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Thursday, May 26, 2011

My First 5K

Some time ago, my super groovy wonderful creative friend Kor said, "Hey, let's do a 5k and raise money for our school."

And Rosemary agreed.

So, with the two of them working together, I was more than happy to sign on.

Then I wondered what on earth I was thinking.

The Allegan County Great Start Collaborative (who also gave us the great bag we took Superman chickie to school in) had a brilliant idea. They would have a competition amoungst the schools to see who could get the most people out for a 5K. The school with the most registered participents would get half the money of all the registrants fees.

Now, our little school is just that. Little. Our elementary, middle school and highschool are all in one school building, that is one floor high.

I sent in my $20 dollars to register myself and not any for the boys because
A. I hoped to go alone
B. 20 times five is more money than I want to (or can) spend

The day of the 5K - the first ever, I might add - was lovely. And my hard working husband was doing just that - working. So I loaded all the boys up in the suburban packed with water bottles and we headed off to my first ever 5K.

Because it was my first 5K, because I had forgotten about it (after panicking when I first sent the money in that I had COMMITTED TO DO THIS), I was a true fashionista in my strawberry shortcake socks (all my others are wool winter socks, who wears shoes when you can wear flip flops in the summer?), ripped in the butt (so I had to keep my shirt pulled down so one couldn't see the color of my panties) jean shorts, a school themed shirt I used as pj's, and my boys all time favorite thing for me to wear - a camo hat (that also sports butterflies) that I got at Cabela's.

Jake laughed at me. He is cruel.

See, fashionista I am not.

(but my strawberry shortcake socks were a hit ;) )

We had no idea what to expect. I had never partaken in such an event. And other than picking asparagus and using the push mower to mow the lawn, I have not walked since the snow got too deep.

And now I had four boys with me to worry over too.

They sounded the horn and we were off.

At a walk.

But it was a good quick walk, I felt. S4 HAD to beat his Moma so he was up ahead of me with Alicia and (could be his future mother in law) Mandy. I was walking with Kor and Tammy. S1 took off with Tammy's older daughter and a group of his friends along with S3. But S2? He and Alicia's son didn't wait for anyone. They took off running - fast.

At the halfway point, we were sweaty. And I could see S4 up ahead of me having a harder time keeping up. We also came across S1, his whole group had left him behind because he couldn't keep up. I felt bad for him, and worse when I realized he was wearing steel toed boots because they are the only shoes that fit him anymore.

I didn't know that.

About a mile and half from the ending, S4 was sure he was going to die. His tummy hurt. His feet hurt. His head was hot.

A mile from the finishing line, S4 couldn't go on. So I hitched him up on my back. S1 offered to carry his brother for me, how sweet is that? We plodded on.

Slowly.

Near the end of the line, Kor and Tammy along with Rosemary and her daughters finished with us so we I wouldn't have to finish alone.

So very kind of them.

And S4 ran and leaped and played football for the rest of the afternoon after he slid off my back as I fell to the ground in a heap.

S2 greeted me. He had come in EIGHTH of ALL the participants. Eighth. And he can't wait to do a 5k again. S3 ran up and greeted me with a kiss, he was still with the group he had started with, he had kept up with all the 5th grade and older kids.

S1 felt like a failure. I reminded him he can fix tractors while others can't. We all have our strengths - along with our weaknesses.

And when the numbers were tallied (I was sweating it - literally, of course, too - because if we lost the most participants number by one or four I'd forever kick myself in the butt for having four unregistered kiddos with me...), our itty bitty smallest by far school HAD WON.

We were cheering and jumping and shocked all at once.
I'm the 5th one in on the right of the standing moms in the back. S3 is in the John Deere hat first on the ground on the right. S4 is in red and seventh in on from the right. S3 is two over in an orange Dukes hat (he had "01 Dukes of Hazzard" written on a piece of paper he clipped to his back). S1 is the first on the left on the ground by the stroller.

We grinned huge for our picture, thankful we would look small and therefore not as sweaty and exhausted for our sure to run in the paper pic.

After the 5K, we went to Rosemary's and caught chickens she was getting rid of, picked rhubarb and chatted while the kids ran around like hooligans. When we got home we scarfed down hot dogs and chips like we had never seen food before in our entire lives. Then we went and picked asparagus - in the hot hot sun - followed by eating ice cream.

Then we fell exhausted in a heap.

It was a good time.

My husband was super proud of us. He hopes to see me keep it up, he hopes that S2 and I can bond over runs this summer. I hope he's right.

I did a lot of reflecting on the 5K. I know I may look too much into it, and it may have a lot to do with my new love of the show Army Wives, but I looked over all these women who came together to make our school shine and I was so proud of them. To know them. To be one of them. To have bonded over this with them.

I am blessed by my friends.

I am a mom who keeps my boys close to me. I don't like letting them out of my sight when we are out and about. But having all these friends with me at all stages of the route made me relax (helps that there were police officers helping us all along the way too). I had no qualms about who the boys were running with. I was so proud of Kor and Rosemary and all the hard work they had done. I was proud of Katy, Alicia, Mandy and Tammy for making it there on a super busy weekend. I was happy to finally talk to Kim, who I have admired as the runner and mom she is but have never had a chance to talk to her.

I am blessed to have this circle of friends - truly blessed. And when I reflected on it, I actually got all teary eyed.

I can't wait for next year! Maybe we'll even run!

But I really can't wait to join all my mom friends and KICK THE OTHER SCHOOLS BUTTS AGAIN!!! ;)

The Grand Rapids LipDub (NEW WORLD RECORD)

The day they did this I soooooooooooo wanted to be a part of it all.

But we had asparagus to pick.

And I don't like big crowds.

But I watch this and get all goose bumpy.

It also makes me realize I really need to meet a lot more people in Grand Rapids.

Recently, Newsweek Magazine said Grand Rapids was a "dying" city. We beg to differ.....

And offer this..........

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Contact the Press - We Were ON TIME to School!!!!

This is the last week of school. All year long it's always a struggle to get everyone in the suburban and leaving the driveway on time (note - I did not say OUTSIDE, I said IN THE SUBURBAN. Big big big difference.) But the last week of school? Insanely tough.

It's like you wake up and you just don't care.

I don't harp on the boys to get going. If we aren't ready on time, we aren't ready. I know I should care but we just don't seem to.

I have a couple friends and we judge how we are doing getting our kids to school according to who has arrived at school at what time. It's a fun game. Kor and I have really been going at it lately. I have been know to call her cell phone from the parking lot to just sing the song.

The song? Oh, it's a classic!!!!

"We beat you! We beat you! We really really beat you!" And you must wiggle your butt and sing it in that annoying voice of "hahahahaha!"

It's a blast.

Yesterday I was a full five minutes late from when school STARTED dropping the boys off.

It's a good thing S2 was at 3rd grade camp that day because he HATES to be late and he is our human alarm clock. Literally.

Last night the outdoor wood stove that heats our houses in the winter and heats our water all year long, ran out of wood and went cold.

So....the boys were THRILLED to hear they could not bathe last night. They were much less enthusiastic that they would have to get up early to shower.

It was rainy and cold this morning. It was dark and dreary and Moma was gulping coffee and shuffling through the house looking for clean towels (do we have any?) and clean underware (oh please oh please let there be some!) for the boys. It was not looking promising to make it to school anywhere near on time.

We piled into the suburban and looked at the clock.

We were early.

S2 cheered. He literally lifted his arms and cheered. He told us all what a great job we had done. He beamed.

After we had already dropped S3 off to class, we were walking down the hallway and noticed Kor just pulling into the driveway. S2 looked at me with the question he didn't have to even ask. I just nodded and opened the door....S2 and S4 ran as fast as they could and sang the song loud and proud as they shook their little butts and giggled running back.

Who says adults can't have fun?

As I was leaving school (important to note I was leaving at the time we normally ARRIVE), the school helper who keeps the door open realized we were leaving. "Wow!" she said, "I usually know as soon as you make it through I need to close the doors! It's how I judge what time it is. I mean that in a nice way..." she finished. I know her, I know what she meant. :)

S4 and I walked out of the school hand in hand as Alicia ran in with her two boys. S4 loooooooves "Aunt Alicia" and was all too happy to sing the song to her. She laughed a bit as she shuffled the boys on into school "We must be REALLY late if YOU are leaving" she remarked.

I reminded her how late I was yesterday.

I didn't need to mention how late we have been most the year.

Ah, fun times at school this morning! :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Your Last Day on Earth

A looooong time ago, there was this great local radio show, The Rick and Scott Show. Hubs and listened to it each and every day. Nine o' clock every morning, my radio at home was on and his radio in the truck was on and often times we would call each other and say, "Did you just hear that?"

I miss that show so very much.

Anyhow, one morning the topic was "What if This Was Your Last Day on Earth?"

Immediately I began thinking of the my boys and my family and how I would want to make sure they all knew I loved them. I would spend the day just being with them. And I could think of great things to do and share with my husband too. In fact, the more I thought it the more emotional I became, I began to internalize it and think how we should live more as though it really could be our last day on earth.

Sometimes I am over dramatic like that.

As normally would happen, my husband, the love of my life, the man I am so thankful I married and would want nothing more than to be in his arms on the very last day of my life called me.

"You listening to Rick and Scott?" he asked.

"Yes," I squeaked, certain he would begin to tell me how much he loves me.

"Man, I know what I would do if it were my very last day on earth. I'd be getting me the biggest piece of prime rib I could find. I mean, the very finest piece you could get because who cares how much it costs? It's our last day on earth!" I heard him smack his lips. Yes, literally smack his lips. "Mmmmmm, my mouth is just watering thinking about it!"

I was shocked silent.

I may have even seethed a bit.

"Well, and you, Baby. I mean, I would want to spend time with you. I mean, I'd even share some prime rib with you because I love you, Baby."

I wrote an email to Rick and Scott telling them this conversation. They thought it funny enough to read on the air.

All this wacky mumbo jumbo apocalypse stuff had me thinking about it all and I got a good laugh remembering that conversation so I wanted to share it all with you.

And I'll be back later with more great stories of my ever so romantic husband - and the rest of us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Embarrassing Moments

Ever have those super embarrassing moments that are so horrific you simply must share them with someone?

Becca looooooves THIS horrifying moment I experienced and will forever be scarred from. I believe Becca may be slightly evil. (not really, she's just thankful it didn't happen to her.) Yes, this really happened to me. Yes, I still take S4 camping with me.

The other day I was at work and wore one of my favorite twirly skirts. The one thing I love about the library is I have to dress up and I find that fun. And this skirt is one of my most favoritest, PLUS my Dad picked it out so I love it even more.

After my hours are fulfilled at the library, I drive across the road and pick the boys up from school. Because it never fails that just before three is when the library is busy, I am nearly almost always the last parent to arrive at school.

While the sun had been shining all day long, I had not realized just how windy it had become.

And I had on a twirly skirt.

The principal had to chat with me for a moment and we stood outside the front doors of the my boys elementary school - large, floor to ceiling huge glass doors - and a gust of wind came down the roof, one came from around the corner and I swear that one gust of wind came right from below me and .....

..... POOF ....

I seen my panties reflected in the glass doors.

There is really no graceful way to recover from this. Just like there was no way to gracefully recover from being caught naked in a public campground shower, (oh, NOW you want to go read Becca's FAVORITE BLOG POST, don't you?). I simply looked at the principal whom I was chatting with, told her I am so sorry but the wind just blew my skirt up (she was nice and nonchalant about it - cuz it hadn't happened to her). I then held my skirt down all the way to farthest corner of the parking lot where we were parked - refusing to even take any of the boys hands to cross the school drive as I normally would, slid behind the wheel of the suburban and ......

........prayed to God no one else had seen me.

But it is such a horrifically wonderful embarrassing story I just had to share it all with you.

You're welcome.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too Much Dukes

You all know by now, the boys love the Dukes of Hazzard.

A lot.

I love the show, I do. I love that the boys love it. But it has gone too far........

Yesterday I had to run down the store to buy some mashed potato ingredients and while in line, the woman in front of us grabbed a bottle of clear alcohol and added it to her groceries.

S4 was with me. He tapped my hand and I leaned down for him to whisper - not quietly - "Moma, can you buy moonshine here?"

Someone asked me how the boys even knew what moonshine was. Enter - the Dukes of Hazzard (and their other favorite the Beverly Hillbilies...I think they still call pools "cement ponds" at times).

Later that same day, we got to watch Junior - my nephew, whom the boys all love and most of you know if you've read the blog for any great amount of time - and S4 asked me "Is he really our cousin?"

"Uh, yes, you know that," I replied.

"Well, are you SURE he is our cousin because he doesn't live with us and in the Dukes Bo and Luke live with Uncle Jesse so cousins live together, right?"

Sigh.

Because I had to explain that one all out for him.

But the very very very last straw was this morning, on our way to school, the boys were again discussing the Dukes and how they would love to go to Cooter's Place because a teacher at school DID go and seen the REAL General Lee and that got them wondering.

How old is Daisy Duke now?

S1, seriously, told the boys she was Moma's age.

I stopped mid sip of coffee. "You think Daisy in real life is my age NOW?" I asked.

"Sure," S1 said, "Daddy said that show is about 30 years old and so I think that means that Daisy is about your age right now."

Yup, no more Dukes for awhile, I think.

Especially before they begin to try to get in and out of the suburban windows instead of using the doors - which would be tricky, the windows only go down half way.

HEY!
Are you a fan of Life With Four Boys Coffee Please
on facebook?
Haven't gotten the side button figured out yet,
but here's the link.
Can't wait to connect with you!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-With-Four-Boys-Coffee-Please/219687161378498



Why I LOVE Tide Detergent

When I do laundry, this is what I use.
All the time. My thought is that if I am going to do laundry I want it done. I don't want to rewash.

Before I used this detergent, I used the coldwater version and it ALWAYS got my clothes clean. Yes, in bitter cold water.

But when we upgraded our water heater I thought I would try this because - um, you do recall I have four boys, right? - and all those boys and my construction working farmer hubby (which just means SUPER HARD WORKING), I thought I would try this.

I love it. Gets the dirt AND the stink out.

Which is good, I have lots of laundry to do!
See the pile? To the ceiling? It's asparagus season here and that means that my time is limited. You can't do it all and on this evening as I was bundling asparagus I looked at my literal mountain of laundry to fold and had to take this picture.

This is my life people.

Love it, but it's a little insanely busy right now. (thus the less blog posts of late)

After the whole Swamp Blog Post, I tweeted to Tide that I should be their new spokesperson. I really can't believe I actually tweeted that but I did, and whaddaya know, Tide answered back.

In a big way.

They sent me TWO huge bottles of Detergent, TWO huge bottles of stain release, and coupons for napkins and kleenex (THANK YOU!!!!!!).

I have been super impressed with the stain release. Not that I didn't think Tide did a great job already, but......when S1 went to swap meet and wore the same clothes for the entire weekend (even slept in them) and arrived home literally filthy dirty and stinky from head to toe, I knew the stain release had it's work cut out for it.

You could not even see that the clothes had been that dirty.

Not even a bit.

And the boy had torn apart and put together a garden tractor while he was gone. We are talking dirt, grease, grim, mud, food, gas and ICK all over him.

Tide does great giveaways on facebook too. Check it out, one of the stain release give aways ends TODAY.

But that's not the only reason I love Tide.

Tide sent down Tide Loads of Hope to Alabama and washed thousands of clothes for all the tornado victims. That touched my heart deeply.

So, if you are looking for a great detergent, BUY TIDE. If you are looking for a great company, look at Tide.

And if you want to help me fold my super clean clothes, I always take volunteers.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO TIDE
for all my detergent. It meant soooo much to me!
It got my boys muddy clothes clean.
I wasn't paid to write this.
I wanted to write this to share it with all of you.

The Great Cricket Escape

S1 is blessed to have a truly awesome teacher this year. She had the brilliant idea to get the class frogs and crabs. The boys in the class looooooooooooooove her for this.

She asked S1 if he had any connections to keep the frogs fed with crickets. And, because it is us, we DID have connections to supply the frogs with crickets and we have been bringing them into school when they run out.

The first time we went to get crickets we bought 100. I could hear them scratching at the bag all evening and it gave me the eeby jeebies.
I like the sounds crickets make. I wait all winter to hear the peepers and the crickets come spring.

But that many crickets in a little brown bag? Creepy.

Since then we have been just getting 25 crickets at a time (the frogs couldn't eat 100 crickets fast enough). And all has gone well with them.

Until this last purchase.

Apparently, the crickets have caught wind they were going to be a frog's dinner and made a daring escape.

My husband woke me up with a kiss and then whispered in my ear "Honey, there is a cricket crawling across the dining room table. I think some escaped."

I just didn't think those were the words he would whisper in my ear at five in the morning.

When I got out of the shower, a cricket was crawling up the wall to say hello to me. When I went to pour my coffee, one skidded under the fridge. S4 tried to corral one he found in the living room and it died of fright, I believe. When I was watching a movie that night with my husband, I seen two scuttle across the carpet.

And, amazingly, the bag still had enough crickets in it to not be noticeable that an escape had occurred. Or so S1 informs me, he is probably pretty sure I'll make him sleep outside with the crickets after this incident.

The thing is, if I hadn't heard them scratching at the bag, a few crickets in the house wouldn't bother me - I think. But knowing they scratched at the bag and chewed at it to make it out, well, that freaks me out.

Especially when I am lying in bed at night.

And my husband says "Look, I caught a frog in our bed....."

The frog in our bed did not even faze me. I have bag chewing crickets lurking in the house waiting for me to sleep. I don't have time for frogs! I asked him to toss it out the window. He was rather surprised at my blase answer so he tossed the frog on me.

It was plastic.

I will get him back.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love From my Aunt Sheri


My Aunt Sheri lives far far away. She has lived allllllllllllll over the world. Literally. But she manages to keep in close contact with all of us and I love her dearly for it.

I've often been told that I am like her...she rolls her eyes upwards and laughs as though this is a bad thing but really, it's one of the highest honors.

It also means usually that I've done something really funny (ie embarrassing) and thus everyone says "You are so like Aunt Sheri!"

But it's sweet things too. My aunt writes out notes and puts a stamp on them and sends them to the persons home so they can hold the note - I love that. I sometimes get frustrated because she doesn't do facebook, she doesn't email...but she does text now and that is good for me.

She also talks on the phone. And I am not a phone person. As in - not. at. all.

But I love her phone calls.

Currently, my parents are on vacation. A three week vacation. Seriously. They are actually fulfilling one of their life long dreams of traveling Route 66. I have twelve postcards here stamped from every state they have driven through.

Now, I am pretty sure that by now you all know I am a grown woman...very busy here with a family of my own.

But Aunt Sheri knows my heart. And so she calls me all the time. She knows that I miss my parents and she also knows that even grown up moms still need a mom around, a friend, someone who lets you know that you are loved. Because it's her and I and we seem to be "gifted" this way, I have missed nearly every one of her calls.

Today she called while I was giving all my boys their hugs goodbye in school. What message did she leave me? She sang. She has a lovely voice and I love her to hear her sing. The song she chose to leave on my voice mail?

"Cock a doodle doo! Good morning! Good morning! Good morning! It's time to rise and shine! Good Morning! Good Morning! Good Morning! I hope you're feeling fine! The sun is just above the hill another day for you to fill with all the things you love to do..."

I love my Aunt Sheri.

The last time she was here, she had these super cool sunglasses. I mean, they totally rocked. My Dad found them to be the most hideous things ever, he called them "Elvis glasses". I looooooooooved them. She assured me she would send me a pair.

Instead, she left her pair of sunglasses here for me.

I love these.

I have worn them nearly every day since she left them here. I have taken extra special care of them.

Why?
Because when I wear them, I feel like my Aunt Sheri is with me.

Like I just got one of her hugs. And she is laughing at something and calling me "dear".

This weekend they broke.

The sunglasses.

I am not sure how. But they just fell apart in my hands one morning on my way out of the school doors.

They are the only sunglasses I have ever teared up over.

NEVER ever EVER underestimate the smallest acts of kindness.
They warm the heart.
Even from 100's or thousands of miles away.
Love you, Aunt Sher.
Thanks for being you.
And being in my life.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's Asparagus Season Again

Yup, it's that time of year again.

Over here in the mitten state it suddenly got up in the mid eighties. And I loooooove the warm weather after all this snow and ick we've had...

But it also means the asparagus grows like crazy.

And since my husband and has been working funky hours and my boys are in school that means me...and the dogs (who are of no help whatsoever) and S4 on his days off can go pick asparagus.

But S4 was feeling hot so he brought out some stuffed animals he cannot be without and we loaded up on water, I settled him under a tree and I went to work.

Work means bending over and picking each and every spear. In the hot sun. And while everyone can agree, I believe, that I could use some sun kissing - picking asparagus is grueling work. Tonight, as I type this to you, even my fingertips hurt. My legs ache. My feet are throbbing. Asparagus - as much as we love the crop - is hard work.

And S4 didn't want any part of it.

He figured out, instead, how to use my camera. And, as my husband I figured out as we looked through the pictures, he is a very - uh...creative - photographer.

First he took a photo of me picking asparagus. Notice the dog still wearing her winter coat is out in the 85 degree day with me. The five year old boy is laying in the shade. And letting me know it's hot.
When I was gulping down some water, I took this photo. He was building cities in the dirt, I found out later, for Jingle Bells.
These are S4's constant companions. Jingle Bells, Straight Dog and Elkie. Or.....if they need first names...Nut, Hunt and Antler.
He figured we should know who was taking the photos I guess.
This one I loooooooove. He wanted to show that they both could stick out their tongues.
But this.....this cracked me up the most. There are about four pictures of Jingle flying in the air. And his brothers, even they agree this is the coolest most awesomest photo he took.
I'm gonna let him hijack my camera more often, I think.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Day We Took A Chicken to School

Some of you may know how this post you are about to read came about.

Recently, we were asked to bring in our children's pets to school for pet month. It was something S3 pondered over greatly. I recently blogged how he thought we needed new pets.

But, without much haggling, he decided we did indeed need to bring Chickie to school.

I so wish I could just write this post in Chickenese (which I am fluent in, by the way). But you may not understand it, so I shall tell it from my point of view.

The chicken did not understand why she was plucked from the chicken coop that morning. Nor does she understand why she is named Superman but that wasn't at the front of her brain that morning, I am sure.

But she does seem to love S3 so she settled down into the ultra cool AAESA bag where she was about to be shuffled off she didn't know where.

As soon as S4 seen the chicken in HIS green star bag - he freaked. He bawled his eyes out. He cried over the injustice of it all. I assured him I could wash it. He was certain it was ruined forever.

I then promised him a new one and we were back on track (and I had to send a hasty email out begging for a new free AAESA bag....)

And S3's smile was total happiness. The chicken didn't look too bad either.
But I may have taken this picture and wondered what on earth I was thinking.

My ever so sweet blogging and twitter friends caught wind of the fact I was taking a chicken to school (um, how could I NOT share that on twitter and facebook?) and I was instantly wished...

Chaos.

Yes, friends were hoping the chicken would see this as her chance to gain knowledge and run down the hallway to learn from every classroom she could while a happy, laughing class of first graders rushed to catch up, followed by a frantic looking mom with a panicked looking teacher close behind.

But we got there and all went well. Other than the shocked teachers that great us at the front school door who realized the chicken was in fact REAL, we hurried on into the class room where the class mates gathered around to be introduced to Superman the Hen.
And S3 was thrilled.
I glanced down to get my phone out to take a picture of how well things were going when I looked up to see this.....
The chicken was loose.

S3 figured she wanted to wander the room a bit. She seemed to, because she took a giant dump right there on the floor.

And all the kids held their noses and gagged.

When one of S3's best friends asked to hold Superman, S3 shrugged "sure" and swiftly picked up Superman the hen and placed him on his lap. This happened as the teacher was finalizing plans for a calf to come visit later in the day and I was dumping soap on the floor to help wash away the poop drop on the carpet when Superman decided to flap her wings and take to flight.....where she promptly fell back to the floor.

Can you imagine if she decided to roost high on a bar in the classroom? Can you imagine her pooping on the students?

I thought it would be a good time to leave.

And when I got back into the suburban, I took a long sip of my Biggby coffee and thought....how is that I am so blessed to have this life?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saving Zasha

I recently requested this book from our library co-op for S1. It sounded like something he might enjoy and since we are always on the lookout for good boy books ( does anyone struggle as much as I seem to finding good boy books? Know of some? Pass them on to me, I beg of you! Two words....AR TESTS. Every school mother nods her understanding at that.....).

I wish we had bought it. It's that good.

S1 read it quickly. Not because it's an easy read, because he could not put it down. One night, when my eyes were half opened because I was nearly asleep, he bounded happily into the bedroom and added it to my pile of books to read. "I finished it!" he declared happily, "And you need to read it! It's so good you have to. I'm not going to tell you anymore."

And then he was gone.

I can't recall a book he has read on his own that he has asked me to read.

So, two days when I was stuck at the dentist for over two hours while the three younger boys had cavities filled...I started it.

I had a hard time putting it down.

It's a book about family first and foremost, not just a dog. And it's about a dog, and the love of animals. But mostly, it's about family.

And it's wonderful.

If you need a book for your 5th grade boy, this is the one for you. Ask your library to get it or I found it on Amazon and I hear rumor it's on Scholastic...probably in the stack that was sent home to me and I just tossed because it was the end of the school year and I just didn't need one more paper on my desk. (Did I just admit that out loud?)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Buck Howdy's RoXzai

This is Buck Howdy. I have blogged about him before, many moons ago. In fact, it was one of the VERY first blog posts I ever wrote, that's how long ago it was. I wrote it for Sue and you can read it HERE.

Well, Mr. Buck Howdy somehow found out about that and he sent us some cds and bandanas. As if we weren't a big enough fan of him before, we were huge fans after that. And we have been ever since. We sing our chickens his songs, S4 sings the S'mores song all the time (especially when we are camping, then he sings it all. the. time.), Hubby throughly gets a kick out of TSA song.

Seriously, we are big fans.

Well, recently I noticed Buck Howdy talking on his facebook page - wait, you aren't friends with THE Buck Howdy....well, click HERE and become friends, tell him I sent you...I'll wait - about a new game he has called RoXzai.

I watched the video about the game and it reminds me a lot of a game we can't find anywhere called Bandu. When I was little, my Dad was given the gift and then we all became tortured with it. It's basically a wood shop guy said "let's take all the nasty little pieces of leftover wood on the floor and see if we can stack them up on a teeny tiny little board - it'd make a great game!"

And it does.

Every year my Dad hauls it out - and if we doesn't we are devastated - and we all try to beat him at it.

We never ever do.

By the end of the game no one is allowed to walk through the kitchen. Silence is heavy as someone tries to take the ugly piece of wood given them and try to get it to knock over their barely hanging on configuration of wood pieces. If the cheering that you made it work knocks your masterpiece over, we still count it.

But no one beats my Dad.

It is addicting fun. We look forward to it every year when the weather is cold and we start digging out the game again. But you can't buy it anymore.

So when I seen THIS game I thought "super cool! It's a lot like Bandu! We could use that for the boys to have a Bandu type memory."

Mr. Buck Howdy must have heard me thinking that very same thought because he emailed me and asked me if I could mention his game. I was more than happy to.

Please check out the link for the game. If you just click "like" on the RoXzai video, that helps him greatly. Because although he is a grammy award winning children's singer, he doesn't have the money to just make the game available. He's about half way to the point he needs to be to get this game up and running.

If you want the game ( you will ) and order it, you have to wait for it to reach that $2,500 or so goal before they will make them and send them out to you. If they don't, you won't be charged for the game.

Let's not let that happen, friends. Let's buy this game so we can have fun family times with our families that make precious memories.

If I were rich (you all should know by now we are not monetarily rich) I would pledge a full $2,850 dollars and have my friend Buck Howdy drive out and give a concert in our farming community. And I'd donate the $250 dollars to get lots of RoXzai games to give to my brothers, my sister and give away on the blog.

But I don't.

I DO have $23. Which will get me one game. And it will make hundreds of happy memories with my boys when we get snowed in this next winter (which I totally do not want to think about right now while the buds are just arriving on the trees).

I don't promote things on my blog, you all know that. But I do believe that Buck Howdy is a good man. And I think he made a good game here.

So, please, if all you do is check out the video of RoXzai and hit "like", it will mean so very much.

Thank you.

I now leave you with this addicting little ditty.....


I was offered nothing in return for this review. I simply wanted to do what I could to help.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fox 17 Morning News Morning Mom Contest

One year ago today, what were you doing?

Because I remember exactly what I was doing.

All of us were GLUED to the tv, I was texting Sue every couple minutes and we were waiting....waiting...waiting for the announcement......

That we had just won the Morning Mom contest for our local news station, Fox 17.

Of all the videos, they chose ours....our very first youtube ever made.


And then began an unbelievably awesome month, and unbelievably fun summer, and some precious - oh so precious - friendships.

I will forever be thankful for this time.

You can watch our clips from Fox 17 Morning Mom.
Just click the button on the right that says "Morning Mom".


Hubs pointed out and I realized he was correct....
Today is actually the day we made our first LIVE interview!
I had written this awhile ago...and got the dates wrong.
So...after our first interview, they sent us off to Bay Pointe for brunch
for Mother's Day. It was incredibly yummy. And now I want strawberry shortcake.

The best thing about Morning Mom?
Other than the friendships?
The mac computer?
The flip cam?
(that the boys used to tape that first interview as they watched themselves on tv
so Jake could see it when he got home from work)
It made everyday things I do all the time
(laundry, dinner, school runs, asparagus)
way more fun.
I think I did not quit smiling this whole season.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah


I have never read a book by Kristin Hannah.

But I surely will again.

Out of five stars, I give this book five.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I had to tell you about this book. It is a painful, tragic, beautiful, funny book that has left a large imprint on my life. Some books do that, you know, you read them and you are never quite the same. The Notebook was that way for me, as was The Poisonwood Bible.

I could relate with Jude, I don't know a mom that could not. I am that helicopter parent. I even have a special name I call my mom just like Zach and Mia. I could relate to Mia on her first day of high school, too much really. I know the love of a brother you cannot imagine your life without and so I know Zach. I know Lexi, I swear I do, oh so very well. Miles and Jude and Eva....by the end of the book they will be imprinted on your heart.

As will Gracie.

Just before I picked up this book to read while Jake went off to Bible Study one night, I had confessed one of my deepest fears to my husband.
It's not the boys being little that scares me, it's when the grow up.

And this book took that fear that I dared to utter to him and ran with it. Tore my heart in shreds over and over again.

It's not a "Christian" book. There is swearing, drinking, sex. But it is one of the best books written from a mom's heart, a girl's heart, a child's heart that I have read in a very long time.

When I had stopped crying as I finished this book, I stumbled to the computer and looked up Kristin Hannah's website. I am now friends with her on facebook, getting her newsletter and following her blog. Surely, because I loved this book so, you think. Yes, sort of. But it's what I read in her bio.....

In 1990, I got "the call," and in that moment, I went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and I've never looked back. In all the years between then and now, I have never lost my love of, or my enthusiasm for, telling stories. I am truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.

And how could that not make me the biggest fan of her ever? That, and what Kristin had to say about her mom....because that is exactly what my mom says to me over and over again.

I loved this book. Get it from your library or buy it. Then have tissues ready and know that you won't be doing a thing until you finished it.

Kristin Hannah has no idea whatsoever who I am. I picked this book up at my local library because it was new and the librarian - my friend - said "I've heard good things about this author". That's it. So the opinion is totally and completely my own to share with you.