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Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Just Want to Clear My Name

It was not my fault we were late for school this morning.

No matter what the boys say, no matter what it may appear to have looked like, I was truly fully ready for school this morning. I even had my french press made and ready to go BEFORE the boys had their shoes on.

It's also worth mentioning I did not holler at them once. Not. Once.

But, yes, we were five minutes late to school.

S2 requests that Daddy take them to school. Apparently, Moma takes too long. She wakes up, she has to take a shower EVERY morning and she spends so long doing things that they are always late to school.

I heard S2 explain this all to his Daddy and I may have rolled my eyes. The battle of boys versus girls and getting ready to go somewhere starts VERY early. They cannot understand my need for a shower every single morning, putting clean clothes on, brushing my teeth, putting in my contacts and usually adding some mascara to exhausted looking eyes.

When I go to school in the morning, I am clean but look rough. Does that make sense?

Anyhow, this morning I was super tired. This is why.....

After a super busy week (this seems to be a theme for us lately), I went to Sue's yesterday morning to look over our magazine that goes out TOMORROW. I arrived home to tackle dishes and laundry and seriously, the laundry pile to fold is so high that I can't physically toss another pile on top of it - so I just started a new one. It's half the size of the other.

Yes, Hubby, I will fold laundry as soon as this post is done.

It was then that the cable guys called to hook us all up. And would be there in ten minutes - and like four hours early.

I figured, really, what could I do about it? So I just kept plugging away at dishes and dinner. Except they needed me to move some furniture. Like the chairs and dressers.....

In my defense, spring cleaning starts TOMORROW. It's been the plan since the boys started having spring break years ago.

But holy cow!!!!! The mess we found!!! Jake and I have watched movies and noticed the living room had a "smell". I figured the smell was "cooped up all winter long" but apparently it was garbage (yes! really!) that Sadie had found and decided to hide in the living room. Like, old lunch meat packages.

And a myriad of toys and dried up play dough and the like.

It. Was. Gross.

And I might have apologized profusely. And Josh, the technician, might have taken pity on me and did say said he would make sure we didn't have to move the fridge.

Can you imagine what might behind THERE?

Anyhow, I'm sore and tired and we had Word of Life club last night. I slept in till 7:05 this morning, but I was ready - completely ready - to go by 7:35 - FIVE MINUTES EARLY.

S1 was telling big stories today, doing silly voices and playing with the dog. S2 was giving us a minute by minute break down of the time we were wasting this morning, but he never once helped any of us get ready - the boy had gotten up at 4:30. He really does need a cow to milk every morning. S3 was lost all morning but miraculously was dressed before I got out of the shower. S4 could find no clothes he liked, so he settled on too small Lightening McQueen jammies.

It was as I was saying that we were now officially late that S3 pulls out of his back pack his homework he never mentioned he had and of course I never had seen it because I was too busy cleaning dog treasures and putting furniture back where it belonged before we rushed out of the house for Word of Life.

But we finished it. Back packs were loaded. S2 and S4 decided to wander the yard to just make sure it was the same mess it had been when they came in last night instead of getting in the suburban. Josie, our other dog, refused to go in the house so I left her out. I was still the first person in the vehicle.

I just said, as we pulled into school and I told them we were late, "Tomorrow starts Spring Break. And I think we really are ready for a week off of school."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Phone Calls

My poor husband, he never knows what he is going to get when he calls me. I usually answer with "Hey, husband!" or sometimes I'll be silly or sometimes I'll all gushy.

If I'm busy and just answer "Hello?" he feels badly and wonders what's up or wrong.

Then he always says to me...."How is your day going?"

That's a loaded question. It can bring a myraid of answers. You read my blog, you know this to be true!

Here is a sampling of a call from the other day.....

"Hey, Hubby!"

"Hey, wife! How's your day going?"

"Well....................I think I hit a bird."

"You hit a WHAT?" (He is now calculating the cost of the repair of anything I may have damaged.)

"A bird."

"Oh....a bird. Well, that's not bad." (Phew. No money lost here.)

Now my words all run together in a gushed outpouring, "I was driving home from school and there was a flock of birds in the field and they were all just sitting there being twitterpated and all the sudden this one flew up and flew all around and then BANG! I heard something hit my suburban. And then a cop drove by and I was sure I had a black bird splattered on the front grill of the suburban and I was sure he was going to pull me over for animal cruelty. (I paused to take a breath) But he didn't."

My husband was chuckling now. "Well, that bird won't be twitterpated anymore." He is sooooooooo compassionate. And practical.

"But I really felt badly."

"Was it a red wing blackbird?" He knows these are one of my favorite birds.

"No....it was just a black bird. I know how I'll feel better! I'll say it was a grackle!!! One less grackle in the world, hahahahaha!" (That was an evil laugh, by the way. I despise grackle's. They bully my birds and knock eggs out of mess and eat up all my bird seed.)

He chuckled. "Only you."

I think he married me just for the fun phone calls he gets to have every day. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are There Girl Stores?

With all my boys, I have lots and lots of conversations in a day. The conversations that make me laugh the most often though happen with S4, my Abraham. He cracks me up and doesn't even try to crack me up.

He has a friend named Elizabeth. Before this year began, we did not know Elizabeth. Oh sure, we passed her in the hallway while she clutched a doll in one hand and someone's hand in the other but otherwise we never gave her another thought.

I mean, she is a GIRL. (and we are always running late)

But at the beginning of the school year, these two became the best of friends. And it's an amazing thing to behold. The two are hardly able to not be together. They draw pictures for each other. They choose each other for "helper" in class. They know each other's birthday and favorite colors and favorite foods.

Abraham has declared he is going to marry her because she has the right colored hair.

Elizabeth declares her wedding to Abraham all the time.

They hug when they see each other. They hug each other when they leave. They play trains and bake cookies and cupcakes together.

Her birthday is in May and Abraham is quite concerned about it. He keeps asking me to make sure I know exactly what day it is and stressed the fact that we MUST be at her house on her birthday.

I ask him if he thinks he has been invited. This thought has not crossed his mind. Of COURSE he is suppose to be at Elizabeth's house on her birthday.

But today he was very concerned because he wasn't sure what to get her for her birthday - you know, the one in MAY (and it's only March)?

I asked him what he wanted to get her for her birthday, thinking he may start to think of things she likes. He wrinkled his nose as he thought hard "Do stores have girl things?"

"Yes." (I may have snickered)

"Maybe we should just go to a girl store and look around for a girl something for Elizabeth. Because she is a girl. But I don't know what girl things there are. Are you sure there are girl stores?"

I nodded. "Oh, I'm sure."

Since I seemed to be understanding the importance of this birthday, he skipped away outside.

Only to come in a little bit later.

"Moma, when I shiver my whole body moves. It goes like this.....". He showed me a shiver. "And then sometimes even my tummy shakes with a shiver. And my legs and my arms and my head and I'm wondering......."

His voice dropped so I had to look into his worried little face.

"....am I sick?"

"No, honey, everyone shakes when they shiver."

He looked skeptical.

"Tell you what, sit in front of the heater and you'll get warm and won't shiver so much."

"Good idea, Moma," he agreed.

Yes, his moma is brilliant. Because she knows there are girl stores and she knows how to get rid of shivers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

When Nothing Makes Sense...

In the past few weeks....

My cousin's husband - a healthy man just three years older than me - suffered a stroke.

A young 16 year old star died on the basketball court from an unknown enlarged heart.

My great grandma died.

My sister's very best friend found out that her husband has cancer.

My brother's good friend and his wife died in a car accident during a freak ice storm, leaving behind two young girls.

It doesn't make any sense to me. At all.

Some things you can make sense of. A ninety year old woman dies. People get cancer, have surgery, live a long life. You can, like my cousin, recover fully from a stroke.

But some things just make no sense.

The earthquakes and horror in Japan are horrific but they seem so far away, even if your heart does break from the images. But when it strikes close to home, on roads you have traveled a hundred times, when someone you love has a broken heart and is leaning on another to hold them up because the sobs are wrenching their heart....

It doesn't make sense.

I can't explain it, I don't have any trite answer.

But I have a faith in God. A God I know who is holding me...while I can't make a bit of sense of it all, I have a faith that God has it in control. He wasn't surprised by it, shocked or caught of guard.

And that He knows the ache in my heart that I cannot put into words.
It's a tough balance, the aching pain of loss and hurt for those you love and the life you are living in the moment.

My five year old fear that laughter may cause you to get a heart attack and die. Because Wes Leonard was cheering happily over his teams win when he died. Because my great grandma was laughing baking a banana cake when she died.

And my eight year old needed to know if we could have an earthquake.

The boys are out laughing tonight with my husband. They are racing bikes and making us laugh and it's a nice fun evening. And yet my heart is heavy. It's hard to balance the two.

There is no easy way to.

How do you learn from this, glean some sort of good?

Because otherwise doesn't death seem pointless? The life lived useless?

My instinct is to shut down. To pull my family close and not leave them. I have had cold icy fingers of fear squeeze around my heart when I have left my boys behind to go off on a date - or just to go home after leaving them at school. I have called my parents or siblings just to hear their voice just because I suddenly have a fear they will be gone from me.

I cannot even fathom this.

Tonight, as I was washing dishes with tears filling my eyes, I thought about my brothers good friends who died. I have never lost a friend of mine. I can't understand his pain, but I feel it.

So I am going to write him a note, let him know I love him.

I don't tell my brother I love him.

And when I am done writing it to him, I am sending a note to my sister. And to my other brother. And my parents.

I am going to hug my boys, every morning, no matter how late we are to get to school.

And I am going to kiss my husband, look right in his eyes, and tell him I love him.

Because you just don't know when someone's day may be their last day here on earth. While you cannot live in a panic fear, you can make sure that the ones you love know that you love them.

After my great grandma's funeral, the boys and my husband and I went over for pizza at my parents. My Aunt was there, she'd flown in for the funeral, and my sister in law bumped into my mom at the pizza place so she came with her son. We all sat around the table chatting until late late in the night. We had nothing deep to discuss, we were just all together. Over a week later, I am still grinning when I think back on this night. It was precious to me.

Even more so because once we almost lost my Dad and I was keenly aware of how blessed I was in that moment, sitting around the table, with him at the head of it.

Create those precious moments, they become the precious memories.

Don't ever forget you can drop to your knees and cry out to the God who created us all and knows us more than we know ourselves. And knows this situation. And this loss. And loves us.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

His Winning Essay

A little while back, you may recall that Isaac was sending in an essay. In fact, I shared the rough draft with you.

Today, we got a letter in the mail.....

It began "...proud to announce that Isaac...is a winner in the "Reading Month Essay Contest"...WHAT I DO TO HELP MY COMMUNITY".
We let him read the letter out loud to us, since he is so good at reading now, and he beamed when he read "Isaac's essay is beautifully hand printed. He says, "I am a little version of my dad." Isaac helps people by selling tomatoes, squash, corn, pickles and flowers. He also helps with snowplowing, the farm market in front of his home, and in cutting wood. He included mention of three brothers, two dogs and a cat. He says, "I am glad we have no sisters." Isaac included a self portrait with a well drawn face showing a big smile. In the picture he is waving "Hello".
Where he found out he had WON!!!!! AND he received a $20.00 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

(He had to find out what that store was and the thought of buying a book was a thrilling one, but he was more excited that there was a coffee shop there and asked if he could perhaps have a coffee, this being a special occasion and all. I told him I thought we could let that happen. Is he my boy or what?)
I love his grin!!!!

The winning essay....

Hi.

My name is Isaac D. I am eight and in 3rd grade. I live in S-, Mi. My favorite subject is gym and hockey.

I help people by selling tomatoes, squash, corn, pickles and flowers. I am a little version of my Dad. He sells most of the things that I do and more. We go snowplowing, to farm markets and wood cutting together a lot. We sell most of our produce at our stand in the front of our house.

There are six people in our house, 4 boys, 2 parents and 2 dogs plus 1 cat. I am the second oldest boy of my brothers. I am glad we have no sisters.

Good job, Isaac!!!
We are sooooooooo very proud of you!!!!

My Real Simple Life Lesson's Article (that did not win)

Real Simple Magazine has a "Life Lessons" writing contest every single year. I have sent in an article for the past three years. Depending on their theme this year, I am already thinking of what I could write for it this year.

I love to get the prompt and then write it out what comes to mind.

This was my entry this year. It is, by far, not my best work. I literally wrote and sent this in two days because I had - I know this will shock you - forgotten about it.

But, here it is, my entry to last year's Real Simple Life Lesson's contest....

Living Life Through the Fear

I never thought I’d ever break past a fear of the unknown and end up being on our local news…with my four boys…for an entire summer.

It began simply enough. I was just in the kitchen, as any other average day, watching the morning news as I always do when they mentioned that they were looking for a “Morning Mom”.

“I could do that,” I said aloud.

My husband laughed. “You’d have to talk to people.”

I have a fear of large groups of people. Of meeting people for the first time. A nice way to put it is that I am painfully shy. My husband, he is not. At all. We work well together that way.

“It’s not like I don’t know the Fox morning crew,” I explained, “I chat with them every morning. They just can’t hear me.”

“If you want to, I’ll help you,” he encouraged me.

The thing is, we didn’t know what the news station was looking for. All we knew is that they were looking for a mom to talk to and Skype with. I hadn’t Skyped, but I knew I could chat with them.

So this little country girl got a crash course in making a video and uploading it to YouTube (all new stuff to me). I didn’t have anyone to help me; it was just me trying to be “technically knowledgeable”.

Then we just waited.

Until one Friday afternoon when I was picking up our four boys from school and headed to our little nearby town to get a birthday cake for our biggest hockey fan who had turned eight that day and I noticed a missed call.

I didn’t think much of it as I clasped my four year olds hand in mine, kept the other three sons and friend from school in view as we headed in to the store. Until I heard the unfamiliar woman’s voice on my voice mail.

From the local Fox 17 News Studio.

Asking me to call back.

I was shaking as I attempted to write the phone number down. I was in a dream as I purchased the cake. I vaguely remember getting everyone back in the vehicle and buckled as I dialed my husband and screeched into the phone “Fox just called me back!”

I waited until I got home to make the call to the news station where they informed me that, yes; I had truly won the Morning Mom contest.

Over 500 people had watched the YouTube I made asking to be considered as the Fox Morning Mom as I stood in my little country kitchen making waffles for the boys at breakfast.

A week later a Mac Book Pro was set up on our computer desk, compliments of the news station. High speed Internet, unheard of in our farming community, found its way into our home. Skype was set up and initiated. I was handed a Flip video camera and asked to take footage of our daily family life.

And I said good morning with my four boys gathered all around me to all of West Michigan.

As a simple stay at home mom married to my husband who drives truck for a construction company while we farm our 15 acres and raise our four boys ages 11 to 4, suddenly thrown into a small limelight was new and scary.

And ever so fun.

At first, the Fox news station would set up a time for me to call in and we would just chat about the snakes the boys had caught or the thrill on the last day of school, or the fact that because I had chased the dog to the swamp to rescue the cat I had poison ivy on my flip flop wearing toes. I’d take videos of the boys getting covered in mud in the field or the bunch of us out picking asparagus and strawberries or of the boys just being boys playing hockey in the driveway or doing bike jumps and send them into the news room for them to edit and use and share with the area.

Fox sent us to brunch on Mother’s Day, to an Air Zoo, to see a Broadway production, to a concert with an orchestra…all things we had never experienced before. And all things that were even more fun than we imagined they could be.

We felt spoiled. As though we were living another’s life.

When they called to see if we would like a tour of the news studio, we were thrilled to finally meet all the people who had made our lives so fun and overwhelmed us with generosity over the summer. As we were walking out the door to make the 45-minute or so drive, they called to see if we could be on the news live while we were there.

And so the boys were put in front of the all green screen, caught chewing bubble gum, as they “helped” give the weather forecast.

I sat at the newscasters’ desk and did a mini interview, chatting with the anchors as I had every other morning in my kitchen.

Me, a shy little farm girl in the big city live on the morning news.

It. Was. So. Fun.

While our lives were exactly the same on the day to day, there were all these little snippets that made it even more fun. There was no money given to us, but the laptop was a very nice reminder of the generosity of the news station. What was surprising to my husband and I was how our every day lives were found to be interesting to so many. It was just us, but when sharing with others these strangers were finding us enjoyable and funny.

It was intriguing to see the boys out of their shells, holding snakes in front of the Skype camera and explaining what they like to do. If the boys had not had fun then it would not have worked to be a “morning mom”. But they ate it up and shone like the stars I always knew they were.

During the summer our family took a camping trip. We spent a full seven days in our campsites, and we had the grandest time camping. As I was raking the campsite clean before we left, it occurred to me how the next campers coming in would stay here and have no idea who we were or the laughs we had shared in this very exact spot.

That thought struck me to the core as I thought of my life. Here I am, happily married to my husband and wondering how the past eleven years had gone so quickly to find my oldest son as tall as I am and my youngest off to school for the first time.

This life, it’s just a moment. A blink. A week camping that no one will ever know occurred. A life that I suddenly didn’t want to leave totally unremarkable.

What else had I missed out on doing because I was too frightened to try? If I had not sent in the video for Morning Mom, my life would have gone on just as before and it would be good, but not as remarkable.

Why do we let fear and insecurity dictate so much of our lives? The dear pen pals we have met over the blogs and face book community that we won’t meet because there would be an airplane involved to get you to see each other face to face. The article you wouldn’t attempt to write because so many others had more important things to say better than you ever could. The friendships we missed out on because we didn’t feel brave enough to say hello. The giggles shared with our children because we were too busy with everything else but them. The spouse we neglect when we should be heads over heels in love with them.

Being a Morning Mom for a season in my life opened my eyes to realizing I was braver than I thought. And that motivates me to not let other blessings in life pass me unnoticed and unused.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And please check out my friend Rachel's entry...we were both rooting for eachother to win! Under the Dust Ruffle

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Doing the Tough Thing


This morning was a typical rainy cold morning. I dropped the boys off to school without a hitch and no dog escapes. Other than being a sleepy feeling day, it was really going okay.

On our way to school S4 had said in a tiny voice in the back of the suburban, "Moma, I don't really like school. Because of nap time. They won't let me take my shoes off. And....and I miss you."

"Ahhhhh," I answered, almost not hearing the end of that declaration, "I miss you when you are at school too but you will have lots of fun today and I'll have cookies for you when you get home!"

Today is the first day S4 is riding the bus. He has been totally thrilled about it but maybe I missed something. I don't know, he'd been so excited.....

....but when it came time to take him down to his class, he began to walk slower. This has happened before but he is always fine after a hug. Not today. After the slow walking thing didn't work, he mentioned a tummy ache....but he was grasping at straws there. When we got to his hallway, he refused to walk another step. He leaned into a locker and tears dropped from his face.

"I want to go home with you," he cried softly.

I mentioned all his friends names and all the fun they would have today and the fact that he would be home soon and his teacher may have a new jungle story for him and his other teacher was so excited to put him on the bus.

Nothing worked.

I carried him to his class, more sorta dragged him there. He was getting desperate and when I put him down he laid on the floor. I got on the floor with him, pulled him in my lap, and told him he was going to school.

I handed him to his teacher and a friend of mine who was helping in his class. He screamed and clung to me and his little pudgy fingers clung to my coat so tightly he nearly pulled it off me.

And I walked away with him sobbing "MOMA!!!!!!!!!"

I walked right out the front door, leaned agains the cold brick wall, and cried.

I called my husband in hopes he would tell me to run back and in and hug him tightly and snuggle with him on the couch and build train tracks with him all day. But he didn't answer and I knew he wouldn't say that anyhow.

So I went back into school, snuck quietly down the hallway and leaned against the open door to try to hear him. I just heard quiet playing and no sobbing so I turned around and left the school.

And my heart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Final Thoughts on My Great Grandma

As most of you know,
Last week Sunday my Great Grandma passed away.
From here to heaven.
If you missed that post,
you can read it here.
In her top dresser drawer, I found this picture. It's my husband and I and all the boys...S4 is no doubt kicking it up in my tummy. We're at my parents for my youngest brother's high school graduation.

Last week was...quite the week. It was filled with highs and lows and tears and laughter. Once the word was out that she had died, messages came flowing in on face book. I had people watching for and then clipping for me the obituary. My twitter friends were sending condolences, they were sending crock pot recipes for me, I received emails of "thinking of you" and "here's a recipe, hope it helps". And I cried happy tears when I arrived home from the funeral to find brownies and snicker doodles on my front porch - she knew my boys would be starving and I that hadn't baked. She knew I needed some chocolate.

All these things meant so very much to me. Totally blew me away and humbled me.

My Grandma lived a long long long life. But as I told one of my friends, I feel like her passing took my history with her.

I am thankful my aunts and mom did not have to sit over her, watching her try to catch her next breath, dying slowly...the way my wonderful and deeply missed father in law did.

After the full funeral in the church my great grandpa built, where we laughed and hugged and I seen cousins and relatives I haven't seen since....well, I can't remember, but hope to see more of....I drove back home to feed the boys and then I drove back to spend some time with my relatives.

It was eerie and seemed wrong to go through the house and "tag" things we may want to have. I am a great granddaughter. I feel I have very little claim on any sort of anything there. But I dug around in her old fake jewelry, where I found this picture. I took a scarf that is so gaudily bright of blue and red, it reminds me of her.

In the kitchen I mentioned I would take any pots or pans that no one else wanted. I am always in need of more pots to feed my crew. But in the drawer was her potato masher.

And I snagged it up and wouldn't let anyone take it.

I never seen her make potatoes, I didn't know this masher from any memory, but in my pie safe at home is dish she brought me forever ago. It's this funky blue color that I love. It has a glass lid and is one of the prettiest dishes I own. In it I make some of my most favorite dishes. And recently, it is mashed potatoes. For which I need a potato masher, and did not have one.

The dish, along with the masher, no doubt came from the farm house. The farmhouse she would talk to me about when she came by to visit me. She said my house reminded her of the old place. And she never liked that farmhouse.

Jake drove me by the farmhouse Thursday. It is falling apart and in terrible shape. It is sad.

And while she never liked the farmhouse, she had many happy pictures of the times there.

She always lived in houses on the same road as the farmhouse.

My mom, in going through pictures of my great grandma's, has told me a couple different times how much she didn't realize I was like her....in photos. As in, my great grandma took tons of pictures before taking pictures was something everyone did. I have worn my digital camera out. I also learned my great grandpa wrote stories, my Aunt B is on the look out for them.

But what did we all gather around?

Her recipes.

Her recipes and all her pictures.

Snippets of life. Frozen moments in time. Memories in a glance. Melt in your mouth memories of food.

The gift my great grandma gave me was in the visits she brought to me. Whatever possessed her to drive out and visit me I haven't a clue. I was a too busy mom, sleep deprived, laundry shoved in corners I hoped she wouldn't look and she would come over to see me, visiting and giving me chocolate.

And I grew to love her dearly for it.

There was one picture of one of my relatives. It's ancient old, my great great grandma perhaps? She is in a high neck corset type dress with her two daughters - one of which can not speak or hear. She is polished and refined looking. In another picture I found an old woman, thick tights falling on her legs, apron around her square body, hair in a bun and huge smile on her face - it was the same woman.

Life.

It happens too quickly.

But with it you can give gifts too precious to be seen. Only to be shared. To be felt.

She was a brash courageous woman. She would let Jake know if she thought he should look better when she seen him next. She told you what she felt. She exclaimed "Oh my lands!" loudly. She drove her car everywhere.....and it was always spotless. She told the pastor exactly how to do her funeral. I'm glad she did.

This is what she chose....
The song was Lead Me, Guide Me....and the one that I found is Elvis singing it. I find great humor in that!

And this was the scripture she had chosen....
Philipians 4:4-8
Always be full of joy in the Lord;
I say it again, rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate
in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything;
telling God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers.
If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more
wonderful than human mind can understand.
His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and
at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

And now, brothers, as I close this letter let me say this one more thing:
Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.
Think about things that are pure and lovely,
and dwell on the fine,
good things in others.
Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it.

There was a lot more to say, but as I was making potatoes with the potato masher yesterday, this is what I thought of sharing.

Thank you ever ever ever ever ever ever so much for everyone who sent me messages of love and prayer this last week. It meant more to me than you will all ever know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Date with my Hubs...to the Grocery Store

(We didn't take this on our way to the store.
I just figured we should have SOME recent photo of us.)

Sunday dawned the first day of spring.

And found us exhausted.

I don't know what bone weary is...but we had be close.

We made it to church (late) and stopped at our little local grocery store for food for dinner (brats and hot dogs on the grill with to bake frozen french fries) because I had not planned dinner out for the day.

When dinner was done, I had to make another dinner.

For a whole bunch of men at church.

My husband is a trustee at the church and once a month they have a meeting and one of the wives makes a dinner for them all. This was my week to make dinner and it was my very first time making the dinner. So, of course, no pressure.

Because of our busy week and because we had been gone Saturday night, it left me this afternoon to completely make a dinner to rival all the great woman who had made the meals before me.

Jake decided he had better go with me. He told me it was to make sure that I did it right. I then informed him I had more friends on facebook than him AND I have a blog.

So then he was nice to me.

Sorta.

We decided to leave all the boys home and even in my sleepy state I did have to admit my heart fluttered a bit to think he and I would technically be on a date...you know, that bit of time where a husband and wife are out allllllllllllllll alone minus any kiddos?

Never mind it was to just buy food.

The boys called my cell phone to make sure they could and put in the Dukes of Hazzard (they are on season 2, and they hoped we would be gone long enough for them to see a whole dvd full of episodes) so we could drive the two minutes down the road to the store.

We were making Chicken Spaghetti - it's a favorite of our family and I figured I would make two at once so I didn't have to make dinner Tuesday when I go into work at the Library -, a salad, apple pie and a box cake (in case the pie didn't turn out).

And it was fun to shop a few minutes with him. He'd see me down an isle and whistle at me. I'd see him across the store and holler out some question to him.

It was fun.

It's those times that makes me heart go pitter patter with love for him all over again. Like the Kellie Pickler song I love so much....

Until we went to check out.

Keep in mind.....EVERYONE at this grocery store knows me. Knows our boys. Knows our suburban. Knows where we live. I'm not even kidding....

It was here that my hubby decided to question why I would buy EIGHT cans of cream of mushroom soup.

First, I needed four to make the meal.

Second, it was on super sale.

Third, every woman knows you MUST have cream of mushroom soup on hand in your house.

The cashier chuckled.

She tried not too...but not too hard not too.

I don't think we have ever shopped there together....and that thought struck me as we were unloading the groceries. It didn't take me long to realize we may never shop together again.

As I dug out the checkbook my silly husband says "Now, don't write them a bad check."

I was mortified.

I've never written a bad check and suddenly I was sure he had jinxed me. I will now for sure write a bad check. Unintentionally, of course. I am scared to death of this happening to me....like, it's on my list of top fears. Seriously.

He laughed at his joke. The cashier laughed at the joke. I did not. I might have given him a stink eye. But he's so darn handsome I couldn't be too mortified long.

Jake and the cashier continued to chat about what happens if a person, in fact, does write a bad check and horror stories of such things and I gathered our $98 worth of groceries and headed out to the suburban.....where my husband winked and whistled at me again.

As my mom says, "To know him is to love him."

(PS Jake...keep in mind...that photo with your beard full of clothes pins that you begged me not to every show the blogosphere? Yah, I was sooooo tempted to use THAT picture of you for this post, but because I love you so and fear the tickle attack that would ensue, I did not. That is love....)

Monday Monday

Today is Monday, the first official full day of spring. It was thunderstorms and rain and full spring like last night. One would think Monday would be rocking great today.

It's not.

So I shall give you my Random Monday Post.

This week has been..........long. I'll be sure to catch you all up on my Great Grandma's funeral, the busy week, the Ultimate Sports Expo, the huge moon, Jake and my date to the grocery store where I was reminded why I don't shop with him (which made me love him even more!)......

And this was just this week, people.

You can understand why Sunday morning I set my alarm back till seven am, and then Jake and I slept in till 8:30, how when the boys and I arrived home from church on Sunday night (Jake stayed for a trustee meeting that we had made the meal for) I just had all five of us eat instant oatmeal and then I brewed a super strong cup of coffee, poured in the almond joy creamer and then snuggled on the couch with the boys and read to them for half an hour (one boy who had fallen asleep at church and fell back asleep on the way home and then was carried to the couch where he curled up next to me and fell asleep again didn't hear much of the dinosaur book).

But when I went to bed after washing dishes till 10:15 pm, I forgot to set my alarm to the regular time.

I should have known this could happen, I mean, when your husband says to you at 10:30 - "Hey, do I have any clean underwear anymore?" you should know something bad will happen in the morning because you are obviously not prepared for the day.

For me it meant I awoke to two dogs breathing into my face and licking my elbow waiting for me to let them out - because it was an hour past potty time.

An hour late on a Monday.

And we know how Monday's go. Especially rainy, dreary, foggy ones.


It wasn't pretty.

S1 was attempting to keep order in the house while I jumped in the shower. S2 was flittering about looking for a paper he needed me to sign (and I refused to because I gave him fair warning I do not sign papers I haven't looked over). S3 was in a sleepy haze looking for all his homework to be gathered up and put into his school folder he could not find. S4 was too sleepy to get dressed.

We left late for school. And had to back up before we left the driveway for S3's glasses.

When we arrived at school, Sadie decided to make a run for it. I was holding her collar, trying to down some more coffee, and hollering "Go go go go go! Hurry hurry hurry hurry! Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut the door!" (because for some reason I speak in fours.....)

The mom who parked next to me this morning shuttled her son far away from us. I imagine she will not ever park near our dirty suburban again.

So there we were. Me with wet hair plastered flat to my head wearing water boots because who has time to tie shoes? S1 was barely walking, his eyes half open. S2 was running toward the school, afraid he may be late. S3, who had a white toothpaste stain running down his shirt, was death gripping two completed school papers crying that this was the worst school day ever. S4 was silent. S4 is NEVER silent.

So I should not have been shocked when we were walking down the hallway and S4 declared through a contorted face that his leg no longer worked and there was no way he could ever walk again.

I had to drag him away from the wall he was leaning into to get his point across.

S2 attempted one last time to get me to sign the paper he had just shown me that morning and I refused and am now overridden with guilt.

When we arrived home, S4 refused to get out of the suburban. Refused. Because, he informed me, home is not fun and he would rather go somewhere to someone's house and play.

I left him in the suburban. Went in the house, ate a bowl of cereal and then grabbed my Pioneer Woman cookbook and went to the little grocery store down the road where I picked up all the ingredients to make homemade meatballs because my sister promises me the boys will love them. The Pioneer Woman has them listed under "comfort food". I think we need all the comfort we can get today.

At the grocery story I was introduced to the new cashier by one of my favorite people who work at the grocery store as one of their most loyal customers - and she stressed it was because we have four boys. The new cashiers eyes went a bit wide. And I promptly forgot to sign my check.......

So I came home and blogged.

Please please please let Tuesday be better.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Great Grandma

Today, my Great Grandma died. She was with her daughter and her sister and they were laughing and baking a banana cake. She kept claiming her husband was coming from up north to get her today.
She was laughing.
With her daughter and sister.
I guess that's the way to go.
My mom claimed I had a photo of her with all the boys and I dug through some photo albums and found it.
You can see the table laden with all the gifts she had brought us....you can also see how much the boys have grown.

Tonight we will no doubt be looking through the photo albums that I have done....I haven't put together one in forever. I think it's time to start again. There's a lot of memories to be captured and treasured.

I know my Great Grandma was dying and so the news wasn't totally a surprise, but we didn't expect it this soon. And to be honest, I'm taking it hard.

I'm so very thankful I had that day with her recently. You can read about it HERE.

Please, keep our family in prayer this week. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things I NEVER Imagined I Would Do

WARNING...DISGUSTING PHOTO BELOW!
NOT FOR THE FAINT OF TUMMY!
( you have been warned )
There are things you just know that you will do one day when you are a parent. You may not want to do them, but you will...
...like let a baby spit up all over you.
.......clean puke.
............not gag when you change nasty diapers.

The list is forever long.

When my sweet baby boy number one was born, I was totally disgusted by drool and declared he would never drool.

The boy was the drooling king. He wore a bib the entire first year of life...just to catch drool.

I should have known it was the beginning of a life of things I would declare I would never do, but would. Because I'm his mom.

But, I never imagined I would do THIS......

Remember when Andrew went on his boar hunt this year? He shot one on the First of January and we all cheered and congratulated him and have loved eating all the meat that is now in our freezer...especially the ribs smothered in Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.

This weekend, Hubs and I went on a fun date and all the boys stayed at my parents - where they had a blast -. Sunday night all of us were together at my parents and my brother mentioned we needed to grab that boar's head out of the back of his truck...it was ready for him to take home. But we forgot and it got late so I just told my sister in law I'd pick it up the next day when she was at work since she drives the truck every day.

I ran a few errands, getting groceries, paczki's for Fat Tuesday the next day and then coffee for me and hot cocoa for my sister in law. I arrived at the farm she works at, pulled along side her truck and dropped the tailgate to see this........


I nearly dropped my coffee.

But, of course, you know well how I love coffee.

I went to hunt down my sister in law - who is a very tough farm chick - and hauled her to the truck.

She was as grossed out as I was.

We stood in the cow barn discussing the grossness of it all, and she dug a bag out of the storage room for us to drop the nasty head into for me to take home....but neither one of us discussed who would actually pick it up.

I'm the mom of the child who shot the thing. I supposed I would be the one who would pick it up. So I delayed as long as possible and we visited new born cute calves instead.

Who doesn't like new born cute jersey calves?

But then, oh-thank-you-God, one of the farm owners stopped in to see if we could move our vehicles and he - the hero he is - heard our plight and followed us out to our vehicles and picked up the nasty boar head, dropping it in the bag for us.

When I opened up the back of the suburban and he seen the carpeted back and the bags of groceries, he just laughed.

I was carrying a boars head home with my groceries.

I do not recall how I became the mother who does such things.

But I did.

And I have a happy eleven year old because of it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

HELP!

Dear Blogging friends.

I need help.

A particular conversation has been happening in our home much more regularly and I am running out of answers so...help me...I beg of you. (I've asked my husband, he only laughs at me.)

We have one bathroom.

I do not foresee us getting another one. At this point, I have to admit, I'd give up our small space for an extra one.

Because....

Every morning I get up before the boys, shower and proceed to get ready for the day. And every morning S4 (who's five, remember) comes into the bathroom, pees and says to me....

"Moma, why don't girls pee like boys?"

UG!

I've answered that we are different, that girls like to sit....etc etc etc. I always change the subject quickly.

But he is determined. He is quite sure since EVERYONE else in the house pees STANDING UP, Moma should too.

He is just trying to be helpful.

I know he will solve all the worlds problems one day.

But this one? He can't solve this one. And he is convinced I am just wrong and all will be wonderful when I come around to his way of thinking.

It's not that I pee in front of him. It's not like that at all. It's every time he pees at home, he thinks of his dear sweet Moma who doesn't know how to pee right and he must help her.

Help me. Please help me.

Sincerely,
the only girl in a house of boys