If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Saturday, January 29, 2011

He had me at "Howdy"

Remember your first love? Not necessarily your first boyfriend. Or even your first kiss. I'm talking about that very first person that rocked your world with the first word he ever said to you. Ever wonder where he is now? Well, I don't have to. Because my first love is lying on our bed right behind me.

I'm one of those few who can say she married her very first love. We met our senior year of high school on a blind date set up by his dad. I've got to admit when his dad suggested I meet his son, my first thought was, "What kind of guy needs his dad to set him up?" I've since learned that when his dad suggested to his son that he call me, his first thought was "What kind of loser needs somebody to set her up on a date?" (Wow. "Loser" was kinda harsh. Geesh.)

We finally arranged our very first date and he was 2 hours late. (Now I know that he gets his rights and lefts mixed up and he gets lost, but I didn't know that at the time and spent 2 hours sitting on my couch walking that fine line between heart-broken and pissed.) Finally, the doorbell rang and in walked this 6'2 hunk of man and we saw each other for the first time. (Football player meet cheerleader.) He was wearing a baseball cap and cowboy boots and my heart started thumping....and then he sealed the deal and said "Howdy Baby" and I took his hand and walked out the door with my future husband. That was March 10th, 1990 and we continue to celebrate that date every year.

That's not to say we didn't have our bumps along the way. We broke up for 2 years. But in true "us" fashion, our reunion was dramatic when out of the blue, he asked his parents to drop him off on the highway beside my house, he jumped the fence, knocked on my door and met me with that "Howdy Baby" yet again. That was July 29th 1992. We were engaged one month later and got married on January 30th, 1993. (Super Bowl weekend....not my best judgment call.)

Eighteen years and four kids later and the honeymoon phase rages on. He still gets his rights and lefts mixed up, he still gets lost, and he still runs late. (Except for our anniversary. He thinks we got married on January 29th.) But he still gets my heart thumping with a look, a touch, a kiss and that darn "Howdy Baby."

So we're spending our weekend in celebration, sans the dreadful Super Bowl which lands in February this year. I can't imagine my life without this man and I'm so glad I don't have to.

First love is a powerful thing and I can tell you from experience that when you're with the right person, that power gets stronger every year.

Happy Anniversary, Baby. You still rock my world.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nights and Daze

The toddler has her days and nights mixed up again. This should come as no surprise since this is the child who didn't sleep at night her entire 1st year of life. And ever since, she cycles around from days to nights and nights to days and then repeats. When she finally rotates around to sleeping at night, my 39 year old body takes about 2 days to catch up, only for her to screw me up again.

Odds are, if you drive by our house in the middle of the night, you'll see lights on as we play games, build with legos, work on her alphabet flashcards and spend endless hours watching Laverne & Shirley reruns. (Yes, that's right, my 3 year old is addicted to Laverne & Shirley. Please don't judge me. I'm too exhausted to defend myself.)

Here's the major problem. I need lots of sleep or bad things happen. And around here, things go downhill fast.

(There are 2 things you need to know before I tell you what happened.)
1. One of the 3 legal drivers in our home recently got a speeding ticket.
2. Last week a plow knocked our mailbox off it's post and it's been buried in 4 feet of snow in the ditch ever since.

(Bear with me, this will all make sense eventually. Or maybe it won't. I can barely think straight to wipe myself these days.)

Anyhoo, 2 nights ago, she slept all night. But I lay awake obsessing that the letter from the municipal court with the certain person's court date lay buried in our ditch, that person would miss he or she's court date, be found in contempt, an arrest warrant would be issued, and jail time would be served. (See why I need sleep?)

So at 7am yesterday morning, dressed in my purple flannel jammies, I headed down our icy driveway armed with a fluorescent green stick with a long string with a tennis ball hanging off one end. (My husband's attempt to help us with batting practice 3 years ago.....2 black eyes later and it's been stored in the garage ever since.) But yesterday it was going to help me find our lost mailbox so down the driveway I marched, followed by our 3 curious cats. I imagine I looked like a cat shepherd if there is such a thing. Many cars drove by and I refuse to let myself wonder if any of them knew me.

Toward the end of the driveway I hit a patch of ice and for several long and awkward seconds I could be seen flailing my long green stick while trying to avoid being hit by the ball and/or landing on a cat. I finally got my footing and we all came away unscathed. (If you don't count my pulled groin and complete loss of dignity.)

I got safely across the road and began pounding my green stick into the deep snow until my left foot gave way and became buried, pulling my ugg boot right off my foot.

I immediately gave up and with frozen snot on my upper lip, I carried my green stick and one snow-filled ugg boot and me and my 3 furry followers slowly made our way back up the long driveway. Suddenly jail time didn't sound so bad after all.

I choose to believe that none of that would have happened if I was well rested. (Yes, I'm blaming the toddler.)

It's 10:45 pm and only she knows what our night will consist of and I'll find out in about 2 hours. She'll either bring me her pillow.....or her flash cards. Wish me luck.

***Just for fun, I'm offering a poll. Which driver in our family got the speeding ticket? If you'd like, cast your vote at the top right of the page.....unless of course the picture has already been featured on America's Most Wanted. Then I suppose that would make a poll unnecessary.

(Poll time has expired. Majority voted for the hubby ;) My lips are sealed....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Sanctus Real almost ruined our weekend

Okay, maybe this Christian band isn't solely responsible for our disastrous weekend.....let's just blame their song, "Lead Me." For those who are unfamiliar with this song, you might want to check it out on You Tube. (Or if you don't want a fight with your hubby, don't.)

Here's the chorus to give you the gist of what I'm talking about. It's a wife's pleading words to her husband:

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I don't care how strong your marriage is, I don't know of any wife who hasn't secretly glared at her husband or a husband who hasn't cringed when this song comes on the radio. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful song with an amazing message. But let's be honest here, Sanctus Real set us all up for failure with this little gem.

It started a couple weeks ago when this song came on the radio in the van. My husband, who is notorious for not listening to words but simply the melody, commented how he likes the song. I asked him if he'd ever listened to the words. And his response was, "Yes and I assume this is how you feel, right?" (Rrrrr.....) And a seed of resentment was planted.

Fast forward to Friday night when things started to rise to a boil. Without going into too much detail, (mainly because it doesn't exactly paint a flattering image of me, but whatever) an argument took place in front of 2 of our children. As is usually the case, this argument that had been building inside me for weeks never did address the real issue. Instead we argued about the pros and cons of bumping vs. setting during co-ed volleyball. Wow. Talk about being derailed.

And we went to bed angry. Bad idea. Because that means, I wake up angry, too. And this time for Round II, I didn't mince words and went straight to the core......(insert devil voice here)....."Lead me, d***it!!!"

Now there's a welcoming invitation for him to step up and take control. Yikes. I scared the crap out of him and he left for work with a deer-in-the-head-lights look on his face and practically squealed out of the driveway.

I was left in the quiet of the house to receive the God-scolding I totally deserved. How is my husband supposed to lead someone like me? My family's motto was "You can't tell ME what to do!" Yeah, that's real approachable.

The conclusion God brought me to is that I can't change anyone else and it's not my job to try. The only thing within my control is to allow God to change me. Maybe if everyone approached life with that motto, we'd have less judging & feuding and more acceptance and loving? Just a thought.

Regardless, I was left with a husband with hurt feelings, at my own hand. (Or should I say mouth.) And I can't live with that. So I got in the car, drove to his work and left him a note on the front seat of his car, apologizing profusely and promising him cheesecake (and other stuff I'll omit from this blog) when he gets home.

I'm relieved to report that everything is fine now. We haven't discussed the issue anymore. We've silently moved on. Lesson learned. (And May Sanctus Real be a little more careful when writing beautiful heart-felt marriage songs in the future.) I've gone back to focusing on my issues and he's gone back to not listening to the words of songs. That seems to work out best for everyone.

One thing that still bothers me a tiny bit, though. He never has mentioned that note I left in his car. And there were several cars exactly like his in the half-full parking lot. Which leads me to wonder who exactly received my written promises of cheesecake.....and the other stuff? Uh oh.

**I'm a huge fan of Sanctus Real. So please don't send me hate mail.**


Monday, January 17, 2011

Praying for Joanne

I recently became aware of a fellow blogger named Joanne Heim. Joanne is 38 years old and just celebrated her 19th anniversary with her husband, Toben. They have 2 daughters, Audrey (12) and Emma (9). She and her family recently moved back to their home town of Denver where Joanne spends her day homeschooling their daughters, authoring Christian Bible Studies, going to Seminary, running, and from the looks of her blog, enjoying life in general.

On Tuesday January 11th, Joanne built a fire in their fireplace at 5am....and subsequently discovered that her smoke alarms work. That was Joanne's final tweet. Shortly thereafter, one of her daughters found her convulsing in their basement from a stroke.

They removed a large part of her skull and she's in a very deep medically induced coma to try to control the swelling. They have no idea what the future holds. They don't know if she'll wake up. They have no idea what condition she'll be in if/when she does.

To say that this family's life has come to a screeching halt is an understatement. I've spent the past couple of days scouring her blog and quietly peeking into the daily life of a woman who clearly had no idea everything was about to change. How could she?

This isn't the first sad blogger story I've read and it certainly won't be my last, unfortunately. But this one grabbed me. She could be me. No, I don't home school. I'm not in Seminary. I'm not the author of Christian Bible Studies and I certainly don't run for sport. But she's my age! She's head over heels in love with her husband of 19 years! She's got children she loves and who depend on her! She blogs! She tweets! And she sets off the smoke alarms when she's trying to start a fire for her family in the morning.....right before she has a stroke. She could be me. And like it or not, she could be you.

Please pray for Joanne and her family. And please don't take one minute with yours for granted.

Feel free to click on Joanne's picture at the very top of my page to go visit her blog. Her husband and close friend have been updating on her condition there. But once you get past that you'll find entries from a young mom. A mom who was enjoying life and living it to the fullest. A mom who has plans. A mom whose dining room table is cluttered with Christmas decorations and a tree she decided to leave up and decorate for Valentine's Day. And of a family who got unexpectedly swept onto a different path and who are claiming Psalm 46 because despite everything, they still cling to their Savior.

I want to be that kind of mom.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.c]">[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shieldsd]">[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Stay-At-Home-Moms Snow Storm Time Line

A snow storm is coming! How do we know? Because we stay-at-home moms who spend thankless hours monitoring Facebook are spreading the word.

This is our time. These are the moments we stay-at-homers live for. It's called snow days, people. These are the times the Proverbs 31 woman in us finally makes an appearance. (Snow days & when the bus driver calls informing you that your daughter just vomited on the kid sitting next to her.....again.) We're nothing if not prepared for these unexpected breaks in our routine. So for those who don't know, this is how the snow storm plays out:

The calm before the storm......
Okay. We've heard the news on Doppler Facebook and it's time to snap into action. Hopefully, you're one of the lucky few who has already gone to the grocery before ever hearing of the storm. I'm pleased to report that I fall into that category this time and was able to avoid losing my testimony at Walmart while fighting over loaves of bread. (Um, not that that's ever happened, mind you, but I digress.) The cupboards are stocked so let's begin.

Step 1: clean the entire house right down to mopping the floors. Why? I don't know. But it's important that you do it. Step 2: Clean the 9 inches of built up ash out of the fireplace while mumbling under your breath that you've been asking your husband to do that for weeks. Step 3: Call and cancel the much needed hair appointment that is inevitably scheduled for the day of the storm. (Insert more mumbling under your breath.)

The big event......
You wake up that morning to beautiful snow already beginning to fall. Your husband is at work and you've received the call from the school that your children will be sent home early:

Step 1: Build a roaring fire and stock a pile of wood beside the fireplace to save a trip out in the snow later. (While wearing pajamas & risking the toddler locking you outside thus forcing you to traipse barefoot to the front of your house and break into your own home while praying nobody calls the cops. Go figure how I know this.) Step 2: Put a pot of something on the stove. It doesn't matter what, as long as it smells good. (ie; spaghetti sauce or home-made soup is always the item of choice around here.) Step 3: Bake things and serve them with hot chocolate. That's mandatory. Things must be baked during a snow storm, with or without the help of the children. I choose
without, but whatever. Step 4: Wait nervously by the door with cell phone in hand until your husband arrives home from work safely. Step 5: As the inches of snow steadily climb outside, enjoy movies and boardgames as a family. Step 6: While the kids hole up in the rec room to enjoy an all-nighter with high hopes of a cancelation the next day, you attempt to squeeze those extra holiday pounds into a special nightie for your hubby. Step 7: Amidst a string of profanity, throw the tiny nightie back in the drawer, make the room pitch black and hope for the best.

Snowed in......
School is canceled and your husband is home from work. The fire has died at some point in the middle of the night and you awake to a stream of frozen drool running down your cheek. Or maybe it's snot. Who cares at that point.

Step 1: Scrape off your cheek. Step 2: Rebuild the fire. Step 3: Tip toe around as quietly as possible in hopes that your children don't wake up before noon while noticing that they've trashed the house. Step 4: When they wake up and ask to play outside in the snow, readily agree, and then stand inside the door and take a few pictures of them from the warmth of your house. Step 5: Re-mop the floors when they come back inside trailing the snow behind them. (Profanity optional) Step 6: When they ask what's for dinner, tell them there's lunch meat in the fridge and when they roll their eyes, remind them of the children around the world who would be thankful to have lunch meat in the fridge. Step 7: Dive into your secret stash of chocolates in hopes of soothing your nerves from all the fighting. Step 8: Put the children (and husband) to bed in hopes that a miraculous thaw will happen overnight and that the big yellow bus will once again stop at the end of your driveway.

Finally, and most importantly, you must then sit down to post an entry on your Facebook, documenting each loving detail of how much fun you had on your snow day, post the pics of your fun in the snow "together" and mention how much you're looking forward to another storm real soon.

Image is everything, people. We are the stay-at-home moms.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just in case you wanted my opinion: My review of Wii Dance games

The Wii is relatively new to our family, having only had ours for a year. My refusal to buy into hype and refusal to wait in line for a limited amount of hype means we're always a year or two behind the hype. My understanding of the Wii was that it was intended to get lazy kids off the couch and be required to at least stand while playing the games and being occasionally asked to swing an arm or two while bowling or playing tennis. Cool.

What I didn't know was that you could actually get a serious kick-butt workout on your Wii. My first realization of that was when the girls asked if I wanted to Wii Hula Hoop. Ten minutes later my obliques were burning and so began my journey of Wii cardio.

Last winter my Wii workouts were taken to a new level of interest when a friend, Jessica, loaned me her Wii Just Dance! Thirty plus dances to such hits as Can't Touch This, Pump Up The Jam, and Who Let The Dogs Out. My inner cheerleader was tapped and dance off competitions became the norm at our house. K and I have been known to dance the entire collection in one evening. That makes for 2 hours of dancing with the shadow figures while sweating away the pounds. (Occasionally with hand and ankle weights for an added level of torture.) Wii Just Dance: A+

This year we wanted something new. I noticed that they had a Wii Just Dance II, but I was also intrigued by the Wii Gold's Gym Dance Workout and went with that. After 10 minutes of following along with a robotic avatar instructor while barely being able to hear Lady Gaga sing her song and I was done. Wii Gold's Gym Dance Workout: D (The only thing keeping me from failing it completely is the fact that K seems to like her ridiculous avatar instructor, therefore it's not a complete waste of money.)

Then I heard that Wii has Zumba. I've never done Zumba but I'm growing increasingly interested in it. My friend, Gina, was kind enough to loan me hers yesterday to help avoid another Wii Gold's Gym disastrous purchase.

Wii Zumba comes with a belt to hold the remote and free up your hands. Not completely necessary but a nice feature.

Yesterday afternoon, Z and I set out to conquer the world of Zumba and were determined to complete 3 twenty minute routines in a row. After the first 3 minutes, they congratulated us on completing the warm up. Warm up?!? We were panting. We were almost finished with our first workout when we realized the goal was to keep our shadow figure green as opposed to different colors. That would explain our really really low scores the first round.

During the 2nd workout, Z was breathing too hard to say "That's what she said" every time I'd say, "I can't take it anymore." But since he and I are way to competitive for our own good, we forced ourselves to complete the full hour even when we both lost feeling in our arms and Z started seeing stars whenever he'd shimmy. (Note of warning on the shimmies: Wear a really good sports bra....or two.)

During the course of this experiment, I had to tighten my Zumba belt twice. I choose to believe that was because of all the inches of fat I was losing by the minute. My hair was wet with sweat and I may have temporarily regained feeling in my toe that's been numb for 2 years. (Long story.) And I'm beginning to suspect I might have a little Latin in this Italian bloodline of mine because I kind of rock at Zumba, if I do say so myself. Wii Zumba: A+

I guess what I've come to realize is that the Wii isn't just for lazy kids. It's for lazy adults too. And exercise doesn't have to mean an hour of walking in place on a conveyor belt. It can actually mean playing with your kids....with or without hand and ankle weights, which I do not recommend with Zumba unless you plan on wearing a 3rd sports bra.

(And as an added bonus, I feel somewhat prepared should I ever take an interest in going clubbing on the weekends.)