Saturday, May 28, 2011


This year, just as many other American families are doing, we are not going to be taking one long vacation but, rather, several little "stay-cations". You know what, I kind of like this idea. Don't get me wrong, taking week long trip to some great location is wonderful and I will miss it this year but come-on, when you take kids do you really get to relax? Have you ever packed 3 kids into a van with luggage and a cooler of snacks for an 18 hour drive half way across the US? A trip to the beach is no longer a towel, baby oil and a cooler of beer! It now involves a beach umbrella, a beach blanket, sand toys, lots of snacks and Gatorade, hats, wipes and forget the iPod of a good book because you will not be able to take your eyes off them for a second. I don't know about you but a 20 minute drive a "beach" on the lake or 1 1/2 hours to one in Branson sounds WAY better than 18 hours before and after this adventure. Especially considering that after only a few hours at least one of them will be whining to go home. Now don't get me wrong, we don't just drive the 18 hours for the beach. We have wonderful family out there that we only see about once a year and it IS worth the trip to hang with them but I'm scratching around for some silver linings here.

Luckily, we live a great area that is rather close to a wide variety of activities. We will be camping in several different locations this summer. We will be enjoying the aquatic center, concerts in the park, farmer's market, library, splash pads and river/lake. We'll go hang out with my parents (and leave the kids behind for a while). We have vacation Bible school to look forward to. All in all, I think we won't be lacking in summer activities to spite the lack of major vacation plans. I really am looking forward to this summer!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rain! It is raining, AGAIN! Now seriously, I know God created the rainbow as a promise that he would never again flood the WHOLE world but he didn’t say anything about smaller areas. OK, in all honesty, I know that He isn’t going to flood out the whole of Fayetteville and the ark jokes have grown rather tired but I’m still feverishly singing “Rain, rain go away… and don’t come back until JULY.”
There are a few good things about the rain. I have yet to need to water my garden (most of it was washed away but hey, silver lining). Umbrellas and gutters are GREAT at entertaining all three children though I should have had Uncle Stephen teach me to make the paper boats before he went back to Finland as I am asked regularly to recreate this engineering feet. Unfortunately, today there is thunder which means somewhere there is lightening and 3 little lightening rods might be considered abuse. Today I am enjoying an afternoon pot of coffee while the kids enjoy a fresh batch of library books. Thank the Lord above for FPL!!
On a completely different note, we are almost out of double digit days before Joey turns 30. I have thought long and hard about his 30th birthday. I have come up with grand schemes involving extensive varieties of food and friends but that involves money I don’t have and old age jokes and black icing but 1) turnabout is fair play and as I will be 30 a month later, I don’t want old age jokes and black cake. (I want a wind chime, screen door and red wine! Hint, hint) 2) 30 is in NO way, shape or form OLD! Yes, I have a husband, 3 kids, a mortgage and drive a mini-van but I’m even hotter now than I was when I was 20 (and much less modest about it ;) ) and I can still stay out to the wee hours of the morning dancing with my friends. The difference is I now have to worry about what I wear based on whether or not it can be easily pulled down or apart by little hands and can it be washed at home or am I going to have to make a trip to the cleaners when Murphy grabs me with sticky hands. Staying out late is fine as long as I’m completely aware that the kids will still be waking up at 6:30 the next morning wanting breakfast and the answers to the 30 million questions they (Keegan) came up with over night. Under normal circumstances, mommy’s brain needs a full cup of coffee before it moves from only aware enough to fix cereal bowls mode into mommy can get us ready for the day mode. Two cups are required for mommy encyclopedia. Tack on lack of sleep and we’re talking easily 3 to 4 and most likely an afternoon pot as well. Anyone know how to start a coffee IV? I am, however, much more quick witted now and love that my kids haven’t caught on to sarcasms. One day that will come back to bite me in the butt but for now its fun.
I am still at a loss of what to for his 30th birthday. I don’t even have a present idea! HELP!
In the mean time, I also have to come up with something for our anniversary and father’s day plus my parent’s anniversary, brother and 2 brother-in-law birthdays and Jackie’s birthday!!! I really stacked the deck of June against myself but then July comes and Carrie and I will use the whole month as an excuse to celebrate our birthdays so I it all evens out in the end.
So anyway, it is raining today. Again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In the homily at Mass today, Fr. John referenced Star Trek and Tim McGraw. I mean, how cool of a priest do we have that he would use such references to talk about life and death. The scripture reading was of the death of Lazarus and Jesus using it as tool to show, not only the power of God, but that Jesus is God’s Son and messenger. Though I have heard the story multiple times (at least once every church calendar year) it never occurred to me until today that Jesus LET Lazarus die! He very easily could have left for His journey sooner and been there before Lazarus died. He hung around for 2 more days after hearing of His dear friend’s illness rather than sprinting to his side. Jesus could have healed Lazarus as he had done for numerous others yet allowed nature to take its course, Lazarus to die and the burial rite to occur. Why would Jesus allow this beloved man to suffer? Jesus did it for those around Lazarus. Jesus used the death as a teaching tool. He not only wanted for the men and women to see the working of God by raising Lazarus from the dead, He wanted them to be forced into thinking about death.

It is our human nature to avoid thoughts of death. As a mother, I worry about thing that could happen to my husband, my children or my family. Mother’s are natural born worriers. However, to function through my days and to allow my children to grow up as normal functioning members of society and not the next set of Adrian Monks, I push though worries to the back of mind and simply listen closely for warning bells. Believe me, I have contemplated many times wrapping my children in bubble wrap or never allowing to do anything without full pads and head gear, maybe a mouth guard… oh that thought crosses my mind on a regular occasion. However, the point of my story is not to think regularly of all the many ways you can injure yourself or worse yet die. The point of the story is live life as if each day may be your last. Who knows, it might be!

Now, I don’t say this meaning you should run out and live recklessly or break the law because “hey, she said we should live each day like it is our last!” It is like the Tim McGraw song Live Like You Were Dying. The man in the song slowed down. He did thinks he had wanted to do but wouldn’t take time for. He was nicer to those around him, more attentive to his loved ones and more understanding. It took a death sentenced for him to finally live. Jesus used Lazarus’s death to push those around him to think about their own death without having to be dying themselves. He needed the people to open their eyes to possibility of death. I believe we need to do the same. Open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to be the type of person God wants us to be all of the time. We shouldn’t wait until we KNOW we are about to die in start living a great life. SLOW DOWN, say hello to your neighbor, excuse me when you bump into someone (instead of the “I can’t believe you just bumped into me” look even though you are actual at fault), play with your children, chat with your husband/wife, send birthday and get well cards, make dinner for a friend just because, read a book, take a walk just for the scenery. Life moves too fast to miss it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

When was the last time you tried something new?

As a mom I watch my children accomplish "firsts" on a regular basis. In the case of Murphy, he experiences a first most every day. Keegan and Kendall aren't far behind. However, when I try to think of the last time I did anything for the first time, I struggle. I can vividly remember Keegan's first steps, Kendall's full night of sleep, Murphy's first laugh... Other than the first time having spinal surgery, my last first was probably tiling when we updated the kitchen last summer. My last first was almost a year ago and had to do with grout. Seriously?

As we grow, it is pretty easy to see opportunity and jump; the world is our oyster. Do you remember your first day of school? Your first best friend? First crush; date; kiss; love; heart-break? Firsts aren't always great either; falling out with your best friend; car wreck; hang over; funeral. Good or bad, firsts leave an imprint on our brains that will influence our future. I think it is pretty important to experience firsts on a regular basis; keep that brain bouncing. Unfortunately, as you read about 30 seconds ago, I haven't had one of those in while so let's see what I could do to accomplish some more "firsts"?

1. Finish this blog... I'm actually having some writers block tonight; being very distracted and as I have never written this particular blog post before, it would be a first to finish it.

2. Crochet a snail. No really, I have the first part of it done and it is looking super cuter. This fall I am joining with two other mommies in our first ever craft booth. I will be contributing in the firsts of others. WOO-WHO for me! As for the snail, the booth will have all sorts of knitted and crocheted toys, hats, wash clothes, etc. Corn bags, aprons, wooden cars, little girl jumpers... all sorts of super cute things.

3. I need something sooner... you know, other than finishing this blog. Oh, Oh, I know. I think we are making deep dish pizza tomorrow. Joey and I have searched around and come up with a recipe we think will work very well for true Chicago Style deep dish pizza. Whether tomorrow or Wednesday, it will be the first time that we have made it. I have yet to know if it will be a success but I might just get another blog out of it.

4. I want to take the kids to Disney World soon for a first of theirs but in the mean time, we could go, say, camping in Colorado (obviously when it warms up some). I've never been there and neither have they; a first for 4 of us.

I am being sadden by lack of firsts! It is now my goal to come up a true list of firsts I want to accomplish in the next year. In the mean time, when was the last time you did something for the first time? Has it been a while? What are you going to do about it?

BTW, I got the idea for this blog from my SocialMom's daily blogging prompt. If you're a mommy and you like to be social, check out SocialMom's and meet other moms just like you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Building a Bird House

I love bird houses. I'm not sure why, really. Well, I guess if I put some thought into it, I could figure it out. My Grandma Tiny always had bird feeders right outside her kitchen window so we could watch the birds. I grew up a warm climate in a town with lots of trees (it was a mill town after all) so there were lots of different birds. Anyway, bird feeders and bird houses, I just really like them. Recently, I have purged my home for showing, I realized something. Birds are hoarder's. They build great big nests in tight little spaces and each year, they build more! We had a cute little house hanging in our back yard that housed a pair of wrens. Every year for many years they added to their little nest in the little bird house and raised baby wrens. Unfortunately, the house got caught in a terrible wind storm and fell to the ground, broken. I hate it for the wrens! They will be looking for their home very soon and it is not there!! What is our little wren family going to do? Will they know if we put up a different house? It won't have the same "smell". Plus, if we put up a new one and they move back in then we move, will the new family care for them if we leave the bird house behind? I don't think I am going to put a house out simply because I couldn't stand leaving them and not knowing if they will be cared for. That house isn't the only place we have bird nests. They seem to love us or realize that we love them. We have bird nests all over our trees. I can't begin to count the number of baby birds I have guarded from the neighbor cat while they hopped around the yard trying to learn to fly. One year I even put one back in the nest thinking it simply fell out only to watch it hope out again as soon as I pulled my hands back. Babies grow so fast.

I also like to use bird houses in my indoor decoration. They are cute and can even be beautiful. I purchase them from the store (hobby lobby usually has some super cute ones) and make them myself. Scrape wood, milk jugs, gourds, scrape tin or license plates, bent spoons, bottle caps, colorful paint; you can pretty much use anything to build one. It doesn't have to fancy to work well or even to look good. I want to make a bunch of different houses to hang on the fence above our garden. I will be waiting for our new house to do it but still have even intention of getting it done.

There are a couple of things to remember if you are making or selecting a house though. If you actually want birds to use it: 1. make sure it is ventilated 2. make sure you can open it to remove old nests (some birds will return to the same nest over and over but the house will eventually get very full) 3. Place it high enough off the ground that other animals (or children for that matter) can not get to it easily. Birds won't pick a house they deem unsafe. 4. The whole should not be very big or too near the bottom. They fit into tiny spaces and need room to build the nest.

Alrighty, so go build a house. Here's how. I've made them without plans as well. Either way, have fun and use your imagination!! Yea bird houses!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness

March madness takes on a couple of meanings in our house. To Joey this means basketball and brackets. Joey and his brothers put thought and research into thier picks, reading up on commentary, watching games and replays and looking into a teams history under pressure. They have kept up with most of the teams on and off throughout the season (sometimes for fun, sometimes for money) and should have a pretty good idea of whom to pick, right? This year, just as I did last year, I have watched maybe one half of one game. It was a Razorback game I'm sure and they aren't even close to the tournament. The guys send me an invite to join the bracket, Lord knows why, so why not? I filled it out based on the rankings given, whether or not I recognize the name of the school and the fact that I like underdogs. Last year, I won. We'll see how this year goes.

For the kids, March Madness is the frustration that one day will be beautiful and warm, perfect for outdoor play while the next day will be literally freezing with bitter winds or drizzling rain. We live in an area where March snow is not unheard-of after a week of 70 degree days. I mean REALLY!

For me, March Madness runs along the lines of spring cleaning frenzy, being super ready to move the exercising back outdoors and shoving the kids into the back yard. I'm ready to start planting a garden and cleaning up the flower beds but remember that I said we aren't out of the snow season yet. I have to fight some pretty rough allergies that, unfortunately, I have passed on the boys. This year, I have to compete with my recovery as well. I think I am handling recovery pretty well for my busy body-ness but it will get exponentially harder as the weather gets warmer. This March, we are also focusing on selling our house so I won't be planting our garden. We have talked about planting in Joey's dad's garden. He has offered space to us several times but trying to get out there to tend is a little out our way. The good thing this year is that he is now retired and willing to share the tending efforts. He will help us out with ours as long as we help out with his when are there. I believe I can handle that in order to have my fresh veggies.

Speaking of fresh veggies, Farmer's Market opens in April. Not really March Madness but coming soon. I love when farmers market finally opens. Walking around with a fresh cup of hot coffee, people watching and checking out all of the fresh produce. I love it!

This weekend we had to spring forward. I'm not a fan of springing forward. Why do we have to change times? I understand that it orginally started to help out the farmers giving them an "extra hour of sunlight" but all that is just relative anyway. Besides, we don't need the time change anymore and it just throws everyone off for a week or two.

Either way you look at it, spring is marching in. I'm ready for it to be here. HAPPY SPRING!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Catching up

Wow! It's been a long time, huh? Did you miss me? I missed you but obviously not enough to pull the ole computer out and start typing. Man, that sounded harsh. I promise, I tried several times to put pen to paper... well, fingers to keys... but I guess I was just having a bad case of writers block. Or, maybe it was busy mom with a broken back syndrome? Not sure but, either way, we have been apart for a very long time and for that, I am sorry. Please forgive me!

Since last we talked, tons of things have happened. I'm not even sure what the last we talked about was. I could look back but no, that would just delay my typing now. I do know that it was in October so we'll go from there...

In October, my dear baby Murphy turned 1 year old. How dare he grow up so quickly and right before my very eyes. We had a simple party for him at home with family and few friends. He was one people, come on. He isn't going to remember. The first birthday is SO for the parents, not the kids. I know people that through extravagant parties for their child's 1st birthday. *here is the part where I step on some toes so go ahead and get mad but keep reading because everyone has a right to their opinion* COME ON- the kids probably has 5 to 10 words, most of which you are the ONLY ONE that can understand them. They don't remember what happened last week let alone have any concept of what a birthday is and why all of the people are singing to them and while mom puts this cake thing on their tray. (added pressure on the kid if he/she is the first because this is probably the first time mom has aloud anything remotely close to cake anywhere close to their poor child's lips.) This child has no idea what is going on and, even with thousands of pictures to jog his/her memory, is not going to remember it in three weeks let alone 30 years. Go ahead and make it memorable if want but admit that you are doing for yourself and not the child. Just so we understand, Keegan (our first) had the same small family party with homemade cake that Kendall and Murphy did. Well, actually Kendall shared her first birthday party with Keegan's 3rd so talk about something to tell your therapist. Murphy actually got bakery purchased cupcakes for his first birthday but I was having to deal with two other helpers and a broken back so I gave in and they were yummy.

Ok, so, after that, we had halloween. Keegan was prince and Kendall was princess but they will be quick to tell you that one had nothing to do with other. Murphy was a pumpkin at the halloween party and a mouse for trick-or-treat. They were super cute as always and had a blast.

Thanksgiving was fun and full of food. Kendall turned 3 with a party at home with, you guessed it, friends and family. She got a princess guitar which she plays and sings to daily. Christmas was a blast. Tons of family came in, including Joey's brother Mike and his family. Stephen made the daunting trek from Finland. It really shouldn't have been a daunting treck but massive snows created massive delays and lots re-routing. I think in the end, he traveled for three days get home. We stayed up late, drank a lot of wine, ate a massive amount of food and made a ton of memories. Keegan had his 5th birthday at Fast Lanes bowling. He LOVED it and afterward we went to David and Meagan's to have those same cupcakes we had for Murphy and Kendall's birthday. I love those cupcakes! My parents came up right after Christmas to celebrate and we had a wonderful time as well. Bo even joined in on the fun.

We rang in 2011 quietly and decided that we would have to suck it up, take the hit on the house if need be (but prayers be answered, we won't be at a loss) and move to something bigger. In the mean time, mother nature dropped an insane amount of snow on us. The kids got to sled for the time. Murphy loved it just as much as Keegan which is kind of funny considering that Keegan would have never been brave enough to do something like sled down the hills of Wilson Park when he was Murphy's age, let alone Kendall's but I was super proud of how much they both loved it. Kendall had a blast too.

We put the house sell on hold shortly for back surgery. Finally, my back is fixed! After years of back pain and close to a year of absolutely no relief, I had an anterior lumbar inter spinal fusion (ALIF) on February 16. I woke up after surgery and the first thing I noticed is that, for the first time in 8 months, I had warmth in my toes. WARMTH IN MY TOES PEOPLE! The road to recovery is slow but Joey is home with me, the kids are doing great and I have high hopes for the future. Thanks to my parents, Joey's parents and Joey's time "off" to be mommy (hehe, that sounds so funny, time off to be mommy) the house is on the market with a great realtor and several houses we are excited about looking into.

Ok, so you are caught up, mostly. We'll keep going from here.