Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Another Manic Monday

And now is about the time when I start to freak out.

The past few weeks have been so busy and it all culminates this week.

Our kids' school had their big fundraising gala this past weekend. It is a major event which requires many hours of volunteer time in selling raffle tickets, getting donations, making class baskets to be auctioned off, selling admission tickets, securing food/entertainment/sponsors, securing more volunteers for the gala itself, and of course, decorations. I spent all of Friday morning helping to set up and decorate for the event and then I volunteered to work at the gala as well. Funny side note- the gala is always a costume-type party. Last year the theme was roaring 20s and Todd and I gussied ourselves all up and looked the part. This year is was Alice in Wonderland. I am not an Alice fan, and I didn't feel like trying to get my hands on some kind of elaborate costume, so Todd and I went as Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. It was pretty funny because all of the ladies looked so fantastic in their dresses and fancy hats and I was in a yellow t-shirt, red suspenders, a blue bow tie, a spinny hat, and jeans. Ha! I'm such a dork.

Anyway...

Along with the preparation for that big event we are also preparing for Grandparents' Day at the school which is also a big deal and will occur on Friday the 24th. More volunteering as well.

Then, of course, we have Ben who will be receiving his First Communion on Sunday the 26th. I have yet to start making his banner with him or to even check and see if the suit that Tommy and Joe both wore for First Communion fits Ben. I suppose I should do that sooner than later.

Also on Sunday the 26th is Grace's ballet recital. So after church, and a party for Ben, we will all be heading back out to watch Grace in her first recital. Both the recital and the First Communion also have scheduled rehearsals on Saturday the 25th as well.

I also just found out that on Saturday Joey also has a major football meeting for the upcoming fall football season and he needs to be fitted for a uniform. So we have to get to that somehow as well.

None of this would be that big of a deal if we didn't ALSO have the musical going on. I don't know if you remember, but Joey and Tommy and I are all in the musical The Wizard of Oz. Rehearsals are from 6:30 until about 9:30 every night. This coming week rehearsals will begin at 5:30 because we are adding in costumes and makeup because the play will ALSO be this weekend on Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th.

Do you see what I'm saying here people?

Rehearsals every night until almost 10.
The play opens on Thursday the 23rd at 7. Cast needs to report at 5.
Grandparents Day at school (volunteer) Friday the 24th.
The play runs again on Friday the 24th at 7. Cast needs to report at 5. Cast party to follow performance.
Saturday the 25th Ben has practice at 10 in the morning for First Communion.
Saturday the 25th Joey has a meeting for football from 11-2
Saturday the 25th Grace has dress rehearsal for her ballet recital at 2 in the afternoon.
Sunday the 26th Ben has his First Communion at 10:30 and then a party.
Sunday the 26th Grace has her first ballet recital at 3.

Did you notice I didn't even mention homework in there? Because, yeah, there is a bunch of homework every day too. It is homework, quick eat, and then off to rehearsal. I am also a little panicked that the kids are going to get sick this week because Tommy had a nasty stomach bug last week that took him out for three days. We CAN NOT afford to be sick this week!

I have also been trying to destress by getting back into running and yet at the same time trying to find time for a run is just one more thing to add my schedule. And, I also will be turning another year older this week, so we can throw that in there too. And, to make me feel older, the pinched nerve in my back (although MUCH better thanks to my chiropractor) is not helping me at this busy time and is also making it very difficult to get any sleep at night.

So. Yes. It is a manic Monday today. I am working on deep breaths. And I keep reminding myself that at least all this madness is all FUN stuff. The musical is turning out to be pretty freaking fantastic. If I can get my hands on a video (it is supposed to be video taped at dress rehearsal on Wednesday) perhaps I will post a bit of it here for you all. For now, I'll tease you with a few photos.

Dorothy, the Tinman (my Joe), and Scarecrow

 Advertising (before Joey had the whole Tinman costume)

The Tinman costume. Not the easiest thing to move around in but it looks GREAT!

 See? Doesn't he look great? Once the makeup goes on it will really be fantastic.

No hair or makeup yet, but we're getting there!



Now if you'll excuse me I just remembered a few more things to add to my week's checklist. 

Hope your Monday isn't too manic!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Week of Magic

A few years ago I made a shocking confession in one of my blog posts. The gist of the post was that I had little to no desire to take my kids to Disney World. Disney always seemed like a big commercial money suckhole for people who were suckered into thinking it was a MUST to be a good parent. I could think of so many more fun family vacations that I would rather spend my money on than Disney. Basically, I was bucky because I don't like being told I must to anything. 

Long story short, Todd's mom rented a 3 bedroom condo in Florida this year (where a bunch of her siblings also stay in winter) and wanted us to come down and visit her during our spring break. Seeing as how that would take care of our lodging Todd and I figured that if we were ever going to take the kids to Disney now would be the time to do it. This way, instead of spending thousands of dollars on a week-long trip we could just buy a day pass and find out if it would be worth another trip back.

We looked into all the nearby attractions (the condo was located a half an hour from pretty much EVERYTHING- it was perfect) and the kids were most excited about Legoland and Universal's Harry Potter World and were just moderately excited about Disney. We ended up purchasing a one day pass for each of those three places figuring this would be the best way to take the kids without having to remortgage our house (although the day passes were fairly insane on their own).

We decided to drive down so that the kids could see and visit a few other states. We took the kids out of school on Friday and left at about 4:00 in the morning. The kids are very good travelers and save for an upset stomach (Tommy had to stop to use the bathroom three separate times for tummy issues, and vomited in the car once as well) there were no issues. The traffic was INSANE around Atlanta and we got to our hotel a bit later than we had planned but we were all in good spirits. The hotel was fantastic (kids eat FREE, people!) and we all got some much needed rest. The next day was more of the same (with less vomit and poo) and we finally got to our destination at 4:55 in the evening. By 5:10 the kids were in the pool finally able to get their energy out.
The condo was lovely, right in front of the pool, with plenty of room for everyone. We all slept soundly and woke the next morning, Palm Sunday, to get ready for church. We just had to take a picture of us in front of palm trees right before Palm Sunday mass.
After church we took the opportunity to relax for the rest of the day. The kids (and Todd and I too) swam the entire day until it began to get dark. Yay! for hot weather and a swimming pool.
The next morning we were up early again to make our way to Disney World. I'll admit it was pretty exciting walking into the park with my family. I was excited for them and hopeful that it would be something magical that they'd always remember.

We got to Disney just after the gates opened and were able to get on a few rides right away. We saw three parades, rode as many rides as we could, and took in the sights. By midafternoon to evening it was so crowded we could barely move. And hot. Very hot. By the end of the day we had rode every ride we could manage (the favorites were Space Mountain, Great Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Speedway, and the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin) and everyone was exhausted. The kids enjoyed themselves and I would call it a success.

However, I still think it is overrated. I was pretty shocked at how unfriendly all the workers there were. At one point, while we were in line for Space Mountain, I had asked a worker if there was a bathroom Tommy could use. She said no but said he could get out of line and sent him down a hallway. When I stepped out of line to wait for him I was told that she had sent him outside into the park to look for a bathroom by himself. I had assumed she was letting him use an employee bathroom nearby. I ran out to try and catch up with him and was lucky enough to find him wandering around lost. It was INSANE. Of course he had no idea where a bathroom would be and he asked multiple workers who ignored him. Sending a 10 year old out into the park, no idea of where he is going or how to get back to his family still inside in line seems wreckless. Nuts, man. The people serving food weren't friendly, the workers on the rides weren't friendly. It really was a surprise. I thought it was supposed to be "the happiest place on earth". It was bizarre.

I never saw the big deal of Disney when I went as a teenager but everyone told me that going with my kids and watching their faces light up would make it more special. However, their faces didn't really light up. Grace liked seeing the princesses in the parade and the kids liked the rides a lot but this wasn't something that blew their minds. I definitely had more fun this time around, with my family, than I did when I had gone before. And, we were all happy we went, but it isn't something we feel the need to do again. We went into it hopeful and excited but my initial feelings about it were confirmed. Overrated. For our family, anyway. We were all satisfied with just our one day there.
By the time we left Disney World we were all exhausted. Our feet were practically swollen and poor Grace had fresh blisters. It was a long day. 

But no rest for the weary!

The next morning (this time we got to sleep in a little) we went to Legoland. I swear the kids were more excited about Legoland than they were about Disney. I didn't think it would be a big deal but the park was pretty amazing. It was MUCH bigger than I had expected and had far more rides and roller coasters than I had anticipated. And the lines were cake! We only had to wait for about 20 minutes, many times less than that. 
There was so much to see and do. The roller coasters were pretty impressive. The displays blew our minds. The kids got to ride their own Lego cars on a cool driving course and then got their Lego drivers licenses. 
In Lego Miniland there were replicas of famous cities and building from around the US. I have to say, this was one of my favorite parts. I think I spent far more time here than my family wanted me to but I was blown away. It was pretty amazing what was made out of Legos and how much the buildings looked like the real things.
By the end of the day the kids were very sad to leave. They all loved Legoland. And so did I.
The next day was what I had been looking forward to. Universal. I had never been to Universal before and being a huge Harry Potter fan made this a very exciting day.
Universal proved to be worth the wait. And it turns out, we didn't even get to 90% of the park. But, Todd and I did manage to get on one of the biggest roller coasters in the park, The Hulk. We had just entered the park and saw that the line was only 10 minutes. We couldn't pass it up. We took the "single riders" line which got us through even faster. Our kids chickened out on this one but Tommy did spot us and snapped a picture of Todd and I on the roller coaster with my camera that I left in his care. Nicely done, Tommy! I am in the third row far right. And Todd is in the sixth row far right. I can tell by the clothes we wore.  
It was probably a wise decision for the kids not to go on this one. It was pretty wicked. But it was awesome.

Next up, Harry Potter World.

It. Was. Amazing. 

I could not believe the scale of Hogwarts. It was incredible. And the ride inside was fan-freaking-tastic. Unfortunately, Grace wasn't tall enough to ride but she had a lot of fun waiting in line inside the castle. They had so many cool things to see and watch while in line. Dumbledore, at the balcony in his room, spoke to us. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in one of the classrooms talking to us. There were the talking paintings, the Sorting Hat. All kinds of cool stuff. It definitely made waiting more fun.
After that we took the Hogwarts Express to London and then entered the brick wall to Diagon Alley. It was so freaking cool, I can't even tell you. I was geeking out. We all were. We went into Ollivander's and we each picked out our own wands. Or rather, they picked us. ;)  We walked around for quite a while and then decided to eat at the Leaky Cauldron. It was fantastic. Very cool atmosphere and delicious food. The best fish and chips ever. And the butterbeer? Wow. So good.

Every single person at Universal was so amazingly friendly. The workers were fantastic. They had us laughing and smiling the whole time. They bent over backwards to make sure we had a great time. When Joey had left his sunglasses on the Hogwarts train they went out of their way to find them and return them to us. They were terrific! And they were all so into playing their roles. I had set my video camera on a tray that a worker was going to take for us and he handed it to me saying, "Is this one of your muggle devices?" Cracked me up.
We had a wonderful time. It was the best. We all agreed that Universal was definitely our favorite place we had visited and that we would love to go back again and spend more time there. We bought plenty of souvenirs to remind us of our time at Universal and Harry Potter World. This is one of my favs:
After I got home I realized it was even a more relevant mug for me because of my current role as Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz.  Ha!

Anyway, we were sad to leave Universal but there was more fun to be had. 

The next day we drove to Cocoa Beach. We wanted to have a nice relaxing day for our last day in Florida but we just couldn't leave without letting the kids see and play in the ocean, so off we went. It was a little further away than we would have liked (about an hour) but it was worth it.
It was a gorgeous beach with clean, soft sand, and plenty of seashells for the kids to harvest. We had a blast diving into the waves and playing in the water. It was the kids' first time seeing and playing in the ocean and they had more fun than they thought they would. The loved it. They were a little apprehensive at first, thinking of sharks, but they braved their initial fear and ended up falling in love with the ocean.

I, of course, do have a fear of sharks, and was constantly scanning the horizon. At one point I saw a fin. I froze for a second, wondering if that was indeed what I saw, and then saw a swarm of fins. It was a POD OF DOLPHINS. I couldn't believe it. And they weren't far from us. It was so bizarre. Especially since the whole car ride to Florida Grace talked about how she wanted to see dolphins when we went to the ocean. I kept telling her that you don't really see them from the beach but she just kept saying, "Well, maybe we'll see them jumping out of the water!" And we did! Awesome.
When we got back from swimming in the ocean that afternoon the kids went swimming in the pool. Little water bugs. And, oh by the way, Grace taught herself how to swim. She had forgotten her lifevest in the condo and didn't feel like getting out of the pool to go get it so she stayed in the shallow end. Next thing you know she is running over to me saying, "Hey mom! I can swim without my floatie! Watch this!!!!" And sure enough. She is doing the front crawl. ALL. THE. WAY. ACROSS. THE. POOL. I couldn't believe it. She has amazing breath support. I jumped in the pool with her and showed her how to swim under water and the next thing you know she is doing the breast stroke under water. Dang. These kids are growing up SO FAST!
It was a long day but we had decided to leave that night instead of very early the next morning to head for home. We figured it might be better to drive all night when the kids could sleep (and we could avoid Atlanta traffic) and then just drive all 20 hours in a row to get home Friday evening. It was difficult. Todd and I were exhausted. And I ended up getting a pinched nerve by my shoulder blade (that for about an hour I thought was actually me having a heart attack- the pain was so bad and I couldn't catch my breath) which made it impossible to sit for the last 5 hours, but we made it. And leaving at night and driving straight through turned out to be the best decision. The kids slept through the whole night while we drove and we were home by 3:30 on Friday afternoon.That gave us a lot more time to rest up and relax before Easter. I immediately unpacked everyone when we got home (I need order, people), made a run to the grocery store, fed the kids dinner, got our animals back from Todd's sister who was watching them, and then proceeded to crash. I couldn't even get through some of my shows I was so eager to watch.

Friday night I went to bed at 8:30 and got up the next morning around 9. Trying to make up for lost sleep, I'm sure. Saturday the kids played outside while I did not much of anything at all. I tried to move as little as possible, both from my sore shoulder and the remaining exhaustion. In the afternoon the whole family sat down to watch Harry Potter and remarked how we felt like we were really part of the movie now that we had "been there". 

Saturday night we managed to dye some eggs. That was a major feat for me. I was thinking of skipping it this year. I had so little energy to be excited about eggs, but we did it nonetheless. After the eggs we watched the Badgers' victory over Kentucky and the night was satisfyingly complete.

The next morning the kids were up bright and early searching for Easter baskets. Candy was gorged on, even Molly got a treat, and then it was off to church. It was a beautiful mass. After church we went to brunch with my side of the family. 
A good and silly and yummy time was had by all. It was a very Happy Easter.
Today poor Todd returned to work and the kids spent the day outside. I edited all of our pics from vacation and drank far too much coffee in my new Witch mug. Tonight I will attend choir rehearsal (which was rescheduled because of the big game) and then rush home to watch the Badgers in the National Championship game. We are filled with nervous energy.

Tomorrow it is back to the real world. School, and musical practices, and boy scouts, and homework, and ballet classes, and First Communion, and recitals, and meetings. But, thankfully, we will have enough warm memories (and pictures and videos, of course) to remind us of our magical week.

It was a great spring break.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Good Things

-Getting an email from Joey's math/science teacher telling me what a joy he is to have in her class. " Good Morning- I just wanted to let you know what a grateful and appreciative young man Joey is. He often expresses his appreciation out loud for being able to attend our school and says how happy he is to be here. Today on the way back from reconciliation he had the most remarkable things to say. What a joy it is to me to have him in my class!" Makes this mama want to cry.

-This post. It really made me laugh because I've been feeling the same way lately. "Who is this woman staring back at me from the mirror?"

-Which leads me to this video. It really hit me how damaging internal dialogue can be.


-The weather is definitely warming up. I am getting so excited!!!

-Spring break. No school. 'Nuff said.

-There are some super funny memes that just make me laugh my butt off. Here are a few:

Yep. This is me lately.

Been there, done that.

I really want to do this. 


This is my dog except she lies right on top of me and spreads out.

Yes. Exactly. 

I swear this is me and it's why my kids are good in stores and restaurants. 

 Yes.

I love this picture SO MUCH. That's the Jesus I know.

Perfectly stated and shown. 

Yeah, Wisconsin!


A cute one with Easter coming up.



This. Just This:

If you dunk the ball so hard that it goes in twice you should automatically win the game. Or at least get double the points. So good. Go, Badgers!!!!!

- Going to Kohl's in hope of finding a nice spring dress to wear for Easter and to Ben's 1st Communion coming up and finding so many great fitting, pretty, flattering outfits that I have a hard time choosing. Normally I go to the store, try on a dozen dresses, all the while cursing the latest "style" and cut of dress and leave the store feeling horrible and frustrated. I am LOVING the latest styles and they are all very flattering cuts. I must admit that I left the store with far more dresses than I had intended.  Oops.

-Also at the store I had a mini panic attack in the dressing room as I was trying to get a dress over my head (not realizing there was a zipper that needed to be unzipped in order to get it on) and I got stuck with my arms straight up over my head. The dress was stuck over my face, elbows, shoulders, and chest and I literally could not move my upper body. I started to panic because I didn't have a shopping buddy with me and I had no one to help, AND I was in a hurry to go pick Grace up from school. I couldn't breathe and I was just about to open the door and go screaming for help from the dressing room in my underwear, dress still affixed over my head and arms in the air, until I realized I wouldn't be able to bend enough to open the dressing room door. That probably turned out to be a good thing, don't ya think? I was seriously concerned I was going to pass out. Finally, I was able to force myself to calm down and somehow inched my head and shoulders out enough to move my arms a bit. I wish that would have been caught on camera. I can just imagine. It wasn't really funny at the time but now every time I think about it I get a good laugh. Good stuff.

-Lately the boys have been fighting over who gets to take Molly for a walk. I think it makes them feel grown up to take off on their own for a little while. Molly is such a good dog to walk and I am confident they are safe walking her in our neighborhood. It is a win/win for everyone. I think Ben enjoys it the most because he really feels like a big kid. He wants to walk her all the time.



So, tell me. What's on your "Good Things" list today?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Validation

Work hard.
Do your best.

Work hard. 
Do your best.

Work hard.
Do your best.

I bet we sound like a broken record to our kids. Work hard. Do your best. This has been our mantra to our kids over the years. They've heard us say it thousands of times. We repeat it over and over again in our motivational speeches regarding homework, sports, plays, and even chores. 

For Joey, this year has been all about working hard and doing his best. Sixth grade has been extremely demanding for Joey. The academics have been very challenging and he has met the challenge with hard work and has succeeded. Add to that his extra curricular activities and basketball and having a lead in the musical and the kid has really had to be on his game. 

Last year, Joey's first year playing on a basketball team, was a real year of growth. He went from being very timid on the floor and not really wanting the ball, to being a good defensive player and knowing the plays. Last year the coach named Joey the Most Improved Player. 

Still, basketball does not come naturally for Joey. He works hard at it. There are some kids who are just naturally coordinated, athletic, and fluid in all their movements but Joey has to put in extra effort to make it all work together. When he began this season we could see just how much he had grown from the year before. Joey was the team's best defensive player this year. Whoever was the best shooter, or the biggest guy, on the opposing team that was who Joey was defending. Joey led his team in steals. 
He became much more confident dribbling and put up much needed points at critical moments. He had some great shots out by the three point line that surprised even him. Joey had become a confident starter for his team.
Joey was also a leader on the team. He knew where every player should be at what point and was often shouting out directions to his teammates. At times I was worried that he was too bossy but it turns out his teammates appreciated his help.
Joey's team had a couple of naturally gifted athletes, and really good players, and though Joey was not the most skilled player on the team he made his presence known and was imperative in helping his team win. They even took 2nd place in the last tournament they were in.
Last night was the athletic banquet at Joey's school. Joey's basketball coach handed out three awards that the team had voted on: Most Improved player, the MVP, and the Best Overall player. The kids voted appropriately and the awards went to the right players and Joey was happy for his friends when they received their trophies. 

But the coach wasn't done. He said that he and the Assistant Coach thought that there was one more player that needed to be recognized. He went on to say that this player showed up for practice ready to go, always worked hard, had a great attitude, and was helpful to all his teammates. This player was a leader on the court, both in his solid performances, great defense, putting up needed points, and in his relationship with his teammates. The coach reiterated that it was a real pleasure watching this player and it was great to have him on the team. Then the coach called Joey's name and handed him his trophy for the Coach's Award. 
It was all this mama could do to keep from crying. I knew just how much that trophy meant to my boy and I knew he wasn't expecting it. I was so happy for Joey to see that his hard work and dedication was recognized.  It was validation.
Immediately after the coach's speech Joey came running over to me, his face flushed with pride, hugged me and buried his face in my shoulder. "My very first trophy that I earned all on my own." Joey whispered to me.

Joey carried that trophy around for the rest of the night. I swear he would have slept with it if he wasn't so concerned about it breaking. This morning at the breakfast table the trophy sat next to him as he ate. When I walked into the room and saw him beaming at his trophy he looked up at me and said, "I'm just so happy. So proud of myself."

Validation.

You don't always have to be the best, but if you work hard and you do your best you will be a success.

Well done, Joey.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kicking It Old School


Hey, look at me! I'm doing it! I'm kicking it old school bloggy style, y'all! It has been a while since I've done this and I've been meaning to join in, so here I go!


If you could be on a reality tv show which one would you choose?
I am a reality show buff. None of the Housewives shows or any other crazy show where people just fight and act like idiots, but shows like Survivor, American Idol, The Bachelor (yes, I am embarrassed by this one), Dancing with the Stars (when there are actually people I like to watch- not this season), House Hunters, Top Chef, Project Runway, and the Amazing Race. I love that stuff. My friends used to try to get me to audition for American Idol but that never appealed to me and now I'm too old. HA! I would LOVE to be on Dancing with the Stars but alas I am not a star. I am super competitive so I think it would be a toss up between Survivor and The Amazing Race. My husband and I often said how much we would love to go on The Amazing Race together. So good. But ultimately I would love to be on Survivor. I would love to push myself and test my limits and play a game that I have been watching for close to two decades. It would be AWESOME.


Name one thing you have saved from your childhood. 
I have kept many things from my childhood. I have old journals, books, stuffed animals, a rosary, a statue of Mary, toys, all kinds of stuff. A little while ago my kids went over to my mom's house and came home with a ton of my old toys. Now I have an old school play telephone, Lincoln Logs, MORE legos, an old Fisher Price dollhouse, and more stuffed animals sitting around my house. Oh dear. I think the one thing that was always with me even before I had kids was my penguin stuffed animal that I got for Christmas when I was little. I love that little guy. It is currently sitting in Joey's room. The kids love him too.

If your life had a theme song which one would it be?
Ha! It would probably change all the time. I have a few songs that I have sung to the kids since they were tiny (Baby Mine) and they consider that their song. Right now Count on Me (Bruno Mars) always makes me teary when I hear it on the radio and the kids know that is kind of our family song. However, lately our lives have been crazy busy and the kids are driving me a little cuckoo so I think my current song is Lose My Mind (DMX).

(caution-language)
 


Where is your happy place?
Somewhere realistic? My bed. Seriously.  I love my bed. Even when I'm not sleeping I just love sitting in my bed and reading. I just love my bed and my bedroom. It is so peaceful. It makes me happy.

Somewhere unrealistic? A beach. A nice, hot, tropical beach where I don't have to do much of anything but lie there and relax, preferably with a drink in my hand. And then when I get too warm I can just go jump in the ocean and then go back to the beach and lie there some more. Ahhhh. The beach.
(Mexico, baby!)

What is the one thing about your home that you and your spouse disagree on?
Probably just stuff. I am always wanting to declutter and get rid of stuff and Todd likes toys. He is constantly looking at the next "thing". I find it all very annoying but it is a very man thing. Boys and their toys, and all that. It doesn't help that we have four kids who all have too much stuff too. It just seems like I am always surrounded by stuff and I am a minimalist so it annoys.
Other than that, Todd and I agree on most things "house" related. We have similar tastes in furniture (although he insists on having two recliners in front of the tv instead of a nice couch we could all snuggle on) and styles and such.

What is your favorite fruit?
I love fruit. I mean LOVE. But, my favorite fruit, by far, is Bing Cherries. LOVE. I can't get enough. When summer rolls around that is basically all I'm eating. But, I do love all summer fruit. Watermelon, nectarines, honeydew, pineapple, peaches. Love them all, but cherries win.

Bowtie or regular tie?
This question made me go:

I guess I agree with Elaine. Little boys look cute in bow ties but mostly I prefer ties on men. Unless it is wedding day and then a bow tie looks nice. But I really think a white dress shirt, with no tie or bow tie, just a couple buttons open, is the sexiest. Yowsa.

Mexican or Italian food?
Umm... both? Seriously. Both. I love Italian and Mexican food. I crave both on a regular basis. And our city has three outstanding (one of them an award winner) Italian restaurants and an amazing Mexican restaurant too. That means trouble for me. Mmm. Now I'm hungry.

Where do you want to go on summer vacation?
Seriously? Did you not hear me before? The BEACH! It is my happy place. Luckily, we have lots of nice beaches around here. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Last year it barely got hot enough to enjoy the beach at all. I hope we have a scorcher this year.
Ok. That isn't really a vacation. Umm... we had a blast when we went to Chicago with the kids. I think we'd like to do that again. It is close and easy.
Spring break is quickly approaching and we are taking our very first BIG spring break with the kids. Todd's mom has rented a condo down in Florida for the winter and we are driving (heaven help us) down there to visit her. Of course we are making all the required stops (Disney, Legoland, Universal) and since we get to stay with grandma it is going to be super special (not to mention economical). We are all very excited about it. So, since we are doing it big on spring break I think any summer vacation would be something small.

What are your go-to shoes in your closet?
I wear my white Keds often. They are comfy and go with everything. I wear running shoes when I am playing with the kids or working outside. In summer I pretty much live in sandals (or bare feet) and ballet flats. When I go out with Todd (when was the last time that happened?) I like to rock some fun heels. These are one of my favs:
They look super cute with a pair of skinny jeans.

Yeah! That was fun! Anyone else want to join in? Hurry up! You only have a few more days!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Big One

Today was a much anticipated big day.

Today was Tommy's birthday.

Normally, birthdays are pretty fun around here, but this one was extra special. Not only was it Tommy's birthday, but it was Tommy's 10th birthday and he was having a party. And not just any party, but a birthday party at the local indoor waterpark.

As I said, today was a big day.

It started out bright and early, of course. Tommy was never known for being a good sleeper and on such an exciting day the kid just couldn't stay in bed. Since we were all up early we thought we'd get a jump on the festivities and open a few presents.
Tommy was pleased. It was a lovely way to start the day.

Before we knew it a few hours had passed and it was time to go to the party. This was Tommy's first big birthday party (other than his 1st birthday, I suppose) and he decided that instead of inviting his whole class he just wanted to invite a few of his closest friends. It was such a great group of kids. They are all so sweet and got along so well. It was so much fun.
The kids swam and played, slid down the slides, body surfed, played basketball, and wore each other out. We took a little break for lunch, cake, and presents, and then it was right back out into the water for more fun.
It was four hours of swimming, partying fun. By the time it was over I think we were all pretty exhausted. 

Still, the birthday fun was not done. Seeing as how this mama was worn out and didn't want to cook, and Tommy wanted to get a birthday t-shirt from his favorite restaurant like all his siblings did on their birthdays, we decided to go out to eat. Let's hear it for buffet restaurants and no dishes!

Yes, it was a very exciting day. A big day. It's not every day you turn 10, you know. 

My dear Tommy. I am so proud to be your mama. You are such a good and kind boy. You always want to make people happy, and are always concerned about other people's feelings. You are a hard worker and I have no doubt that whatever you want to do in life you will be successful. Once you put your mind to it there is no stopping you. You are a natural charmer. Charismatic. You are dramatic, stubborn, and silly. You have a heart of gold. My darling, goldensbear. A boy so sweet and sentimental that just before bed he lamented that he felt a little sad. "I just realized, I'll never be able to have this birthday again." my melancholy Tommy had said. Just another reminder to treasure each moment I have with you.

Happy 10th birthday, Tommy. I love 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