Friday, December 17, 2010

Renewal of Christmas Joy

Remember when you were a kid and Christmas seemed exciting, mysterious and just about the most wonderful time of year? Yea..... as you get older and some real life smacks you in the face this can change. My Christmas experiences changed into a whirlwind of spending, rushing, white-knuckling few weeks that inevitably ended in a huge let down. I would spend boatloads of money on buying up everything the kids just HAD to have (and never played with), making plans to do a billion things all at the same time, procrastinating Christmas wrapping until I found myself with 2 boatloads of things to wrap on Christmas eve. Dealing with the loss of loved ones (miss you Mom and Eli) that should be with you during this most family oriented of all the holidays. Planning all these fun things for the kids to do that I just never quite got to....you get the idea. Needless to say Christmas just kind of lost its zing. Until this year. Here is how it started...I offered to host Christmas Eve. When I decided to do this i found it so exciting a prospect that I wanted to enjoy it. The only way I could think to avoid the stress that can bring was to be organized. I made a list of everything that needed to be done then broke it down into a few things a day from then until Christmas eve! Here are the side-effects of that decision : I am not overwhelmed, I feel proud of my accomplishments, I am done with shopping and wrapping, my house is getting uber organized, I am getting much more holiday activities done (more about that in my next post) and best of all? I am giggly, joyfully, can't sleep excited about Christmas! I feel like a kid again! There is just something about cooking for people that not only makes me happy about that but energizes me for all things Christmas! Oh cooking, thank-you once again for all the happiness you bring me!

On a side-note...about all those presents your kids just have to have? DON'T DO IT! I cannot tell you how much happier Christmas can be when you spend the money on a family oriented gift and family holiday activities! I feel good knowing that without a shadow of a doubt our gift will get much, much use and if you feel the itch to do some holiday shopping? Do it but drop it in the Toys For Tots box on your way out of the store! Why should those presents sit in the corners of your house where your kids never got to them or only played with them once, when there are kids out there that would truly appreciate them :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful

We are going to be out of town for Thanksgiving this year , so I wanted to go ahead and do a post about gratitude, a little early.

I am thankful for my connection to spirit. Spirituality is my riches. I have learned to recognize it and since then all things are more alive. Every time Carter runs through the house laughing like a hyena and I am sure he looks brighter than his surroundings, I know spirit is with me. Every time Trent and Donovan and I are rolling with laughter at some inside joke, I know spirit is with me. Every time Dan comes home, hugs me and I actually feel a little happy zip through my body, I know spirit is with me.

I am thankful for my Husband. Before Dan I was a different person. I was sadder, my light was duller and I was treading water just trying not to drowned. In the house that is me , Dan is the support beams. Sometimes I wonder how one person can be so awesome and how on earth he ended up loving me! When we met my belief in soul mates was cemented.

I am thankful for my children. They are adorable to look at and teach me so much. Trent has taught me a lot about patience and unconditional love. Donovan has taught me the power of positive thought and the blessing of miracles. Carter has taught me about the healing powers of love and what tenacity can accomplish. They are each so different and I fiercely love them all.

I am thankful for the time I had with my Mom. She taught me way too much to list here, but she enriched my life and I love and miss her greatly.

I am thankful for my Dad. My Dad gives a lot. He gives to me, my brother, his other family members, his neighbors...everyone. He shares his time by doing repairs, he shares his money, he shares his excess food, he even shares his home by giving people a place to live. On top of all this he taught me some of the lessons that enriched my life the most. He taught me there are good men out there and to take a chance to find one. He taught me that no amount of bad that has touched your life has to define it or you.

I am thankful for my mother-in-law (yes, you read that right...not all of them are bad!) Here is a woman who not only lights up a room and makes every child who meets her love her, but she also raised 3 kids that turned out awesome! As a mom I appreciate this accomplishment and I appreciate that she admits she wasn't perfect. Somehow that gives me hope knowing you can turn out some awesome kids with out being the perfect housekeeper, therapist, chef etc.... Plus she is just a really nice,loving, genuine human being.

I am thankful for Nancy and Jamie. I met Nancy and her awesome daughter Jamie when Jamie and I were like 3 and 2. These are the people that we spend Easter, 4Th of July, Thanksgiving (except this year!) and Christmas with. We may not be blood related but this IS my family. Jamie is my best friend and Nancy my surrogate mother.

There are many, many other people I am thankful for but my bruised tailbone says no more sitting so I will have to cut it short. For everyone and everything that blesses and enriches my life , Thank-You!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween











We had a wonderful Halloween. We went to Papa Dave's and Nancy's and met up with the Bonk-Lotts and ate some Halloween themed food and did some trick or treating. We also went to the Allen Park Halloween celebration! It was great fun and I hope you enjoy the pictures. The rest are on my facebook page if interested.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Budding Photographer

Carter asked me if he could take pictures of me. Even though I hate getting my picture taken I figured it was good that he was showing interested in photography and I should suck it up and let him take the pictures. Turns out I had nothing to worry about! I present to you Carter's Pictures of me.
Scroll down!




























































































Musta been blind after so many flashes to the face, lol!





A Boy and His Dog






Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Couponing Success

I have been reconnecting with coupons lately! I got super organized this week and headed out on Sunday and Monday to snap up some deals. I did a grocery shop where I stacked coupons with sales and ended up shaving 50 bucks off our grocery trip! I also got some early Christmas shopping done when I got a bargain on Tag Books (the tag system is a electronic pen that works with the tag books to play stories, interact with the pages and play games). The Tag books retail for 13.99 and Toys 'r' us had them on sale for buy 2 get one free, plus I had a coupon for "spend 25 dollars get 5 dollars off, also I had 5 'r us bucks and 3 manufacturer coupons from Tag that took $4 off each book so it was $5.98 plus tax total for 3 books that I put away for Christmas! Other freebies/under .25 cents deals I scored were 2 things of butter, 2 things of eye shadow, eyeliner, laundry detergent, lip balm, and toothpaste. I also passed up a "get 3 free packs of huggies"money maker deal (a money maker deal is where you actually end up MAKING money on your purchase) up cause I thought it would throw me back into baby mode again :) So I am very happy about all my savings lately and just thought I'd share!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The First Day of School


It is time for a new school year. I don't get as excited about this as some Moms I know but I do appreciate the "new start/clean slate" feel it brings. I also love the routine that comes along with a new school year. My boys are always scattered to the winds during the summer. They spend a couple of days at Papa's house, a few with their uncle, a few with the other Papa, squeeze in some days with their Dad and a wee bit of time with Aunts. I next to never see them both at the same time and the bedtime/shower/chores routines are out the window! During the school year, though, they are at home for 2 weeks, then a weekend at Dad's: rinse and repeat. We have normalcy, togetherness and schedules.

The boys also seemed to be ready to go back to school. Donovan said he had a good first day, liked his teacher and even had a kid from our block in his class. Trent was ready to go back and teased me that he was already working his teachers nerves...when I told him he better be working to make them love him he replied "How can they not love me when there's all this "(jazz fingers next to the face). To which I responded (as always) with "I see......". :)

Carter and I even got into the school spirit and packed him a lunch, put it into his backpack with some school supplies and played school. We set up a desk in his room by the chalkboard . I taught him some letter sounds and numbers. Then we ate the lunch together and cleaned up!

So here's to a new school year! May it be full of learning or at least good behavior :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Best of Best Friends

So I needed to vent about the current state of affairs around here so I called my friend Jamie. I vented about all those things that you just can't talk about to anyone else except your best friend. One of the things I vented about was the price of food lately, especially fresh produce and organics. I was sad that I had to buy ramen and other processed crap this time cause it was so much cheaper. So I vent , we hang up and I continue my day. Sometime later comes a knock at my door and in comes Jamie and her family with loads of fresh groceries she had bought us. That in and of itself is pretty nice but there are 3 additional things you should know about Jamie.

1. She hates grocery shopping. It is pure torture to her to have to go into a grocery store and shop. After she had her baby I came to help and the only thing she really wanted was someone to do her grocery shopping cause she hates it that much.

2. She has 5 -count em 5 kids all under 13 (for a few more days) the 2 youngest being 4 and 10 months.

3.She lives almost an hour away from me.

So basically she packed her 5 kids into a car to drive an hour away (and eventually an hour back) to go into her nemesis (the grocery store) and buy someone else groceries and bring them over! To top it all off she also pulled out a "Food Network" magazine just for me..... It is more than one girl can handle. Too much. The more I think about it the more I want to cry. I just wanted everyone out there to know what great girl and friend she is. Thanks to my BFF, I will never forget this kindness. Just don't do it again :) I can't take it! Seriously!
Love You Jamie!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Power of a Yard Sale

I have never had many friends. There isn't anything particularly wrong with me I just don't put myself out there. To be quite honest, I am a bit socially awkward. If I am around someone rough and confrontational , I am just lost. If I am around someone super quiet I talk too much to drowned out the awkward silence. I am awful at small talk or pretending. I find it hard to talk about things that don't matter, it feels so fake and, like in some way, I am a liar. Plus, because I am not very social, when I do spend time with people I don't know very well I spend a lot of time analyzing. "When I said this did it offend them? Why did I share so much? Did I monopolize the conversation? Did I talk enough?" As you can imagine this gets exhausting! I also spend a lot of time not knowing what to say. Most people are looking for validation and say things like "you know what I mean?" or "don't you agree?" Call me weird but I find it excruciatingly difficult to just nod or say sure (if I indeed do not agree with them). I also hate confrontation so I won't just be like "heck no, that's totally wrong". I just can't seem to put on my social facade and make it through the evening.
Why do I bring this up? Well, because recently I found myself in a social situation and, shockingly, I was not the least bit uncomfortable. It all came about from a burning desire to get rid of all my junk. My friend Jamie and 3 of her other friends were having a garage sale and offered to let me join. Now Jamie I have known my whole life and one of the other ladies I had met a handful of times, briefly, and hadn't seen in 4 years probably but the other 2 I had never even laid eyes on. Kind of a nightmare scenario for me. I imagined me being there ,off to the side, all creepy and silent for 2 whole days. Had it not been for my overwhelming desire to purge my house of unwanted crap I probably would have declined. Boy am I glad I didn't! I had a really great time and we even got together again this week for scrapbooking. I didn't analyze a thing. I felt no pressure to small talk. I wasn't even uncomfortable at all . It was really a riot .The fact that they could make scrapbooking fun and hilarious is a testament to how easy I found it to be around them! So I am thankful that I gathered so much junk it force me to put myself out there!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Funny Kids

Because I like to laugh so much I wanted to share some of my kids funniest moments with you.



Trent- When Trent was little (around 4) he mangled some pronunciations that really made me smile! Hamburger was hang-gamur and backyard was back-in-nard.

One day Trent and I were discussing a toy he wanted. I told him I didn't think he would be getting it anytime soon. He said "wait" looked up at the ceiling was listening for something and the proceeded to tell me "God says you should get me that toy now".



Donovan- When he was littler (around ) Donovan had a very strange habit of wiping his mouth on the table at dinner. If he was eating something away from the table he would wipe his face on the floor!

Donovan is known for replying to almost everything with a question, so when Dan said "Donovan you have something on your face." Donovan looked at him confused-like and said "What face?"



Carter- Carter wanted Dan to come play cars with him so he said " Come on" when he was done playing with Dan he told him to "come off"

Carter still has some trouble pronouncing some consonants (especially pronouncing 2 in a row) so calls his Aunt Becky and his Papa Chuck; Aunt Ducky and Papa Duck.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Blues

I have had a long, long struggle with depression. When I was in my teens I had to be hospitalized for awhile from it. It had a good hold on me until after Dan and I settled in together. After spending time some time with him and realizing how safe I was the depression all but disappeared from my life. Although I still had struggles motivating myself to do unpleasant things I felt like this was just part of being human. Lately though, something has changed. I am not sure if it is the sadness I am feeling at trying to accept the fact that Carter will be the last baby I have, my impending birthday or a real honest to goodness resurgence of my past battles. Whatever it is it sucks! I am finding it hard to get out of bed, to do the dishes,to play with the kids, to clean the house or to even focus a thought. I am eating horribly, harassing Dan about having more kids, getting disproportionately mad about my kids "Did you have dinosaurs as pets" jokes and really just trying to hide away from my family when I can. A lot of the time I just feel an empty numbness. It would be nice to have a good therapeutic cry, but I just can't do it ...too numb. I guess the worst part of all is I never thought I would be back here again and my question is when do I get to go home again? I have such a good life and such a wonderful family I have no reason to be blue. I feel so selfish and ungrateful. Why would someone with so much be so whiny and unappreciative? I am hoping that by writing this and sharing it I will be shamed into snapping out of it or at least get some perspective and shorten my trip here in "black hole of darkness sucking away all of your joy, life and breath" land (yea, I know, the name needs work).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Heaping Helping of Hilarious

Dan had me cracking up with this little gem...
We like to watch Top Chef and one of the episodes found the cheftestants having to cook a dish and present to ,not only the judges, but their competitors as well. They found out the competitors would get to decide who's dish was the least delicious and would be up for elimination. So, Dan says "I'd just make something they were allergic to and couldn't taste so they couldn't judge me. Instead of that beef carpaccio I'd make them some delicious bees carpaccio".
Now traditional carpaccio is very thinly sliced beef so what I am wondering is do they make a knife that allows you to thinly slice bees? :)

UPDATE: I asked Dan what kind of knife would allow you to thinly slice bees and he replied "Exacto? but I would probably go paillard and pound them with a mallet. That would make them pretty thin" Gosh, I just love that he has learned all these cooking terms....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More Decoupage Fun!

If you can't tell I like decoupage. It is a great way to spice something up. Take something unexciting like clear plastic containers and turn them into fun Toy Story storage!

I took a piece of scrapbook paper and cut it to fit my container and glued some images (the ones I got from that walmart party book I used in an earlier post) to it. then I decoupaged it into the inside of the container making sure to press evenly and not leave air or glue bubbles. I let it dry completely and then filled it with all of the odds and ends kids collect.

Leftovers From Projects

A few years ago I had attempted to use chalkboard spray paint on a closet door in my boys' room . This really didn't work and was too messy so I was left with a half can of paint I just tossed into the craft box and forgot about.

The boys periodically will have to do school projects that involve foam/paper board (thicker than poster board) so sometimes I am left with extra of those. Why not combine the 2!

I just took the board out back and put some coats of the chalkboard paint onto it and hung it at Carters height on the wall. I also found a spare container and decoupaged some images on it and hung it next to the chalkboard. I then gathered up some spare pieces of sidewalk chalk, stuck em in the container and done. Now my preschooler can draw on his wall without having to visit naughty spot time-out afterwards :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hey It's Hercules!



I had introduced the rest of the family so it wouldn't be right not to give a shout out to sweet Hercules. So...this is Hercules! He is the smallest member of our family but he has a BIG personality. He got his name because he is very strong and likes to move everything in his tank around, no matter how big it is! He likes to go crazy and splash like there's no tomorrow when he sees us coming into the room. He also has the nickname "Big Fat Turtle". He got that nickname by consuming 13 rosie feeder fish in just 30 hours! As you can see in the photo, he likes to peek his head out and say "what's up?" every now and again. When I asked him if there was any wise sayings he wanted to impart he just blinked twice and splashed me. I am sure there is profound meaning in that somewhere......

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Funny Things Kids Do and Say

Recently we have been saving up money to get the older boys some bunk beds. While researching the beds I was joined by my 3 year old who took a real interest in these "tall" beds.
He has been harassing me on a daily basis about them. He tells me multiple times everyday " I like that black tall bed, I love it" To which I say "I know, that's a nice one" Well, yesterday I was trying to get through my emails when he started on about his love of bunk beds to which I said "You are just gonna have to wait. We don't have the money yet" Very out of character- like he just let it go and hopped away. A few minutes later he brings me this

He says "Here, get bunk beds" To which I reply "Bug, this is only a few dollars." and he counters with "Get bunk beds at the dollar store" and my response is "I would not want to sleep on bunk beds you could buy for a dollar, seems unsafe"..... Gotta love how kids think :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Room Redo on a Budget

Even though my 3 year old isn't big on T.V or movies he does love all things Toy Story, so when it came time for him to move to a new room I wanted to decorate it with something he would be excited about ....Toy Story! We are on a tight budget so I had to get creative. My first project was turning this old nursery decoration...

In to this cool Toy Story wall art

It is a super simple project that can be adjusted to your child's tastes. All you need is scissors, mod podge, something with images you like on it (magazine pages,printouts,fabric,napkins etc..) something to mount the image on (I have used clear plates, old picture frames, boxes,table tops..anything) and a paint brush.

First cut down the image to fit whatever you have decided to mount it on



Then apply the mod podge to the top of the mounting piece and the back of your paper and glue it down

Then apply the mod podge to the top of your project to seal it in. It will look white and milky, don't worry it dries clear
Then let it dry and enjoy your handy work. For anyone else who has little ones that love Toy Story I got these images out of a book that was full of decorations for a birthday party. It had napkin holders, cutouts,doorknob hangers (that's what I used for the wall art) place mats etc... It came from Walmarts party supply aisle and cost $8

I have some other little projects I am going to do to fancy up Carter's room. I will share more as I finish!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Music and Media Tastes

I was wondering what your music and media tastes say about you? I tend to think I am a very spiritual and contemplative person but movie wise I am all about action and sy fy and can't make it through a movie about romance or a feel good "we defeated all the odds" kinda picture. So, this led me to a couple of neat sites I was having fun with. I thought I'd share them.
At Psychology Today they have loads of fun self tests http://www.psychologytoday.com/tests and this site had a nice "What your taste in music says about you" quiz http://www.outofservice.com/music-personality-test/

Monday, July 26, 2010

Money Is The Root Of All Evil or Poverty And Babies Don't Mix

I went back and forth on whether or not I would or should write this post. I am not sure why, maybe because it is so personal or because deep down I feel I should feel blessed and happy with what I have. Let me explain a little.....

Recently I have been thinking a lot about babies. It started at a clothing swap I went to with my friend Jamie. After everyone had picked up whatever clothes they needed for their little ones we were all looking at what was left. Jamie kept picking up all the little girl baby clothes and telling me I needed to have another baby, a girl this time. I was kinda like "yea, right...not gonna happen". Then I saw the fuzzy pink polar bear (my nickname for Dan is bear) feety jammies and it occurred to me, I did want that baby girl. (yes, I brought the jammies home with me)
I had always said I wanted boys. That they were easier and the fact that I am not a "girly girl" would leave me with nothing to offer a girl, but the truth is that I don't believe that. I also feel like somehow I am missing out on that special mother/daughter relationship. Yes, my Mom and I had some rough years but in the end we were the best of friends and I admired her and she was not a "girly girl" and boy or girl I just felt like we were meant to have just one more little one. I had learned so much in life and and from raising my other guys that I had a lot to offer. So, I thought, maybe we should try it. Dan is always saying how much he misses having babies around and that we needed more, but when I mentioned it in serious terms he said, of all things, No. The reason for the no is my reason for the post.

He said no because we can't afford the cost of more family members. Sadly, he is right. We live on one income, his. I started my stay at home mom life when Donovan was born @ 25 weeks and came home with an oxygen tank, 5 medicines and 5 doctors he had to visit. I realized then that there was nothing better than being the one there to raise your kids everyday and ,although we have had to be frugal, we could live on one income. I thought I would go back to work when Donovan started full days of school but then I found out I was pregnant with Carter,SURPRISE!

So, still we live on one income and although Dan works extremely hard the pay isn't great and living in Michigan we aren't likely to find better. We live frugally paycheck to paycheck, have not a penny in savings and very ,very little in retirement. Even though I would breastfeed there is just no money for cribs (Carter uses his as his toddler bed now), strollers, car seats, diapers, clothes, Dr. visits etc..

In most ways I can accept this. I made the decision to stay home with my kids and not get a job. I have wonderful kids and have had a wonderful time with them. Everyone is healthy and happy and I know I am so very very lucky and so are they for having a dedicated full time parent. In today's economy that isn't always an option. Even so, I just think about that little baby that will never be, we'll never get to laugh at the funny things they do ,never get to marvel over how beautiful they are or how fast they learn, never get to wholeheartedly love them to pieces....and all because of money. I can't help but be heartbroken over that ,but I am accepting it. I wont spend hardly any time wallowing in self pity. I will look at my sweet boys, be grateful for all that I have and enjoy my family completely. I think I will also post this for all the other money challenged individuals so they know they are not alone. We can collectively strike a blow against money by continuing to be wildly happy without hardly any of it :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Snapshot From The Zoo


Here is a pic from our recent zoo trip. It captures all their personalities: Carter hamming it up out front, Donovan with a sweet smile in the back and Trent with a look of preteen disdain.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh Food, Why Do You Have To Be So Tasty?

I have a serious addiction...it's food. Not just eating food(although I do like that), but thinking about it, experimenting with it, looking at it. I wasn't always this happy about food . In fact it used to downright depress me. When I was in high school I weighed 100 pounds and worried about every single thing I put in my mouth. I can remember exercising off every snack I ate and laying in bed thinking there could be nothing worse than being overweight (boy, did life show me a thing or two). At some point I became less shallow and more busy and stressed. I had some kids, put on two boatloads of weight and started beating myself up about gaining weight. On top of that I had to deal with coming up with food to feed everyone every day. I would seriously have bags of frozen and canned gunk that I would plop in a microwave and serve to my poor unsuspecting victims. Ugh, I would be so sick of the same crappy processed food every day. I was not excited about the stress of dinner time and we ate a lot of fast food. My kids needed a chance to be healthy and not have the same love/hate relationship with food that I had. Things needed to change.
I have always been a creative type person and I have always loved eating and one day the Food Network and my boredom made it click.... you could be creative with food.....
BRILLIANT! I started out slow. Just following the recipes that were marked easy. Some of them were good but just needed a slight alteration to my own tastes. Soon changing a few things became standard and next thing I know I would have unique recipes popping into my head . Now I cook and create all the time. My DVR is stuffed with cooking shows and with our shift to organics, regional produce and a drastic cut to meat products in our home we are getting healthier too.....well, maybe healthier is a bit drastic. I still can't curb my baking habit :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I am one lucky lady

I have been thinking about my relationship with my better half Dan. I have had other relationships and been married before and was just thinking how completely different this relationship is than any other that came before. I have had ones where we had a lot in common but no sparks. I have had plenty of sparks but no common ground. I have suffered and probably my partners have too. Why sometimes do we try so hard to make a square peg fit into a round hole? Why does everything seem so right on paper but just goes nowhere in application? What makes a good relationship? I am no expert on relationships but I know why mine works and since it was on my mind I thought I would share.
One reason is we have a lot in common. We like the same things...discussing current events, rpg games, action movies, reading, camping. We have a real good base to start spending time together. We also have some interests the other doesn't exactly share but will participate in such as Dan being my "patient" to practice reiki on or me playing some card game that Dan slaughters me in repeatedly. It is nice that we will do these things for each other but I think the main way we bond is in doing things together we both really enjoy. It is effortless to have a really good time when you are doing something you are comfortable with and makes you happy.
Another reason is we truly support each other and it makes us feel happy to do so. I never feel put upon when Dan needs me to pick up the slack or take care of him. I genuinely am glad I get the chance to be useful to someone who gives me so much. I know he feels the same because he told me so recently. Our dishwasher broke and I hate doing dishes! So slowly I was falling behind on dishes. I would end up with these enormous piles of dishes that I would have to finally deal with only for them to pile up again in short order. Well, I was talking about this endless cycle when Dan said he would help me do them. I said that I feel bad that he would have to help me do what is by rights my "job". It isn't like he is bringing home portfolio reporting work from work and asking if I would chip in. He just said "Oh, don't ever worry about that. I like helping you out" and you know what I believe him cause I feel the same way about helping him.
Also, I find him adorable! After all this time I am still so glad to see his cute face come through that door. I still get all a flutter when he hugs me...and he still can make me giggle with his compliments. I actually do a happy dance when he gets vacation time off work. I don't just deeply love this man I genuinely like him as a person.
Probably the most important of all is we make each other laugh. I mean really really laugh. We have any number of running inside jokes and the same slightly dark, slightly off sense of humor. Dan is the king of the witty one liner, while I can see the joke in the ridiculousness of it all. Just tonight Dan and I were watching something on TV where the hero was going to sacrifice his life to fly a bomb away from innocent people. He wants to tell his daughter goodbye so he calls her and tells her he will be flying this bomb away from the city and she is crying and asks "but how are you going to get off the plane?" and Dan says in his straight faced monotone way "The bomb. It's going to blow me out of the plane. That's how I'll get out. Wasn't she even listening?" He is always making me laugh and when I am laughing the whole world seems more manageable.
I spent many years in relationships that didn't work. I tried so hard to make them fit and repair the damage so they would be great. It turns out when it's right it isn't hard. It doesn't feel like work cause you are enjoying all the moments. I know people say relationships take a lot of work and probably they do but when it's right that work feels to me a lot like love and I can get on board with that anytime!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wow has it been that long.....


Summer time brings so much to do! BBQ's , walks, bike rides, zoo trips, gardening.... So much fun, fun, fun!

So everyone made it out of school alive and mostly unscathed (Trent has summer school). We haven't picked up any summer sports so we have a nice flexible schedule. Trent has been spending a lot of time with his papa Dave who accurately described Trent as tons of fun and expensive :) Trent is all kinds of crazy over fingerboarding...which is skateboarding on tiny skateboards with your fingers. He talked everyone into early birthday gifts and put together a whole little mini skate park. His fingers sure are getting a work out. Trent has been swimming (I will have to post a picture of this kid's ridiculous tan) skateboarding and bike riding his heart out

Donovan went to spend a week with his Dad who had a health scare and ended up in the hospital for a week or so. His Dad said he was super helpful while he was visiting and sweet as always. For the most part Donovan has been spending most of his summer days with his friend Stephen (at one point I asked if he was just gonna move into their house) and had his first official sleepover. They spend a lot of time at Stephen's to bypass my allotted video game time rule :) Also, his papa Dave got him a bike and we like riding up to the library, store or their favorite Toys' R' Us.

And Carter...what a character.He loves going to the zoo, playing trains, all things Toy Story (the only thing I have ever seen him watch on the t.v). He plays make believe with little figures giving them their own little stories. He absolutely loves bikes, skateboards and will talk your ear off about blue scoots (scooters). He has his own little 2 wheeler with training wheels on it, although he has to ride on the back of Daddy's bike when we go for bike rides. He likes to bake with me and knows the names of almost all the kitchen tools and wares including all of the mixer attachments. He will go and get the dough hook if I say we are making bread...smart little bug!


I will post more summer fun pics when I get them into the puter. Hope everyone out there is well and having as much fun as we are!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beautiful Bountiful Books

I love books. I like they way they feel when you fan your finger along the pages. I love the way they smell when they are new or old. I like how comforting it is to make myself a little nest out of pillows and blankets and crack open a good book....sigh. Most of all what I like about books is the boundless knowledge contained in them. Whether they are fiction or non-fiction the possibilities contained in books are endless. I know you need to set your foot on the road and actually walk the path to learn the big lessons but there are so many new roads that can appear when you open a book. I am always trying to improve myself and there is plenty of room for it so when I come across a subject that looks like it could be interesting and helpful for improving my physical or spiritual well being I can't wait to get to the library and see what books are there!(my city has 3 count 'em 3 libraries!) It is like Toys'R'Us to me! I am always very open minded on my subjects so I get a total view and usually one subject will lead me to another that can lead me to a third until I find the one thing that really resonates with me. It really is like a journey. So, hurray for books! Geeks everywhere rejoice :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I Am Not A Perfect Mother

I have been praised for my mothering skills as have most mothers at one time or another. The person that says how perfect of a mother you are and how lucky your kids are or the lady behind you at the supermarket who praises your children's behavior and says you must have "raised em right". I often feel like laughing at these times. Yes, I am not great at taking a compliment but more so because I inevitably flash back to that morning where I threatened them with grounding for all eternity if they didn't stop fighting or the night before when I told Dan "OK, I am done. Good luck." and locked myself in my room with the t.v. up loud enough to drown out their sweet little voices. I have a secret philosophy to parenting and it is ...don't be the perfect mother. I have this philosophy for a few reasons and here they are...

No one likes the perfect Mom...including her own children. We all probably know a Mom who just thinks she knows it all. She uses the "latest" child rearing techniques, keeps an immaculate house, has her day wrestled and scheduled within an inch of it's life, her kids take lessons on the lessons they take, she tablescapes for every meal, her kids wear only name brands as does she, her husband jumps into action when she gives an order, she is probably head of the P.T.A....well you get it. Someone like this is more of a chore than a friend and as her children you would have a hard time ever measuring up or realizing she is actually a human being. It is all surface and no depth. I think the deep dirty depths is where all the good stuff is.

Also, I am not perfect and trying to outwardly project that I am would take up too much time and energy. I have flaws. I can be impatient. I am often single minded. I swear like a drunken sailor when I am super angry. I sometimes get super angry. I am human and trying to be perfect would drain all the spunk, creativity, realness right out of me. I can't imagine how much time it would take out of my life to keep the house "company ready" constantly or make sure I was brushed up on the next trendy parenting book,device, etc.... I mean I have a 3 year old people! He is like the perfect storm just plowing his way through my house everyday. Right now I hear him upstairs moving the stool around to reach something he shouldn't...be right back.

The most important reason of all is I am not the role "Mom". I perform acts of mothering because I care about and love these little beings I brought into the world. Just as I do not belong to the role of wife...I do not identify myself with the role "mother" I don't do things because it is what is expected or because the role is who I am. I just Am. There is no role, no word, no dictionary definition that could define me. I like things that have nothing to do with mothering. I don't believe that mothering is the "whole reason I am here" "the most important thing I will ever do" and all those other little phrases that are used to rope and guilt us women into thinking that our kids have to be every part of our existence and if we aren't doing it all with style and grace we failed. I believe that following my passions and showing my children my flaws and how to overcome them and that there is always room to learn and improve is a wonderful thing for them to see. The truth is that there isn't one single thing you do that is that important in the big scheme of things. The bigger truth of it is that your kids will grow up and move away and if all you ever were was "Mom" than a.) your kids never really got to know you b.) you never really got to know you and c.) you are gonna have a really tough time when they leave.

I believe my objective in this life is to improve and learn all the lessons that are brought before me. Mothering teaches a lot of lessons and being blessed enough to share some time ,love and knowledge with the children you are gifted with is awesome. So, I offer an alternative to perfect parenting. Throw the shallow surface scraping perfect parenting out the window. Just be yourself ; face each present moment really experiencing your children and let them experience you and how you improve, love, laugh, fail and learn. Today I will probably get immersed in my own world for awhile, might skip the dishes, heck I might even drop an "F" bomb if I stub my toe and that is O.K with me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Whew, O.K here this goes... My Mom passed away a few years ago from a sudden stroke and at the same time I found out I was pregnant with Carter , my ex ran into financial problems and couldn't pay child support, I lost my health insurance while pregnant and so on and so on. What I am trying to say was it was a very rollercoaster kind of time. With all those distractions I don't think I ever really got to mourn or process what happened so I am going to take this moment to organize and express some thoughts and tell you guys a bit about my Mom

My Mom's name was Carol. We had a rocky relationship to say the least. I didn't appreciate how much she did and she didn't appreciate my uniqueness. She wanted me to be thin, perky, impeccably dressed and on the road to college. I wanted to find what made my heart soar and make me feel complete. I rebelled and figured out how to get around her. She yelled and picked up all the pieces when my plans tanked. We continued on this path for 10 long, painful years. I crushed most if not all of her dreams for me. She never got to see me graduate high school, let alone college. She watched me marry (and divorce) the wrong guy. She watched me put on weight. She watched me suffer. Although she never turned her back on me she did stop trying to tell me what to do and instead just listened and most importantly started talking to me, not at me. Now I don't know if my Mom ever really understood where I was trying to take my life or not but we certainly started to have some good times.She really became my best friend, who woulda thunk it. I liked going scrapbooking with my Mom and our pow wow cleaning days. I liked how we shared that same dark sense of humor. I liked making her laugh till she almost peed her pants. I liked how she told me things about herself that she didn't even tell her friends. I liked how sometimes she would completely surprise me and do something so kind and thoughtful it could bring a tear to your eye.
I am sad to say I never really appreciated all of her wisdom, time and energy until I really was doing it all on my own and she wasn't there with me anymore, but I realize that a lot of good still comes from her even though she is gone. I think I try a lot harder to reach all of my goals and do my best because she deserves that. I may not be all of the things she envisioned I would be but if I am all the things I hoped I would be I think she will be proud and happy all the same.
It wasn't just me either. She was a huge part of many people's lives. We really depended on her for so much. If you needed food ,money ,clothes ,a room painted ,a push, a shoulder,a fundraiser,a holiday planned organized and executed, anything at all she would give it or do it. Yea, she was controlling,opinionated and sometimes hot-tempered but the woman got things done and it was always for someone else's benefit never for her own. She rarely thought about herself. Toward the end of her life she went on a trip to Hawaii with her best friend Nancy. Mom was retired and living on a fixed income and knew eventually she may have to get another small job to make up the money but she went anyway because she said "you never know what could happen tomorrow". I am forever grateful to Nancy for throwing caution and money to the wind and agreeing to go with her. It was one of only a few things she ever did just for herself and she was right. You never do know what could happen tomorrow.
I love you Mom

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gratitude

I just wanted to give a shout out to my friends and family. I get so very much from you all. Sometimes I live way too much inside my own head and contemplations and when I talk to you I laugh and stop taking myself so seriously. I love to hear your stories and learn about what you like, don't like and how you think. I really love this. I am completely fascinated by how different people are and what goes on with people who live different than I do (that is a fancy way of saying I am nosy ).
I learn so much. Learning is one of my absolute favorite things. My friends and family teach me new skills that really improve my quality of life. I also learn virtues : patience, charity, joyfulness, flexibility, just to name a very few. I can not tell you how many times I have been in bed at night thinking about something one of you taught me just by our interactions on that day. My life would be so empty and I would be so shallow without those lessons.
We live very much pay check to pay check and so many of you give us your gently used stuff and overages or impulse buys. I have to say I absolutely love this. First off it goes to good use. Second we get some things we never would have bought ourselves but completely enjoy and third it is earth friendly because it is passed down.
So, hats off to you! Take a few minutes to pat yourselves on your backs. Know that the little things you do without even thinking about it have changed some one's life and made them a better person. If you like me than take credit cause each and every one of you have helped to make me who I am today. Love you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You may have a problem when your dreams involve barcodes...

So, I'm a bit down today. Maybe rundown is the right word. I have been burning that candle at both ends and now the wick is gone.
See, I have this bad habit. I have had it for a long time and it always sets me up for failure. I tend to be passionate with things I decide to put time into. Alright, I was sugar coating it. I get down-right obsessed. My newest obsession is couponing. As a family of 5 living pay check to pay check we are always on the look out for ways to ease the money pinch and when I learned just how much money you can save when you know the "right way" to coupon I was stunned and brimming with hope.....that turned into obsession. I am spending hours on the computer trying my darnedest to pick out the "right" coupons...spending hours in the store trying to find the "best" deals...I am up at night worrying that I missed something. I have a binder and notebooks...my printer shudders when it hears me coming and then just whimpers when it sees the coupon-crazed glint in my eye. All this focus and determination! ......Gets me nowhere because I do not know what I am doing. I just randomly print out coupons then research where to get the best deals and then just wander around the isles completely forgetting everything I learned during the research phase. It is a pathetic sight I am sure. I realized in Walgreen's today I had been walking back and forth down the shaving isle muttering to myself about BOGO's and doublings while my 2 year old was unscrewing all the caps.
Then I got home to realize that tomorrow my 9 year old's science project was due, dinner still needed to be cooked, the house was trashed and it was already 3:00! I pulled myself together, we cranked out an awesome project, I made a delicious organic meal for my family, did the dishes by hand (with help from my awesome Hubby), read to the little guy and tucked him in, swept and mopped and finally had a moment to relax. I went to my computer and next thing I know I am looking at freaking coupons! That is when I decided on a self intervention. I am calling myself out and taking the rest of the night off. I still believe that coupons can save money but tonight the only thing I am researching is the DVR menu.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dan!

Meet Dan! As you notice there is no photo to go along with this post. This is because Dans are very rare, while it is difficult to find one of your own it is even more difficult(near impossible) to photograph one. Dan is my knight in shining armor. Ask anyone who knew me before and after and they will tell you he changed my life and all for the better. Over the years he has lifted me out of the dark places or allowed me to visit them and learn. He has offered me wise advice or held his tongue. He has showered me with affection or given me room. Sometimes it is as if we are the same person and he is just the wiser, gentler half. Some of Dan's hobbies are reading, video games and watching/reading sports. Dan is smart, kind, family oriented and super funny.

Meet Trent

This is Trent! He is 11 years old. He has light brown hair and blue eyes.Trent loves all things sports, especially football and basketball. Trent also loves listening to music and often rocks out with his little brother. Trent has a good heart and loves to make people laugh. Besides sports and comedy some of Trent's past times are riding his bike,surfing the net and torturing Donovan mercilessly. Some of Trent's favorite sayings are "Because I'm awesome" ,"Haaayyyyy" and "It wasn't my fault!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet Donovan!


Donovan is 9 years old. He has blue eyes and sandy blonde hair. His interests include action figures, video games, friends and family. Donovan fun fact: He only weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces when he was born! He is a living and breathing miracle! He came so early that he had to spend almost 4 months in the hospital and lots of times they didn't think that he would make it , but he proved them all wrong! Some of Donovan's favorite phrases are "Indeed", "What's for dinner?" ARRGHH, Carter just broke/took my (insert toy name here)!!!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet Carter!


Carter will be 3 in May. He has sandy blonde hair, camouflage eyes and weighs 31 pds. His interests include nerf guns, music, plants, sticks and mastering all forms of child-proofing devices. He has just recently took up potty training with smashing results! Some of his favorite phrases are "No, I do it!", "Love you most", "Where's the dinner?" and "ARRRGH, NO NAUGHTY SPOT!" When asked if there was anything he wanted to let you all know he turned on his key chain flashlight and said" What's this? It's a flashlight"....Truer words were never spoken. It was, indeed, a flashlight.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ok, this blog will loosely be based on a real life...Just kidding. My aim will be to be as honest and candid as I can. I hope to learn alot by opening myself up, which hasn't really been my comfort zone in the past. What the hay, lets give it a go....
I will start by saying I am totally outnumbered. It is me and my boys. There are 4 altogether. The mini men are as follows : Carter is the youngest (3 in May), then there is the middle man Donovan (9) and on top is Trent (11). My main man is Dan (he is ageless and awesome). As you can see if I need a jar open or something heavy lifted I am all set and I have a pretty good life. It hasn't always been that way and maybe when I get used to this sharing thing I can share some of the nitty gritty, but for now, I want to talk about all the reasons I started this blog.
Dan has alot of family living a pretty far leap away so I thought it would be nice to share cute stories and pictures somewhere. Also, I wanted to practice my writing. I am not very good at telling a tale and have always wanted to be. Another reason is I fancy myself quite spiritual and to grow sometimes you have to be a little uncomfortable and tackle new challenges and lessons(like how to show yourself to others and fight the fear of how you may be judged) and lastly, sometimes in my quest for knowledge I learn something I just can't unlearn and darn it I need to tell some people about it!
So ends my first official post.Hopefully I will be back and not scared off :)