Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Must Love Kids

I am constantly surprised by my kids.  They are always doing things that completely take me aback and make me think, "Man.  I love this kid."  Whether it is saying something funny, or doing something helpful, or talking about a passion, or snuggling up to me, there are so many times I am caught off guard.

I'm really in love with my kids, and this surprises me.  I mean, I'm their mom, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I like them as much as I do but it does surprise me.

I've always loved babies.  Since I was a tiny kid I've loved babies.  Kids are another story.  I never really had a strong fondness for kids.  They are loud, and dirty, and troublesome, and worrisome, and they can be sassy, and rude, and exhausting.

As a matter of fact my mother recently reminded me of a conversation we had when I was very young.  I told my mom that I wanted to have lots of babies when I grew up (and I didn't want to share them with my husband) but that when they got to be about 3 years old I wanted to give them away.  Nice.

Boy, has that changed.  Thank God!

I am still baby obsessed, but I can't believe how much I am really enjoying my kids.  I really, truly like them as people.  And this surprises me.  I thought that once the baby phase was over I would just have to endure these little people but I am so relieved that is not true.  I am a woman who will always miss having babies, but now I am also a woman who really freaking loves kids.  

Having kids is like having a huge present that you are unwrapping very, very slowly. It is a mystery what is inside.  You get tiny little glimpses here and there.  Little by little you get to see who they are.  Who they are becoming.  Who they will be.  It is exhilarating.  And when you like what you see it is even more exciting.

This past weekend was just one of those weekends that really let me see how much fun and joy my KIDS bring to my life.  They are funny, and most of the time on purpose.  They are easy going.  They are helpful, sometimes even without asking. They are kind.  They try hard.  They are fun.

My kids didn't have school on Friday and were pleasantly surprised to get some snow on their day off.  As we sat in the library going over homework Joey noticed the neighbor across the street was shoveling a little path off her driveway.  He immediately said he wanted to go and help her and hurried through his homework to get out there as soon as he could.

By the time he was dressed and ready to go the neighbor woman was inside her house so Joey and Tommy decided to do our driveway first.  People, we have a HUGE driveway and they did an amazing job.  I was shocked and how thorough and neat they were and what pride they took in their work.  As soon as they finished our drive they moved on to the neighbor's.  Man, this having kids thing is really starting to pay off!  ;)
Ben and Grace helped me make cookies for the boys' hard work.  Tommy and Joey came in to warm up, eat some cookies, and dry their clothes.  Before I knew it Joey was saying he wanted to shovel another driveway.  All three boys put their gear back on and went back at it.  When all was said and done the boys shoveled three LARGE driveways.  I was so proud of them.

When their work was done all four kids went in the backyard to play while the rest of the cookies were baking.  When their faces couldn't take anymore cold they were all back inside where I had started a fire and made some fresh popcorn on the stove.
After dinner the boys were sufficiently rested and insisted on playing chess.  It is their new obsession and I figured that after all the work they did for me that afternoon I'd oblige them with chess.  It is scary how good they are at the game already.
On Saturday Todd and I decided to take the kids to the Boat Show in Milwaukee. The kids had a blast checking out all the boats and going in some pretty big yachts, but I think their favorite part was watching Twiggy, the squirrel, water ski. Very cute. After that it was dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Fuente.  It was a long day and the kids were exhausted by the time we got home.

Sunday morning the kids got up and played chess (again).  I told you they are obsessed.  It won't be long before they are winning every game against me.  Egad. Thank goodness we couldn't play long because we had to get ready for church.

After church it was time for some serious frolicking in the snow.  Mother nature had finally given us some good, packy snow.  I can't remember the last time we got a decent snowman-making snowfall.

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling great so I took a nap with the littles while Todd took the older boys out for a little bonding time.  The nap worked wonders for me and I got the kids up early so we could head outside to make our snowman.

I don't know why my kids will never make a snowman on their own.  They always insist on my help.  Luckily, it was a warm, winter day and I really enjoyed myself.  I didn't even realize how long we had been outside until it was pitch dark and time for dinner.
It was a very good weekend.  I had so much fun with these smart, funny, kind, entertaining, kids of mine.  Sure there was arguing and fighting and craziness, and a time or two I may have wanted to pull all of my hair out, but I wouldn't trade them for all the babies in all the world.

***Thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post.  You are all so sweet and supportive and lovely. I was nervous about posting the story but I am glad I did it. It seems that good deeds are spreading. Elaine posted her good deed story here and it makes me bawl all over the place. I'm sure because of her story others will go out into the world with their eyes open to opportunities to help and serve as well. Good deeds, like smiles, are infectious. Keep spreading the love!! God bless!***

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

Friday, January 25, 2013


We live in a busy world.  A busy, busy world.

We are always running from one thing to the next, heads down, eyes glued to our smartphones and ipads and devices too busy to look up for a second to smile at the person passing us.  We are busy making superficial connections on Facebook and are starved for genuine connections in our real lives.

Today I read a post called Touching Souls that Tabor wrote.  It is a great reminder of why we are on this earth to begin with. I was meant to read that post this morning.

It was time to pick Ben up from school and I was running late.  My garage door opener had frozen again and I had to run back to the house to close the garage door making me just late enough to worry that Ben would be the last kid waiting.

As I sped down the street I saw a woman standing on the corner by the bus stop.  I probably wouldn't have even noticed her at all had it not been for her dog.  A sweet-looking yellow lab stood vigilantly by the woman, her fluorescent yellow "Working Dog" vest across her back.  I noticed the dog was holding her paw in the air.  She tried to stand on it for a second, and then picked it up again.  I glanced up at the thermometer on my mirror, 8 degrees.  Her poor paws were probably freezing.

For a second I thought about picking the stranger up and giving her a ride. I glanced at the clock again.  Already two minutes late.  No time for strangers.

I got to Ben's school just as he was leaving the building.  I had an errand to run, but for my own piece of mind I decided to check and make sure the woman and her dog had already caught the bus.  I drove back the way I came and saw the woman and her dog still standing on the corner.  This time I noticed the woman didn't have a hat or gloves.

I started to pull over, glanced at them again, and then pulled away.  What woman is going to take a ride from a stranger?  She won't want a ride from me.  She'll probably be embarrassed, or think I'm crazy.

I went on my way and proceeded on to my errand of getting Tommy's zipper fixed on his coat.  I hurried into the shop, had the zipper fixed, and got back into the car.

"Alrighty, kiddos.  We're on our way home now." I told Ben and Grace, all the while still thinking about the lady and her dog.  I really hoped the bus had stopped by now.  I decided to take one last drive past to see if they were still there.

As I approached the corner I could see the woman and her dog making their way across the busy street to stand on the opposite corner.  They both looked so cold.  This time I stopped thinking.

"Okay, kids.  We're making one last stop!" I announced.

I pulled my minivan over and got out.

"Ma'am?  Are you waiting for the bus?"  I asked her warily.

"Yes, I am.  But I'm not familiar with this area and I don't know if it comes this way."  she answered.

"Can I give you a ride?  It is too cold to be waiting outside for the bus.  I saw you when I was on my way to pick my son up from school and that was quite some time ago."  I told her.

"Yeah.  I've been here for almost an hour.  My feet are so cold."  she said.

"I bet.  I saw your dog lifting her feet up too.  I think she is cold as well.  Please, let me give you a ride." I said again.

"Well, I'm going all the way to the far south side of town."  she warned me.

"That's fine. I really don't mind."  I assured her.

"Okay.  Thank you so much.  I'm really cold."  she said gratefully.

I made room in the front passenger side of my minivan so that she and her dog had enough room.  I got back in and turned the heaters up full blast as she told me her name, Sue, and where she lived.

Sue admitted to me that she really isn't supposed to be crossing busy streets because she can't see the cars coming but that she was not familiar with where the bus would be stopping.  She was very nervous crossing the icy street as she had just fallen on a bad ice patch a few weeks ago.  As she spoke, Bella, her guide dog, sat at Sue's feet with her face resting on Sue's chest.  I asked how long Sue has had Bella and she told me it has been 2 years.  Bella makes a huge difference in Sue's life.  She used to need someone with her everywhere she went.  Now she has Bella, and their bond is undeniable.

As we drove on she told me how challenging winter is for her.  Bella is wonderful but can not point out ice patches and Sue has a hard time getting around.  I asked if she has friends in the area that can give her a ride from time to time.  A few, but they work so it is hard for them.  She has an adult son living with her but he works third shift and sleeps during the day.  I got the impression that she does not want to be a bother.  

As we pulled up to her apartment I got out a piece of paper and wrote down my name and phone number with strict instructions to call me if she found herself without a ride in this hideous cold weather again.  She thanked me many times as she and Bella got out of the car together.

The rest of our ride home was filled with questions from the kids, and explanations from me.
"No, you really shouldn't talk to strangers, but mommy is an adult and I felt that Sue needed help."
"Yes, it was okay for you to talk to Sue because I was right here with you."
"No, I don't think daddy will be mad that mommy gave a stranger a ride."
"Yes, Sue is blind and can't see and that is why she can't drive herself."
"I don't really know how Bella knows where Sue is going but she is a very specially trained dog."
"Yes, Bella is awesome but you're right, Molly is still my favorite dog."

I'm not sure if Sue will call me for a ride in the future but I am thankful that I was able to be there for her and Bella today.  And I'm thankful for Tabor and her beautifully written post that reminded me why we are all here on earth together. We are here to love each other.  That really should be our sole purpose in life.  Just love. Had I not read that this morning my eyes may not have been open to see a need in front of me and an opportunity to show love.

I pray that as a society we all become more connected, more invested in each other. In the meantime, let's start small.  Smile more.  Hold doors.  Make eye contact.  Offer hugs.  Be a listener.  Lend a hand.  Even the smallest act can make a big impact.  Look for opportunities to serve.  To connect.  To love.

I was not going to post this story.  In Matthew 6:3-4 it says that when you do a good deed you should not go around announcing it.  You should do it in secret so that only God knows.  But I am sharing this story because Tabor shared her story.  And because I was able to witness her compassion it reminded me that I need to have my eyes open, and my heart open, as well.  I think that the more we have our eyes open to serve God the more we see God working in our lives and in the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Stolen Post

I am feeling very unoriginal these days and can not seem to get my creative juices flowing, so I have stolen this from Emily who stole it from someone else who had also stolen it.  

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?  Mary.  As in Jesus' mother.  All of the women in my family have a version of Mary as their middle name.  And yes, we are Catholic.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?  Sheesh.  Today.  Probably this morning.  I cry just about every day.  I cry when I see something sad.  I cry when I see something happy.  I cry when I see something sweet.  I cry when I see other people cry.  Sometimes I cry and I don't know why.  

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?  No.  Luckily no one writes anything anymore.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?  Yep.  They're around here somewhere.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?  Hell yeah!  And I'd be super jealous of my awesomeness.


8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  As far as I know.  I haven't checked on them recently. (at first when I read this question I thought it said "toenails". I thought wth? Tonsils makes more sense)

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?  Yes, but only over a huge bowl of vanilla pudding.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  One that I actually eat?  Wheat Chex.  One that I WANT to eat?  Lucky Charms

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Just the ones with laces.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?  Emotionally?  Yes.  Physically?  Yes.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?  The kind I can eat.  

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?  Are they covered in blood?  Do they have fangs?  Can I take 'em in a fight?

15. RED OR PINK?  Or what?




19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? No shoes.  Slippers- pink, grey, cream.  And two pairs of socks.  I'm cold.


21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?  The wind gusting through my ears.


23. FAVORITE SMELLS?  Money.  And sweat.

24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?  I gave up politics after I lost my bid for county coroner. 


26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?  Packers Football, yo!

27. HAIR COLOR? I can't even remember the real color of my hair.  It changes quarterly, if not more.

28. EYE COLOR? Hyper-color Hazel.  It depends on my mood.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?  Only when I want to see. 

30. FAVORITE FOOD?  The kind I can eat.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?  I am not allowed to watch scary movies any more, per court order.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?  The Hunger Games (dvr)


34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer.  Duh.

35. FAVORITE DESSERT?  Chocolate Eclair Torte

36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?  Lately I've been a big fan of food eating contests. I'm getting really good at stretching my stomach to it's limit.  Normally, when I'm not injured and it isn't 10 below zero, I'm a runner.


38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?  The Girl Who Played With Fire

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  Does anyone still use those anymore?

40. FAVORITE SOUND?  The voices in my head.  They're funny.

41. FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?  Gangsta polka.  Those bi$#@es throw down!


43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?  I can pick stuff up with my super long toes.  And I can flare my nostrils really fast.

44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  In a hospital.

45. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?  In my house.

46. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?  The color of love.

47. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?  The color of rust.

48. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 48 QUESTIONS?  It was fun at first...

Go ahead.  Steal it if you want to.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WW- This Is What -8 Degrees Looks Like

Please click on the pictures to enlarge.

Temperature:  -8 F
Wind Chill:    -26 F
Wind:             Gusting to 25 mph

Me:    COLD

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Happy Wife

It took me long enough.  A seriously long time.  I didn't want to fall in love with him.  I didn't even want to like him.  But I just couldn't help myself.  

Since I was a little girl, maybe 7th grade, I had been praying for a good husband.  My dad always told me that he had prayed for a good wife and he was sure that God sent my mom to him.  I hung on to that and decided it was a pretty good idea.  I prayed and prayed that God would find a good man for me to marry someday.  And He did.  

That is how I found Todd.  He was sent to me.  God knew what kind of man I needed much better than I  did.  Todd was completely different than anyone else I had ever dated before.  My ex boyfriends were all nice guys and everything, but just not the type of man that I needed.  God knew better.

When I was younger I had one vision of my future husband and I. It wasn't of us on our wedding day.  It wasn't taking extravagant trips or going out to fancy dinners.  The image in my head was always the same.  I envisioned my future husband and I sitting in church together with our children sitting between us.  To me, that was marriage.  

As I became a young adult I let go of that vision a little bit.  I dated guys that were good people but none that shared my same faith.  I told myself that I didn't need that vision. I could go to church by myself.  I was willing to settle for less, apparently. But God wasn't.  

Todd came into my life at a time when I was done with men. I didn't want to be with anyone, much less  a cocky, suave, attorney from New York. Pu-lease!

But, the more I reluctantly got to know him the more I realized how he was made for me.  It was almost like he was hand picked just for me.  Slowly, slowly God revealed Todd to me and reminded me of the things I had wished for in a good man.  Little things that I thought were old fashioned and had died off generations before were innate to Todd.  Things like, opening doors for me, holding hands in public, being protective but not possessive, romance, singing together, being a gentleman, going for long walks in the woods, going to the theater, compassion and consideration, and treating me like I was precious to him.   And as the years have gone by I know in my heart he really was hand picked for me.  God answered years of my prayers and sent me a good husband.   And now when I am sitting at church I look over at Todd, our children sitting (climbing, crawling, talking, whining) between us, and I get such a lump in my throat thinking about how lucky I am.

Shortly after Todd and I started dating I gave him a long list that I had written of all the things I loved about him.  It has been a long time since I've done that and I think I'm overdue.

Reasons to love Todd:

- He really tries.  In all he does.  He tries to be a good father, a good husband, a good son and friend, a good man.

- He has been to every single play, concert, parent teacher conference, doctor's appointment, and prenatal doctor's appointment for every one of our kids.

- He makes me laugh even when I don't want to.  The other day I was so GRUMPY and he said, "That's it!  I'm pulling out the big guns!" and proceeded to do this crazy-awful, weird made-up tap dance type dancing that he knows makes him look absolutely ridiculous but would make me laugh.  And it did.  Very much.

- He holds our marriage in very high esteem.

- He is loyal.

- He often says "love is a verb".  And he believes and lives it.

- He is one of the smartest people I know.

- He is an emotional man.  He is filled with compassion and empathy for others.

- Because he has a job which requires him to read massive amounts of documents all day long Todd does not enjoy reading in his spare time.  However, he still read Breaking Dawn and The Hunger Games so that when he went to the movies with me I wouldn't have to explain everything.  That's love, baby.

- He is a hunter, an outdoorsmen, and a talented athlete, and yet he also loves singing and going to the theater.  That is not easy to find.

- He lives by the saying, "Happy wife, happy life."  I told you he is smart.

- He is the go-to guy.  Everyone who knows him calls him for advice.  And not just law related.  Life related.  He is a wise man and gives great advice.  And he always takes the time to help people.

- When I am angry he gives me time to cool down before he forces me to talk about it.  This does not come naturally to him as he wants to talk out any problems and fix them immediately.  However, he learned early in our marriage that I don't work that way and he gives me the space I need.

- He is very complimentary.  He lets me know that he appreciates me and loves me every chance he gets.

- He has a very quick, sarcastic humor and he's not afraid to use it.

- He always has a cup of coffee waiting for me when I get up in the morning.

- He is comfortable in any situation.  Something I very much admire.

- He has always been very popular but has never, ever used his popularity to make others feel small.  Just the opposite, actually.  He has always been the guy to befriend the picked-on kid and stand up for him.  Just like my dad.  Actually, it is freakish how similar he is to my dad.

- He is supportive. He wants me to be happy.

- He is a softy.

- He tries very hard to have a one on one relationship with each of our kids.  He does not expect them to like what he likes or be like him.  He wants to get to know who they are and what they like and always wants to be very close with them.

- He makes great pancakes and can marinate and grill the most perfect steak you will ever eat.

- While he is perfect for me he is definitely not a perfect person.  He has flaws.  Thank God!  I don't think I could live with a perfect person.  He can be a bit of a shyster, and I like that.  Keeps me on my toes.

- He doesn't hold grudges.

- He is an amazing son and son-in-law.  I really don't think a parent could ask for a better son and my parents will forever be grateful for all that he has done for them.

- If something is upsetting me he wants to know about it.  He will listen to my complaints (even, and especially, complaints about him) and earnestly try to right any wrongs.  When I am complaining to him about something he has done he does not immediately get defensive (ok, sometimes he does- he is human) and instead really thinks about what I have said and what he can do differently.

- He is a hard worker in all that he does.

- He is a great snuggler.

- He is a great example of a good man for our boys to model and for our little girl to look for someday.

- He is super hot.  Seriously.  Wow.

(He is gonna kick my butt for posting this pic, but LOOK AT HIM, PEOPLE!)

- He cried with me when it was the first day of school for all four of our littles.

- He is strong.  Both physically and emotionally.

- And most importantly to me, he is a faith filled man.  In today's society it can be difficult to find a man that wants God to lead his life.  Todd prays for guidance.  He prays often. We pray together as a couple.  We pray together as a family.  He teaches our children to pray and to trust God and listen to what God is telling them.  He lets our kids know that life is much better with God in it.  God leads his life.

I know that I could not have found this man on my own.  God sent Todd to me and showed me that he was everything I always knew I wanted in a husband.  And even on the days that are not so rosy I am always so thankful for my husband.

Why I Love My HusbandHappy Wives Club

I am a happy wife and I'm linking up over at Happy Wives Club to tell the world about my fabulous hubby and to share how great marriage can be. 

If you have never read the story of how Todd and I met, it is here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WW- What She Said

I think I may print this out, make 100 copies, and carry them around in my purse to hand out like business cards when people give me "that look" after I say that I am a stay at home mom.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

With the start of the new year we are also starting out with swimming lessons again.  The kids have not had lessons since last spring.  Sure, we went "swimming" a billion times this past summer, and my kids are all comfortable in the water, but I think being a good swimmer is essential.  

All of my boys love going under water but they are not really efficient swimmers.  Joey can do the front crawl the length of the big pool at the Y but he is still timid in deep water and hangs close to the edge.  Tommy can do the front crawl and can hold his breath forever (seriously, the whole length of the small pool) but we have to get him breathing with the strokes.  Ben is comfortable in the water until you ask him to float on his back.  These are all things we need to work on.  

The last time I took Grace to the pool it was a Mommy and Me class.  She has never really had a swim lesson on her own and she always clung to me in the pool whenever the water got a little deeper.  I was curious to see how she would handle her first swim class without me in the pool with her.  

All of the kids were excited about swimming classes again, except for Joey.  He was nervous.  I think it helped that the pool was much warmer than he remembered it, and they were allowed to start out with flippers.  That always makes swimming easier.  But as Joey swam the length of the pool he realized that in a year he had grown stronger and what was once difficult for him now seemed easy.  His confidence grew even more after he swam the front crawl the length of the pool without the flippers and he wasn't even tired.  Soon he was jumping in the deep end of the pool and swimming down to touch the bottom.  Something that had terrified him last spring.  It was exhilarating to watch.
Halfway through Joey's class, Ben and Grace had their classes in the little pool.  They are normally in different classes but because one of the teachers was sick and the class sizes are so small they combined the two classes.  It was nice because Grace was able to sit with Ben and he calmed her nerves and explained everything to her.  I was thrilled with both of their efforts.  Ben was really giving it a good try with floating on his back and Grace was willing to do whatever the teacher asked.

After Ben and Grace were done it was time for Tommy to jump in the pool.  It was clear that he had grown stronger since the last lesson as well and his front crawl was relaxed and calm (even if he didn't breath the whole length of the pool).
All of the kids felt great about their efforts and are so excited for more swim lessons this week.  That makes me a happy momma.  As much time as our family spends in and around water swimming is a lifesaving skill to have.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Better Late Than Never

The weather today was a balmy 48 degrees and sunny.  Amazing for January in Wisconsin.  I didn't even wear a jacket today.  I could smell spring just around the corner.  And seeing as how I have ensured that there will be no more snow the remainder of this winter (I bought the kids a  ton of 70% off sleds so we can really have some sledding fun- so now I KNOW it won't snow) I think spring will come early.  

I decided to take advantage of the warmer temps and spent some time outside taking down all of our Christmas decorations and lights.  It is hard to admit that the holidays are over already, especially since I just went to one more Christmas concert yesterday.

Grace's class was supposed to have their little Christmas concert and gingerbread house decorating last month, but school was cancelled that day on account of a nonexistent snow storm.  The teacher rescheduled all the fun for yesterday and I'm so glad she didn't just cancel it all together.  It was precious.

My little girl, who is shy in front of any one she doesn't know (heck, even in front of people she does know), was up there with her class smiling and singing her little heart out.  It was so fun to watch.  
After that we made awesome gingerbread (graham cracker) houses and a certain little someone may have eaten more than she decorated.
It was so much fun.  A great way to round out the Christmas season and end it all on a high note.

Now bring on spring!

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WW- Mr. Smartypants

The Spelling Bee

 The Lineup
 Looking for reassurance
 Waiting for a word

Way to go, Joey!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


"Mom. What's that stuff on your eyes?"
"Eye makeup, Joe."
"Oh.  Kinda scary."
"Hmm.  Not really what I was going for, Joe."
"Oh.  Sorry.  But it kinda is."

"Hi Gracie.  Time to wake up, honey. You did such a good job with your nap."
"Hi, mommy.  (pause) Are we goin' ta church again?"
"No, honey.  We're not going to church again."
"Den why you wearing such a fancy shirt?"
"Because I'm going out to dinner with some friends tonight."
"Oh.  You look so bootiful!  I lub your hair. (patting my hair and my face) And you earrins are so pitty! You so bootiful, mummy."
"Aww, honey. That's so nice."
"Can I come wif you tonight, mum?"
"No, sweetie, you can't."
"WHAT?  MOM!!??!!"
"I'm sorry, babe."

After upsetting news that he would not be going on the boy scout winter camp this weekend and pouting for a good 20 minutes I gave Tommy some fresh homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.
"Mom, I feel so much better after eating your cookies.  I always feel better after your cookies.  They make me so happy.  I feel so warm and cozy and loved."
"All from my cookies???"
"Yep.  They turn my frown upside down."
"Wow.  Magic cookies."

"Hey mom!  I traded Grace her Packers football for a gumball.  Isn't that awesome?"
"Benny, that doesn't really sound fair, does it?"
"Fine.  Two gumballs."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ladies Night

I don't have many friends.  I have a handful of close friends and they all live hours (most of them states) away.  I don't go out with girl friends, um, ever.  If I go out I go out with my husband.  Which is lovely, since he is my best friend and all.  Once in a blue moon the hubby and I will get together with his friends (who also live an hour or so away) for a nice evening out.

When one of my oldest and best friends (who now lives in Colorado) sent a message around Facebook that she was coming back to our hometown for a visit a group of friends from high school quickly insisted on a ladies night out.  

We ate at one of my favorite restaurants, we had cocktails, laughed until our faces hurt, and talked 'til all hours of the morning.  It was fabulous.   And even though I was extremely exhausted the next day I still felt rejuvenated.  Thanks, ladies!
Never underestimate a good "girl's night out".  

*Funny story*
Getting together for the first time in years we were all complimenting each other on how great we look, and that we haven't aged since high school.  We were all feeling quite good about ourselves until Erica and I (the pretty lady sitting next to me in the above picture) were at a crowded bar that same evening and as a young man (maybe 21 or 22 years old) tried to squeeze by us he said, "Excuse me, older but attractive ladies."
We laughed until we nearly passed out.

Head swelling remedied.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Why?  Seriously, why?  I want to know.  Why do you people insist on torturing me?  I don't get it.  I thought we were friends.

Your word verifications.  They are torturing me.  TORTURING ME!  Do you know how long it takes me to not only read the obnoxious things (seriously, why do they have to be so blurry???) but then type them up correctly?

I've mentioned before how these captchas are hellacious for a person with dyslexia, but you don't seem to care.  WHY?  Don't you love me anymore?

Alright.  Fine. Maybe you still love me.  Perhaps you've just forgotten how to turn it off.  Well then, we are both in luck because I've written out instructions to help you out.  Because, I love you, ya know.

I want to leave you comments.  I really do.  But sometimes when I see that you have those horrendous word verifications I just don't know if I have the energy (or time) to deal with it.  There are times when I've had to refresh the captcha a dozen times just to get to one that I can read.  AND THEN, I still have trouble typing it up.

Do you really get that much spam?  I have never used word verifications and I think I have only gotten a handful of spam (and mostly advertisements).  And they were all on really old posts.  I deleted them.  End of problem.

Comment moderation I understand.  I completely get that.  Especially if you have crazy ex friends or ex boyfriends or family that like to leave hideous comments.  I get that.  Moderate and approve all you want.  But the verifications?  They gotta go.

Seriously, friends.  I hate to be a hag, but ya gotta help me out here.  I don't know how much more I can take.  Please.  I am begging you.  Turn off the DAMN captchas.



And, thank you.

And, I love you.

Carry on.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Rest

Since I picked my top 12 favorite pics of 2012 for my last post I thought I would do a collage of pictures for each month as well so that I could include a bunch of other favorites too.  Man, I really take a lot of pictures.  The collages ended up being a nice photo journal of 2012 for me, however.  But, I am sorry to put y'all through more picture madness.












Okay.  I am done bombarding you with pictures.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WW- Top 12 of 2012

Some of my favorite photos of 2012.  

Ben can ride!




God is good.

Flying fish.

Back to school/Broken-hearted


The pile


Lying Low

Smiles with Santa

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