Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why Do I Love My Husband???

My washing machine broke.

I will let you just momentarily imagine how many loads of laundry my boys produce.

Okay, enough of that!! You will have nightmares.

The GREAT thing is that our Maytag Bravos washing machine is under warranty from Lowes.  It's a super nice one that I have been super impressed with but it is only seven months old.  It suddenly made a terrible squeaking sound and I limped it along hoping it would not die before the repair man arrived...but it did.

So, I went to the laundry mat.  That was quite traumatic, as I stated last week.  (Read the comment on that blog post, it is the BEST....What To Do If You Find a Dead Man on The Side of the Road.) But it is also super expensive, it cost forty dollars to do my laundry there last week. OUCH!

I could have kissed the repairman when he fixed my washing machine on Wednesday afternoon.  I was so ecstatic!

Two loads later, it broke.

Same exact problem. 

I tried to limp it along.  Two loads later it refused to work again.

I nearly cried.

When I called the help line, the man on the other hand read my email aloud and said, "We will try to rush this. Four need your washing machine.  But as I see it, you are looking at next Friday before someone can get there."

As in seven days away.

Having used all the quarters I could scrounge up in my entire house and suburban, I was griping to my husband that in this 90 degree heat I was going to be headed to the laundry mat this week.  And I was going to have to bite the bullet and stick a twenty dollar bill in that quarter return thing to have enough to do laundry.

I really should have just gone on about how wonderful it really is to have ALL your laundry done, loads and loads, in less than an hour.  I should have mentioned how I was looking forward to time alone to read my stack of books.  Or wondering what sort of interesting characters I may encounter.

Because my husband said, "Hey! We could use the washboard! Think of the money we would save! You could stay here.  We'd help you, it would be fun!"

I glanced over to the washboard hanging on our bathroom wall.  Then I imagined this scene.....

There is no part of this at all that appears fun to me in any way.

My husband, on the other hand, is going on and on about how it will be a great experience for the boys and everyone can help and so on and so on.  I started to just tone him out.

I did mutter under my breath, "Thanks for the new blog post" though.

Please, go kiss your washing machines for me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What To Do If You Find a Dead Man on The Side of The Road

This weekend has been fun and insanely busy.

But probably the story we will be telling the most will be about how I found a dead man on the side of the road Sunday morning.

That was NOT fun.

It was, however, insane.

Ready for this one?

I woke up earlier than normal on Sunday morning and since my washing machine died, I figured I would sneak out of the house before all the boys were awake and get some laundry done at the laundry mat.  I arrived before 6:30, found it closed until 7, so I headed back home.

As I passed the body shop on our road, I did a double take at a large man lying on his back just off the road in the front of the body shop's car ports for sale.

I slammed on my breaks.

Did I really just see this????

The man was well over six foot, I would guess.  One arm was laying above his head, the other across his chest.  He had a long black goatee, black jeans and a green t-shirt covered his large belly.

I went to turn into the next drive to turn around and then thought...

What am I thinking?

I could SEE my driveway so I sped home and burst into the door calling for Jake.

He stumbled sleepily from the bedroom where he had been sleeping.  "What? What is it?"

"I, uh, I think I just saw a dead man at Hinkles!"  I began to shake.

"I'll get dressed.  You call 911."

I called 911.  I told them specifically what the man looked like, what car port he was next to and the name of the business, location on the road etc etc.

Jake jumped in the suburban with me and we sped down the road.  We slowed as we came upon the man.  "Oh!" I cried, "He's not dead! His arm is in a different place!"

Jake parked the suburban and got out.  He walked over to the man.  Looked at him.  Walked back to the suburban.  "The guy is totally wasted and snoring.  Let's just see what the cops do when they get here."

To not be in the way, we drove to the Family Dollar across the way and watched.

Any minute they would arrive.....

Another car slowed.

One turned around in the greenhouse drive.

"We better go tell everyone we called 911," I said.

We drove back to Hinkle's parking lot.  But the other vehicles just slowed to look at the man and drove off.  The owner of Hinkle's arrived.  He parked to the side of the building, I am not sure if he even was aware what we were doing there or of the man lying on his front lawn.

"Want to take a picture of the guy?" my husband asked.

"It just feels wrong." I said.


A car pulled up along side the man and leaned out the window.  I could see the siren lights down the road.

"Let's tell that guy the ambulance is nearly here."  My husband drove up to the man in the car who would not even look at us but was leaning well out of his car window.  "It's almost like the guy seems to know him..." Jake mused to himself.

"JAKE!" I nearly squealed, "I think all those sirens just turned into our driveway! THE BOYS!!!!"

I was imagining my sound asleep boys being awoken to no parents and a police swat team swarming the house.

I didn't know our suburban could go from zero to 75 so fast.

The sirens were NOT in our driveway but had turned just after our drive.  TURNED AROUND AND WENT THE OPPOSITE WAY!!!!

Jake slowed the suburban and I leapt out.

I realized later I leapt out with coffee still in hand.

Jake raced toward the sirens, hazards on.

The police and ambulance turned and zoomed toward Hinkle's.

Mere moments late.

Nearly 20 minutes after my call.

The owner of Hinkle's and Jake gave the police a full description.  The man at Hinkle's knew EXACTLY what vehicle the man who had shoved the severely wasted man was driving before he off.


Hubs arrived home.  The boys just began to wake.  They were oblivious to our morning excitement.

All before seven in the morning.


So, we learned some valuable lessons today.

I should have called 911 as soon as I spotted the man.

We should have taken pictures to show the police.

We should have gotten a plate number.

But I sincerely hope I never see who I think is a dead man on the side of the road again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Recently, I was chatting with another mom friend of mine and she brought this blog post up.  "It's the perfect Mother's Day post," she told me, "I forward it to my friends regularly.  It makes me cry every time I read it."

I think she is right.

In the midst of our insane busy-ness, we need the reminder that only my Great Grandma and her sister can give us.  I needed to be reminded of it once again...

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 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.

To read the rest of this story, Click HERE

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rodney Atkins - He's Mine

This is the song my boys are loving the most right now.  If it comes on, we have to crank it.  If it is on when we arrive at school, we must listen to hear the second verse (that's their favorite).

Recently, on a Sunday afternoon when church was over and the boys had scooted outside because the sermon was finally over and that meant it was time to play football with all their friends, I found the words of the second verse written on a card.

That would be S2's doing.  He loved this song as soon as he heard it the first time and I am pretty sure it is going to be "that" song he remembers forever.

So, here ya go, another Rodney Atkins song for you, courtesy of my boys.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Morning Boys

These boys are my morning joy.

Every morning - - EVERY morning - - we have the same routine.
(Okay, every once in awhile we are really late and it's rushed at best but it's pretty much always the same.)

We say goodbye to S1, we tell him what is for dinner, S4 hugs him.

We drop S4's things off at his locker, pick his lunch, head to the bathroom.

S3 meets us at the bathroom.  He greets me with a hug.

We head for the far hallway.  S3 scoots down one hallway, S4 and I go down the other hallway and we meet at nearly the same moment at S2's classroom.

S3 and S4 tap on the door.  Sometimes they dunk and hide behind a locker but pretty much they just stand there waiting for S2 and his friends to come out and see them.  They greet them with hugs.

And more hugs.  And more hugs.  And one more hug.  Wait, just one more.  I have to often times say sternly, "Enough!"

I tell S2 what is for dinner.  The other three boys have comments on wether that was a good choice for me to make or what would be good for dinner or what they are having.  I get a run down of who is going squirrel hunting, who is going to a game, who is shooting skeet, who got hurt playing, what the weather will be....

Our conversations are random.  I tell them to hurry on into class before they get in trouble for talking too long and they get one more hug from S3 and S4, I hiss "enough hugs already!", I see the boys shyly smile at they head for class, S2 gives me one more hug to tell me to have a good day and I walk away from "my boys".  Mr. B, the teacher they think hung the moon, never marks them tardy and lets us have our morning ritual every day.  I think he is the greatest teacher.

We drop S3 off at his class.  He has to kiss my cheek and lift S4 up off his feet.

S4 and I begin the walk back to his section of the school, talking about random things until we reach his door.  Sometimes he hugs me quick and strolls right in, sometimes he clings to me and cries.  Still.

My husband told me I should get a picture of my morning boys.  He can be brilliant like that, so one day I did.  

They thought I was a little silly for asking for a photo.  But their mom's must take a lot of pictures of them too because they just lined up and smiled.  This is the one photo I took and I think it is frame worthy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

He Loves Me

Me, Cindy and Sue

It was last year when I first met Cindy Bultema.

You know how you just meet someone for the first time and totally connect with them?

That was me with Cindy.

I had a brief idea what her story was from her blog.  I hadn't heard about her before Sue told me she was headed to our Praise and Coffee Night.

I was blown away by her testimony.  I believe I recall the accident she speaks of with David because I happened to be head over heels in love with the guy I just had married.  I couldn't imagine being without him suddenly like that.  I still can't.

If she were closer to drive to, I would be sitting in her Bible Study.  And if I could get together with her for lunch regularly, I totally would.  She is genuine and kind, her laugh and smile are right from her heart.  Her blog is truly titled perfectly...She Sparkles.

Morg went with me to that Praise and Coffee.  She was touched how brutally honest Cindy was in her testimony.  I am beginning to think that is just Cindy.

That night was so powerful for me.  I actually have had this picture and blog post title in my "drafts" since that day.  I never could figure out how to put in words how powerfully that night affected me.  I still cannot.

Anyhow, fast forward like a whole year or so and we were invited to see her movie premiere.  Day of Discovery had done a special on her. They had rented out a movie screen at Cinema theaters and, free of charge, we could see her in He Loves Me.

Sue and I were *this* close to not making it.  But we did.  And we are so thankful we did.

Cindy is offering a Give Away on her New Website.  As in, 42 copies of her He Loves Me video to help celebrate her 42nd birthday that was on May 9th.  I strongly suggest you hop over there and register to win a copy.  If I win a copy, I am going to give it away here.

Her special airs on ION on Mother's Day Sunday (May 13) at 7:30 am.  What station is ION? (I didn't know, so I had to look it up....) 
AT&T Uverse 195;
 Comcast 7; 
Charter 14; 
DirecTV 305/304; 
Dish 216/217.

Now, I am sure you will all be lazily laying in bed on Mother's day amid a pile of pillows while your family waits on you hand and foot on Sunday as I will be (snort!), so perhaps you can DVR it.  It's only a half an hour long, but it is one powerful half hour.

And be sure to register for her GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brotherly Love

This morning, my boys were at it.

As in, "Uh! I am going to tell on you!"

You know, there is not enough coffee in the WORLD to make that whining bearable in the morning.  Or any time, for that matter.  Whining is soooo, oh, wait, now I am whining. I hate whining.

So, as I stood in the shower wishing I could still be sleeping, S4 whips the shower curtain aside (there are two shower curtains, but still, privacy has never occurred to him) and tattled on his brother, S3.

S3, for all his sweetness to others, is the prime antagonizer of his brothers.  It's really an art form for him.

It was obvious that S3 was the guilty one by his tears as soon as I approached him, wrapped in pink bath towels on my way to the bedroom to get dressed.  His lips quivered and he began to mumble why he wasn't to blame but his mumbling wasn't making much sense.

And I hadn't said a word to him yet.  This further proved his guilt.

"Listen, you two have to learn to get along.  You are going to be brothers FOR THE REST OF  YOUR LIFE, so you might as well get along.  Hug your brother and think of five nice things about him."

I left them on their own to sort it out...and so I could get dressed.

And finally drink a cup of coffee.

They must have made up grandly, I figured, because while I was pouring the blessed french press coffee into my mug (Starbucks Blonde Blend, Willow is my current new favorite), all four boys were outside.

Around five this morning we had a brief rain shower hit us.  The boys, getting ready for school, noticed the rain splatters and did what every boy does when it rains...

They run for their bikes.

They were racing around the driveway seeing who could splatter more mud.  Then they began to try to do burn outs - ok, I think they are called burn outs but I am not really sure of the correct wording - on the freshly mowed now wet grass.

They were laughing hysterically.

They all clambered into the suburban covered in mud and wet grass.

I assure you they were clean at one point this morning.  It just didn't last long.

But all that mud was worth all their giggles and squeals and laughs this morning.

The afternoon went well when they arrived home.  I had my nephews here and we made cupcakes to surprise them with. (As I type this, there are NO MORE cupcakes left.  They devoured every one.)  The boys all played well.  I honestly had forgotten about the fight this morning.

As I was dishing out dinner, S4 announced, "Mama, S3 still has not said five things he likes about me."

S3 groaned, slapped his hand on his forehead, and slumped at the table.  Five NICE things about your brother is just about impossible, I suppose.
What do you do to keep your kiddos getting along? Any new tricks I need to try? 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Before You Don't Have a Mother's Day

Her death came unexpectedly.

I joked with Kor about the boys bringing a snake to school and then she entered her office where she, no doubt, got the call.

Her mom had died.

I cannot imagine the grief that over took her.  I was there in a hotel room when my mom received the call that her dad had died unexpectedly.  That wail is forever etched in my dark memory of that moment.

I've met Kor's mom a few times.  She had a sparkle in her eye.  Do you know what I mean by that?  You know that person you meet and you just instantly are drawn to and find adorable?  That was Kor's mom.  Of course, I may have been prejudice since I had heard her talk about her mom often over the years.

My husband knew, without me even putting it into words, that the death hit me hard.

My mom was gone taking care of her mom.  For six weeks she had been states away.  When I heard the news that Kor's mom had passed, I drove out to my parents.  I looked at the kitchen table littered with over a months worth of mail.  I looked at my dad's single dish service that he had been rewashing and reusing every day since she had gone.  The fridge had no iced tea, the table had no fresh flowers.  I looked at the unmade bed my dad slept in alone.

I stood there and cried.

The same week, a friend called me from out of the blue, carefully scheduling her call to make sure my boys would be tucked into bed.

You know those phone calls that come late at night and you answer with dread because you know it can't possible be good news?  That.  And it wasn't good news.  And as she cried telling me not what she feared for the future but what this might do to her precious children, I found myself without words.

What words do you say when a friend faces death?

There are none.

I sat alone in the ancient church at Kor's mom's funeral.  Being a friend of the family, we were tucked off to the side.  The church was packed, which should not have shocked me after visiting the busy funeral home the day before with my family.

I never caught sight of Kor, but I had a direct view of her friend, Katie.  Katie was seated in the friend section of the church with me.  A pastor who did not know the family well officiated the funeral and when he asked for people to stand and say something about the woman they had loved, no one passed a microphone to the slight framed woman barely holding it together in the front row.  The woman I knew because of Kor, who had grown up with Kor's mom and had a million stories and whose heart was breaking more than some others there.  Tucked away in the friend section sat a woman who loved Kor and her mother ever so much and hardly a soul was even aware of her existence.

My mom's best friend I call "my other mother".  I have not kept in touch with her over the years, my mom does, of course, and now that I am grown I cannot bring myself to call her by her first name.  She is, forever, "my other mother".

But Katie, she was close to Kor's mom.  She may well have had a special name for her.

After the funeral, I found Katie.  It was her I hugged.  It was her I cried with.  It was me who asked her to take care of Kor today.  It was her who asked me to take care of Kor in upcoming weeks.

Because there are friends who are more than friends.  There are friends who are dearer and more precious than family.

I put on my dark black sunglasses and walked from the church.  Two hours prior I had stood in the store and picked out a mother's day card for my mom.  I am not sure why that sprung to my head as I quickly walked away from the church, glasses hiding my tears.

Kor will never buy another Mother's Day card.

I went about the rest of the day with a smile on my face as I ran my errands, made dinner and did the odds and ends that I do in a day.

But alone in my house, fixing dinner, the lump in my throat would not go away.  I looked at the clock and realized Kor's mom's body was now in the ground.

This song came to mind.  Her family talked much about the "dash".  That line between the day their mother was born and the day their mother died.  That 'dash' that was her life.

She left behind her husband of 57 years.

57. Years.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I am head over heels in love with my husband.  Sounds cliche "I love him more everyday" but I do.  And we do love each other more and more because we work at this marriage.

I love my boys to a million zillion pieces as well.  But this weekend had me wanting to find a quiet place far far far away from them.  They were on my last nerve by seven in the morning.  S1, finding a moment alone with his Daddy, said, "I think Mama has had a rough weekend."

He was so right.

As a mom, that happens.  I can't excuse it but I can admit it.  I wanted a break from all of them.

Listening to Kor's mom's service as they described the woman who was creative and loved and shared her smile and gifts with all those around her, I could have been convinced that they were speaking of Kor herself.  She will carry her mother's legacy on well.  But her mom had a knack to be "in the moment" so well.  Kor does this too, I have always admired this about her.

Treasure the moments because they will be gone so soon.

Someday my mom will die.  But when Mother's Day comes around this year, she will be home and I will be ever so grateful to be sitting on the back porch with her sipping iced tea.

Someday my husband will be ancient gray and I hope I am there to care for him and he for me.

Someday my boys will grow up and leave home.  I will miss the sounds of their nerf gun wars and running, their laughing and probably their petty fighting that drives me so insane now.

We all tough days with our spouse.  We have tear filled tough days with our kids.  But that's life, and life is finding the beauty in the mess.

Life is a blink.  Motherhood is a blink.

Don't waste it.

I am writing this in the moment of the emotion.  I'll wait to publish it near Mother's Day.  Maybe I'll reread it and recheck it for my mistakes.  But probably I won't.  
I didn't want to post it before my mom made it back, keeping all this quiet as to not worry my mom while she was gone.