Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baseball been berry berry good to me

Okay, you have to be kind of old to get that one, it is a really old Saturday Night Live bit.  I am talking John Belushi/Gilda Radner old.  Although it was not them in the skit, I cannot for the life of me remember the guy's name, but it was funny.  Baseball season is upon us!  Tyler made the freshman team and Grant will be playing in the Shelby Rec league.  Baseball, baseball, baseball.  Fold up chairs and coolers and snacks and blankets and gatorade and all that jazz in my trunk.  Explaining to Cooper that we really do have to go to their games, and that will be basically five days a week until the middle of June.  Seriously, I am not kidding.  Ty plays tues/thurs, Grant plays mon/wed/sat until the middle of June.  That does not include practices and stuff.

Here is the thing about baseball in Michigan.  You can freeze at a game.  Wind comes up, it's only 40 degrees to begin with, the sun is going down, and  suddenly you are freezing your patootie off on the field.  I have watched the end of games in my van.  You can also boil at a game.  I actually got a sunburn on one side of my body because of the way I was sitting.  Literally just the one half.  Made for some really strange tan lines the rest of the year.  In Michigan this time of year it can snow, hail, rain, tornado, be hot, be cold or just be.  You can sit on a blanket for part of a game and wrap yourself up in said blanket the other half.  Michigan, you gotta love it.

For some families it is baseball, some soccer, some lacrosse, some basketball, some football, some gymnastics, some cheerleading, some the science olympiad.  Whatever the activity, your whole family becomes involved.  That is just the way it is.  Everyone goes and watches the games.  The younger kids complain that they want to go home.  You can promise the moon, they still want to go home.  I have to tell Cooper that being outside for an hour and half will not kill him.  It is actually quite good for him.  

You get to know the other moms and dads.  You learn all the kids names on the teams, even if you won't see them next year except on an opposing team.  You yell and scream and cheer and freak the heck out if your kid is pitching.  Or catching.  Or under a pop fly.  Or let one get through his legs.  Or whatever.  It's great.  And overwhelming and by the beginning of June, I am praying for rain so I don't have to go anymore.  That makes me a bad mom, but there you go.  It's kind of sad when you are so tired from baseball, that you hope they don't make the playoffs.  Sad.  Bad, bad mommy.

So, batter up and all that good stuff.  What sport takes over your life this time of year?  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's my birthday

So, I just heard that forty is the new twenty, so officially, I am 22, not 42.  Okay, so I am 42, but I am okay with that.  Thirty was the hardest one for me to hit and now I have no idea why.  I think as women, we come into our own in our thirties.  So as I sit here, I am okay with the 42 mark.  I have earned my gray hairs and the right to cover them ruthlessly with a wonderful dye job.  

So, we officially celebrated my birthday last night because Scott has to work late tonight so he can get off early on Wednesday for Tyler's first baseball game.  It was nice.  Tyler had one of his friends at church make me a cross for my cross wall.  I was so touched that he thought ahead and did something so thoughtful.  For those of you who don't know, I collect crosses and have a cross wall with all kinds of crosses.  Fun stuff.  I have to laugh because I got money from my parents, Scott and my mother-in-law.  This happens every year.  When I have money, I cannot find one thing I like.  When I am broke, I find twenty purses I cannot live without.  Whatever.  I will either get a great purse, my favorite perfume or some great shoes.  That being said, with me clipping coupons and all that jazz, I know I will hold my favorite perfume in my hand and not want to spend that much money on perfume.  Birthday or not, forty bucks for perfume is expensive.  Yikes.

So, what do you do on your birthday?  If I were in Arizona, I would have at least two friends who would kidnap me and take me to lunch and to get our toes done.  So that is what I want for my birthday, either my sister or my friends in Az to get here to Michigan where there is SNOW ON THE GROUND, and pick me up to do lunch and our toes.  Except I want to go to Tommy Bahama Cafe in North Scottsdale, perfect for a gal's lunch.  Oh well, Janet just said she is taking me to breakfast, what a great start.  

God bless you and yours.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kids Birthdays

I am not talking about my children's birthdays, but all of those around us.  This week alone I have two nephews and one niece and my own on Monday (shameless plug for my birthday, which is monday).  Luckily, they are all of the age that they just want money.  Sounds callous, but once they get over legos and princess dolls, they really just want to get what they really want, not something their Aunt picked out in a panic at Target at 11pm at night.  Just write a check, they will be happy and you will not be at Target with all the midnight shoppers.

I have thrown birthday parties and thought I did a pretty good job.  Then I went to someone else's birthday party and thought I failed miserably.  I want to know when it all became a one up-manship?  Why?  Not that you should not throw a party for your child, it's fun and wonderful and a great time is usually had by all.  I just want to know why I feel like a failure if your party is better than mine.  I think I am mostly over this, but it used to weigh so heavily on me.  I remember going to my first neighborhood party in our new neighborhood.  A very crafty neighbor who is now a wonderful friend had saved baby jars and made "jars of honey" for her daughter's Winnie The Pooh party.  Little baby food jars full of candy, fabric lid and a bow.  I am the mom who gets the pinata and hands out ziploc bags for the kids to take the candy home.  Then, my pinata was not big enough.  The goodie bags not full enough.  The decorations lacking in some way.

I have spent a fortune on my kids birthday parties and never rented a bouncy house or cotton candy machine.  I did "borrow" the snow cone machine from our church, but that's allowed and it was summer.  There is nothing wrong with a bouncy house either, I just could not afford one.  I also started planning all birthday parties around any kind of meal.  I will put out chips and stuff, but I am not feeding your kids.  I am very fond of the 2 p.m. to 4p.m. party.  No hot dogs, no pizza and that is that.  I learned this the hard way.  Tyler's first birthday cost us over $500.00 and he does not even remember it.  By the time all the family and friends came over and ate and had a beer or a soda, we were down the drain.  

When I was a kid, you went to your friends house, maybe played pin the tail on the donkey, ate the cake their mom had made that morning, opened presents and went home.  When did  Chucky Cheese get in the middle of all this?  It took me a long time, but now, I refuse to give in to the hype.  Who can afford it?  Let's get back to basics.  You can get a lot of decorations for birthdays at the dollar store.  If you must get a cake and you are having a crowd, Costco or Sam's Club make great cakes for great prices.  

In these trying economic times, let's tone it down.  If you are having a family party, maybe make it a pot-luck.  All we really want is the kids to have a great time right?  What did we have fun doing when we were young?  We did not require big rats in nasty costumes singing and scaring the babies.  

What is your best cost saving trick for birthday parties?  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My 100th Post

Okay, so it's not a real milestone, but it is for me.  I must say I am rather proud that I haven't given this whole thing up.  I really like it.  I am working on my craft by writing everyday.  I am consistent and when I cannot be consistent, it is usually because I am sick and I let all you guys know.  Considering that I did not even know what a blog was until my writer's conference, I am doing pretty well.

Basically, when I went to my writer's conference, I knew nothing.  I though if you show up with a great idea (of course my book is a great idea) they would just scoop me up and run with it.  I did not know I needed a platform and what a platform was and what was involved in getting a platform.  I learned so much.  So I am going to recommend something to all of you.

What do you want to do?  What is your passion?  What secret is pecking away at your heart?  I say try.  If you have something you have always wanted to do and have not done it, you have to try.  It is tough.  It took me eight years to write my book and I learned so much about writing that I have to re-edit my book before I could submit it to the three sources that said they would look at it at the Conference.  You have to purpose to pursue your passion.  Etch out time in our chaotic lives to work on something we really don't have time for.  It is worth it.  

I come down to this.....  You have all the time in the world to do what God has called you to do.  Period.  God can provide in the supernatural what we cannot fathom.  Life is good when God is in it.  Try your passion.  What have you always wanted to do?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grounding Kids

While this could take on so many meanings....Keep your kids grounded in the Lord, keep them level in their thinking and actions, keep them realistic in goals, all that jazz, it is not the meaning we are exploring today.  I am talking about grounding you kids for doing something wrong.

My children are in a place in their lives where spanking probably won't work.  I don't know how I would get Tyler at 5'10" and 150 pounds to go over my knee.  That being said, they still need discipline because they still get out of line.  So it falls to taking something away from them or grounding them.  

The problem with older children is when you ground them, you ground yourself.  They want a reprieve and want to negotiate an early release.  I will admit to wanting to cave.  I get tired of, "mom, why can't I come out of my room"  "I have been good all day, you guys are just being mean"  "mom, are you saying you never did anything wrong when you were a kid?"  All good arguments.  Quite frankly, I want them outside with their friends, messing up the woods instead of my house.  The lego projects alone are epic.  It is amazing what kids can come up with when they are under house arrest.  Of course, I refuse to budge.  Budging is admitting defeat and giving in to the little negotiators, it is unacceptable.  

I admit to guilt over discipline.  No one wants to spank a child or ground a child or take something precious away from a child.  But actions have consequences, good and bad.  That is a life lesson that must be drummed into their little brains, no matter how much they cry and say that everyone hates them.  I once heard that if your teenager tells you they hate you less than three times a day, you are not doing your job.  I am not my children's friend.  I am their mom and together with their dad, we are a unit that prepares them for the big bad world.  That is our job.  But like most jobs, there are good days and bad days.  So I pray a lot over my children.  

If you have trouble praying for your kids, join the club.  A book that helped me so much was The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O'Martian.  It has specific prayers for specific times in their lives, awesome.  She is a parent and a Christian and knows our challenges.  I highly recommend it.  Also, talk to your girlfriends with kids a little older than yours, what's working, what's not.  Remember that no one knows your kids like you do, but a little help and support during our challenges is wonderful.

What works for your family in the way of discipline?  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Juggling the kids

While the title brings to mind throwing my children up in the air, all at once and swinging them around, that is not exactly what I mean.  We as mothers, juggle.  We juggle schedules.  We juggle carpools.  We juggle work and home and everything in between.  I never learned to juggle properly.  By that I mean that I cannot toss three or four balls in the air and keep it going.  My husband can, I cannot.  But I juggle my life and usually do not drop the balls, so I think that is better.  It won't get me on the Tonight Show, but I always wanted to be on when Johnny was there, sooooo.

This Thursday, the cookie dough order for the fundraiser comes in.  I planned accordingly.  I took the day off.  I arranged for my mom-in-law to watch the kids when they get off the bus, get the other child and the neighbor child from baseball practice.  Even going to get the kids to youth group, where I will be handing out cookie dough.  Awesome.  Here comes the monkey wrench.  My mother-in-law is going to a funeral three hours away, has to leave tomorrow and won't be back until late Thursday.  Let the chaos erupt.  Now, instead of smooth sailing I will be tag-teaming.  I am going to reluctantly let my almost twelve year old watch the other two for one and a half hours.  This was a tough one for me, but for the love of all that is holy, I was babysitting infants when I was ten, I have to let it go.  I am going to arrange at today's meeting about said cookie dough to have relief ready for me when I have to pick up my younger ones at home and then proceed on to baseball practice, then drop off the neighbor kid, then drive through whatever for dinner, then back to youth group, then the twelve year old has drums, then I have to get the twelve year old from drums and take him to youth group (not at the youth center, only high school goes there) then I have pick him up and make sure the cookie dough that is not getting picked up gets to Nicolina's garage until Sunday.  I know that sentence is way too long, but there you go.  I think I will drink all day Thursday, just kidding.  Drinking does not help, that much I do know.

I know that I am not alone in all of this, we all juggle.  I also know that at the end of the day on Thursday, I will be tired, the kids will be tired and we will all be okay.  It's just one day of many that we have all survived.  Baseball season is upon us.  Grant is playing Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays.  Tyler just made freshman baseball at his Junior High (Go CHIEFTANS) and he plays on Tuesday and Thursday.  This is going to freak Cooper out, but this is not our first rodeo, we have been in baseball for years.  When Cooper was younger, I would leave the car running and he could watch a movie, that was the only way he could get through the day.  We all do what we have to do, I wasted gas and blew a hole in the ozone.  

What are you juggling today?  Work?  Husband's work schedule?  Kids?  Dance or girlscouts (oh crap, we have girlscouts tonight), or whatever.  Let me know.

God bless you and yours and all that you are juggling.

Monday, March 23, 2009


So, I have a new little do-hickey on my blog.  It's called Shelfari.   Kind of cool.  You can put in books you have read and recommend on this little book shelf.  Neat.  Moments of Grace, the book with the flower on it, is actually a book that I am in.  It is a book with several authors with stories about Grace.  God's grace coming into their lives.  I was blessed to be a part of it.  My story is about Cooper and my battle with my demons in coming to peace with his diagnosis.  The second book, Saturdays with Stella is a great book written by a friend of mine, Allison Pittman.  If you have ever felt uncomfortable in God's family and wonder how and when to fit in, get this book, you will finally get it.  Both are available at Amazon.

The do-hickey brought up my love of books.  I love to read, it has always been an escape for me.  And a blessing and a breakthrough.  I read just about everything.  Or have at some point.  I do love a smutty book.  Not a nasty book, just smutty.  Someone like Nora Roberts, although her latest stuff has been too weird for me to read.  I do love her trilogies that are love stories.  Her last two trilogies have been about vampires and murder, yuck.  Her older stuff is love stories set in Ireland or about Scottish families and I love them.  Read them over and over.  She tells a great story.  I love Christian fiction too, Frank Perretti has written some amazing books.  Look up my pal Allison Pittman on that note too.  I am not really into science fiction, although my mother devours it.  I like a good mystery, but it is not my favorite genre.  I guess I am all over the place on what I like to read.  I do love Rob Bell's books, look him up if you get the chance.  Scott and I are currently doing the Love Dare, that is amazing.  I also have an obsession with Cookbooks.  Seriously, I should not buy anymore, but I cannot stop.  I usually use at least one recipe from every cookbook I have bought.  Or I want to try one out in the future.

I read my bible every day.  I know that gives me my purpose and keeps me level when I want to go off on a tangent.  That was a tough one to get into, especially for me.  I grew up Catholic, as a rule, we don't really read the bible.  My sister gave me The Way, which is a Catholic living bible, when I was 21 and running wild.  What I loved about it was that I could read it.  It made sense to me.  I have gone through many bibles.  Sounds weird, but true.  I currently read the Women of Faith Study Bible NIV.  It is easy to read too.  I write in my bible (I used to think that was blasphemous).  When I write something in my bible, I date it.  It's amazing to look back at something that hit me in my heart and remember what I was going through and why I needed that verse.  I am constantly humbled by the grace that God gives to me in my darkest times.

So what is on your book shelf?  What is on your night stand?  Do you like to read or is it a chore?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fundraising for the Mission trip

So, my oldest son went on a mission trip last year with our youth group.  They went down with Work Groups and worked in Nashville for five days.  Amazing.  He wrote a paper for his English class that said it changed his life and brought him closer to God.  Humbling.  Last year the youth group did garage sales, car washes and sent letters to raise the money.  They fell a little short.  Unfortunately, our modest youth group car washes cannot compete with the cheerleader car washes that almost looked like a porn movie.  I am not exaggerating, I wish I was, it was pretty indecent.  This year, God put it on my heart to help out.  I did fundraising before the twins were born, so I am pretty good at it.  No one at church had really wanted to head this up, so I volunteered.

I have always said, you should take a break from volunteering if you are doing too much.  Just say no for about a year or two.  This will help you find your passion and concentrate on it.  Seriously, I used to do everything, PTA, school stuff, church stuff, all kinds of stuff.  Until my husband literally begged me to stop volunteering.  I told everyone who asked that I was forbidden to volunteer by my husband.  Oh the looks I got.  That being said, it was so freeing.  Society has told us that unless we run ourselves into the ground helping at every function, we are "bad" moms.  Well, bad moms unite.  We do not have to do everything for everyone all the time.  Period.  Your "no" may allow the quiet mom to speak up with a "yes".  God will let you know when you are needed.  Trust me on this.

That being said......we are doing two major fundraisers.  One just finished, Cookie Dough.  If you are looking for a great profit fundraiser, this would be it.  It can be tricky because you do need cold to get this stuff delivered, but hey, I live in Michigan, it's cold enough.  We made just about $1300.00 on 314 tubs of cookie dough.  Pretty good for our first sale.  We are going to do this in the fall from now on, getting it delivered right before Thanksgiving.  Smarter that way really.  So this Thursday, I will be sorting(with all my lovely assistants) 314 tubs of cookie dough.  Should be fun and exciting and exhausting.

Our big fundraiser is a Spaghetti dinner/Silent Auction this May.  We need over $13600.00 to get these kids to Indianapolis this year.  Silent Auctions are awesome, because everything is donated and it is pure profit.  We are having the youth donate different things for different theme baskets.  You know, a sports basket, a coffee basket, a beach basket, all that stuff.  I have put on my fundraiser hat and am getting donations from all sorts of businesses.  The ticket price should cover the cost of the meal.  The Youth group band will be playing a little music for entertainment.  The rest of the youth will be serving.  We are hoping for six hundred people total, should be awesome.  And exhausting.  But I love it.

So pray for this endeavor to succeed.  It is our first year, so there will be pop ups and problems and chaos.  It is always a learning experience the first year.  Pray that God blesses the youth and parents and youth leaders going on this mission trip to help others.  Pray that I don't lose what is left of my mind.

Oh yeah, if you have anything you would like to donate, just let me know!  I will get you our letter of explanation.

What is your passion that you volunteer at?  I need to know.  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living with Aspberger's Syndrome

So yesterday I talked about my Cooper.  He has Aspberger's Syndrome, which is a mild form of Autism.  It is sometimes called "geek" syndrome.  Some say Albert Einstein had it, failing school but excelling later in life.  Every child with autism is different and unique.  That is why school systems are reluctant to diagnose these things, ever child needs a personalized system for them, a daunting task for anyone.  

Cooper is doing great.  But this has not been an overnight sensation.  When he was first diagnosed, we went totally organic and limited certain kinds of foods.  We had seventeen vials of blood taken from his little five year old arm for "level 5" allergy tests.  That was a very challenging day.  Going organic broke our bank.  I was spending $250.00 every four days for food and driving forty-five miles one way to get that organic food.  Yikes.  I am all about eating organic if you can, but it is very costly.  Horribly expensive.  Coop's tests revealed that dairy is a big no no.  Gluten is not an issue for him and thank God corn is not an issue.  Cooper only eats about twenty things.  Popcorn is a basic food group for him, so if he could not have corn, it would be a tragic thing.  

When Cooper finally found out that he could not have milk, he would tell you that he was "black toast intolerant".  Hysterical.  That is what we call a Cooperism.  I embrace all Cooperisms that come from his little mouth.  He is coming along socially and in a regular classroom most of the day.  He is getting A's and B's and an occasional C.  For a child whose whole world is black and white, no gray allowed, that is amazing.  The written and spoken word is a very hard concept for him, but he is doing it.

I never want to seem flip about his diagnosis, but when life throws you a curve ball, you still have to be in the game.  It is about accepting and embracing who Cooper is and what he can do, not what he can't do.  I find it wonderful that Cooper wants to be a chef, even though he only eats about twenty things and frequently asks "What's that stench?" when I am cooking.  He wants to try to help when I am cooking, even if he won't touch what is in the pot with a ten foot pole.  That is progress.  

When you get a diagnosis of this kind, your world shatters.  That is not an overstatement, it is a fact.  But I still had four kids and a life and a husband and had to get up the next morning and keep going.  Praying got me through so much, after I stopped being really mad at God.  The funny thing about being mad at God is that He knows you are mad and is waiting for you to bring the issue to Him.  What a concept, took me a while though.  Cooper is Cooper and that's it.  I cannot change him or cure him.  I just give him the best day I can and help him adjust to what he needs to adjust to.  I just give him the calmest place to start and teach him to roll with the punches.

What challenges are you facing with your children?  Mine are not better or worse than yours, just different.  Let me know, we are all in this together.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yucko Day

Okay, it is cloudy out, and my period has come on with a vengeance.  Actually, it came on at 2:00a.m. with all the accompanying grossness.  I am over this whole monthly cycle thing.  Seriously, the older I get, the worse they get.  About every six months I have a cycle from the seventh circle of hell.  I can barely get out of bed, but being a mother, I get out of bed and function.  I have taken four tylenols to no avail.  I am afraid to leave the house or be too far from a bathroom.  I hate it.

I almost forgot to pack Cooper's lunch, so this cycle affects my mind also.  I have a million and one things to do today, and I hope I do them correctly.  Maybe, maybe not.  Cooper does have his lunch.  You have no idea what having no lunch would have done to his little Aspberger's mind.  Unless, of course, you have an Aspberger's child, then you know.  Just picture the child who needs everything the same every day to function at a normal level.  Consider that a seam in his sock can ruin his day.  Now imagine him opening his back pack to no lunch.  Bad, bad day for Cooper.  Bad mommy day for sure.  

So as I sit here, listening to the wash, hoping all the stains come out, I have to wonder.  Why, if I am done having children, do I have to have a period?  I have at least ten more years of this crapola.  Why?  Someone tell me.  I have no idea why, my tubes have been tied, we are so very done having children.  If by some miracle of God, my tubes become functional again, it will be sign from God that I should have one more child.  If not, then why the suffering?  Can someone clear this up?  Men don't have to go through this or childbirth or anything.  True, they have to suffer through our PMS, but seriously, they should be used to "that week" by now.  Get over it.

So what's up with you today?  Is it a grand day, or a yucko day?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Did everyone scramble to find each child something green to wear today?  I am safe, my apron at Starbucks is green.  Are you putting on your Irish today?  Well you should.  Get your corned beef and cabbage going on the stove and get in the mood for some fun.

Not sure who Saint Patrick was?  He is the patron saint of Ireland.  Not sure what a patron saint is?  Google it, I got out of Catholic school a long time ago, but I believe everything has a patron saint.  Patron saint of traveling, patron saint of whatever you need a patron saint of, regarding whatever you need to be watched over about.  I do know that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to help people understand the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  I also know he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.  I say bravo, I hate snakes.

So embrace your inner Irish today.  Wear green, cook corned beef and cabbage, and smile and all the people being silly today.  I am half Irish.  My mother is full blown, Flannigan, Canny, O'Connor Irish.  My Aunts go to Ireland once a year to see the "cousins".  My mom, personally, was disinherited for marrying a divorced Lutheran.  Pretty heavy stuff.  My grandfather was Irish beyond Irish.  Notre Dame Irish.  My grandmother was Chicago Irish who met my Grandfather at Notre Dame and married in the Log Chapel there.  So it's pretty safe to say that I am Irish and proud of it.  We are made of hearty stock, survived a potato famine, survived the English, survived ourselves.  I love it, all of it.

Even if you are not Irish, you are today, so have some fun with it.  

God bless you and yours.  Slainte!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Everyone Out!

Everyone back to school today.  Whoopee!  I am opening the windows (when it hits 50 today) and bleaching the sheets and killing the germs.  This house will be clean of viruses.  I am sick of the kids being sick.  I have truly run out of time for this.  I probably should not say anything, I am jinxing myself, but it's time to clean.

This virus that attacked out house was brutal.  High fever, sore throat, and a really, really bad headache.  I did buy that new thermometer that you just scan their heads with.  Totally works and takes three seconds.  Worth every penny of $28.88 at Sam's Club.  Took their temps while they were sleeping, it was awesome.  Anything is better than the rectal thing.  My kids are way too old for that, but not quite old enough not to talk while an oral thermometer is in their mouths.  

So, including the doctor visits, the new thermometer, the Lysol, the bleach and all the rest, this little virus comes in at around a hundred bucks.  Wait, I have to include the gatorade (everyone wanted their favorite kind, none of them were the same) the special request lunches, the waiting on them hand and foot (that's what moms do), it may go up to around one-fifty.  Yikes.  I do budget doctor visits, but not all the rest.  And the thermometer was not in my budget, so I have to find the money for that.  Oh well, mac and cheese for dinner this week, at least twice.

I am also looking forward to some alone time.  Some, just sit around time.  Although, with me doing five loads of sheets, that may be tough today.  Might as well clean my sheets too.  They were in my bed too.  I love my kids so much.  I treasure every moment, even the burning up with fever, too hot to hold, but have to be held moments.  I do.  But mommas need their space too.  Usually after a bout of sickness in my house, I really need some space.  Some "don't touch mom" space.  I am officially touched out.  That is my mom speak for quit touching me.  Quit hanging on me, quit tugging on my shirt.  Quit touching me.  This may sound harsh, but I think we all know that after being tugged on all day, we get a little touchy about being touched.  Admit it, you feel that way too.  The only people that don't feel that way are mothers of really small babies and people without kids.  Every other mom gets touched out.  It's not a bad thing, space is grace.  Just a little grace from our kids.  We all need it from time to time.

Do you ever get "touched out"?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The cost of being sick.

I remember when Tyler was a baby, ear thermometers first come out.  The cost was right around one hundred dollars.  I did not care, I had to have one.  Taking your baby's temperature with a rectal thermometer was horrible.  I realize that our mothers did this to us well into grade school, but still, yuck.  I was already cleaning that area four times a day, do I really need to go there again?  I asked my parents for the ear thermometer for my birthday.  Seriously.  It's all I wanted.  What a miracle.  In addition to the no butt thing, you get their temperature in thirty seconds or less.  No more holding down a child to see if they are sick, you just stick it in their ear and beeeeep, temperature.  Awesome.  So worth it.  Luckily now, the cost is twenty to thirty dollars, much more affordable.  They also have thermometers that you just touch their foreheads with.  Amazing.  What will they come up with next?

So I shared with you that Grant is sick with a high temperature.  I got out my handy dandy ear thermometer.  It said his temperature was 95.4.  His forehead is burning up, but it is reading 95.4.  Okay, maybe it needs new batteries.  So off I go to Wally world (that would be Wal-mart) to get the new batteries.  The thermometer batteries are the flat kind that go in watches and stuff.  Put in the new batteries, take Grant's temperature..... 95.4.  Okay, time for a new thermometer.  That's exciting.  I get to go look at all the gadgets and doodads that have just come out in the way of taking a child's temperature.  Awesome.  I really want the one they use at the doctor's office.  The one where they put the little plastic sleeve on it and stick it under your tongue for less than a minute and get a really accurate temperature.  My kids are older, I can stick stuff under their tongues and it will stay there for a minute.  

I could revert back to the old fashioned oral thermometers.  Shake down the mercury, stick it under their tongues, wait five minutes.  Keep telling the child that they have to keep it under their tongues and quit talking or it won't work.  Get out my glasses, attempt to get an accurate reading on the silver line of hope.  Maybe not.  I am sorry to say, that in this instant world, I want my kid's temperature, and I want it now.  I do need instant results when my kids are sick, period.  That is nothing I am ashamed of.

What is your favorite gadget for your kiddos?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's back

Picked up Grant from math club yesterday.  Eyes glassy, looked flushed, coughing like a seal.  You may ask why I sent him to school.  Well,  because he did not look that way yesterday morning.  So we went off to our pediatrician's night owl clinic.  You can walk in from 5-8p.m.  every day without an appointment, kind of cool.  The nurse goes to take his temperature (which I very professionally had done by kissing his forehead, seemed a little hot, not bad).  His temperature was 103.4.  How bad a mom am I?  This kid sat in school and even through math club and never called me.  He hates to miss anything.  That being said, I feel horrible.  The nurse immediately brought in liquid motrin.  

Now, Grant will not, I repeat not, take any kind of liquid medicine.  He hates the taste.  He will barf it right back at you.  I have spilled more red medicine on light colored carpet over the years than I can count.  He will swallow any pill you throw at him, but no liquid stuff.  He took the cup from the nurse and drank it down.  Now I know he's sick.  Not a whimper, he just took the orange stuff and drank it down.   Then he laid on the exam table until the doctor came in.

He was tested for strep and a blood test was taken to rule out a bacterial infection.  It's a virus.  I hate it.  I am off today, so I will be washing and bleaching and lysoling everything in sight.  Again.  As I sit here and write this, Cooper is getting up and he is coughing.  Yikes.  I hate the virus thing.  It just has to run it's course.  That is the worst sentence a mother can hear.  

It just has to run it's course.  Well who the heck set up this obstacle course inside my kids anyhow?  "It's course" could be from three to five days.  Just enough time for the whole family to get it.  Ugh.  Who has time for this?  Fevers, coughing, sore throats......give me something that cures this stuff.  Anything.  Since it is viral, no antibiotics.  Can you just give me some to make me feel like he's getting better?  It would make me feel better to give my kid medicine so I at least feel like I am killing the virus.  But alas, no.  No pink stuff in the bottle.  No pills to kill bacteria.  Just plenty of fluids, rest and motrin to control the fever.  And one uncomfortable, crabby kid.  

Since last week it was Tatum, and this week it is Grant, I am assuming that next week will be Cooper and the week after that will be Tyler.  It should hit me somewhere around the middle of all the kids and Scott will walk away without a scratch.  Fabulous.  I hate sickness of any kind, but I prefer a sickness killed by pink stuff in a bottle.

I pray that nothing like this is going on at your house.  Let me know, we can cry on each other's shoulders.  

God bless you and  yours.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you have ever seen a friend of yours, that is a mom, running down the street screaming, it is probably because her kids are fighting.  Fighting over nothing.  Fighting over a space on the couch.  Fighting over the last cookie (even though there is another package sitting right there).  Fighting over who has to walk the dog.  Fighting over fighting.  

Some people consider a fight a fight when fists fly.  I consider a fight a fight when words fly.  Nothing can wound more that words.  Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart.  The tone and the force behind hurtful words are brutal.  When I call my kids on this, every time, they say, "I didn't mean it."  Really?  Then why did you say it?  

Any boy in fourth grade or above knows the ultimate put down.  The word "gay".  Most, when they start using the word, don't even know what it means, but they know some older boy said it and the other boy lost his mind over it.  I hate it.  First, it is intolerable.  Second it is misinformed.  Third it is intolerable.  In our house, it is equal to the "f" word.  It is not allowed.  I refuse to allow my children to carry on a stereotype they know nothing about.  And when they have the knowledge of the word, it should never be used as an insult.  I feel the same about stupid, dumb, and retard.  You may not degrade your brothers or sisters in my home.  

Handling all this is a full time job.  For whatever reason, brothers and sisters hate each other at some point in their day.  They push each other in front of the mirror.  They shove to get out the door first.  Everything is a competition.  I consider myself to be a decent mother.  Try to feed them right, dress them properly, and hold them accountable for their actions, take them to church and youth group.  So why do they have to treat each other with so much sass and contention?  I don't get it.  I did it when I was growing up with my brother, but I still don't get it.

That is why you run down the street screaming your lungs out.  That is why you just drank a pitcher of margaritas with your girlfriends.  That is why you pray and when you think it is getting better, you pray some more.  Kids, when they are bickering, drive us the most nuts of all.  They always drive us crazy, but it is something about them tearing each other down that just puts the cork in it.

Do you have a great strategy for bickering in your home.  Besides beating them with a stick and sending them to their rooms?  Is that just me?  Kidding, but I do send them together into a room until they come up with a solution and make up.  What's your strategy?  I need to know.  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Family the Old Fashioned Way

So many of us have moved away from family or had to take a job where we know no one.  Some of us have made the decision to move to family.  It could be for any number of reasons.  Maybe your parents are getting older, maybe you need help with the kids, the reasons are too numerous to share.  Family, the good, the bad and the ugly, are a part of our lives.  I say an important cog in our machines.

Family to me is wonderful, even in the bad times.  We may not always agree about everything, but when the chips are down, we come together and help each other.  Family disagreements are the worst and always affect us the most.  We are not perfect and we all have different personalities and that affects the way we do family.  

I say, as hard as it can be, embrace the family you have as much as you can.  We all have someone in our families that drive us nuts.  So maybe we have to limit our time with those people or avoid them at the Christmas party.  We still have to deal with our families. 

I know I have struggled with this, my brother and I don't get along and I am not proud of that.  I pray about it daily.  Scott is one of six kids and when we all get together, it can be chaotic and crazy.  We still all get together.  We have to love and pray for our family, even if they drive us crazy.  That is what families do.

Two generations ago, most families lived in close proximity to each other and helped each other with their every day lives.  Some even lived in the same house.  Most lived in the same house, it was just how families operated.  I think we have strayed too far from that.  We get so wrapped up in our everyday lives that we forget to interact.  Or we are stranded far away from those who care the most for us and feel isolated.  Either way, we need our families.  The good, the bad, the ugly, we need them.  We learn our best life lessons from our family.  Embrace the chaos and wonderfulness of your family.

So what's up with your family?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Virus that plays together, stays together.

So I explained my momma guilt when Tatum was sick last week.  I ended up taking her back to the doctor on Thursday, no strep, just a virus.  That being said, on antibiotics, during those three days, she developed an ear infection and bronchitis.  So the doctor put her on different antibiotics and she is better.  

I woke up this morning at five to my middle child sitting on the stairs.  His head hurts.  That is how Tatum started.  Added to that, Grant spent about three hours playing in the rain on Saturday.  I know there are those of you that say kids won't get sick from playing in the rain, but I do believe it can hamper their immune system.  It certainly ruined his clothes.

So, with four children, I should be done with this particular virus in about a month.  I have been here before, this is not my first rodeo.  The worst is the stomach flu.  Everybody puking, the laundry alone can kill you.  My mother-in-law has six children.  She remembers falling asleep on the washing machine in the middle of the night during a stomach flu epidemic in her household years ago.  That's the kind of thing that can scar a mom for life.  I remember borrowing an air mattress from a friend so Scott could sleep at night.  I slept right between the twins, on the floor, catching barf all night long.  Yikes.  

I do have a great "trick" for the stomach flu.  If your children are small enough to miss the bowl, lay beach towels under them, at least five.  Then you just scoop and run to the laundry room.  It also gets them back to sleep in a shorter period of time than usual.  Usually, you have to change the sheets, get the child out of bed, get new sheets on, etc.  Then it's off to the laundry room.  I say embrace the beach towel, they are not just for summer anymore.

As I go off to Lysol and bleach everything in sight to kill this virus in my house, I have to wonder.  Why?  If I give my children vitamins, feed them right, do everything I am supposed to do to help them go on their merry ways, why?  This is the rare time when the pity train comes to my house.  Why me?  Why me and the sick kids?  Why me with barf on my shoulder, why?  The answer, of course, is, Why not me?  Every mom goes through this.  Most dads would faint or start barfing themselves at the thought of catching barf in their hands.  We moms are made of stronger stuff, so that' s why.  Still doesn't seem fair, but it is just one more thing that makes us moms.  Spines of steel, hearts of gold and hands full of barf.  

Anything going around your house?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Okay, so I'm a stress eater

Not to say that I eat stress, but I eat when I am stressed out.  I admit it.  I consider it a fault, but I am trying.  Since January I have been eating right (lots of brown rice, veggies, chicken, fish, fruit) and I have been getting on the treadmill five days a week.  If I want a Hershey's kiss, I eat one, to prevent me from eating the whole dang bag.  Sensible right?  Even lost twelve pounds and some inches, I plan to keep on going.

That being said.........Yesterday we got some news that was very stressful.  If you are on my personal email, you know the story, it is too long and drawn out to explain here.  Most of the day, I did alright.  Had my healthy breakfast, healthy snack, mostly healthy lunch, with a scoop of my favorite ice cream.  Then came the cookies, the french fries and chicken nuggets, the rest of my veal parm from the restaurant the night before and a brownie and just one spoon of fudge brownie ice cream to round out the night.  It seems like when I am maxed out, the food just keeps coming.  I know it is a trigger.  I can tell you that I know it is not good for me, but there you go.

My ulcer let me know right away that fried food and the acid level in my stomach do not mix.  I went to bed feeling slightly ill and still stressed out.  I am back on the band wagon today, got on the treadmill at 5:00a.m. and now am writing to you.

I think this is a uniquely girl problem.  Men punch things or yell when they are stressed out.  I have never seen a man passed out on a couch, candy wrappers strewn around, cookie crumbs on his chest, clutching a spoon in on hand and an empty carton of Ben and Jerry's in the other.  I cannot even picture it.  But I can even see Julia Roberts on that couch.  Maybe not Paris Hilton, but I dislike her so much that I try not to picture her anywhere but finding God and doing something meaningful with her life.

So, am I normal?  Should I learn to just exercise when stressed out?  I think my legs would fall off.  I believe that God is with us and watching over the whole scene and while we don't understand everything right now, it is all for His Glory.  That is a pretty big step for me, releasing it all to God.  So am I a bad Christian for praying while I am eating a brownie?  I did not lose faith, I just ate a brownie.

What in your life stresses you out?  I mean besides the every day junk we as moms do on a daily basis.  What do you do when that hits?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I dare you.

If you have more than one child, or a very adventurous only child, this phrase can strike fear into your heart.  Or make you put your orthopedic surgeon on speed dial.  For me, this is our middle child, Grant.  Or Grantie Bear as I call him.  He is approaching the age of twelve so I think that particular phrase should slowly be eliminated from my vocabulary.

Grant will try just about anything.  Last fall, he and his friends had made a huge pile of leaves under one of our trees.  Then he thought it would be great fun to climb the tree and jump into the pile of leaves.  There is still hard ground under the not so cushy leaves.  Luckily, God let me see what was going on before he or his friends could kill themselves or at the very least, maim each other.  Yikes.  No fear.

I should tell you that this is the child with the gleam in his eye.  The "what can I get into next" button in his brain.  He was born that way.  Some of you don't believe me.  Okay, here's one for you.  At the ripe old age of two and half, he left his room during nap, got into the twins room, woke up Cooper and I found the two of them kicking out the slats from Cooper's crib.  Kicking them out, ruining the crib that we had since Tyler was born.  Praise God it was not a family heirloom.  Wrecked it, on a whim.  What two year old thinks of these things?

He has broken his arm, strained his knee, gotten stitches (twice), broken a thumb and is the only one of my children to see the inside of an ambulance and actually take a ride in it.  I owe 90% of all my gray hairs to him.  And I love him so much.  

He is my child with the biggest heart.  Loves and cares and takes things into his heart and keeps them there.  He is amazing.  He strikes fear into my heart and such a pride.  He will do great things in his life.   That much I do know.  If we survive his teenage years, that is.  

Do you have a daredevil in your house?  Let me know, they are such a blessing.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Orthodontists and such

Okay, first, I love our orthodontist, he is great.  The staff is great, the office is nice, without being too nice.  But as I sat there yesterday while Grant was getting his braces "adjusted", (when we were coming up it was called tightening), I realized just how much money this guy is making.  Tons and tons of money.  Lots of money.  Tons of money.

Braces cost between four and five thousand dollars per child.  Insurance picks up some, in our case, about fifteen hundred.  You have to shell out the rest, and there are payment plans and all that.  As I sat in the office yesterday, at least twenty kids were there being adjusted or whatever, and I was only there an hour.  Do the math, that is a lot of money.  Our family alone will send this guy to Bermuda on a regular basis.  Tatum and Cooper are not even in braces yet.  Yikes.

Not that I want to stick my hands into disgusting mouths all day long, but jeez louise.  Seriously, they need to tell us when we are in high school to make better career choices.  Dentists, orthos, pediatricians.  Those are the only tables they need to put up at career day.  Although, I think mechanics make  a great living and so do plumbers.  Why is it that to make good money you have to stick your hands in places no one else wants to?  That must be it, to make a great, steady living, you have to stick your hands in disgusting places.  That is what should be preached on career day.  Get dirty and make money.  Put your hand in a dirty place, make a good living.

If I sit here long enough, and try to figure out how much each child will cost us in the long run, I will get totally depressed.  That being said, I know in my heart that God will provide and we will all come out on the other side of my children's childhood alive and clutching the few dollars we have left.  My Aunt says she hopes to spend all her money before she dies and at the current rate it should be a dead heat to the end.  

I truly don't mind spending money on our kids, that's my job.  I just have to ponder these things from time to time.  It does make you think.

What do you think, besides college, is your current biggest expense for your child?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mom Guilt

So, on my one day off this week, in the middle of frantic coupon clipping (saved $70.00 on one trip), I get the call from school.  Tatum is sick and needs to be picked up.  I have a feeling it is strep throat and take her to the doctor.  It's strep throat.  Just a quick note, if your child's breath smells like medicine, it's strep throat.  That is just one of the signs.  Headache, stomach ache, fever, looking white as a sheet, all these things are clues too.  That being said, she was happy as a clam going to school.  I am not that bad a mother.  Strep can come on quickly.

Last night, my dear sweet baby girl asked if I worked today, when I said I did, she burst into tears.  I feel like a heel.  I big heel.  Explaining that grandma would be here to watch her just made her cry more.  "I want my mom home".  Just stick the dagger in and twist it in my chest.  My gosh, I feel horrible.  I still have to go to work and make the coffee.  I have to work 20 hours a week to keep our benefits.  If I don't, we lose our health coverage.  So off to work I go with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Question, do men feel guilty?  As we are standing in the doorway with puke on our shoulders, not showering in days and holding a crying child, does guilt come into the picture?  I love my husband and he is wonderful, but it would never enter his mind to call in sick to work because our kids are sick.  And the children would not want him anyways. Not that they love him less, but there is something about a mom.  They don't cry out for dad in the middle of the night.  It is always mom wailed in the middle of night.

So what makes you feel guilty?  Sick kids, daycare, not enough time in the day?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, March 2, 2009

To Cell phone our child or not

Okay, you with smaller children may not think that this applies to you, but it does.  At what point do you arm your child with a cell phone?  I used to say high school, but Scott and I have changed our tune.  Tyler gets a cell phone when he can pay for it himself.  I will add him to our plan and all that, but if he has to pay for it, I have a feeling the whole process will go better.  Let me tell you why.

Our thirteen year old niece, who shall remain nameless, just went over her minutes on her parents plan to the tune of $400.00.  Four.  Hundred.  Dollars.  When her parents originally let her have texting, she went so far over, they took the texting away.  They have since taken away her cell phone until she can pay the money back.  I don't have to mention anything else do I?  When I learned of this two days ago and asked her how she could do this to her parents, she replied, "I don't know how to check my minutes".  Really?  Kids today know everything about anything that has to do with an Ipod, a cell phone or a computer.  They are way smarter than we are, so I called her on the carpet.  I think all of us know someone who has had to deal with this, the answer is not to get unlimited minutes.  What does that teach our children?  It solves the immediate problem, but not the long term.

That being said, young teenage minds do not have the right wiring for consequences.  They don't think before they act.  They believe the best until the worst happens.  That is why they have parents to keep them alive until they can make proper decisions.  That is basically our jobs, keep the kids alive until they can function on their own and not make complete fools of themselves or worse.

That brings up something I think is very important.  You cannot wait until your kids are teenagers to decide what they can and when they can do it.  You and your hubby need to figure all that stuff out, hash it out, when they start to walk.  When will your girl be able to wear make-up?  What about the cell phone question?  When can they date?  That is a big one.  Make these decisions early, because these kids are dealing with things at a much younger age than we did.  If we heard about something or tried something our senior year, they are doing it in sixth grade, or younger.  It is a scary, scary world out there.

I know all the arguments from my teenager as to why he needs a cell phone.  He makes a great argument.  He will someday make a great lawyer or senator.  He still isn't get a cell phone until he can pay for it himself.  I am the meanest mom on the block and proud of it.