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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catching You Up on Christmas Vacation Happenings

It's Christmas Vacation, and therefore it means it's been forever and a day since I have blogged "regularly."

Or so it feels like it's been forever and a day.

The boys are pretty happy it's Christmas break.
 Or at least I think that's why S3 and S4 look so silly.
It's been amazing mild wonderful weather the last few days.

So nice in fact that the boys spent it outdoors playing like it was spring.

Which meant they got super muddy.
 And S2 couldn't figure out why no one wanted to ride with him...nor did he realize the yard is nothing but mud on the trail that he created.

You can watch one of his jumps HERE on youtube.
 But he was exceptionally happy with it all.  And I was happy for him...and all the boys being able to play outside.
 Until they took my bath towels to clean off the mud.  Then I was glad I had stocked up on Tide before the break.

The weirdest and silliest and saddest thing that happened to the boys when they were playing outside was when S3 found the Christmas mole.

 Technically, he did NOT find it but our dog did.  And after researching it on google it was found that moles do not, in fact, make good pets.  They are very shy and do not like to be handled.  They also carry parasites.

If the mole falls on your bare feet, you will be shocked at how the nose is as cold and feels as squishy as it looks in the picture.  Take my word for it.

I recalled a movie I watched once with S4 where a mole was trying to take over the world using kitchen appliances (I musta been being a great mom to have watched such a movie with him) but the mole looked pretty harmless to us.
But we let it go.  Today, a few days after these photos were taken, the boys found a dead mole.  Certain it was THIS mole, S3 and S4 held a funeral for it, burying it and leaving a stake for the headstone with a paper they had me write on reading, "Eli and Abraham's Friend Dead Mole that is right here".

It's been a great Christmas break that is going by  much too quickly.  We have been the normal insanely busy and then had slow moving days (like today).

I have been used as a shield by my husband as he was having a nerf gun war with the boys.  I felt ever so loved and protected then.

My husband got me a fancy spancy new camera and I haven't yet downloaded the pictures from there to the computer.  I should probably do a post of all the silly pictures you take as soon as you get a new camera. I am sure you all will appreciate the nicer quality photos when I get the time to play with it more.

The magazine comes out in a few days - squeal! In the magazine there is an article talking about One Word.  It's when you take a word and think on it and concentrate on it for a whole year - brining meaning and being like a resolution.  I can't figure out what word to use at all. It's driving me INSANE. I broke down and asked my husband.  He told me I should choose "Lucky" because I am married to him. I then told him how true he was and decided to ask someone else.

We just finished up the last of the groceries that the Christmas Stranger purchased us.  That still can bring me to tears.

It's been a great Christmas, as I hope it has been for all or you as well.  Even with the lack of snow, I believe this to be the best break and Christmas in, well, maybe ever.  Yes, that good.

And I just wanted to take a moment to say hello to you all.  How I have missed blogging!  But it has also been so great just vegging with the family and visiting with friends these past few weeks.

Tell me how you all are! And I promise to be blogging regularly again very very very soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



'Everyday, I am inspired by this boy'

There is a little boy in our school that was born with half a heart.

Over the years, S2 has mentioned him as they are in the same grade.  And being in a small school you sorta get to know people even if you don't know people.

At the beginning of the school year, when the boys were decked out in football gear, we took a field trip.  S2, Jakob and Jonathan were all in the same seat - as usual - and I sat across from them with the little boy with half a heart.

The ride was long and I dug around in my huge purse for crayons, paper and pens and passed them out among the four boys to help them kill the time.  "I wish I could play football," little Owen admitted to me.

I wanted to say, "That you are playing and at school and ALIVE is more than any old football game!". But I didnt' say that.  I just said, "There is so much you CAN do."

"Just soccer," he muttered.

And that was the end of the conversation.

Shortly thereafter, we heard about a contest Owen's mom had entered him in.  American Eagle was giving a scholarship to a deserving kid.  I voted on facebook for him daily and encouraged everyone else too.

I checked with his Dad - who I see nearly every single morning but still don't know his name nor hardly ever talk to - nearly every day to see how the contest was coming.

When he won, HE WON, S2 and his buddies figured Owen got all the luck.

When Owen's Dad told me that Owen had won, I was so thrilled I did a leap in the middle
of the elementary school hallway.  And then I hugged him.  The dad. So overjoyed, 
I hugged Owen's Dad.

Seriously.

And when I got back in my vehicle that morning, I called my husband.
"I hugged Owen's Dad this morning and I figured you should know.
It being a small town and all."

To this day, weeks later, I cannot hardly look at Owen's Dad for hugging him.

But you all should expect this of me.

American Eagle 77 Kids came out to see Owen and present him with the 10,000 dollar scholarship.  It was a huge deal and I made it to school just in time to see it.

The school also received a 2,000 dollar gift, which Owen decided the school should use for new indoor  recess games (you should have heard the cheer) and a snow cone machine...most kids didn't know what that was, soon they will be cheering that too.

 Owen being presented with the scholarship at school.

 I love Owen's big grin here.  The Check is WAY bigger than him!

 Owen standing with the PTO.

High Five'ing with American Eagle 77.

It was such a great story, Owen, in and of itself.  That he won an award out of all the kids with amazing stories across the nation - complete strangers all over voting for him - is just another amazing part of the that story.

And American Eagle 77 Kids did an amazing job and I wanted to personally thank them.

If you would like to "meet" little Owen and his family....here's a video clip from a newscast.



I apologize for taking so long to post this great story! 

And I hope Owen's Dad knows I was just thrilled that Owen won and that's why I hugged him.
I had to set that record straight! ;)

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Gift of a Stranger

Someone - who I don't know - has become the Christmas angel to our family today and will be the heroine of our family history stories.

Today I loaded up the three youngest boys and headed into town to get groceries.  I went into our nearby town of Wayland hoping to find some great fruit.

For Christmas every year I try to make something extra special for dinner and this year I was determined to have a big fruit salad.  It being Christmas time, fruit is through the roof in price and I had made out very specific list of only the items we NEEDED for the next three days of festivities.

There were some basics we needed but mostly it was all fun food we don't normally buy (soda, water chestnuts for a family appetizer, bacon for breakfast...).  The boys were being great helping me find things and not asking for all the other things that looked good (to boys, nearly all food looks good) and so I had let them each get a donut. They were thrilled, donuts are a big deal.

Making sure I had everything on my list and being thankful I found it all and kept to the list, I went to check out.  Amazingly, there was no one even to wait behind and we unloaded the full cart.

I watched the total add and add.  This was going to be expensive.

A lady came up behind me and got a divider out to begin putting up her few groceries.  I made little small talk with the cashier (Yes, these are all my boys.  No, one more isn't with us (he was on a special Christmas run with his Daddy).  Yes, all boys.).  I told her this was our last stop and we were headed home to enjoy Christmas.

The woman next to me in line seemed to be standing exceptionally close to me.  There was no one behind her but she seemed to be really close to us, just the same.  Not annoyingly, just enough to notice.

The bill was over 200 dollars.

I dug out the cash I had set aside for the groceries, wondering what I had to add to the 2 one hundred dollar bills I had in my hand when the woman next to me suddenly grabbed me in a hug.

Think about that.

A stranger just hugged me.

And then she began to whisper in my ear.

Because I was in shock at first of what she was doing, I can only paraphrase what she said.  But it was basically this...

"Please don't make a scene but please put your cash away 
and let me pay for your groceries.
I went to pay a layaway off and it was already taken care of so I want to do this for you.
You just take the groceries home and have a wonderful Christmas with your boys
and Pay It Forward yourself."

I began to cry.

She scooted in front of me and swiped her card.

I think the cashier's jaw dropped.

I hugged her again and thanked her.

I hugged her another time as I cried.

"Please," she whispered, "don't make a scene."

So I nodded and said, "Thank you."

The cashier handed me the receipt.  Her voice was halted as she brokenly said, "Have a Merry Christmas."

I hugged the lady again, thanked her and she told me "Merry Christmas."

S2 wanted to know why I was crying and hugging a stranger.

I got in the suburban and posted it on facebook from my phone.  Late tonight I seen the 50 some comments.

Later today, as I was still tearing up over the incident, I found the receipt.  It was for $210 and some change.  At first I had posted it was $225, guessing what the total had been because, honestly, that moment was a bit of a blur.

At various times today, as the boys and I made and frosted Christmas cookies, they would say, "That was sooooo nice of that lady.  You really didn't know her, Moma?"

I really did not.  I really do not think I could pick her out of a line up.

As we bowed our heads to pray for dinner of hotdogs and fried potatoes...bought for us by a stranger...Jake asked a special blessing upon this woman.

We talked again what a gift she had given us.

I don't even begin to know how to Pay if Forward.

We did nothing.  I went to the store for groceries.  I stood in line.  And someone just bestowed upon us a gift.

Not much unlike the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christ came to earth to save us.  He gives us a gift, offered it to us to take - that gift of Eternal Life, the gift of a Savior - all we have to do is accept.

And be forever changed and blown away by the gift of it.


John 3:16

New International Version (NIV)

 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Please, find a way to Pay It Forward.
Not just at Christmas but any day.
I can tell you, the gift of it is amazing.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Boys Asked Santa if He Drinks Beer

Today, I get to go to work and work with SANTA....I really know him!

It's bound to be a memorable day...because last year when the boys met Santa, they asked him if he drank beer.

I wasn't sure if Santa would come back...or ever take the boys off the naughty list...but he did take them off in time for Christmas last year and he is coming back.  And my boys will be there ready to chat with him again.

But all day, I'll be waiting for it to happen all over again.

Here is last years incident........


Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Boys Asked Santa if He Drinks Beer

On Saturday, our awesome little library received a call from Santa Claus asking if he could stop in and say hello to all the good little boys and girls in our town. Our librarian sweetly told him that cookies and good boys and girls would await him. On Saturday morning, Santa flew his reindeer into town, bedded them down at one of the farms and hitched a ride with a farmer just to say hello to all the good boys and girls at the library.
Then he met my boys.
Our boys have never sat on Santa's lap. They are not sure about the whole Santa thing and the last two years we have just sort of gone along with the fun, not really mentioning Santa but not saying Santa isn't real either.
Well, S4 is convinced. Santa is real. He knows this because
A. Santa has a real beard (Not like the one on Elf who has a fake beard).
B. He has Santa's signature. Really, he does.
It was fun to see Santa walk in, watch all the boys and girls eyes get huge and run up to him to hug him and just be in awe that Santa was THERE, in the SAME ROOM as them...in the library they visit EVERY Saturday for story hour!
Because shyness soon swept over the kids, Santa began to flip through a book that was laying out on one of the study tables. My youngest two (only three of them came along, S1 was busy helping Daddy with wood) were sneaking alongside Santa, not saying a whole lot.
Yet.
This was the book Santa looked at....

Santa mentioned he remembered drinking Coke out of a glass bottle but he supposed that these little boys next to him didn't remember that.

S3 chirped right up. "No, but you can drink beer out of a bottle."

I.
Nearly.
Died.

"Yah!" S4 agreed, "You can! WE can't drink beer but sometimes our Daddy can."

"Yah, but not so much anymore." S3 added. "Do YOU drink beer, Santa?"

They.
Did.

Although I wanted to haul them out and....wait, no, I wanted to NOT claim them.
Do you drink beer, Santa?

Santa realized he probably needed to find a seat and sit down and try to leave this conversation. But the boys kept up with him, continuing to chatter away at Santa. He finally told them that, "No, Santa does not drink beer. It would be a crazy ride with the reindeer if he did and that just would not be good."

I hurriedly tried to get the boys to color pictures and let the other kids get some time with Santa. It took some doing. But I think I might have seen a look of relief in Santa's eyes. And maybe even a "I'll be sure to bring a little something special for you dealing with these boys all the time" wink. (well, I can hope!)
Then S3 asked for a BB gun. I hoped Santa said no...he didn't say yes so that is good. Santa did tell him he seemed young, he couldn't be shooting helpless animals or brothers. S3 informed him you CAN shoot birds. Santa told him he couldn't. S3 disagreed. I am pretty sure it won't be under the tree from Santa.

And then S4 asked for a "Piddow Pet" and if he can't find one, they are at Target. Lots and lot of them. Then S4 let him know there would be cookies and chocolate milk and white milk waiting for him and special sparkly oatmeal for his reindeer he arrived.

If he gets here.

And there won't be beer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Praise and Coffee Night

Last week we had our Christmas Praise and Coffee Night.

Sue was giving her testimony and I was nervous for her.  I know her story, but I know it here and there and I knew it would be hard for her to share it all in front of everyone in one story.

But the day was rough on me.  I may have at one point in the day been on the phone crying to my husband.  It was just a bad day, a down day, a day I literally was crying as I was baking cookies.

Just one of those days.

I would have rather curled up in pj's and snuggled on the couch with a book or movie but I knew I had to be there.  I dressed in my favorite clothes - my husband can say what he wants, clothes do make me feel better - and determined I was going to go and have fun and be happy.

And then God just gave me this awesome gift and had it so my husband and I were going to pass each other on the road so we met in the bar parking lot just so we could get a kiss in.  I love that man, and I love how God just timed that perfectly.

Here I am kissing my husband in the parking lot with the Tavern sign glowing down on us.  Oh, it was so romantic!

With my hands wrapped around a short triple breve with caramel, I listened to Sue pour out her heart with my friends A and Morg at the table with me.

Every time Sue took a deep breath, I wanted to go give her a hug.

When her amazing testimony had people with tears in their eyes and her analogy of having God saturate our lives, everyone began to break up in designated groups on specific topics.  Morg, A and I...we didn't budge.  It was like we knew, we were not in a "group" mood.

We were in a friend mood.

Sue came and sat with us and the four of us laughed to the funny stories Morg had for us.  We connected with bits and news that we are always to busy to share when we are passing each other in church or just in sending a quick text.

I sat there soaking it in, looking at these friends I love so dearly and thinking how different we all are and how we are all brought together on this night.  I thanked God for soaking me in His grace...in the gift of this moment.

We packed up all the pretty finery and left over cookies of a beautiful evening and headed for home.

Except I didn't get home for a good long time.

Standing out in the parking lot, I had a heart to heart with a friend.  We hadn't planned on talking the night away, but in the moment of just us we laid out the things heavy on our hearts...sisters sharing a burden and knowing the trust we had in each other.

And isn't that what Praise and Coffee Nights are all about?  Sharing with a friend and giving praise to God and growing in our relationships?

Not a day has not gone by since that Praise and Coffee night that I haven't prayed for the friend I chatted the night away with.  I am still giggling over the funny stories we shared at the table.  I am still so proud of Sue for sharing her testimony.

And I am blown away by this group of women God brought together.  Our friendship makes no sense on paper, but in life it is the perfect blend.

Some women are afraid of starting up a Praise and Coffee Night...it's too big a task, they fear.  But Praise and Coffee was held at a table with four women and in a parking lot on an "official" PC night.  It's girlfriends and sisters sharing the moments of life they are in and being prayed for and looking to God for the answers.  It's connecting.  It's encouraging.  It's inspiring.  No matter how big or small the gathering.

And all that was flooded into my life on a rough day that ended with a great night.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things I Learned Over the Weekend

I have stumbled upon the most phenomenal beauty secret that I must share with you all.

But in order to get to that, we have to start way before to the beginning of the story.

The beginning of the story is Saturday morning, my handsome man's birthday.

I made a big breakfast and then set to getting all the potluck food I needed for the next day done so my hair did that stylish sloppy pulled back tight bun look I never can rock but always do.

I had to stop at the grocery store and we needed milk - as usual - and as I was picking up the milk to put it back into my cart as we were checking out of the store, it slipped.

If a gallon of milk slips from your hand and falls to the ground in the check out line (with the owner of the store ringing up your bill), THIS will happen......

It will explode into the largest white firework of milk ever.

I am serious.

It rained milk, people.  RAINED milk.

In the check out line.

I was drenched.

But through my milk soaked eyes I seen the rest of the milk pouring out to form the ocean of milk so I quick picked it up and tossed it into a waste basket behind me because thankfully no one was checking anyone out next to me.

Even the boys were speechless.

And I was mortified, I must admit.

We arrived home - a very short two minute drive - and I got the blow dryer out to dry my milk drenched hair.

I didn't have time to wash it because we were going to my parents for Hubby's birthday.

My hair looked....amazing.

I put a little hair spray in it and all night my hubby told me how great my hair looked.

Because we got home late, I fell asleep minus a shower and in the morning as I stumbled for the kitchen to start the water boiling for my cup of coffee, my husband said...."You look...."

I braced myself...

"...Great.  You look really great.  You don't even need to wash your hair, it looks so great."

I sorta thought he was teasing.  But he was right.

This has NEVER happened to me.

So I bunched it up, showered, and then just shook my still dry hair out, sprayed it a little and went to church.

All day people commented on how nice it looked.

The phenomenal beauty secret?  
Drench yourself in exploding milk and then don't wash your hair.

It will look amazing.

Of course, did we get ANY photo of my amazing hair?

Or, more importantly, of my husband and I on his birthday?

No.

Not a single photo.

So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Husband

Happy Birthday, Hunky Husband!!!!!

I am ever so thankful for you.

Thanks for marrying me a zillion years ago and thanks for being a ton older than me.

I love that you hold me in your strong arms and then "rest your eyes" watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies just cuz you know I love them so.

You are THE hardest working man I know, and your giddiness to work makes me giggle. Still.

It's so much fun to see you play with the boys and hear you spend hours talking to them.

Your growth in knowing God more blows me away.

You are so opposite me you make me better.

And I am most thankful for....
You are so much taller so I get to wear big spiky heels.
Thank you for that.

I love you from the tips of my bare frozen toes to the top of my strawberry scented hairspray head.

I am ever so thankful to wake up next to you and sing happy birthday.

And I hope I get to do that for another fifty years or more.


Friday, December 9, 2011

What My Boys Are Up To Today



Thought you would enjoy this!

It's the first snow at our house and they had to celebrate it!

My Husband Was on the Red Green Show

On Thanksgiving, the boys were watching the Red Green Show.

Because they wouldn't be caught wasting their time watching the Macy's Parade with their Moma.

Anyhow, my husband suddenly asked the boys to rewind it a little.  And then he hollered for me to come see this too.

They had finally made a character that was my husband nearly to T.  Seriously.

My husband has this weird love affair of Buick Century's.  We currently have FOUR in our yard.

And he also has this thing with disposable coffee cups.  You know, those "to go" cups?  Yah, he loves those too.

We have talked about his love of coffee before.

And here was a skit on the Red Green Show that had us all laughing.

So, I took out my flip cam and taped it off the tv because I couldn't find it on youtube or on Red's website.  Sorry for the graininess of it, we have an ancient old tv.  Literally.

But you'll get the idea.

Enjoy!



And for a blast from the past, read our post about when We Met Red Green.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Happens When We Befriend a Stray Cat

The title is one that my husband came up.

And I started giggling all over again when he stressed the "befriend" part. 

Cuz this story....I think this could only happen to us.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a yellow tom cat hanging around our house.  It was normally found over by the chicken coop, sometimes in the shed, but I noticed it was getting more and more brave and getting closer to the house.

When I fed the chickens some scraps one morning from the kitchen door, the cat was there amongst them all waiting for the scraps too.  I think he thought I wouldn't notice him if he were surrounded by my beloved chickens.

I told my husband that I'd seen the cat a lot more and if he didnt' want it to end up in the house, he'd better drop it off somewhere.  "You know me..." I told him, which means he needed to interpret that my heart would melt for the poor thing some wet cold day and let it in.  And if I didn't, I knew four boys that would go so far as to trap the thing and haul it in the house to love on.

On a sunny day, my husband opened the kitchen door and there was the cat.  He picked it up.  It instantly curled up next to my burly husband's chest and began to purr.

We fed it some cat food, pet it a bunch more, and sent it on it's way out the door.

Since then the cat has been really hanging around by the house.

You can't really blame it.

On a dark night as I was standing at the sink peeling potatoes, the boys tumbled in the door from a game of football in the side yard and began to call the cat.  The three little guys would call the cat in a few steps more and then glance at me to see if I was hearing them.  I just kept on peeling potatoes...keep in mind if I stuck my leg out I could have touched each of them.  Our kitchen is tiny...there was no way to keep a secret in there.

But the boys thought they were pulling a fast one on me.

Suddenly S4 exclaimed, "Quick, shut the door!"

The door was slammed and the big tom cat was scooped up in someone's arms and the boys ran for the living room.

I finished peeling the potatoes and went in to check on them.  Three boys and one cat were curled up in the lazy-boy chair, the cat was purring and being loved on like it hadn't in probably forever.

"See our new cat, Moma?  Can we keep it? Please? It's so nice! Please, Moma?"

I told them they would have to ask their Daddy.

Their faces fell.

Then I told them we might as well show it the house an feed it so they took it to the kitty litter box, where the cat, being the gentleman he was, peed.  Then it ate all the dog food in the dish.

When the dog food was gone, they moved the cat to the laundry room to see where all the cat food was at.  Fernie Cow, our princess cat, was not impressed with a visitor.  Especially when he ate all the cat food in the heaped full dish.

At dinner, S4 fed the cat I don't know how much chicken.

Then the cat curled up behind the washing machine and dryer and fell asleep in the nice warm spot.

Later, my husband walked in.  He'd been out for the day and I had called it an early night and was all curled up in bed already when he entered the bedroom.  "What is THIS?" he asked, holding the cat.

"Um, a really nice kitty cat?" I offered.

S1 walked had walked in with his daddy and he laid across the bed retelling the story how his little brothers had coerced the cat in.  Meanwhile, the cat had curled up next to me and was purring sleepily.

"I have never seen such a fat cat!" My husband said, rubbing the cat's enlarged belly.

"Don't do that!" I gasped, "Do you know how much this cat has eaten today?"  I began recounting all the food he had eaten as my husband rubbed the cat's tummy roughly again.  I slapped my husband's away while the cat suddenly stood up.

"See, he doesn't like that," I said as the cat began to squat down again on the bed.

"Well, he does seem like a nice cat," my husband began to cave as I cocked my head in concern as the cat seemed to be taking an odd stance.  And it was a new cat.

I pushed it off the bed.

It began to squat again.  And suddenly it hit me.

"No!" I squawked and flew the blankets back.  Never mind that S1 was laying across the bed and I was just in my panties and t-shirt.

I picked the cat up as fast as I could and held him as far away from my body as I could as I ran for the bathroom.

There was poop literally hanging from the cat's behind.

A little dropped on the floor as I dropped the cat in the kitty litter box.  My husband and son, who were wondering what on earth had suddenly possessed me to go screaming from the bedroom with the cat, figured out quickly what was going on.  In one quick swoop my husband scooped up that cat and tossed it outside.

I began to giggle as I cleaned up the poop.

My husband looked at me like I all my exhaustion had finally caught up with me and made me truly insane.

"Come on!" I giggled, "You have to admit it's pretty funny.  Here we are going on and on how great the cat is and how it uses the litter box and it tries to take a dump on our bed."

He grinned a little.

"Yah, only we would befriend a cat that would try to crap on our bed," he snickered.

It's been two days.  The cat has been skittish at best when I have managed to catch glimpse of it.

But I'm sure it won't be long before we let it in again.

Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Moms Of Boys Connect

I sighed as I opened the bill for our AT&T service.  I keep forgetting they have my name misspelled...badly enough no one could find us in the phone book if they needed to.

If anyone uses a phone book anymore.

I figured I had better get the call over with while the boys were gone at school and dialed the customer service number...that did not have "misspelled name" as an option...and was put on hold for the "next available representative".

Sigh.  You know how long THAT takes.

But then I was connected to a woman named Sylvia (I think, not ever sure, sadly) who said "Hello, Mrs. Bekstra, what can I do for you?"

She worked quickly and efficiently to change my name, she was so sweet about it we got to chuckling over how badly it was.

She asked for my email to verify the changes and I said "It's all spelled out, life with four boys...."

"Oh my goodness!" she gasped, "I have four boys too!"

I then spent the next couple minutes chatting with her over boys, sports, feeding them, the dread of cleaning their rooms.....

We giggled and laughed and "oh, I know!" and so on and so forth.

Her boys were older and she had all kinds of advice for me.  She was the sweetest.

My first name is her middle name.

It was all too funny.

She made the changes to my account, found a way to bundle our cable and phone together for a cheaper rate, was pleasant and as friendly as she was efficient at her job.

The best twenty minutes I have spent on the phone with a "available representative."

Us moms of boys, we connect.

Even if it's over a misspelled name on a bill.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Life of a Mom

"Moma?" S2 asked as I drove he and his brothers to school, "What do you do all day when you are home and we are at school?'

I didn't answer for a moment.

Then I said, "Well, I make dinner, wash clothes and clean the house so you can all come home and eat all the food, give me more dirty laundry and mess up the house so I get to do it all over again tomorrow."  I gave him a grin.

He grinned back. "Oh."

S4 quipped up from behind me, "Moma, we like to play with our toys because we can't play at school much so thanks for letting me play trains and blocks."

"No problem," I answered him.

I thought of that a lot as I cleaned the house.  I scrubbed the tub, no one will notice.  I spent way too long cleaning the toilet, under the toilet, the cracks of the toilet.  They'll never notice.  I wrote our schedule on the newly washed mirror as I always do...before the end of the night the boys will write all over the mirror - smiley faces on days they like the "to do"'s of,  silly messages to Daddy or pictures and no one will notice the sparkle it has right now.

I forgot my coffee on the counter as I cleaned and warmed it up a bit in the microwave.  I scrubbed even the top of  it yesterday and not a soul knows but me.

When the boys get home, I will still have piles of laundry.  Although I mopped, the floor will be littered with dirt, pine needles and dog hair.  There will be clutter everywhere.  I'll have the dishwasher full of dirty dishes and will be tired.

They'll wonder what I did all day long.

Isn't that life though?  I'd rather show them all how much I love them in the little things they may never notice....I think of them as I scrub and put away and sweep and mop and wipe down.

It's a thankless job.

And one I would never trade.  Not for a moment.

Even if, every once in a while, it feels I am forgotten. Invisible. Misunderstood.

It's the life of a mom.

And I'm ever so thankful it's my life.

My husband, my boys, how I love them so.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Excuses to Be Late to School

This is a BONUS post because not only was I late to school - I was late getting home.

The other night, a winter weather watch was issued.  Some places were getting tons of snow, some places would not get any snow.  The boys were SURE that we were the place where ALL the snow would dump.

And some places did get snow.  My parents woke to a winter wonderland and they are just a couple miles away.

We got....

None.

Not even a little dusting on the grass.

Not a single bit of snow at all.

S2 woke up, seen this, and was not at all daunted.  He was CERTAIN we had a two hour delay, if not a full snow day.

I pointed to the fact we had No. Snow.  He pointed to the tv where there WAS snow, somewhere.  For all we knew, it was piled high at school, no way to get in!

He was so convincing that at the marked time for us to leave, his little brothers were just getting cereal.  They really thought we had a two hour delay.

So we left a bit late.

We arrived at school at 8:02.  School starts at 8:00.  I did not even acknowledge the staff in the office - but to be fair, it was pretty busy in there with other late parents with kids.

I figured out how I could get them to class the fastest and was dictating directions when S1 remembered I hadn't signed his planner.  No signed planner means loosing recess time.  No boy ever wants to loose recess time!  Where had his planner been all evening? Upstairs in his room.

Every day I sign his planner I try to sign something fun.  I really do not like signing the planner but I guess the teacher has to sign 28 or so of them every day so I can sign one once a day.  Today I wrote, "Super Late Moma".  I don't even think S1 noticed.

I sent S4 to the bathroom to wash his hands and I dropped his stuff off in his locker.  My happy boy I had left in the hallway walked into the classroom, head down, tears dripping from his eyes.  I glanced at his teacher "I'll try to fix this" I whispered as I grabbed his hand and headed to S3's class.

Some boys in the bathroom told S4 his hair looked funny.  I told him EVERYONE's hair looked funny when they took their hat off.  And then I worked on smoothing it down.

S3 was still high five-ing friends in the hallway and still had his boots and coat on.  I opened his back pack to put his things away and found - wadded in the bottom of his backpack - the homework he didn't tell me he had to do.  And, the homework he HAD done last night was not in the back pack.

Ugh.

Hugs and kisses to him and I literally shoved him on into class before he forgot and wandered off to meet us at S2's class.

S4 and I arrived at S2's class where he, Jonathan and Jakob met us at the door.  Every day these three meet us and I always take a moment to talk to them all.  But today we were so late and I always fear I may get them all in trouble so I reminded them how late they were.  They were not all concerned about this as they wanted to know where S3 was, wanted to show us their cool coins and needed to know what I was making for dinner.

I think nearly the whole school knows what we are having for dinner every day.

S4 and I got to giggling as we walked with super speed to his class.  I dropped a happier boy off to class and all seemed well with the world again.

When I went to start my suburban to leave the school, it just went 'tic tic tic tic tic tic tic tic'.

My faithful suburban has never ever let me down.  Never once.

But amazing bus driver Mandy was there, and dear Alicia who's husband was home for the morning so I knew they would help me.  Mandy hopped in to fiddle with it and started the suburban right up.  I have no idea how.

But un-makeup-ed, little coffee-ed, hair uncombed, teeth still feeling the garlic bread of last night, me hugged her in all my joy at the soothing hum of my running suburban.

And so I drove home on our unsnowy roads to share this all with you.

In case you need a new excuse to be late to school - try the whole "Snow day" when you have NO snow excuse.

And - think of your friends close to you and be thankful for them.  Friends are treasures indeed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Want a Colonoscopy?

Disclaimer!!! This blog post was approved by my husband before it was posted...I do not want you to think I'd post this without his approval.

And now...   Want a Colonoscopy?

I mean, I'm sure you have heard of them.  Know what they are.  Plan to avoid them at all costs.

Well, my husband couldn't.

He'd been feeling a bit ill and found blood in the toilet - okay, a lot ill because he went to the doctor's and he never does that - and they sent him to see the specialist who said, "Well, young man, I think you should go for a colonoscopy.  And an endoscopy."

He nearly skipped out of the doctor's office he was so excited.

Obviously, I am being sarcastic.

I have to admit, as I snuggled next to my husband that night I felt like we were old for the first time.  I was suddenly worried about his health and these procedures just made me feel like we were suddenly old.  Like, skipped way past middle age old.  Our grandparents did things like this, not us, right?

He's only 38.

The day before the procedure my nervous hubby went to work.  There was no way he was going to stick around the house and dread the time of the night he would have to drink the nasty awful drink.

The pharmacist had told me that my husband, the big 6 foot 3 inch guy that he is, was going to fall hard taking this stuff.  To say I was a nervous girl would be an understatement...but I was being all cheerful and happy to be as supportive as possible.

I did supportive things like make tuna noodle casserole for the boys and I.  Jake despises tuna noodle casserole, that's the most loving thing I could have done for him.  Had I made t-bone steaks, he would have strangled me.

He couldn't eat a thing all day but jello.  Jake's not a big fan of jello.  And when he began to drink the nasty awful stuff, he gagged like it was the nasty awful stuff he feared it would be.

This was the part of the procedure he was dreading the most, he knew he'd be knocked out and not remember what happened to him the next day.

When he began to drink the awful nasty drink, it was like watching someone and waiting for them to just morph into the sick person you knew they would become.  I had flashbacks to being pregnant and people watching me just assuming that baby was gonna drop out of me at any moment.

He drank one glass.  Ten minutes later (after he added the lemon lime flavor) he drank another glass.  He was pouring the third glass when he ran for the bathroom.

Our only bathroom.

This is when I sent the boys to bed.

And he didn't leave the bathroom for a good long time.

This is what he had been dreading...the cleaning you completely out part...but it surprisingly went better than he thought it would.

The next morning I was armed with books and a lunch for a four hour wait as my husband drove to the appointment.  He was as nervous as could be...even if he said he wasn't.

The nurse we had first was friendly and chatty and discussed what would happen and so on and so forth.  She handed him a gown and asked him to change.  He went into the bathroom and came out looking unlike anything I have seen him look.  He needed me to tie up the back and I may have teased him a bit about this, keeping things light and all.

Then they gave him an iv.

My husband cannot even stand to watch tv when they show needles and iv's.  His big strong legs came right up in the chair, a fetal position he was attempting to take, as they stuck that needle in his vein.  But she got it in right away and all was well.  I'm pretty sure the front desk got a view of the family jewels.

It was then they walked my husband back toward the surgery room.

And there he went, my big strapping husband, the one whom I depend upon. The protector of myself and the boys, walking away in a hospital gown.

I went back to the waiting room and downed a cup of the nasty office coffee, a whole water bottle and a no bake cookie.  I'd been afraid to eat or drink in front of Jake and was famished and parched.

After sending out some texts, I settled in to read one of the three books I had grabbed, not minding at all that I had some quiet time alone. Before I could even finish one chapter, they were calling me back to tell me he was done.

They looked at me a little odd with my bag full of lunch and books but I had thought I was there alone for four hours.  Not that I minded.

My husband was asleep, but when I sat down he turned and winked at me.  The doctor came up and to talk to us.  They had found a polyp - which was very surprising to him - and removed it.  But it was Jake's esophagus they were concerned about, it was torn up badly from his constant heartburn he has been struggling with.  

Jake was looking at the doctor but it was obvious he had no idea what he was saying.  He kept asking him if he could drink gallons of coffee.  Then he'd ask if he did a good job with the cleaning out.  Then he'd ask if he could have gallons of coffee again.  Then he'd ask if they took all the cancer out (obviously, he was more worried then he had let on).  Then he'd ask again if he could have gallons of coffee.

No gallons of coffee for him. Not for a very long time, if ever.

The idea is so preposterous to him that apparently he could not grasp the idea.

Him with no coffee?

Even I cannot grasp the image.

The doctor smiled sympathetically and told me I was in for a long day.

My husband laid back in the bed, arched his back, and let out the loudest fart I had heard him let out.  As he farted, he groaned a groan no grown man should moan in public.  "Oh, that's good.  That's really good," he moaned.

And then he winked at me.

With that, he fell asleep - sorta - until he farted and the moaning and groaning began again.

The older man across from me who was sitting with his wife began to chuckle.

A nurse came in to give him some food.  He chose a turkey sandwich and the nurse carefully squeezed out some mayonnaise for him.  Just a few thin slices of turkey on wheat bread (which he hates) and a bit of mayo.  The man thought he was eating food from heaven.  "This is the best turkey sandwich I have ever eaten," he said between rolled back eye moments of delight.  He sucked the orange juice they gave him dry with the straw, making loud sucking noises.

And then he farted some more.

A new nurse came in and looked over his chart again.  "We can go home now, right?" Jake asked.

"Well, how are you feeling?"

"Great!" He declared.

So she told him he could leave.  He immediately stood up and whipped the hospital gown right off of him.

And there stood my husband, naked as could be, in the middle of the six bed recovery room.  The nurse whipped that curtain shut so fast it about made my head spin. I pulled out Jake's clothes and handed him his underwear (grundies, as he calls them) and he stared a good long time at them.

It was apparent that I was going to have the dress him.

"I'm feeling great!" he told me as I tapped the leg he needed to lift.  "Really great."

I pulled his shirts over his head.  He couldn't find the arm holes.

"Did the doctor come in here?"

"Yup",  I answered as I pulled up his jeans.

"He said I could drink gallons of coffee now, right?"

"Um, not really...."

He began to weave a bit.  He sat down on the bed and was back asleep faster than I could imagine a person could fall asleep.

He even snored.

The nurse peeked in the curtain a few minutes later, avoiding a glance in my husband's direction.  "How are we doing in here?" she asked cheerily.

"He's dressed," I said simply.

"Oh good!" she blushed.  She then asked him if he felt well enough to leave and he was up and ready to go.  He stood up fast, wobbled a bit, took my arm and waved farewell.

He was still in his socks.  The nurse asked how he was going to walk to the vehicle in his socks and I could tell, the thought had not occurred to him.  The man wanted out of there!

We walked into the waiting room, where our coats and his boots were.  My six foot three husband said in his booming voice to the two men sitting there drinking the bad coffee and watching worse t.v., "You do NOT want to go in there!"

Seeing they had a good one to tease, the men chucked and mentioned they'd been eyeing his blingy black cowboy boots, they wanted to know if he was going to go eat a good meal now and they wished him well on his way out the door.

The men and I had a good chuckle.

As we walked out the door, Jake began to pat his butt until he pulled out his wallet.  He opened it, looked inside at the money and then put it in another pocket.  Then he began to check his back pocket for his wallet and panickingly pat his body to feel his wallet.  "Did you take my wallet?" he asked.

He found it, checked the money, put it in another pocket and then he started all over again, searching, asking me for it, finding it, looking at the money and moving it to another pocket.

By the time we got to Wendy's - his choice for a first meal - I picked his wallet out of his hand and said, "See your wallet, honey?  See me putting it in my purse?  See how it's safe? Okay?"

He nodded.

Then he asked me if I was going to take all his money.

As I helped him across the parking lot, I had an image of us growing old together.

It'd be a new blog.

We went in to get the meal where he waved to an elderly couple we know from church.  He then began to sway in line and repeat himself over and over and I am quite certain that the people in line thought he was drunk.  He chowed his food down, declaring it to be the best meal he's ever eaten, and we headed home.

When I stopped for gas, I took the keys out.  I was afraid he'd forget where we were and leave me.

We arrived home nearly three hours after leaving, and I tucked him into bed where he slept for just over six hours.  When he woke up, he didn't recall anything but the turkey sandwich and the dinner at Wendy's.

To celebrate his survival of his first colonoscopy the next day, he grilled t-bone steaks.

All in all, he is glad he had the colonoscopy and endoscopy.  The blood turned out to be hemorrhoids, and just so you know, we all have them (the doctor told us so).  Sometimes they just flare up and are bad,  as they were with Jake that week.  With proper medication the doctor feels the badly damaged esophagus will heal...as long as he stays away from triggers that cause him heartburn.  As for the polyp, it was nothing...but he will have to go back in five years to just make sure all is still well.  And then we'll go through this all over again.

Because he's the love of my life.

He has a lot to live for - and we want him healthy for the adventure our life is.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snowed In

We aren't.
Snowed in.
Yet.

My husband would want you all to know that technically, I am NEVER snowed in without supplies  because a fully stocked store is just down the road.  But let me tell you...if the weather man says it's bad out and don't go on the roads...I am snowed in.  I can go days without leaving the driveway.  My husband, who is hardly ever home for a full day, shakes his head in wonder at me.  I know how to be snowed in.

But we are getting our first snow scare right now.  We've had a bit of snow so far this season but there is some weird storm going through where my sister may end up with 6 inches of wet sloppy snow and I may get a dusting of wet sloppy snow.

By Wednesday afternoon it should be all melted and the sun shining again.

That's weather in the Mitten, folks.

I worked today (at my job at the library that I LOVE) and everyone was talking about the weather and snow days off of school and so forth.

It got me thinking....

What is your "supply list" look for when you know a storm is blowing in that keeps you in your house?

I always have to have pancake mix (Krusteaz, it's the best) and syrup.  One can live a good long time on pancakes.  And there are no limits to how many ways you can make them.

Milk, bread, eggs.

And coffee, of course.  I have been known to misjudge how much milk we may need but not the amount of creamer for my coffee.  Yes, my boys have eaten cereal with half and half before - they need their Moma sane with coffee.

And, hidden in the dark recesses of the deep freezer where only I know, wrapped in a bag so it looks like nothing at all but a discounted meat I found, is a big bag of peanut butter m&m's.  One can survive much with m&m's.

How about you all?  What do you always try to make sure it is in the house when a storm is headed to your spot in our world?

I may need some new stocking up foods.

Looking forward to what you have to say...but right now I have to run.  The boys are supposed to be taking care of laundry.  All I know is that I hear loud thumps and our dining room light is swaying now....good indication they are NOT taking care of laundry upstairs.

Stay warm, my friends (and my friends in Arizona and Australia...I do not need to hear the temp.  I know it is warm.  Please don't remind me right now as I wear wool socks, two sweaters and am still cold.) !

Sunday, November 20, 2011

He Wants A Sister

We are in Big Trouble
S4 is feeling a bit better...enough to get back to his normal funny self...just a little bit.

Since he woke up at three this afternoon, he has been calling me for toast or to let me know he could read a word from his favorite movie Cars.  At one point I poured him some medicine and as soon as he drank it down he said "Could I have some more, please?"

"No...that's all you get for now."

"But, Moma," he said, "I still feel sick."

Sheesh, how do explain the medicine will eventually make him feel better?

Anyhow, he just came to hunt me down.

"Moma," he says, "I've been thinking.  I've been thinking I would really like a sister."

I nearly choked.  Currently, they have a "No girlz alowd" signs all over their room and stairway.  To further prove the point, they have named the only two girls they know, Lauren and Elle. (Although, if said girls showed up, they would quickly tear those signs down to play with them, I'm sure.  It just seems funny when no one else can see it.  And, they assured me that I can still come into their room.  Phew, what a relief.)

Anyway, he just asked for a sister.

"Why would you want a sister?" I asked.

"Well, I like to play house and you can only really play house with a sister so could you get me one, please?"

Oh, wait till his Daddy hears THIS one.

Leaf Jumping and Growing Up

It's Sunday morning here and we are not at church.


I have to admit, I'm thankful for the quiet day.

But the reason we are home is not a fun one.  S4 woke up with the flu.  He had tons of fun a friends house yesterday, he played hard all day and fell asleep exhausted in the middle of the living room last night.  This morning he woke up and said his tummy hurt.  

Since then he has gotten sick four times.

He is the most pitifully sweet sick kid.  He apologizes for throwing up, he smiles sadly at my worried gaze, he says please and thank you like he is some sort of inconvenience.  

As if.

I was laying all curled up in the chair watching over him as he dozed back off to sleep for a bit on the floor and happened to look out the window.

Outside S1 and S2 had gotten the pickup untarped from the leaf job Jake and did yesterday.  While the boys were gone we went and cleaned the leaves out of a sweet old lady's yard.  She believes only my husband can do the job right and just has the biggest crush on him.  When she met me for the first time yesterday she said surprised, "Oh, I know you! I've seen you on tv!"  

That was a first.

Anyway, it was dark and spitting rain when we got home.  We had pizza to bake and were starving hungry so we had just left the leaves for today.

S1 and S2 untarped them and then wandered off.  S3 took one look at that huge pile of leaves and knew just what to do.


 I watched him as he scaled the side of the big dodge and poised himself just right to dive into the leaves.

Over and over again he climbed the truck to jump in the leaves.  He would scale different sides of the truck to get an all over leaf experience.
 It was the funniest thing to watch as I lay curled in a chair waiting to see if my youngest was about to be sick again or just going to sleep.

And then I wondered, at what point did my two oldest get so old that they would not see a truck bed full of leaves for the fun it is?

I watched S3 throwing leaves up in the air and letting them fall down on him, not caring who seen him or if he was the only one in the bed of the truck, he was just taking the fun moment for what it was.
And my two oldest were "too old" to have this fun.

When did we all get too old to have this simple fun?

How did this happen?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Excuses to Be Late to School

I haven't had an installment of Excuses to Be Late to school in quite some time...because we have actually been on time.

I will let you take in that shocking bit of news for a moment.

Over the shock now?

One or two of those days....we were EARLY.

I know, it is difficult to believe.

But that went amazingly the other way today.

I had to debate long and hard to tell you this story though.  It tells some pretty awful stuff about this family.  But, to understand this story fully, you must hear it all in it's embarrassing horrific details.

My boys rooms are a disaster area.

There, I said it.

I scrubbed their rooms clean in September.  I sorted every single article of clothing.  I dusted every surface.  It was spic and span.

And since then they have gotten it messy and it's been easy for them to clean up.

But of late, it's just awful.  And I haven't had the heart to go back and clean it again.

To clear S1's name, I must say his side of the room is always totally spotless and it drives him batty to live with his brother's sloppiness.

This morning, early early early (so early I didn't even look at the clock), S4 crawled in bed with me.  I awoke with my alarm to a pillow pet, a stuffed dog and an elk in my face...and in the middle of all that was S4.  It was so sweet.

Because at five in the morning - yes, five - I heard S1 roaring down the steps...he is usually my latest sleeper...and S2 squeal with giggles of uncontrollable laughter.

"YOU!" my oldest, neatest, most responsible son roared, "You KNEW it was there!  That's why you shut off all the lights and ran!"

S2 could only laugh hysterically.

I heard some more commotion from the boys and could tell they had moved to the bathroom.  I could not muster the awake-ness to check on them to see what was going on.

Soon I heard the story...our dog who has recently began having issues (as in the dog that would not poop or pee all day if left alone (as rare as that would be) now sometimes cannot make it through the night.  And instead of waking me, she just goes on up to the boys room and leaves it there in hopes no one will notice.  I'm pulling my hair out over this new development.) left a pile of poop in the middle of the room.  S2 seen it on his way down the steps and quickly formulated what he was sure would be the best of plans.

S2 went upstairs - leaving the poop - and jumped on his oldest brother hollering he was late for school and he had better get up and Moma was storming mad he wasn't up.  When S1 began to waken - slowly - S2 ran for the door, shutting out the light and stumbled down the steps giggling.

S1 mutteringly got out of bed, made his way through his spotless side of the room, side stepped the pile of toys and papers S2 has on his side of the room and began the careful cross through S3 and S4's side of the room to reach the door - in the dark - and turn on the light switch, located at the door.

He then stepped in something wet and cold.

And realized immediately by the smell he had been dooped by his brother.

He managed to pummel his brother, clean up his foot, pummel his brother again and then he went back to bed - because he realized it was just after five and even his moma wasn't stirring yet.  He did holler at his brother to clean the nasty mess up.  S2 seen the pile of poop on the clothes and realized his good luck of not having to clean the carpet this time - he just threw all the clothes away that the dog had pooped on.

See, I'm telling you, utter humiliation here.

All the ruckus woke S3, who really did think it was time for school and got himself all good and ready for the day.  He then spent his time drawing pictures.  He then taped the said pictures all over the window next to my computer desk.

S1 ended up unable to sleep anymore and laying in bed thinking what S2 did to him just disgusted him so he decided he might as well get up and start the day.

S2, of course, also got already for school and settled in to read.

But about 6:30 this all was getting boring and they began to wrestle. play football, chase each other through the house.....

I just stumbled for the shower and mumbled something about making sure S4 was out of bed on time.

I should have thought that through a bit more because all three boys took great delight in waking S4 up.

S4 did not find it humorous at all.  He had to recuperate from their rudeness, so he went back to sleep.

And then the brothers did it all over again.

We then had 15 minutes before we had to leave for school.  The three brothers who had been up for forever at this point, went outside to play and wait while this moma was frantically trying to get S4 ready for school.

Outside, S3 decided to chase his brothers with sticks. S4 went out to put his packed back pack in the suburban and ended up diving into the back of the suburban to get away from his brother.  He was so sure he would get caught by his brother he just ducked down and hid in the suburban.

Which did wonders for the moma who was trying to get him ready for school.

We finally got everyone in the suburban, buckled, and took off down the road....

Only to have the back doors of the suburban fly open.

I had to brake fast and pull into the neighbors to shut the doors.

Apparently, when diving into the back of the suburban to hide from your brother you do not think to pull shut the doors behind you.

And then there we were, one of the last families to arrive to school.

Even though they had gotten up at five in the morning.

I am thinking of issuing a new rule - no one gets out of bed before six thirty in the morning.

And that is our newest excuse to be late to school as well as our awfully embarrassing family story.

I'm now off to clean my boys room.  Again.


(In whole other news...Fox 17 will be airing our digital detox story again on Saturday at 10 pm because they liked it so much. Woohoo, how cool is that?!?!?!
I told you Sarah did a great job with it :) )