Saturday, November 12, 2011

For You I Will...

I've learned a lot of things in my 28 years of life. I know I have a lot left to learn.

I always, always thought, even after I graduated high school, that I would never have friends like that ever again in my whole life. Maybe a bit dramatic, looking back on it, but how could I? How could I have friends like the ones I had my first slumber party with? That I had Christmas Concerts, church, and dances with? Who got in trouble right along with me for drinking at parties or staying out too late? How could anyone relate with me on that same deep, 13 year long level? And I honestly just thought that it would never happen and I just had to figure out a way to accept it.

Fast forward to college, and yes, I made some friends. I only really talk to 2 of them anymore. Oh, and those high school friends? I must say that I actually do talk to a lot of them still. And that I think about them a lot. And that I truly love them. We can go months without talking and pick up right where we left off. And those relationships are very important to me.

Enter, my sisters. They have always been my friends. Darci, and I don't think this is a secret to anyone, and it's not meant to hurt my other sisters, has been my best friend forever. We've had disagreements, of course. But she has really been my best friend and she's a friend I know that will be there for me no matter what, no matter when, no matter how. She's the first person I want to call when I am mad, sad, happy, or have big news. She knew about both of my pregnancies before my husband even did. She helped me through a loss of a pregnancy. She is my little sister, but in a lot of ways I feel like it's opposite. Like I need her guidance on many issues in my life.

Enter, friends in my early 20's. A lot of them were honestly great, but we just drifted apart. I had marriage and babies before most of them and we just reached different stages in our lives and that's okay. If it weren't for facebook, I probably wouldn't really know too much about how they are doing now. Of course there's one that stuck :) And we don't talk all of the time since she moved back to Sioux City to restart her life. But I love that girl for life.

My late 20's (wow, that's scary) have been amazing, especially as far as friendships go. In the last year I have met some of my truly, truly best friends. One in particular that I feel like I've known all of my life. We did this little thing called "Mom Prom" together last year, maybe you've heard me mention it before... :)

All of these friendships are treasured to me. And they all taught me something, good or bad, about myself and what a friend truly is. And to me, a friend never makes you choose sides. A friend is always there for you, right or wrong, but should be the one to tell you when you are wrong. And if you are a friend, you should accept that you are not always going to be right. A friend sympathizes with you when you are having troubles, if even hers are "worse." A friend should show up just because, not just when things are really bad or really good. A friend would bring over your favorite (or HER favorite!) bottle of wine just to chat. A friend shows interest in your life and invests in your children. And you do the same for her.

Unfortunately, I've learned what to avoid in a friend as well. Avoid friends who have "one up" you all of the time, ones that you can't trust, because just like a marriage, you have to be able to trust your friends. Avoid friends who suck the positive energy out of you. Avoid the friends who demand you be their only. Avoid friends who change their story. Avoid friends who have a sense of entitlement.Avoid friends who take advantage of your or exploit your weaknesses. Hold your friendship close and never just give out to everyone. It should be a chosen process. Think of the 5 people you are closest to. They speak volumes about what kind of person you are. Choose friends who are like you (but still different!) and that deserve to be that close to you.

Guess who told me that? One of my great girlfriends :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Love Lucy... Todd :)

As many of you know, we got a new puppy last night!! It seems like it was an 'impulse buy' to some, but believe me, I've been thinking about this for quite a while. Every time my kids have to say goodbye to their favorite dogs, Daisy (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's dog) or Jingles (Grammy's dog) it crossed my mind. And if you know me, this is a stretch. I am not an animal person. I couldn't even imagine me petting a dog, heaven forbid one over licked me. When I think of a dog here is my train of thought. Literally. The dog goes outside. The dog pees and or poops. The dog steps in it. The dog licks it's privates. The dog licks your kids' faces. You kiss your kids' cheek. You basically just ate doggie doo doo. Yay...

Our new puppy is about 10 months old, so the rescue shelter estimated. She is very calm for a puppy. She is very small for a black lab/retriever mix. Her name at the shelter was Liv. I had a daycare kid named Livi (we called her Liv) and so I wanted to rename her. The rescue volunteer recommended we keep her name beginning with the letter "L" and so we now call her "Lucy." She was brought to the rescue center when she was found by a stranger.

I really wanted a big-ish dog. One that would bark when a stranger came too close to the house. It would make me feel more safe. (Not doubting my husband's ninja skills, of course. Have you SEEN the guy? I wouldn't mess with him... ehem....) Anyway.... Lucy is afraid of her reflection in the window, and I haven't heard so much as a yelp. So much for my guard dog.

How are we doing? So far, so good. As of 8:03 pm she has only had one "accident" and it was right by the back patio door so I am thinking I missed her "open the door, you fool" sign. We are going to get bells to hang on the door and teach her to ring it when she needs to go potty.

We went on our first walk and can I just say, we were a hot mess. I was pushing the stroller, I had Lucy on a leash and Callie was walking, or being tripped the entire time by Lucy. I rammed the stroller into her, the stroller nearly tipped over a few times, Lucy was running circles around me and I nearly fell... all in a matter of blocks. I am so glad it was dark and cold so no one could see the complete mess we were.

And can I just say, my friends and family have been amazing at helping me out with this?? I have been texting, facebook stalking, calling, anyone who has a dog and asking a million questions. So. Sorry. But so very grateful that you are there to help me out :)

The kids are in love. I'm in love. I think we'll keep her :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Go Huskers!!

Saturday was my first ever Huskers game. Really, I'm not lying. "But your Dad has season tickets..." you say? Yes, yes he does. Let me explain. I have six sisters. And I am not the "golden" child. That would be one of my little sisters, Darci. And she gets alllll of the extra Husker tickets. When my other sisters are in town from Denver, THEY get the tickets. I can't blame my Dad. He's an avid Husker fan, and my husband is not. And my Dad is such a fan that it's hard for him to give his seats to a non-Husker fan. I get it. And I especially get it after the loss on Saturday. If Craig wasn't there, it would have been a win for sure. Sorry, Dad.

Our journey to Lincoln started at McDonald's. We figured since we would be drinking before noon, a couple of hashbrowns might come in handy.

We arrived in Lincoln, parked our car, and tailgated for a bit. I saw homeless people that I didn't really think were homeless (I think it's a Game Day thing, no?). We saw lots of drunk people, and I had high hopes of witnessing an arrest, not gonna lie. So it wasn't even noon yet, and Darci and Marcus have a tradition of taking a Jager shot before the game. Ech. But, I did it for the Huskers....

Nastiness. And for nothing.
After we had a few drinks we headed to Stadium Drive. We walked around for a bit and of course it didn't take long to figure out that all of that drinking is going to make us need a 'facility.' If you know me, you know I loathe port-a-potties. Nasty.

So we headed to the tailgate party put on by Sara Lee. It was a lot of fun. They were pretty serious about it, hooking up a satellite to the top of their SUV along with generators for power, of course. And good food, beer, and Bacardi. What else could a girl want??

The band went by and we followed them into the stadium. It was really a lot of fun, and you can feel the energy. I was seated next to a somewhat creepy man. He kept trying to get me to take bites of his food.... who does that?? I tried my best to ignore him but he kept waving his food in my face, asking me if I'd like a bite. I politely said no thanks. He really wanted to drink, so he left shortly after half time. Yay. We saw a fight break out, not sure why, and an old woman being carried away on a stretcher. But no arrests. Maybe next time?? And maybe a win next time?? Not sure there will be a next time, since Craig clearly has a Husker loss curse. And since I'm really not the golden child anymore. It was fun, even if just for a day!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trick Or Treat

Halloween has got to be one of my favorite holidays. I love the decorations (not the scary stuff), the costumes, and the fun parties. Callie dressed up as Taylor Swift this year, shocking, I know. And she already decided that next year she wants to be Cindy Lou Who. We'll see if that sticks! And Tanner was a dinosaur. A very cute dinosaur, that's for sure.

Callie, Dreu, and Tanner

We started a tradition since we moved into our house a couple of years ago. Every Halloween night, we invite friends and family over for chili and cinnamon rolls, and then we head out for candy. It's a lot of fun, and it's a quick, easy supper that I can prepare during the day.

We also went to a party at my friend's house over the weekend. Craig actually dressed up for a costume party. Also, very shocking, but this time really. We went with some friends and dressed up as the gang from Scooby Doo. It was a fun night and I found out that I don't totally suck at pool. Who woulda thunk?

The kids were totally exhausted after all of the trick or treating. At first, Tanner was not really loving it but once he figured out that he gets to eat the candy, it was okay. And a couple of days later, it snowed here! I am sure most of you are fully aware,but I love the snow. Love it. And it was just enough for the kids to be able to go outside and play in it for a little bit.

I only wish it would have stuck around. It went too fast. Not enough time to sled or anything fun like that. But watching the kids' faces light up when they saw it was so much fun. Callie asked me today when winter was coming back. Soon, I hope Callie, very soon :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Official...

I am the worst blogger. Ever.  It's been over a month since my last blog. I'll tell you why. This girl has been super busy! And since there's no end in sight to the madness, I'll just have to blog in the wee hours of the night... okay... maybe just after 9:00 pm but for me, that IS the wee hours of the night!

What have I been busy doing? Birthdays, Book Clubs, Bunco Nights, sick kids, playing outside while the weather is still 'play outside-able,' and cleaning. This fall has been busy! We've been to Vala's a few times this year and if you have never gone, you need to. No matter where we end up living some day, I will always bring the kids back to Vala's. It's really one of the most fun, family friendly places I've ever been to. I've been to a couple of craft fairs, which were really fun, and we have finally gotten Callie in swimming lessons. You'll remember her near drowning here. We thought it was absolutely time to get her comfortable with the water. She was never really too afraid of it, but I'd like her to know what to do if she ever finds herself in a similar situation as last year. I pray she never does.

Callie is going to preschool for a few hours a day now, five days a week. She loves to write, count, and rhyme. Her daddy has taught her how to "plus" things together and she really gets a kick out of showing off her skills. Tanner is adding more and more words to his vocabulary by the day and has mastered the art of the perfect temper tantrum. Definitely a "Mama's Boy" at this point, and loves to go bye bye. He loves when we read books and do all of the silly animal sounds.

My favorite time of year is upon us. I broke down and had my first Starbuck's hot chocolate of the year. I've started my Christmas shopping. I have started my mega list of what we need to get. I feel more organized this year than ever before. We'll see if it pays off :)

Like I always say, I am going to try to blog more, I promise. I will be shopping again on Black Friday this year. If you didn't catch all of my fun times last year, check it out here.  That always promises a great blog. As long as I have my brave photographer, Caity with me!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Easy, Psycho...

If you have met my beautiful, sweet, smart 4 year old daughter, chances are, you've probably seen her "crazy" side. She's really a sweet girl 90% of the time. But every once in a while she gets this crazy look in her eyes like she could choke someone. Her eyes warn you that an attack is imminent.   And the funny thing, kind of scary thing, is that all I have to do to make it go away is say, "Eeeeeasy Psycho!" and she starts smiling and laughing. Huh? In  a snap second she goes from rabid dog to my smiling little angel. How does that happen?

Side View...

Aaaand back to a sweetie pie.


Sweetie Pie.

It started really young...

She gives me a run for my money, no doubt. Just this morning she told me, "Mom, you are so mean. You are ruining my life!" She learned that from watching "Freaky Friday" of course. Lovely. You know what provoked her outburst this morning? She got out of bed 3 times last night. So she lost her TV privileges and she didn't get to pick her breakfast this morning. Can I just say that I am dreading 16? But you know what, if she learned a lesson from it, I am fine with her "hating" me for a few minutes. Even a few hours.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh, September...

What a mixed bag September is for me. One of my favorite, happiest, most sad, and least favorite month all at the same time. More good than bad, but why does the bad have to be so bad? But I try to keep in mind, it could always be worse.

Let's start my blessing counting with a positive. September 2011 marks ten years of Craig and I living together. We were so young. I am sure a lot of people doubted it would last long. I remember the day we moved in. HE picked the furniture. That's right. HE did. (With the help of his Dad). We ended up with leather couches (faux leather, of course), a nice kitchen table that now resides in my Dad's kitchen, and a sage green/oak bedroom set that now resides in his sister's bedroom! We just bought a new bedroom set after all of these years, upgraded to a King size bed, and I am in love. Start counting... He did pretty good. I remember all of the freezing cold Minnesota mornings. Who am I kidding, the cold Minnesota mornings, days, evenings, and nights... I don't miss you Minnesota!

September is one of my favorite months because it is the beginning of Fall. My absolute favorite season. I love jeans, cute flats, cardigans, and dressing the kids in cute, layered clothes. I love the colors, the weather, and letting chili cook in the crock pot all day long. I love going to the pumpkin patch and picking out pumpkins and decorating them with the kids. Start counting...

My sister just lost a co-worker at her daycare center. I didn't know her. I didn't know her daughter. All I know is that she was gone in a heartbeat, and that little girl doesn't have a mommy anymore. And her Daddy has never been a part of her life. I know she'll be well taken care of by other family members, but it's just not the same. It really broke my sister's heart. And mine too. And it made me think. Start counting...

September is also sad for many, if not all Americans. I'm sure many of you have thought about where you were when 9/11 happened. I'm sure you watched some of the 10 year "Looking Back" specials. I did. And then I couldn't sleep at night. I couldn't get those images out of my head. I couldn't stop thinking about when I would tell Callie what happened, how I would say it, and how you explain what pure evil and hate can breed, without scaring her. That was just the extreme, right? I will only have to explain ONE terrorist attack of that magnitude to her, right? The truth is we don't know. We don't know if the terrorists are planning another attack. We don't know who the target would be, although I doubt it'd be where I live. We don't know if, when, or how many more times. I pray that it will never be that bad again. I thank God it wasn't worse. Because it could always be worse, right? I pray to God that we have seen the worse. This has always been a happy day in our family because it's my Dad's birthday. It's not supposed to be a sad day. And most people would say that if I cry and am sad all day that the terrorists win. I don't see it that way. I cry for the families who have lost their loved ones, the soldiers out there still fighting, the heroes that are looking down from Heaven, feeling no more pain, no more fear, and are finally at peace. I can't imagine going through that. And that's why it's so important, and I hope you aren't sick of hearing me talk about this, SO important to be thankful for every day you have. It's not like people only die from terrorist attacks. People are dying every day. Babies, children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, are all sadly dying. You are not promised a tomorrow. Spend every minute you can with the people you love. Tell them you love them. Don't sweat the small stuff. Keep a positive attitude. Know that someone always has it worse than you, no matter how bad you think you have it. Count your blessings. Be kinder than you were yesterday. Thank God for the gifts in your life. Hug your little ones every chance you get. They grow up too fast. Listen to your friends, invest yourself in them. Play with your kids. Whenever I am in a bad mood, chaos has broken out and I have 8 children under the age of 5 unhappy, you  know how I turn it around? I turn on music. Loud. And we dance and dance and dance. And within minutes, everyone is smiling and happy, including me. Keep counting...

I will try to stop all of the "preaching" about how you should live your life:) It is your life, you can do whatever you want. I just feel like we waste so much time with negativity. I have some friends who have gone through unimaginable pain. From losing a loved one, children who are sick and won't be getting better, children losing their parents, it all just shakes me to the core. The fragility of life and how in an instant it can all be gone. If you are reading this, I probably consider you an important person in my life. I count you as a blessing. And if I'm counting up all of those in my life, I can't even count that high. Thank you Lord. Here's to promising a less serious post next time, and that you have so many blessings in your life, you can't even stop counting for second.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

All the things you said....

Stop and think, if you will for a minute, of some of the nicest things people have ever said about you or to you. We all have those few things that touched our heart so deeply that we will never, ever forget them. When I am feeling uncertain, down, or second-rate, I pull these simple words out of my memory and almost instantly feel better. Now, this is no where NEAR all of the positive things I have kept in my mind, but just a few.

My old high school Sunday School teacher is probably one that I remember most. She is very wise, a great Christian, compassionate but tough, and a pretty amazing woman. Just seeing her sometimes brings me to tears. I remember a lot of things she told me, but a couple really stand out. And this was probably 13 years ago. She once told me that she can see the love I have for my little sisters in every thing I do. (I was in high school, they were in jr. high and elementary school, and I love my other sisters too, for the record, all 6 of them! My younger two were the ones she saw me with at church all of the time.) She said she could tell how much I loved them just by the way I looked at them. And she was so right. She still is. I feel like I want to protect them from everything, just like I would my children. I want to be a good role model for them (even though they are adults now!) I want them to know (and all of my sisters to know) that I love everything about them. Even when we fight or disagree, even when they make mistakes (who doesn't?), and I really wish I could wipe every single pain away and catch every tear they cry. I felt like that in high school, and I still do. Another thing she said to me was that I was really quiet, but when I did talk, the world better listen because I had something to say. I am probably considerably less quiet now, I have a lot more confidence than I did back then, but I hope that what I say still carries some weight. Her husband passed away a few years back. It was really hard for me, even though I didn't know him nearly as well as her, it hurt me to know that she was in so much pain. I wish that I had something really wise to say to her. Especially on that day. But I was silent....

My dad... oh where do I even begin with the knowledge that he has passed on to me. I wish he would sit and write everything he thinks down so that not only I can draw advice and comfort from it forever, but so that my children and their children could. I don't know a lot of people who would make the sacrifices he does, who can look at life even in the bleakest of moments and know and trust in God that everything is going to be okay. Specifically, he told me what I need to look for in a man. He told me this in my teens. He said first and foremost he had to have God in his heart. If he has God in his heart, everything else will fall in place. Trust was the other thing that he said was extremely important. He always sends me a card for my birthday, and I know to get the box of tissues before I read it. Everything he says is meaningful.

My husband. I have a folder full of cards, letters (when we lived in different states), and pictures of our journey so far in this life. He doesn't like when I "show my friends" all of the sweet stuff he says or does. And I respect that so I won't go into much detail but I will tell you that I will never forget the day he dropped me off (with my family) at college in Minneapolis. It was such a sad day for us. Unsure of what the future would hold, him living 6 hours away, me in this new place. If I only knew then that three months later, he would drop out of college (not a great idea, but he did go back and finish!), transfer stores, and we would move in together, get married, and have beautiful, healthy babies...

I could really go on for days about the people who have touched my life, who inspired me when I needed it the most. I don't want this to sound like I am bragging about nice things people said about me. I just wanted to share a glimpse of what the power of words can have. Negative and Positive. (I didn't share the negative. I won't give those words any more power than they've already had.) So try to be kind to everyone. Say something nice to someone. You never know how badly they need it, or how long they will cherish those words.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top Complaints...

So, you may think it's ironic for me to write a blog about my top complaints after writing a blog about being positive. It's not quite what you think...

5. I can't stand it when I wake up before my alarm goes off. Especially if it ruins my last ten minutes of sleep. My silver lining, my lungs breathed air and I'm still alive. I wake up and my entire family is happy and healthy. Thank God.

4. I can't stand riding with Craig because he doesn't use his blinker and he gets really bad road rage. My silver lining, I thank God that we even have a car. We are blessed more than some others.

3. I don't like doing laundry. I actually detest it. My silver lining, we have clothes on our backs, water in house, and my body is healthy enough to do it. I have a washing machine and a dryer.

2. I don't like it when I constantly have to tell Craig to do the dishes, or pick up the house, or any other chore. My silver lining, he's here. My children have an awesome Daddy. He's very devoted to our family and his job. He would give anything in the world for us.

1. I work at home all day so I'm with kids all of the time. Sometimes I complain that it'd be nice to wear a shirt that doesn't get spit up on, it'd be nice to not have snot trails down my pant legs, and actually be required to wear shoes once in a while.Sometimes I get sick of the crying and fighting.  My silver lining, it's not snot, spit up or poo, it's "love juice"  :)  I have job that I love. I can't say that I have bad days at work. I have bad moments. But that's all they are. They only last a second until I see a gummy smile, get a sloppy kiss, or a great big hug. And then that bad moment is gone. I am thankful these kids are happy and healthy. That my kids are happy and healthy. I am so thankful I get to spend all day with my kids.

So, as a continuation of my last blog, I decided to share with you just SOME of my silver linings. This doesn't really even scrape the surface. I am trying to lead a more positive life, searching out the silver lining, and showing my children to look at the bright side of things. Look at your friends and family. Look at the people you talk to most. Are they sucking the life out of you? Do you leave your conversations feeling happy or frustrated? Do they lift you up or tear you down? Surround yourself with sunny people, and your days will be a lot brighter :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is gonna be a good life....

Have you heard this song? "This is gonna be a good life, a good, good life" I don't even know what it's really called or who sings it. But there's one line that runs through my head almost on a continuous loop. "Can someone tell me-ee-ee what there is to complain about?"

We all have "that" friend, either on facebook, or real life that is just emotionally draining. Who just is not a happy camper. Who just can not seem to count their blessings. Whose cup is almost always half empty. It's sad. And I wonder this about those people. What if something really bad happened to them? Could they handle it? Would they self destruct? Since the weather being too hot is the biggest problem in their life, how can they see the big picture?

Listen, I would not wish anything bad to happen to anyone. I wish we all lead happy, meaningful lives. I wish none of us had to worry about money, the weather, bad hair cuts, or loud neighbors. I really wish we had the perfect world. But since that is our of our control, all we can do is roll with it. But why not do it with a positive attitude? No matter how bad you think you have it, someone ALWAYS has it worse and would give anything to trade lives with someone else.

I am not saying that I never complain. I am sure I do it more than I realize. But I really try not to. Sometimes my kids drive me crazy, but I thank God that they are healthy. I know people who are fighting every day to save their babies' lives. So when Callie wants to sing yet another Taylor Swift song, or that Tanner wants me to read all five of his animal books so he can make the noises, I think about complaining, or not doing it because I am bored of it. Then I stop. I think about the families who would give anything in the world to read one more book to their baby or listen to them sing one more time. Life is way too short to spend it unhappy.

I know complaining will never stop. We will always have at least that one person in our lives who just can't be happy with what they have. And we can't really change them, but we can try to help them see the positive in their life. And I wish that even just for a minute, for one complaint, they stop and think.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

July, Anyone?

I can't believe how fast this summer is going. I am totally neglecting the blog, yet again, go figure. A lot has been going on around here and it's keeping us on our toes!!

First, we had the 4th of July celebration. We went to my friend, Jessica Hudson's house. And that was so much fun. Her entire family was there (she has a lot of siblings, too, so I always feel right at home!) as well as some friends. Our neighborhood had a professional fireworks show and I must say, I was impressed! I saw a cake be wrapped up in fire crackers (fun stuff!) and her husband actually blew a hole in their shutters on the house. Craziness. But super fun.

Then came Callie's 4th Birthday. Daddy had that week off so we visited the zoo and had a lot of fun family time. You all know how I feel about my baby growing up. We did our customary baking a cake on her actual birthday, which she decorates all by herself. This time Aunt Caity helped her! It was yummy, of course. Then we had the big party we have every year. We had all of our friends and family, and it was so much fun. I will try and get some pictures up here soon, patience people, at least I am blogging :)
During July I also got a Kindle, which is my new favorite toy. Craig is already regretting that gift because I can't stop reading. I read "Room" and all three of the "The Hunger Games" series so far. It's our Book Club choice for the month. (Don't judge, it's not your average book club. Much more fun! We drink a lot of wine, and talk a little bit about the book!)

We also took the kiddos to Adventureland, followed by a few nights to visit some family. It was a lot of fun. I started playing Angry Birds for the week, which was not a good choice, so I have since stopped. Way too addictive for me! The kids loved Adventureland, even Tanner.
All in all, July was a pretty fun month. The weather has been a little warm, I'm not gonna lie, but it's hard to complain. I'm thankful that my family is happy and healthy, and that is all that matters. The weather will always be changing (Welcome to Nebraska), so there's no point in complaining about it!

Now we are two weeks into August. I really can't believe how quickly time flies. Callie is starting 5 day preschool (we all know how I feel about that), starting dance classes again, and starting swimming lessons. Tanner is walking a lot and really working on his temper tantrum skills. He's getting really good. Really.

I have been spending time reading, playing with the kids, and my newest addiction? That would be If you haven't been there, go. Now. If you need an invite, let me know. It's so much fun. And actually quite helpful to organize your thoughts. I have been doing some of my very own "Craft" projects (crafting? book club? I even looked at buying an apron at Target the other day. Wow.) and I will also take some pictures of those.

Are things going to slow down anytime soon? Probably not. I will probably live the next 30 years in a blink of an eye. And I wish I knew how to slow it down. How to capture some of these moments that seem to be flying by me. I hope I never forget all of the precious day to day things that happen in this home. I hope they never forget....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time Flies...

As many of you know, I spent the weekend back at home on the farm. It was my 10 year class reunion. 10 Years... I really can't even believe it's been that long.

First, for the people who don't really know me well, I grew up in a very small town. The population when I was in high school was right around 450 I believe. My class had 37 students (give or take one). And for the most part, I had the same friends for 13 years. We spent our entire childhoods and well into our teen years together. And for someone who grew up in a bigger city, there's just no way to really explain the kind of bond you form in this close community. And I can honestly say that over the past 10 years, I had somewhat forgotten it. And I can also assure you that after the weekend of fun, trips down memory lane, and reconnecting with my long lost friends, I sit here and think about how much I miss it.

Yes, I have a family now that I love and I wouldn't trade for the world. I have friends now that I wouldn't trade for the world. Please don't get me wrong, I love my life. But it hit me like a ton of bricks today just how much I missed my old friends. And how much, no matter how many reunions we have, it will never be the same as it was. I always had, shall we say, some turbulence in my home life. So school was really an escape for me. My friends were my safe spot. I knew they'd always be there for me. I felt that spirit again over the weekend.

Callie, Tanner, and I got into town on Thursday afternoon. We hung out with family and then my friend Chanda brought her adorable kids out to the farm and we showed them the horses, the "big trucks," and the house that I grew up in. The house that Chanda, and many other friends, visited throughout our childhood. I could see the memories were flashing through her eyes the minute she walked in the door. It was a nice night and a great way to catch up with her before all of the craziness of the weekend began!

Friday night was the "Class of 2001" Reunion. We shared lots of laughs, lots of drinks, lots of shuffle board and beer ponging. I would say that about half or more of the class came. And it's funny, even though it's been 10 years since I have spoken to some of these people, it's like we just picked up where we left off. I expected some awkward silence moments, some meaningless small talk, and blank, cold, "why am I here" stares, but I didn't encounter any of these things. Or maybe in my perfect little bubble I just didn't notice. But I felt like everyone was truly happy to be there and had a lot of fun.

My friend, Chanda, and I at the reunion

Saturday night was the big street dance. I think that I got too excited for it, and built it up in my head because when I got there, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't as fun as I had imagined. We went to all of the bars in Homer (that's 2) and it was kind of fun to see the familiar faces. I wish I had the guts to carry my year book around with me that night so I could remember some names. That would scream "uncool" more than going to the bar in your mom car complete with car seats. Guilty. So some of our class skipped the street dance altogether and had a bonfire at Dustin's dad's house. Well, actually it was at his cabin. Which, in true country style, was at the top of a bumpy hill, accessed only by pickup truck. I didn't see a road, or Dustin just didn't take it (either would be believable). It'd been quite a while since I had been off roading in a pick up truck. I was a little bit scared, I'm not going to lie. Of course we hit a skunk, or was it a mink, or both, we will never know. Andrea, Dustin's girlfriend, maintains it was a skunk and just for the record, judging my the smell, I'm with her. So we had a great bonfire, just like we used to do in high school. But this time we weren't trespassing or breaking any laws. But it was still just as fun.

Sunday was the day to come back to Omaha. And I am very happy to be home. But I do already miss my friends. I wonder if it will be another 10 years before we all get together again. I hope not. Almost all of the people I graduated with left some sort of mark on my life, and I treasure the memories that I have with them. And I really hope there are many, many more to come.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Can we be "too perfect?"

I caught a short part of a segment on the "Today" show this morning that got me thinking. The subject was "over parenting" or being a "helicopter parent." Is there such a thing as protecting your children too much? With our constant need to please our children, are we setting them up for failure later in life? Do we celebrate mediocrity to the point of lowering our expectations for our children?

In my opinion, yes. Yes, I believe a lot of parents work so hard to make their children's lives easier that it really will set them up for failure later in life. Children need to learn how to succeed, absolutely, but they also need to know how to accept failure. I've talked about this before. I think it is a very important lesson for parents to learn. If you are so busy doing everything for your child, you teach them that they have to do nothing.

Doing daycare and being a preschool teacher, I see so many "mistakes" being made. Not intentionally, they are made from love, but what will the consequences be? Not that I am the perfect parent. Don't get me wrong. I hover sometimes when I shouldn't, but I believe I have a pretty good balance. I have seen the 5 year olds who can't wipe their own bottom, because their parents always do it for them. I've seen the toddler/preschooler with the pacifier because it would upset the child if it's taken away. Even if it hampers their development of speech, and completely messes up their teeth. I've seen kids bring candy bars into preschool for breakfast because Mom or Dad can't say  no. Or the many notes written from parents, who no doubt love their children, requesting that I make special exceptions or lower my expectations for their child. We want to keep our kids happy, because if the kids are happy, the parents are happy. Life is just easier. Please know that this is not an attack, just an observation.

I know a lot of parents might not agree with my opinion, and that's okay. We'll check back in 20 years and see how many children are still living at home, unemployed and unambitious. Maybe not? This whole parenting thing is pretty much a big experiment, right? We do the best that we can with what we the tools we have. I just want my children to know that although they mean the world to me, the world does not revolve around them. How do you feel about it?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Daddy's Day!

Father's Day is fast approaching, and I am looking forward to thanking all of the Dads I know.

Craig sleeping with a newborn baby Callie

Daddy and Callie after the Pumpkin Patch in '09

First, my wonderful husband. He is SUCH a great Daddy. The kids both light up when they hear the garage. The garage is very loud, and I complain about it all of the time, but honestly, if it were quiet I would miss out on those looks of true excitement. Even Tanner knows what the loud sound means. Daddy's home. That means PLAY TIME. Not that I don't play with the kids. Craig just has his own way of playing with the kids. The wild, crazy, loud way. The rough-housing, tossing the kids so high in the air that I fear they will hit the ceiling. The entire time, the kids laughing and smiling from ear to ear. I've thought about the "moment" that I realized that Craig was going to be an amazing dad, and the answer is always. It was his playful nature, his patience, and the fact that he is still a kid himself :) He plays cars with Tanner, reads books with him, and tries to teach him to walk. (Yes, my almost 18 month old son doesn't walk yet. Moving on....) With Callie he's tough when he needs to be, but her big brown eyes melt his heart. He paints her nails, sticks a bow in her crazy hair, and takes her for donuts on his days off. He dances, sings Taylor Swift, and plays princesses with her. He's such an awesome dad. And he learned all of that from his dad, who is also an awesome, involved dad and grandpa. There must be something about the Todd men and donuts, because every time Callie goes to Grammy and Grandpa's, Grandpa buys her donuts and chocolate milk. Every. Time. Is it a terribly unhealthy habit, yes. But the memories are more important.

I can't forget about my own dad. Technically my step-dad, who is not technically my step-dad anymore since the divorce. He's not your typical step-dad. In fact, it breaks my heart to even call him that because he's so much more than that to me. He's my dad in every way that matters. He's in my corner, at all times. He trusts my judgement, but offers his advice, only when I ask. I joke with others who know him that you have to be careful asking him a question. The answer will be at least 20 minutes long. He knows pretty much everyone in our little community, and everyone knows him. I've never met anyone who can HONESTLY say that they don't like or even love him. (Or they know not to say anything negative about my dad or I will punch them.) He's the 'good ole' country boy' type. Helps his neighbors, has a big heart, would take the shirt off of his back for you. He doesn't know what the words "tough love" mean. He's incapable of it....He picks up trash on the side of the road. He does not waste. He is thankful. He is thoughtful. He is respectful. So many times I have went to him worried, sad, confused, and I have never failed to leave the conversation feeling better. He sends me a card on my birthday. I look forward to it every year because it always has a thoughtful note on the inside. And it always brings me to tears. Every. Time. And what kind of gift could I give him that would be "big" enough to show my love. And without going into a ton of detail, he literally is the reason why I am who I am today. And if you know my dad, you would say that he wouldn't want a big, fancy gift. He recently got a small flat screen tv. He is not an 'electronics' guy. He hasn't figured out how to text, doesn't have the internet, and actually hasn't even set up voicemail on his phone. He's "heard of" facebook. Oh, and that flat screen tv, he carries it around from room to room in the house because "it's so light." He's so cute. And as "Papa" to his grandkids... don't even get me started. Who can compete with horse rides, tractor rides, four wheeler rides, bonfires, endless room to run, lilac bushes to pick, and Callie even got to see a dead mouse outside the last time we were there. She thinks Papa's house is the most magical place on Earth. So do I.

I know a lot of really great dads. All of Callie's Uncles are now celebrating Father's Day. They are all great Dads and really great Uncles.
Uncle Marcus has taught Callie "No kissing boys!!!"
Uncle Nate smothers my kids in kisses every time he sees them.
Uncle Tyler taught Callie how to pick her nose and flick the boogers.

So thank the Dads around you this Father's Day. Hug them tight and be thankful they left an imprint on your life.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Her first concert...

Saturday was a very special day for Callie, Aunt Caity, and myself. It was Callie's first concert. Of course, it was no other than her idol, Taylor Swift...

The concert was in the evening, so naturally I thought Callie would be a little angel alllll day (because I would threaten to not take her to the concert, which both of us probably know would never happen!). And in exchange for great behavior, she would get to go. Well, let's just say my plan backfired. She was pretty good. I mean, in general, she's a good little girl. A little sassy at times (no idea where she picked that up!) but other than that I really can't complain! She was great until nap time. How can you ask an almost 4 year old to settle down when she is hours away from probably the most memorable moment of her little life so far??

After her nap, (and the hour it took to get her to lay there and be quiet!) we started getting ready. She was so proud to put on the Taylor Swift shirt that we made. Or, that her dad ever so perfectly ironed letters/photo on. She got to wear her pink tutu, we made a sign, and even went out to dinner before hand.

Yes, I am wearing cowboy-ish boots. Thanks, Caity.

Parking was pretty easy, really. We found a spot on the door ding prevention program (if you don't know what that is, it's a WHOLE other blog topic!) like requested by my husband, who had nightmares the previous night about the ginormous door dings we were going to get at the concert.

We found our seats, really great seats, actually, and listened to the opening acts. Both were great. Frankie Ballard was first. You should check him out on youtube. He did really well. We met him after his show and he took a picture with Callie. Honestly she had no idea who he was and didn't want to take the picture until we told her that he was best friends with Taylor Swift.

While we were waiting, we started 'activating' Callie's 55ish glow bracelets. That was fun. My fingers hurt. One cracked open and sprayed that oily junk all over me. And then Caity also cracked one and it squirted her in the eye. I thought she might go blind. Apparently I was wrong...

Then Needtobreathe took the stage. I knew some of their songs, not sure how... but I did. When I saw the band name I didn't recognize it. They also did good, but Callie was getting VERY anxious for Taylor to get on the stage.

And then, finally, Taylor took the stage. Callie's eyes lit up. I honestly think she was a little 'in shock' or had sensory overload. She didn't know where to look first. Honestly, I feel like I watched her more than I probably watched the concert itself. She was so excited. She brought her little microphone and she was singing along to every song. The couple behind us were amazed by how many songs she knew. (All except one). There was a point when Taylor walked right by us (within an arm's reach) and Callie was devastated that Taylor didn't give her a high five. Tears and all. She got over it, and then the show ended. It was a total meltdown. She just couldn't understand why she couldn't go behind the curtain with Taylor and say goodbye. It was probably 11 or so and she was exhausted. Needless to say, she passed out in the car within a short time.

She woke up today still very excited about last night. She's already asking to see Taylor Swift again. She said she wants to go again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. And to see that smile on her face and that light in her eyes, if I could, I would take her again, and again, and again, and again, and again...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She's growing up...

We are just months away from my baby's 4th Birthday. She reminded me yesterday, when she wanted to play scrabble, and I told her it was for big girls. She said, "Mommy, I am a four year old you know." Sorry hun, not yet, and I'm sort of dreading it, to be honest. I just wish that I could keep her little forever.

The other day we were watching a show where the kids moved out and went to college. She came up to me crying because she said she never wants to move away and go to college. She wants to stay close to mommy forever.....

She's starting 5 day preschool next year. It's only a few hours a day, but it's getting real to me that she will not be my little baby forever. She'll be starting school in couple of years, making new friends, and if she has listened to her dad, she'll be staying FAR away from boys :)

School for us means that I have to leave my comfort zone of Creative Beginnings Preschool. Callie has been there since she was a baby. (I worked there, she went to daycare there, and now I don't work there but she goes there for part time preschool). I know all of the teachers. They all know Callie. I feel like everyone looks out for each other there. It's a little family really. When she goes to big girl school, she'll ride the bus, she'll have new teachers that I don't know, make new friends that I don't know. At some point I know you have to let go and trust that everyone has your child's best interest at heart. And pray and pray that that's the case.

My hopes for Callie as she grows up are probably pretty much the same as every one's. I want her to respect herself, her teachers, and her friends. I want her to be nice, but still be able to stick up for herself. I want her to know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. This is not just a saying, I know she can. I want her to know that her mommy and daddy will always be here to love and guide her, no matter what choices she makes. I pray that she makes mostly good ones, scattered with some bad ones, so she learns that failure happens. I don't want her to grow up thinking the world owes her anything or that she will always be on top. I want her to know that I will love her through her biggest failure in life, whatever that may be. And I want her to learn that a failure is just a millisecond in her life. There are bigger, better moments and to hold on for those. I want her to know and love God. I want her faith to lead her through the best and worst of times. I want her to be passionate about life, know that she has the freedom to express herself. I want her to be thankful for the freedoms she has. I want her to be a giver, not a taker. I want her to stand up for what's right, even if she's standing alone....

Not asking much, right? :) But I know in my heart that it's up to me to instill these things in her heart, mind, and spirit. I pray everyday that I don't fail her...

She is so lucky to have this "village" of people who love her and protect her. And anyone who shows your child love, you should be so grateful to. And I am.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Baaaack... :)

So, "Mom Prom" is over, and to say it was a success is an understatement. We haven't gotten our final numbers in yet, but we are over $5,000 and pretty sure it will be near $5,500!! My goal was to raise $3,000. So you can imagine how excited I am! Next year, with an entire year to plan, I've already set my goal at $8,000!! I can do it with YOUR help!! And everyone I've talked to has said that it was one of the most fun nights of their life. OF THEIR LIFE!!!! And that, my friends, is what Mom Prom is all about. Having fun and helping people at the same time!!

Not to say the craziness is over! We have weddings, graduations, Callie's first dance recital, and a lot of other things going on the in the next few months. But I promise not to neglect my blog anymore :)

We went to my friend, Emily's wedding over the weekend. It was so much fun to see friends and old classmates, former teachers, and her family again. Callie had so much fun dancing and watching the princesses (anyone in a formal) dance the night away. My friend Jolene was even sweet enough to give Callie her bouquet of flowers. She then thought SHE was a princess!

The wedding, of course, made me think of my wedding. How much fun we had, how carefree we were (with no children yet), and how romantic and in love we were. Not to say we aren't in love anymore, we absolutely are, it just takes a different form now than it did then. It's romantic to me if Craig unloads the dishwasher unprompted now! Something I loved about our wedding is that we wrote our own vows. Do I remember all of what we said, no. But I remember pledging in front of God and our family and friends, that nothing will ever become more important than the love we have for one another. And that's the exact phrase. So that gives me something to think about. The kids have probably (okay absolutely) become more important than us "growing" our love and nurturing that seed. I know it's too late in the year for a New Year's Resolution, but that is something that I need to work on. Getting back to the romance, the consideration, and showing the love! We say "I love you" to each other multiple times per day, and we mean it, but we could set aside more "us" time. More dates, more cooking together, more general interest in each other's lives. It's a struggle to find that perfect balance, if one exists. We are going on 10 years of living together, and man, we've had a blast. Of course we've had ups and downs, but way more ups than downs. And at each wedding we go to this summer, it will be a reminder to make time for "us." And I hope that you take the time to nurture your relationship with the love of your life. There's no better way to spend your time!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Neglect....

If there was such a thing as "blog neglect," I would totally be found guilty. The last few weeks, I have probably been guilty of child neglect (not serious child neglect, just not as much attention as my children are used to), and probably husband neglect. OH, and laundry, dishes, and sweeping neglect. I thought about taking a picture of the mound of laundry I was folding last night, but honestly, I was way too embarrassed to do that. Sometimes I think I should really stop and breathe and relax. If I could. If only for a minute...

Basically, I've been really, really busy. As most of you know, I am organizing a Mom Prom for the Brad and Amy Price Family. **Still taking donations, ehem ** It has taken a lot of time, but it will be so worth it. I know it will. And my sacrifices are nothing compared to the sacrifices they make every day, and will probably continue to make for a long time to come. But isn't that what we do for our children? And shouldn't we sacrifice some of our time for others?

The prom is one week away. In one week, on this day, at this time, I will be dancing the night away with some of my best friends, and some of my new friends, and a lot of complete strangers that sacrificed a little bit of their time, and a little bit of their money to help a family in need.

You could say that I am somewhat of a control freak or perfectionist. I want this event to be perfect. I want this to become an annual event, and I want you to do this in your town, wherever you live, for whatever charity you feel like helping. I feel like I have learned so much about myself, about my family, about my amazing husband, through all of these tiny sacrifices I have made. My husband has held down the fort. He's cooked dinners (mac-n-cheese totally counts!), he's done laundry, he's done the dishes. But what he's done that is the most important to me, is told me that he is proud of me for doing this. And part of me feels guilty for saying that. I'm not doing this for attention, I'm not doing this to make my family proud, although I do want Callie and Tanner to learn to give, I'm doing this to help the Price family.

 And even if we don't sell another ticket, I know that we have given them at least just a little bit of breathing room. If only for a minute...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Under Construction!!

We are embarking on our first "home construction/improvement" project, and so far, so good. We bunked up at my sister's house on Saturday night so the contractor, Adam, could work on the house. We are knocking out the banisters and putting up walls. I am in love with the new look already, and it's not even all painted yet.

Some of the reasons I am loving the change...

**It's more safe. We already had one rail break and I was so scared that another one would, and the kids would fall through or get hurt.

**It gives more definition to each space, without completely closing it off.

**It gives me an excuse to decorate and make some changes!!

**Most importantly, it ends the game of throwing toys between the banisters to hear them crash on the floor 4 feet below!! Today the little boys could NOT figure out what happened and continued to throw toys at the wall, trying to make them fall. Sorry boys!!!! Kind of entertaining to watch, too, by the way.

Our construction guy/contractor... handy man? What are we supposed to call them? Anyway, he is great. I highly recommend him. He works fast but not so fast it's a mess, he's so considerate, and he just wants to help and make your life easier. His name is Adam, and let me know if you want his name for your next home improvement project. So, now he just has to come back and put the wood caps on, paint, and put up the hand rails. I will be thankful when it's over, because there's been a thin layer of dust on every surface of our house. Of course, my son is allergic to dust so I've been hard at work.

I am going shopping tonight for fun pillows for the couch, we need a new accent chair, an end table, artwork, and a lamp. We'll see what deals I score, because I am a bargain shopper!! I am tapping into my more creative side and getting inspired by some of the design blogs I've been reading. My next project? A PVC pipe mirror. Yes, I said PVC pipe. My new friend, Jessica and I plan to make one for each of our houses. I will post a picture when I get it finished!!

I've heard lots of stories of home construction gone wrong, and I have to say I feel very thankful to have had very little to no problems so far. But like most people undergoing contruction, I am ready for it to be done :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dream, Dream, Dream Dream....

I have about one "bad dream" a month. You? I just had one a couple of nights ago. It was so bad I have to wake up Craig. Actually, I wake him up every time I have a bad dream, not gonna lie to ya. Is that weird? And I can laugh about it now, but I was really scared at the time. I have dreams about ghosts sometimes, which really is Craig's fault, since he always watches "Ghost Hunters" and it's one of those things that you just can't stop watching. My mind goes off on these crazy scenarios before bedtime and then I know it's coming. I know I will be waking up (and waking Craig up) in a few hours. It's frustrating for Craig, I think, though he never really complains about it. Because when I wake him up, it's not like I tell him about the dream. I don't. I don't want to talk about it, I just want him to know I had a bad dream and that he needs to hug me a little closer. Alright, typing that makes me realize how crazy I sound, but it's true.

When I was little, I remember having a few recurring dreams. Of course, there's the standard "I went to school without my clothes on" dream, or the "I can't find my locker" dream where I ran all over the school and couldn't find my locker no matter where I looked and I would be in trouble for being late to class. I also had a dream a lot where my teeth fell out. Someone told me once that it means I am a control freak? Maybe I should google it, I'm not a control freak :) haha.

I remember a very, very scary recurring dream. It's hard for me to talk about it. In the dream I was sleeping in my bed, woke up and went to the attic (for some reason!?) and there were a bunch of monster/evil type people killing my sisters. (It's hard to even type) And the monsters made me help them or they would kill me too. Pretty scary even now, but I was about 10 when I started having this dream and it went on for a quite a while.

If you have ever been to the house I grew up in, you know there's a brick wall in the living room. I used to have dreams that a woman was buried alive in that wall (I think this was in a movie that I saw, that I was probably too young to watch!) and there was a period of time where I wouldn't even sit on the couch that backed up to that wall. It was just creepy to me.

A lot of times when I wake up from a bad dream, I don't want to go back to sleep. Not only because my mind is racing, but I have a tendency to finish the dream. For some reason, it doesn't just go away when I wake up. Most people I've talked to say that they never finish the dream, and it's a shame sometimes! Especially if you are having a dream that you don't want to end! I don't really remember those dreams. I tend to remember the bad dreams. And my poor husband does, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Hug Your Babies"

"Hug Your Babies," that's how Amy Price ends each one of her blogs. And it's so true. See, we should feel really lucky that we can hug our babies. Every night. Every morning. Every meal. Every smile. Every tear. I can hug my babies anytime I want to. And thanks to her story, (I hate saying the word "story" because this is no "story", it's real) I am. It's not that I didn't appreciate my children before I heard about the Price family. I really did. But their struggles have made me really stop and evaluate my life, my children, how I spend my time, and how I give my hugs.

Let me tell you a little bit about them, if you don't already know. Brad and Amy Price have 4 children. Two of which are in a fight for their lives. Her daughter, Liviana, was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, CDH, which has a 50/50 survival rate. To say she beat the odds is an understatement. 50/50... do you realize that's like the flip of a coin whether or not your baby will survive? She did. What a strong girl. And then, a few months after she turned 2, her parents noticed her falling down a lot, losing her balance, and in December 2010 she was diagnosed with MLD (Metachromatic Leukodystrophy). This is a progressive, degenerative brain disease with no cure.

Her little brother, born on my own Tanner Nanner's Birthday, was born with the same disease. The same fatal, devastating disease. But unlike Liviana, it's not too late for Giovanni. He and his family are currently in Italy, undergoing an experimental treatment in hopes of saving his life. Because he was diagnosed before any symptoms set in, there's hope. So both parents were forced to quit their jobs and move their family to Italy, to hopefully save their son's life. Giovanni is in the hospital 24/7 for months. He can't leave or see his brothers and sisters. His mom or dad or babysitter have to be with him at all times, which means one person is always missing out on either being there for Giovanni, or missing out on the precious little time they have with Liviana. The situation has to be unbearable.

I can't imagine the pain this causes their family. Tanner had a brief, one night hospital stay and my heart was aching. That can't even compare to how this family must feel everyday. Seeing them poke the needle in his arm for his IV broke my heart. I can't imagine how it must feel to see all of the tubes, needles, and hair loss that poor little Giovanni has gone through in this short amount of time.

So, why am I posting about this? Many reasons. It's been on my mind night and day. Having 2 children the same age as theirs just makes it so real to me. What if Callie just stopped walking? What if Tanner had to go to Italy for treatment? Would our friends and family be there? (Yes, I know you would.) Could I count on the kindness of strangers to help us out? How do you even wrap your head around something like this?? I am also posting in hopes that you, my family and friends  will donate. Even if it's $5 or $50, or whatever you can. Think of it as donating because THANK GOD Callie and Tanner are healthy, or your children are healthy. And if you were in this devastating situation, someone would be there for you.

As Amy always says, "Hug Your Babies" if they are 2 or 42, let them know how much you love them. Cherish all of the time you have with them. Realize that the "small stuff" we get caught up in every day just doesn't matter. It doesn't. What matters is that your children are surrounded with love, that you appreciate that they can walk, talk, and play and sing and dance. I've complained about my children getting sick, about ear infections, about allergies, but let me tell you, I'd obviously take a million ear infections compared to what these babies are facing.

Please take a little time to read Amy's blog. If you feel like donating, I'm leaving a link for that as well. If you have a business and would like to donate some items for an auction on 3/21 I will leave a link for that as well.!/TheirJourney

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And then there were none...

My kids are staying a few nights at Grammy's. You would think I would be really excited... right? A few days of "freedom...." Well, it's only SUNDAY and I am missing them like crazy. I have gotten a lot done. Some closets organized, clothes that they've outgrown that don't fit anymore, which really didn't ease my pain. Seeing the baby clothes (I know, I'm so far behind!) that Tanner wore just a year ago almost brought tears to my eyes.

There are some plus sides to having no children around though, and I am going to try to stay positive. I cleaned the windows today, and they are still clean now, three hours later. That's. pretty. amazing. I ate my meals without having to stop and get Callie a napkin, another spoon (because she has to have a separate spoon for different foods), or more milk. Tanner wasn't throwing his food on the ground or taking the food out of his mouth after I feed it to him (so he can do it himself, of course).

We went to Target to get some storage tubs for Tanner's clothes. I didn't have to look at the toy section, or deny a request for yet another package of silly bandz that never get worn. I didn't have to keep Tanner from cleaning the cart handle with his mouth, take Callie to the bathroom, or hear about how her feet hurt. We didn't have to pack a diaper bag, bundle up the kids, and hear Callie scream that she wants MOMMY to get her out of the car, not Daddy.

I wish I could say that I slept in today, but that didn't happen. I was up at 7:00 am.

I haven't watched Dora or ICarly all day. I haven't had to say "No, you can't have Oreos for lunch.." or "Be nice to your brother." I haven't had to tell Tanner to get out of the DVD drawer.

I haven't gotten any hugs or kisses from them today...
I haven't heard "Mommy" today...
I haven't seen Tanner's goofy expressions...
I haven't been able to see Tanner play with the phone and say "Hello" today...
I miss Tanner throwing food on the floor because he says "Uh oh" when he does it....
I haven't snuggled on the couch...
I wish I could see Callie laugh with her brother; she takes such good care of him...
I wish I could see Tanner jumping like a crazy man in his jumperoo...

It's only a few days. And I know it's good for them to spend quality time with Grammy and Grandpa. And they have a blast when they are there. Come on, chocolate milk and chocolate donuts for breakfast?! What kid could resist. Callie looks forward to having those tasty treats with Grandpa Jeff every time she goes there. And I think it's something she will always remember. And so I guess I can share the love for the next few days...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring, Where are you?

I am soooo sick of winter. I usually don't get this way. I usually like winter, but still welcome Spring. I am over winter, so. over. it. I want to open up the windows, let some fresh air in, and most of all, have healthy children. We've had a lot of illnesses this winter. Or, I should say, Tanner has. Through everything, Callie has only had a double ear infection. I credit that to her going to a bigger daycare center for the first 3 years of her life, being exposed to germs, and now she has a stronger immune system. For Tanner, this is his real "first" winter. He was born last winter, I was on maternity leave, and we really didn't leave the house much. This year, we have a daycare in our house, so all of the germs come to us, wrapped up in a nice, snotty bow. Which is okay, it's part of childhood, it will only make him stronger. The daycare kids have pretty much all missed days here and there for various illnesses. It makes it hard to plan my week, I spend a lot of time sanitizing toys, washing hands, and wiping boogies.

I have started to daydream what Spring will be like....

Hopefully we will have a fence (FINALLY) in our backyard. I envision picnic lunches, a lot of bubble blowing, ball throwing, and summer saulting :) I can't wait for walks to the park. I can't wait to wipe maybe 3 noses a day, as opposed to 326 that I wipe now. (Followed by screams of utter terror because their poor little noses are so raw from all of the wiping!)

I look forward to soccer games going on in the soccer field behind our house. Callie likes to go watch. I don't mind it either!!

I heard a bird chirp on Tuesday. Craig said, and I am not lying and he was not kidding, "What was that noise?" I said, "what noise?" He said, "That NOISE!" It was a bird singing. Really. I thought he was joking but he just looked a little lost.

We bought Callie's Easter Dress! It's so cute. Craig doesn't like it, but I do. And of course, she wanted a hat. I let her get one, but I drew a line at the gloves. She threw herself on the ground over some ugly white gloves. It was a lot for me to approve the silly hat. Although, she looked adorable with it on, not gonna lie. We got outside and it was chilly, I said, "Jeez Cal, it's cold out here." And she said, "See, Mom, I told you we should have got the gloves!"

We've made it out to chalk the driveway, which was really fun. We've done bubbles, and played catch. We went a small walk. It was so nice.

I leave with a "sorry" because it's been so long in between my blogs. Like I said, I've been busy with the snot streams. I will leave you with some of my FAVORITE Spring/Summer pictures... please do your Spring dance. Thanks :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

V-Day :) (LATE!)

Disclaimer: Totally thought I posted this last week. Totally. did. not. Sorry! Here's my late V-Day post! Enjoy!

Is Valentine's Day your favorite holiday? It's not mine. It's not my least favorite holiday, just not my favorite. It's cute, the kids have a lot of fun, and it's a good excuse to eat some chocolate, for sure! Maybe I don't like it because it's so close to my birthday, or maybe because I am over the winter months, or maybe because I fantasize about a perfect romantic evening with my husband, that would really never happen. Not in the "perfect" way I think about it. You always think back to the beginning of your relationship. For us, that was high school.

There wasn't a whole lot going on then in the romance department, but I remember as soon as I moved to Minneapolis in 2001 the romance was kicked up a million notches. I received letters from him a lot, with sweet words that I won't mention because I don't want to embarrass him. He visited as much as he could, he rode his motorcycle through the rain once for 6 hours (one way!)  just to see me for 2 days. He brought me Rosie's Pizza (my favorite from home). He brought me my favorite cereal. He bought me a sno-cone machine so I could have "Rainbow Snow" in Minneapolis. He moved to Minneapolis to be with me in September, only 3 months after I left. That said a lot to me about how he felt. He transferred stores, dropped out of school (with the promise that he would finish, and he did.) and changed his entire life so that we could be together. At such a young age, I know everyone thought we were crazy. And I would say the same thing to Callie if she told me she was going to move in with her boyfriend right out of high school. If Tanner quit college for some girl, I would NOT be happy, and I am sure that is how my now mother in law felt. But he did go back. He did finish. He kept his promise. And I remember being so proud of him, and I still am.

We moved into a one bedroom townhouse style apartment. Our rent was $800 a month for a tiny apartment. Looking back now, I don't know how we did it. We were poor. I was going to school for 25 hours a week, working 30-40 hours a week, and he was working full time. We were living off of love and ramen noodles! We didn't have cable. Our favorite show? Supermarket Sweep, of course. I wish that was still on. We always said we would kick butt if we ever went on that show, and I still believe it!

After I finished school, we moved back to his hometown. Our rent was only $450 for a two bedroom, much bigger apartment! We spent a few years there before getting married and moving to Omaha in 2005. We had Callie in 2007, bought our first house in 2009, and had Tanner in 2010! No babies for us in 2011! 2012.... maybe :)

So here we are today, two beautiful children, our own home, both working and not living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I always dreamed of this day. But part of me does miss the spontaneity that comes when you don't have children to take care of and a mortgage to pay. And the long distance notes that truly came from the heart, the thoughtfulness of Rosie's pizza that is 6 hours old, and Supermarket Sweep. But I wouldn't change my life for anything. Our romance is scheduled dates every few months where we talk about the kids, "luv u" in a text message, and quick kiss before work. I cuddle with my kids a lot more than I cuddle with my husband. But neither of us would have it any other way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Whew! Part 2!

I expected to do a blog all about my birthday and how great it was, and of course, the awesome cake that Callie, Craig, and Tanner would make for me. So, we'll start there :)

They did a great job, the cake was super delicious. I even had some for breakfast the next day (which was my actual Birthday!) We did the cake the night before this year. And what did Craig and the kids get me? Something I've wanted for a while now, a Flip HD video recorder. Are we still supposed to call them "video recorders" since there's not an actual VHS tape? I always get confused by that. Anyway, I love it, and have already used it a lot.

Right after we blew out the candles, Tanner vomited all over the place! It was not very appetizing. But, Callie really wanted to eat cake so after we cleaned up the mess, we ate some cake.

What was wrong with Tanner? Teething, I assumed. He is getting his two middle top teeth, thank goodness because he looked a little funny with teeth on the side but not in the middle. No big deal, I thought. He has no fever, no cough, no other symptoms. The next day, Wednesday (my bday!) he didn't vomit much, but towards the evening some diarrhea had set in. LOTS of it. I closed my in home daycare on Thursday because of the vomiting and diarrhea. The entire day, Tanner didn't wet a single diaper. He was wet when he woke up, but none after that. He became very sleepy and lethargic. When he cried, there were no tears, he had no drool, and I was starting to get worried. I decided to call the nurse line at my Dr.'s office. They directed me to take him to the hospital as soon as I could. We got to the hospital, waited for about an hour (the ER and Pediatric Express is on the same floor, and it was very busy that night.) We finally got in. The Dr. was very nice and did the "clinical" dehydration test and she thought he maybe slightly dehydrated, but nothing too serious. However, she wanted to do a blood test to check his PH balance and glucose level. We waited and about 15 minutes later she came back with a worried look on her face. She told us she had some bad news. That Tanner's balance is way off, his number was 13 and it should be 25 for a healthy child, and 18 for a sick child. She thought we were points away from respiratory problems and wait... there's more. His glucose level came back as a 3. Yup, a 3. Dangerously low. The Dr. told us it's a great thing we brought him in when we did, because he wouldn't have gotten better on his own, and we could have been in ICU or worse.

Glad that's over!

 She ordered the ER nurses to come do an IV right away, she didn't want to wait until we were admitted upstairs. Three nurses came in, and the one who was doing the IV said, "I've never done this on a baby before." And after she was done (she did a great job) she asked the Dr. to make sure she didn't hit an artery. Hmm okay, but yes, she did a great job. Within a half an hour his glucose went up to 26. We went upstairs got admitted and settled in for the night.

Finally settled in. Even got a little smile!

They did more blood tests the next day and everything was so much better. He was still very lethargic but was keeping down pedialyte. We were discharged Friday at about 5:00. It was so nice to be home. But it was such a scary experience.

Now we are home, Tanner's doing well, and Callie is feeling attention-deprived. Which she was. It was hard on her to be home and know that I was at the hospital with Tanner, and when we got home Tanner just wanted to be held. She's not really talking to me a lot today.

She's under there. Ignoring me.

But we will go have a girls night tonight, just her and I. I am looking forward to it. Callie said to me today, "Tanner always shares Daddy with me but he never shares you with me, Mommy. I want him to share you, I am sick of Daddy." lol Maybe my next blog will be about our girls night :)

I also want to thank everyone for the messages of encouragement, thoughts, and prayers. We have the best friends and family. Thanks to Marcus and Darci for taking Callie when we needed, and Caity for bringing lunch and offering to take Callie. And of course, Grammy also offered to take Callie for us. Honestly, thank you all so much!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

When Mommy's not home...

I so, so wish that I could be a "fly on the wall" in my own home, when I am not home. Now that Callie's old enough to tell me what happened while I was gone, it makes me not want to leave! Not to mention the condition the house is in when I come home. It's like I have to re-clean the entire house if I am gone for more than an hour. The other night, while I was at a "Game Night" with some mommies, here are a few things I came home to. The pictures were taken the next day.

For me, this is a mess!

At least the kids are happy!

Note the sink full of dishes!

 So, I got busy cleaning. It didn't take that long, just annoying that it wasn't that messy when I left. In Craig's defense, it was kinda messy! But not this bad. Also, when I'm gone the "standard of care" goes from "The kids are happy and engaged" to, when Dad's home, "The kids are alive." Which is an exaggeration, but he does things he  KNOWS I wouldn't approve of. Case in point, scaring the bejesus out of Callie. If you haven't seen this video yet, you should. He told her they could watch a Taylor Swift video on the computer. She was so excited. Then he played this:

Here are the results...

Just cruel. Funny. But cruel indeed.

I can recall a few other times I got home to less than positive environments. One time I recall (although Craig recalls it differently) when I got home from working at Hy-Vee and Craig "forgot" to feed Callie. He claims he didn't eat, either (which somehow makes not feeding her supper okay?) and that since he didn't eat he forgot to feed her and she didn't ask. I think she was about 15 months at the time. I feel like I remember him telling me he ate. Either way, at least she was alive?

I also recall a time when I got home to Callie around a year old, with a lump the size of a golf ball on her forehead. I know these things happen, especially to a new walker. But it was just something I recall happening while I was gone. Not saying she never got hurt when I was home.

Callie icing her owie!

I hope it goes without saying, but this is all coming from a sarcastic point of view, a humorous one. I love Craig and I know he is an awesome daddy and my kids are soooo lucky to have him!