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Monday, January 31, 2011

My Great Grandma is Dying

My great grandma, who is ninety, is dying. Her heart has weakened, hospice has been called in and someone sits with her all hours of the day and night.

My mom, my sister, my two year old niece and I went to see her Sunday afternoon. Honestly, I do not recall a time only the four of us have done anything together - except maybe sat in the hospital when my niece was born - and we had a good time out and about today. The January sun shone brightly and cheered our travel. We giggled and laughed and drank coffee. My niece and I made funny faces and skipped across the parking lot together, her in her princess shoes, glittery skirt and fancy pink beads.

My great grandma always scared me as a child. She is tall. And wore heels. She spoke loudly and I could never tell her and her sister - who was always with her - apart. I thought they were twins. I would go to hug my great grandma, get my aunt, they would look all the long way down at me, exclaim "oh my lands", pat my back roughly and off I'd go....scared to death being the timid girl I was (am).

Growing up, I never thought much of her.

Sometime after my husband and I married and settled here, she began to show up at the house. She always came bearing chocolate of all sorts (whatever holiday had just passed, that was the chocolate she brought. She always informed me of the great price.). She brought me tablecloths that I loved but was afraid to use. Baking dishes. Kitchen towels. Balls for the boys to play with or coloring books and crayons.

Then she would sit at my table, look at the chaos around us, smile a bit, and tell me a bit of when she lived on a farm.

I had never known this.

And in her visits, she became very dear to me.

And life being what it is, I never made it out to see her at her apartment.

Until today.

My Aunt (her daughter) was there and I have always liked my Aunt B. She is stylish and sweet and kind and I have always admired her. In a chair, bundled in a white blanket someone had painstakingly made, was a shell of the woman who had visited me.

My great grandma.

What do you say to a dying woman?

After a bit of time and small talk, I asked Aunt B if she knew where any pictures of the farm were. I had never seen any. She dug around a bit and showed me a stack of old pictures, none of which were the farm, but all were pictures of my great grandma.

Young.

Huge smile upon her face.

Twinkle in her eye as her shoulders were flung back and her head was held high.

She oozed spunk.

She wore heels.

Her arm was always around my great grandpa - whom I never met.

I had never seen a young photo of my great grandma before.

As I was flipping through them, great grandma's sister - the one I used to always confuse for her - came in to visit. Dressed in a house dress, her earrings, socks and shoes all matching, she hugged her sister and sunk into a chair to chat with the company.

Someone came across a photo of a truly hideous Christmas tree and they all began to recall Christmases where the tree had been cut from some top of a huge pine tree up north, hauled home to be put up where all the needles would dry up and die before Christmas was over. How my great aunt's husband would suddenly disappear while all the kids were clearing the table and washing up Christmas dinner, grumbling over how they wanted to open up presents when suddenly SANTA would appear, hohohoing as the dishes were just done.

Great Grandma and her sister chuckled, sisters whose eyes were far away recalling past memories.

My Great Grandma, oblivious to all of us but her sister in that moment, croaked out "Those were the good old days, weren't they?"

My great aunt rocked a bit in her chair. "Mmhmm, those were. Those were the good old days."

Silence held a moment as they were lost in their thoughts.

And it was then, holding those old pictures, looking at my great grandma and her sister that it struck me...........

Those good old days?
Those are the moments I am living RIGHT NOW.

THIS moment when the boys are all seeming to make me go crazy but still run up and give me hugs good night and kisses on my cheek and want to snuggle a bit.

THIS moment my sister is in, huge pregnant and due in mere days with her second baby.

THIS moment when I have a husband to wrap his arms around me, to protect me and care for me. When our future, as much as one can see, is laid before us.

And I can lean my head back on my strong husbands shoulder, laugh with him at the antics of our children, and know I have been blessed.

THIS MOMENT.

This frozen moment in time.

Tired mothers out there, grasp this. Do not wait until the moment has passed and you missed it, worried over getting past it.

It was just yesterday to a ninety year old woman.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Knowledge I Have Learned From S4 Over The Weekend

S4 talks all the time.

As in...

ALL
Day
Long.

He even talks in his sleep.

When he spends the day at the library with me, no one wonders why I blog. The problem is, I can't even remember all the things he says in a day because it is sooooooooooo much.

I'd like to record him all day long. Really. Because he is his own comedy act even when he doesn't mean too be. But sometimes he does and then he is really funny.

This weekend he was especially "wise".

He informed me that Girls don't know that much stuff. All girls have to do is cook and write. Boys know cool stuff and are way stronger so they are cooler than girls. And girls can't do anything without a license. But boys can. That's why boys are better.

I try to argue this with him. But his mind is made up.

I can't understand because...um, I am a girl. Enough said.

S4 looooooooooooooves his Sunday School teachers. I don't know how Mr and Mrs G do such a great job week after week but I sincerely hope they are S4's Sunday School teachers for forever. Honestly. This week they apparently learned about Satan...and S4 took all they had to say to heart. When S3 wasn't wrestling fair with him, he informed him it was because he had learned to be mean from Satan.

Would that not make you suddenly want to be nice?

I think it's gonna be S4's new ace in the hole response. Which means I had better come up with a good explanation when we are out and about and he starts telling strangers they learned bad behavior from Satan.

Can you imagine????

For a looooong time S4 has told these elaborate stories about when he was a "little kid". They all begin with "Well, when I was a little kid....." and they are grand wonderful stories. I will do all I can to pry them from him. Since he has started school, however, he never has them anymore. This makes me terribly sad and wishing I had written more down. Today he informed me that he would tell me a story....if I let him stay two nights, or more, at Oma and Papa's house (my parents). Until then, no stories.

Well.

I hadn't even asked for one. Had no thoughts of one. He just informed me. In his no nonsense way.

He then let me know that if I hurt his feelings I can just hug him and he will forgive me.

That's a relief.

Saturday night I put my hair up in all sorts of little buns. That way when I woke up Sunday, it would be all curly. I used to do it all the time when my hair was in that "I can do nothing with it at all" growing out stage. I couldn't remember exactly how I used to pull it off. S4 jumped in bed to snuggle with me and give me a full report on all his brothers going ons and noticed my hair in its buns.

He stopped mid report.

That never happens.

"What did you do with your hair?" he asked disgusted.

I played it off as thinking it was super pretty (this is probably why he has such a big job of explaining life to me....Obviously I need serious help). He informed me all morning with a scrunched up nosed look that he thought it looked "different".

He was thrilled when it got all unwound and was curls. Though he likes it better "regular" looking he informed me. And since my hair didn't really turn out well after all, he did have me there.

His brothers and he watched Because of Winn-Dixie. Remember the bear that comes into the library? Well, he is going to be ARMED and PREPARED next time we go to the library. He has it all planned out. Because, he is a boy and he will have to protect his moma and Miss A. It's the boys duty.

And he will be brave enough to do it if he has a nerf gun, a piddow pet and his moma nearby.

All weekend I got innumerable hugs, kisses, "you are the best moma ever" statements and compliments on the chocolate chip cookies I made. That little baby boy of mine, well, he is hilarious and he melts my heart a million times a day. And when he goes to school full time next year, my life will be boring.

It will.

He is a treasure and I am so thankful God surprised us with Abraham five years ago. He knew we needed him. Heck, ABE knows we NEED him.

All the boys have their own special places and special quirks, S4's just demand my time more often and I thought I'd give you a glimpse - I stress that strongly, this is a glimpse - into a weekend with him. This, by far, is my favorite stage of boyhood.

55 days till spring

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We Puzzled and Puzzed till Our Puzzler Was Sore

This whole entire weekend was wonderful. As in, "Hope I remember this time for forever and ever and all the boys remember that this was a super fun weekend too."

What did we do?

What made it so special?

We stayed home.

It.
Was.
Wonderful.

Friday night Hubs and I crammed in four episodes of 24. And we were in bed before 11. That is exceptional. And any night I get to stay all snuggled up on the couch with my hubby watching this show with just him is wonderful. I look forward to it for days. Honest. And since this is the last season we have to watch...I hope this season lasts forever. Well, sorta. I have to know what happens.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, Hubs and I were in bed together. We can't remember the last time we woke up together. He has been leaving to plow snow before I wake up and it was nice to cuddle for a bit....

Before the boys found us.

And all four of them climbed in bed with us.

Sadie, our German Shepherd, figured if we were ALL in bed she should jump in bed with us too.

Here is the attempted photo. Yah, I can't see much either but at least you know we attempted a photo of four boys, two adults and one large dog in a queen sized bed.
Here is Sadie. Really, she was happy. She climbed up there herself. And really, it was awesome. I told Hubs I hope I never ever forget this morning because it doesn't happen often and I love those mornings when they all want to cuddle with us.

Meanwhile, in another part of the house, there was Josie, our other dog.
Apparently, she needed some alone time. And if she got bored, she could play hockey, as you can see here.
But she doesn't look too interested in moving.

The snow came down sideways all day long Saturday. And it was cold. And we were all home with no where to go and nothing to do so I declared it a snow day. I made pancakes for breakfast and then Hubs and I played cards. The game we play is called Spite and Malice. It's named that for a reason. And when I won, Hubs didn't want to speak to me.

I got him to forgive me though. ;)

The boys played trouble next to us while we played cards. And then I had the brilliant idea to get out a puzzle I purchased forever ago (as in years) and put it together.

This caused mass confusion with S4.

What was I thinking buying a picture I had to put together? Why not just get a picture? He was sure I had lost my marbles.

We worked on it pretty much all Saturday afternoon before Hubs had to go plow.

And it was fun. But it also took up our eating table so we had to get the thing done. I caught myself saying, "Get back here and help us put this thing together RIGHT NOW! It will be FUN! Now, find all the edge pieces and give them to me."

By the end of the night it wasn't put together yet. All the pieces blurred together and we opted for Because of Winn-Dixie instead.

Sunday we woke up to the temp - the ACTUAL air temperature - being MINUS TWELVE. Really.

We had to go to church to teach Sunday school but hurried back home because our pipes in the kitchen froze...that's how cold it was. But it was an easy fix and since not a one of us wanted to go outside, Hubs and I started back up on the puzzle.
He fussed that it was too many pieces. That he didn't want anyone to know he "wasted" his whole day putting a puzzle together.
I really didn't care what he said as long as he helped me finish it because I was determined to finish this puzzle if it was the only thing we did that entire day. Pretty much, it was.
But when S4 put that very last piece in and we all cheered, Hubs told me it really had been fun. And I really should get another one. Maybe just one a bit smaller to put together in one afternoon. So we don't spend hours finding shingles and bits of straw and cheer if we find a chicken toe.
This was taken just as we had to pull it all apart. Which the boys totally didn't get. (Notice the candle? Summer Hydrangea smell my hubs got me for Christmas. Being all cooped up in the house with the boys and wet dogs, this was a necessity.)

It was a blast this weekend. And it was great hearing the boys say things like "this sure is fun today all being together!"

Yup, I do believe I will declare snow days more often.

Just hope they aren't all minus twelve degrees days.

56 days till spring.

Winter in Michigan

I always like it when other friends put up pictures
of where they live.
I just refound these pictures on my camera.
Hubs took these last month.
So I thought I would share.
This is one side of our field, can you see the raspberry bushes?
I may not like cold, but I love this picture.
I like it green, but this is beautiful too.

I dare say, my Hubby did a great job taking photos.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Praise and Coffee Has a STORE!

Check it out!

Praise and Coffee

HAS
A
STORE!!
(and the things are PINK. Can't get enough pink!)

Check it out HERE.

And the Winter Magazine?
Check it out

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sometimes.....

My handsome hubby looks up to see
This....

He totally deserved it.

I Got a Note From A Boy....

I really did.

It was delivered to me yesterday via my oldest son.

It said on the outside...
"To: A- D-
(give to your mom)
(Do Not Lose!)"

I recognized the handwriting immediately and couldn't help but grin.

Inside was his name and his number and when to call - which was when chores were done.

The note asked if he could come play at our house today. He heard that some other boys are headed over today and wanted to come too.

Melt my heart!

Unfortunately, it was too late to call so we are planning another visit on another day. Soon.

I never imagined that our home would be the house that my sons friends wanted to come over and hang out at. I don't think I am anyone overly fun...I just feed them. Cookies, hot cocoa, hot dogs.....nothing fancy. They play outside in the snow banks Hub's has plowed up.

There's lots of days that I don't make it on the "Good Mom" list for the day. But that this boy, whom I think is adorable (though I would never tell him that!) is begging to come over, the two boys that are headed over today are ecstatic to be here, and my boys are happy to have everyone here.....well, that warms my heart. In a big way.

It makes me feel all grown up. Does that make sense? Cuz I remember when my friends wanted to come over to my parents house. (Wasn't that just yesterday?)

58 days till spring!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Boys Took Over the Blog Tonight

I've been tagged in a Meme.
It sounds like Theme.
And that is where my poem ends.
Becca, from Our Crazy Boys, tagged me in this and gave me this bloggy award last week, or was it this week? I forget....

stylish-award.jpg

I love Becca for thinking of things like this for me....she makes me stretch out of my comfort zone but she is sweet about it. However, her tweeting me that it is 74 degrees at her house today is NOT nice.
Rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank & Link back to the person who arwarded you this. Check and thanks again!
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pay it forward to 5 recently discovered great bloggers. (I did some old, and some new)
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award.

And now I am supposed to come up with seven things about myself that you all might like to know about me. But I thought it may be fun to have the boys come up with seven things they think people should know about me.
They thought this was brilliant, they really did! Until, as Jake was sound asleep from plowing and not getting ANY sleep in over 24 hours, I got out my computer as we were eating pancakes for dinner and asked them what their seven things were.
They drew blank faces.
They himmed and hawed.
This is what you got....
(PS they picked out their own pics for this post. That they had no problem doing at all)

Andrew (S1) said....
1. She is good at cooking.
2. She is nice.
3. Thoughtful.
4. She is good at writing and reading.
5. She has beautiful handwriting.
6. Moma encourages us.
7. You are the best Moma ever.



2. Isaac (S2) said....
1. Glad Moma has a job at the library.
2. Moma is a computer quiz (whiz)
3. Moma is loveable.
4. Moma is the best person you could meet.
5. Makes the best tacos and hot dogs.
6. I am glad you are my Moma.
7. I am glad my Moma will let me sign up for football.
( He said this with a grin because....I did not say I would......)




Eli (S3) said....
1. Moma gets the computer out for me.
2. I like playing at the beach with Moma.
3. I like the color of the beach raft Moma gived me.
4. I like going camping with Moma and riding bikes with her.
5. Moma makes good pancakes.
6. Moma cooks good.
7. Moma has good handwriting.
(please note, he was most excited about this idea until it was time. And then he could think of nothing. NOTHING. And then he asked me if he could play on the computer when he was done and I said "yes" and then he had all those ideas instantly.)


Abraham (S4) said....
1. I love staying with her.
2. I really loved it when me and Moma are at home.
3. Moma is a good at writing.
4. I love giving Moma kisses.
5. I really like staying with you.
6. I am glad Moma has a job at the library.
7. I love sticking my tongue out at Moma.
8. You are the best Moma ever.
9. I love Moma's pancakes.
10. I love your spaghetti.
11. I love your hotdogs.
12. Like playing at the beach with Moma.

S4 may show up with more ideas......cuz that's how S4 rolls.
But here are my blogging friends I am passing this on to........
One of my very bestest friends, Mary over at Cohagen Chronicles.
Mel, who is a huge part of Praise and Coffee, over at Mel's World (where she has a give away going on right now!)
Karen at Stairstep Boys because, well, she has four boys and she needs our love! She always has great honest posts and does amazing things with furniture and yummy food recipes.
Kristi is BRAND NEW to the blogging world. And she has just two girls so I love love love her posts. Girliness! She also happens to be my neighbor, how awesome is THAT? Visit her at Reality Check! Life's a Gift...Really.
And here is a blog that's been around for awhile but I only just now refound it. As in, found it TODAY. So how about we check it out together? Reluctant Entertainer seems to be beautiful and filled with yummy food.
Here is who Becca tagged....just in case you would like to check these blogs out. Some of these I follow FAITHFULLY, some are brand new. Enjoy!

I am passing this meme on to my dearest bloggy friends, 4 women who I would love to know more about:

Amy from One Sassy Family

Chelsea from Vicarious Chelsea

Denise from Life with four boys… Coffee Please!

Kellyn from The Fritz Facts

and to one special new bloggy friend that I would love to know more about:

Kathleen from The Many Shades of Violet

Kathleen was named my Little {bloggy} Sister through Krysten’s Big Sister, Little Sister mentor program. I would love to stick her button on my sidebar so you could go visit, but she doesn’t have one yet. I think I know where we might start :)

If you have a second, go welcome Kathleen into the blogging world!

Thanks, Becca! :)
Hope you all got a kick out of the boys tonight.
Now, back to dishes, laundry and the mess, I mean ART, S4 has made today.
61 days till spring

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Impossible Case of S3 and His Missing Homework

S3.

Everyone loves him because he is so loveable. He hugs and kisses and back rubs and snuggles and smiles and is so darn adorable.

He is also our antagonist. Our sneaky boy. The one that is always in the middle of the "WHAT is going on in here?"

And since school has started up since Christmas, he is our homework skipper.

I ask him if he has homework, he assures me he has none. This weekend, he shoved his back pack under the seat of the suburban so we didn't find it till Monday morning.

This is also the same boy who is not getting dressed, not getting his lunch made and loosing everything he needs for school every. single. morning. Even if it was all at his chair waiting for him the night before.

I keep waiting for his great teacher to send home a note where he has been warned or punished or something for not bringing home his homework.

And honestly, she could have all along but I would have never known.

So I sent her an email begging the sweet, kind, fun teacher who I think the world of to be as mean and strict as she needed to be to S3 to get his homework done. She and I worked up a plan, because, she totally rocks and we work well together like this.

I worked late at the library. When I got home, I had a brief moment with hubby and I asked him how it had gone with the boys. "GREAT, we even got all our homework done."

"That IS great!" I exclaimed. "Even with Eli?"

He paused a moment to think on S3. "No, he said he had homework but he couldn't find it." He began chuckling. "The funny thing is that he said that he has to have it done by Friday or he has to stay in for recess. But he is not worried about that since he is sure Friday is SIX days away."

Yah, his math figuring may be part of his homework he has been hiding.

So, his teacher and I will be scheming again........

Praise and Coffee - the Magazine

Today
TODAY
launches our Second Magazine


Please
Grab a mug of coffee
(or cocoa, I know you all don't share my love of coffee)
and thank you
We wanted this to bless you
Happy Reading

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Funnies

Here are two quick stories for you.....

First...

On Saturday, all four boys went to work with me at the library. It wasn't a planned thing. I may have arrived at my day at work with three boys in tow (one was at a friends) and a desperate need for coffee because - get this - I ran out of creamer for my coffee.

But I knew I had some at the lovely library.

My wonderful boss (Jake fondly calls her "boss lady") said the boys would be fine there all day. She even brought one son to a basketball game her son was playing at the school and when she returned, she brought two of my sons (the one who had been at a friends). I, not one to waste an opportunity, put the boys to work. I began by asking them to take the garbage out. S1 said he didn't know where they were (to be fair, he did not know where they all were. But, I mean, it's a GARBAGE...pretty easy to guess where they are!) so S4, who is nearly a full fledged librarian already at the ripe old age of five, declared himself the task master and ordered his brothers and my boss's son around.

It may have made me giggle.

And be appreciative that S4 is not my boss.

Like, super thankful. He is a tough task master!

Alicia and I paid them in Doritos and Animal Crackers.

S3 got the bag of animal crackers and suddenly realized that with control of the food made him the perfect guy to start a game of "catch me".

Did you know that library shelves are like the ultimate maze/race track EVER???

As the boys were running through the library squealing with joy and laughter (NOTE: at this point we were CLOSED for the day, they were very good all day long. Like, shockingly so, I was used to the behavior they were portraying now.) one of them shouted out "I've never had so much fun in a library!"

S1 calmly explained, "That's because libraries are not supposed to be fun."

However....our library?? It is totally fun.

And the boys, we found out, our great at running a vacuum.

Second story....

S1 had a friend stay over Saturday night. He dresses all in camo and loves to live out doors. He fits right in at our house. As in...perfectly.

He is quiet and sweet and he loves chickens.

On our way to church, the boys were asking how long their friend could stay. And I said we would keep him because he's a good influence on my rowdy boys with his quiet nature. And I needed someone who could help take good care of the chickens.

S2 then requested that their friends brother come live with us too because the younger brother is a huge sports boy...and he and S2 play at recess. Every. Single. Day.

In fact, the only reason the friends brother wasn't at the overnight stay was because he had had a basketball game in another town.

S4, who knows all (just ask him) declared from his booster seat in the back "What are you thinking??? Moma needs someone to wash dishes for her and scribble things on paper for her. She don't need someone to play football!!!!"

Ah, he has his moma so pegged on this one.

And I may have giggled over this story all day. Especially as I washed dishes.

Bonus story.....

Over the weekend my parents came for dinner.

I sent my mom this text..."We should be fine, but could you bring me a roll or two of toilet paper? Thanks."

Then I said "Oh, just realized I don't have coffee creamer. May have to run to store anyhow."

After a brief moment to reflect, I texted her again. "Should I be worried that toilet paper was not an emergency but coffee creamer is?"

Welcome to my life.

And may I mention my Mom is the greatest....she brought us TWO triple sized rolls. Ahhhhh, that is love. AND, she brought dry coffee creamer from her house.

And I found coffee mix in my cub-hoard. (thank goodness for that emergency stash!)

So the evening was just perfect.

As is my life.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We Survived Till Friday!!!!!!!

This week has seemed forever and ever and ever long.

Nothing hugely bad just...exhausting.

The boys feel it too. Today one was sobbing that he was too cold to go to school, one was refusing to dress, one was using the carpet burn he got two days ago as an excuse to stay home and one was going to school ONLY because it means he is headed to a friends after school.

On my way to work today, I am dropping off at school all the things they forgot. Like winter boots and gloves.

BUT, on my way home from dropping all four boys off at school, I was channel surfing (because I am always and forever channel surfing. What if my favorite song really is on the other station?) and heard this oldie.......



Why, yes, I did crank it up.

And sang so loudly that I am sure my boys would have been mortified.

(But I'd like to think they wouldn't. That instead they would think I totally rock. I like the dreamland in my head sometimes!)

So, in case you are having a rough week...I know at least five people who are...maybe just knowing that others are thankful it's Friday and really, we have lots to be thankful for, will help ease you into a (hopefully) relaxing weekend.

And the song may help make you smile a bit.

And it might be also good to note, SIXTY FIVE DAYS TILL SPRING!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making Ginger Bread Houses with S3

Yesterday I mentioned that I had gone to school to make Ginger Bread houses with S3. It occurred to me that I had not told you about this experience.
I think I only have one more "Christmasy" post after this. Then I think we are caught up. But since Christmas is a busy time of the year and I did not blog much then....I hope you all don't mind.
On the day of my hubby's birthday and the glorious cake, when I was still trying to figure out how to get the said cake, I went to the school to make ginger bread houses with S3.
Amy, over at Our Sassy Family, was laughing. Because she had made a ginger bread creation just before this day and it had been.....blogworthy. You can read about it all HERE, make sure you check her youtubes too that relate to the story. I could hear her laughter and "good luck" and "I WANT PICTURES" ringing in my head as I walked in the school door.
Late.
Because of the cake planning.
But I arrived and Eli shot me a huge smile so all was well.

Using empty milk cartons (remember this, it's key) we frosted them, put on graham crackers and decorated them. Sounds (and messy) enough....
Except that frosting was super yummy and hard to resist.
S3 had an idea how he wanted this to look and I was not going to get in his way. He had a lot of fun and was deep in though with his tongue sticking out a bit of the side of his mouth in deep concentration - or licking the remnants of the frosting.
Notice the "E" for Eli.
He was VERY proud of that!

We brought it home and displayed it on the shelf in the dining room. I noticed S1 keeping an unusually close eye on it. Finally he asked "When are we going to eat that?"

In his mind, there is no point in having good food go to waste! ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hubby's Happy Birthday

In December, Hubs had a birthday.
I won't tell you how old he is.
But I will tell you that I am much much younger than him.
He has a niece who happens to also be one of my very dearest bestest friends. It's nice when life gives you one of those great life long gifts - I'm guaranteed to have a best friend for the rest of my life cuz we are FAMILY. How cool is that? Anyway, she is studying to be a bakery chef expert. I know she has a fancy special name for what she is doing but I can't recall it.
But, really, all you need to know is that if it is a dessert, she can make it. She can create something just from the flavors you like. And she can make it look like such a work of art you don't want to eat it. But you will. And it will melt in your mouth in you will roll your eyes in the back of your head and wonder how anyone can create such luscious food.
Brownies in a box just don't seem to cut it anymore.
BUT, it is so nice to hear her say "Oh, I'll bring the dessert for the family dinner." Bless you.
A long long time ago, when the weather was nice and lovely, she made a John Deere cake for her son's birthday. Hubs seen it and thought it was just the cutest cake ever.
She didn't forget that.
So when his birthday got closer and closer, she and I began to scheme more and more. The plan was...I would meet her somewhere so we could
A. talk
B. get caffeinated
C. oh yah, pick up the cake
We had texts flying back and forth to each other.
On the day of his birthday, he had to plow. This would be perfect for our cover if the roads were going to behave.
We picked out our meeting time and place.
Which was tricky because I had to rush back to the school to make gingerbread houses with S3. Tis (was) the season at the time of his birthday.
But then Jake showed up early, his plowing done, which is GREAT for his birthday but not so great when you are planning on sneaking away to get a cake. He never batted an eye when I said I'd have lunch with An. That meant he was exhausted. Which helped our scheme.
And then An called to say that the school had called and her little guy (she has three little guys and one big guy ;) ) was sick at school and she needed to pick him up.
Our plans were disintegrating quickly.
She was determined to get the cake to me, hours of preparing it and the lack of sleep she had gotten from making the cake were beginning to make her "the cake IS getting to you" more forceful.
The problem that was glaring at us mostly was the fact that we are 45 minutes away from each other on a nice summer day. Winter and the boys getting out of school and a sick child and gingerbread making were not making this easier.
But a truly daring, totally insane plan began to take place.
Hubs decided he wanted pizza from Papa Murphy's. I don't know where any Papa Murphy's are, as Jake always picks them up, but I suddenly got REAL interested. When I knew where we were headed, I got in touch with An who figured out how long it would take for her to get there.
And how long it would take for me to get there.
And we planned to surprise him there.
In the parking lot.
In a last ditch effort to make sure he got his surprise birthday cake.
I was a nervous wreck trying to be sweet and kind and loving as I watched the clock like a hawk and to make sure we left at the correct time.
I let S1 in on the plan. He was to claim he was starving to get us moving along a bit faster if need be. It would be believable, since he always is starving....
With my phone on silent, An and I kept in somewhat contact.
And it was no small miracle that as we walked in to order our pizza, she walked in behind us with her Uncle Jake's birthday cake.
The look on his face was priceless.
He was shocked to say the very very very very very least.
When we brought it home, after the pizza, we uncovered the cake just to look at it's beauty.
The white cake had a chocolate ganache filling. The frosting literally melted in your mouth - and I am not a big frosting fan. The tires were ALL made with chocolate, solid chocolate people.
As was the trailer. Which was covered with "seed" or shaved hazelnuts. Jake quickly claimed the whole trailer of the cake as his own. He was the birthday boy, he could. All night long, as we ummed and ooohed over the cake, Jake just kept chucking over everything that An and I had done to pull off this surprise.
It was worth it.

Thank so much, An. You totally rock.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Want This Moment to Last....Like for Another Hundred Years

One night as dinner was ending, I turned to see S4 sitting on S1's lap.
So I took a picture.

And I hope I can capture a million more moments like this.
Cuz I don't wan them to end.

Friday, January 7, 2011

S3 Pulled a Fast One

We were recently out for the count with the flu. Someone had it every day. Literally. It wasn't fun.

Sunday S3 was fine. Fully over the flu. He devoured the famous grilled hamburgers his Daddy made. He played hard and ate well and slept fine.

But on Monday, when it was time for school, he doubled over in pain, crying his tummy hurt.

I told him he had to ask his Daddy if he could stay home. I can be suckered into letting them stay home rather easily. Daddy can not. Daddy was sleeping but woke up to see that S3 needed to stay home.

So, S3 put his jammies back on and wailed and cried in pain as he stumbled up the steps. He was soon silent and I assumed he was sleeping.

Daddy woke up in time to run the only healthy boy to school.

As soon as the truck had arrived at the end of the driveway, I jumped in alarm as I heard the pounding of feet stomp down the steps, the shooting of the pretend loud shotgun going off and the whooping and hollering of......S3.

"She's gone! She's gone!" he cried happily, assuming Daddy was still sleeping and I had taken S1 to school. "We can play now! Come on! Wahoo!" he called to his little brother.

He rounded the corner with a huge grin on his face.

And seen me.

Instantly he dropped his gun as if it were on fire. He hung his head. He barely squeaked out "Um, Moma, I am feeling a little better now. Can I come down to play now?'

He went to school the next day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Am I Tired????

People often ask me if I am tired. Because apparently I look tired. What a lovely thought.

This always causes me to pause, this question of "Are you tired?"

As if I need to say "Am I a mom?"

I mean, if you are a mom isn't part of your job requirement to be able to take nap at any moment to try to regain the years of sleep you have missed out on?

Am I tired.....sheesh.

I mean, why should I be?

My alarm goes off at five. If I am unimaginably lucky, it is just hubs and I in bed. But usually it is me and hubs and one other boy. Sometimes two other boys.

There is a dog panting in my face, waiting for me to show signs of life. She does not know the meaning of minty fresh.

There is another dog in the kennel, whining and crying and reminding me she is there.

I let them out and they immediately begin to bark to the heavens, announcing to all the invisible critters that were considering attacking us all that they have, in fact, returned to the outdoors and are keeping their eye on all the totally invisible and silent ruthless critters out there.

It's then I crawl back into my warm bed. I know, I need to start coffee (wouldn't a coffee delivery just be...wonderful? Like, with an IV so you wouldn't even have to drink it! You would get the wonderful aroma and taste in an IV so you would bounce awake, one cup of coffee already running through your veins) and get started on the day. But it's winter. And bed is warm.

Soon I'm calling sleepy boys to wake up. Then the fun really begins. There is the panic I may forget to feed them (this has never ever ever ever ever ever happened. But they are gripped with fear they may miss a meal.) Then it's the whole "What will I wear?" and even if I have been on top of the game to lay their clothes out, they will forget, they may cry over their favorite shirt MIA or pull out their most favoritest clothes they must wear...you know, the ones with the holes in knees, three inches too short and the completely stained shirt.

(note to self: do not wash these clothes this time. THIS time, Throw. Them. Away. For. Good.)

I cannot imagine how girls are in the morning.

And then the bickering begins. The "I wanted that cereal and he ate it all" and "Don't take my hat" and so on and so forth.

The dog sees the cat and the inside barking begins.

A game of football starts up in the living room while I am in the shower.

We have ten minutes before we have to leave. The only boys dressed are the ones who slept in their clothes.

Down as much coffee as I can in one sip.

Warn everyone we MUST LEAVE NOW!!!! I point to the tv. "When Jon Shaner does the next weather segment, we are OFFICIALLY late!!!"

S3 looses his coat. Or lunch. Or shoes. Or snow pants. Or boots. Or back pack. Or all that. Every. Day. Even though last night it was all laid out for him.

Jon Shaner begins the weather on Fox 17.

We are officially late.

I am screaming now. Because I am such a great mom.

I'm the last person out the door, even though I was the first one ready. S2 has taken over the radio. We are blaring.

Blaring.

I didn't drink enough coffee for blaring.

We arrive to school where I am already giving out game plans to get in the doors before they lock. "Okay, we are in the parking lot. Unbuckle. No! Don't climb over the seats yet! I am still driving! No, we cannot finish listening to this song. We are LATE, remember? Okay, go! go! go! go!"

The doors open and literally we all fall out of the suburban. It takes six tries to get all doors shut (there are only five of us. We only have four doors.)

We shuffle run into school. We shuffle run because it's not a good example to run into school. It also hazardous as it is winter. And icy.

On a good day, we make it in before the doors close and lock. On a regular day, we walk through the office, waving hellos as we do. And then I usually have to notice someones cool jewelry or shirt or hair style and comment on it.

Because I am the only girl in a house of boys.

We speed walk to classes.

I break a sweat.

We wave hello's to other parents and get asked by boys when they can come over to our house and remind S3 that he HAS a lunch he does not need to BUY a lunch.

Someone always always always always laughs at us. Every day. Always.

I leave when they all know what we are having for dinner. I am usually planning dinner in my head as we walk in the door. Because saying "I'm not sure what's for dinner" makes them panic that they may starve.

We have never ever not eaten dinner.

That is just the morning.

In the afternoon there is mountains and mountains of laundry. There is dinner to make. And snacks. Because what if they were to starve (they never have)?

I scroll facebook and twitter on my phone when I realize I have begun talking to the dogs as though they are children.

Just when I am so tired I cannot keep my eyes open, the boys arrive home from school.

They are starving.

Every thing I have cleaned all day long is now muddy, covered in something or spilled.

As I am finishing up dinner prep, they have homework questions.

We do reading and papers and S4 asks me a hundred times "what's a number between 2 and 21" from his Vtech computer.

I oversee lunch making while babysitting a Pillow Pet I am sworn to protect with a long list of rules. Daddy tries to kidnap said Pillow Pet. Screaming ensues. Tickling usually follows. It's a tough job.

Boys go to bed. Hubby mentions he hasn't seen me, how about I watch American Pickers with him?

If it's a good night, I do not fall asleep on the couch.

But that also means that when the show is over, I am in the kitchen washing dishes.

When I fall into bed, I do not toss or turn. Not once. I am instantly asleep.

And start all over again the next day, maybe with work at the library thrown in too.

Work I love.

Life I love.

Because this insane life that is frantic running all day long?

I love it.

I am so very very blessed.

But totally wonder how anyone dares to ask me if I am tired. Or assumes I read books constantly. Or can take a nap every day. Or get bored.

I laugh at that.

I am too blessed to be bored. And too busy to sleep.

So, yes, I am tired every single day.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sights if You Have ONE Bathroom

Now that we are back in the school routine again, I thought I'd share this with you.
We have one bathroom. That's right. One.

And four boys.

And one Daddy.

And one Moma.

And two dogs.

Anyhow. Mornings we are always always always always always running late. (It may or may not have something to do with me taking pictures of the boys and checking messages every morning) And on any given day, this is the scene in the bathroom.
I came into the room to find this.

S3 is sitting on the tractor bench to put on his shoes even though S4 is standing on the bench to brush his teeth.

Welcome to my funny life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beach Days and How I Survived Walmart

This is what I would call a totally random rambling post.
You have been warned.

S4 is totally into making art right now.
All
The
Time
(yes Becca, I can hear you laughing)
He draws pictures and uses rolls of tape and toilet paper rolls and anything he deems art worthy.
He drew me this picture of the beach.
Because him and I? We are total beach bums in the summer.
Guess who's me and who's him?
As I hung this latest work of art up above my oven, I noticed the picture I had hung it up next to.

It's a forever long ago taken photo. I had gotten into Walmart with all four boys, wrangled a cart, was beginning shopping when I noticed what my cart actually looked like.

And why people would stare at us.

I couldn't resist a photo. And since I didn't have a phone that took a picture with it at the time, or a digital (okay, honestly, at this point in my life I didn't even have a camera. Can you imagine me cameraless? Everyone who knows me suddenly gasped, unable to fathom such a thing.)

So I grabbed one of the disposables they have for sale (Walmart, you have everything) and snapped the photo. And for some reason, I have this one accidentally printed as a 5x7. I have no idea why. And I just found it again in a bottom of a drawer so I put it up on the wall to remind me that once I did survive shopping like that.

And that my boys were really that little.

And to not blink so much...cuz they sure are growing up much too quickly.
That itty baby? He drew me the beach picture. And when I took that photo, I never imagined one day I'd hang his art work next to that quick photo.

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My Christmas Miracle

I know this is a Christmas post and we are done with Christmas. But this is a post I just had to share.
This little girl is even my phone background picture because I am still loving this moment so much.
Remember Baby Backup? Well, she isn't such a little baby anymore. And my sister better watch out because Baby Backup is gonna use up a lot of words in a day, competing with my sister. (insert evil giggle here)

But all along Backup hasn't liked me.

I've tried, numerous times, to be the cool aunt. But she doesn't like me. So much so that one time, at a my brothers annual awesome Fourth of July party, she pulled my hand to get her some iced tea. I giddily poured her a cup, where she promptly dumped it on my flip flopped feet and danced away happily.
She has a love affair with Buzz Lightyear. The only girl in our family and she loves anything Buzzy. For Christmas I got her a puzzle. I figured it was too old for her but once I had it stuck in my head that I wanted a puzzle for her I could not be dissuaded.

She.

Loved.

It.

But when her mean old parents would not let her get all those tiny pieces out for fear they would be lost (Puh-lease!!!), Aun' Niese came to the rescue.
I think she was pleased I did.

I knew she was totally playing me. She hugged me and pointed at her parents and cried some more and when I threatened my sister to hand over the puzzle (I can still pull oldest sister rank), Backup skipped off to the table where we worked on the puzzle.
I think she likes it.

Later, she let me paint her fingernails.

She
Won
My
Heart

And I loved my Christmas Miracle.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Monster Buck

S1 was determined he was going to get buck this year. We had been hearing about a 12 point buck and my sister in law nearly hit it one morning (I won't tell you what Hubs, my brother, and S1 had to say about her braking for it instead of speeding up to hit it.) She said it was the biggest buck she had ever seen....and she would know. My brother is an avid hunter and is the one who takes S1 on his hunts.
S1 had worked hard at staying quiet and sitting at his stand or in the tree for more than an hour at a time (hard work for an eleven year old on a cold day).
He had a chance for a doe and her yearlings. But he missed. Three times. And was crushed.
One rainy dark cold dank nasty night, we were sitting all warm and cozy in the house finishing dinner when we heard a shot.
Close.
We waited a bit and then we heard another shot.
I sent a text to our neighbor and it hadn't been Trav. We heard the four wheeler and knew it was someone very very close to us.
I kept an eye on face book and it wasn't long before I seen it was my friend across the field's husband, Matt.
Matt had gotten the elusive big buck. Who turned out to be an 11 point. That scored 154.5 inches.
I wondered how S1 would take the news. I mean, he had big dreams for this buck. Daddy had promised him we would get it mounted if he shot it.
And the neighbor had gotten it.
Not any neighbor. A neighbor who had kept S1 and S2 busy this fall with wood and odd chores, paying them well so S1 could go on his hunt this winter. He and his wife had taken very good care of the boys and the boys thought the world of them.
Andrew was quiet for a bit before he began to grin. "Well, if anyone should get it, it should be Mr. Matt. He deserves to get such a big deer."
He then asked me every five minutes or less if we could go see it.
There are moments when you are proud of your kids. So much so you just nearly burst with joy over them.

That was this night.

He could have been angry or bitter, although I didn't think he would be. Instead he was probably almost as excited as Matt. Seriously. Mr. Matt turned out to be the most famous guy at school the next day, thanks to S1. Our property borders their's and S1 was thrilled THIS buck had been on OUR property too and that his FRIEND Mr. Matt had shot it. And HE got his picture taken with it.
I didn't mind that I was the only girl in the garage with a bunch of guys I didn't know so my boys could see this historic buck. Or at least, didn't mind too much. But this smile made my day...heck, it made the hunting season.

Congratulations again to a great hunter, Matt Rairigh.

Take a moment to meet my friend (his wife) Kristi. She has two little girls and since her life is so different then mine (just in that she has adorable girls and I have rowdy boys....but even my boys are super impressed with their girls...now THAT is saying a LOT), I always look forward to any fb updates the girl has to offer.

Follow Kristi's BRAND NEW blog REALITY CHECK! Life's a Gift....Really.

S1's Terrible News

S1 shot a huge giant hog Saturday. It's all of 300 pounds. He just got home last night from cutting up the meat with my brother and I am looking forward to sitting down with him to hear about his hunt in great detail. Perhaps we'll have to let him take over the blog again like we did last year when he shot the Russian Boar. A roast is in the crock-pot as I write this...but he has big plans for me to make ribs later this week with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (his favorite).

Hubs went to pick up S1 last night as I continued to fold the mountains of laundry and shuffle through the evening. The boys have all had the flu and I have been on a cleaning fury and the mix has worn me out. Of course, staying up till 1:30 to watch the season of 24 we haven't seen yet didn't help either. But it was sooooooo worth it!

As Hubs helped S1 load up the meat and head for home, he got asking him about his weekend and as the two of them so often do, they began to discuss the inner workings of an 11 year boys head. They do this often and I suppose S1 was grateful for some one on one time with just him and his Daddy.

"Daddy," he began gravely, "I have heard some terrible news."

Jake braced himself for what it could be. He hadn't known something bad had happened. "What's that, son?" he asked.

S1 continued on seriously. "I just learned something really bad. When a boy takes a girl on a date, the boy has to pay for the girl."

I'll wait while you continue laughing........

I asked Hubs if he was serious. He said that Andrew had been as serious as could be.

I asked him how he had reacted to S1's terrible news. Jake said he laughed so hard he nearly drove off the road.

I then asked Hubs if he had told him that it was worth it to be married.

Hubs didn't answer. Then he stuttered over his words saying he had assured him I had been worth every penny.

So I gave him "the look". And then we both laughed.

But I wonder if I will ever get a daughter (in-law) one day. Not that I'm in a hurry since none of the boys will be allowed to date till they are thirty.

And then Jake told S1 as he was headed to bed it was good to spend a little money on a date so he could get a girl as good as his Moma one day.

Oh Swoon.