Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas History in Trees

Growing up there was always a real tree.  It seemed grand and magical.  I don't believe we have even entertained the idea of a real tree since we've blended our families.  I suppose that maybe one day that's something our kids will ask about.  Or they'll walk into a friend's home near the holiday and get a whiff of pine and inquire.  But really, it's not something I have any guilt over.

My very first apartment on my own, I had a small but full sized tree.  I decorated it with cheap, cute, trendy ornaments.  I was independent and happy.  I had a house warming party for myself near the holiday, and I was proud of my decorations.

Then I moved to Nevada.  My first Christmas away from home.  We came by an artificial tree.  I don't remember if we purchased it or if we were a charity case.  Most likely the latter.  I do remember we did not have any ornaments at all.  I spent long nights making paper ornaments out of construction paper.  I poked ornament hooks through the top and hung them.  I'm pretty sure he never noticed, although I distinctly remember doing it for him.

The following Christmases are all lumped together.  No presents, no family, no traditions.  The holidays were just an excuse for extra time off that was spent in a drug fueled haze (his) and tears shed behind closed doors (mine).  We were not welcome at any holiday gatherings.  Not even when Madeline was born.  His parents picked her up sometime on Christmas Eve and gave her gifts at their house.  They dropped her and her gifts off that evening before bed.  I hated him on Christmas Eve for making things so bad that I wasn't allowed to be with my baby when she opened gifts.  I wasn't the problem, he was.  But if I chose my baby and time with his family over him in those days . . . well the consequences weren't worth it.

The last Christmas, before I fled and came home. We had that same tree.  We had now acquired ornaments and the tradition of being away from our daughter when she opened gifts.  I remember being so sad, so home sick, so lonely.  My family had sent gifts.  I had been patient and had vowed to not open a single gift until Christmas morning.  But one morning a few days before, I woke with the tears already falling, and my heart breaking.  I crawled across the living room floor to the tree.  And I opened the gifts my mother and grandmother had wrapped and sent.  I opened all of them sobbing and shaking.  I wasn't impatient.  I wasn't unable to wait a few more days.  I was missing my family so terribly much, that at that point, I would do anything to be close to them.  All I wanted was to open those gifts and hold them close to me.  Those shirts, and socks, and baby clothes saved me that Christmas.  I was as close to home as I could get.

The following Christmas I did make it home.  Home to my mother's house.  Christmas fell in month two of my three months of living with my my mother, step-father, and grandmother.  It was a welcome holiday.  I wasn't in the proper mental state to enjoy it at the time, but my babies and I were home. That was what mattered to me, to them, and to my family.

The next year, was my first Christmas on my own again.  I didn't have the time, the money, or the inclination to put up any decorations if I recall correctly.  My children were little.  My tiny apartment was dreary.  It just wasn't in the cards.  After that came a new, more lovely apartment and the children were older.  I believe a table top tree and some decorations from the discount store were thrust upon me.  I was told to "do it for the kids".  It didn't make sense to me - the holiday wasn't celebrated in my home.  In fact, I distinctly remember after I got that tree up, Josh and his brother stopped by.  They spent full minutes in my living room making fun at my tree attempt.  All in good fun, but we all knew something was missing and it wasn't really Christmas at my house. 

Our current tree followed that table top tree.  The truth is, the tree we have that he came home with that first Christmas three years ago: I hate it.  It's tall and skinny and takes up hardly any space in our vast living room.  But it's my favorite tree.  It's a tree that represents love and happiness and respect and stability.  This holiday is celebrated in my home with traditions that are being established that the kids are looking forward to and asking about and anticipating.  I'm doing my job.  It's working.  We're coming together as a family.  A family that has a tree with the same ornaments they trim with every year.  A family that loves one another through all of the ups and downs. 

So, in the scheme of trees for me, this is the most beautiful, special tree I have ever encountered.  There won't be another one with which it compares. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where Things Stand

It's four days before Christmas.

* I have yet to wrap one item.  I have high hopes for tomorrow night. 
* I still need to purchase food for Christmas dinner and Christmas morning. 
* Against my better judgment and happiness, I've accepted an invitation to a Christmas Eve event. I'm silently stewing about that. 
* Christmas cookies still need to be made.  I think we've decided on Christmas Eve morning or afternoon for that. 

So, there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up.  Some I'm not even listing here, like the small amount of gifts that still need to be purchase.  But despite all of this, I am not feeling overwhelmed. I am feeling happy and excited for the holiday.  I'm looking forward to the amount of things I have to tick off my list.  

I am looking forward.  I think that is the most important thing I can do right now. Peace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ready.

This week should prove fairly easy.  Nothing out of the ordinary stands out on the schedule.  Tonight will find us meeting my sister-in-law and nephew for pictures.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like a picture of the grandchildren!  So that will be.  If the lines aren't too ridiculous, maybe a quick visit to the big guy.  I need Noah to retract his request for an iPad that was given on a visit to Santa to which I did not accompany him.  I'd much rather he make a case for a new, bigger bike.  Like say the one he will be getting.

Other than that, I think this week will go smoothly.  The kids' Christmas break begins next week, and I have to say I think we're all ready for that.  Homework is being forgotten, tests aren't being studied for, papers aren't being turned in in a timely manner.  This isn't typical of their work habits, but it does seem to crop up when there's a need for a break or a schedule adjustment.  So if we can get through these next five days in tact, I think we'll be able to regroup and move forward for the rest of the year successfully.

Other than that, if we could just get a little snow, I think I'd be just about set for this holiday stuff to swing in.  Yep, I said it. I'm missing it this year.  I will be done with it by December 26th, and I will complain bitterly through the rest of the winter.  But right now, snow is the only thing missing from my holiday this year.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa's list ain't got nothing on mine.

A list.  If only to make me seem a little more coherent than I feel.

 - Last night I made peanut butter cookies.  Nothing fancy, but homemade just the same.  The littler kids were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying one warm from the oven, when Austin said to the other two "Do you guys remember the other Christmases when we made cookies in holiday shapes with Christmas decorations?  I hope we do that this year."  Oh my goodness.  I almost swooned on the other side of the kitchen.  My hard work at establishing traditions is working!

- I miss my camera.  It was nothing fancy at all. Simple point and shoot.  But it was mine and I knew how to work it and everyone counted on me to have a camera at the ready and I was fast becoming that lady with the camera.  I loved that.  But then, this summer, it was lost. Not by me and not in my home.  By someone else in yet a third person's home. (maybe, we don't know.  Could actually be anywhere.) But the point is, I miss it.  Taking pictures with your phone is fine for sending the pictures via text to someone.  And i do love my iPhone.  But I feel a little less mom prepared just whipping out my phone instead of a camera.  I guess the missing the camera thing could be a post of it's own.  I miss it.  Santa?  Do you read blogs?

- Wednesday my mom and I took our annual Christmas shipping trip around the county.  Just her and I.  No kids, no schedule, just list and money in hand with the goal to fill up a trunk or two.  We were successful and I had a nice time.  I'm happy we love each other enough to tolerate one another long enough for a shopping trip and lunch out a few times a year.  I'm fortunate to have my mom as my mom.  Though she drives my batty and some days I want to shake her.  I do love her and I know I'm very, very lucky.

- Busy weekend ahead.  Celebrating Josh's brother's birthday tonight at our house.  At least he's requested a specific birthday dinner that can be ordered in.  I'm throwing together some queso, throwing that in the crock pot to keep warm and calling it a day.  That's tonight.  Before that we have group, hockey, dance, and grocery shopping. Tomorrow is a Christmas party that no one really wants to attend save for the kids and Josh's father.  But attend we must.  That's what the holidays are about.  Visiting and re-connecting and maybe one year keeping that promise that we need to see each other more often.

-Time to close this list to go make a list of what needs to me done today.  Oh! And it's snowing outside.  This makes me happier than I'm used to snow making me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Falling

I fall.  A lot. All the time.  Sober, during the day, going about my business, and splat, I've fallen.

I've literally fallen (slipped?) on a banana peel in a grocery store while walking with my mother.  One moment, upright talking, moving forward.  The next? On my by behind with my legs in front of me.

I've fallen at the gas station, walking from the store to the pumps.  I've fallen in the gas station walking from the coolers to the cash register.

I've fallen at work. Straight out of my chair at my desk.  I've fallen on all fours in a new department soon after I had taken a new position. I've fallen in the kitchen while walking to the coffee pot.

I fell on Monday evening while picking up the kids from day care.  Twice. In the span of about seven minutes.  This caused one of the teachers to ask, "Um, is there something on the floor over there?"  No. Just me and my feet.

I've fallen down ten of our twelve stairs. That left a bruise I can't even describe in a color I'd never seen before.
I've fallen up three or four of our stairs stoving my middle and index fingers in the process.  I've fallen down our basement stairs causing laundry to fly everywhere.

At a recent family gathering I fell while walking in from the garage carrying a twenty-four pack of water.

Once, when Josh and I first began dating, we had all of the kids at a small park in his neighborhood.  I though I would show him how young, carefree, and fun I was.  I began running.... and immediately tripped face first into the protective mulch beneath the play ground equipment. Arms, legs, hair and body splayed everywhere.  Yes, really.

Falling.  Always.  It doesn't even phase me anymore.  I can almost complete the fall and right myself again in one fluid motion. It's become quite impressive. It's become a running joke between myself and those close to me.  "Guess what I did on Saturday!" "What? Did you fall?"

But, I have to believe that it speaks to my resiliency throughout other aspects of my life.  No matter how bleak or dangerous things may seem, I right myself again and move forward.  Every time.  Because that's what I do.

Entry #1 for Holidailies 2011.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Speaking about Sunday.

Yesterday was an odd mix of a day, but I'll take it.

The morning was lazy.  Spent on the couch with my iPad, in front of the Christmas tree and fire.  Very cozy.  Very relaxing.  So relaxing, that I moved to the bedroom to catch up on some recorded trashy TV when I got a text from Marie saying she did in fact want to cash in on her birthday lunch. So I kicked it into gear and got ready.

We went to Bar Louie.  It was here I experienced my first po' boy sandwich.  Oh my. Heaven in my mouth.  I got the blackened shrimp version with the spiciest creamiest remoulade.  Amazing.  I would go back any time for that.  We also made it finally to Charming Charlie.  A co-worker told me about this store a year ago.  I am so far I finally made it.  I will be returning often.  That was the most fun shopping I have has in a long time.  And even though this time of year shouldn't be about shopping for one's self.  One did in fact get some very cute things for one.

Later we we to a mall I hadn't been to before. I'm so glad we did.  The clothes, the stores, the people watching.  The availability of items.  So much more fun shopping there than our Mall Of The Suburbs.  Boo.
we had some laughs as we always do, and it was great time to just be away from kids and boys.

Yes, the underlying drama is still there.  The drama bubbling at the surface.  We spent a lot of time talking about that and it was good to be able to vent to one another and bounce ideas off of each other.  Again, this is a situation that will be life changing in so many ways for so many family members.  I'm not at liberty to speak of it here yet, but once I am - well, you'll probably wish I hadn't.

Ok - so even after all of that talking and shopping and walking and carrying on, we still had one more stop.  Josh had planned for everyone to meet at The Liz for dinner.  So that group included Marie and I, Max and Austin, Eric and Candice.  Noah eventually made his way up there as well when my brother dropped him from his outing to downtown.  It was a great way to round out the evening.  I was still stuffed from my freaking fantastic lunch, so it was just a cup of soup and some Christmas Ale for me.

The day ended on a more positive note than I imagined it would.  Some conversations were had and decisions reached regarding the drama later on in the evening.  Pleasant? Awesome? Dream come true?  Nope, not any of those things.  But I think we're on the cusp of the beginning of the first part of the path to making things worth.  To acting sanely and to moving forward. To being okay.

Yesterday was more than okay.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Wind Down

Today will seem odd. In a few moments my mother will be picking Madeline up for the day. They will be embarking on their annual Day of Decorating a my Mother's house. Coincidentally, Noah also has plans for some holiday fun with my father. I think they're heading downtown with talk of reindeer, ice skating, and Christmas lights. Seems fun for both of them. How will I spend my day? Cleaning, shopping, resting? I'm not sure yet and I have a few hours to decide how I would like to make use of the day. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the day. And I am happy the kids have the opportunity for fun today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Where Do I Belong?

This is a question I've been asking myself repeatedly over the last week.  I'm 32 years old and I'm questioning this more than before.

I spent Thanksgiving with the ex in-laws and that very extended family.  A trip itself that became extended due to my reluctance to take an almost puking but surely sick little girl on a plane.  A trip that was fun and very good for our souls in the end.  But a trip during which I walked into a house full of thirty "family"members and knew I didn't belong.  I love them all, I do.  This trip found them treating my children better than any visit in the past.  I had an amazing time with my brother in law and his wife and their charming children.  But there was something missing.  That sense of this happening again.  That sense of creating memories and history.  That sense of belonging and fitting in to a family.

Then I returned home.  Two days later than planned, but finally we arrived.  I walked into my own home waist deep into some issues and drama.  Waist deep into life changing battles that I don't have a whole lot of say in.  Why?  Because while we live here, while Josh and I are in a relationship that is beyond committed, while we're raising our kids as one family together - it's not MY family.  We are not married.  I have no say so in anything that happens in this home unless it directly effects me, Madeline, or Noah.  I can offer my opinion.  I can provide support.  I discipline as I see fit.  And for the vast, vast majority of the time this works.  This works beautifully.  We tweak as we go along and everything is fine on our bumpy road called life.

The fault in that whole plan is apparent when something like this happens.  Something that will change the trajectory of all of our lives.  But this something is something that is not happening to Madeline, Noah, or myself.  It's happening to one of Josh's children.  He gets the say so. I get to offer opinions and advice. But if they fall of deaf eats, I can't push it.  This is not my family either.

So, I've spent the last week or more wondering where I fit in.  Where my family is? I am not attempting to seem unhappy of ungrateful for the life I am leading.  I love it, I love my kids, I love our home, I love what is our life right now.  It just became apparent to me that I don't have a long, historical, authoritative role in anyone's life right now.  And while I make an effort to form history and traditions every day with these kids, the large picture long scheme jist is that I wasn't here first and it's not for me to decide and deliver.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for Love

(So much neglect to this blog.  A majority of my posts seem to be about not blogging.  That's lame.
I want to get into a rhythm.  One in which I write at night, or every morning, or every other Tuesday.  Something!)

We're full on into Winter Holiday fun now.  The kids and I leave at noon today for a five day trip to San Antonio to visit the ex in-laws.  So many mixed emotions about this.  This decision has been met with disbelief by almost everyone.  But, I'm a sucker and it's the right thing to do.  Grandchildren are involved and I'm not the type of person to keep family away from one another if I can help it.

It's been a year or so since we've seen them.  They've now bought a home in Texas - which is neutral ground as far as I'm concerned.  And Thanksgiving in 70 degree weather doesn't seem like the most awful way I've ever spent the holiday.

I have mixed emotions when I spend time with this part of my childrens' family and it's hard to do.  It brings up so much of the past without one single person saying anything directly to me.  It brings up so many feelings of failure.  It brings up so many what if's. I am happier now than I ever though possible. I am more in love than can be healthy.  But, this family with all their southern charm and love was the first family who took me in just like I was always meant to be there.  It was with great sadness I learned that my ex had severed ties with them.  It's an adjustment to be with them, but never short of laughs.

  I know that it brings up issues and memories for them as well.  I can see it in their eyes when they look at my son who is the spitting image of his father.  So, one of my main and most important duties while visiting these people is to be on guard to make sure my son is treated fairly.  To make sure they aren't taking out on him what they wish they would have had the strength and courage to take out on his father.

But it won't be all bad.  There will be laughs, and stories, and reunions.  Did I mention the warm weather?  There will be wonderful food.  There will be love.

 It's all done in love.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Falling into Fall

I really do love Fall.  The weather change can pretty much suck it.  But everything else - the colors, the time change, Halloween - I love.   We're in the home stretch of October and I have no complaints.  Our third annual Halloween party last weekend went off with out a hitch.  Our annual day care party is this Friday evening. And then trick or treating next week.  If nothing else, I make sure my kids get my money's worth out of their costumes.

This Fall is extra cozy for me.  This will be our third in the house with our family nicely blended together.  We now have actual traditions and things we've begun to look forward to.  That's so comforting to me.  Years ago, I was worried about never being able to make family traditions a part of my kids  life. Just three short years ago, I was worried that blending our families together was never going to work and that traditions wouldn't be welcomed.  But they are.  We are.  It is all so good.

At the beginning of last week I was able to go back to my old position with my company.  After six months of suffering silently and wasting my whole summer being upset by work - I am back and happier than ever.  No more crying in the car on the way home. No more skipping eyeliner and mascara in the morning because I was crying before me.  That job, while an amazing opportunity, was not for me.  It made me become a person I never have before.  But now - I'm back.  I'm back in my old department with my old friends and life is good. I am lucky. Very lucky.

So now, maybe my blog will get lucky.  Maybe I'll start posting again more regularly. Less time devoted to working from home and wallowing in my hatred for my job and more time blogging and being a contributing member of my family.

Just wanted this update recorded because I think it will be important to remember this shift in things.  And with that I'm off to continuing enjoying my first weekend in six months!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Success!

I fit into a pair of jeans I haven't fit into for months! Of course, that was mostly because I couldn't find them. Heh.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Have a Blog?

It would appear that Summer is not a good time to have a blog.

Summer is time for living.  And while I had hoped to document some of the living I've been doing, it seems that the living has even gotten in the way of the documenting.  But I do want to try to catch up.  For records' sake.  For memories' sake.  For the sake of some day showing my kids - look even though you think I'm awful and mean now - we did have fun once.

Summer for our house probably began with the beginning and end of recital weekend.  Madeline (along with Julie and Austin) danced her heart out for two performances on that Sunday in June.  She performed in ballet, tap, hip-hop, and the finale number.  She was phenomenal.  She made me cry.  She made me proud.  It was a magical, special, day.  One that I am already looking forward to repeating next June when she's be performing ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and the finale. 

Also this summer I started a new job.  Same company, different position.  It's the end of the summer now and I"m still trying to find my bearings.  I'm still trying to decide if the correct decisions were made.  But for now: head down and try my best. 

For six Monday nights this summer, I also participated in a Zumba class.  Life changing!  Loved it.  So much fun, and I really did see results.  I hope to return for a winter class if at all possible.  Fall's not going to happen, but I'm hopeful to start back after the holidays. 

This post can't even be as long as I need it to be to capture this summer, but I did want to let my blog know that it still has a mama. ;)  Still to come, hopefully, our trip to Hocking Hills, our weekend fires, swims, and cook-outs.  There's a lot to document for our busy house. And I don't want to forget any of it ever. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Today Can Go Pound Salt

Today: 

I was stuck in construction traffic forever. 
I was rerouted by a stopped train into more construction. 
Was then late to work. (late for me, not late really)
Slammed my arm into the car door. 
Dumped my entire lunch into my lap in a meeting with my boss. 
Slammed my finger into my desk drawer. 
Went to the gas station to purchase caffeine and cigarettes to find out they did not have my cigarettes.
And then, finally, noticed at 6:30 PM I have been wearing my underwear inside out all day. 

Today can suck it. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What You've Missed - Part III

Part I is here.  Part II is here.

You've missed me.  You don't know that I am an amazing mother.  You don't know that I have done better with and by these two kids than I ever thought possible.  You don't know how much they love me.  You don't know the special, amazing, strong bond that we have.

You don't know that I'm funny.  I'm a funny person.  One of my biggest joys is making people laugh.  The people in my live know that I'm funny.  Being funny is important to me.  You didn't know that.  You wouldn't let me be funny.  You always had to be center stage.  I wasn't even allowed on stage at the same time as you.

You don't know that I'm free.  I can go where I want when I want.  I don't have to ask you, plan for a million years before hand, or wait for you to come home (late) so that I can go.  And when I do arrive at my destination, I don't arrive late.  I don't arrive with tear-stained cheeks.  I don't arrive already looking at the clock for when I have to leave.  I'm not anxious, I don't have bruises on my arms or face, I don't end the activity early.  I relax, I engage, and I enjoy the company I'm with and the activity I'm doing.

You don't know that I'm a wonderful friend - you never allowed me to have any.
You don't know that I'm a wonderful daughter/granddaughter - you never allowed me to have contact with them.
You don't know that I like to do things by myself - you never let me leave the house.
You don't know who I really am - you suffocated the real me, and she's only now so many years later starting to find her way back out.

Are there things I miss about you or about us? Absolutely. At one time there were very, very good things.  Things that lasted for a long time and things that I thought would see us through.  But you weren't strong enough to keep away the bad things.  You weren't strong enough to be the real you. You hurt me too many times in too many ways.  So, I took our babies and I left.  You won't see us again.  You won't know what you're missing, but I will.

I don't know exactly when you leave my head entirely.  Some small part of my hopes you don't ever.  Hearing your voice once in a while telling me that I can't do something or that I've done it wrong makes me do it better than I'd set out to do it in the first place.

And that's what you're missing.  You're missing what an amazing, dynamic, funny, pretty, awesome person I am.  I rock, and you're going to miss that for the rest of your life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer

This summer has been amazing.  Busy, filled, hot, fun, and amazing. 

I have no complaints about the days we have spent, and I have no complaints for the days coming up.  Josh and I have been to Kentucky with no kids for a NASCAR race.  That weekend was something I desperately needed and the results of it have carried through until now.  We have been to cook-out and fireworks.  We've seen Cars 2 as a family which was more fun than a dark movie theater should be.  This weekend alone, there was grilling out, swimming, bike riding, a water balloon fight, and home made pizza - right in our own back yard!  Sometimes I feel like I'm living out of a magazine.  

The truth is, that I need to realize and remember these times.  There are times when our days are science fiction in their awfulness.  There are times when the busy-ness gets me down.  There are days when I question every decision I have ever made that has brought me to this point.  Those days are hard and dark and long.  I need to take my summer high and bottle it up.  I need to wear it in a locket around my neck.  This way, when my reality has become a snow globe that someone has shaken up and left turned on it's side, I can open my locket and step back into the summer days.  Days filled with fires and S'mores, flip flops and sunscreen.  Days of a garage freezer stocked with freezer pops that all the kids have access to.  Days that smell of sun-screen and pool when I hug my kids tight.  Days that are creating memories for all of our kids. 

I need to write in a little more detail about some of the things that have taken place for this summer.  I need to post some pictures.  I need to not be so neglectful of my blog!  But for now, I need the memories.  I need to create them and remember them.  For now . . . it's Summer. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Way of Life

I have a blog.  I remember it fondly.  I think of it often. I even write posts in my head often.  They just never seem to make it to my fingers and keyboard. 

This weekend will be Busy Weekend #2 of 4.  Recital weekend.  Wow. We made it. 

Hopefully I will be able to return to my regularly scheduled programming after  Busy Weekend #4 of 4. And by programming I mean here with the blog posting as well as my back-log of DVRed trashy TV. 

Until then - I hope Summer is rocking for every one else. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

West Virgina Bound

On Saturday morning bright and early, I will pack up Madeline, Noah and myself.  We'll head to Gram's. I'll put her stuff in the back of her Subaru along with the stuff that I packed for the kids and myself.  Only a few minutes after that we'll be pulling out of her driveway.  If all goes well, it won't be quite 7:30 AM at this point.  Destination: Rock Creek Lake West Virginia.  A small, private mountain club just outside of Fairmont West Virginia which is about an hour outside of Morgantown.

The Lake, as it's called by our family, is a place I love beyond anything I'm able to communicate.  It's a place as well as a feeling.  It's spending time with family as well as just having time to spend.  It's memories that are three feet thick as soon as you enter the county.  It's taking my kids, with me, to start new memories.

I don't know if it can be said that I grew up there.  But I grew up spending many summer holidays, long weekends, and trips with my grandparents there.  And I think about all kinds of things fondly about those trips.  The times spent with my grandparents as well as my great aunt and uncle.  Time incredibly precious.

The memories I have there as a child, the memories that I'm sharing with my children.  It's the stuff of movies almost.  The past several years, the dynamic has shifted and the memories being made have a different tone. Now I take Gram down.  I drive her car with her in the passenger seat and my kids in the back.  Now we stop at rest stops on her demand, not my bored kid demand from above the driver's seat in their RV.

The tones are different now.  The responsibility has shifted.  It's up to me to make sure Gram has a good time.  It's up to me to make sure she feel safe while we're driving.  It's up to me to make sure that she can find a spot in the house or on the front porch to just sit and relax while I run and get her the things she needs.  It's up to me to make sure she can maneuver the steep hill in the cemetery up which we must walk to reach my grandfather's grave.  It's up to me to make sure she has a strong arm to hold on to as we walk back down after she has cried quietly and quickly and I have kissed his head stone and made sure the kids jumped on his grave (when Gram's not looking of course) and giggled loud enough for him to hear from wherever he may be listening.

It's up to me now.  I couldn't be more honored to take it all on.  I couldn't be more happy that I get this time with my grandmother.  I couldn't look more forward to the memories that are started and made and continued. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What You've Missed -Part II

Part I is here.

You've missed her. My tall, slender, beautiful blonde girl. You've missed her smile, you've missed her laugh. You don't know that she loves music. You don't know that she can figure out lyrics to a song after listening only twice. You don't know that she loves to dance. She's an amazing dancer. She makes me smile.

You don't know what she is afraid of. You never once, not even in the beginning when you were here, helped comfort her or made her feel safe. She looks to me for safety in so many different ways. In ways that only she and I know. In a look, a touch, a nod of the head and make her feel protected and warm. Don't you wish you would have had that with her?

She's an amazing big sister. She helps me so much. She helps him do the right thing. She walked him to his Kindergarten class the very first day. It still brings a smile to to my heart to think about that. You didn't teach her to be like that. You have had nothing to do with this kind, compassionate, emotional young girl that is walking this Earth.  I do. I have done it all and I couldn't be more proud of what I have done.

She asks about you. I tell her what is appropriate. Because so much of what there is to tell about you is not appropriate to tell a well adjusted adult, never mind a child. She says that she remembers things from before. I do not know if this is true. I know that my biggest wish is that it's not. She says that she remembers me crying a lot. She is right.

What you are missing in having missed her is something so amazing and magical that you will never find it any where else. And you won't be able to find it in her either, because, as I mentioned, it is my duty to keep her safe. Making sure that she is safe is the same as making sure that you have to continue to miss her. It didn't start out having to be that way. But as she becomes more amazing, the more I realize, she is not for you to know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What You've Missed - Part I

You've missed a lot. More than I could possibly record in a few blog posts.  But I sure can try.

You've missed him.  He's silly and loud and funny and determined.  He is not a picky eater, but sometimes he pretends he doesn't like pizza.  He likes to be read to and he's learning to read more and more on his own each day.  He likes to pretend he can read less than he actually can.  He is winding down his first year of kindergarten.  That means you missed pre-school.  That means you missed pre-school graduation.  You missed all of the crafts and papers.  You've missed the songs he's learned.  He loves to sing. You don't know that.  I bought him an iPod for his birthday.  You've never bought him a birthday gift.  He never celebrated a birthday with you.

He can ride a two-wheeled bike now.  You didn't teach him that.  He's amazingly loving and caring.  He will never turn down a kiss or a hug and after five minutes, he no longer considers anyone a stranger. You didn't help him learn those traits. 

You don't know his favorite food, the food that makes him gag.  You don't know what is his nick-name for me. You don't know that he still uses a baby blanket and calls it that.  He says it smells like me and keeps him safe. 

Don't you wonder about his favorite color?  Don't you wonder what kind of music he likes?  Aren't you curious if he is scared of thunder storms?  Do you wonder if he likes animals? 

You haven't been a factor in his life.  You haven't been an influence.  You haven't been a source of wisdom or discipline or anything else.  It makes me sad for him sometimes.  But most often, it makes me sad for you.  You are missing out on an amazing kid.  A kid who is strong, loud, and happy.  A kid who doesn't need you just like I didn't.  

One day he will ask about you in more detail than he currently does.  And I will tell him.  I will be fair, but I will be truthful.  He will judge you.  He will thank me for doing what I did and making the choices that I made.  The choices that were so hard to make.  The choices that I questioned for so long.  

But now, when he's in the drive way playing basketball and commentating to himself;  when he's jumping as high as he can to try to make a basket and he's rooting for himself - well, I'm in the shadows of the garage or behind the screen door on the front porch.  And I'm rooting for him too.  I know that the choices I made couldn't have been more correct and couldn't have made this little boy happier. 

You'll be sorry you missed him one day. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A list.

Things I should be doing now, but am not.

- folding the clothes in the dryer and switching those in the washing machine.
- replacing the soap in the master bathroom.
- cleaning caked and dried mud off of several pairs of children's shoes.
- cleaning the kitchen.
- shopping for Mother's Day gifts.
- working on a webpage for work that I should have done by this Tuesday.
- going through last week's school folders and preparing them for next week.
- grocery shopping.
- if I do not go grocery shopping, it would be in my best interest to figure out what will suffice for a few packed school lunches tomorrow.

I could keep adding and adding to this list. But I'm sure you get the gist. It all boils down to there is so much to do and I am feeling very little motivation to do any of it. I'm enjoying some quiet time to myself right now. Josh has taken Max to his final hockey clinic of the season. Noah is upstairs getting out a much needed nap. And Jeff has taken Julie, Maddy, and Austin to parts unknown.

And, frankly, now that I've thought this through, perhaps enjoying this quiet solo time will be much more productive and satisfying than crossing any items off of my list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Good mom vs Bad mom

Last night I went to bed feeling as if the evening had been a success.  I felt that the evening had been fun yet productive for everyone.  I'm still happy about it this morning.  There are nights when I feel more like a drill sergeant or prison warden than a mother.  We walk in the door and it's immediately dinnerhomeworkshowerbed.  Sometimes there is much aggravation and stress getting to the bed part.  I bark orders and do not allow deviation from the schedule that I have laid in my mind.  It's not fun.  It's not fun for the kids or myself.  We all know it.  We all want there to be time for an extra song in the kitchen, and extra snack before bed, or a bedtime story that's longer than six pages.  But some nights (if I'm honest, most nights) it's just not possible for a variety of reasons.  Our schedule of the day restricts us, or the next day's schedule that is looming is already preventing us from having any fun a full 24 hours before hand.  It makes me sad and it makes me feel guilty so much of the time.  The school year is rough for all of us.  We manage. And I don't think my kids will end up permanently scarred.  It's just not a way of life that I enjoy.  

But last night . . . last night we hit our sweet spot.  Last night was almost like a Friday evening in July.  Last night I went to bed smiling and I was proud of the work that I did as a mother yesterday.   Oh trust me, there was still dinnerhomeworkshowerbed to be had.  But the evening starts were aligned just right and we got through it with fun, laughter and a few extras.  The kids played outside for a long stretch of time with little intervention from any adult. They still ate dinner, only last night they were able to take a plate on the back deck.  A luxury we haven't seen for moths and months and months.  And miracle of miracles when they  came back in, they were still interested in homework and showers! Noah and I hunkered down in my room to finish some gluing and pasting, completely his homework for the week on a Tuesday night!  Madeline jumped in the shower and only had to be reminded to actually end said shower 3 or 4 times  - a possible record.  And then, the extras just kept falling in our laps.  

While Noah ate a bedtime snack, I was able to braid Madeline's hair.  She wanted to have wavy hair today, so she went to bed with wet 6 or 7 braids.  She was beyond excited.  She read some to herself, while I read a book to know about the discovery of a velociraptor. Hey - I said we had a nice night, I didn't say anything was exciting.  The kids went to bed happy.  They did not go to bed with me saying, "hurry up it's late," in their ears.   I didn't close their doors with a sigh of relief or guilt.  We snuggled and kissed and laughed and had a great evening.  I'll take it.  I'll think about it and it will make me smile today.  


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wrapping up.

Wrapping up a fabulous weekend with my fabulous family. 

Friday found me leaving work a half a day early - something I did not think was actually going to come to fruition.  Sarah and I then took Madeline and Liam to see that fluffy creepy Easter Bunny.  We were able to squeeze lunch in there as well.  I think it was a nice afternoon for all of us.  Noah was left out and spent the day with my mother because of a horrible automobile vomit scene that occurred on the way to school that morning.  I think I'm still recovering.  Just picture Noah, puke, me in a cape trying to clean, and Madeline trying her best to be brave, but not actually wanting to see or smell anything.  Looking back it seems quite comical.  At the time, it was a motherhood adventure I was fine with not having encountered yet. 

Saturday found me running a few last minute Easter errands, enjoying some wonderful weather (Spring!), and relaxing in the evening with some family and some great and filling breakfast for dinner to eat! Great night as well. 

The Easter Bunny did in fact visit us last night.  So there were eggs to find, and baskets to open, candy to eat, and joy to be had.  At noon preparations for the biggest Easter spread I have ever seen began.  The whole family enjoyed our meal and the day with us.  So many people, so much food, great amounts of noise, commotion and laughter.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I am exhausted now and feeling the drain, but I am content and have a smile on my face.  Lucky am I. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Feeling human. Feeling better.

I feel so much better this morning.  Like a new person. I feel positive again.  No, the temperature hasn't spiked to 80 degrees.  And no there hasn't been any personal or professional breakthrough in which everything has been resolved or  fixed.  And my life isn't any less eventful or uneventful than last I wrote.  

I have to blame this better outlook on a couple of good nights' sleep as well as a terrific outing with Gram yesterday.  We ran to the grocery store to get some eggs for Easter egg dying.  It was in total, a 20 minute trip. But that whole 20 minutes, especially those spent inside the store, found me laughing and feeling good.  She makes me happy Gram and now I feel better. I'm very lucky to have her and I need to remember that a little more frequently than I have been lately.  Life shouldn't get in the way of Gram. 

So here it is winding down the week.  Tomorrow will, most hopefully, see us ending work at the half day mark.  After which Sarah and I will continue out six year strong Good Friday tradition of hanging out and doing something.  Only this year instead of including pedicures, shopping, and lunches with adult beverages, it's going to include my almost one month old nephew, my lovely kids, and a trip to visit the Easter Bunny.  (If there's a shorter way to write that sentence I don't know what it it.)  I'm so looking forward to it.  I'm looking forward to starting new traditions that include family that include our kids that include celebrating life. 

It's not as bleak as I make it seem sometimes.  I just need to have more patience, more positive energy, and look forward to the things that matter more often. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yes I do have a blog.

So much going on.  So lacking the energy to do most of it.  Well, I can do what's required of me.  It's the extra stuff that I lack any extra oomph for.  Still waiting for Spring to actually spring.  Still waiting for the second wind to come and stay for longer than a gust. 

Feeling melancholy lately.  Daily grind is getting me down,  Nothing to anticipate.  Little to plan.  Nothing to celebrate.  The birthdays have marked another year.  The actual births have birthed.  The outings have been outed.  The rest has been rested.  

Easter is looming, but as no one will firm up with me whether or not I'm hosting Easter, can't do much on that front.  Work continues to be a crazy daily chunk of time with no end in sight.  So the new things on that horizon have been put on hold.  The planning and excitement have been stowed away until a much later date for that. 

The motions have more than been gone through.  There's not much left right now.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Busy season.

I haven't forgotten about this blog.  Though I have been neglectful.  We're in the middle of a crazy, busy, jam packed time  I'm not sure why everything has fallen this way, but it's left less time for screen time and more time needed for MOM time.  We're smack in the middle of Spring Break, work has been out of control busy.  There have been dance classes, band concerts, and hockey clinics and plays and movies and dinners out.  There have been sleep overs and big shopping trips with birthdays to plan for and out of town business trips to get ready for. 

Life is a whirlwind right now.  But I will so take it.  I love everything about the chaos and craziness.  That's what we do and we do it so well. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Homestretch.

Bunny Bunny. 

New month.

Next week starts Spring break for all of the kiddos.  I think we're all looking forward to sleeping in a tiny bit and not having to worry about homework or such strict bedtimes.  Spring Break is very early this year, not the week after Easter as it normally is, so the weather is feeling a little less Spring-like than I think we would all like.  But, still it's time off and we all need it. 

So today is Friday.  The end of a long, kind of muddled and crappy week.  We're in the homestretch.  This weekend will be busy as usual, but it will be the weekend.  We've gotten pretty good at building in some relaxing time into our weekends.  Tonight perhaps we will clear some shows off of the DVR.  Sunday is a race.  So, even if I do have to go into work for a bit tomorrow, the weekend is welcome. 

Also on the agenda for my weekend is to get some posts on this bog that I've been cooking actually up!  I've been feeling neglectful! 

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yet Again.

Today is your birthday.  I would like to think that I wouldn't think of you anymore, but I would be wrong.  In fact, it seems, I have thought of you more this year than any other.  I don't know what that says.  It's the ending of a pretty fabulously crappy week.  All will be well soon. 

Happy Birthday.  Wish I had the guts to say it another way. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Last Dance

I was living in Las Vegas. I was three or four months pregnant with my daughter. Not yet showing, but thinking that I was. With the first one you look for that.

My grandfather was sick. Cancer. It was getting bad and everyone knew it. It was now to the point that Hospice was involved with in-home care and Pops had derided that there would be no more doctors. No more x-rays, no further testing, no more one last tries. He was done now. He wanted dignity, peace, and a schedule.

It was suggested that my pregnant self come see him for a while. I agreed. I knew this was good bye. I flew across country in New Year's Eve. I started 2003 in Ohio. I was happy to see my family, it had been too long. I was anxious to see my grandparents. I missed them so. I wasn't scared. In an email in-box days before I left arrived a picture of my grandfather. I was told to look at it before I came to visit so I wouldn't be shocked or scared or nervous when I saw him for the first time. So, scared I was not. The picture prepared me for what was To be. Poor Pops.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is puberty cyclical?

I feel like I'm going through all the angst, hormones, and weepiness of being a teenager again.  I don't understand what's happening.

I am no longer happy with my body. It's is foreign and wrong to me.  I am thinking agnsty thoughts about how misunderstood I am every five minutes it seems.  When I'm done feeling misunderstood, all I want to do is sleep.  Not read, not watch TV.  Sleep for hours on end like a cocooning teenager.  I'm breaking out in places that I should not be breaking out in.  I'm growing hair in places that I should not be. 

What is going on?  Is my body trying to tell me something?  Does every woman go through this?  At this age??

Maybe Spring will help.  Maybe the birth of my nephew within the next 24 hours will help.  Maybe looking forward to a fun night out with Josh on Friday will help.  Maybe looking forward to a fun night out with Gram next week will help. It seems that those are the types of things that would make people happy.  I have happiness in my life.  I have laughter and love in my loud crazy life. I'm just having trouble embracing it right now.  It seems if given the choice - which I'm not - I'd rather go embrace my pillow.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend.

Sunday morning.  All is pretty much right with the world.  The sound of birds is what woke me up.  Perhaps that means spring is springing somewhere.

Yesterday was work in the morning and dinner for everyone last night.  All the kids and Jeff and Marie.  We had so much fun.  Just a long leisurely dinner not worrying about the amount of people waiting in the lobby, or how many appetizers the kids wanted to order.  It was nice.  Speaking of appetizers - I ordered deep fried pierogi in spicy garlic .  Life changing. Amazingly good.  I'd like to order those as my entrĂ©e next time.

On the way home, I had Madeline, Noah and Max in my car.  We saw Super Moon! It was rather exciting.  I had been waiting all week for this moon.  The kids followed it all the way home as we tried to guess where in the sky it would appear as we turned down streets and changed directions.

Today will be relaxing.  A quick trip to Target I think.  Then the race at Bristol during which I will try a new recipe for dinner.  I need a relaxing low-key day.  I hope things go according to plan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grocery store banter.

This past Sunday, Josh and I were able to take our first ever trip to Target sans children.  You would think that that wasn't thrilling.  You would be wrong.  I can generally whip up a pretty good time in that store, but Sunday was a blast.  Did I spend way more money than I had planned?  Yes.  Did I purchase unnecessary things?  Of course.  But it was quality time spent with Josh that we just don't get so it was completely worth it. 

Josh:  Do we need cereal?
Me:    No. I think we're goo there. 
Josh:  We need grown up cereal I think. 
Me:    OK.  (turns down aisle.) What kind of grown up cereal would you like? 
Josh:   Cinnamon Toast Crunch!! 

Yes, seriously.  And yes I laughed so hard after this exchange people were looking. 
I shouldn't be looking so forward to the next time we can shop together - but I am. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

One thing.

Yesterday I made popcorn cake.




That is all. 


(This is the recipe I used.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Food Blogger?

Nah. 

Probably not.  

But I did attempt to play one on TV with Jane on Friday.  We had so much fun and so much deliciousness to show for it.  I arrived at her house around 8:30 or so Friday night.  She had all of the prep work done.  It was like stepping into Rachael Ray's kitchen - she even has those cute little pyrex glass bowls that chefs measure spices into.  The menu was Mushroom Bruchetta (from here), Crash Hot Potatoes (from here), and an Oreo Pie that Jane had made earlier in the day. Everything was so fun and so easy to make.  These were recipes that I had found a very, very long time ago and have been wanting to try.  I would revisit the recipes and blogs like old friends making sure they were still there! So worth the wait! 

This smelled amazing. 

Added some more deliciousness with the peas and the corn.

Finished and amazing.




A healthy dose of olive oil and spices.


Amazing food.

The night was perfect.  The food was perfect.  I really can't stop thinking about the food from Friday.  This whole weekend has been wonderful, and I really think that's because Friday night kicked it off the bar set high. 







Friday, March 11, 2011

Beat.

When I left work today (Thursday), I had officially worked 39.5 hours. Holy moly. We are unbelievably busy. The busiest ever I would guess.  On top of that I'm trying to prepare for my new upcoming position. Due to the  workload of my current position that type of preparation can only be done after my regular working hours.  Thankfully, we are on over time so I'm still "on the clock", though I would gladly do it anyway unpaid as it only serves to help myself be as prepared as possible when the time comes.  That time is April 18th.

I like the chaos and full workload at work.  It makes the day go quickly.  It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing things and it makes me feel like I'm contributing to the greater good of the company and ultimately my well being.  The sacrifice comes after work.  Today, for instance, I had to get gas (Big Storm coming they say), pick up the kids from day care and still make it to the grocery store and back home.  Dragging is an understatement.

I feel badly that on nights like this I am so tired. So mentally spent.  I hurry through homework, I'm crabby while fixing dinner, and I push for an early bed time all so I can get to bed to start it all again.    I feel badly that sometimes my job gets the best parts of me.  But that's where I spend the most of my time, that's where I strive to do my best and in the end it helps the whole family if I do my very best.

I have to believe that it won't always be like this.  I have to have the goal of finding a very happy work/life balance some day.  That will happen.  It will be something that is very much within my grasp.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Over It.

I'm more than certain that Spring could start spring around here.  It's much needed by everyone.  The grey, the wind, the rain.  Over it.  Those types of weather conditions are great for a late Saturday afternoon when you're just going to be snuggled in your home with some blankets, a movie, or some books, or TV.  But that weather is horrible and kills any motivation for me when it happens on a weekday.   The kids area antsy, I"m sluggish and sleepy.  I go to work, pour more heart out there and then have nothing much to offer in the evenings after dinner is made, homework is done, and kids are cleaned and tucked into bed.  I blame the weather.  If I could see a little sunshine perhaps I'd be motivated to throw in another load of laundry, or vacuum that dining room. But for now, I'm just sleepy and tired.  Maybe the time change this weekend will help.  Maybe the universe doesn't waste sunshine on the shorter days.  once the longer days are with us, perhaps there will be sun. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Midweek Activities.

Tonight we're celebrating Sarah's birthday at my mom's.  Ernie and the kids and I will be there.  Should be a nice night.  I need it to be an early night though.  At the end of Tuesday, I had already worked 20 hours.  Fun in a mentally challenging kind of way, but I"m tired.  I was in bed before 9:00  last night.

So that's today.  Friday my best girl Jane and I are having a wonderful little night.  There will be cooking and relaxing and spirits and the viewing of a certain movie with Justin Timberlake in it.  It is just the type of night that the doctor ordered.  We so desperately need to hang out and be silly and be comfy and watch movies our men won't watch.  I'm counting down the minutes at this point.  Saturday I need to run an errand without Noah, so before dance I will run him to my mother's, drop Madeline at dance and proceed to my kidless errand.  Saturday night Eric and his girlfriend are coming over for steaks on the grill, drinks, and same games that we can all  play.

I realize that by sharing my weekend plans I have now made myself seem like I'm trying to relive being 19 or 21.  But I'm not - I just really am looking forward to the fun and relaxing that will take place this weekend. Friends, good food, great movies and quality time.  That's what life's about for me.   At least this weekend.

There will be new recipes in my repertoire in the coming days as well.  If they work out, I will be sharing them here.  I am super excited about some of them.  Oh!  And thanks to a recent episode of Modern Family I will be serving a wedge salad on Saturday.  Probably sans the bleu cheese, but seriously, why have I never heard of or though of this before?  It seems to me to be the perfect way to eat a salad! I'm very much looking forward to it.

Having things to look forward to is what makes it worth it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tiny Dancer


This is a small sample of Madeline's dancing on Saturday.  I have to tell you that her hip hop class made me tear up.  I was so proud of her there.  Ballet and tap were wonderful and she did very well.  But when I saw her hit it in the hip hop class, I was so happy for her.  She's having so much fun and I'm so proud of her.  There may be more dance day videos appearing in the near future.  Seems I took several.  And she's just awesome in all of of them.  I really hope this is something she sticks with.  I would love for one day to have the realization that "oh  my god! you've been dancing since you were seven!!"  I think that would just be such a cool accomplishment for her.  I'm so proud of my girl.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hodgepodge.

A post of hodge and podge.

The keyboard on which I do 90% of my typing, at work, is ergonomically correct.  The keyboard I use at home, decidedly not. I would like to say that this might be the reason for more typos.  But, it's probably not. 

I was going to to try to unify things here with one word only titles.  But I don't think that's going to continue to happen.  What if I want to title a post "Noah Has a Very Big Head."?  Because he does.  And someday I may want to devote an entire post to him and his head.  

Poor Noah.  Yesterday the school called work near the end of the day to inform me that he had been kicked in the face by someone on the swings.  He seems fine and did not present any symptoms of head injury or loose teeth.  I think what upset me most about the call was the condescending tone in which the school nurse delivered this information to me.  "so what that tells me is that he was walking too closely to the swingers."  Thank you school nurse.  No kidding.  oh, and you're right:  I have never taught my children to not walk in front of people on swings.  Thank you for this life lesson.  I was very upset with her when I hung up the phone.  But, of course I didn't say anything.  That's not how I roll.  Ugh.

Shortly after that it was time to pick up the kids from day car.  I was not two steps inside when I hear Jennifer! Jen! Jennifer! from the office.  Great.  I turn around on my heel and they have an incident report for me to sign, because on the bus (van) from school to daycare, Noah and Madeline were rough housing and Noah ended up punching her in the nose which ultimately led to a full on bloody nose.  Apparently this traumatized Maddie quite a bit!  There was much wailing and flailing and moaning and drama.  It was comical to hear them recount the story - but seriously, can we get a break this week?  Noah, strep on Monday. (along with much flooding in the area) Madeline strep on Thursday along with Marie recovering from her dental surgery.  Noah kicked in the face on Friday and Madeline's first "gushing" nose bleed.  

I have some kind of mystery mouth pain that I'm dealing with today.  It is becoming a little bit more than a little painful.  Not sure if this is something that I should wait out, or if it's something I should be tending to.  Though it's hard to tend to these types of issues on a Saturday. 

Watch day today for Madeline.  Which reminds me that I need to make sure there are fresh batteries in my camera.  I need to get some pictures of my little tapper, ballet-er, hip-hopper.  She's so excited.  You'd think this was actually recital! I'm so proud of her.  I really hope this is something that she stays with for many years to come.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sickies.

Round two for strep throat.

This time Madeline is the winner.  This particular illness is running rampant around here.  I knew she wasn't feeling well when I sent her to school this morning, but I thought a few hours of work was better than no hours of work seeing as I had just been off on Monday when Noah had his strep.

So we went to the doctor.  Tested for strep. Left and had a sickie girl lunch at Qdoba.  Yum! It was a good excuse to have some one on one time with just me and the girlie.

We came home and cuddled.  She took a short nap and then we watched some quality Spongebob Square Pants. Austin joined us after he returned home from school as well.  Nice afternoon. Marie was here as well, recovering from some dental surgery.  Oh my.  She was in so much pain and so looped up on drugs.  I feel so bad for her.  Hopefully a quick and full recovery is in her near future.

Preparations for another party are being made.  We're having Austin's and Marie's on Saturday.  After dance - which is a watch day for ballet, tap, and hip hop, and after hockey which is Max's next to last session. So birthday parties Saturday evening for which I still need to buy and wrap gifts, get cards, and clean.  Little bit of freaking out going on here.  Yike.

Hopefully the sickies are on their way out and we can move on with looking forward to Spring!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gram.

Every Wednesday the kids and I eat dinner at my mothers.  My favorite part of the evening can sometimes go hand in hand with the most trying part of my evening: the two hours or so before my mother gets home when it's just Gram, the kids and I.

Tonight was the latter.  Tonight was a favorite.  I came to Gram's house armed and ready with everything that I knew she would want to talk about.  The Oscars, the weather, celebrities making bad decisions, her great grand children.  We were on.  We talked and talked.  She's 80 years old and lives for the daily talk shows.  Between her repeated interview watching and my crazy internet reading, we were able to fill in the gaps and the questions that each other had.  It was a great fast paced conversation.  I think we both enjoyed our time together this evening very much.

These are the nights when I know we've connected and I've made her smile and she's enjoyed spending time with us.  These are the nights I leave happy and not feeling guilty.

Tonight was a good night for Gram.

I actually sat down to write a much more put together and well thought out post, but due to a series of interruptions we'll just leave it with this.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Words.

Two words I am in hate with right now:


Sexting - I am fairly sure that this is not even a word.  First of all, you only hear or see it used in this conjugation. As in "sexting is running rampant in our schools."  Or "she was found mugged and left for dead after a crazy night that included sexting a stranger."  Or something equally nonsensical.  Here's the deal - show me the noun there.  Is sext a noun?  Do you say - "I went through her phone and found a lot of sexts"? Do you say "Holy crap this creepy gut sexted me"?  (I don't even know how you would actually pronounce sexted.)  No.  What you would say is I went thorough her phone and found a bunch of racy and inappropriate things.  Or, this creepy guy sent me a creepy text.  That is what you would say. No one says "I sent my boyfriend a sext this afternoon."  You'd say I sent my boyfriend a text in which I detailed everything I was going to do to him tonight.
Which brings me to my next point.  Why does "sexting" have to have such a bad connotation?  In happy healthy committed relationships, I think it's fun, exciting, and recommended.  In fact, I'm sure I've seen "send a fun, flirty text to your man " more than once in the back of a reputable publication like Cosmo or Glamour. 
Ok, so if we can strike this from the record, that would be rad. 


Voracious -  You know this word.  It means to have a great and practically insatiable want or appetite for something.  Perhaps you have heard it used to describe someone as a "voracious reader".  You have.  And do you know what? That is the ONLY way you've seen it used! In obituaries, in memorials, in magazine articles.  No one is a voracious lover of pancakes.  No one is a voracious television watcher. No one is even a voracious runner, or writer, or gardeners or teacher.  Only readers. Why?  Why is that?  Voracious is a perfectly delightful word.  I love its definition.  I love the passion it conveys.  I don't know why that word cannot be more widely used.  Watch.  Pay attention.  There are only voracious readers in this world.  No other hobby has this level of intensity attached to it.  Pay attention, you'll see 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Busy.

So, if February goes out like a lion (flooding, blizzards, extreme temperature changes) will March come in like a lamb?  Can it work like that? Because I need it to.

February was just jam packed for such a short little month.  Birthday parties, baby showers, an unexpected visit to the hospital  for my mother, conferences, dance class schedule changes, hockey, m formal dances for the teenager, work, work and more work, and just on an on and on activity.   It truly was a whirl wind month.

March promises a little bit more of the same along with an actual BIRTH - that of my nephew who should make an appearance near the end of the month. There will be a grown up's night out with me and the man. And, newly planned, there will be a much, much needed night of movie watching and delicious food eating with Jane and I.  Along with all of the normal dance classes and hockey games and a few more birthday parties.  But still it just seems to be at a slower more manageable pace this month.

I never dreamed I would have a life so full.  And as often as I complain about the business of it all, I smile about it just as much.  I am grateful and thankful that we have a home that we can open up to our family.  I'm thankful that our kids are active and involved.  I'm thankful that there are exciting things going on with our families that we share with them and they with us.  Sometimes it seems like something from TV our life.  With the coming and the going and the planning and the timing.  We are busy.  We are fortunate.

Should there be more time for just me?  Maybe.  Should there be more time for just us? Absolutely.  Will it ever come?  Probably not any time soon.  But for now, I need to just be happy at the family that surrounds us and the business that fills us.  It's not all bad.  Exhausting and overwhelming at times, yes.  But it's not as bad as I make out to be all of the time.

Once in a while I get a little sad in that I feel that we were cheated.  We came together and joined forces very much in the middle of life.  Very much fully immersed in our children and our families and our jobs and just things.  We did not have any us time.  There are good memories from the beginning of us, but none of them include a childless, quiet, slow paced time.  It's always been begging, stealing and borrowing a few seconds for just us when we can.  Now the time for us most often comes at a heavy price of much planning, a little sneaking, and more of than not paying the price when we're found out.  Is it fair?  No.  Does it tarnish the time we had? Sometimes, yes.  And also sometimes I feel like you don't know how to give me time.  The time that I think I'm right in wanting.  It's not always your fault that you don't give it.  I don't think you know how anymore.  Your free time has always been for you and you don't know how to share it with another person.  So, I think we missed the boat in that part of our relationship.  I'm looking forward to making it up in other ways. Some day.

But for now, even the bumps in the road turn out alright.  At the end of the day you're still next to me and we still got through another activity, party, get together together and as a team.  That's comforting.  Because as crazy busy as we are each day, I didn't always think that I would again be part of a team.  I won't begrudge that.

Determination.

I don't have it.

I don't have will power.  I don't have strength when it comes to personal issues.  I just don't.  I am surrounded by strong willed people.  People of whom I am in awe.  But me, no.  I used to say that procrastination was my number one character flaw.  And while I think that this is still in the top three, I have moved lack of will power into the top spot.

Yes this is cliche girl whining about her cliche body.  I am not happy with the way I look or feel.  Yes I can blame it on the weather and not being able to get outside, but that is a cop out too.  I can just as much and fully blame what is going into my mouth.  And that is crap.  Pure and utter garbage is what I eat all day.  So why would I be surprised that it's only like garbage that I feel?

The new "it" piece of advise is to make peace with your body.  To learn to love yourself as you are. Um, no.  I don't love this.  I can't love this and I don't expect anyone else to.  I don't even like accidentally brushing my own arm against my stomach when I'm in bed.  Let alone do I want any one else to.  Sex is nothing more than a steam of self consciousness in which I'm telling myslef to suck this in, pull that more taut, turn this angle so that doesn't bulge out.  For those that know me, to hear me say that sex has become a chore is kind of big deal.  That's where mama is at right now. I dark, jiggly. hateful place.

Josh has will power.  He wants to quit smoking and he does.  He may start again, but again, I think that is more because he wants to rather than he's a slave to nicotine.  He stopped and hasn't started again for many, many weeks.  He decides he's going to get up at 5 AM and work out each morning and he does.  He doesn't even hit snooze once.  He just gets up and does it.  Four days a week without complaining.  He's downstairs working out while I'm engaged in a complicated waltz with my alarm clock trying to muster seven more minutes of sleep. Lazy much?

My mother has lost over 50 pounds in less than a year. She decided and it was so. Her portions are automatically smaller now, while I'm piling on heaping serving after heaping serving.  Hating myself all the while.

The vending machine buttons are beginning to wear as I daily punch B4 and E7 repeatedly for my sugary carbby fixes more than once a day.  I hate myself even as I walk back to my desk with my poor choices.

How do I get the strength to say no?  Where do I find the end of food addictions and bad choices? I say all these things yet I don't have the strength to do anything about it for myself.  So I'm the worst sucker of all.  My hill is getting steeper and my body is becoming less resistant to make the climb.  It's my own fault.  It's my own fault that this summer when it's pool time, I'll be sitting on the deck fully clothed.  Probably sucking on a cigarette and eating nachos.

Here's my hope that the universe is a fan of blogs and can help me pull myself up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday

This is Sunday, a day that is traditionally hard for me to get through.  It's getting better now.  So, so, so much better.  But the weeping and self loathing and bad decisions that have been made by me on a Sunday have made it a day that has been intolerable for me in the past.   But this particular day should actually be a good Sunday.  The girl (I haven't decided if I'm going to use names in this blog, though I will probably have to because there are too many stinkin' kinds here.) has an invitation to her friend's house for which she is beyond excited. There is hockey.  There should be some grocery shopping.  There will also be the Oscars. I'm relatively excited for those in that I actually saw on of the movies that's up for best picture.  So yay for 5 hours of TV that I will fast forward into 2 hours.

Watched  Due Date last night.  Not as funny as we were hoping, but still a great movie with some big laughs.  And and two hour stretch where we're huddled on the couch in the semi-darkness laughing together is a successful two hours to me.  Sometimes all I need is nearness and laughs for some rejuvenation.

I saw a meme on several blogs that I read a month or so back.  I now have a blog so I can do it!  I thought it was pretty awesome.  So, look for that in the near future. You'll probably love it. I am now finding myself writing blog posts in my head for later, and that is beyond exciting for me.  Apparently I do have a lot of fodder rattling around up here. It's exciting!