Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Stuffed

One down, one to go.

Thanksgiving went fairly smoothly. Well, if you don't count the morning scramble to the grocery store for the forgotten Gorganzola for my green bean salad.  And then Todd's late afternoon run back to the grocery store for the forgotten wine.  And the crazy kids.  And both Todd and I not feeling well (achy, sore throat).  And, oh yeah, my new lamp that was broken by the boys in their craziness.  

But OTHER than that.  Thanksgiving was lovely. I'm thankful that I look forward to getting together with my family instead of dreading it.  That goes for my in-laws too. I truly enjoy being with my family and that is something to be very thankful for.

Todd and I are attempting to rest up a bit today if we can.  Tomorrow we are hosting another Thanksgiving dinner for Todd's side of family. We are contemplating taking the kids to a movie this afternoon.  We'll see if we can muster enough energy to leave the house.
(Eww. That one is gross. Sorry.)

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families with more blessings than you can count.  And I hope you are all recovering nicely.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I'm hiding out.

Hiding from the cold.

Hiding from the kids.  They're wild.

Hiding from cleaning.

Hiding from the grocery store. It's probably wilder than my kids. *shutter*

Hiding from winter. The cold.

Hiding from the prepping it takes to host two Thanksgiving dinners in three days.

Hiding from the laundry.

Hiding from homework.  Theirs, not mine. But still kind of mine.

Hiding from housework.

Hiding from cooking.

Hiding from baking.

Hiding from the dishes lurking in my sink.

Hiding from leaving the house.  Did I mention the cold?


Monday, November 25, 2013


Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and it seems that many (especially retailers) would prefer to skip right over it and go straight on to Christmas. Even Mother Nature seems to have jumped on the Christmas bandwagon. Personally, I'd like to enjoy Thanksgiving before moving on to Christmas. I have much to be thankful for.
This morning when I awoke and saw the layer of snow on the ground, and big, juicy snowflakes furiously falling, I didn't feel like being thankful for the turn in the weather. I am not a fan of the cold. Good thing I live in Wisconsin.
But slowly as the kids came down the stairs, heavy with sleep still worn on their faces, I couldn't help but feeling thankful again. Four sleepy kids at my breakfast table. Thankful.

Yesterday Joey returned from deer hunting with his dad. Since Todd will be staying up north until Wednesday Joey rode halfway home with a friend of Todd's and then the kids and I drove the to the friend's house in Oshkosh to pick him up. We decided to make a day of it and I took all four of my kids (it was good to have all 4 with me again) to the EAA (Aviation/Airplane museum that my kids LOVE) for a few hours and then to an early dinner.  It was a fun day and a nice welcome home for Joey.
The drive back home was eerily quiet. Joey was overtired from lack of sleep at deer camp and the rest of the kids were worn out from the exciting day. While Gracie slept Tommy and Ben told Joey about an accident we saw on the way to Oshkosh. A huge accident. A scary accident. Firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, and helicopters were all on the scene. We all said prayers for the people involved and were reminded again how lucky we are. I think it had an impact on us the rest of the day.
It was very dark by the time we got home.  Showers were taken, snacks were handed out, and we all snuggled together for a movie before bed.
It was very strange not having Joey with us this past weekend. One by one the kids will be joining their dad up north for deer hunting and Joey started the tradition this year. I think deer hunting season will just get weirder and weirder for me from here on out. It has been just me and the kiddos during this week for so long and I am starting to see that fade away. Bizarre how quickly this time has come.

But this morning there they were around my kitchen table.  All four of my sleepy children munching quietly on their cereal. The more the snow fell the wider awake the kids became. The bigger the snowflakes the bigger the smiles spread across their faces. Soon our house was bustling with the excitement and chatter of all FOUR of my children.  And I was thankful again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Old School

I'm going old school, people!  My very good bloggy friend, Elaine, is hosting an old school meme and I decided to participate.  Finally!
In the past when I have done these I got a smidge sarcastic.  As a matter of fact my last one became one of my most popular posts ever. Y'all must like my sick sense of humor. Anyway, I am attempting to keep this one somewhat straight.  We'll see how it goes.

Where is your cell phone?  In my purse

Your significant other?  Is currently up north with my boys getting everything ready for deer camp next weekend.

Your hair?  Has just gotten significantly shorter. See this post. I am still getting used to trying to style it. My stylist got it beautifully straight, but the back of my hair is so short that when I tried it I couldn't even get my hair around my round brush.  So my hair got all curly in the back and then I just decided to let it get curly all over. I may like it better curly now.  

Your mother? 
Is my moral compass, my best friend, my inspiration.

Your father?
 Is my angel now.

Your favorite thing?
  Sleeping in late.

Your dream last night? I dreamed I had another baby and the day after the delivery I went to a New Kids concert.

Your favorite drink? 
Coffee.  And lots of it.

Your dream/goal?  The hubby and I always dreamed of eating our way through Europe.

The room you are in?  My living room.

Your fear?
 Honestly? Losing one of my children (is scares me to even write that down). Superficially? Sharks.

Where do you want to be in six years?
  I really don't want anything to change.  I love my life as it is right now.  Hopefully my life will be much the same. Maybe I'll be pursuing a career in medicine at that point.  We'll see what God has in store.

Where were you last night? 
First Gracie and I went to a craft fair, bought matching rings, ate some yummy food, and listened to the local high school jazz band play some Christmas (ugh) music. Then we went to church, came home, took a few silly pics, ate dinner, sat in front of the fireplace, and watched a movie together.

What are you not? 
Batman.  Whew!  The secret is out.

Muffins? I have zero feelings on muffins.

One of your wish list items? A giant beanbag chair.  Yes, I am a child.

Where you grew up? About three miles from where I'm living right now.

The last thing you did? Fed the dog.

What are you wearing?
 Kind of a pervy questions. My new super cute pink plaid flannel pajama pants, a pink shirt, a pink sweatshirt, and my bathrobe.  

Your TV?
Is off. There is a thunderstorm this morning and I just love listening to the rain and thunder.

Your pets? Molly, the dog. Stanley, the guinea pig. Hugo, the hamster.  And lots of fish we don't really name.

Your computer? Is new and I'm still getting used to it.

Your life?
 Is blessed.

Your mood? Peaceful, happy, calm, reflective.

Missing someone? 
Always. (Dad)

Your car? Is a rusty minivan that the husband keeps wanting to replace but that I think we should squeeze every last mile out of it before we buy something else.

Something you are not wearing My contacts.

Your favorite store? It has been so long since I've gone shopping for pleasure and not out of necessity.  It is really hard to say.

Your summer? Went entirely too quickly.

Like someone? Like, totally.

Your favorite color? Peach.

When was the last time you laughed?
Last night watching this:

Last time you cried? This morning reading about Batkid .

What is one thing on your to-do list?
Rid my closet of unnecessary items.

There!  I did it!  Now wasn't that fun?  I think so. Go ahead and get old school with us!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I'm coming out of hiding to be thankful.

Life has been crazy busy around here and I have all but ignored my blog lately.  So much going on in the real world that I don't even feel I have time to write anything down.  Good things and bad things have been happening.  But today, I'm focusing on the good things.

We are approaching Thanksgiving and these days I am reflecting on all the things I am thankful for.

- Today would be my dad's 82nd birthday.  I am so thankful that I had such a wonderful father.  I miss him every day and I'm thankful for that too.  I am grateful that I had the type of father who leaves such a void when he is gone.

- A few days ago I was hauling firewood and with a huge stack of wood in my arms I felt a sharp, stinging pain.  I dropped the wood on the ground, pulled up my sweater sleeve and saw two bite marks on my bicep.  It looked like I had been bitten by a vampire. And it hurt.  It immediately started to get red and puffy.  I started to worry that it was a bad spider bite and the boys helped me look around on the ground for the source of my bite (you know, in case it was a horribly poisonous spider). I was very relieved when Tommy found a huge wasp on the ground.  Stupid wasp stung me but I was very thankful that it was only a wasp and not, say, a black widow spider or something.

- The wasp stings kept swelling and left a huge red, raised patch on my arm.  The next day I went to go and give blood and I warned the phlebotomist of my wound.  I was told it wouldn't be a problem.  The phlebotomist attempted to draw my blood from that same arm but just couldn't get a good stick (which is weird because I NEVER have a problem as I have great veins).  She was jabbing me all over, moving the needle all around, calling other people over to try it.  My poor left arm went through hell before another phlebotomist decided to try my right arm.  The right arm worked out just fine until the phlebotomist began talking as she was taking out the needle and was gesturing with her arms, thus moving the needle all over.  I now have two massive bruises from giving blood, and one massive bruise from the wasp stings (which is still itchy) on my arms.  I look like a crazy person.  BUT, I am thankful that I wasn't allergic to the wasp stings and that I was able to donate blood for Veteran's Day.

- I am thankful for all of the brave men and women that give everything they have to protect the freedoms we have in this country.  Nothing we could do would ever be enough to thank them.  I have so many people in my family that have served in the military and many friends as well.  I am so grateful for them and all the other thousands that serve every day.

- This morning after I dropped the kids off at school I drove by the lake on my way home.  I noticed a huge coal ship fairly close to the shore and I was so thankful that I had decided to put my camera in the car that morning.  I took a few shots of the ship (the kids are gonna be thrilled I got such close ups of the ship) and then continued on my drive.

Further down the beach I noticed a few surfers off the point (the beach comes to what is referred to as "the point" where beach juts out a bit. The waves are usually bigger but not many surfers surf there because it is rocky).  I was able to capture a few shots of a surfer catching a wave.  I am so thankful that I live so close to Lake Michigan that I can see cool stuff like this every day. It was 38 degrees this morning when this brave surfer took to the water.  I was thankful to be able to watch from the warmth of my car.

- Tommy picked up my very old copy of Little House In The Big Woods a while ago and LOVED it. He is an outdoor boy and loved reading about all of Laura's adventures.  He is so excited to move on to the next Little House books now that he is finished with The Big Woods.  I love that he loves these books.  Love it. It also made me remember that I have a few of my favorite Little House episodes recorded on the DVR and I showed it to the kids.  They love it.  Every day when they come home from school they ask if there is a "new" Little House episode. It just cracks me up that my three boys love to watch a show about three little girls. I am so thankful that my kids like a show that has such wonderful lessons and stories to tell.  They really don't make shows like that anymore.

- This morning I had an appointment for a haircut.  I have been feeling like I am in a hair rut so I decided to change things up a bit.  I chopped about 6 inches of my hair off. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I left the salon until I picked Grace up from school.  The minute she saw me she freaked out and started crying. "Why did you DO that? I don't like it!" she cried and cried.  It made me laugh at first, but I gotta say, it did start to bother me a little bit after about 20 minutes of crying.
So my thankful post on the hair front is that while I'm not thankful that my new haircut makes Grace cry, I am VERY thankful that the hubby absolutely LOVES it.  Whew!

- Joey is busy growing up. Every time I turn around I see him reaching a new milestone, trying something new, learning an important lesson, and basically growing up before my very eyes.  This week he volunteered to be the song leader for the school mass.  He was paired up with his classmate and together they led the entire congregation in song.  And they did beautifully together.  I was so proud of Joey.  It takes some major guts to get up in front of so many people and sing.  All the singing I've done in my life and I never would have had the guts to do that when I was in 5th grade.
The picture is a little blurry, but you can see Joey standing and his friend standing on the stool.  Their voices blended so well together and they sounded awesome. The music teacher was thrilled and asked them if she could use them for church more often. Very cool. And very thankful that Joey has the confidence and courage to try something new and intimidating.

- Last night was parent/teacher conferences at school.  I could not be more proud of my kiddos.  Their grades are good, they are respectful, kind, and listen well.  When I asked their teachers what we could help our kids improve on none of the teachers could think of anything. Each teacher did say that the respective child was silly at times but that is not something I'm willing to ask my kids to do away with. As long as they aren't disruptive and they stop when asked (the teachers assured me they do) then silliness is fine by me.  I am so thankful for my sweet, silly kids.

- That is not to say that everything is all sunshine and roses around here these last few weeks.  We've had many trying moments.  Lots of arguments (Todd and I) and temper tantrums (all of us) and tension. But we have managed to work out our problems once again and I think I've learned something from each situation that will help me be a better wife and a better mother.  So, even though the past few weeks have been trying, I'm thankful for the struggles too.

- I am currently adjusting my parenting (as a result of some of the above struggles). I have always been somewhat of a control freak and with 4 very small children I think that is a necessity.  However, the kids are getting older and I need to loosen the reins a bit now.  I need to let certain things go and give the kids a bit more freedom to be kids and make mistakes.  I'm also trying my best to focus on the bigger picture and not nitpick all the time. And I'm trying to model good behavior.  I need to learn to control my temper better, and the way I speak when I'm angry, so that my kids can learn how to do the same.  It is a lot to work on all at once, but so far this week has been so much better.  I am a work in progress.  I know I'll fail over and over again but I need to keep trying.  And I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to try again every day.

- The weather has been less than delightful.  It has been cold.  Too cold.  And it snowed here this week. I don't like snow in November. Or even early December.  But I am thankful that the snow has already melted and there is no snow in the immediate forecast.

So much to be thankful for.  I really could go on and on.  And I'm thankful for that too!  Tell me, what are you thankful for these days?

(If you made it the entire way through this very long post you deserve a special prize.  I wish I could give you some of our Halloween candy or something.  ;)  At least I can add you to my thankful list! I'm thankful for all my bloggy friends who are always so sweet and supportive and whom I continue to learn from every day!) 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tricks and Treats

We are sufficiently exhausted today.  Tired.  Bone tired.

Getting the kids out of bed and moving around speaking in coherent sentences this morning was tough. Heck, getting myself out of bed this morning was tough.

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year but it always leaves me exhausted afterwards.

Halloween morning I went to help out with Grace's class Halloween party. I was the only person in the whole school that was wearing a costume.  I'm cool like that.

After successfully navigating the 4 and 5 year olds through the ping pong ball/pumpkin toss game, and passing out all the treats, I took Grace with me to the lunchroom to embarrass my boys good and proper.  Not really, but seeing as how I was the only person in school in a costume I think the boys were just slightly embarrassed anyway, even though all of their classmates thought I was super cool.

After that Grace and I ran around with last minute errands, cleaned up the house, and prepped for trick or treating.

By the time the boys came home from school we were ready to go.  Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating.  It was a lovely 60 degrees outside (perfect for trick or treating) but it had been pouring for much of the day.  Including at 4:00 when trick or treating was supposed to begin.  We decided to visit the grandmas while it was raining, collect candy at their houses, and then hopefully the rain would let up after that.  It didn't.  But we didn't let that stop us.

Once we were done at the grandma's houses I grabbed an umbrella (thanks mom!) and headed out with the kids.  Todd stayed in the warm, dry truck following us down the street should we suddenly and desperately need shelter.  Too bad Todd actually lost us for 45 minutes.  Up and down the street he drove searching for his trick or treating family while I flapped my umbrella at him and waved my arms as he drove by.  Grace tired and cried and wondered WHY her daddy wouldn't just come and pick her up so she could go home.

I borrowed a stranger's cell phone to call Todd and got his voicemail.  Mother of Pearl!!!!  I left him a message with the approximate area we were trick or treating in and 15 minutes later he finally found us.  Good grief.  Grace was soaked and tired and jumped in the truck with daddy and went home while the boys and I toughed it out until the end.  The boys were absolute troopers (anything for candy!) and we really did have fun.

Over all it was a trick or treating success!

Todd felt so badly for losing his family that by the time the boys and I made it home in the pitch darkness he had a nice roaring fire going and a pizza in the oven. And he even ran out to get me my special dinner after the kids were in bed.

And now here we are this morning.  Exhausted.

But there is no rest for the weary.  There was more fun to be had.  I had to get Joey's snack for his class party today (they were focusing more on All Saints' Day than on Halloween) and Ben had another costume to wear. The kids' school had mass this morning celebrating All Saints' Day and Ben dressed up as St. Joseph and marched up and stood in the front of church. It was very cute.

I sat with the kids in church and they had a difficult time keeping their eyes open.  I suspect by the time they come home from school they will be thoroughly done. Early bedtimes for all!

How was your Halloween?  Are you as exhausted as we are?

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