Monday, January 31, 2011

Remember This

We did it.  We made it through the weekend.  Whew!  It was craziness.  In a good way.  A very good way. 

Friday was an exciting day packing and shopping for our trip up north.  The boys were giddy with anticipation as visions of skiing sloshed in their heads.  Ben, Grace, and I picked Joey up from school early which made the upcoming trip that much more exciting for him.  His classmates looked wistfully after him and wished him well as he beamed his radiant smile and jammed his books into his backpack.  Then we went downstairs and picked Tommy up from his kindergarten classroom where he was eagerly waiting for us.  The boys had a spring in their step as they bounced out of the school doors, happy to be on their way.  I smiled right along with the boys, remembering those rare days of my youth when I was able to leave school early for a special trip.  I recalled those very same excited emotions my boys wore on their faces. It warmed me to think the boys would look back fondly on this someday.

It was very difficult to keep the boys calm through their lunch and as I finished up the last minute packing, but eventually we were ready to go.

The three hour ride took closer to four hours as we had to do a u turn and go back to the house for Todd's ski jacket.  That, and the three potty breaks we had to stop for, really slowed us down.  But we made it to the cabin just before dark.  And it was beautiful.
The untouched snow covered every surface.  I knew it wouldn't last long with my kids and the dog eager to get at it, so I captured it in pictures.
The next morning we were up early.  We bundled everyone up and headed out to the hill just twenty minutes from the cabin.   We rented skis for the boys and made our trek out onto the hill. 
I sat Gracie down in the snow with a few buckets and shovels and let her have at it while Todd and I got the boys on their skis.  Todd took turns taking each boy down the hill and helping them back up the hill on the tow rope.  It was my job to get the boys out of their skis when they got to the top of the hill so that they could play with Grace, and then get the next boy into his skis and pass him off to Todd for his turn down the hill.  And I tried to take enough pictures (and video camera) to capture the fun.  And I played with Grace and tried to keep her from running away too.  Todd's back and knees ached from hunching over the boys up and down the hill, and I was sweating trying to keep everyone in order, but we managed.
 The boys tried very hard to be patient for their turn and did a good job playing with Grace as they waited.
Joey was the first to go down and after a couple of tries was able to do the tow rope by himself.  Then it was up and down and up and down all morning.  No longer did he have to wait for Daddy to help.  He was self sufficient and went up and down the hill by himself to his little heart's content.  He was very proud of himself.
It was harder for Ben and Tommy to wrap their little paws around the rope tight enough to hold on and Todd was happy to help.
Tommy sailed down the hill by himself with Daddy by his side.
And Ben waited for his turn.
Then it was Tommy's turn to wait.  And round and round and round and round.  Tommy, Ben, Tommy, Ben.  Down, up, down, up. 
Even Grace got in on the action.  Todd held Grace as he glided down the bunny hill.  She had a blast!  When he set her back down at the top of the hill she cried and cried.  Another future skier was born. 
After close to three hours on the hill we were all ready to head inside to warm up and fuel up.  The kids gorged themselves on hotdogs, fried cheese curds, rise krispie treats, and huge chocolate chip cookies the size of their faces.  After they were done eating Todd took each boy out on the hill one by one for a real run down the big mountain.  He helped them onto the ski lift for the ride up the mountain and propped them between his legs as he took them down a blue diamond.  They were thrilled!
It was a thrilling and exhausting day.

When we got back to the cabin we all collapsed for an hour.  Then it was back outside for a little ice fishing. This time Grace and I stayed inside by the fire and prepared a plate full of cheese and crackers and sausage for everyone to nosh on before dinner. 
Even Molly joined in on the outdoor fun and was jumping like a bunny rabbit through the deep snow. 
After a stint on the snow covered ice Todd and the boys worked on a snow fort until it got dark.  Then it was back inside for snacks and dinner.

Safe to say we all slept like bears that night.  I don't even really remember going to bed.

Overall I think we all did a very good job.  Todd and I knew that we would be requiring an extra dose of patience and calm this weekend and I think we delivered.  Over and over again we commented on how, though it was trying and exhausting, we would look back on these trips with our young family fondly.  Even strangers reminded us to enjoy this time.  One after another our elders would stop us on the hill or while we were eating to tell us what a beautiful family we had and each would gently warn us to enjoy every moment.  "It goes by so fast." they all told us.  And we knew they were right. 

These are the best times of our lives.  And we hope and pray that through all the madness, craziness, busyness, we will be able to cherish it all.  This was a great weekend.  And we definitely want to remember this.

Friday, January 28, 2011


This has been one of the busiest weeks in recent memory.  We've had all of the kids' swimming lessons, Joey's Reconciliation meeting, Molly's appointment with the groomer, Tommy's snack and juice week for school, Joey's reading for the school mass, Molly's spaying and recovery, a couple of nice long runs for me, Todd's work meetings, parent/teacher conferences for the boys, planning and shopping for the massive SUPERBOWL party we are having next weekend, and more planning for Joey's 8th birthday party coming up.  Although when we told Joey we were planning a birthday party for him with all of his classmates he just said, "I'd rather go up north!"  So, maybe the party will wait until next year. 

Anyway, it has been a mad scramble around here.  On top of it all I have a cold.  Boo. 

Instead of relaxing and taking it easy this weekend we've decided to load the family up in the Suburban and head up north to go skiing.  If you'll remember we did the same thing last year.  It was hectic and not so easy but the kids had a blast so we are trying it again.  The plan this time is for me to sit on the bunny hill with Grace, playing in the snow, while Todd takes each of the boys down the hill one by one.  Hopefully, Joey and Tommy will learn how to use the tow rope by themselves and then they can all go down together.  We'll see. We just keep telling ourselves that once the kids learn how to ski, and are a little more self sufficient, all the hard work will have paid off and ski trips will once again be a blast.  I'm sure we will have to remind ourselves of that over and over again while we are on the hill this weekend. 

It is times like these when I have to remind myself to take it all in.  These really are the best years of our lives and when we are so busy like this time just whooshes by too quickly.  I get caught up in keeping schedules and remembering appointments and rushing, rushing, rushing.  I don't enjoy it all like I should.  I am hoping, praying, that I can just sit back and enjoy the madness this weekend.  I hope I can let the craziness fall where it may, and truly enjoy my family just as they are in this very moment.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go snow blow the driveway before I start packing everyone's stuff for the weekend so that I can then rush off to the grocery store and buy some goodies for up north before it is time to pick up the boys at school. 


Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Our Way!

Yeah, boi!!!!  Superbowl, here we come!!!!!!!!  Woot, woot!!!

(I think she looks a bit smug)  ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Go Pack, Go!!!!

PhotoStory Friday

This is big, people.  I mean BIG.  Their has not been a game like this in 70 years.  A rivalry so big, with so much on the line.  The Packer vs The Bears.  It all goes down this weekend.  And we're ready.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snowy Days

The weather has been pretty crazy around here.  It has been dark and dreary and cold but thanks to my multivitamin and Vitamin D supplement I started taking I have been feeling much better.  Much less depressed and much more myself.  Whew! 

My mood change could not have come at a better time.  Yesterday we got dumped on.  Six inches of fluffy snow fell and the boys could hardly wait to get out and play in it.  As soon as Joey got home from school I bundled all the boys up and stuffed them outside.  Gracie watched through the patio doors at the boys laughing and having fun as they shoveled off the back patio.  I glanced at the thermometer and saw that it was almost 30 degrees outside, warmer than it had been in weeks.  I knew that now was as good a time as any to give Gracie her first chance to play in the snow. 

"Gracie, do you want to go outside and play with the boys?" I asked her.

"EEEEEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"  Gracie responded.  I took that as a yes.

I bundled Grace up and headed outside.   

The snow was still falling in big, fat, fluffy flakes and I wasn't sure how Grace would handle the cold.  I remembered back to the boys' first times in the snow and it wasn't the greatest experience. 
Grace, however, was a different story.  She ran right into the snow, sat down and made herself at home.  She even laughed when she tumbled over and got a faceful of snow.
The boys took turns pulling each other around on the sled and, of course, Grace had a blast.  Then I took over.  I zoomed the kids across the yard as fast as I could, jumping and falling through the deep snow.  I kind of felt like Rocky training in Russia for a big fight.  It was a workout!  But the kids' screams and laughter kept me going again and again.
 It really wore me out.  I was pooped.
It was getting dark and Grace was still going strong.  I thought she would only make it 10 or 15 minutes in the cold but she had been outside for over an hour.  I decided to put her to work to see if I could wear her out.  It didn't work.  The girl loves to shovel.  
Finally, I had decided she had been out long enough.  I dragged my little snowlady into the house (though she was not happy about it) and plopped her down in front of the fireplace to thaw.  Soon all my little snowmen tumbled into the house to warm up as well.

The weatherman is predicting yet another snowstorm in a few days, and I must say, I'm looking forward to it. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've been having a hard time.  Hence the absense from blogging.  I figured if I didn't have anything nice to say, than I'd better not say anything at all.  I still don't have anything good to say but I'm here none the less.

January has always been a difficult month for me.  It is so cold.  And long.  And boring.  And nothing good or exciting or fun ever happens in January.  It depresses me every year.  This year is no exception.  I can feel myself fighting the depression.  I'm just not doing a very good job putting up a fight.  It's so sad that January is so awful because it is the first month of a new year.  It is supposed to be about hope and starting fresh and this is the time it should be easy to be at your best.  But I'm not.  Ugh.

Everything is bothering me.  My patience is at an all time low.  I'm thinking of selling my children on Ebay and using the money to go on a vacation somewhere warm.  Okay, maybe not.  But it would be nice to run away for a little while at least.

There is a picture on my sidebar that is to serve as a reminder to me.  It says, "Before you speak ask; is it true, kind, necessary".  I've been trying to follow those rules lately.  It sounds simple enough.  But man, I'm just not making the mark.  I am struggling.  But I'm trying.



Are you done yet?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top 10 Of 2010


We are one week into the New Year and this is my first post.  A glimpse back into the past year is a good way to start so I thought this was appropriate.

Looking back at all of last year's pictures is a perfect reminder of just what a wonderful year we had.  Yes, we had some very trying times, but thankfully I don't have any pictures of that.  Instead I have hundreds of pictures loaded with smiles and warmth and love.  I couldn't ask fore more. 

I hope that 2011 brings just as many smiles, just as much warmth, and even more love.  And hopefully next year I will have just as difficult a time picking 10 (only 10??) of my favorite pictures of a wonderful year. 

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