Monday, May 31, 2010

"Thank You For Your Service"

As the veterans walked passed us proudly holding the American flag the boys shouted, "Thank you for your service!"

Today is a wonderful day to take time and thank our servicemen and women for all they have given and sacrificed for us and our great country. But I hope that we don't need a special day to say "thank you". I hope we take any and every opportunity to show our support and appreciation to those that serve in our military and their families.

If you have a moment please read this. It is a great glimpse into the life of a soldier.

And to all our veterans, those that are currently serving in our military, and all the strong, supportive military families, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!"

Friday, May 28, 2010

To Help With Patience

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecilyand Mamarazzi

Two weeks ago the nights were cold enough for the kiddos to be wearing their warmest jammies. One night after they'd all had their baths I lined them up on the couch and took their picture. I am such a sucker for littles in footie jammies and knowing the cool weather wouldn't last much longer I wanted to take the opportunity while I had it.
Now looking at this picture makes me a little melancholy. It seems their childhood is just as fleeting as the cold nights were. They get bigger everyday. These jammies will no longer fit them next year. Their toes will be jammed up to the front of the footies, the sleeves will barely make it to their wrists. And once again we will run out to the store to get the next biggest size.
This morning the boys wandered downstairs in their underwear, sleep still worn across their faces. They plopped down on couch next to me (and next to me, and on top of me). I closed my eyes and breathed in their warm, musty smell, willing myself to memorize it before it too changed.
I only had a few moments of peace before the boys were abuzz with questions and excitement about our weekend trip up north to the family cabin.
"We'll leave as soon as we can." I answered.
"It takes just over three hours." I reminded.
"Yes, you can take your fishing poles." I reassured.
"If you are good this morning we'll get some bakery." I bribed.
"I know you are excited but please quiet down. Grace needs her sleep." I begged.
On and on it went, my melancholy pushed to the back on my mind as I wearily answered question after question and continued to shush the boys.
I know this weekend will test my patience (just like this morning) over and over again. The car ride alone has the ability to drive me to insanity. But holding this picture in my mind should give me a nudge towards extra patience and help me remember just how fast it all goes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Keep 'Em In Line

Recently, it seems that every time I have taken the kids to the park I have had to discipline other people's children. Now, I know this is a very taboo subject but I'm gonna go there anyway.

The first incident happened when we were at the zoo and a boy, I'd guess he was about 8 years old, starting throwing rocks at the bison who were just a few feet away. Without even glancing around to see if his parents were watching I immediately said, "Oh no, honey, don't throw rocks at the animals." The kid looked at me like I had horns, but he stopped. The mother must have seen what happened and walked over and dragged her child away. I'm not sure if she was embarrassed at what he did or angry that I scolded him. Truthfully, I don't care.

Yesterday we were at the park and some boys, again probably about 7 or 8 years old, were chasing each other around. One of them said, "I'm gonna kick your God darn butt!" Without even thinking I said, "Oh, don't talk like that. Uh-uh." To the kid's credit he looked embarrassed and right away tried to make polite conversation with me which I happily agreed to.

In both of these situations the parents were not far away but just far enough that they did not hear or see what was happening. I, however, did see it. And I have no issue with calmly letting someone else's child know that certain behaviors are not acceptable.

I see parents do this less and less, but when I was a child it was common. My friends and I knew that just because our parents weren't around it did not mean that we would not get in trouble. And that is a very important thing for kids to know. If my kids were misbehaving and I didn't see it I would hope that another adult would calmly tell them they are not acting appropriately. In my mind, it does take a village to raise a child. I think that if more people were willing to step out of their comfort zone and speak up there would be a lot less children growing up feeling entitled to do whatever they want to do whether it is bullying, teasing, or just misbehaving. When parents are not around some kids think they can do whatever they want.

Case and point, our old house is two blocks away from a high school and many of the kids would walk by our house on the way home from school. One day as I was getting the mail I saw a group of 4 or 5 kids pushing another kid around, throwing his backpack into the street, tripping him, and basically picking on him. I got so mad I came out of my house and said, "What the hell are you doing?" The kids quickly told me that he was a friend of theirs and I basically told them they were pretty crappy friends. I let them know that they had better knock it off or I would become "their friend" and dish out a little of their own.

Perhaps I was a little harsh in that situation but it really made me angry. If there is one thing I can't stand it is a group of kids picking on ONE kid. Bunch of cowards.

I saw that same group of kids just about every day and they never acted like that again. At least not in front of my house. Though I will admit I kept waiting for our house to get toilet papered after that incident. ;)

So, I want to know, what do you think? Am I out of line correcting other kids' behavior? Would you have been angry with me if you were the kids' parents in any of those situations? Have you ever corrected or scolded someone else's child? What happened? Was the parent upset? Let me hear it, readers!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Massive Gaping Head Wound Will Get You A Whole Lot Of Cool Stuff

Yesterday Joey had a collision with another kid on the playground at school and got a pretty nasty cut above his eye. We took him to the doctor's office and he didn't even flinch when they gave him a few shots in the cut and sewed him up with stitches on the inside and outside of the cut. Ouch. Such a tough guy.

This is the first emergency trip to the doctor's office for any of my boys. With three very active boys I am amazed we have not had any broken bones, sprained parts and pieces, or any other massive gaping head wounds until today.
This is Joe right when he got home from the doctor's. The doctor told us to ice it as much as possible to keep the swelling down but that Joey's whole eye would probably be swollen and black and blue the next day. We gave him ibuprofen to help him sleep and hoped for the best.
This morning his eye was definitely red and swollen but not at all black and blue. Joe was still pretty sore and he decided he wanted to stay home from school. I agreed that another day off might be in order.
Overall, I think that Joey thought this whole getting hurt thing wasn't such a bad deal. He had gotten a happy meal out of it. A bunch of snacks. A new toy. A ton of attention. He spent the day playing board games and drawing outside on the patio with chalk instead of working hard in school. Not too shabby.
(When Joey saw this picture he said, "Okay, now that just looks ridiculous." hehe And for the record, I disagree. Stitches or no stitches he is a handsome little man.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hate Mail and Love Letters

Dear Morning Coffee-

I love you. Don't ever leave me.

Forever yours,

So tired


Dear Grocery Store Bagger-

Seriously? My 2 liter bottle of soda ON TOP of my bananas? SERIOUSLY? WHY? And WHY do you put my fruit with my RAW MEAT??? HELLO???
You have the easiest job in the world. Honestly. In. The. World. I can say that because I am speaking from two years of experience in the grocery bagging world. Please. Do better or next time I will not be friendly.

One peeved off customer


Dear 80 Degree Weather-

Welcome to Wisconsin in May. Please make yourself comfortable and feel free to stay as long as you like. Well into October if you're free. I love having you here. You make me happy.
Don't leave. Ever.

Your loyal fan forever,

Sunbathing Mama


Dear Neighbor-

We're new here, and I definitely don't want to be THAT neighbor. You know, the nagging, annoying, hassle of a neighbor? But honestly, you leave me no choice.

I haven't said anything even though it has been months since my kids have gotten a decent nap. I haven't said anything though the constant barking has made it much less enjoyable to be outside. I was SO CLOSE to saying something this morning when you let your dog outside at 6:30 and he continued to bark for over a half an hour. But I am telling you, if you do not discipline your dog soon, I WILL say something. I will have to.

I love dogs. I grew up with dogs. I had a dog. I hope to get a dog one day soon. I don't blame your dog. I blame you. Dogs bark. But for hours on end without any breaks is just madness. Heard of common courtesy? It's great. Get some.


Your neighbor with the cotton in her ears


Dear Grey's Anatomy Writers-

Thanks for the panic attacks.

I was finally able to watch the two hour finale last night and I have to say that was the most stressful two hours of television I have ever watched. I frequently had to pause the show so that I could catch my breath. It was horrible. I don't know how I finished watching the entire show. Man.


I need a massage


Dear Cold-

Leave me and my family alone. We've had enough. Go away!

We eat healthy. We get plenty of exercise. We take our vitamins. We get as much rest as we can. What more do you want from us? GO. AWAY!

Sick and Tired Mama



I feel better. Thanks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mama's Turn

It is a rainy Friday morning. The kind of morning that makes you want to tuck your head deep under the covers and go back to sleep for another few hours. Especially when the night before was thick with choppy sleep, stuffy nose, throbbing head, and sore throat.

The kids had little colds last week and this time I caught it too. I wonder if my kids are much tougher than I because I don't recall them suffering through this cold like I am. It is a peach. Perhaps this cold is making up for the healthy last year I've had. I can't remember the last time I was sick like this. My head feels so tight and full, my throat is raw, and my nose is thoroughly plugged. It makes me thankful that today's weather keeps us indoors because even though I've been feeling so wretched I've been playing outside with the kids all day, planting all of my outdoor flowers, taking family walks, and going for my runs. Probably not the smartest thing to do but when the weather is as lovely as it has been I just can't help myself.

This weekend is supposed to be even better. The temps are going to be in the 80s well into next week and I hope this cold takes off so that we can enjoy the family picnic and swimming we have planned.

For now Ben and I will snuggle on the couch under a heap of blankets watching movies and waiting for Grace to wake up and the boys to come home from school. I may even make myself some chicken soup. If I can muster the energy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What a weekend!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn

This was one of the best weekends we've had in a long time. We packed so much into this one weekend and yet it never felt rushed.

The entire weekend was spent soaking up fresh air and sunshine outside. We went to the zoo, a couple of parks, a restaurant, and the lake. Todd and I ran 4 miles together (our first run together, EVER) in a fundraiser for the kids' school. We grilled out. We laid out in the sun when the kids napped. And we rode bikes with the boys. It was a great weekend.

I think Grace was worn out from all of the outdoor excitement because the little lady is still sleeping right now and it is almost 9 in the morning! It was probably the most fresh air she has ever had but I think she enjoyed every minute of it. I know I did!

Friday, May 14, 2010

PSF- Baby No More

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli
He's not the baby anymore.

And he loves it.
Now he is a big brother, too.

And he is thrilled.
The once destructive, crazy, wild child has found his center. And her name is Gracie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Life

There was a time when we had albums full photos of us holding hands, snuggling, cuddling, and posing together. Now finding a picture with both of us in it at the same time is a rare commodity.

There was a time when we would pack our bags and jump on a plane for a last minute trip to anywhere. Now our idea of alone time is ordering Chinese food after the kids go to bed and watching "Survivor" together.

There was a time when "going out to dinner" meant fancy clothes and even fancier food. Now it means insuring highchairs and kids' menus are available.

There was a time when our biggest worry was what movie to see together. Now our worries are scary and serious. Health, mortgage, children, family, bills.

Life has changed. It looks so much different than it used to. So much better than I could have ever dreamed. Craziness and all.

This past year has challenged us. I'm pretty sure that it will go down in our family history as one of the craziest years EVER. And we made it through. We made it through building a house, selling a house, two mothers with cancer, two fathers with Alzheimer's, friends and family divorces, major stress at work, dad's passing, Gracie's birth, and moving. I know that years down the road we will look back on this past year and wonder how on earth we made it. And I know the answer will be, TOGETHER. I truly believe that together we can make it through anything. Laughing through the craziness, praying through the worries, and clinging to each other through it all.
Tonight as we "celebrate" our 9th anniversary sitting on hard metal chairs in the school auditorium and watching our boys in their spring concert I will be thanking God for bringing you into my life. I am so honored to have you as my husband. So glad that I get to have you by my side for the rest of this wonderful life. I love you.
Happy Anniversary, Todd!
(If you are interested, our "How we met" story is here. It's a good one, if I do say so myself.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mommy And Me

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn

It was a wonderful Mother's Day. One of the nicest I can remember. It was a perfect combination of feeling loved and appreciated and loving and appreciating the important mothers in my life. I have been so lucky/blessed/fortunate to have the mother I was given at birth AND the mother I was given in marriage. Such incredible women who show me daily what it means to be a mother and what it means to love.

For Mommy and Me Monday I am posting pictures of my mom and me along with one of my favorite poems. I am so thankful for my mom and hope that I can be as kind and loving and supportive and fun and inspirational to my children as she has always been to me.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e e cummings

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Going Through The Motions

It has been almost two weeks and I am just now beginning to dig myself out of the massive amounts of Kleenex that have been waded up and tossed all over my house, casualties of Grace's nose. The poor girl has had a peach of a cold and I feel like all I have done for the past 10 days is wipe her nose, suction out her nose, and then wipe her nose again. Poor little dear. It has been a tough week.

The week was made even tougher by my self loathing and general grumpiness. I have been feeling so out of sorts. Not necessarily depressed, or sad, or mad, or frustrated, or happy, or excited, or ANYTHING. I've just sort of been here. Going through the motions. It's been very strange.

I thought perhaps if I threw myself into working out and eating right that I would start feeling better about myself. I was meticulous in counting my calories and did not splurge once. I was my own Drill Sargeant as I pushed myself further and further in my runs. On the days I didn't run I would have Jillian as my replacement Drill Sargeant in the 30 Day Shred. I thought that seeing the fruits of my labor at the end of the week would definitely get me out of my slump. And then I jumped on the scale this morning and found that I had not lost ONE POUND. Not. One. Pound.

It did not help my mood.

It does not make sense. I went above and beyond. I just don't get it. But I guess I just have to live with these last 15 pounds until I am done breastfeeding and then I can worry about how to get rid of it. I don't want to go so crazy that I am not getting enough calories to have good, healthy breastmilk. That is what is important.

But, it still pees me off. Big time.

I am sick of feeling like I was in someone else's body. Sick of not fitting into any of my clothes. Sick of trying to find time to work out and stressing over eating right only to have ZERO affect on the scale. It is FRUSTRATING.

This afternoon Todd suggested that maybe I should just get out of the house for a while. Maybe even go shopping and get new clothes that fit me for the time being. I didn't want to buy new clothes because that just feels like I'm giving up but after thinking about it I had to admit that having a pair of jeans that fit did sound appealing. So off I went. Shopping. ALL BY MYSELF! And when I got to my favorite store (that I hadn't been able to shop at in almost two years) I ended up getting a pair of jean 3 sizes smaller than I thought I was. It was a welcome surprise.

It is amazing what a few hours to myself can do. I felt so refreshed and rejuvinated when I got back home and I've been feeling more like myself too. I hope I can hang on to this feeling and not fall back into my slump. Life is too short to be going through the motions and not catching all the moments.

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