Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brain Flatulence: The Blender Edition

Things I have learned recently: 

1. Berry and kefir smoothies are delicious!
2. Whole, frozen strawberries do not chop up very well in a blender.
3. Using a metal fork to move the strawberries around in a blender while it is running is not a great idea.
4. Blenders don't like forks.
5. If you gag a blender with a fork it can projectile puke it's contents 10 feet in the air (unless of course you have a ceiling to stop it)
6. A berry smoothie splattered all over your kitchen looks very much like a murder scene.
7. It takes quite a while to clean it up.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Those days are over, and Brain Flatulence: Doorbell Edition

Note to self: The days of whipping your head around while jamming out to the Surf Punk's cover of Ballroom Blitz like you did in 1989 are over. Although really fun and nostalgic, if you try that now you will nearly give yourself vertigo. Your kids will not think you were cool (in fact they will be quite horrified), and you will have to take a Dramamine and go to bed.

Moving on...

Hypothetical. If your doorbell rings at 9pm you should:  a) Answer it right away. It might be your 15 year old son whom you accidently locked out when he took out the garbage, or b) Ignore it for another 20 minutes because you think he is just goofing off. The correct answer is A.  If you choose B (hypothetically) your very cold and angry 15 year old will not forgive you until the next day.

Yea.

If our children survive my parenting and actually reach adulthood in a relatively healthy mental state, it will be a miracle.  A series of many, many miracles actually.  

And maybe some therapy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just a Saturday

Sitting here in the house while you guys are all out doing your things...Kyle and Hope at the park with friends and the dogs (Lord, have mercy...really).  Vinny's mowing the lawn (and hopefully that's all you are mowing, bud :)  and Nick's hanging out with the girlfriend.  Really?  Did I just type that?  Who said you could grow up, my son?  Hang on while I come downstairs and bug you..er, I mean check up on you :)  Just in the past month you have turned 15, gotten your permit, and your first girlfriend (well, you know, besides those "drinking fountain buddies" as you guys call them).  It has been an amazing summer watching each of you grow and change.

It is at once delightful and terrifying.

I'm not sure if you have noticed, but I am trying my best to simplify things in our lives so that we can enjoy each other more.  Less clutter of stuff and things to do, less time on the computer and in front of the tv.  I'm learning that the house doesn't have to look perfect and the work all done in order for us to have fun and for me to enjoy our home and our time together.  It is precious to me, as are each of you.

Vince will be home tonight from his week-long trip to San Diego...yippee and praise the Lord!  You have been SO very missed, my love.

I am loving the sounds of our home today...the breeze through the windows,  the chatter and laughter of you running in and out with your friends, puppies panting, and the song playing on the stereo right now:

"You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us".

Yes, Lord.  You most certainly do, in ways that only You can.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A declaration of sorts...

Ok, it's time for a change.  A change on the blog, which will hopefully be reflective of the changes going on in me.

I have been struggling for sometime about whether or not I should even have a blog anymore (gasp!).  I like it, and at times I love it (goodness knows I love me a good ramble), but to be honest it can be a time sucker. A priority mixer-upper.  And an easy way to enjoy focusing on myself...me...what I think, what I feel, what I want.  I can get lost writing, and also reading lots of other people's blogs about what they think, what they feel, what they want.  Blah blah blah.  And before I know it I have spent an hour or three of what could have been special time with someone, staring at a screen.

God has been teaching me tons about my priorities, not just having them right (which I believe I do) but if I truly value something as a priority in my life, then what I do with my time needs to reflect that.  It just doesn't make sense for me to be crying out to God for more time with my children and my husband (which I have been doing since before Nick was born), and then wasting some of the time I do have with them on insignificant things.  I don't mean to say that doing things like writing or reading or anything else that we enjoy is insignificant..it's a necessary part of a healthy, balanced life.  But what I am learning is that I need to be "on purpose" about how I choose to spend my time.

So.

I am reading this book "52 Things Kids Need From a Mom", and in it one of the suggestions the author gives is to write a family blog.  A place for a mom to write her heart to her family.  Yep.  That's something I can do on purpose!  Since I already have a blog, rather than creating a new one I can transform this one into a "living scrapbook" of sorts, a book of letters that they can read anytime, anywhere, forever.  Things that I want them to know and remember, and even comment on if they want to.  So, thus the reason for the blog change.  I will be writing more often, and alot of my writing will be to my kids rather than to an audience, or even to myself.  I don't mind at all if my bloggy friends read and comment and share what you think right along with our family (in fact, I love that!) And I of course couldn't stop rambling and occasionally ranting if my life depended on it.

So, if I am going to continue do this blog thing, it's going to mean something.  It's going to be something that I can give to my family, not something that takes away from them.  

Hey kids, let's go!  Let's see where this new adventure in staying connected and sharing our lives takes us :)


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Today

Reminded as I read this at 5:20am how much I need to be content with where I am right now.  Right now.  Be present.  Be content.  Be thankful.  Be healthy.  Receive God's supply of manna...just for today.   Not looking backwards or forwards too far, but living in today.  Fully living in today.

I woke up - er, God woke me up as He so often does in the early morning hours because many times that is the only time that my mind is quiet enough to hear Him.  The first thing I did as I sat on the potty and decided if I was going to go back to bed or not, was to begin confessing my fears to Him.  Fears that many times I don't realize I have because I guess I am so used to it.  Fears that are sometimes just fleeting thoughts that pass quickly, and other times almost consume me...over things like our children's futures, our health, our children's spiritual health and the struggles that some of them are facing and our desire to "make it all better" and have wisdom and make the right choices in our parenting and balancing discipline and tough love and grace.  

And then I am reminded again.  

Be present.  Be content.  Be thankful.  Be healthy.  Receive God's supply of manna...just for today.   Not looking backwards or forwards too far, but living in today.  Fully living in today.  

And trust.  In Him.  Fully.  He is my portion, and my children's portion, and my husband's portion.  And yours.  

I am reading the book "Made to Crave:  Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food", and what I read this morning was empowering and very revealing about where I am at right now.   It talked about the Israelites and their need to learn to depend on God, how God took them on a 40 year journey (that journey by the way would have only been an 11 day journey...AN 11 DAY JOURNEY!! if they weren't detoured by their refusal to be satisfied and trust and depend on God!)  But they kept going round and round the same mountain for 40 years while they learned how to truly depend on God.  

Wow.  I don't want my journey to take that long.

"Each day the Israelites were to ask God for their portion of food.  Then God would rain down exactly what they needed for nourishment.  It was called manna...God wanted them to take only their portion for one day...It was a process intended to put them in the habit of dependence on God, and only God, each day.  We would do well to apply this same process to our struggles.  Each day God can be the perfect portion of everything we need - every longing we have, every desperate desire our souls cry out for.  God will be our portion."

As I sit here in my kitchen reading, and at the same time watching my computer's screen saver scroll through pictures of the last 6 years of our lives, I am reminded of all the prayers that God has answered in my life.  Those precious faces...who I have held in my arms as they cried over the pain of loss and frustration and despairs of life.  Who I have prayed over as they slept and cried out to God to touch them and reach them and be their portion.  Who I have seen the hand of God move in and through and continues to draw to Himself.  Even when I can't see it.  When I am blinded by my own fears and my own journey.  Even then, God is moving and protecting and working everything out for their good, and mine.  

And so I face today with hope.  With the expectation that good things will happen.  And despite the fact that I am lacking several hours of sleep, I am going to live today being present.  I will be content.  Be thankful.  Be healthy.  Receive God's supply of manna...just for today.   Not looking backwards or forwards too far, but living in today.  Fully living in today.  

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, "the LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."  Lamentations 3:22-24

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

In Awe...

I am sitting here.  In awe.  With my mouth hanging open.  Ok, not really because I hate mouth breathing, it makes me thirsty.  But spiritually, my mouth is hanging open and I am in awe.  All because of this post that I just read.  Twice.  Once to myself, and once out loud to Vince.  And I could hardly do it without bursting into tears because it is so, SO true for me right now.

This is a post from a blog written by Angie Smith, who is married to one of the members of the band Selah.  I LOVE her blog...she writes with a raw honesty that I can relate to and she always makes me dig deeper in my relationship with the Lord.  And makes me laugh too.  Her scripture reference at the beginning of this post, Isaiah 6, caught my attention because this past Sunday I chose that very same scripture to be read during worship, right before we sang "I See The Lord".   And it was powerful.  Not just because it was my husband who read it, and he always reads scripture with passion...but because the Lord moved among us as he read it.  He stirred things in our hearts, in mine I know it was only the beginning of something wonderfully amazing that He is doing in me and has been working on in my heart for the past few months.

He is revealing to me how very much He loves me.  And how holy and majestic He is.

Simple truths, I know, but how often do I acknowledge that I believe that and yet I have only begun to grasp the depth of those truths?  Do I really know how deep His love is?  Do I really grasp His holiness?  His majesty?

No, I don't.  Not even close.  But I am beginning to.  My hand is on the door knob and I am opening the door...ever so slowly.  Angie's post has helped me open it a bit more, and I am that much closer to taking a step inside.

I'm not sure I can handle the magnificence of the view.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Finishing what I start, and Brain Flatulence: The Candle Edition

I had a revelation about myself recently.  It's something I have been aware of for some time, but never really saw as an issue that needed addressing.  Others may have recognized it far sooner than myself (namely a husband or two, or a kid or six) but me?  It's taken me a bit longer.  No, I'm not talking about the time that I missed a turn while driving.  (While I admit that has happened a time...or two...hundred).  I am talking about starting projects and not finishing them.

My list of offenses is quite long...including (but not limited to) our wedding scrapbook, family scrapbooks since 2008, my Christmas Memories book, Kyle's baby book (yes I know he's ten, get OFF me!) and my birthday and anniversary calendar.  It's called a "perpetual calendar" actually, and you write down birthdays and anniversaries and keep it hanging next to your regular calendar. No more forgetting birthdays or having to write them all on the calendar every year, 'cause it's already there!  Cha!

So since I started that little project, oh let's say two years ago, I decided to tackle that one as my first "finishing what I have already started before moving on to something new" project.  Hope and I had a girl's night this past Friday night.  Vince and all the boys took all their testosterone with them and went to the new Avengers movie, so Hope and I cranked up her ipod, made cookie bars and did some scrappin'!  She worked on her Disney book from her trip with her aunt and uncle and cousin (eh-hem) in 2009, and I worked on the calendar.  I had SO MUCH FUN scrapping each month's page with cute holiday themes and writing in all the birthdays and anniversaries of everyone in our families!!

I think September is my favorite...





Or maybe August...


July is kind of manic, which fits because it's my birthday month...



And November, I just love November...



And now, after many hours and dollars, it's done and hanging on our wall.  SUCH a sense of accomplishment!  Oh the joy and adulation!

So it was kind of a bummer when I accidently set it on fire.




Yea.

Apparently, setting it on the counter a little too close to a burning candle was not the best idea I've ever had.

It could have been much worse, right?   (Feigns gratitude.)  I mean, I could have burned the whole kitchen down and potentially the entire house.

Jump start the candle paranoia.

One would think I would have learned after the relatively recent time that I burned the candles on our entertainment center without trimming the wicks, which caused the flames to burn higher than they should have been and set off the smoke alarms.  And singe a nice black spot on our ceiling, which I pretend is just a shadow.

Someone CLEARLY needs to take my candles away and buy me some more Scentsy's.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If you give a mom a phone...

I'm home today with two sickies.  Kyle and Hope both have colds with coughs and feel miserable after a not-so-good night's sleep, so I get an unexpected day off.  Tough on the paycheck, but I'm not complaining...these years go by too fast and one day I know I will miss it terribly.  Nick and Vinny are already old enough to be home alone if they are sick, no more mommy coddling needed for them.  Sigh.

Oh yea...how about if I call school to let them know they are absent?  That would be a good idea, 'specially since school started half an hour ago.  GAH!  I remembered to call into work, and cancel the puppy sitter, school should probably know too.  I intended to call earlier, but got distracted.  Those who know me well, especially those who have to live with me, are not surprised by things such as this.  They know that I tend to move about the house like a "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" book.  Today it went something like this:  If your child is home sick from school, you will need to go to the kitchen and call the school to tell them about their absence.  And if you go into the kitchen to get the phone, you will see that the dishwasher needs to be loaded, and when you go to load the dishwasher, you will see that the dog peed on the floor, and if the dog peed on the floor you will need to go downstairs to get some paper towels to clean it up, and when you go downstairs to get paper towels you will see that a load of laundry needs to be started, and after you start a load of laundry you will feel so productive about your day already that you will decide to go back upstairs to the kitchen and blog.  

And forget to call the school.

See? 

This sort of thing happens regularly with me.  It drives Vince crazy, but lucky for me he usually still finds it cute. Usually.

So.

The dogs have been keeping us busy, and also sufficiently broke.  Feliz has been to the vet more in the past three months than her entire life.  She has been having urinary tract infections and possibly bladder stones and has been on special food and several rounds of antibiotics already.  It clears up...and returns.  Hmmph.  And Macey, in addition to her regular puppy checkups and shots, now has to go in for a possible uti herself, as evidenced by the sudden and frequent peeing and unproductive squatting in the yard that she has been doing the past two days. I just have one question: WHAT IS UP WITH THE POTTY ISSUES???  Seriously.  I wasn't surprised with Feliz, since she is a Bishon and they are notorious for bladder problems, but Macey too?  Ugh.  

I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the fact that she is eating anything and everything she can find, including (but not limited to) sticks and leaves and sand and lint balls and tiny little wrappers and erasers, and whatever she can lick off the baseboards in the kitchen.


She is so naughty.  She knows when she has something she's not supposed to, and that if we catch her we are going to try and pry her little alligator mouth open and dig out whatever treasure she's munching on.  So if hiding under the dining room table doesn't work and we actually catch her, she gets all manic, locks her jaws shut, and swallows it as soon as possible.  And then looks at us like this...


How are we supposed to get mad at that face???  She is growing so fast.  Her legs are getting long and she has those big puppy lab paws now, and it's so cute to see her clumsily bounding about.  She's adorable and hilarious and driving us all crazy.   Feliz included, but that is nothing new.  Although, they are getting along much better, Macey still pounces on poor Feliz most any chance she gets.  Feliz will play with her and even instigate now and then, but she still walks around in fear of being blind sided by her unpredictably rambunctious sister.  Poor Feliz has even developed a nervous facial tick.  She's always had it, but I never really noticed it much before until Macey joined our family, and it has thus increased exponentially.  Now, Feliz quite often looks like this...


Poor baby.  Maybe she needs therapy.  Anyone know a good pet shrink?

  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's about time

So, she finally did it.  After over two weeks of this...


Feliz finally stood up to Macey.  It's about time.  Poor Feliz has been bit, pounced on, and chased out of her bed multiple times over the past two weeks by her nemesis new little sister.  We didn't let Macey go too far, but we also knew that Feliz would have to set her own boundaries at some point.  Well, yesterday she finally had enough, and she actually growled and stood her ground...


Once Macey saw that Feliz was not the least bit impressed with her antics...



she submitted and subsequently piddled on our carpet in submission - never thought I'd be happy about that!


But then they started playing together...


Yay!  It's just the cutest thing.


I think they are destined to be great friends.


We had a fun day with the kids yesterday.  All of us were off work and school for President's day, so we headed to LaCrosse for some "guy time" and "girl time" - the boys went to MC Sports and Hope and I hit the mall.

To be honest, I started our little treck quite crabby after a not-so-good night's sleep (please tell me that this puppy will eventually sleep through the night).  But my husband, who is so very intuitive and awesome, pulled into the Target/Starbucks parking lot on our way out of town, announced to the kids that he was getting something for his WIFE ONLY, and emerged with an iced mocha complete with an extra shot of happy juice espresso.  He knows me so well (she's tired and crabby...better get her some chocolate and caffeine STAT).  It almost made me feel guilty for calling him a "poopy head brat face" earlier.  Almost.

Last evening involved buzzing Nick and Kyle's hair...





And check out this drawing of Johnny Bench that Nick put the final touches on for his art class...






Ok.  You can both stop growing up now.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Our week in review

Our sweet, calm little puppy Macey...



...has morphed herself into a manic, bitey little alligator baby. 


I'm not sure why this has happened, but we are doing our best to follow all the advice we can find when googling "someone please help us, our puppy is posessed and even though we have a virtual pet store full of toys to choose from, she is using us as her preferred chew toys". 

Feliz is still highly annoyed at her new little sister's presence. 



She tries to defend herself and let out a pitiful little growl once in a while when she is being attacked played with by Macey.  But most of the time she retreats to her kennel or comes running to us wide eyed with her tail tucked firmly between her legs, seeking protection from the little terrorist that resides with us.


And now about the humans...

Hope has decided to speak with a British accent.  Awl. the. toym.  I think we are on day four of this adventure.  Most of the time we don't know what in the world she is saying, but we smile and nod alot.

Nick got contacts this week.  Pretty awesome, and more evidence than the voice cracks that he is growing up and becoming a man.  Sigh.  He is getting all geared up for baseball season, as his basketball season will be coming to a close in a couple weeks.

Kyle's quote of the week:  "Mom, if you hear a large fart, it's just my iPod."  Please don't ask me to 'splain that, because I haven't the slightest.

Vinny went to his first dance last Saturday night.  He spent quite some time prepping himself for it...shaving, grooming his nails and eyebushes, and coordinating his outfit around his fedora.  Sweet.

Vince and I celebrated Valentines Day by going out for dinner at Ciatti's Italian Restaurant in LaCrosse.  We went early to hopefully avoid the big date crowd, which was a very nerdy yet smart idea.  We arrived at 5:15 without a reservation and were seated at a table right by the fireplace.  Cha!  Have I mentioned before that my husband rocks at giving me the most awesome, original, and romantic gifts ever?   

Seriously...ROCKS!!! 

This year he got me a heart shaped box filled with gourmet, handmade Artisan chocolates. 


We are savoring one or two a day, and yes I am sharing with him.  Mostly.  He also got me a "Wonder Woman" christmas ornament. 


That is extra special because it compliments the "Superman" christmas ornament that I bought for him for our first Valentines day together in '08.  And as if that weren't off-the-charts awesome enough, his next gift brought me to tears...


...a pewter statue of a knight in (shining) armour riding on a horse.  Sword drawn, ready to protect and rescue me at a moment's notice. 

I love that man.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not My Blog, More Most-Perfectest-Purse Awesomeness, and I GET A SNOWDAY!


I haven't been this excited since 1987. 

I have never worked somewhere that closed when the weather was bad.  Even during my highschool and college years working at Hardees and Country Kitchen, they stayed open through it all and I don't remember ever having a snow day from work...until today.  My place of employment is closed today and when I discovered this as the kids still slept soundly in their beds this am, I did a silent little happy dance from my couch.  Not that I don't want to go to work, I love my job, but who doesn't love a snowday?!  A crazy person, that's who.

The only thing that would make today even better is if my kids had the day off too, but our schools are only doing the two-hour delay, so I guess I will get most of the day all to myself. 

Wait a minute...

Visions of a quiet house void of incessantly bouncing balls,  numerous "KNOCK IT OFF!"s and "Mom... mom... mom... mom... mom...mom...mom...mom...mom..." (contrary to popular belief, this does not end when children leave toddlerhood, or even elementary school).  Doesn't sound too bad after all.  I'm sure I can find all kinds of lovely ways to fill my day including (but not limited to) CMT, HGTV, and a new edition of "The Most Perfectest Purse Ever".

Just in case you missed the excitement of editions one and two, and you happen to have absolutely nothing else of the slightest value whatsoever to do with your time, you can read all about my previous successes at finding the most perfect purse here and here.  Just know that you will not be able to get those eight minutes of your life back. 

I have been searching for months for a new purse that meets my criteria for awesomeness.  It's not easy to find.  The other ones were most certainly awesome and served their purposes for a season, until either I found an unpredictable flaw, or they became too small for my ever increasing need to carry more crap around have essential items available at all times.

So after months of searching and subsequent rejecting, I finally found my new baby:


Can you hear me singing Stevie Wonder "Isn't She Lovely"?  Well, I am.  And no one is rolling their eyes at me because they are at school and I GET A SNOWDAY!!! 

So now, can we talk about how awesome this purse is?  Seriously. Let's just count the ways that it fits and/or exceeds my stringent standards for awesomeness. 

1) It has to be real leather. Or a fake material that I happen to think is real leather.  Check.  And dare I say that I think this one actually may be real leather.  If not, they added some fake leather smell to it which is totally fine with me. 

2) It has to have a short handle.  Check.  Do I realize that it makes me look like my grandmother to carry my purse around by the handle and nearly dragging it on the ground?  Yes, yes I do.  And my grandmother was a very smart and practical woman. 

3) It has to have separate pockets for my cell phone and lip stuff on the outside of the purse.  This one has both, right in front, AND they have magnetic snaps.  More awesomeness.  The absence of this feature was my main complaint about edition two.  I had to put my cell phone and lip stuff in the same pocket, so when I went for one or the other while driving, it was less than efficient and that just cannot be.

4) It absolutely cannot have any sequins or tassles or unnecessary gaudy embelishments.  Please.  Check.

5) It has to be able to zip shut.  Amen.  Those snaps in the middle?  Yea, they never keep stuff in when your purse falls over.  Or your kids throw it on the floor of your car.  Not that I would know anything about that.

6) It has to have at least two big separate sections - one for my wallet & notes, the other for all my crap important stuff that I don't leave home without (my mini hairspray, lotion, advil, altoids, nail file, camera, and the ocassional happy meal toy).  This all still applies, except the "happy meal toy" stage has been replaced by iPods, cell phones, DS's, and various other things that I take away from our kids when they cop an attitude with me or eachother, which I have found works far better than sending them to their rooms because that is where they want to go anyway.


7) And last but not least, it has to be big enough to hold all of said crap important stuff, but not look like a suitcase.  This criteria is getting harder and harder to meet as I get older, however this purse still squeaks by.  Even though it weighs 49 pounds.

There you have it.  Now that I have given a virtual tour of my purse, if someone steals it and also happens to read my blog they will know exactly where to find everything.  And if they are in desperate need of a nickel and about fourteen pennies, they'll be set.

So. 

Since I have so much time on my hands because you may not have heard but I GET A SNOW DAY!!!  I thought I'd throw in a quick edition of "Not My Blog".  I just discovered this bloggy gem this morning, and as a mom of boys it brought me great joy and happiness.  I'm sure if I had been drinking my coffee at the time it would have been coming out my nose...Stuff Boys Do.