little junk food, a little playing outside, a little Frozen, and a little snuggling in front of the fire. A fantastic way to end a fabulous spring break.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Heavenly

We are back. Back from one of the best trips we've ever taken. Back to real life after experiencing a bit of heaven. 
Honestly, this trip could not have come at a better time. We needed this, Todd and I. Not just the warm weather and the relaxation but the alone time. The reconnection.
The resort (Live Aqua) was the perfect place to recoup from our winter. The weather was hot, the drinks were cold, the service was outstanding, the food was unparalleled, the rooms were beautiful, the pools were gorgeous, and the beach was breathtaking. It felt like the trip of a lifetime.
I don't remember the last time Todd and I laughed together as much as we did on this trip. 
It was difficult to say goodbye to this perfect place but we are grateful we got to go for the few days we were there. It was worth every penny, in more ways than one.
Now we are back. The welcome home we got from the kids, the snuggles, hugs, and smiles, made me happy that our trip was a short one. We had missed them. And really, there is no place like home.

Today Todd is nursing a nasty cold, the kids are putting together LEGO sets they just bought with their birthday money, and I'm trying to think up one more fun day trip to take the kids on before we wrap up our spring break and real life truly hits.

But for now we will soak up these last couple of days and hopefully our warm memories will keep us cozy until the warm weather finally catches up with the calendar.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Freak Out Time

We are back from our fun filled mini vacation in Wisconsin Dells. 

It was wet, wild, and super fun. And very exhausting. 

Here you see the kids raring to go the minute we got to the hotel. Five hours later we were all jammed into the pull out bed in the living room trying to summon the energy to go out to dinner. Eventually, with Todd's pleading, we did indeed make it out for dinner. 
We accidentally walked into a very fancy restaurant and then the hostess insisted we stay. The kids were weirded out by the fanciness of it all. The live singing/piano playing, the water features, the three different forks and knives, the warm towelette after dinner, the prices. It completely freaked them out. It was kind of funny. But the food was delicious and the kids were fairly well behaved.

When we got back to the hotel room we all crashed. Then it was up bright and early again the next morning for more waterpark fun. Another water filled fun day and a delicious dinner (and Culver's custard too!) and we were extra exhausted when we got back to our room.
Somehow we managed to drag ourselves out of bed in time to clean up and get to church this morning. Now we are back home. Time to unpack all the bags, clean the house, repack our bags, leave instructions for the grandmas, plan little goodbye gifts for the kiddos, and organize dinners and activities for the kids while we are gone.

In other words, it's freak out time.

I'm not good with leaving my kids. Never have been. I suspect I never will be. It really hasn't gotten easier. Good thing we hardly ever do it. And this will most likely be our last vacation without the kids for a long time so we had to jump at the chance. Still, I can't help the internal freak out.

On the long ride home from WI Dells today Todd turned to me and said, "By this time tomorrow we will be relaxing on the beach!"  I replied in a whisper, "If we're not dead." I was only half teasing.

Morbid, I know. But I can't help it. I'm paranoid something is going to happen to us (plane craash) leaving our kids parentless. I'm also paranoid something will happen to my kids and I won't be there.
In short, I'm paranoid. Freaking out. 

I'm sure everything will be just fine. I am really trying my best to ignore the nagging little voices in my head. I'm sure it will be a lovely trip. 

For now I'm freaking out. 


Friday, March 21, 2014

Birthday Wishes

An early celebration filled with LEGOs, grandmas, and cake makes for one very happy birthday boy.
Today Tommy took cupcakes to school for his birthday treat and when school is released early for spring break we will be off to the Wilderness Territory in WI Dells. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday.

Dearest Tommy. I hope your birthday is everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. I hope the day is filled with fun and love and all your wishes come true. I hope that you know just how special you are to us and what joy you add to our lives.
From the moment you were born you were our lovable, sweet, kind, considerate, energetic, silly, fun-loving little Goldensbear. Still with those darling pinchable cheeks and tender heart. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. My nine year old Tommy.
I love you more than you will ever know. I am so proud to be your mama. Happy Birthday, my precious Tommy!

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