Thursday, December 12, 2013

Do What You Want, It's Still Going To Be Wrong!

Ah, the adventure of parenting. I have recently come to the realization that, in today's society, it is nearly impossible to be a good parent. Let me explain.

I was at the store the other day and a frazzled woman was buying groceries with her two children--a toddler who was screaming and an older child who was begging for a box of Lucky Charms.  "But, mom!  It has marshmallows!"  The mom sighed and kept moving, forcing the child, who was now protesting, to move along with her.  I noticed two older women glaring at the mother disapprovingly and a young couple watching her in disbelief.  Let me tell you what they all were thinking.  The older women were shocked that a mother would let her children behave in such a way in a public place.  I can see one whispering, "My children NEVER behaved that way!" and the other one nodding in agreement.  The young couple were also surprised and were thinking, "My children will never act like that."  (Just FYI, young people, you WILL eat those words.)

There was another time I was in a store and a woman's child was whining about something and the mom grabbed the child, pulled her aside, and she snapped, "I said, NO and I don't want to hear another word about it or you WILL get a spanking when you get home."  Two young women who were over dressed for grocery shopping literally let their jaws drop and one said, "People are still spanking their children?"  No, because in today's society you are not supposed to punish bad behavior--you are only supposed to reward good behavior.  Yup, that works.

I was playing with Kaitlyn outside of Big Lots one evening while my boys were ringing bells with some sweet friends for the Salvation Army.  Kaitlyn was running up and down the sidewalk and I was right beside her. When she got as far as I wanted her to go I playfully grabbed her, swung her around and planted her feet gently back on the sidewalk facing the opposite direction where she giggled and took off again.  After doing this a few times and getting a couple of looks from some of the people near us, I stopped.  I had this thought that someone would call the cops and tell them I was abusing my child outside of Big Lots.

No matter what you do as a parent, someone is judging you.  People disapprove if you don't discipline your child in public. Should you decide to pull your child aside and try to discipline him or her in public, still people disapprove.  I guess we are supposed to raise our children in caves and release them into the world on their 18th birthdays. (Thank God for those older women who smile encouragingly and, dare I say, understandingly, when our child acts up in public.)

So, God bless all of you parents out there because no matter what you do, you're doing something wrong . . . and yet, somehow, we all have good kids who will one day grow up and be mature and hardworking members of society.

Go figure.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stressful Days

There is an episode of The King of Queens where Doug says something to Carrie and she turns around, glares at him, and then barks at him in a growl-y voice. Jacob and I have seen this many times and we laugh so hard.

Well, today, that glaring, growling person is me.  The romantic and fun snow day is over.  That was yesterday and today is a new day . . . a stressful and tiring day.  And I let my bad attitude get the better of me.  The house is a mess and that always makes me feel grumpy.  The toddler has entered a new phase where she strips at bedtime or nap time and then uses the bathroom in her bed.  It has gotten to the point where when I go in and find her naked, if she has only urinated in her bed, I'm relieved.  When I find her naked and she says, "Uh oh, mama.  Poo poo" and then points and says, "Yuck."  I have to take a minute to gather up the will power to, yet again, deal with "yuck." I cannot get caught up on laundry because there is always baby bedding to wash--with each nap, each morning after she wakes up.  It seems to never end.  I have nightmares of drowning in poop-y blankets, pillows and loveys while a giant toddler with big blue eyes and bouncy curls laughs evilly above me.

Today has not been the best day and I found myself sighing a lot and wanting to run from the house screaming.  It is the busiest month of the year and Alex (finally) starts his therapies two or three times a week next week . . . on top of all this I am afraid we are going to have to start potty training as well, which is fine.  I'm all for not having to change diapers any more, but I'm not happy with the timing.  I have spent the day feeling more stressed than usual, being grumpy and wishing for just 30 uninterrupted minutes to myself.

On days like this I DO have to take that time, take a deep breath, and remind myself that while this parenting gig isn't always easy, these little people who seem to adore me (at least for now) as much as I adore them ARE a blessing.  It's not always fun and it's sometimes messy . . . okay, very messy with a side of stinky . . . but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Having a toddler run at you with a giant smile on her face and hug you so tight and kiss you on the cheek, an 8-year-old randomly tell you that you're a good mom and a 7-year-old hug you and say, "I just love you, mom."  Yeah . . . totally worth it! ;)

Working on my attitude and praying for a better day tomorrow.  ;)

Monday, November 18, 2013

They Lived Happily Ever After

 As little girls we learn all about fairy tales. At the end of every story it states, "And they lived happily ever after," as they kiss or get married or ride off into the sunset.

But . . . then what?  They lived happily ever after . . . and then what?  Life just doesn't stop after the beloved characters fall in love.  Oh, no, technically, this is just the beginning of the story!  Prince Charming has to get a job and Snow White is in the bathroom dealing with morning sickness.  The laundry is piled up, the dwarves are fighting, the car won't start.  Life is not a fairy tale.  Or . . . is it?

This past Saturday, November 16th, Jacob and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary.  Well, technically, we didn't really celebrate.  We acknowledged it and instead celebrated our daughter's 2nd birthday with family.  (We have plans to celebrate this Saturday, but that is neither here nor there.)  When Jacob and I got married it was just like everything I learned as a child in all the fairy tales I had heard.  I found my prince, he asked me to marry him, I got to wear a beautiful gown and with little cherubs buzzing around us I said, "I do," and we lived happily ever after.  Right?  It strikes me as funny that in the movies and the stories when the guy gets the girl that is the end, but really it's the beginning, isn't it?

Jacob and I have been together for over 13 years, married for 11 years.  We have three kids and life is far from boring.  We try to make time for each other every evening.  We have a date on the couch where we sit together and watch a show or two before heading to bed. I see this man working hard every day to support his family, to fix things around the house and make sure vehicles are running properly. He makes time for his kids and he helps me around the house. He surprises me when I least expect it.

Sure, there are days when a vehicle won't start, something is leaking, something is broken, the laundry seems to multiply as if by magic, the kids are all unhappy or sick, and money always seems to be tight.  Yet, at the end of every day, I tuck my kids into bed, kiss them on the forehead and walk down the hall.  And there he sits. When he sees me he holds his arm up, inviting me to sit beside him. He smiles and his eyes meet mine and all those butterflies I had 13 years ago when we were dating come fluttering back to my stomach.  We sit together and talk for a little bit and then watch TV for about an hour, all snuggled up together.

And even with everything life throws our way, we actually, really DO live happily ever after.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tight Budget CAN Equal Happiness!

As a mother, I know what it's like to try and keep a tight budget, keep up with the laundry, the house cleaning, cooking meals (on a tight budget), helping with homework and school projects, attending school meetings and assemblies, shopping for groceries (again, on a tight budget) and birthday and/or Christmas gifts (yup, on a tight budget).  I also know what it's like to have to take all three children to doctor's appointments--quite often.  You have your dentist and eye doctor, your pediatrician, but we also have a neurologist, pediatric orthopedic, speech therapists, occupational therapists, tutors, all three of my children have had surgery and two of them have had surgery in just the past 5 months . . . they keep me busy!

We moved to a new town a few months ago and expenses have all been higher.  However, you will not hear us complaining because the house is bigger and better than what we had and we love how beautiful this town is!  We also live on one income because so much of my time is occupied with doctor's appointments and therapies.  But, that saying, "Money isn't everything," is so true.  We are happy.  We have everything we need and it has been so much fun for the kids and for us to come up with creative things to do as a family. I remember hearing stories that my grandparents once told me about how life was when they were children.  My grandpa talked about the few toys he had as a child and I remember thinking, "That's it?  How sad."  He didn't seem to think so.  He said that they appreciated all that they had and took nothing for granted.

I look at the world around me and I see that we take a lot for granted.  We seem to think that we deserve to have all of these things.  Spending money, having things . . . it makes us happy, right?  While we haven't been able to afford a lot of things or spend a lot of money on things we don't need, I have learned that this isn't exactly true.  I think my grandfather's family had it right.  We don't need a house full of things or a brand new, expensive car.  We don't need to live in a mansion.  Imagination, creativity, laughter and love are better than filling my childrens' rooms with store bought stuff they say they want (Not that they don't have rooms full of toys, but you get my point, right?).  My children are learning to appreciate all they have and are learning what is important in life.

While it is stressful at times for money to be so tight, it has actually been a great lesson for all of us and (dare I say) a blessing. Money can buy a lot of stuff, but it can't buy happiness.  Instead of focusing on all that we want we are now focusing on all that we have--and we are so thankful for it all!

And, let me tell you, right now . . . we are happy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Count Your Blessings

When I was little we spent a lot of time at my grandparents'.  I remember watching Wheel Of Fortune while eating homemade pizza, tacos, hot dogs, or some other kid-friendly food that my grandma made for us.  She'd always add sugar to our cereal at breakfast time and I loved it!  She always had honey buns as well, because sugar in your cereal isn't enough, you have to have a honey bun to go along with it.  My grandparents had this yard filled with trees and bushes.  My brother and I would always imagine we were on some adventure (Imagine Lord of The Rings) with swords fighting some monster.  If it was cold my grandpa would build a fire, he'd scoop up some ice cream for us.  He had these cookies he ate every morning with his coffee.  We all called them "grandpa cookies" and he LOVED when we would come to him and ask, "Grandpa?  Can I, please, have a grandpa cookie?"  He'd smile at me, lean forward and pat his cheek with his index finger. I'd kiss his cheek and he'd hand me a cookie. There are so many memories of my grandparents, including my grandma's way of teaching us to be thankful for all that we had. I remember whining about something we wanted but didn't get one day while at my grandparents'.  Grandpa was outside working on something and grandma was listening to us complain.  She let us complain for a few minutes and then she started singing from the kitchen, "Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God has done.  Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your many blessings see what God has done."  I won't lie to you.  I started giggling.  Having your grandma break out in song as if you were inside a musical was strange and funny to me.  She said, "You should think about all that you have and not so much on what you don't have."  How right she was.

This afternoon I was in the kitchen peeling and chopping potatoes for a yummy, Creamy Potato and Bacon Soup for dinner.

Suddenly, I hear Logan humming and I realize what song it is.  He was sitting at his desk, eating marshmallows (his snack choice) and was just humming away.  "Count your blessings, name them one by one."  I smiled at him and said, "I like that song."  He said, "Me too!" 

So often we get caught up in everything that is going wrong.  Life is filled with little stress factors and annoying inconveniences.  And, sadly, we humans seem to think that we should have everything we want. Jacob and I both try to teach our children to be thankful for all that they have (especially this time of year when they are bombarded with new Christmas toys and games and we constantly hear, "I want that!").  It's time to stop and look around and name all of our many blessings one by one!

And . . . how very blessed we are!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Audrey Hepburn Lesson

As most of you know, I love Audrey Hepburn.  I know she passed away 20 years ago from colon cancer, but I still love her.  I love her movies because they are classy, smart and, for the most part, fun. I not only like her because of her movies and her acting, but because of who she was as a human being.  Those closest to her claimed she was humble, giving, and kind.  She had a reputation of being charming, which was hard to miss. She was the epitome of glamorous, classiness, and a number of other things.  She was (and still is) well loved. She had a love for children and was a special ambassador to UNICEF.  Her eldest son stated once that she lost a lot of weight during this time because she refused to eat if the children around her couldn't eat and would often give up her food to the starving children. I know she wasn't perfect, no one is, and I'm trying to make her out to be perfect, but it seems she was not only beautiful on the outside but on the inside as well.  

While she was well loved and many saw her as this glamorous person, she didn't feel the same.  She thought her nose was too big.  She thought her feet were too big.  She thought she was too thin.  Her son even stated that she would look in the mirror and ask why people thought she was pretty.

Do I have a point?  Yes.  Yes, I do have a point.  We all look in the mirror and see things we don't like. I too, look in the mirror and think my nose is too big, among other things.   I think Audrey Hepburn was a beautiful woman, yet, she didn't agree.  Do you see where I'm going with this? EVEN the beautiful Audrey Hepburn didn't see herself as beautiful. There were even accounts of a couple of people she worked with who stated that they did not think she was beautiful but she "Moved people" and that was a great thing to have in a star.

So, the next time you look in the mirror and find NOTHING you like, remember that the beautiful Audrey Hepburn couldn't find much to like about herself either.  The next time some one makes a negative comment about you and it stings, remember that there were people who didn't think Audrey Hepburn was beautiful.  Look in the mirror and remind yourself that beauty is in the eye of the beholder . . . and it's not a competition.  I don't have to be tall to be beautiful.  I don't have to be tan to be beautiful.  I can have a nose that I think is too big.  A nose that is crooked.  I can have freckles and huge eyes and a goofy smile and STILL be beautiful.

It's easy to forget this.  I have a friend who NEEDS to be reminded of this right now and this blog entry is for her.  You ARE beautiful. The mirror is a cruel liar sometimes . . . it's time to set it straight. ;)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Signs Of Happy

This is me. A woman in her mid 30s who is HAPPY with her life.  Once upon a time I would look at pictures of myself and pick myself apart. Why?
I made a comment about the wrinkles around my eyes and Logan said, "Those are smile lines because I see them when you're smiling and you're always smiling!  Grumpy people don't have those.  I'd rather be happy and have a few signs of happy on my face than be grumpy and never smile."  Have I mentioned that I love this kid?  As women we all have days where we look in the mirror and pick ourselves apart.  We see nothing we like . . . nothing good.  My best friend always says she wishes I could see myself the way she sees me.  I am a grown woman with freckles, some gray in my hair, and some wrinkles.  And you know, I'm okay with all that.  I agree with my big-hearted little guy . . . it IS better to be happy and have signs of happy on your face.  And, I have to say that I love that he said I am always smiling.  What an amazing compliment to receive--especially from a 7-year-old boy! Now when I look at myself I have one more positive thing to say about my face--signs of happy. ;)

And why shouldn't we ALL have signs of happy???

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Phony Encouragement

She walked up to two other women.  She smiled and said, "Hi."  They acted excited to see her.  One said, "Oh, you've lost weight.  You look amazing."

She smiled and said, "Thank you."

They talked for a few minutes then she said, "Well, I better get going.  It was really good to see you."  She walked off and the two glared at her as she left.

"Did you see how much thinner she was?" One woman said.

"I know!" The other woman responded.  "I bet she's starving herself or something."

"Right? She's so weird."  They both laughed and went on to gossip about other things.

This was a scene I witnessed this morning.  No, these weren't teenagers or college students.  These three women were sporting some gray hairs and some wrinkles.  Gossip. Cruelty. And a little something I like to refer to as phony encouragement.  We're all guilty of it. We talk about how mean kids and teenagers are, but adults are just as bad. We are quick to judge.

The thing is, I can open my closet door and look at my pile of skeletons--and I've got some big ones.  I have a lot that I'm not proud of.  If we were honest with ourselves we could all admit the same thing--most of us DO have some things we're not proud of . . . secrets we don't want anyone to know about . . .and we go through life trying to fit into this cookie cutter that is socially acceptable and everywhere we turn we are not only being judged by others but judging others as well.  I am just as guilty as the next person.  Why is it so hard to see some one else succeeding or accomplishing something and to feel happiness for them?  Why is it so hard to encourage some people?  We try through fake works and emotions.  We have all become great actors on this stage of life--faking kindness to people's faces and then tearing them apart behind their backs. We all have secrets.  We have insecurities and we all want to be accepted.  So, if we all technically feel the same, why do we put so much energy into being fake and tearing each other down?  No two people are the same.  No two people have the same lives. And, while every life is unique, every life is also precious.  Every. Life.

Remember when we were little and people would tell us to remember the golden rule?  Perhaps, as adults, we are still in need of this reminder.  I pray that I am not heartless and hateful and I pray that I can become a better person.

Imagine what the world could be like if people genuinely cared and didn't just pretend to care. After what I saw today . . . I just want to do better. It bothered me, for some reason, and it has stuck with me all day. I want to be a better person.  I don't want to go through life handing out phony encouragement--or receiving phony encouragement.

What about you?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


It's a bird!  It's a plane!  No! It's . . . SUPERMOM!!!!!

How many Supermoms do you know?  I know quite a few.  We learn from each other, encourage each other, and support each other in this journey called "parenthood."  Yesterday I spent my afternoon at the doctor's office, followed by the pharmacy, to the school to get Alex, back to the pharmacy to get medication for myself and Logan (that still wasn't ready), whined via text to my best friend about how I didn't feel well and couldn't believe they didn't have my medicine ready and I just wanted to go home.  I had all three gremlins with me.  Kaitlyn was screaming, the boys were bored and fidgety, trying their best to sit still and be good.  I was achy and chilled and had a fever, felt light headed and just wanted to be in bed. We eventually got the medication and made it home.  I can't remember the last time I was so happy to see my bed.

When Jacob got home I was already in bed.  He kept coming in and asking me questions (Where's the cooking spray, where do you keep the pans? What do I need to do for bed time?  Homework?) which was perfectly fine with me because I didn't have to get out of bed and actually cook dinner, feed the kids, clean up the mess, help with homework, get kids in the bath, make sure they brushed their teeth . . . the list goes on and on.  At one point he said, "Wow, this is too much to keep straight."  I remember looking at him and smiling.  My first thought was, "Welcome to my world."  My second thought was, "Thank you so much for noticing!"  Jacob is an amazing father and I know he notices all I do around the house and with/for him and the kids, but in that moment when I felt horrible and was basically useless to him and he had to do all the "motherly" things I usually do (tucking kids in bed, etc.) he REALLY noticed.  And, you know, I kind of liked it--because, honestly, I (like so many other moms) sometimes even forget just how much I do for my family.  I am not a perfect mother by any means, but so much of my time and energy goes into these three little gremlins we are raising.  I want to be sure they are independent, respectful, hard working, strong and grow up to be whatever their hearts desire.  I am always telling people that I have been blessed with good kids . . . and this is true, I have been blessed with good kids.  But maybe, just maybe, Jacob and I had something to do with that.  Most days I don't feel like Supermom but some days, I feel that cape blowing behind me, put my hands on my hips and lift my head up high and for a few seconds I savor that awesome feeling.  Then a child shouts, "Mom!" and I am sucked back into reality.

To all the Supermoms out there--take a minute to feel that cape blowing and savor it. Remind yourself that you ARE a supermom and you ARE making a difference in your child's life.  Hold your head high and know that even though you're not perfect (none of us are) you're the perfect one for your child--and that makes you super! ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Find Your Happy Place!

Yesterday I received a message from a person I haven't spoken to in years.  This person messaged me only to tell me that I post a lot of pictures of my children and that I talk about them a lot. (Has he ever met a parent before?)  After stating the obvious he ended with, "Don't you have anything else in your life worth talking about?"  Let me just answer with "Yes."  There are other things in my life I could talk about, but for me, facebook is a way to share stories about my gremlins and pictures of them for friends and family who live in other parts of the state . . . or country.  Here is the thing . . . I am happy with my life.  I am happy with my husband, happy with my children, happy with my place in life . . . happiness is something that a lot of people should try. Some one once told me that happiness is a choice--we can dwell on all the bad things happening and be miserable or we can focus on the positive and be happy.  So many people on facebook focus on the negative.  They post nothing but negativity day after day after day. If I am "forced" to look at your negative and sometimes even insane comments on a daily basis then why can't you stomach pictures of happy kids and positive statuses?

Saying I'm a stay-at-home mom gets such a negative reaction sometimes and people think I don't have a life because my family is my life. The truth is, I love spending time with Jacob and my gremlins . . . we all enjoy doing things as a family. I love my kids and I love spending time with them. As for me talking about them too much . . . let me just share something with you.  All three of my gremlins have a bone disease called Osteochondromatosis.  Alex and Logan have already had surgeries.  We know Logan will need more and Alex may need more as well as either surgery or braces on his legs . . . that is yet to be determined.  Kaitlyn is scheduled for surgery in about a month. They have doctors appointments with bone specialists.  Alex also has Verbal Apraxia, Oral Apraxia and Limb Apraxia.  He requires a lot of extra help and therapies at school and receives speech therapy and occupational therapy outside of school.  Between doctors appointments, therapies, surgeries and recovery, it is literally my life.  And, it's a life I love.  These kids never complain about any of their medical issues.  They are happy kids, positive kids, loving kids . . . they are truly amazing and I am blessed to get to call myself their mother. They inspire me each and every day. I am so proud of these three gremlins. I have a lot to talk about! Most parents want to talk about their children. Yes, I do post a lot about them but I kind of like them . . . you know . . . just a little. ;)

In a world filled with negativity, bad attitudes, and sadness we try to focus on all the good things, the positive things.  We have so much to be thankful for and so little to complain about.  Some people complain about anything and everything . . . that's not me or my family.  I will continue to brag about my gremlins, to post pictures of their cute, smiling faces, and share stories and should some one find all the happiness overwhelming and offensive . . . well, let me just say that I feel bad for you. I hope that some day you can find the happiness that is so obviously missing from your life, but until then, avoid my facebook page because it will be covered in smiling gremlins, statuses filled with stories about said gremlins and a lot of positive posts.  ;)  (Now, we're not talking about Alec Baldwin's character on Friends where he is so happy about every little thing, but seriously, how many people do you know who are the opposite of that and NOTHING good ever happens.  Well, good things DO happen but they're too busy focusing on the little pieces of negative to notice. It's time to find your happy place, people!)

Let me help get you started with a picture of HAPPY CHILDREN!  ;)

Have a super duper day!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hunt

I don't know what I was thinking.  I guess I imagined a crowd of therapists shoving each other and begging to work with Alex as he stood with his arms crossed glaring at them trying to figure out which one to pick.

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking.

When we moved to Perkins a month ago we said goodbye to Sensational Kids where Alex was getting all of his therapies. It is about an hour away and between gas and driving, waiting, and driving back with a toddler we just decided, albeit sadly, that we would find some one up here. Everything else had fallen into place and we were hopeful that everything with Alex would fall into place as well.  Honestly, I should have known better. Sometimes advocating for your child can be so frustrating when you are dealing with people who don't follow through on their end.  Alex has now gone a month without services and sadly, when he speaks, I can tell he has gone without therapies and quite honestly, I am frustrated.

I have called and been transferred and then transferred again and then asked to leave a message.  I leave a message and never get a return call.  I actually did speak to some one at a certain therapy clinic and they sent me paper work to fill out, which I did and sent back to them as quickly as I could (because my son needs therapy).  I was told that it could take a couple of weeks . . . so I waited three weeks and called to check on the status of his application/paper work. The clueless woman I spoke to transferred me and another woman informed me that they needed some information from Alex's doctor in order to proceed.  I sat there for a moment letting that sink in and then, in my nicest tone I asked, "Was anyone going to call me and let me know that this information was needed?"  The woman was silent and then apologized.

I had taken Alex to the doctor a week before we moved and asked for this information and was surprised that it was never sent.  So, I called the doctor's office and asked about it.  They took my information and said that some one would call me back.  No one ever did.

Perhaps it is my own fault because I honestly had no idea it would be this difficult to get my child the therapies he so desperately needs. I made one last phone call today and left a message (of course) and hopefully I will hear back soon and this person will be more eager to work with my son.

We haven't even touched occupational therapy, yet and I don't even know where it is available.  One thing at a time, I guess.  Until then, the mother in me is frustrated that it has been this difficult to find some one to work with my child. My sweet mother keeps saying, "Just be patient, maybe you'll find some one better if you don't rush into anything," and "At least this way he can get used to being in a new school and a new town and house before jumping into therapies again."  Very encouraging words from the woman who raised me--words that I needed to hear.

So the hunt continues and I know that eventually we will find the right person for my sweet Alex--and just like everything else, it will all fall into place.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Little Adventure

Front yard and part of the house.

The boys on Lovers Lane.  It's beautiful! 

Things have been busy here in Astleyland.  OSU contacted Jacob and said, "We want you to come work for us."  He didn't even have to interview--they just offered him the job.  They offered him more money and we felt a change would be a good thing, so Jacob took the job.  That same day we learned that there was a house available in Perkins if we wanted it. The timing could not have been better and we talked about how everything was falling into place and it seemed "meant to be."  With only 3 weeks to pack up everything, make phone calls and all the other 5 million things you have to do when you move, we made the decision that it would be stressful and hard, but we could do it.

And we did.  It was stressful. It was very stressful, but we did it.  I even managed to get Kailtyn's room painted before we moved in so we could have her room ready.  She knew something was going on but she wasn't sure what and she was having a hard time with it. We moved in around 8:00 on a Saturday night.  By 11:00 or so everything was moved in and our parents and brother-in-law, Dustin, headed back to their homes.Everyone was exhausted and sore. We had Sunday, which we used to do some unpacking and then the next day Jacob started his new job. Things just didn't slow down.

Once we moved in I could NOT stand the boxes everywhere.  Most of my time and energy went towards unpacking and cleaning and getting things organized.  Today, about two and a half weeks after we moved in, there are a few boxes in closets that need to be unpacked but for the most part we are unpacked. And things are going really well.

In the beginning I was not excited about moving.  I didn't want to move.  I loved Edmond.  We had friends there. I thought it was a nice town and I liked it there. It was our home. We had been there for 8 years and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I worried about putting Alex in a new school, but I knew that moving was the right thing to do. We have been here almost 2 and a half weeks and I can honestly say that I like it here.  I love this house.  I love all the space we have.  I love that it is NICE and looks nice.  I love the yard.  I love all the trees all over town, all over our street . . . everywhere.  I love how friendly people are.  I love my boys' teachers and the schools.  I love the old buildings and I love that my kids like it here too.  And, did I mention that I love this house?

Jacob's job is going well.  The boys are enjoying school (for the most part).  Kaitlyn is adjusting wonderfully to her new surroundings--she seems to like it too.  She LOVES the back yard.  We are still waiting to hear about therapies for Alex, but once that gets scheduled everything will have fallen into place.

It was an adventure and I can't believe we did so much in just a matter of weeks, but we did and life is good.  This place is just beautiful and it is teaching us to find the beauty in everything.  Confucius said, "Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it."  In this place, where we are now, with all the good changes going on in our lives, we ARE seeing the beauty around us . . . and we're loving every minute of it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank You

Over the past week or so I have received a lot of messages, texts and phone calls from friends encouraging my family and me and asking how Logan is doing. We started this journey with Alex and now two of our children have had surgeries, with more to come. When we went into this "surgery adventure" with Logan we were told there could be nerve damage or paralysis.  We were so thankful when he came out of surgery and was moving his hand. During his follow up appointment yesterday the doctor asked him if he could feel it when he touched his arm. He could.  So many prayers were answered--There have been no complications and Logan hasn't been hurting.

And still, friends are checking in.

I have had several friends ask me how I do it.  My answer to this question is, "I just do."  Encouragement and support from friends and family doesn't hurt. ;) A couple of friends even told me that as mothers they would have been a mess.  The truth is, when we went into this we knew that there was a good chance one of our kids would have this disease, but we wanted kids so we had them. Turns out all three of our gremlins ended up with it, but they are still awesome kids! I have seen them make people smile, I have seen them encourage friends, and I watch them, Alex especially, overcome so many obstacles. I can't imagine a world without them in it. It is so cool to see all the people in their lives--the many people who love them sending us encouragement, praying for my kids and for us, and contacting me just to see how "the little super hero" is doing.

So, what is the purpose of this blog, you ask?  It's purpose is to say, "Thank you" to all the wonderful people my kids have in their lives.  Thank you for taking the time to get to know my kids.

We love you all!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Go Write, You Writer!

I have a great deal of respect for books.  I am constantly telling my boys to take care of their books.  Break a toy and that's okay, but be kind to your books.  There is a whole world hidden within their covers, characters waiting to introduce themselves to you, and obstacles ready to be overcome in the most creative ways.  Let's face it, in a book or story anything is possible--the only limitation is your imagination.

I have been writing for fun for years. I remember in the 8th grade we were told to write a story about anything we desired.  The only instructions given were "be creative."  I wrote a story about a purple dragon. My teacher went on and on about how much she loved it.  I continued writing stories for fun.  In high school I realized I hated every subject except for English.  I loved the literature. I loved writing.  I was passionate about it.  In college I majored in English but ended up getting married, having children, and focusing on being a stay-at-home mom (Which I absolutely love).

A couple of weeks ago my friends all started "encouraging" me to try and get something published.  I was flattered that they liked reading the stories and blogs that I write but never thought I was that good--not good enough to be published.

Then, on Wednesday, I had the privilege of talking to the one and only Claudia Mills.  She is a very successful children's author and some one I have a great deal of respect for.  She told me she loves reading my facebook statuses and each one is a well written story.  She said I have "sparkle aplenty" to succeed as a published writer.  Wow, what an amazing compliment! She gave me advice and ideas, tips and encouragement. I have a lot of research to do and a lot of work to do.

I do not have a false sense of reality when it comes to writing. I know it could take years to get published, or it may never happen, but I would rather spend my time doing something I love and trying to get published than to not try and never know. I am excited about this new chapter in my life and can't wait to see where it takes me.

"You need to add 'Writer' to your occupation along with 'Stay-at-Home Mom'."
"No, I'm not getting paid for it so I'm not a writer."
"Do you get paid to stay at home and take care of your children?"
"Well, no."
"Okay, then.  What's the difference?  You write and you do it well.  Therefore, you're a writer. Now go. Go write, you writer!"

And that's just what I intend to do!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Scene of Bullies

As we were walking out to the van this morning I heard laughter followed by some foul language.  I stopped. My boys stopped. We all turned and looked across the street.  Several teenagers were taunting another teen.  She was wearing a long skirt, a hoody, and Converse tennis shoes. She had her hoody pulled up over her head, as if she wanted to hide--watching this all take place, I could see why.  A boy slapped her books out of her hands and the group continued laughing and taunting her.  She just stood there. It was like watching a play; a scene of bullies, except it wasn't a play, it was reality. The group eventually walked away, still shouting hateful things to the girl. My eyes darted from the scene playing in front of us to my boys.  Both boys were watching--taking it all in.

I watched Logan's face twist into a sad expression and he said, "Mom?  Is she crying?"  I looked at the girl and she did, in fact, seem to be crying.  She bent down and picked up her books from the grass they were now resting on. She took two steps in the direction of the group who had picked on her.  Then she stopped.

Again there was a little voice, "What is she doing?"

She turned around and took off running in the opposite direction.  My boys watched her run until she was out of site.  Alex looked at me and held my gaze.  He said, "Is that how teenagers are?" I said, "Some."  Logan said, "That makes me feel sad."  Alex said, "Yeah, she didn't do anything and they were mean."  I said, "Well, remember this day if you ever feel the urge to be mean to some one, okay?"  Alex said, "Okay.  I would never want to make anyone feel bad."  He opened the van door, tossed his back pack inside, and climbed in.

I put Kaitlyn in her car seat and buckled her in.  I turned around to find Logan still standing there, staring at the place where the teenagers had been.  I said, "Logan! Come on, bubby, I need to get you to school."  He turned and started walking toward the van.  I could tell he was bothered by what he had seen.  He said, "Do you think that girl will be okay?"  I said, "I hope so."  He said, "When I'm a teenager I'm not going to be mean to people. I want everyone to be happy and be nice."  I said, "I know.  The world could learn a lot from you."  He looked up at me and said,  "The world needs more people who say good things and less people who say mean things."  He paused and then he said something that really made me think.

"Maybe some one today will say one nice thing to her.  I bet she'd like that."

He climbed in the van and closed the door.

Take a child's advice and say one nice thing to some one today.  You never know, it could make all the difference!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Not Most People

I watched her run across the parking lot.  I noticed something fall out of her pocket as she hurried to her vehicle. As I got closer I realized it was money.  I picked it up and hurried after her.  She was about to close her car door when I said, "Excuse me, but you dropped this."  She said, "What?" I said, "You dropped this back there.  I thought you might want it."  She reached in her pocket only to discover that she had, in fact, lost her money.  She looked confused as I handed it to her. She said, "Why didn't you just keep it?"  I said, "It's not mine to keep."  She smiled and said, "That wouldn't have stopped most people."  I returned her smile and said, "Well, I guess I'm not most people."  She shook her head and said, "Rare. That's very rare." She thanked me, shut her door, and drove away.

Maybe we should all strive to be "Not most people."  See, I have this problem.  My problem is I want every one else to be happy.  I will put people before myself because I want you to be happy, especially if you're someone I love. Today, I have received so many emails, and texts from people complimenting me on who I am.  Let me just say that there is no need to compliment me.  This is just how I was made, I guess--it's who I am.

And I'm okay with that.  ;)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Little Reminders

You know how it goes.  You're running behind and for some reason, your children don't seem to understand (or care) what this means.  They are goofing off and are still in their pajamas, even though you leave in 10 minutes. You hear your toddler say, "Uh oh" and walk into the living room to discover she has grabbed her brother's cup of milk and (of course) spilled it all over the carpet.  To add to the craziness, it's raining.  Do I even need to elaborate on that last one?  Kids like to jump in puddles, getting their feet and clothes wet and muddy in the process.  The garage is a huge mess and your vehicles won't fit in there, so you and your kids are hurrying out to the vehicle in the rain.  By the time you reach the vehicle you can't find your keys to unlock it.  "Hurry, mom!"  By the time you finally find them, press the button, and your eldest opens the van door everyone is soaked. You get to school and manage to stop the vehicle right on a water puddle.  When your son opens the van door both back packs fall out and land right in the puddle with a big splash. The toddler is screaming, snot growing from her nose and oozing in all directions as you try to hurry your two sons into the school building because it's raining.

We have all had those days where, no matter what we do, nothing seems to go right.  Today, I am tired.  I am stuffed up, everywhere I turn in this house there is a mess--I don't even know where to begin.  Therapies, school, homework, birthday party planning, doctor's appointments, Logan's surgery preparations, bills, cleaning, laundry--the list goes on and on.  Today I am feeling overwhelmed.  I feel guilty for not spending more time with my children.  I feel guilty because I can't seem to stay on top of things and keep the house clean.

I am always telling my boys that, most days, your attitude can determine what kind of day you have.  Most days I have a pretty good attitude but there are days when you wish you had a reset button. So, for today, here is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to look at all these little stress factors and turn them into something good.  How?  Here's how:

1. I'm thankful for the bills because they remind me that my husband has a good job that pays for these bills.  The bills indicate things we have (and should be thankful for) that some people don't have--electricity, air conditioning and heating, a roof over our head, clean water, the list goes on and on.

2.I'm thankful for that pile of laundry because it reminds me that my family has nice clothes to wear.  Again, there are some people who don't.

3. I'm thankful for that puddle that caught my boys' back packs this morning.  It means it's raining and rain is always good!

4. "Don't cry over spilled milk."  Okay.  Let's be thankful for it then.  Yes, it was a mess I had to clean up, but my children HAVE milk to drink.  And when Kaitlyn spilled it, I just went to the fridge and poured some more into the cup as if it was no big deal.  It's sad what we take for granted.

5. I'm thankful for the stressful mornings of trying to get my gremlins ready for school and out the door on time.  It's FAR better than not having them to add this craziness to my life. ;)  Jacob and I wanted children . . . and children we have.

I have been talking to my boys about being thankful for what we have and each and every day we discover something new that we take for granted.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Inner Beauty

I'm sure this has happened to you.  You meet someone new and you can't help but notice how physically attractive the person is. Then, it happens--you get to know them and the attractive person you first saw disappears because of the person's bad attitude.  I remember, as a child, meeting a boy who was not attractive; in fact, many in today's society would say he was ugly. I got to know this boy and he had such a great attitude that it radiated from him. When I saw him I saw an attractive person. It really is what's on the inside that matters.

I have been blessed with three amazing kids.  I have been especially blessed with a 6-year-old who has the biggest heart and the wisest little brain I think I've ever come across. He is always saying things that you don't expect kids to say.  He thinks about things and he observes things.  Songs make him cry and he hates seeing others sad or suffering. Once, while eating lunch in McDonald's, a little girl was crying because she dropped her fries on the floor. I watched my then 5-year-old watch this little girl cry.  I saw him look down at his fries, back up at her, and then at me.  He said, (in that little high pitched, Logan voice), "Can I give her my fries?  It would make her happy." I watched him gather up his fries and carry them to the little girl.  I watched the mother's shocked expression as she watched Logan gladly hand over his own fries to make her daughter happy.

Today was no different.  We were waiting for Alex to finish his therapies when a woman came in wearing leggings, boots, a really nice top and a scarf with pretty jewelry.  Her hair was perfect (even though it's extremely windy out) and her make up was perfect.  She was pretty. The woman walked in with four children and was immediately rude and impatient with the people in the office.  She was irritated at her children and snapped at them constantly.  She would sigh and roll her eyes.  She looked so pretty when she first walked in and then, in a matter of minutes, that beauty factor nearly disappeared because of her attitude.  Logan watched her for a while and then, in his little Logan voice, said, "She looks pretty, but her inside need some work." Wow.  How true is that?  I sat there listening to the woman sigh and snap at her children and I thought about how we always focus on our outward appearance and sometimes our inner appearance is what needs the most work. People always say, "It's what's inside that counts."  How true that statement is.

Today's incident reminded me of a bible verse that I learned as a child. "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit."  1 Peter 3:3-4a

I am thankful for this reminder that it is what's on the inside that really matters.
And thankful that, while we live in a society that praises outer beauty, my children still know that there are more important things than how you look in this life.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Human Nature

It seems that over the past couple of weeks or so some one in our house has been sick.  I have visited more doctors offices over the past couple of weeks than I would have ever wanted to.  Throughout the craziness I remain thankful for medicine, for caring physicians, and for our good health. We live in a society that, for the most part, tends to be nurturing.  We see some one we love in need and we want nothing more than to help them.  Humans have a need to take care of each other.  Maybe you read that last sentence and are asking why I used the term "humans" instead of "people."  Well, fellow human, I'm glad you asked.

We have been watching a show called The Neighbors.  When we started the first episode I wasn't really sure what to expect or if I would even enjoy it.  We laughed throughout the entire episode and watched a couple more after that one; enjoying each one. The story is an interesting and fun one--a group of aliens who wish to learn more about earth purchase all the homes in a small housing addition and move in.  Eventually one of the houses becomes vacant and humans move in. So, you have this entire housing addition of aliens with one human family.  The humans try to teach the aliens how to be more human-like.  There was one episode entitled, "Cold War," in which the youngest human (a 6-year-old girl) gets a cold.  The leader of the aliens wants to quarantine the child to prevent others from becoming ill, but the humans explain that this isn't how things are done on earth and that we take care of each other.  The alien leader's wife watches the human mom take care of her child and longs to take care of others.  The human child eventually sneezes on her mother which leads to the entire family becoming ill.  The alien wife sneaks in to help the humans and eventually falls ill herself.  The other aliens come to care for those who have fallen ill. This prompts the alien leader to also join in and care for those who are ill.  The show is funny but it does a great job of illustrating human behavior.

I could easily relate to this episode.  As a mother you care for your sick children.  There was one day that Kaitlyn sneezed right in my face.  Living with children is like a germ war zone.  They are little germ factories and you spend your time desperately encouraging hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and trying to keep them from getting sick or spreading their germs to others in the household. Sometimes we are successful; other times we fail and the virus spreads like wildfire through the house.  Humans care about each other and we most definitely care about our children.  As a mother I do not take care of my child from a distance wearing gloves and a mask, fearing that I will get sick.  That never crosses my mind.  I simply want my child to feel better.  I will use germ-x like no one's business, spray the house down with Lysol, and up my Vitamin C intake, but my goal is to make sure my child is comfortable and feels better.  Should their illness spread to me, well, then I'll deal with that if and when it happens.  That is when Jacob steps in and helps with the kids and helps take care of me, and I him. We make a great team, my family and me.  And, although we could probably learn a lot from these TV aliens and prevent sickness by quarantining those who are ill, humans just aren't created that way. We want to help.  We want to love.  We want to nurture.  While no one wishes to be ill, I believe that caring for each other is what we are meant to do.

"I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit." -- Matthew 25:36

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Story Continues (Part 2)

For 15 years I have gone to a church service here, gone to a church service there.  We'd go a few Sundays and then stop.  The people didn't talk to us or we felt uncomfortable.  We always found something to complain about, some reason NOT to go back.  I am always telling my children that your attitude is a big factor in how your day will go.  Well, when you go to church with a negative attitude, odds are you're not going to get anything out of it. We went just looking for a reason not to go back.  And, we got nothing out of it.  Every. Single. Time.

I have several friends who do not go to church.  Friends who don't even believe in God.  Or friends who do but just feel like church is filled with people who are judging them, criticizing them, people who are sticking their noses in the air because church is their social hour and you are not part of their "clique."  Having stood where they stand, I can understand that.  I have seen people who have gone out of their way to not speak to  us.  People who sat in the church pews in front of us and gossiped about people in the church.  But, over the past week, a thought came to me--church isn't about the people, church is about God.  Sure, you have people who go to church to see their friends and socialize, and that is great.  It's good to have Christian friends to encourage you, but at the end of the day, the true reason for going to church is to seek God. To praise Him and thank him for all that you have--to learn more about Him and allow your relationship with Him to grow.  I realized that instead of paying so much attention to the people in the church, I should have been paying attention to God.

God was really nowhere in my life.  I had negative thoughts about church, even about Christians.  Then, things started happening.  My best friend started attending a bible study and I noticed some changes in her.  She seemed more positive about life.  I noticed that some of her choice words were no longer in her vocabulary. I noticed that her tough edge seemed to be a little softer and she just seemed different--happier.  Then, the father of one of my closest friends passed away suddenly.  When I learned of this news, my heart sank.  I remember feeling sick.  I rescheduled Alex's therapies and planned everything out and headed to Duncan the day before the funeral so I could not only attend the funeral but the visitation with the family as well. I grew up with this man.  He would ask me, "You going to church?"  If I said, "No,"  He would say, "No? How come?"  I, like so many others, would give him excuses and with each excuse he'd say, "Aww . . ." in an annoyed tone and say, "You need to be in church."  He never made me feel like he was judging me, but he cared and he wanted me to be where I needed to be.  "How you gonna grow closer to God if you're not going to His house?"  Honestly, at the time, I didn't care.  I went to this man's funeral.  You hear people give their testimonies and say, "And then I felt God touch me."  Nope.  My testimony is, " . . . and then I felt God smack me on the back of the head."  It has been long enough.  Get it together and start paying attention!  And I did.  People got up and talked about the awesome ways this man had served God during his life. He was a man after God's own heart and he served happily and would help anyone who needed help.  He was what every Christian should strive to be.  God used him in life--and he was able to use him in death, as well.

I realized that I was going about things all wrong.  People are funny.  We don't seek God.  We don't turn to God.  We take all that we have for granted.  When things go well we don't thank God for his blessings, no, we did it all on our own.  But, when things go bad we get angry with God and blame God.  "Why did God let this happen?"  I am starting to realized the utter insanity of humanity--God gets credit for nothing, except when things go wrong.  It makes no sense and I'm just as guilty as the next person.

While sitting in that pew during this man's funeral I felt God grabbing my attention.  Something happened inside me and I felt the need to get back in church, the desire to seek God in his Word and in prayer, and the urge to serve.  I know He is doing big things in my family, in my friend's lives, in my own life and I look forward to seeing how this is all going to play out.

And our story goes on . . .

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Journey Thus Far (Spoiler Alert: There's a lot of GOD in this entry!)

I can still hear my Grandpa Jack's voice saying, "Raise him up in the way of the Lord and he will not soon depart."  He'd say it with that little smirk he had and his eyes would sparkle just a little.

It might take him (or her) more than a decade to stop and pay attention, but, I am learning that my Grandpa Jack knew what he was saying--he wasn't just spouting off crazy things.  He knew.


When I was little we attended church every Sunday morning. After church we would have lunch with my grandparents--every Sunday.  We would then attend the Sunday evening service.  On Wednesday evenings we were in church as well.  My grandfather and my father were deacons in the church. My mom sang in the church, my father drove the church bus, my grandparents worked with the youth for a while and then, once they were older, cleaned the church.  I grew up with people who served God.  Growing up, I struggled with this.  I felt the urge, that hunger to dig into God's word and grow closer to Him. I felt a need to serve.  And serve is what I did . . . at least for a little while.  I went on mission trips and taught Sunday school.  Between the spaces in this timeline of my youth there were moments or rebellion. I reached an age where my father, who got up at an insane hour to get to work every morning, stopped attending church on Sunday and Wednesday.  If he wasn't going, then why did I have to go?  I remember my mom trying to encourage me to go, of course I felt she was judging and criticizing me.  I told her that if it wasn't important enough for dad to go, then why should I go?  So, I stopped going.  High school graduation came and went and college started. Without going into the details of this time in my life, let me just say this--I sought out the wrong people.  I clung to those who tore me down and made me feel alone--and I turned my back on God.  I had to hit rock bottom to realize that it was up to me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and make the changes needed to get my life back--otherwise, the outcome might not be a good one.  I did this.  It wasn't easy but I did it, but I still struggled--a lot.  For some reason I refused to turn to God.  I was angry.  If you mentioned church, God, or prayer it made me uncomfortable and I would try to change the subject.  I was angry at "So-called" born again Christians for saying one thing but not showing it in their daily lives.  I found fault with everything associated with church. I felt that if God could love and forgive sinners why weren't Christians more loving? Why were they not more caring?

Fast-forward to a few years ago.  Once you stop going to church the habit forms and it is very hard to get back into the habit.  We'd visit a few churches and then find a reason to stop going.  In 2004 we had Alex.  He had problems from the moment he was born and has struggled the entire 8 years of his life. I remember having moments where I was angry with God.  As Alex got older and we tried to attend church we were faced with a new problem--church kids being mean to our Alex. Why does God allow things like this to happen?  Why do these children who are supposedly being raised by Christian parents acting so un-Christlike? In 2006 we had Logan. He was a happy-go-lucky little guy and as he grew we noticed he was curious about everything. He thought about everything and wanted to know how things worked and why things were the way they were.  As he grew we began to notice that he was also very sensitive and had a big heart.  He cares about everyone and when he sees some one hurting, he hurts too.  He is my child that I can already see God working in and preparing him to do great things. About a year ago he started asking questions about church, God, and Jesus.  He has asked about baptism and the holy spirit--things that we haven't talked about.  I truly believe that Logan is seeking God and has a hunger to learn more.

This is the beginning of a new journey for us.
Part 2 to come. ;)

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Part Of You

He has this old, ratty pair of Puma sneakers that he loves.  I'm not quite sure why he loves them so much, but the boy loves them.  He asks to wear them every day.  Strings are starting to hang off, they are dingy, and worn.  Most importantly, they are loved. Loved by a 6-year-old boy who, for whatever reason, believes they are the "best shoes ever."  He wears these little red glasses that have been bent, sat on, stepped on, lost, and neglected.  The red on them is coming off and revealing a silvery metal hidden beneath the color.  The lenses are always filled with smears and some sticky substance. He has a true heart of gold--a heart that is bigger than what you or I could ever begin to imagine.  He wants everyone to be happy and he wants to help anyone he can.  Does he know he makes  his mother's heart swell with love and pride?  Does he know that I see him with a suit of armor walking around ready to help anyone who crosses his path?
A hero.

Down the hall is his brother. He is quiet.  Always quiet.  He questions everything and even when given the answer he responds with, "How do you know?"  He is curious and smart and sneaky.  Some days he seems like an 8-year-old boy; other days he seems a lot older--the product of a life filled with challenges and struggles.  He always holds his head up high, eyes narrowing in a serious glare as if to say, "Bring it on."  Life is not easy.  Childhood is not what it should be, but it's all he knows--his version of normal.  He takes it as it comes. He accepts it. Does he know his parents burst with pride and can't talk about him and all his accomplishments without smiling?
Does he know that when we see him we see him with a cape?
A hero.

A little girl sleeps soundly in her crib.  Her little curls cover her precious head like a helmet.  She is daring and bursting at the seams with happiness and emotion.  She embraces life with all her little being and appreciates the small things around her--a rainbow on the wall formed from a prism, lights above us in the ceiling, a character or design on her shirt.  "Look, Daddy," she seems to say as she points to her shirt and looks up at him with a huge smile spread across her chubby, angelic, little face.  She runs at you, giggling the entire way, and then embraces you in a rough hug, wrapping her little arms tightly around your neck.  "I love you," She seems to say.  "I love you, too, sweet baby," I whisper back to her.  She spends her time exploring, noticing everything around her, and playing peek-a-boo.  Peek-A-Boo.  So simple, yet, such an amazing game when played with a 14-month-old girl.  Does she know that she brings laughter to our house on a daily basis?  Does she know that when I look at her I see a brave girl facing everything in her path and not backing down for anything?
A hero.

Children are truly a part of you.  A physical, living, breathing part of you. I look at Alex, Logan, and Kaitlyn and I think, "They are a part of me."  Every day they make me smile.  Every day they make me laugh.  Every day that passes I am more proud of them for their accomplishments and for the amazing little people they are becoming. I look at them.  I watch them on their own. I watch them with each other.  I watch them with others.  A smile spreads across my face and I can't help but think, "My three little heroes."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chaos: The Cookies of Life

Author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote, "Life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting."  

My question is who says life has to be interesting? Today has not been lacking in chaos.  So, according to the above statement, I think it's safe to say that I have had an interesting day.  Interesting isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I look out my window and I see a beautiful day--some might even venture so far as to call it a perfect day.  The sun is shining, it's not windy, it's not too hot and it's not cold. I love days like this--they make me long for Spring! There is NOTHING chaotic about today--so, what's so great about chaos, then, if boring can equal a perfect day!  Kaitlyn hasn't been napping well the past few days, I haven't felt 100%, and a few other things that have caught me off guard have happened this week.  Nothing major, just little bits of chaos. (Smile and wink!) Maybe Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is right.  I am sitting here while my 6-year-old is eating an Oreo yogurt.  He carefully dumps the cookie pieces into his yogurt and quickly stirs it up--obviously excited about taking that first bite.  I mean, come on--it's yogurt with COOKIES in it!  What's not to like?  So, I said, "Logan, do you think that yogurt is better with the cookies or without?"  He looks up at me and says, "With cookies.  Without the cookies it's just plain, old, boring yogurt." I love the way my kids see the world.  It was funny because it struck me that Logan's cookie yogurt is like life.  Without the cookies (ie. chaos) it's just "plain old, boring" life. Chaos keeps us on our toes.  It makes us examine things about ourselves that maybe we haven't thought about or noticed.  Chaos adds spice to our life and, the truth is, chaos isn't always a bad thing.  

So, embrace the chaos in your life.  It is, after all, keeping it interesting. ;)  (I know it's easier said than done, but I'm trying REALLY hard! LOL.) 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Making Peace With The Mirror!

Today, while walking to my car in a parking lot, a young man whistled at me and then yelled something at me stating that he liked a certain part of my body.  Completely inappropriate but, as a soon-to-be 35-year-old woman with three kids, a little part of me liked that a stranger didn't find me completely repulsive!  I shared this incident with my best friend and made a joke about how the young man must need glasses.  She didn't find my joke funny.  I also shared it with another bestie of mine who responded by rolling her eyes. This friend is constantly calling me "hot mama" and is a great self esteem booster.  She always tells me she loves my hair or that I'm pretty--well, just being called "hot mama" on a regular basis by your friend will make one smile.  LOL  My best friend is constantly telling me that she thinks I'm gorgeous and wishes I could see myself the way others see me.  I have thought about their reactions some today and came to this conclusion:  It's time to make peace with the mirror.  By doing that I would, in turn, have to make peace with myself, right?

In an earlier post I stated that I was going to accept myself.  My best friend has already taken the liberty of reminding me of that post.  I have read about women going on a mirror fast.  That is all well and good but what happens when, one day, your fast is over and you find yourself, once again, looking at your reflection.  The mirror isn't the problem--it's merely a piece of glass.  The way we see ourselves is the problem.  And for me, it IS a problem.  I never leave the house thinking, "I look so good!"  I leave the house thinking, "I guess I look okay."  And, honestly, I'm more than happy to go through the day without one person noticing me.

So, I have decided to make peace with my mirror. I know these two amazing friends aren't going to leave me alone until I do. My husband agrees with them and is constantly telling me that I'm "mean" to myself because I don't look in the mirror and see a pretty woman staring back at me.  I just see . . . me.   I may not be on the cover of magazines but lets be honest, how many women really are?  It's time to look in the mirror and see myself the way those closest to me see me.
It's time to make peace with the mirror . . .

. . . and with myself.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Kaitlyn and me on New Year's Eve--just me, no make up or anything.  I wasn't intending to have my picture taken, but she and I were having a lot of fun and Alex thought we needed a picture! And you know what?  I'm okay with that. ;)

I have been reading people's new year's resolutions.  I don't really do the whole resolutions thing because most of the time life gets busy and they get pushed aside, if not forgotten completely. At least in my world. The new year does make me think about my life, though.  And I have been doing a lot of thinking.  So instead of making resolutions for a new year I want to just share some of things I want.  

First, I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.  So many times the mirror and I just do not get along.  It seems cruel and hateful--truth is, it is MY reflection and it is MY mind that is cruel and hateful, not the poor mirror's. I am my own worst critic and so often I look in the mirror and hate what I see.  I want to start looking in the mirror and being happy with the image staring back at me. I told my best friend, Denisa, one day that I am ugly and needed to lose weight and let my hair grow out--more hair, less weight.  The truth is.  I like my hair short.  Some days I don't like how I look with short hair but it's so easy to fix. And one of my best friends, Brittani, tells me EVERY SINGLE TIME she sees me that she LOVES my hair. So, I think I've decided to keep it short. To embrace it for the cool haircut it is and stop feeling like such an ugly person all the time! I'm no Anne Hathaway but as far as I can tell, people aren't screaming and running from me as I walk towards them. ;) 

Secondly, I want to accept myself for who I am.  The world bombards us with images and ideas of who we should be, what we should wear, what we should like/enjoy.  In 2013 I will be 35 years old. Wow.  It's time to embrace who I am and enjoy what I enjoy. I'm a book nerd who enjoys writing.  I love coffee and all things vintage.  I enjoy old movies, art, literature, and cooking.  I am not a super model.  I am not a famous person.  I am a not a brilliant writer.  Jacob and I always say, "It is what it is."  Well, in this respect, I am who I am. Take me or leave me, but don't try to change me. ;) 

Thirdly, I do want to get back into the habit of kickboxing. Jacob got me the cool pink gloves for the punching bag and it is one of the things I enjoy doing. Since I had Kaitlyn finding the time to actually go out to the garage and do kick boxing seems harder, but I want to try and MAKE time for that. It is one thing I miss.  I love having the music blasting and punching and kicking the punching bag.  It's great for stress and everything else life throws at you. It's also great exercise and, let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. 

Finally, I want to be the best mom to my three gremlins that I could possibly be.  I love spending time with them and just being near their energetic, imaginative, big heart-ed world.  They make me smile each and every day and I want them to know that their mother loves them more than life itself.  Each year as I get older, they get older too.  I want to cherish every moment I can with them and be sure they know they are loved far more than they could ever imagine.  

2013 is here.  What kind of year will YOU make it?  I wish all of my wonderful friends and family a fabulous year filled with love, laughter, and happiness!