Friday, February 24, 2017

Fantastic Fourteen

Joey turned 14 years old today.

This guy. This guy right here is now fourteen. This silly little weirdo is still making me laugh daily and making me smile.

I have spent much of my motherhood dreading my babies growing up. And to a point, I still do. I can't imagine a day when this little man leaves my home. I honestly can't even think about it. But I have also gained new perspective on what it means to have older children. There are certainly new struggles but there are so many more joys. And with Joey being my first teenager he is definitely making "teenager" a fun, pleasant, and enjoyable experience. 

It wasn't the greatest birthday for him. We barely had time to celebrate. There was school, a basketball bust up party, and then rehearsal for the school musical. It was jam packed. But we managed to sneak in a little bit of birthday fun.

Joe brought glazed donuts in for his classmates today for his birthday treat. And because he hasn't gotten any demerits at school he was able to pick a special incentive and he chose to wear jeans on his birthday. Being a uniform kid and being able to be the only kid in school wearing jeans for a day was actually pretty fun for him.  It turned out to be a fun day of school.

After school we opened his presents (lots of model planes, a Nerf gun, and some Nike stuff), sang "Happy Birthday", and Joe ate his birthday turnovers. Joe is not a fan of cake and didn't want brownies. I had to think of something and knew he loved cherry turnovers and he was pretty happy with that. I got cupcakes for his siblings (they were pretty disappointed about the no cake thing so I had to get them a little something to celebrate with) and Joey scarfed his turnovers down in approximately two minutes. Both of them. Egad. 

Before we knew it it was time to go. Joe had to get to his basketball bust up party. He had a great time eating pizza with his teammates and coaches and watching Hoosers. And I brought in a bunch of cookies for everyone as a birthday treat. Joey had a great time.

From there (luckily this was all at school) Joey had to go straight to the musical rehearsal. He had a pretty good time there too and I also brought cookies as a birthday treat for the whole cast as well. This was the most sweets (and junk food) Joey has had in, I don't know, EVER.  That always makes for a good day in a kid's mind.

We got home pretty late and yet Joe and I stayed up even later laughing and talking and having a blast. I showed him the Facebook post I wrote about his birthday and all of the comments from family and friends. He loved it. And when he saw a Pusheen the Cat emoji from one of our friends he couldn't stop laughing. We spent the next half hour looking up Pusheen the cat pictures. We were laughing so hard and being so ridiculous that when we saw mugs and stuffed animals of the cat we decided to order one for him and one for me. Todd thought we were crazy but I was eating it up. It was a silly little purchase but it will always remind me of Joe's 14th birthday party and how much fun he and I had together late that night.

You see, I have no idea how long this lasts. How much longer do I have with this boy like this? How much longer will he want to stay up laughing and goofing around with his mom? How much longer will he want to have inside jokes with me, or want me to be in a play with him, or be friends with me, or confide in me, or even like the same things as me? I'm sure there will come a time when this will not be the norm. I know it is probably coming soon. But for now, I am soaking it all up as much as I can. 

Tomorrow Joe has a Young Eagles meeting at the airport (for kids interesting in planes and flying- they eventually take him up in a plane and then teach him to fly) and then we will visit the EAA Museum (per Joe's request- he is SUPER obsessed with planes) in Oshkosh and visit with his godfather (and Todd's best friend). It will be a fun day for Joe. And he deserves it. 

This kid works really hard. He tries hard. He wants to be good. He wants to do good things. This world is a better place because he is in it. I am so proud to call this young man my son. I love him so very much.

Happy 14th Birthday, Joe!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


It brings me such joy to watch the lovely shades of pink and red creeping into my kids' faces when I yell their personalized messages of love out my car window as they enter school. I know Joe thinks that he will be getting a ride to school from his older cousin next year but I really think he will miss my public declarations of love. "JOE!!!! Hey, Joey!! I LOVE YOU!!!!! Have a great day, honey!" I think he would really enjoy letting his new high school friends see how much his mommy loves him.
Something he should keep in mind.

Today, since it was Valentine's Day I had to up my game. Along with special chocolates and little gifts that I gave them this morning I really wanted to "personalize" my love for them even more. As I dropped them off for school this morning they tried their best to outrun my pronouncements but I would not be deterred.  I was actually able to drive after them a little ways as I shouted out my personalized "I love you!"s.

Tommy was kind enough to hold the door for a bunch of people behind him and I seized the opportunity to shout, "Bye Tommy!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!"  He handled it well. Especially considering there was a mom walking her children into school and she turned around laughing and gave me a thumbs up.

Ahh, good times.

Ya gotta love Valentine's Day.

Special shout out to this guy:
I don't much believe in made up holidays but I certainly believe in us.

Happy Valentine's Day, all! I hope you all have a lovely day and are able to announce your love to all those who are special to you.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Big Ten, Big Ben

Last week my Benny Bear turned 10. Double digits. My baby boy.

It was such a busy day that we had to wake everyone up early so that Ben had a chance to open presents. After school it was homework, three different basketball practices, and then play rehearsal. There wasn't even time for a special birthday dinner or cake! What a crazy birthday!
However, being that it is his big 10, Ben knew he had a special party to look forward to. Ben was very happy and excited about his present on his birthday morning but he was even more excited for his birthday party at the local waterpark the following weekend. 

Ben has an extra large class (it is broken into two classes) and he decided to just invite a handful of friends. And no girls (except for his sister). It was a very nice group of kids and everyone had a great time. Especially Ben!

Ben was so excited to finally get his big 10 birthday party. Unfortunately, it all went by so quickly. He said it was the best birthday EVER and he was a little sad when it was all over.

Ten years of loving this kind, funny, compassionate, silly kid. My gentle Ben. Wise beyond his years. I'm so proud of this boy. Always trying so hard to be good, to do the right thing, to do his best. I'm so lucky to have him in my life. So lucky I get to be his mama.  What a gift.

Happy Birthday, my dear Benny Bear! I am so proud to be your mama.
I love you so very much!

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