Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Three Sons

There is a fabulous photo contest over at 5MinutesforMom with a grand prize of $1000. Can you believe it? All you have to do is post the photo you want judged on your blog and sign in the mister linky. The photo should be one that describes motherhood to you.

There they are. My three boys. Always making me laugh and making my heart swell. They open my eyes to the world again and again. Make everything new and exciting. Feeling the newly green grass is endlessly exciting. Watching a robin find a worm is amazing. Seeing a bulldozer down the street is unbelievable. Sitting on the porch spotting the lightening in the sky is thrilling. And raking the leaves is an all day party. Motherhood has awakened my spirit again to all that is magical in this world.
Thank you, my boys!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Story Of Us

I was 22 years old and fresh out of a long term relationship nursing a majorly mangled heart and a crushed spirit. I had become cynical and jaded and decided to take a break from romantic relationships. I was sick of dating. Sick of guys. I needed a break.

The day was July 4th, 1998. My friend Tarah and I were on our way to a 4th of July party that her older brother and his friends were throwing. This party had become a legendary annual event they all called Lobsterfest. For a small fee you would get a fresh Maine lobster that the guys had flown in, a huge array of side dishes and desserts, and all the drinks you could manage. It was a hot and humid day and I couldn't wait to get a cold drink in my hand. As we pulled up to the already full party Tarah immediately said, "Oh wow! Todd is here! He is a lawyer in New York. I always thought he would be the perfect boyfriend!"

My cynical mind immediately said, "Big whoop." I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Was I supposed to be impressed? I am the last person to get excited because someone is a lawyer. Who cares? He probably has an ego the size of Texas. Good grief.

As I followed Tarah's gaze I saw him right away. A good looking guy in khaki shorts and a plain white tee shirt stood next to a picnic table. He had one leg up on the bench of the table and was leaning forward with his elbow on his knee. He was surrounded by a group of people who all seemed to be enjoying whatever it was he was saying.

I followed Tarah over to the picnic table and she introduced me to Todd. I was surprised by his warm greeting, he clasped my hand in both of his when we shook and offered a large and genuine smile, but still expected the arrogance to show itself. The group of us stood and talked for a while and when I would make snarky, sarcastic comments here and there he would laugh and join in. He had an easy going charm about him and clearly did not take himself too seriously. Though I never fully admitted it until this moment I was impressed by him right away.

He offered to make me a drink and I followed him to the bar. He was funny. Really funny. I couldn't stop laughing. And he was easy to talk to, too. Soon I had learned that he was not only from Wisconsin but from my hometown. He had gone to the same high school I did and graduated 5 years ahead of me. He played football in high school and college. I loved football. He loved singing. My number one passion. We had grown up playing in the same parks, going to the same churches, and knowing the same people.

We talked all day and into the night. And although I still had no intentions of starting a relationship I had a good time hanging out with him. My hardened heart didn't even think to venture past that night or past a friendship.

At the end of the night everyone wanted to go dancing. Except for me. I had a long ride home and I was tired. Not only that but I looked like hell. All of my makeup had melted off my face long ago. My hair had frizzed out from the humidity and I had a giant zit on my chin. I was beginning to scare myself. Time to go. Todd kept trying to get me to go dancing with everyone and after repeatedly telling him I was tired I decided to be honest.

"I am so tired, and I look like crap. It is time for me to go." I said.

"Yeah, you do look pretty bad." he teased.

"I know. It is not good." I repeated.

"Yeah, you look awful. Really bad." he said again. But this time I became even more insecure.
"I know, all my makeup has come off. Scary." I said trying to make excuses for the mess.

"Yeah, you should do something about that." he laughed. I'm sure he thought we were just ribbing as we had done all day but by now I seriously wanted to hide.

"Yeah. Well. I'm gonna go. You have a good time." I tried to say casually as I ran out of the room shielding my hideous face. I was definitely happy to be leaving after that despite the confused look on Todd's face.

That was it. That was how we said goodbye. He flew back to New York and I went about my life, unaffected.

Six months later around Christmas time I was in my hometown visiting my family. I went out to a bar with my friend Jennifer and just happened to see Todd sitting at the end of the bar with a few friends. Knowing Todd was upset at the way we left things last time I marched right up to him and said, "Hi! I'm Kathryn. Do you remember me? We met at..." and before I could finish my sentence he was saying, "Of course I remember you!"

We cleared the air and again spent the night talking (he had recently moved back to town after his father had a heart attack) and laughing (did I mention he was funny?). He even came out dancing with Jennifer and I. He got out on the dance floor and twirled and spun me around like he was a professional swing dancer. I was so impressed and had so much fun. It was getting late and I told him I needed to go so that I was able to get up for church the next morning. He asked me where I went to church and it just so happened that he went to the same church, and in fact, sang in the church choir. The very same choir my parents sang in. I couldn't believe it.

At the end of the night Todd asked for my number but I was in a relationship at the time so I didn't give it to him. Instead, I told him I would see him at church in the morning and indeed I did. When I had told my mom who I had been hanging out with the night before she could barely contain her excitement. The minute Todd had joined choir she thought he would be perfect for me. A year or so later mom admitted to me that when she saw us talking in the back of church that morning it was like all of the blood rushed out of her body and she knew I was going to marry him. Luckily, she didn't tell me that at the time.

For the next few months Todd badgered my friend Tarah with questions. "Is Kat single yet? What's up with Kat? Have you seen Kat? Is Kat interested in me?" Tarah began to tire and soon dropped the act of "playing it cool" and started asking me, "Todd wants ya. What do you want me to tell him?"

Finally in spring of 1999 I broke up with my boyfriend. That May I ran into Todd again. Tarah's dad was getting married and I was invited to the wedding. So was Todd. When he again asked for my number I finally gave it to him still thinking nothing would come of it. He called the very next day and I agreed to go out on a date with him.

We went out to dinner and had a good time. Still, it seemed more friendly to me than anything else. I told him that I just wasn't ready to start a relationship and we agreed to be friends. We continued talking and getting to know each other over email (And for some reason I couldn't explain I printed out and saved all of his emails. I still have them to this day). We talked about everything and nothing. And when I was having a bad day he would drop everything, drive the 45 minutes it took to get to my apartment, and take me out to a movie, dinner, or just go for a walk. We always had a great time together.

When summer rolled around he began taking me on motorcycle rides. The first time he picked me up I remember opening my apartment door and my breath immediately got stuck in my throat. It was like someone punched me in the gut. He looked gorgeous! He was so tan, he wasn't wearing his glasses, and his hair was wind-blown and wild. He had a tank top on and when he turned around I saw the tattoo on his shoulder blade. Up until that point he had been the good little church boy, but seeing him on that Harley with the tattoo blazing on his back made me see him in a whole new light. I'm ashamed to say it, but I am one of those girls that likes a little bit of a bad boy on the inside of my good boy.

Then, early in September, I received an email from him. Todd told me that he was taking a trip to London to visit a friend and was wondering if I would like to come along. He said that he knew I always wanted to travel and this would be a great opportunity. I was a bit concerned that Todd would see this as more than friendship and as I was contemplating my answer he shot me another email telling me not to freak out. It was strictly as friends. I told him that I would love to go. I booked my airplane ticket and we left on October 3rd.

Our little visit to London turned into a European extravaganza. You really get to know someone when you spend 10 straight days traveling with them and I liked what I saw. We had so much fun together. We took the train from London to York (and he didn't move an inch for 3 whole hours as I slept on his shoulder), enjoyed walking the quaint streets of the city, and stayed in a beautiful hotel. Separate rooms of course. Then we went back to London and saw the London Symphony Orchestra and "The Importance of Being Earnest". We visited castles, walked through parks, and toured museums. He showed me where he used to live, all of his favorite spots, and took me to see Abby Road. After a couple of days in London we took the Chunnel to Paris.

And, what can I say? We were in Paris. The city of love. And I swear that is where I began to fall in love. I can actually remember the exact moment. We were inside Notre Dame. Todd had begun lighting some candles on the side alter and as he did so he said, "This candle is for your happiness. This candle is to keep you safe. And this candle is so that the Packers win tomorrow."

At that moment I had to ask myself very important questions. What the hell was the matter with me? Why had I been holding back with him? Why didn't I give this guy a chance? Anyone who can touch my heart and make me laugh in the same sentence deserves a chance.

When our 10 days in Europe had come to an end we went back home and back to work. I didn't see him for the whole week though we emailed often. We were still strictly friends but something had changed. I saw him differently. I realized in that week that I had missed him. I missed seeing him.

We had plans that Saturday to go to a Badger football game. I had never been to one and Todd wanted to be the first to take me. It just so happened that Saturday was Sweetest Day and when I opened my apartment door to let Todd in he was holding a giant box wrapped in pretty paper. I opened the box and knew right then and there I was going to marry him.

Inside the box was a globe. He bought me a globe. Months earlier I had told him how I always wanted a globe but never actually got one. Looking at a globe always made me feel giddy, excited, adventurous, and even romantic. It made me think of possibilities. He had remembered what I said months earlier and he bought me a globe.

From that moment on we were a couple. Five months later we were engaged.

Being one of the first girls in my group of friends to get married I was always asked how I knew that Todd was the one. My answer was always the same. It didn't even seem like a decision I was making. To me, it felt as though God was revealing to me the man I was supposed to be with. It just seemed so obvious.

Growing up my dad told me many times how he used to pray to God that he would find a good wife. I was inspired and began praying for God to send me a good husband. So many times I would wish that a good man was out there praying for me too. And he was. I truly believe that God brought us together, and that God will always keep us together.

I know this was a super long story, and believe me, this is the edited version. There was so much more that I wanted to write about, but who has time to read all of that? I had told Todd I was writing about how we met and that I was having the most difficult time writing it all down. There was just so much. I said, "How in the world do I tell this story?"
He said he always does a great job of telling it. So here is Todd's version:

"In 1998 I was able to get some time off of work and make it back to Wisconsin for the annual party that my buddies and I always threw. I can remember how hot it was that day and exactly where I was sitting. I can remember the way the sun came in across the grass. I can remember the car pulling up and her getting out. I can remember what she wore. And as soon as she started walking up I knew. It was love at first sight. I was smitten."


This is a picture of the "A-ha!" moment in Notre Dame.

On the way up the Eiffel Tower.

Lobsterfest 2001 right after we were married.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Living Legend

This is the one and only picture I was able to snap of Maya Angelou on Saturday night. I didn't want to take pictures while she was talking and when she was done she got up so quickly and my silly camera takes forever to take another shot so I could only get one picture. This is the only photo and unfortunately it has those little light blobs on it. At least you get to see how close I was to her. I did not zoom in on this picture at all. I was in the front row just a few feet away from her. So often when she spoke she was looking right at me as I smiled and nodded my head. It was just amazing to have one of my idols speaking right to me and smiling back.

It was an incredible night. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to this wise woman speak. I kept thinking how I was listening to a living legend and it was just overwhelming at times. She was not only inspiring, and captivating, she was hilarious as well. It was a fabulous speech.

Her topic for the evening was hope. How appropriate was that? It was just perfect for my mom, my sister and me. Ms. Angelou spoke of being a rainbow in the clouds. How so many people in her life had been the rainbow in her clouds, and how we may do the same for others. She reminded us that we are all able to inspire and transcend. It was so moving. It was one of those moments that makes you want to be better. Do better. Be an example.

It was an unforgettable night.

Tomorrow I'm going to post the story of how the hubby and I met in participation with a meme sponsored by Rebecca. I love the "How we met" stories and if any of you would like to participate then stop by Rebecca's and sign in the mister linky. I would love to hear your own stories.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekly Wrap

I have so much floating around in my head that it is difficult for me to put into a cohesive post. My thoughts are so jumbled. My mind is just a car wash of different thoughts being sloshed around.

So, instead of participating in Haiku Friday like I normally do I thought I would steal Brittany's Weekly Wrap idea. It fits me perfectly today.

1- My dad is still in the process of adjusting his medication. On Wednesday dad was released from the hospital back to the nursing home. He did well the first night and then the next afternoon he became violent and unmanageable again. He knocked over one of the assistants and was throwing things and knocking over chairs. A sheriff was called to take my dad back to the hospital. That is where dad is right now. And the process starts all over again.

It is just so heart-wrenching to watch and not be able to help. When I visited my dad he started crying the minute he saw me. He is so miserable and yet he still tries to be so good. He always loves seeing the boys and they were able to cheer him up quite a bit. I am just at a loss as to what to do. I don't think there is anything I can do. Just sit and wait, I suppose.

2- So many of you have written such sweet messages, emails, and comments to me, and I am so grateful. I cannot believe what a supportive community this blogging has become. It is amazing to know that people are praying for and wishing me and my family well. I thank you!

3- I'm gonna get long-winded here so if you don't want to read this one skip to #4.
Life is difficult. There is so much suffering in the world. I know I am not alone in my suffering and so many people are going through much, much worse than I am. Many people question God and wonder why God allows such suffering.
This is what I know:
Nothing bad comes from God. God only brings good to our lives. This is life. And life is hard. Bad things happen in life because this is not a perfect place. Heaven is the only perfect place. Suffering happens to strengthen us and prepare our souls for heaven. Our suffering brings us closer to others and to God. Our suffering does serve a purpose.
You can not compare your suffering to others. You can only deal with your pain. A friend of mine felt guilty for complaining about her baby-induced sleep deprivation when she heard about what I was dealing with. She should NOT feel guilty. What she is dealing with is also very difficult. Just because I am going through a rough time with my father does not make her sleep deprived mind any easier to deal with. It may help to give you perspective, but it certainly doesn't mean that your suffering doesn't count. Suffering comes in many forms whether it is everyday stressors, unimaginable loss, or internal struggles. Everyone's suffering counts.

4- Tuesday was my birthday. It actually turned out to be a pretty good day. Dad was doing well that day. My mom brought over the birthday cake that she had made for me. And we all went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was a nice day. To top it off, the dear hubby surprised me with a trip to Key West planned for four days in mid-May. I have been wanting to go to The Keys for a long time and he booked it and planned everything for me. So good! I am really in need of a vacation, I tell you. The hubby and I only get a little vacation every two or three years so this is a huge deal for us. I have been pregnant or nursing for 6 of our 7 years of marriage and trying to find a time to go on a vacation, just the two of us, has been tough.
To say it was a complete surprise is a bit of a lie. I knew he was up to something. He kept bringing up mid-May, telling me to buy a new swim suit, and kept telling me not to plan anything for that weekend. I even went as far as telling him that if he is planning a trip for us that he'd better give me some advance notice so I can plan. I do NOT like to be surprised with this kind of a thing. He was very wise to give me a few weeks notice. I have a real hard time leaving my boys overnight, so I need some time to psych myself up for it. Still, I am REALLY excited about this vacation. I can't wait! The hubby did good.

5- Tomorrow I am going to see Maya Angelou speak. I am so excited I can barely contain myself. I have been such a huge fan of hers for so long. When I found out last year that she was coming to my area I was the first one to order tickets. And guess what. I am in the front row in the center. I can't even believe it! I am taking my mom and my sis with me as they are big fans too.
For those of you that do not know any of her work I am leaving you with one of my favorite poems. Enjoy!


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

-Maya Angelou

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WW- Party Like It's My Birthday

"Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
I'm 23!"

Hey. Shut it. It is the same difference to a dyslexic!

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Update

I do not wish to repeat this weekend. Ever. It has been one long, draining, depressing, stressful event after another.

So much has happened that I can't possibly recount all of the events. All I can say is that admitting my dad to the nursing home on Friday night was both easier and more difficult than I had imagined.

Dad was in a great mood and he was so sweet and happy with everyone. He was walking up to all of the residents telling them what a lovely place they have and how wonderful it is. A woman was sitting in her wheelchair in the hallway holding a baby doll and dad walked right up and oohed and aahed over it like it was a real baby. The lady just beamed at dad. He walked up to another woman who was whimpering in her wheelchair and said, "You'll be okay. You are doing just great! You have a beautiful smile, you know that?" He was his typical loving, caring self, still taking care of those who could not care for themselves, even though he was now one of those people.

As we walked around the halls my mom and I both commented on how my dad seemed to think it was his job to help these people, and it made him so happy to do so. He kept saying how the home was "heaven". And sure, it was in a beautiful area on a hill surrounded by woods, and it was definitely the nicest nursing home I've seen, but I wouldn't call it heaven.

And while this was all a blessing for my mom and I to see we also knew that he would not always be this easy-going. Regardless, this was where dad needed to be. His happy, loving attitude just made it a bit less stressful on my mom and I.

The difficult part was that it was after normal admittance hours and so we really didn't have any help or instructions on anything. No one gave us a tour. We sat around and waited for almost an hour to sign a few papers, and that was about it. Mom and I were at a loss for what to do when we had to leave. I had to flag some nurses down and practically beg them to take my dad and show him around while we left. Because most of the nurses were very busy starting the nighttime routines of baths and medications no one could really help us. A nurse walked with us down the hallway to one of the many television/social areas and introduced him to a few residence there and then walked away. My mom and I helped my dad sit in a recliner, gave him hugs, told him a nurse would be by to show him around in just a bit and that we would be back very soon. He seemed confused, but gave us hugs and smiled. As we walked down the hallway I turned around to wave and he turned around to watch and as he said, "Bye!" it looked like he was starting to cry. I had all I could do to keep my feet walking toward the elevator. I could barely hold in the sob that was stuck inside of my throat for so long, but I had to be strong for my mom.

Mom could not get over how well dad was taking it. We both just kept reassuring each other that this was the right decision for the entire half hour ride home. The minute I got out of the car, and my back was to my mom, I started sobbing. I don't think I stopped crying for a few hours.

That night after being up with Tommy for an hour and a half in the middle of the night because of his stinking cold the phone rang at 4:30 A.M. It was the nursing home. Dad hadn't slept all night and was wandering the halls, walking into people's rooms, and was being so combative that they couldn't manage him anymore. They had tried calling my mom at home, but got no answer so they called us. My husband told them that we know he gets like that and that is why he is at the nursing home in the first place. We were counting on their expertise to decide what to do. They decided he had to go to the psych ward at the hospital to have his medication modified. He definitely needed some sedatives, at the very least.

Thank God for my husband, because after a few hours of being pleasant at the hospital the docs were going to release my dad. To whom we don't know. The nursing home wouldn't take him if he was combative (and they hadn't adjusted his meds yet) and if a nursing home full of special Alzheimer's care nurses couldn't handle my dad how was my mom supposed to? My husband was on the phone for about 6 hours on Saturday trying to get the hospital to put my dad on a Chapter 55 hold (a psych hold by doctors orders). It seemed like no one knew what the hell they were doing because everyone had a reason why they couldn't do that. Finally, my hubby (God bless his brilliant legal mind and his ability to get people to do what he wants) convinced the doctors that dad needed to stay in the hospital but by that point the psych ward didn't have anymore beds. It was one thing after another, I tell you!

The hospital realized they had screwed up and decided to have a nurse or security guard sit with my dad the entire time he was in the hospital to make sure he didn't try to escape or get violent. They adjusted his medication and it seemed to be working much better. Dad was compliant and sweet again.

This morning dad was going to be released back to the nursing home when all of a sudden he became combative and unmanageable again. No one could control him. They decided to FINALLY admit him to the psych ward on a Chapter 55 (like we had been asking for all along) to keep adjusting his medication until they got it right.

To think that my mother tried to take care of my dad like this for so many years, and without any sedatives, is insane. A whole nursing staff couldn't handle him, and this is what mom has been dealing with.

All that had happened verified that dad is in the right place for him. My mom is at peace with her decision and she can't believe what life is like now. She walked out into her backyard and couldn't believe she could just sit and drink her tea. She didn't have to worry about dad having a fit. She didn't have to worry about him escaping. She didn't have to worry about where he was, what he was doing, how she was going to get him to the next doctor appointment, get him to eat, get him to bed, keep him in the house. She was just overwhelmed with peace. She even said, "Experiencing life like this almost makes me want to live longer." That statement struck me so. Life was so difficult for mom for so long that she did not care if she lived or died. That pretty much says it all.

And my dear, sweet husband. I don't know what my family would do without that man. And I don't know what families do when they don't have a brilliant lawyer (and jack-of-all-trades) in the family. I guess they're screwed. Screwed by a system that makes it near impossible to take care of someone who needs help.
So anyway. This post has gotten out of control. I meant for it to be a small update, but I obviously don't know when to stop. So much has happened in just a few days that, believe it or not, this really is the abridged version.

Also, I'm sorry for being absent the last few days. Todd and I have now caught the boys' colds so we are trying to lay low for a while. I promise I will be around to your blogs soon.

Most of all, thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and well wishes. I really see God working in our lives, and this whole situation, and I am so grateful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Time To Cry

This week has been harsh
My dad is quickly slipping
Further from himself

Mom admitted it's time
She can't do it anymore
It is just too much

A home was picked out
It's the best in the county
Daddy will live there

The tears are running
One right after another
My poor dear parents

Almost 50 years
They lived and loved together
Always as best friends

My heart is breaking
This is just so difficult
To see them suffer

Some of you know that my dad has been suffering from Alzheimer's for many years now. This past week my mom finally admitted that it is time for him to go into a nursing home. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for her to form those words and let them escape her lips. She has put it off for so long. She has done more than anyone ever could especially considering she is fighting her own terminal illness. It is time.

Dad has gone missing many times. This last time he was only wearing one slipper and no jacket on a horribly cold day. His hallucinations are so frequent now that keeping him in the house is a constant battle. Even with the GPS tracking device we have attached to his pants it is difficult to keep tabs on him. My mom has to help him with all the basics. He really can not do anything on his own anymore. And just the other day he actually pushed my mom down to the floor. This is something that would literally kill him if he knew he had done it. And something tells me that this was not the first time it happened. Either way, he is not safe, mom is not safe, and it is time.

The last few days have been a flurry of phone calls, tests, signing paperwork, assessments, and heartbreak. We have found a wonderful nursing home that specializes in Alzheimer's care. We have talked with many family members of residents past and present, and all had encouraging positive comments. Still, to me, it is little comfort.

My mom has been amazingly (though not surprisingly) strong through the whole process. I think once she made the decision, and saw that all of her children were in full support of her, a weight was lifted. She put her head down and her hands together and prayed and plowed through. As always.

The night the decision was made my dad woke up at 3 A.M. (as he does each night) and told my mom she was his angel. He told her how beautiful she is and how lucky he is to have her. My mom is so used to his sweetness that she was only half listening, until he said, "You know I can't always be with you. And I want to take care of you. You need to go somewhere you can be safe even if I'm not with you." My mom couldn't believe her ears. Dad had no idea any decisions were being made about him, and yet his words were so prophetic. She was immediately comforted.
I know there will be many more difficult days ahead. It is to be expected. But I also pray that mom and dad can enjoy the time they still have together. I pray that God gives them peace, and that they can feel His presence. I pray that He has mercy on two people who have always been so faithful to Him. I pray. I pray...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fabulous Mom

I have so much I want to write about. I want to write about the fact that Todd and I finally got around to cleaning out the entire basement. I want to tell you how pretty it looks now, how we magically acquired 3 more usable play/work/tv/exercise/storage rooms just by cleaning out all the construction dirt and boxes, and donating a bunch of items we never use anymore. Makes me so happy.

I also want to write about our three wonderful nights of cuddling in blankets and having popcorn picnics on the floor while watching the Star Wars Trilogy that was on television. I want to write about how the boys would protest as I flipped the channel during the scary parts and how so much of this weekend reminded me of my own childhood.
I want to write about Tommy's wonderful achievement of peeing in the toilet ALL BY HIMSELF. I wanted to mention that he can successfully pull down his pants, put the toilet seat up, pee in the toilet, wipe off any and all pee drops on the toilet (what a boy!!!) with toilet paper, pull up his underwear and pants, put the toilet seat down, and flush the toilet all without getting any pee on the floor, the wall, his clothes or his hands! Though he has been potty trained for over a year it really is a much anticipated milestone.

I want to write about all of those things, but I won't. Instead I will tell you what a fabulous mother I am. I am so fabulous, in fact, that I gave my dear, sweet, youngest boy a big, fat lip. With my butt. Yep. My butt.

I am always worried about the boys rough housin' down in the basement because of the hard floor. It has carpeting, and probably the thinnest padding underneath it, but under that is cement. Obviously. The floor is so hard that I'm always concerned someone is gonna take a digger and knock some teeth out or something.
I had to do a crazy amount of laundry this morning so the boys came downstairs to play in the nice, clean basement while I got started on the massive piles of clothes. With one hand on the laundry basket handle, and one hand on top of the overflowing heap of towering clothes I began to drag the basket from the laundry room to the basement's "family room". I was walking backward tugging and pulling on the basket and noticed Ben was coming up behind me.

"Watch out, honey! Go back by Tommy!" I warned him.

He turned on his heels and started to walk back toward Tommy. He was moving quickly, but obviously not quickly enough to escape the wrath of my big 'ole K-Lo bootie. I must have miscalculated his speed and as I geared up again and started walking backward I plowed into the poor little man with me bum ,and he tipped forward and landed on his face. There was crying. And there was blood. I felt horrible. Poor little sweetie. He just wanted to be by his mum, and what does he get for it? A big ghetto bootie blaster knocking him on his face! Sheesh.

I ran up upstairs, put a cool, wet washcloth on his mouth, and gave him some ice water to drink. He calmed down pretty quickly, but he still wasn't happy. See?

I know. I am so mean for taking his picture when he just got an boo-boo. He wasn't happy about it either. He didn't even want to look at me and usually he is a complete ham.

Fortunately, he really likes his mommy and all was soon forgotten. His lip is still slightly swollen, but he ate his lunch really well, and has been giving nonstop kissies so it can't be too bad.

Yep. I am a fabulous, fabulous mom.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Nighttime thunderstorms
Rumble through my weary mind
Keeping me awake

Thoughts wash in and out
I can't focus long enough
to clear out my head

My brain is too full
A dryer of tumbling rocks
Banging and shifting

I can't shut if off
They tumble out of my ears
Onto my pillow

Rain taps at the glass
And lulls me to sleep at last
Oh but not for long

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last night after bawling our eyes out throughout the Idol Gives Back episode on American Idol (oh the suffering in this world) my hubby and I watched Primetime with Diane Sawyer and bawled our eyes out some more. She interviewed Randy Pausch and his wife about his now famous Last Lecture that has gotten over a million and a half hits on YouTube. You may have heard this story already, I even saw a short clip of the lecture on Laura's blog Lunatic Fringe last month. Still, hearing them talk about their life and how they are choosing to spend their days really hit me. Actually, it hit me and my hubby. It hit us. It makes you want to do better. It makes you want to love better. It makes you want to be a better parent. It makes you so much more aware.

In case you don't know the back story Randy is a Professor who has three young children and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was given 3-6 months to live. He decided to give one last lecture on how to make your dreams come true. It turns out that the lecture is more than that. It is a manual, of sorts, on how to live your life. It is inspirational. It is funny. And, it is wise. His upbeat attitude is amazing.

I still haven't watched the entire lecture, but I am including it here so you don't have to run on over to YouTube to find it. I don't expect you to watch the whole thing, although at some point you should. For now, watch the beginning. Then, maybe skip to the end. And, get some of the middle too. Okay, just watch the whole thing when you get a sec.

And then ask yourself. Am I a Tigger, or am I an Eeyore.

I apologize, but you will have to scroll down to the bottom of my blog and mute my music before you play this video. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Liar, Liar

Is 5 years old known as the lying stage? I am asking, because Joey has become a bit of a liar and I'm hoping it is just a stage. He lies to get what he wants. He lies to stay out of trouble. Sometimes he lies because he feels like lying. I think it is probably pretty typical of kids his age (I think I was a little liar when I was his age, too), but we are still trying to nip it in the bud.

The other day Todd and I were putting our over-tired little monsters down for a nap when Joey started whining about taking his toy dragon to bed with him. I told him that I would set the dragon on the post at the bottom of the stairs and it would be waiting for him when he woke up. He wasn't happy, but he knew it was no use arguing with me. He went to bed.

Todd went down to the basement and played around on the computer while I decided to take a nap of my own. Half an hour after I laid down I heard the boy's bedroom door open up. I thought Joey probably had to go to the bathroom again, and sure enough a few minutes later the door closed again. I dozed off for an hour or so (blessed sleep!), and then decided to get up while the boys were still sleeping to have a little reading time. No sooner had I sat down on the couch next to Todd than the boys came bounding down the stairs, Joey with the dragon in his hand.

Todd said, "Didn't we put that dragon downstairs here before he went to bed? Joey, how did you get that dragon upstairs?"

Joey said, "I don't know."

I asked him, "Joey, did you get up, grab the dragon and go back to bed? I heard your door earlier. Was that you getting your dragon?"

Joey's eyes widened and he replied, "No. I didn't get the dragon."

I reminded him, "You know you shouldn't lie, Joseph. You won't be in trouble for getting your dragon. I just want to know how the dragon got up there. If you tell me the truth you won't be in trouble."

Again he said, "I don't know how it got up there!"

I started to get confused, "Well, how did it get in your hand? It had to get upstairs somehow."

Then he says, "Well, maybe it just grew feet and walked up the stairs by itself!"

I had the most difficult time not laughing. I mean, come on! That is funny! Todd had to hide his face to stifle his laughter. I made Joey give me his dragon and go up to his room until he could tell me the truth. It was about 20 minutes later when Joey finally decided he should tell the truth. He told us that he had indeed gotten out of bed, went downstairs, grabbed the dragon, and went back upstairs to bed.

We all clapped and danced around at how good it felt to tell the truth. I told Joey how proud I was of him for deciding to tell me the truth.

Still, there had to be a punishment for lying. He is not allowed to have his dragon for the rest of the week. I made it clear that he is not being punished for getting out of bed, but for lying about it. I hope he understands that. It seemed that he did.

So tell me, any little liars in your family? What do you do? Give it to me, people. I need some advice.

"Would I lie to you?"
"Yes. Yes, I would."

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Weekend In Pictures

It was a fabulous weekend. The weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy the weekend to the fullest.
On Friday afternoon after the boys got up from their naps we all went outside to soak up the sunshine and get some exercise. It was so cute to watch Ben's reaction to the grass. I set him down on it and he stood in the same spot, squealing and laughing, but not moving, for about 15 minutes. I don't know if it was the fact that the ground was uneven, or if he just wasn't sure what to make of the grass, but he would not move. I kept offering him my hand, and he would grab it, but keep his feet firmly planted. After some time I touched the grass with my hand and he followed suit. He would bend down, pick up the grass, show me, and laugh and laugh, but he wouldn't walk. It was so funny! I couldn't believe this active little kid was just standing in the same spot for such a long time. I ended up sitting on the grass with him for the remainder of our time outside, and then right before we went inside he started walking on the grass. So cute.

We also decided to take the training wheels off of Joey's bicycle. And he got on! Sure he cried and he was nervous (that's my Joey), but he got on! I thought he was going to have those training wheels on until he started asking for the car keys.
He seemed to do pretty well, and got the hang of it, but got off after a couple trips up and down the street. I was so proud of him for giving it a try.
I guess he thought it was time to play in the dirt again. Tommy would do the digging and Joey would take the cement roller and smooth it out. What a team! I must remember to put up a little fence there when I plant my flowers.
Then on Saturday I went with the in-law ladies for our overnight getaway. This is just one of the three adjoining rooms that we stayed in. It was fabulous! There was also a parlor room with a bar, three bathrooms for four ladies, and we each got our own bed. So nice!
We went shopping all day long (and I didn't buy ONE THING!?!), relaxed at the hotel for a while, and then headed out for the evening. We ate at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, stopped at a couple of bars, and then saw a great comedy show. We had a blast. When we got back to our rooms this was waiting for us.
Only after we were in our pajamas stuffing our faces did I realize I didn't get any pics of us all dressed up and spiffy. Doggone it! I hate it when I do that! Well, we looked good. Take my word for it.
On Sunday we got up, relaxed a bit, took long showers, and got dressed. We ate a big, delicious breakfast and headed out for more shopping. I still didn't find a nice spring jacket to buy, but I did manage to get two really cute purses. Here is one of them...

By the time we got back home on Sunday afternoon I was exhausted. I remember when I was younger I would go out, have some drinks, go dancing, stay out until 3 A.M., get up for work the next morning and be fine. Now I go out for a night, have half the amount of drinks I used to, go to bed a couple hours earlier and still need a couple of days to recover. I'm still tired! Sheesh! I guess I'm just getting old. Or, maybe I'm out of practice. Yes! That's it! Out of practice!

Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend. Todd did a great job holding down the fort for me. The boys had a blast having daddy all to themselves. They played outside all weekend and did "manly" things like taking trips to the hardware store. They loved it. I was afraid they were going to be disappointed that I was home so soon but they were very sweet. Joey said, "Where were you all this time, mumma?" and Tommy said, "I'm so glad you're here with us, mum." Little Ben kept sitting on my lap all night. It was very sweet. And, truthfully, I missed them. I wanted to hug and kiss and cuddle them all night.

Sometimes the best part of a relaxing getaway weekend is coming back home and remembering how much you love your life.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Time Away For Good Behavior

The ladies time off,
All day and overnight too.
A gift from Todd's mom.
A day of shopping,
dinner, and comedy show,
even a few drinks.
Then to posh hotel,
Sleeping in and long showers.
Can't wait to relax.
Todd stays with the boys,
And I'm sure they'll have fun too.
Time with just daddy.
Tomorrow morning I will be heading out with my mother-in-law and my two sisters-in-law for an awesome day of shopping, restaurant hopping, a comedy show, and some relaxation at a posh hotel. It was a gift from Todd's mom to all of us girls for Christmas, and I have been looking forward to it ever since. I can't wait to go shopping where there are some decent stores. We have so few trendy clothing stores in the small town I live in, so going to a couple quality malls will be very exciting. After a day of shopping we will head back to the hotel and relax a bit, head out to dinner, eat, have some drinks, and then mosey on over to the comedy club that I used to hang out at back in my young, hip, and carefree days. Then it is back to the fabulous suite in the swanky hotel to sleep, uninterrupted, for AT LEAST eight hours. It is just so exciting!
Do I have the coolest mother-in-law, or what?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

These Cookies Smell Funny

My Tommy sure is a sweet boy. A tender heart. Caring and kind. Always there to give a compliment and a hug. He is a charmer and a heart melter. A real schmoozer. But at the heart of it he is still such a boy.

Yesterday was a dark, cold, damp, and rainy day. I thought it would be a good idea to have the boys help me make some cookies to lighten everyone's mood. The boys helped me carry the flour, shortening, brown sugar, raisins, oatmeal and all the other ingredients from the pantry to the kitchen counter. Then, as I hauled out the big silver mixing bowl, Joey climbed up on the chair, Tommy hopped up on the counter, and Ben sat on the floor playing with the measuring cups that we weren't using.
Joey dumped in the brown sugar, and Tommy dumped in the white sugar. Joey got to pour the vanilla in the bowl, and Tommy sprinkled in the baking powder. Both of them got to sift in a cup of flour, and then they took turns stirring. When all the ingredients were mixed together in the bowl I gave the boys a pile of raisins to munch while I plopped big spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the baking sheets.
Just as I was finishing up the last sheet, Tommy, with his butt still on the counter right next to the baking sheets, let out a loud, rumbling fart. After all of my baking etiquette reminders to turn your head if you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth in the crook of your arm, wash your hands, I never thought I would have to tell the boys not to fart on the counter when the cookies are mere inches away. Now, why hadn't I thought of that? Living in a house of all boys I should have known that it would come up eventually.
I looked up at him and said, "Thomas John! What do you say?"
Without looking up from his raisins he answered, "Scuse me."
"That was icky, Tommy. Sit your butt on the stool, please." I scolded.
Tommy slid off the counter onto the stool, continued to eat his raisins, and said, "Sawry I fahted on ohs cookies, mom."

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