Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My How Times Have Changed

I think I was a bit misleading in my previous post when I wrote that I was hoping the snow wouldn't call off our New Years Eve plans. Perhaps I made it sound as though we had some fabulous party to go to or something. Nope. Nothing like that.

I used to hope for snow on New Years Eve. Snow always ensured a fabulous time. Back in our pre-kids days Todd and I used to take about 8 or 10 of our best friends up to his parents' cabin to go skiing over New Years Eve. We would hit the slopes all day and then ring in the new year dancing and drinking at the ski lodge's bar. It was a blast.

Things have changed. We haven't done that in years. Now our plans for New Years Eve are slightly different.

Today we will be taking the boys to one of their favorite places. Cabela's. Do you know of it? It is a sporting goods store. But not just any sporting goods store. It has a fish aquarium you can walk through, huge displays of tents and boats, a two story mountain with hundreds of animals mounted around it, a museum off all different animals, a restaurant, a candy store, and so much more. We went to Cabelas once last winter and the boys have been begging to go back. We thought it would be a good day to spend an afternoon there again. It is about an hour from where we live so we needed the weather to cooperate enough to let us make the drive. Luckily, we didn't get too much snow.

Hopefully we will have enough time to hit the fabulous mall that is nearby and then find a fun restaurant on our way home. Would you believe me if I told you I am just as excited as the boys about this little field trip? Cause I am.

When we finally arrive home after that funfilled day we'll throw our own little party with an appetizer dinner. Again, all the boys' favorites. Cheese and crackers and sausage, fresh fruit, chips and dip, shrimp, donut holes, and of course the most important part. Juice in wine glasses! It is very exciting people. I am actually looking forward to it myself. Sure it is no hip-happening ski lodge. But it is my family all warm and safe and happy together. How could I ask for more?

I hope you all have a wonderful Eve and a blessed and happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Is Right In My World

Order has been restored and today is falling in line quite nicely. Not only is my house clean and back in order, but I am disease free! Woohoo!!! I finally got my letter back from the Blood Center telling me that I did not and do not have West Nile Virus. Dur. I could have told them that. As a matter of fact, I did. But at least now I will be able to give blood again. When I am done being pregnant. And breast feeding.

Plus, I had my first doctor appointment today for the little blueberry in my belly. All is looking well and good (except for that stupid doctor's scale being WAAAAAAAaaaaayyyyyy off from my lovely, trusty, beautiful home scale) and healthy. Soon I will be putting up my little baby widget on my sidebar, but I still have to wait until it stops looking like an alien. I don't want to freak anyone out. ;)

Now I am sitting on the couch with the boys watching a movie and sneaking peeks at the snow falling outside. And Hoping that we do not get too much snow that calls off our New Years Eve plans for tomorrow.

What are your New Years Eve plans?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas Crash

It is inevitable. After the rosy glow of Christmas dims I look around my house and feel as if I am stuck in a nightmare. The boys get sick (this time it was Tommy) and the house turns into a disaster zone. It happens every year.

I consider myself to be a very neat and organized person. Maybe even bordering on OCD. Not the kind of OCD where I scrub the toilets 18 times a day, and wipe the counters every time I walk by them, but the kind of OCD that tells me that everything has it's place. Everything must be in it's spot. There will be no clutter. No messiness. And even now as I write that I glance around my house and I want to cry.

The kitchen counter is cluttered with Christmas cookies from the grandmas, extra batteries for loud annoying toys that Santa stupidly gave the boys, instructions and boxes and a carrying case for the fancy smancy camera the hubby so graciously bought for me, Christmas cards from everyone I know, hundreds of drawings the boys drew and painstakingly cut out of their coloring books, crayons, and mail that I have yet to sort. The stove is stacked with items to be taken to the basement. The stairs are covered with clothes and shoes to be taken upstairs to the bedrooms.

The living room. Oh Lord, the living room. Toys are spread from one side of the room to the other. I can barely see the floor. A large futon mattress rests on the floor with blankets and pillows spread over the top that Tommy and I used to "sleep" on when he was up vomiting all night. There are still bows all over the sunroom floor, along with a large collection of pine needles from the tree. Ornaments that Ben has pulled from the tree for the million-billionth time are strewn around the room. There are books all over the couch that I tried to sooth Tommy with during our cooped up, vomit-filled, three days post Christmas. DVDs are heaped around the television waiting to be watched and watched again.

The basement has turned into our dump heap. All the wrapping paper, massive boxes for the humongous trucks that stupid Santa brought, and empty gift bags to be stored are all lying on the floor in a careless pile.

Every inch of my house is a mess. I feel as though I am suffocating. I can not stand to look at this for one more second. I want to set the Christmas tree on fire, toss every single, loud, massive toy that idiot Santa gave the boys into the garbage, and send the rest of this crap lying around my house sailing out the window. This will end today.

Hormonal much? Yes.

(but other than that our Christmas was lovely.) ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Will Have No Trouble Landing At Our House

I'm done dreaming of a white Christmas. We've got it. This is by far the snowiest Christmas we will have had in decades. I took this picture yesterday after picking up Joey and Tommy from school (thank heavens for gas guzzling SUVs with 4 wheel drive!) and we've had at least another 7 inches of snow since then. And. And! It is supposed to keep snowing all day today. Yipes.

Those snow piles you see on the side of the road are taller than me, in case you were wondering. The road in front of our house is very narrow and the snow banks are getting so big that the snow plows barely have enough room to make it down the street anymore. The plow driver stopped and told my husband he isn't even sure where to put all the snow anymore. So, I think we are good with snow. No more needed, thank you.

But the wrapping and shopping and decorating are all done. No more school plays, talent shows, or concerts. Now it is just about soaking it all in. All the boys' excitement. All the food at the grandmas' houses. All the love of family. All the beauty of Christmas mass. And all of the joy that Christmas brings.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with more love and blessings than you can count.

Merry Christmas!

(Since you all enjoyed this picture so much I thought I would leave you with this image for Christmas.)

(In honor of my dad I'm playing "Oh Holy Night". Though Josh Groban does a fine job of singing the song it is no where near as good as my dad always sang it for midnight mass. It was always the highlight of my Christmas, and I sorely miss it.)

Monday, December 22, 2008


The Christmas party was cancelled on Friday night due to excessive snow and nasty cold weather. So my dear little, red shoes did not see festive lights of the season. Ah well. There is always Valentine's Day, right?

I think my brain is frozen. The temperatures have been an average of -6 degrees for the past few days with a gusting wind of 35 miles an hour. The wind chill is -40 degrees. That's cold folks. I'm beginning to feel a bit cabin feverish. Add to that the boys that are sick of being cooped up in the house, the millions of presents that have to be wrapped, the cookies that need baking, and the school activities that need attending, and I may just loose my marbles.

The cold may have also frozen my heart. I have been rather grinchy this morning. Griping and snarking at the boys over every little thing. Good times. So glad it is only the second official day of winter and we have so much snow that the snow banks are taller than me. Is it spring yet?

Luckily, Beyonce was able to snap me out of it. What? You heard me. I was driving the boys to visit my dad this morning when Single Ladies came on the radio. Benny immediately put a smile on my face with his "uh-oh-ohhh-oh-oh-oh-oh"s to the song. And when Tommy said, "Mom! Do you hear the little mice singing?" when the little "whirp! whirp!" noises were heard I couldn't help but laugh. Thank you Beyonce for snapping me out of it. (never thought I'd hear myself say that)

(I do not like the video for this song. Could they have worn more unflattering outfits and done ickier moves? Blech. So instead I included part of the video parody they did of the video on SNL. You can see Justin Timberlake on the left. Very funny. As always, pause my music on the bottom before you play the video. Thanks!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

PSF- Mama Needs A New Pair Of Shoes

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
I have always considered myself a tomboy. I never really played much with dolls. I loathed when my mother would make me wear a dress. Or even worse, pink. My arms and legs were constantly covered in bruises from all the tree climbing and sports playing every day. I never figured out how to fix my hair all pretty. It was always thrown back into a messy ponytail to keep it out of my face. Jeans and a tee shirt were my constant wears. And I definitely never had a thing for purses or shoes.

Until recently.

While I did become much more girly later in high school it was only recently that I developed a love for pink. And just a few months ago I finally began an intimate relationship with a straighter for my crazy curly hair. I actually enjoy dressing up these days, and wish I had the chance to do it more often. But for the past few years something even more consuming has started to take over.

My love of shoes.

Never in a million years did I think I would be the type of girl to get excited over shoes. Just give me a comfy pair of sneakers and I was set. I used to wear heels for work, but only the most basic and boring black or navy pumps. Nothing at all to get excited about.

But recently it has become increasingly difficult for me to walk past a shoe store. When did shoes become so beautiful? Seriously. When did this happen?

Oh, I still have a pathetically small collection of shoes. I have a few lovely pairs of cutie heels and sassy sandals, but not many. I have a hard time convincing my frugal mind to buy a pair of shoes out of no where, with no special occasion in mind, or for no particular outfit. But when I saw these beauties I knew they would look perfect with the outfit I picked out for Todd's Christmas party tonight. I decided that they would be an early Christmas present to myself. And, AND! They were on SALE! So, I got them. It turns out I may just be a girly-girl after all!
(Note: When I woke up this morning I glanced out the window and saw that we received 7 inches of snow last night. It is still snowing, and it is not supposed to stop for another 5 hours or so. All the schools are cancelled ((AGAIN)) and I'm hoping the roads are clear by tonight so we can actually make it to the Christmas party. Ah well!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Scoop

You've all been patiently asking and prodding, and I have been harshly ignoring. Y'all want DETAILS. The goods! The Scoop! So, here it is.

How far along are you? When are you due? I am just over 6 weeks along and due in the middle of August. It is very, very early. I am always cautiously optimistic in the first trimester but I just couldn't wait to share the news with all of you. I figure if something bad happens I will need to write about it and deal with my emotions that way anyway. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

Wow! That was fast! Yes. Yes it was. (get ready to throw your rotten tomatoes) For some reason Todd and I seem to be extremely fertile. We got pregnant in the first month of trying with Joey, Tommy, and this baby, and Ben was a complete shock. (okay. go ahead and throw those tomatoes)

How are you feeling? Surprisingly well. I only have occasional waves of nausea but for the most part I feel completely fine. I get super exhausted in the afternoon and at night but with three crazy boys I'm kind of used to that. The only thing that is a bother are the migraines. I haven't had one since we went sledding last week, but I have to be very careful not to do anything too strenuous or stressful. The migraines come on very easily and it scares me to take medication for them while being pregnant. So basically I am being very careful not to over do it.

Do you have morning sickness? Not yet, but it is early. I hear that sometimes it doesn't kick in for a week or two. Hopefully it will miss me all together. Now watch, I'll probably start getting horrible nausea right after I post this. (can you hear me knocking on wood?)

Have you told the boys yet? Nope. They still don't know. Although Joey said something to Tommy the other day about saving a toy for his baby sister. I asked Joey what he was talking about because he doesn't have a baby sister and again he told me, "MOM! I told you that I prayed to God for a baby girl and He said YES!" He was very frustrated with me. Now I just have to figure out how to explain a baby boy should God decide that is the baby for us. Hmmm.

I think we will tell the boys when we get closer to three months along just to be on the safe side. Although I am kind of surprised Joey hasn't already guessed. Todd and I have both slipped and said things about "the baby" around the boys but I guess Joey wasn't paying attention.

How many kids do you want? Hahaha! This one made me laugh. Umm. I think we'll just see how we do with four. Todd swears four is his absolute limit so I don't want to push him over the edge. And I really do like even numbers. So we will most likely stop at four. Unless God has other plans.

Are you going to find out the baby's gender? Yes. We always do. I am such a planner that I need to know. I always hear how it is the best surprise finding out at the birth, but I feel like there are enough surprises during labor and I don't need the gender to be one of them. Not only that it really helps me bond with the baby even more. Instead of calling the baby "it" I can start saying "he" and calling him by name. So nice.
I'm not sure if we will tell you the gender when we find out. It might be nice to surprise you. We'll see.

I think that covers most of the questions. I'm nervous about posting this because it is so early I feel like I am jinxing it. Lame, I know. But I am a little paranoid. That is why I haven't really written about it yet. Enjoy it while it lasts, because eventually I'm sure I won't shut up about it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Be Love

There are nine days left until Christmas. Our secret hiding space is stacked full of gifts, my pantry is brimming with treats to be made, and my December budget is quickly dwindling. I am blessed beyond measure, and sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.
As I drive to the grocery store I see a gentleman walking down the barren sidewalks in tattered clothing, braving the 1 degree temperature and whipping winds, clutching his two small grocery bags close to his body. I tell myself he only has a small distance to go to get to his warm house. I can't bare to think of any other possibilities.

I keep this man in my mind as I enter the grocery store. As I hand in my saved receipt points and receive my $40 grocery gift card it feels like a sock in the gut. I can afford my groceries and yet here I am being handed "free" money for more. It just doesn't seem fair. It almost feels like a test. And I want to pass.

My church is having a food drive this weekend and I was planning on going through my pantry and pulling items as usual. But is that enough? Is giving away my unwanteds really giving? Should that even count? Probably not.

I would use the $40 gift card to buy food for the food pantry, I decided, and immediately it was like a weight was lifted. But as I cruised around the store adding items to my cart I quickly realized how little $40 is. It just wasn't enough. The items they needed the most, baby formula and food, canned fruits and vegetables, soups, and toiletries, were adding up fast. My total was well over the $40 but I didn't care. This is the least I can do. LITERALLY.
A couple of weeks ago Todd and I packed up the boys and headed out to Walmart to ring the bell for the Salvation Army's red kettle drive. It was the coldest night we had seen thus far, and I worried about how my boys would fair in the weather. We bundled up well and the boys did just fine jumping around and ringing the bells. Every few minutes I would ask the boys if they were cold and my mind would flash to all the parents who worry about how to keep their children warm on a daily basis.

Families just like ours struggling with the decision of whether to pay for food or heat. And what? What can I do to make any difference?
Here I sit, in my warm, safe house thinking about all those who are suffering. Those who are out in these unbearable temperatures. No food. No shelter. Parents who are worried about how to feed their children or how to keep them warm. And I think of all of those who are alone in this world. Sad and depressed. No one to comfort and love them during this cold holiday season.

It is overwhelming how sad and scary this world is for some people. And sometimes I just feel so helpless in it all. What can I do? Surely donating a few items to a food drive isn't going to solve world hunger. I guess it comes down to prayer. Doesn't it always? I pray. I pray for God to take care of all those who can't take care of themselves. I pray for God to show me ways I can help.

It's Christmastime. And more than anything else, Christmas is about love. God's love for us and our love for each other. If we could just Be Love I think that would make such a difference.

It reminds me of a video I saw on a few blogs a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure you have seen it too, but it is worth watching again.

(Scroll down to the bottom to pause my music before you play the video. Thanks!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Hot Date

After a crazy weekend with Todd bow hunting on Friday, all of us traveling a total of four hours to a very worth-it birthday party on Saturday afternoon, Todd hanging with his bud on Saturday night, and a hurried trip to church on Sunday morning I decided I need to go on a hot date. The kind of date I hadn't had in years. The kind of date that I always treasured but have not treated myself to since before I was married. I felt like a guilty, cheating wife but I knew I needed it. I asked Todd if he would stay home with the kids so I could go on a hot date. With myself.
I used to love going to movies by myself. I always felt it was so liberating. Not like the humiliation of going to dinner by yourself when you know people are looking at you with pity in their eyes. Going to the movies by yourself is a luxury.
Todd told me over and over again that he would go with me to see Twilight, but I didn't want him there. He hadn't read the book (I can't even PICTURE him picking that book up, HAHAHA) and I knew the movie just wouldn't do it for him. I wanted to be able to watch the movie with unabashed teenager lust without feeling Todd rolling his eyes in the seat next to me.
Todd and I threw the boys in bed for their naps and I took off a little early so that I could do some shopping, drive past the lake, and make it to the theater with plenty of time. As it turns out I shopped a bit too long and made it to the theater in just enough time to take yet another bathroom break (doggone pregnancy hormones!), grab some popcorn and soda, and find the perfect seat just as the previews started.
I was a fabulous hot (doggone pregnancy hot flashes!) date. I thoroughly enjoyed having that time to myself. I don't know if I have felt that young in a long time. And of course I came home happy and refreshed just as the boys were waking from their naps. When Todd asked me if I was lonely I tried not to laugh too hard.
It is my recommendation that you DO NOT go to see Twilight if you have not already read the book. So much has been cut out of the movie that many of the scenes or character reactions would not even make sense if you didn't first read the book. Please hold off on the movie until you finish the book.
That being said, if you like the book you will like the movie. The casting was perfect. I wasn't sure that Robert Pattinson was good looking enough to pull off the role of Edward but the first glimpse of him in the cafeteria changed all that for me. He carried it perfectly. There were a few over-acting moments from him, but easily forgivable in my mind. I do wish that they would have shaved his chest because his few straggly hairs were kind of distracting in some scenes. I think a bare chest would have given him a more "cold, stone" feel. And then also in some scenes the hair seemed to disappear. Maybe I'm just too observant. Other than that he was perfection.

(By hvyilnr on Flickr)

Kristen Stewart was a perfect Bella. She is a pretty girl without being unrelateable. She could very easily be your typical high school teenager. I was disappointed that they made her a bit more serious in the movie than in the book. In the book Bella has a great sarcastic wit, and it is seriously lacking in the movie. So much so that without it you wonder why Edward fell for Bella in the first place.

The only casting that I thought they got wrong were the two boys that were supposed to be crushing on Bella. First off, they made Eric appear to be gay and then the next thing you know he is sparing with Mike over Bella. Huh? And Mike? Isn't he supposed to be a hunky jock? He looked super nerdy to me. Mike is supposed to be good looking and cool enough that he gives Edward little pangs of jealousy and then amusement when Bella turns Mike down flat when he asks her to the dance. Neither Eric nor Mike seemed to fit for me. I thought they were either poorly cast, or poorly directed.
The movie did a fair, but not great, job of staying close to the book. I realize there is a time crunch in turning this book into a two hour movie, but I didn't like how they changed the timeline of certain things around and how they changed scenes altogether. It kind of made me sad. One example is when Bella and Edward are having dinner in Port Angeles right after he rescues her for the umpteenth time. This scene is supposed to be a pivotal moment of Bella asking a million questions and Edward actually answering them for the first time. This scene was cut so short and then replaced with the scene in the woods at school the next day. I didn't like the change. You miss the whole building of the relationship between Edward and Bella this way.
There were saving scenes though, too. Bella meeting Edward's family was fabulous. Loved it. The first time Bella sees Edward was awesome. LOVED the baseball scene. But I think one of my favorite scenes (though it is a small one) was again in Port Angeles when Bella was cornered by the group of guys and Edward comes speeding to her rescue. I think that was just about the sexiest scene in the whole movie. I think that was the first time I saw Edward as a SEXY, manly, hero (although the first rescue was pretty hot too). Whew. Makes me sweat just thinking about it (doggone pregnancy hormones!).
Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie because it made the book come to life for me. It was so close to how I had imagined it in my head. And that is always a compliment for a movie. The only parts I didn't like were the ones that strayed from the book a bit. And I wish they would have showed the development of Edward and Bella's relationship a little more. I don't think there are any Twilight fans that would have been bothered if the movie was another half an hour longer but was able to go more in depth by doing so. It would have helped the story line tremendously. Was it a fabulous movie? No. Did I love it? Yes. And if you loved the book you'll love the movie, too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

PSF- And In This Corner...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

we have the schmultz family:
We are not the type of family that has ever been afraid to spontaneously break into song. It is actually a common occurrence. Someone is always singing in this house.
I grew up watching musicals with my folks, the three of us singing along with the TV at the top of our lungs. All my friends used to tease me and say that I probably should have been born in the 50's when that sort of thing was actually considered cool. And Todd? Well he is just a complete goofball that has always loved making up silly songs to make people laugh. Yep. We are nerds. And we're fine with it.
It appears the boys have inherited the drama gene. They love to sing along and act out scenes from their favorite movies. Here they are joining hands with all the Whos in Whoville a couple of weeks ago. Todd and I are delighted with their love of music and their love of goofiness. I just hope that if they meet up with some good-natured ribbing from their friends down the road they will still keep that I-can-break-into-song-at-any-moment kind of personality.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Warped

Yes, yes. I know I don't do memes. But I was forced! I was muscled into it! She made me do it! And trust me, you do not want to mess with her. She is one tough cookie. Why do you think she calls herself Imbeingheldhostage? She is referring to ME! Okay, fine, maybe she is talking about being held hostage by her five children, but you get the idea. Plus, she lives In The Gutter! Don't mess with J!

So here ya go, J, you asked for it. This one is for you.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? I don't know how lazy "Santa" is at your house but the "Santa" here wraps the gifts AND sets them under the tree. Oh yeah. You heard dat right!

Colored lights or white lights on the tree? WHAT???? Who even says something like that? That's not very politically correct.

When do you put your decorations up? When the last group of geese take vee-shaped flight to the sky. When I can see my breath in the car on the way to school in the morning. When I begin wearing socks to bed. Or, the first weekend in December. Which ever comes first.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Are you saying that you eat food OTHER than dessert for holiday dinner? That's weird.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child: It was Christmas Eve, and I was about 5 or 6 years old. My mom and dad were just finishing up reading Twas The Night Before Christmas to get me to sleep when all of a sudden I heard sleigh bells. I jumped up from my bed and ran to my bedroom window. When I looked outside I saw a big, golden sleigh filled with presents and 8 reindeer too! Just then I heard a thump downstairs and though my parents told me to slow down I sprinted down the stairs where I saw SANTA putting presents beneath our tree! He quickly turned to see me, smiled, and motioned for me to come to him. I cautiously walked over, my legs shaking with excitement. He told me that little girls are supposed to be in bed by now so that he could do his job. I apologized immediately, and he chuckled his bowl full of jelly laugh. He reached into his enormous sack and pulled out the most beautiful dolly I'd ever seen. I thanked Santa a thousand times and he sent me back to bed. I hugged that dolly tight all night long, and I still have her to this day.
Oh wait. Nope. That doesn't sound right. Yep. Oh yeah. Mm-hmm. That was a dream. Never happened. But it would have been pretty cool, right?

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? You mean about him being Satan? I think I heard that from a lady handing out fliers in front of a strip club one night.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Only if I can stay awake longer than everyone else.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With my toes. I told you I have very long toes. It's impressive, really. And the lovely scent of the Frasier Fir covers up the toe-jam stentch quite nicely.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it. Until I start to dread it.

Can you ice skate? They don't call me Brilliant Blades for nothing!

Do you remember your favorite gift? Nope.

What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Eating as much food as I can without throwing up.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? The biggest one.

What is your favorite tradition? Winning the food eating contest.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Giving. The business.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? The Christmas Song

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? It depends. Does my breath stink?

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Aren't we all supposed to be going green?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Wish Every Day Were A Snow Day!

Days like these don't come along often. Snow days that cancel school, cancel work, and yet are warm enough to enjoy being outside, with all three boys healthy, are rare. And yesterday we took full advantage. Todd and I took the boys sledding at The Bowl for the first time ever. I was so impressed with how brave my normally cautious boys were jumping on their inner tubes and going down the hill by themselves right away. We had so much fun. We kept sledding and playing for two whole hours. It was a blast and I felt like a kid again. Todd and the boys practically had to drag me kicking and screaming to the car. I just didn't want to leave. We even made it onto the evening news! Check it out! That is Tommy and I going down the hill together. Then Todd in camouflage pushing the boys down. Me being interviewed for a second, and then Tommy eating snow at the end. Haha!

However, I did end up over-doing it. When I got home I got a migraine. Luckily it wasn't too bad and I was able to get rid of most of it while the boys were down for their naps. I was feeling well enough when they awoke that we rounded out our day with hot chocolate and baking cookies. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are the cold Wisconsin winter days when my friends and I would walk down to The Bowl, go sledding all day, and come home and warm up to hot chocolate. Thinking back on those times makes me realize how magical childhood can be. Every experience is new and full of anticipation. And I hope that someday the boys will look back on this day, and their childhood, with warm memories of there own.

What are some of your fondest childhood memories?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh The Pressure!

We got dumped on last night. Six inches of snow was deposited in our city and it is still snowing. Another six to eight inches is expected today and a few more inches tomorrow. School has been cancelled and Todd just left for work to tie up some loose ends and call all the other employees to tell them to stay home. When he is done there he is going to run out and buy some sleds so that we can hit The Bowl and take the boys sledding for the first time. I feel like a kid this morning, excited about the snow and anxious for daddy to get home with the sleds.
I'm not sure how long the boys will last outside in the cold and snow but we'll stay as long as we can. Then it is all hot chocolate, Christmas movies, and coloring in our Christmas coloring books for the rest of the day. I may even get around to finally sending out our Christmas cards while the boys color.
I am making it increasingly difficult to send out Christmas cards each year. The pressure is intense.
The last few years I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to get a "money" shot. Beautiful smiles, cute poses, everyone looking at the camera. It just doesn't happen often. And every time we visit family they have our Christmas card prominently displayed and they gush when they tell us that our Christmas cards are always their favorite of the year. Pressure!!!!!
Christmas 2005
Christmas 2006
Christmas 2007
How can I compete with that? It is just too hard.

We tried the poses on the stairs. I didn't like it.We tried the couch. But that didn't work either.We tried posing on the floor again,and again. But none of them were working for me. They all just felt too posed. Finally, Ben fell to an exhausted and frustrated heap on top of his brothers (notice they tried to hold their smiles!).When he looked up, I got my shot. This is my money shot. It may not be the cutest photo, or the best posed. They may not be smiling their prettiest smiles or even looking that happy, but it sure does make me laugh. This looks like my boys. They are buds. And this is them.

Christmas 2008

Now if I can only find the motivation to send them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Reveal

Even though we had agreed last month that we were going to start trying for number four Todd was still surprised when he walked in the house on Thursday night and saw this:
I had made Ben a tee shirt to match his brothers and all three boys were sitting on the couch in their tee shirts when Todd came home. I have revealed each pregnancy (except for the first) to Todd this way. Joey wore the tee shirt to announce the second pregnancy, Joey AND Tommy wore the tee shirts to announce the third, and now all three wore it for this pregnancy. Not very original but Todd always gets a kick out of it.
The problem was that even though I found out I was pregnant Thursday morning I had to make a new tee shirt for Ben and wait for it to dry (ALL DAY) before I could tell Todd. It was hard to keep quiet.
We still haven't told the boys. They just thought they were trying on the tee shirts to see if they still fit (Joey's is SO small now). I think we will wait until we are closer to three months before we tell them.
We are due around August 15th. So far I'm feeling okay. I have waves of nausea and by 8 o'clock every night I am completely exhausted. It feels like someone filled my entire body with wet sand and I can barely lift my limbs or haul myself off the couch to get up to bed. But other than that, I'm doing pretty well.
I'm trying to take it easy because I always get migraines in the first trimester. No running for me for a little while. Once I get to the three month marker I can pick it up again. For now I'll just do some yoga and hope that is enough to keep me from gaining 20 pounds in the first month. I am craving Baby Ruth candy bars so bad it is crazy. If this baby is a girl I may have to name her Ruth.
I honestly could not wait to tell you all, which is funny because most of our family members don't even know yet. Your comments were so sweet and sincere, and I am so appreciative of your support. I especially liked how careful you all were not to put any pressure on the boy/girl issue. So very sweet of you. How well you know me. Thank you.
But, I will say, don't keep your fingers crossed. My grandmother had five boys and Todd's grandmother had four boys. We may just be taking after the grandmas. ;)
Alright, it is time for me to get going. My stomach is lurching, Ben is pulling all of the ornaments off the tree again, and I have to make the trek to the grocery store this morning before the next predicted snow storm starts in. What is that saying about no rest for the weary?
(Please ignore the stars. Blogger's spacing isn't working again.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

PSF- I Like Even Numbers

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Sometimes words simply aren't needed, so just imagine me nodding my head and smiling.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meet Your New Mom

I am not going to be that mom anymore. I am not going to be that nagging, bossy mom that makes my boys feel as though they are walking on eggshells. After last week's episode that ended in the boys telling me that they only want their daddy and not me, I have seen the error of my ways. I deserved those words from them and I'm so glad that I really heard what they were saying, because it opened my eyes.

Living with me was not fun. I made things difficult. I stressed the stupid little things too much and completely forgot to stop and notice the important things. I made life so much more stressful than it had to be.

I nagged about everything. They didn't put their toys away properly. They didn't eat their food fast enough. They ate their food too fast. They were too loud and they gave me a headache. They talked too quietly and I couldn't hear what they were saying. Nag, nag, nag.

I think I was confusing nagging for discipline.

It is hard to be the disciplinarian in the family. It is such a responsibility. Sometimes I feel that I have to be on the boys at all times in order for them to grow up to be respectful, hard working, thoughtful boys. But really, I just need to let them be.

If I want them to be respectful, I need to be respectful. And not just to others, but to them as well. They deserve my respect as much as I deserve theirs. If I want them to be compassionate people than I need to be a compassionate mother. One that calms their anxiety instead of adding to it. If I want my boys to be able to handle their anger in a healthy way, then I'd better start showing them the proper way to do so. If I want my boys to be loving, then I need to be an example of love in every circumstance.

This past week has been a complete turn around. The boys have behaved as they always have. Sometimes sassy, sometimes great. But I have been a different mom. I have been able to maintain calm. I spoke with kindness. I bit my tongue and said nothing when I wanted to correct things I knew didn't need correcting.

This is the mom I want to be. And I hope that if I practice this type of mothering enough it will become second nature. Because this is who I am. I am this mom. I am fun. I am loving. The boys just didn't get to see enough of it before. But that is gonna change. I know it won't always be easy. I know there will be times that I will fail and revert back to my old ways. But I am determined to do my best.

I'm letting go so I can be a better mom.

When we went to pick Joey up at school yesterday the snow was just too pretty to pass up. Tommy asked if we could get out and play on the playground while we waited for Joey. Though it is not normally like me to let the boys frolic in the snow without snowpants and gear (oh the mess!) I figured this was a good opportunity for me to practice letting go. I let Tommy and Ben out of the car and we went climbing all over the snow piles the snow plow trucks had created. When Joey came out of school he joined in. We played and slid and stomped through the snow, and when I told the boys it was time to go they happily obliged and climbed into the minivan.

We got home and the boys didn't want to go in the house yet. I told them they could play in the backyard for a while until they got hungry. One thing led to another and soon we were all building a snowman together. Tommy and Ben were rolling around in the snow sans snowpants, and Joey was wearing his two sizes too small snowpants that he put on at school, but I couldn't have cared less. We were having a blast.

By the time we were finishing up my jeans were soaked through and Tommy and Ben were wet little popsicles. Todd came home for lunch just in time to capture the moment for us.

We finished up our snowman and scurried inside to defrost. The wet clothes were thrown in the dryer, and new warm, fuzzy clothes were put on in their place. The boys ate quickly and drifted right off to sleep, exhausted from the fresh, cold air.

And I sit here thankful that I was given yet another opportunity to start again. Another chance to let go and just enjoy being a mom. Another moment to seize and not care about the mess or the clean up. Another shot at showing my boys how to be spontaneous and how to have fun. How to live. And how to love.

It was another great day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WW- Cold

As always, click to enlarge.
We are expecting another 5 inches or so today and the boys are thrilled. While the first few snowfalls of the season are always exciting I know that by next month I will already be pretty antsy for spring. However, I will admit it is quite beautiful when it looks like this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Love Lockdown

My Joey loves to sing. He sings all the time. He sings church songs, songs from cartoons, Christmas songs, made up songs, hip-hop songs, rock songs, country songs, old school jazz songs, and everything else he has ever heard.

The other day we were in the car listening to the radio when Kanye West's song "Love Lockdown" came on the radio. The tribal drum beats drew him in and I knew he was immediately hooked. Every time we get in the car he asks me to try and find it on the radio and after hearing the song only twice he memorized it enough to sing parts of the verse and all of the chorus.

I wish I could get Joey to sing on video for me because I'm not sure there is anything more hilariously cute than watching him walk around the house thumping out the beat to this song on his legs and belting out the words to the chorus. It is just so funny watching this tiny, little, angelic faced boy singing these serious words with so much fervor.

Can you picture it?

(The chorus part that Joey loves to sing comes in at around 58 seconds.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Proper Start

December started out just the way it should in Wisconsin. A winter storm warning was issued last night and this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. It was beautiful. All the schools started two hours late and the morning kindergarten classes were cancelled. No school for Joe!

Instead we spent the morning decorating our house with all of our favorite Christmas decorations. As the nativity was carefully set up Joey kept reminding us, "This is the most important part of Christmas!"

I may have to take a bunch of the decorations down if we get a call to show our house. I'm afraid it is a bit of overkill. But it is worth it. The boys jumped and danced around all morning. The Christmas music was playing and the boys all sang along. As Joey sang, "All I want for Christmas is you..." he had to stop me and tell me, "Well, actually I'd like some presents too, mom." Just in case I had taken the lyrics seriously. Good cover, Joe.

Now we are throwing on our snowsuits and boots and heading out for the first snow play of the year. I'm sure I will freeze much sooner than my little men and I'll have to bribe them into the house with hot cocoa and a Christmas movie, but I'm sure they will be happy to oblige their delicate mom.

These are the days I LOVE being a mama.

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