Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

 Hope you had as much fun as we did! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Cemetary

PhotoStory Friday

I grew up in this cemetary. 

I rode my bikes up and down the hills.   My mom and I would take our walks here all the time. I would bring my friends to the cemetary and play here as a child.
I know it is probably sounds strange, but I felt at home in this cemetary.  My sister's grave is in this cemetary.  As are my grandma and grandpa.  Now my father's grave is there too.
The first house Todd and I bought was one block from this cemetary.  The first few times I took him on walks through the cemetary he thought it was a little odd.  Now he loves it too.  And my boys love running up and down the hills and driving thier bikes up the same roads I did as a child.

The house we now live in is about a mile from the cemetary and I often take my runs to and through the cemetary. 
I find peace and comfort there.
And sometimes when I am struggling with my sassy children the cemetary provides prospective and helps me to see how blessed I really am.  And I realize that nothing my children do is that bad.  Not as bad as decorating their grave for the holidays would be.  And I am so grateful for that painful reminder. 

I love this cemetary.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just Thursday

Outside my is gray and cold with 50 mph winds.  Brr

The time is...9:30

Today I feel...exhausted.

I am thinking...about adding to our family.  Cuz that will help with my exhaustion.

At the moment, I am thankful...for a four day Halloween weekend with the kiddos.

I am try and make the most of these four days.

I am pajamas because I am a slacker.

I wish...the hubby's job wasn't so stressful.

I am reading...when I get the chance. Which is never.

I am working on...not sweatin' the small stuff.

I am hoping...the kids are all healthy for trick-or-treating on Saturday.

I am hearing...the boys oohing and aahing over their Halloween coloring books they just got.

I bet you didn't know...that Halloween is my very favorite fake holiday.

One of my favorite...things is when the boys are sweet and loving to each other like they are right now.

Weekend Plans...

[Thursday]  Go for a run.  Try and keep the kiddos occupied. 

[Friday] Possible trip out of town.

[Saturday] Clean the house, go trick or treating, and have a Halloween pizza party!

[Sunday] Go to church.  Go for a long run.  Watch football.  Relax.  Eat too much Halloween candy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I love orange.  It is my absolute favorite color.  The best is a warm peachy orange, like a beautiful sunset.  But I like burnt orange and brick orange and a pumpkin spice type of orange.  I love orange.  Definitely my favorite.  And I don't hear other people say that too often.  I wonder why.  It is such a warm, lovely color. 

Anyway, today's You Capture is Orange.  I had to join in. 

My house is bathed in orange.  From my bedroom wall (a reddish orange):
To my dining room (a pumpkin spice type of orange):
Hmm.  Me thinks I need more wine.
My pendant lights in the kitchen:
Flowers on my table:
And of course my Halloween decorations:
They are everywhere.
Even my cookie jar has an orange ribbon on it.
The boys get special themed cups for the Halloween season, and of course, they are orange.
Let's not forget the orange outside the house.  I am still getting tons of tomatoes off of my plant and they are a brilliant orange.
And our family of pumpkins resides outside of our front door.
And one of the most beautiful oranges:

Now come on!  See how beautiful orange is?  It has GOT to be one of your favorite colors now.  How can it not be?  What other color could possible top this?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still Recovering

It was a good weekend at the cabin and I'm still recovering. 

The kids slept well.  They behaved fairly well.  And we spent every waking moment outside. While Todd and I were busy taking the boat and the pier out of the water the kiddos played and played and played.   

The minute we let them outside on Saturday morning (at around 8 a.m.) the kids immediately walked over to the woodsy area next to the cabin and settled in.   
Grace found a leaf pile and decided that is where she wanted to spend most of her time.
The boys began making a fort.
And Grace continued to play in the leaves.
And play in the leaves some more.
Joey hiked around the woods.
Tommy chopped wood.  Kind of.
Ben found the four wheeler and was happy that his brothers didn't spot it first.
Grace wandered down to the lake asking to go swimming over and over again.
That girl loves the water even when it is only 55 degrees out. 
She was not happy when mommy kept scolding her away from the water.
Until she saw her brothers having fun on the four wheeler (much to Ben's dismay).
I think we're gonna need a bigger four wheeler.
After lunch we all took a hike through the woods across the road.  The smell and sound of the leaves yanked me back to my own childhood when my parents and I would hike through the woods.  Now here I was walking with my husband and our four children, pointing out the different trees and plants, talking about all the animals that lived in the woods, just as my folks had done.

It was fitting that Todd had brought my father's shotgun on the walk with us.  The shotgun that was my dad's pride and joy.  The shotgun that he was so proud to show to Todd the first time (and many times thereafter) he came to my parents' house.  That gun had taken quite a beating in the last few years of my father's life as he had forgotten how to load it and properly clean it and quite often would get things stuck inside of it.  Before dad's Alzheimer's became too severe Todd had spent a pretty penny to get the gun cleaned up for my dad so that he could see it in it's former glory again.  When dad passed away my mom thought it was only right to pass that gun on to Todd. 

As we were walking the boys asked Todd to shoot grandpa's gun and the kids would all huddle by me, plugging their ears, as Todd walked further into the woods to shoot the gun at a safe distance. 


The gun would smash through the crisp air and the boys laughed and cheered.  Even Grace had a big smile on her face.  I'm sure my dad was smiling too.
At the end of our walk Todd declared it was my turn to shoot dad's gun.  I braced it against my shoulder, aimed the gun, took the safety off, and fired it into the woods.  It is a strange thing, but I can't tell you how happy it made me.  I bent over, picked up the shotgun shell, and took a deep breath.  It smelled like my father and reminded me of the times I would watch my dad packing up for a hunting trip. 

It was an emotional walk as both Todd and I recalled memories of our fathers that the smell of the woods conjured up.  I was missing my dad.  And Todd could relate.  Just this week he had to tell his father that he couldn't hunt anymore.  With the progression of his Alzheimer's it was just too dangerous.  After almost thirty years of hunting together this would be Todd's first time hunting without his dad this November.  

Still, it was a good walk.  Melancholy, but good.  We were happy.  And we were blessed.  

And as we left the woods Todd turned to the boys and said, "Take a deep breath boys.  Do you smell that?  The musty leaves?  The smell of fall?  Someday that smell is gonna remind you of your daddy."

It was a good weekend, and I'm still recovering.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Away We Go

I'm sitting here with my coffee willing myself to get off the couch and get going.  But I just can't do it.  It is a gray, dreary morning perfect for sitting around drinking coffee all wrapped up in a blanket.  But the boys are hungry already.  Starving! they tell me.  And I have to get dressed.  We have to go to the store.  I have to pack the kids' bags.  I have to pack the cooler.  I have to pack my bag. I have to get Grace ready.  Oh, and I can't forget the cold medicine.  Seems Joey is starting to get sick.  And I think Grace is teething again.

We are heading up north for the weekend.  I'm sure we have missed the peak color up there already but we are looking forward to it anyway.  Piles and piles of leaves to rake.  Crisp mornings.  Sunsets over the lake. Bonfires with marshmallows.  It will be lovely.  Once we get there.

Until then there is shopping to be done.  Packing, sorting, planning.  And also, the three hour drive.  I could skip over that part entirely.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

For now, I'm going to sit here with my coffee for a few more minutes before the madness begins and hope this weekend turns out to be half as good as I picture it in my mind. 

What do you have planned for the weekend?  Madness?  Tranquility?  Or a little bit of both?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WW- Everyday Views

  On the way to school.
Near our house.
The corner of our street.
Our cul de sac.
Back home.
Looking at these photos you'd think I lived in the country or something, but I don't.  These are just a few of my favorite everyday views.  What are some of your everyday views?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Better Me

Life has been super hectic around here lately.  The last couple of months our evenings have seen a big change.

 It used to be that we would sit down to dinner at the kitchen table every night around 6 and eat together as a family.  Not so anymore.  On Monday and Thursdays Joey has football.  On Tuesday evenings the boys have swim lessons.  On Wednesday Todd has work meetings every week.  That means that every day of the week we are scrambling around dinner time and not really enjoying.  It also means that our family does not have the same amount of down time that we used to.  It seems like every day the minute Joey gets home from school we are working to finish homework and ram food down everyone's throats before we head out the door.  I miss my family dinners.

I also noticed that since this hectic schedule started I had been a lot less patient with my family.  Everything bugged me.  Every little thing set me off.  It seems I was always in a mood. 

Enter running. 

Since I started running again last week I have been a much happier me.  Much more patient with my family.  I enjoy the kids so much more.  I am much more capable of handling little problems.  I don't have such a problem with my temper either.  I don't know why I ever forgot this, but running is the best stress reliever.  Once I've taken my run I feel much clearer.  Much more level headed. 

I'm sure the boys are happy I started running again too.  I honestly can't remember loosing my temper and yelling since I started running again.  How's that for an endorsement?  If that doesn't keep me running I don't know what will. 

I guess it is true, though I never really believed it before.  Taking time out to take care of yourself really does make you a better mom.  Lesson learned.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Perfection

This was one of the best weekends we've had in a long time.  From a wonderful date night with friends for Todd and I on Friday night, the apple orchard and pumpkin farm on Saturday, and playing outside the entire weekend soaking up the gorgeous fall weather, it was near perfection.When movies want to show the best of autumn in the midwest they always show kids playing in huge leaf piles, people walking through multicolored leaves in golden sunlight, picking pumpkins and eating juicy apples, Halloween decorations on every front porch, and everyone outside enjoying the glow.  This weekend felt much like that. 

Trips to the pumpkin farm are always a favorite of mine and this one lived up to expectations.  Last year we could barely get to the pumpkin farm because our fall was bitter cold and rainy.  When we finally made it the weather was 45 degrees and drizzly.  It wasn't a grand time.  This time the weather was 70 degrees, sunny, and perfect. 

The minute the minivan came to a stop in front of the pumpkin farm the boys jumped out in pursuit of their perfect pumpkin.  Even Tommy got to work, his broken arm not slowing him down a bit.

 Grace didn't care too much about the pumpkins. Instead she found a beautiful apple on the ground and couldn't believe her good fortune when I didn't take it away.  She was so happy to show everyone how she could hold and bite the apple all by herself.  She felt like such a big girl and wouldn't let go of that apple the entire time we were there. 
 Soon, the boys saw Grace and decided to give it a try themselves.
 Not to shabby.
 Not too shabby at all!
 Mmmm.  Such tasty apples!
 After all of the bellies were full of apples and everyone picked their pumpkin we attempted to get our annual family picture.  We took about a dozen photos and this is the best we got.  Good enough. (Please notice that Grace is still holding her apple.)
 The rest of the day, and the day that followed, was spent outside riding bicycles and jumping in leaf piles. I got to take a nice long run (3 and a half miles isn't that long but considering I just started last week I was surprised I did that well) which made me feel pretty good about myself. And I even managed to get my leaf photos of each of the kids' with their little heads peeking out.  They are pretty cute too.

But when the boys insisted on taking pictures with their pumpkins and the photos turned out so well I decided to use those pictures on my sidebar instead. 

So there you have it.  The perfect fall weekend.  Alone time with the hubby, fun at the pumpkin farm, playing outside, a nice run, happy kids, lovely weather, and great pictures.  It doesn't get much better than that. 

How was your weekend?

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