Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peace, beauty, love

The words, a constant jumble in my head. Sentences in fragment form. Paragraphs I can't quite complete. Wondering's that don't go away. Regret that nags. Questions never ceasing. They pop up out of no where. Cleaning the kitchen, driving in the car. They are all a part of the process.

I have known 4 people that have died in my adult life time. My reaction to each different yet quite normal. There have been other people I have known that have died, but they were not personal to me.

My first experience with death was a good friend of mine. Todd and I were not friends that hung out on the weekends or called each other on the phone. We were co-workers who lived in the same apartment complex and commuted together to college at night. There were many things about each other we never knew. Personal details very left out, but experiences only the 2 of us could share. There was never any romantic feelings, I was married. We were just innocent friends trying to survive the realities of full time employment and full time college students together. For all the hours we spent in traffic, we should have known more details of each other's lives, but what we knew of each other was just the basics and what was happening in the present. That was enough. We never felt the need for more. After his death, I still don't. It was enough. I was sad and shocked when he died ( a car accident). I missed him dearly. I cried immediately. I cried at the service. I cried when his parents came down. I cried when much of the information from autopsy was shared and it was all information that I had learned in a dream a week before. Then I realized, this was my closer. This was my goodbye, my peace.

My second experience was the most painful. The first family member to have died. The one that I have few memories with but loved the most. The one that I knew the shortest amount of time but knew the best. The one that taught me the most about life, love, motherhood and God's love. My son, Andrew. His loss was one that I would pray never happens to anyone but at the same time, I am thankful for his life and loss. It took a while to get here, but I am at peace. I smile at the thought of my little guy up in heaven with the Lord and any other family members that he gets to play with. They are seeing him in ways that I never did but can see in my mind. I will play with him that way someday. Until then, I enjoy the brothers and sisters he has on earth. I cried the longest, hurt the most and longed for him in ways that many would never understand. 13 months later, Andrew watched his brother Adam enter this world and knew that mommy had closer, that her heart was healed. If you have ever been there, you know.

My third experience was when my great grandma died. I loved Grandma Bea. She was not the quintessential old lady. She had gusto even in her 70's and 80's riding across the country on the back of my uncle's motorcycle. In her 90's when her body began to hurt and memories became lost, she was still as sweet and wonderful though. And while I loved her dearly. Her death was not mourned but honestly a celebration of a wonderful life lived. She did not die, she truly went home. Peace was immediate for me after her death. There were no regrets. Katie was conceived the same week she passed away, her final gift to me :)

My Fourth loss is my Uncle Tommy. Peace is trying to fight it's way through. His voice assuring me he knew he was loved try to break through the thoughts that cloud my mind and make me human. There are regrets. That is hard since I don't life with regrets of any kind. I love where I am today and every experience good or bad that brought me here. After a week, I know it is too early for closure. Yet, I know it will come. I know this too is a process to get through. Acceptance for his death will happen. Tomorrow is the memorial service. This will help. I know he is not there but he will be there with us, I am sure. I will pay the babysitter. I never pay for babysitters, yet will do so tomorrow. Regrets for what we do for death that we don't do for life. I would have never paid for a babysitter to go to dinner with Uncle Tom. Yet, I do go to dinner with my grandma. I never had Uncle Tom over for just lunch and to play with the kids, yet my grandma is over weekly. Sadness for things meant to do. Does the season increase this? Peace will come, in what form, I don't know yet. Maybe cleaning out his house? Helping with the details of the estate? Time? I know that these are my doubts, never his. He was full of more peace and grace than anyone else I know. I trait to be learned from and strived for.

There are lessons we take from everyone in our life's. Some are big, others almost small enough to miss. Sadly, they may not be learned until separation from this person either voluntary or involuntary, like death.

Of course, the biggest lesson is to love and cherish your time together. Christmas time and always.

Today, yes today, pick up the phone and call the relative you don't normally call and just say HI! There age is irrelevant. Their reaction simply amusing. Your mind, heart, soul will be thankful. For the relatives already passed, just look upward and smile, they know.

There is peace and beauty in dying. It may take a while for those surviving to achieve it, but it does come. Until then, there is love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Goodbye but always here

You said goodbye tonight, at least in the physical sense. You were welcomed with a huge hello. Of this I am certain. Your parents, siblings, friends and relatives. You said this was it. You knew you were not leaving the hospital and going home. Although we said you were wrong, you knew. You talked in past tense. You told secrets previously undisclosed. You admitted you were not perfect but you were forgiven. You knew where you were going. You never were one to hold a grudge. You didn't even as you were leaving. You had reason's to be bitter, resentful even angry. You weren't. You loved, you cared, you were happy. Your friends were like family. Your family was blessed to call you family. You are loved. Maybe more than you knew. You accepted so easily people, things, life, death.

There will be no more early arrivals for Easter Dinner, St. Pat's fair, Jaywalking, Birthday parties, Chili cook-off's. There will be no more birthday cards, bowling games, family dinners. There will always be love.

In those final days you heard from friends old and new. You heard from relatives far and near. You held on for this I am certain. When the last goodbyes had been said, you were finally ready to say Hello.

For those of us left behind, you wish only happiness. For even in life, that is all you wished for your daughters, family, siblings, friends. For some of us you will be missed more than you can know. For many of us, you touched our hearts more than we let you know.

I am sorry I never made it back this weekend. Although I suspect you knew I wouldn't. I am luckier than most, I did get to see you! And while not everyone got to see you that wanted to, it was enough to you to know they wanted to. I am sorry for forgotten phone calls. Moments that I wish I had taken more time. Through all of this, you were always there. You always knew. You always forgave. You always loved.

You really have the best seat in the house know to watch all your grandkids (both your daughters and various adopted nieces and nephews) grow. Please help to keep them safe. Please always know you are loved and never doubt you will be missed. You will continue to live in our hearts, pictures and memories!!!!!

I love you Uncle Tommy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

misrepresentation

In a prior post, I promised to always keep it real. How real is the above picture for ya?

Now, I could show you the picture from the beginning of the night where they are all dry, hair combed nice, face and clothes clean, pants zipped, shoes tied and happy. (Wait, was that my house?)

B.U.T.

Would that really be us? HA! I don't think even for a second, on our way out the door to anywhere are we ALL that way.

Maybe each individual child as they are being dressed is that way. M.A.Y.B.E. (note to self: next year take picture of everyone happy and clean individually and photoshop together :)

However, let me lay the real timeline for ya.

Adam is dresses, shoes tied ready to go. Boredom sets in and he goes outside to play basketball. Requiring at least 10 times to go into the dirt, err, grass to get the ball. Hands dirty, we just wipe them on our jeans. Hair messy from sweat.

Katie dressed by daddy. Changes shirt when no one is looking messing up hair. Without asking, sprinting to join Adam outside. Crocs on since daddy is too busy dressing twins to do shoes.

Rebecca currently playing in living room, quietly. Not good.

Jason getting 2nd outfit change by daddy since finding lonely cookie on floor and eating. If you have ever meet Jason, you know that cleanliness is not his forte. Clothing change requires his hard-to-do-at-22 months-old hair to be redone. Darn cowlicks. Shoes on, ready to go.

Rebecca, naked on living room floor due to diaper aversion. Runs gleefully away from daddy. Peeing as she runs. Really, we keep the local carpet cleaners in business. Currently only wants to dress self. Nope, no help needed, well, needed yes, wanted HECK no!

While fighting, err, dressing Rebecca, daddy has taken his eyes off Jason who has removed his shirt, shoes and socks. A.G.A.I.N.

Rebecca is dresses, tear streaked face and all, ready to walk out the door.

Jason is shirted, shoed and socked again.

Katie has fallen and skinned her knee and hand. Yea, there is blood. Outfit change again.

Jason and Becca are wrestling on floor.

3 kids needing their hair redone.

Someone has pooped. Diaper change, wrong kids. Right kid, clean butts.

Hair's brushed, teeth brushed, ready to go.

Adam looses loose tooth. Blood drips on shirt. Shirt change, hair redo. Shoes don't match and get changed.

Everyone on couch, forbidden to move, serious threats issued.

Daddy sits to finish coffee, spills it in lap. Pants change.

When daddy is done changing, he come out to find. Jason's shoes are off, again. Becca's hair is a mess. Adam shoe is untied and Katie had a peepee accident.

Mommy comes out of bedroom dressed, made-up and ready to go.

Daddy still doesn't have his shoes on and I wonder what takes him so long to get ready since the kids are all just sitting on couch watching TV????
Parade. Rain. Dinner. Candy canes. Park.

Missing teeth. Dirty knees, clothes. Sticky hands, faces. Fallen zippers. Untied shoes. Tired cries. Whiny voices. More pictures. Exhausted mommy and daddy. MEMORIES to last a lifetime.

Keeping it real!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Greetings from the U.S.S Diavom

Hi all. I am sending greetings from the u.s.s. diavom.

It is day 11 on our voyage to circumnavigate the porcelain globe and I thought I would send you an update on the ports we have visited, the weather we have been having and what we have been doing to pass the time while on ship.

First let me say that we do have a wonderful cabin. It is quite roomy with lots of portholes to view the outside. Of course, there is always a dream for a bigger galley and an extra latrine but the kids do have room to play and I have a space for my laptop. We also have a small rowboat that Mr. Producer can use to get back on land when he needs to work.

Today the storms got so bad that we had to stop a couple ports. While this cruise has been nice for us to spend so much time together, I must say that is was SO nice to drive, er, walk on land and see land natives.

Our first stop was at the port of pediatrics. The people there were SO NICE! OMG! They loved the kids. The kids got a lollipop and sticker and I managed to pick up some sympathy, a diagnosis, advice and hope.

Since we have been on the ship for so long, I thought perhaps being in port too long might be too much for the kids so I took them back to the ship. Thank God I was able to find an attendant to care for them as I had to get off at the next 2 ports we stopped at.

The second port we stopped at (where yes I did get some much needed time to myself) was the port of lab. There was not much too see here. Not too many natives and the ones I did see were not really of the outgoing variety. But, I did manage to pick up some sample jars that I need to fill with some fluid from the storm and return so we can figure out what is causing this weather (but more on that later).

The third, final and probably the most overwhelming port of the cruise was the port of publix. Man, not only were there a lot of people, mostly very nice, but just the noise, lights, sounds and choices. It was slightly overstimulating but fun at the same time. Other people had their children at this port and I wish I could have brought mine as there is a rumor of free cookies. Alas, that was not to be, but boy did I stock up in some much needed supplies. They had Cheerios,, english muffins, gatorade, juice, handsoap, cleaning wipes, banana's and gloves galore. I was in buyers heaven. I even snuck in a treat for mommy, creamer for her coffee! Ahhhhhh, heaven I tell ya. I really hated to leave this port but I really was missing the kids and the cruise ship (man, I am crazy). With a last look goodbye and a packet of M & M for god measure, I head back to my cabin.

I am very grateful to the willing and loving attendant that was there for the kids when I could not be. They were very well cared for and seem to be having fun. And honestly, I think it was good for everyone to spend time with other people.

As for our activities on the ship, there has been a lot of time spent cuddling like kitties, hibernating like bears, and occasionally hopping like kangaroo's. We have been enjoy arts and crafts time, music time, computer time, swimming time, literature time and yes, even TV time. Unfortunately for mommy, there has also been lots of time in the hull of the ship washing laundry and in the galley washing dishes. In spite of that, we are all enjoying each other and everyone is getting along beautifully. There is lots of hugs, kisses, lap time, helping and sharing (mostly of cups and germs and not so much of toys ;).

I have been promising news of the weather. Well they say this has been the perfect storm. I guess that can only occur when you have fluids from both north and the south are being stirred up at the same time. You can call it whatever you want, but I have to tell you, it takes a strong person with a hard stomach to withstand the rocking of this ship. The forecasters are not sure what has caused this storm in the otherwise seeming calm of the world around them, hence the reason for the fluid samples. Now the good news is that today the storm has seem to subside, both the north and the south are experiencing very few precipitations. Let me warn you though, precipitation has dwindled before and then regained strength. However, this time we are being optimistic. Armed with the knowledge and products we received from the ports and what we have within us we know that we have what it takes to weather this and any storm.

Well my friends, it is time for lights out. Before I retire for the night let me just say, please feel free to send me some love, at least through the computer; it helps keep me busy. Also, send your prayers for a quick return to the port of wellness. Prayers can be sent to Heaven C/O God Attention: wellness dept. Postage is free and really it only takes a second, and throw in a thanks for your health.

Signing off now. I will send you another letter when we return to the port of wellness.

XOXOXOXO

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It is just food after all......

Perhaps my absence has clued you in to the ongoings in our home, or maybe not. That too is ok. I really don't mind that nobody missed me. No one sent out an email or a massive search party to knock on all the doors in my area looking for funchaos.



Really, it is ok. Believe me, I have been shown more LOVE this week than every before.




This week above all others, I tip my hat to mothers with more children than I and I envy (maybe too strong a word) mothers with less.

This week above all others I am thankful for Mr. Producer.

Being that today is Thansgiving, I could share all about how wonderful our meal was, how nice it was to spend time with family, I could post about all the things I am thankful for, including shelter, clothing, friends, etc or I could keep it real and give you the truth. Below I will shoot straight from the heart, err, hip, err, stomach about all the things I am most grateful for and some that I could do without.

Are you ready?

Weak stomach's beware!

I am thankful for my washing machine and dryer. Seriously, if you did as many loads of laundry as I have this week, you too would realize how taken for granted this always giving machine is.

I am thankful for indoor plumbing. You have never failed me yet in times of need. I hold you in the highest regard, you are my BFF (as A would say).

I am thankful for Bleach and Lysol. 2 of my dearest friends in the world, I could not brave life without you by my side.

I am thankful for toast and tea. I owe tremendous gratitude to whomever discovered both and for the record, if we ever run out of tea, I am gonna haunt some bostonians.

I am thankful for plastic buckets and towels. Really, there are many things I could live without in this world, but these are not 2 of them. Always, there, Always faithful, Always willing to catch whatever life throws at them.

Sleep, I am not certain you can ever have enough. There is no better way to pass the hours when need to escape or get better.

I truly am thankful for my children, all 4 of them, including their bodily fluids. Because there is nothing that makes them appreciate me more than a good bout of the stomach flu.

Yes, I am most certainly thankful for Mr. Producer because I can not think of anyone else I want sleeping on the living room floor with me and twins while they (COVER YOUR EYES IF YOU ARE WEEK) vomit in tandem.

In a few days, when we can all eat again without the fear of seeing it again, I will be Thankful for turkey and all that goes with it!

Mostly, I am thankful for the quiet time, relaxing time, just the 6 of us together with no where to go, SNUGGLE TIME! THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE FOR THIS REASON ONLY!

Just to be fair, I do have to list a few things that are HIGHLY overrated!

Carpet, if you have ever had children with the stomach flu, you know what I am talking about. Anyone have a few extra bucks to throw my way for some professional carpet cleaning?

Housekeeping, other that the laundry and bathroom, I have decided that everything else is very inconsequential (at least this week)!

The Phone, really people, I know you mean well. BUT.ENOUGH.ALREADY. We are sick, when we survive the sinking of the ss. yucket bucket, we will let you know. Until then, the phone ringing just wants to make me run to the bathroom. I do mean this in the nicest way possible!!! Luv Ya!

Pedialite. This stuff alone would make you sick even if you weren't to begin with. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!

Lastly, FOOD. Really, you have no idea how overrated it is. I promise, the human body can survive for days with only bread and tea (I would make a great prisoner, at least for the moment)

I hope everyone had/has a great day eating turkey and being with family. We will join you in the merriment, but in true family fashion, we will be late!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The boy and his bike

My little man has had a couple of REALLY big days. Without daddy home to share in the joy, you guys are it.

Friday - Report card day - ALL Excellent's and Very Good's AND perfect attendance! WooHoo, Great Job Adam! Reward - sleeping in mommy's bed. (A daddy's away favorite of older two)

Saturday morning - basketball. Pass to shortest kid on team(my little man), caught, basketball thrown to hoop, score! Never has there been a more proud mother!!!!

Saturday afternoon - bike - mommy finds a bike on craigslist - FINALLY - it is still available, it is in great condition - it is only $20 and he buys it with his own money and has $13 left (Dave would be proud)!

Saturday evening - more bike - no training wheels, rides 25 feet-ish SOLO! No hands!
(yes, I know the helmet is on backwards, he put it back on for mom's picture, he wasn't riding that way

Yep, Mr. I-Don't-Want-To-Wait-For-Santa-To-Bring-It-Or-Daddy-To-Teach-Me, (don't really know where he gets impatientness from;) I'm-Too-Big-For_Training-Wheels bought himself a bike AND rode it without falling all in the same day (couldn't tale a picture of that on account of I was running next to him and trying to keep 3 littles out of street and all).

Daddy, he is getting bigger every second this trip, you better come home QUICK!

This VERY PROUD mommy is going to bed now. Night all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sharing the laugh

There is a strong possibility, a certainty if you will, that I will make at least 1 spelling or grammatical error tonight.

Why?

Well, thank you for asking. I am flipping through my high school yearbook. Need I say more?

Again, why?

It is the man's fault really. Being that he is in Vegas and all winning 10's of thousands (of pennies that is),

I.AM.BORED.

So, I decide to play around on facebook since I can't seem to find any stores currently stocking a Wii (a post for another day).

Don't ask my how I got started. B.U.T. apparently, I wasn't content with just being a voyeur in the life of people that are willing to publicly proclaim they know me. NO. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH. FOR.ME. I have to research old friends that I couldn't have made it through high school without.

Yes, I did actually find a couple.
Yes, I did actually send them a friend request to see if they are still willing to publicly admit knowing me (I was much cooler in high school, haha).
Yes, I did have to grab an old yearbook and reminisce

AND G.I.G.G.L.E. so hard I am crying and can't see the keyboard to type correctly.

Ah, the hair, the clothes, the cuteness, the perkiness (man what 4 kids will do to unnamed body parts;), the innocence and youthfulness of us all.

I.DON'T.MISS.A.MINUTE.OF.IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is fun to look back at the pictures, the memories, the friends. It is fun to reconnect on facebook and if you are uberpopular, myspace. It is fun to giggle at the way we were.

It is so much more fun to be mommy to Adam, Katie, Becca and Jason. Thanks kids. Someday you too will have wonderful memories to look back on.

And no Katie, not the one about the roach under the stove. LOL! I love you ms. exuberant.

(Hey hon, cash out the big bucks and come home nobody has a wii in stock to buy anyway;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Attention stretch marks

While I do have millions of them (yep, fun game I play with DH is to try and find them all) J.U.S.T. K.I.D.D.I.N.G P.E.O.P.L.E!! I am not going where you think I am with this post.

I am introducing myself to Melissa Lee at Stretch Marks. Hi, my name is Tracy and I love the lived in look.

I am introducing you bloggy readers (all 3 of you) to Melissa because, well she beat me to the punch today. I think somehow she heard my thoughts, maybe she has my house bugged as I may recall expressing one or two of these feelings out loud lately.

While I may not agree with you on the sushi or lost, I am totally with you on the scrapbooking and sewing. I also have to admit being in total agreement with AG, Oh what a world it would be if Jack Bauer ran it, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yep, I am right there with him when we get the 2 hour teaser on Sunday the 23rd. The kids will be in bed an hour early so every last excuse for being up is completed and all are dreaming peacefully. I.AM.WAITING.FOR.REDEMPTION!

I digress, sorry. Melissa Lee thanks for saying it better than I could have and saving me the time to work on some more laundry in the process.

Michelle, Teri, Kim - don't leave me for her. I know where you live or go to church.

Everyone else, hop on over and enjoy today's post.

http://reallybadhairday.blogspot.com/2008/11/even-canker-sore-needs-little-tlc-and.html

P.S. If anyone wants to teach me how to get a link to appear with another word instead of the url that would be awesome? Does that make sense? lemme know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kiss me again

As I return little man back to school (I "borrowed' him for lunch and C-F-A) I ask him to kiss me again. He grins and starts to back up, the way 7 year old boys do. Then he grins and comes forward to indulge mommy in another kiss.

I stop at Starbucks and get a coffee. I have approximately 1/2 hour before I have to pick up big/little sister and then head home to the babies. I have a half hour of sheer quiet, peace, relaxation. I have enough time to flip through a magazine or cut out and address the kids school pictures or prayer or cut coupons or make a phone call or make a listing for items to put on craigslist or just enjoy the quiet.

I pick up big/little sister as I finish the last of my coffee, thinking that half hour went too quick. After she gives me a hug, she is off to chase a school friend, her favorite friend, but I don't remember her name mommy ;). She must have missed me today for now it is her turn to run back and ask mommy kiss me again. I happily oblige. As I try to sneak in an extra hug, she wiggles down and off she goes. I take a moment to lift my eyes heavenward in a feeble attempt to thank Him for trusting me with them.

The phone call that comes cuts me to the quick. There are no guarantees, we all no that. There are no promises in this life other than that He who leads us to it will lead us through it. There are times we let slip away, things we let go unsaid, hugs we may be too busy to see being needed and chances for kiss me again to be ignored.

I am not close to my step brother and his wife. There is no reason for this exactly, other than we have just never connected. I don't think that either one of us feels bad about this. It just is.

The phone call does not come from them, rather from my mom. We talk daily. I answer the phone with a smile in my voice from the "sunshine and roses" day I am having. I listen in mostly silence.

I hang up and start to cry for a niece I have never really known. If I would have, could I have changed things? If I had gotten to know her would she be out doing fun things at the young age of 24 instead of lying in a hospital bed on life support because she couldn't find another reason to go on?

I look in the rear view mirror at the pigtailed girl dressed in a purple rainbow shirt. I alternate between wanting to throw-up (just from imagining the pain my sister-in-law must be going through) and wanting to cry (for moments missed, for my nieces loneliness, for the pain).

As I am sharing this story with a great friend who is also babysitting sleeping twins, she notes that I seem a little frustrated about all of it. She is right! I. AM.

I am frustrated that I can't remember every second of everyday. I don't remember every sloppy kiss given, every sill song sung, every joke told. I am frustrated that I get too caught up sometimes in PROVIDING for instead of CARING for. I am frustrated that we can't always protect our kids. We can't see the future. We can't always have a kiss me again moment. We can't always protect our friends and family. I am frustrated that I almost resented my half hour of quiet not being enough.

I write this with tears, I don't know how it will all end for my niece. They have been told to call for a priest, I take this as a not so good sign. But, I am not in control, I continue to do the only thing I can, pray.

I write this with tears as I apologize for letting there be missed times and wanting more quiet time. I write this with tears as I promise to remember more, care for more, love more and kiss me again more. I write this with tears as I pray they are strong enough (him mother just died 6 months ago and they were very close) to make it through this, to guide the younger 2 children (10 and 7) into understanding and accepting what happens. I write this with tears of fear. Every parent has these with something tragic befalls another parent. My niece started out as a cuddly baby, she was a happy 4 year old once too. I write this with tears of love as big/little sister is up from nap time again and little man is about to walk through the door and the babies are giggling in there cribs. I write this with tears of thanks that my home is loud, crazy, silly, chaotic for it is LOVE.

I write this with tears of joy. The joy being that I have a bigger helper in keeping my kids safe. Joy of being blessed to be trusted with these four awesome children. Tears of Joy for sloppy wet kiss me again's, jokes, hugs and silly songs. Tears of joy to know that He loves them more than I do. Tears of joy that while times seem bleak, He knows what is best for everyone, He is in control, He will lead my brother and sister-in-law through this tragedy, however it unfolds.

In the meantime, if you have read this post and hung in there until this point, I demand that you walk away from the computer, give your littles/children/ducks/arrows/lovebugs/peanuts/turkeys/babies/whatever you call them and extra hug. I ask that you make a conscious effort to listen to every kiss me again moment they may have. I ask that you pray for my niece, my brother and sister-in-law and their other children.

I will give you an update when I have one. Until then, I will be giving hugs, kisses and tickles and not worry about the laundry and dishes that are demanding my attention.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

unsettled

I can't shake the feeling. I am ready for everything to fall into place.

Wherever the chips may land, I am okay with that, JUST LAND!

It seems lately that I have been thinking "when this is finished", "when that is done" and yet, the "this" and "that" ends and I am still not feeling done.

To say this last year has been crazy would be an understatement.

To say that I am organized and A. Retentive would be a bigger understatement.

I am VERY patient . . . when it comes to my children.

I am very IMPATIENT when it comes to life. Unfortunately, I do want it all and I want it now!

I am still learning to let it go, to rely on HIM, to know that my timing isn't what is best, it is HIS!

There are many area's of life this past year that have blessedly become so much better. There are some area's that still need improvement.

Dreams that seem to be SLOWLY unraveling.
Prayers wanted desperately, prayed-almost begged, still unanswered (again, learning these are my desires and not HIS).
Questions that are never answered and instead ask more questions.

THE FLIPSIDE:

Hugs and sloppy kisses that are never ending
Laughter and joy that flows through the air like the wind
Love that makes it all disappear.

I do know the blessings HE has given me. I do thank HIM daily! I do not that there is nothing I have done to earn a life so rich!

I also know that this unsettled feeling will pass. Dreams will change, questions will be reworded and turned more into prayers. They will be answered.

The Hugs and kisses WILL remain.
The laughter and joy WILL remain.
The love WILL remain.

The focus and feelings already changing. Not gone, but MUCH better.

THANKS FOR LISTENING DEAR FRIEND!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bye

I am not sure which has me more excited?

Saying goodbye to the elections commercials (7 days away)?

Saying goodbye to the scary/annoying Halloween commercial (3 days away)

Saying goodbye to the erectile dysfunction drug commercials during the world series games my 7 yr old is watching (??? days away, go Rays, sorry Philly fans)

Saying goodbye to all the garage sale JUNK slowly eating away my precious den (4 days away)

I CAN'T WAIT TO SAY GOODBYE!!!! WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Monday, October 27, 2008

D.O.O.R.S.

Good morning faithful readers (ok, Kim and Michelle:-) I WILL post more today but for now I leave you with this.




I. AM. THANKFUL. FOR. SQUEAKY. DOORS.!!!!




I will not be posting more about this sentence however, that you have to make up on your own!

Talk to ya soon!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

muddling through

This crazy, wonderful, fun life.

Man, I miss my blog-time. Either posting or reading, all of it gives me a sense of ahhhhhhh.

Least you think that I have forgotten either how to read or write, let me assure you I have not.

I simply am struggling to find time to even brush my teeth right now (make no mistake though, I AM finding time for that!).

I am getting my bearings.

This is the 1st year I have had more than 1 child involved in something and any child involved in more than 1 thing!

So, please bear with me as I muddle the kids and myself through organizing basketball games and practice, church play practice, gymnastics and 4H gardening planting, watering and weeding. Think of me as I super-clean, super-organize and prepare for a garage sale (while hubby is gone). Pray for me as I try to find time to craft (and hopefully sell), volunteer, exercise/Pilate's and sleep, relax and enjoy time with the kids. Finally, wait patiently for me . . . I'll be back! S.O.O.N!!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

lead me through

I do not know the exact bible verse that states something like

"He who leads you to it, will lead you through it" (I just know that someone out there will tell me though).

There are days that I live my life that I couldn't be more positive how true that is.

Today will be a day that I will not be able to get through on my own.

There is much, too much to be done.

And, currently my heart and soul are much, too much tired to do it all.

I just want to curl up in bed and sleep until it is all better. Even more depressing is the fact that there are millions of America's out there who feel the same way.

Rarely do all these worlds collide but today they have. THE SCHEDULE (which, yes, I have done to myself)
*Return call to hospital to pre-register for Mammogram
*Call ACH - set up payment for bill
*Bank - deposit $
*Target - cat food (how in the heck did I run out of this?)
*$1 - 4H supplies
*Walgreens - refill ink cartridge
*Park - time to run and stretch legs before rest of day.
*Home - bath and lunch
*School - pick up Katie
*Home - twins nap, Katie lunch then nap, Mommy dishes, clean kitchen, Adam breathing treatment, homework, daily reading, kids chores, pack snacks, change diapers and clothes
*4H - finish preparing garden and have meeting/make scarecrows (leave early for basketball)
*Basketball practice/meet teammates (leave early for school workshop/dinner)
*School workshop/dinner (leave early for home/pilates)
*Jim and kids finally home, older 2 get baths and finish chores, everyone gets stories and bed time routing (brush teeth, songs, prayers) - Mommy at Pilates.
*Finally home - make lunches, get everything ready for tomorrow, finish any cleaning up, sit for a minute and check email and BREATHE!

Honestly, the rest of the week gets better, but only a little!

THE WEARINESS (preface with: some complaints are valid and some are whining, I'll admit)
*Roof/ceiling leaking - BIG TIME! Jim thought he got this fixed yesterday, then it rained last night.
* Dentist appts. that need made and kept and lack of $ or insurance to afford/do either.
* General tiredness, feeling VERY overworked with house/yard/birthday party work
*Concern over lumps/mammo
*Trying to make plaque/craft to sell, no $ or time to make to make $
*Trying to continue to work on starting non-profit, no time for paperwork or start-up, no $ for paperwork/filing fees
*Major Ant problem that just "moves" instead of leaves
* Broken pond pump, breeding mosquito's (again with the damn $)
*feeling very needed/used (not in an enjoyable way by most members of family)

You choose the valid, the whining. Either way, they are what they are!

So, other than unloading on you, anyone who MAY still be reading. I am asking for you to pray that HE sees me through today. I know that HE will, but a few extra prayers in that direction would be appreciated.

Now, off to start the craziness!


Is it bedtime yet ;-?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear dad,

You may not have conceived me. You weren't there when I was born. You may not have raised me as a child.

I got to watch you tonight with my kids, alone for a minute as I peeked at you through the living room window.

I got to witness for a moment the kind of daddy that you might have been to my siblings.

While I would love to say I am jealous of my siblings for having you at ages I did not. I am not. Dad, I would not have loved and appreciated you during those years like I do now. I would not have remembered whether you read to me. I now get the joy of watching and remembering you reading to and snuggling with my daughters. I would have taken for granted the love of a father. Now, I stand amazed that you so willingly took on a 13 year old and loved her so completely as your own.

Dad, I know I put you through some hard times. Now as a parent myself I cringe at the thought of how I broke your and mom's heart sometime. B.U.T. I also thank God daily for his loving mercy and grace and for making you my dad.

You once gave me a mini plague that said "You didn't grow under my heart but in it". Tonight, as you so bravely agreed to keep all 4 kids for me, by yourself, I realize that there is nothing you won't do to make your little girl happy. As I watched you for a few minutes through the window, I also realized that there has never been a Papa who loves his grandchildren more.

13 years in the making was worth every minute. Thank you dad, for everything. You make me proud to call you dad!

I LOVE YOU!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

letter to theme parks

It is that time of year again.
HALLOWEEN!!

Dear Theme Park,

Now, I have nothing against Halloween. I rather enjoy dressing up the kids in an overpriced sweat box of something cute and knocking on strangers doors begging for crap (yep, I just said crap, cover your children's eyes:) that is going to cost me the equivalent of a small yacht at the dentist. IT. SO. MAKES. PERFECT. SENSE. TO. . ME!!

I also have nothing against advertisements. Mostly because in this day of DVR's I fast forward through them.

What I do have a problem with are the theme parks and their advertisements. Now if you are like me and you live within a reasonable distance of a theme park (say 5 surrounding states) then you are inundated with advertisements right now to visit the theme park for their Halloween-I-know-it-is-fake-but-still-scares-the-crap-out-of-me-event.

Really, do you have to post your blood and gore up on a billboard the size of life so you can frighten the crap out of my little kids? Really, they have to be traumatized by the sight of some football player looking freak with blood running down the side of his face, missing half his body with his eyes reflecting the devil? R.E.A.L.L.Y. That to you says good advertising? Have none of you ever had children? Are your children normal functioning members of society? I do have to wonder. I would like to say it is better on the radio, but even if I turn it down, you have maximized the audio to be heard even over a train. Really, my kids love to listen to the horror music and it is very easy to explain the sounds of a chainsaw and a person screaming and how they go together. THANK YOU! Now, the TV. As if the billboards, which I speed past or try to deflect their attention from and the radio which I have now pulled out of the car weren't enough. YOU HAD TO MAKE A COMMERCIAL TO RUN DURING AMERICA'S FUNNIEST VIDEO'S? IS. THERE. NOTHING. SACRED. PEOPLE? I don't watch the news during any hours my children may stumble across the TV (I can't afford therapy at 1,3 and 7) because I like to disillusion them into thinking the world is good. However, I am better off subjecting them to hours of real news of blood and gore than the crap you are exposing them to in your 30 second commercial. REALLY, IT SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF EVEN ME.

I do not visit your theme parks for your scare fest. My kids have given me enough gray hair. But, even if I did, I choose to see that, I am an ADULT! Yes, I agree, you have the freedom of speech. BUT PLEASE USE YOUR BRAIN! Please do NOT force my children to be scared out of their wits this time every year.

Please allow my kids the opportunity to use their imagination to think up the next reason for asking to sleep in my bed. They don't need your help!

Thanks,
Annoyed Mother

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peek

Did ya think I forgot about ya? N.E.V.E.R.

Do you forgive me for being busy? Hope so.

Really, I am just trying to figure out the ever changing schedule of life. Now with the 2 oldest in school, even part time, I am enjoying and staying busy with the twins. Honestly, I am just being a fly on the wall of their world these days. When left alone with the older 2 to bother them, guess what? THEY. PLAY. NICE! The love to play hide and seek. B loves to mother J. They both love to jump on mommy. Ahhhhhhhhh!

I LOVE THEM ALL! I miss the older 2 when they are in school. BUT, it sure is nice to have time with just the babies because really, they are very quickly growing away from babies.

On that note, I am stunned and refusing to admit that A is going to be 7 on Thursday. I'm sorry, what????? 7 REALLY???? Are we sure? That's what the birth certificate tells me. WOW!!!!

Look for letter to little man to be coming soon.

I haven't forgot about designated days either, just let me get caught up (does that ever really happen?) on housework, sorting clothes, running errands, etc and then I will be back!

Soon. I promise. I miss posting and reading other blogs. I am having withdraws!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I had to post how thankful I am for a discount dry-goods grocery store that is in our area. They have boxed and canned goods items. These items are discounted for a variety of reasons; discontinued, crushed or damaged boxes/cans, almost out of date or out of date items.

I purchased a total of $182.50 worth of items B.U.T. I only SPENT $61.25. YEP - I SAVED $121.25!!!!!!!! WooHoo!!!! Can I get a high 5??!!!


Here is a pic of all see the stuff I bought.


All the boxes of snack stuff are the 100 calorie count. The cereal has some unhealthy choices but (again with that word) this is the only junk food my kids get and this stuff will last 6-8 weeks.


Now, those of you that live close and will admit to feeding your kids the occasional junk, email me and I will tell you where it is at. Those of you that live far away, I recommend you check into some place near you that has a discount dry goods store. We have been going there for over a year but this is the 1st time that I actually priced the stuff immediately afterwards at the grocery store.


As for the 2nd picture, this is just to show you how big the pile is compared to what I bought at our local grocery store (where btw, I spent $36 and saved $18 - not that great compared to SCTB). The SMALL pile on the right that starts with the eggs and milk is the stuff from our local grocery store. Other than the milk, eggs, banana's, and peas, I had a coupon for everything else, including the bag of potato's.


Yes, for those of you wondering why you see no meat or produce, we stock up on meat when we see it on sale and I get the produce at a produce stand and am trying to join a co-op and my son is in 4-H.


So, to those of you who are wondering how we can manage to provide for 6 (7 if you include cat) of us with food and essentials (toilet paper, shampoo, razors, litter, etc) on only $55o-$600 monthly (2 in diapers, pampers only b/c anything else makes them break out - the same with shampoo and lotion, has to be J&J) here is our secret.


Do we do good? bad? ok? From my frugal readers out there, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

She's gone.......


There she goes. She is so ready for today. She has been since birth I think. In her desire to catch up to her older brother, she begged, pleaded, whined and prayed that this day would come.
It is here and she didn't even look back. Not that I really expected her too.
She has never been a clingy child, her personality far too outgoing and exuberant for that. She allows me to cook and do her laundry for her, but other than that, she doesn't need me. I.CAN.DO.IT.MYSELF! Has become her motto!!! I am happy for this, the big girl that she is. BUT.IT.BREAKS.MY.HEART! In only a way another mother can understand. You know their job is to grow and your job is to guide them. You know you have to let go, even at 3, for it starts at birth when they come screaming into the world as she did. But, letting them go to school, without you when you have been their world for so many years is one of the hardest letting go's. Yes, I still got teary eyed seeing her older brother off to 1st grade this year, but nothing I think compares to letting go for the 1st time. I know she will have fun. She will have fun in everything she does in life. She will make friends, learn, and love. She will be the class clown. She will be wonderful. AND, when I make it through today, this week. I will be fine and wonderful too and will come to enjoy my time with just me and the twins. But for today, this 1st week, I will be sad to see my baby, err.... big girl go to school! Even if it is only 3 mornings a week and the best preschool in the world and she has a dear friend of mine, a wonderful person, as a teacher. In the meantime, mommy is off to get another tissue (sniff, sniff)


P.S. Her older brother and daddy really helped me feel better when daddy said "Just think, soon it will be the twins" and brother responded with "And then you will have no one"! Thanks guys, way to help out!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Favorite Food Friday!!!!!

Yep, if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE FOOD!!!!! I like to both cook and eat(when I am not rushed by a gaggle of screaming mouths).


So, what better way to indulge my love of food and begin designated days then by bringing you this little gem.




I made it up, there is no name for it other than delicious!
This, paired with a glass of milk and a sugar free choc. for dessert, can be lunch or a snack. The choice is your, but either way you HAVE to give it a try.


Step 1. Cut up red and green bell pepper, tomato and onion.

Step 2. Add peppers and onion to pan with butter of your choice and little garlic.

Step 3. Cook, just until almost not crunchy.

Step 4. Turn off heat, add tomato

Step 5. Top crackers with cheese (I use fresh mozzarella) and veggies!

Step 6. Enjoy, take pictures and blog about it. Ok, last 2 parts are optional!!!!

I wanna

be like you... The other blogging moms!

I want designated blog days!

I want to do it all and still seemingly love to blog!

I want readers!

I want to be funny and creative, fulfilling and cute!

BUT (dumh, dumh, dumh) . . .

I don't want to be a copy cat!

I don't want to dread designated days!

I don't want to disappoint when you realize I can't and sometimes don't love to do it all!

I don't want crazy/weird people readers!

I don't want to be predictable and boring, pragmatic and basic.

HOWEVER (again, dumh, dumh, dumh) . . .

I am going to try to be unique!

I am going to try designated days!

I am going to try to do it all and love it!

I am going to try not to attract weird people, because I have enough of them in my life!

I am going to try to be more creative and cute!

AND (enough already) . . .

I will be different in my own right!

I will have designated days!

I will not stick to my routine always, I will probably deviate from it more than stick to it!

I will love it!

I will attract weird people because I attract them in real life!

I will be pragmatic, boring, funny and fulfilling!

Sink or swim? Fly or fall? Can I do it? Stick with me to find out!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

shaped




I was going to stay out of the political arena, at least in my blog.

I am not a political activist. I am registered to vote, but can not even tell you with which party. I am more of a vote for the best person sort of girl. Now I realize, my version of the best person and your version of the best person our different depending on our views of the world, lifestyles, religion, and needs.

I. RESPECT. THAT.

Everyone is different and that is what makes life fun, interesting, profitable and continuing. Unfortunately, it is what also makes us intolerable, annoying and biased.

At this point, you are asking yourself what the pictures of my babies have to do with this post? Other than the fact that I love to take and share pictures of my children; They are my requirement for the best person! Without them, I would not feel as strongly as I do about some things. Without them, I would see the world differently. Not better or worse. JUST. DIFFERENT. Without them, I would not be as affected by things that happen. Without them, I would never get to see TRUE love.

On 9-11 I was a parent-in-waiting. My son would be born exactly 2 weeks later. I went to the Dr. on the morning of 9-11 and had my cerglage removed. I very easily could have gone into labor at that moment and had Bug on 9-11. THANK GOD I DID NOT! I am actually happy that I was on bed rest and forced to watch the pictures, video's, tears, devastation, love, and humanity this country showed. Had I been at work, a teacher then, I would have not been able to watch all the countless hours of suffering and compassion this country showed.

In an I.N.S.T.A.N.T. we went from SELFISH to SELFLESS. Our own needs, primary at best. Each others needs, mandatory to be meet. It doesn't matter who you are, they color of your skin, the balance in your checkbook, the church you attend or the songs you listen too, YOU DID SOMETHING. Whether you mourned, gave blood, cried, went to the scene's, hugged your family, said a prayer, helped a neighbor or victim. WE. ALL. CARED. We cared about each other, in a way we have not before or since. After the 1st anniversary of 9-11, the world began (slowly at 1st) to go back to ourselves. It is very easy to do and honestly, we are all guilty. 7 years later, many it seems only remember 9-11 much in the way we remember Pearl Harbor. It happened. Regardless of how you remember it, if you are reading this, it affected you! Try if you want to forget that or embrace it wholly, it shaped you!!!!

So, the only thing I ask, the reason for this post - vote today like you felt on 9-11. Vote for who you think the best person is, for you, your family and America. Love and care like you did when you went from SELFISH to SELFLESS!!! Love like children!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Going Green vs. Seeing Red

Ok, I am all for going green. Just to do my part, I use mostly all homemade eco-friendly cleaners. I use my reusable bags every time, yes, every time I go to the grocery store, local produce stand, library, etc. I recycle everything I am allowed to, I save all my errands for 1 time so not to waste gas, I am a Nazi about the lights and running water, I only use bottled water when I must and I reuse those bottles (yes, I clean them 1st).

BUT... I have decided there are things that for the next couple years are NOT going to go GREEN in my house because if they did, I would be seeing RED constantly.

I am NOT going to quite using paper towels and paper plates, I am TIRED of spending so much time in the kitchen. I tried to go for a month without paper towels and paper plates and THERE IS MORE TO LIFE!!!!!

Also, I am NOT going to quite using disposable diapers (gasp). Did she really just print that? YES I DID!!!!! I will do a lot for the environment, but I am not taking a poppy diaper off my child and cleaning it out! Besides the fact that it is GROSS, I have twins so I am definitely NOT doing this 4-8 times a day!!!! NO THANK YOU!!!!

Now, those of you that do all the above, I applaud you, you are my hero. But, I don't like everything that my children produce and I certainly don't want to touch it anymore than I have to. Someday when we are rich (from not buying diapers, I know) and famous (because we are so comical and watch worthy :sarcasm) I promise I will donate a HUGE amount of many to going green, but in the meantime I am going to stay away from being red!!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Behold the power of 10...

What is a girl to do? My "I love other people's blogs" list has hit the big 0. Ok, this is a family blog people, I do mean the big 1-0 mark. So while it seems I need a life instead of living vicariously though all of you, I realized that you are not the only favorite thing in my life that has hit the big 1-0 mark.
I currently have 10 favorite TV shows (gasp)! Yes, count them 10. In order of, yes I will drop what I am doing and watch (or at the very least make sure the DVR is rolling) they are: 24, prison break, the unit, how I met your mom, rules of engagement, the office, til death, csi, big brother, and yes, jon and kate plus 8.
I suppose you can only be shocked at this if you know that a mere 10 (are you seeing a pattern here) years ago, I didn't even watch TV. At the time I was so busy furthering my education and finishing my degree (that I currently don't use:-) that I thought TV was really only for watching when a hurricane was headed your way! I use to feel sorry for my parents for having no life and staying at home all the time watching TV. Yes, you see my friends that while I was married, we had a life!!!!!!!
It was a gradual addiction, my love of TV. A little news here, a snapshot of a show there. Then. We. Had. Kids... Ok, I am not saying that my children are to blame for my current addiction to TV anymore than they are for the few extra pounds I carry around, I'm just suggesting that they helped! Thank God for me that not everything in my life revolves around the number 10! If you are reading this and you have 10 kids, you are my hero!!!I digress. You may ask yourself how we went from 10 favorite TV shows to 10 favorite blogs. Enter summer 2008. Other than BB10, there has been nothing on TV, except for the occasional hurricane threat. I was bored in my "I have small children and must be home after 7:30 pm for bedtime so therefor I have no life" life.
My favorite pastime even before TV is reading. I LOVE to read! I am nosey. So you see how this has occurred, right.
It all started innocently enough (sort of like having children). The first one is so cute and funny and can do no wrong. You decide to add another and well, before you have a handle on it you are up to 4 (kids and this is where we stop) and 10 blogs.
So, I am throwing this out to the blogosphere, I AM STOPPING AT 10!!!! You can not force me to have more, I don't care how good you are you should have beat out the other 9.
Time for an honesty break, 1 of the blogs on my favorites is also mine, so I guess there is room for 1 more, ANY TAKERS?????
But that is it. I STOP AT 10!!!!! So my challenge to my 10 favorite blogs is this, write up because when my other love comes back, I am not sure what a girl will do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New blog

Many of you know that we are muddling our way through starting a non-profit organization. So in order to keep my 2 lives straight (the crazy mom blogger vs. the serious non-profit chairperson) I have begun a new blog dedicated to all things "An Angel's Grace". When you have the time or curiosity gets the better of you, please wander over and see what's going on. If you feel the need, show some love, leave a comment, encouragement, suggestion or (hopefully) a request to help!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Creativity the chaos way





I have been meaning to get up our task chart for a while and well, it is finally here. Jim and I designed and made this (ok, actually Jim and Adam made it, I just offered up part of the idea=)



As you can see there are tasks that are a MUST everyday and they NEVER change (morning routine, homework, reading, cleaning up and bedtime). Next there are tasks each child gets to pick for the week. The first task is an everyday task, then a 2x a week task and then a 1x a week task. The kids have many tasks to choose from and to help us remember how often they are suppose to be done, we wrote the number on the back. These are unique to our family and we are constantly coming up with new ones to add to the mix. Below are an example of some of the ones we have. Yes, some of these may be a little difficult for Katie to do alone, but she can do them all with help.

At the end of the day, right before bedtime, the kids do their task chart. THEY ALWAYS REMEMBER (wonder if it is because they can prolong bedtime for a few minutes or they just love to show off the work they have done=?) They each have their own color chip (pic1). They always take turns going first. They ONLY get a chip on that task if it was completed AND with a good attitude! The only one they fill out that they haven't done yet is bedtime, they put that up with the promise they will go to bed and stay in bed nice. Of course we have the liberty to remove it if they don't. (P.S. Once a chip is gone, it is gone and you are still expected to complete that task because it is your job!)


Every Sunday night after all the tasks have been done is payday. You gotta love our sophisticated bank (picture1)=) Each FULL row (all 7 days of reading have been done) then they get a color coded coin (pic2). They can trade in 2 coins for 1 dollar. If the WHOLE row is not full they do NOT get a coin for that row.




They can use their money to purchase things from the family catalog (again note the sophistication of the catalog binding - very sopisticated we are around here=). There are many options, they range from 2 dollars to 50 dollars. The choices range from the ice cream truck to a date with mom and dad. The actual "cost" to us ranges as well from free (sleeping in mom and dad's bed or visiting the toy section at Target) to a few bucks usually (ice cream or lunch at school). These can be as costly or as cheap as you want or need (Dave Ramsey class members). And again, these are as unique as your family.


Jim and I came up with these idea's out of necessity. We believe there are certain things you do because you are part of the family and then there are tasks you can do to earn money. However, with 4 kids we can't afford to dish out a couple bucks to all every week (ok, the twins are too little yet, but soon they will be in on the action). This is where the catalog was born. Honestly, I think we MAYBE spent $15 for everything (we didn't happen to have any scrap wood laying around this time) from the wood to the black spray paint (again, all out). Mostly, it was the time factor of cutting all the chips/squares and painting them, figuring out the tasks, the catalog, the money but we did it together and that was the best part. Additionally, the kids LOVE it. They know what is expected of them and they take great pride in there work and love that everyone can see they have done it. On the same token, if one gets taken away it is a constant reminder for the week to work on that area's of ourselves. 2 more things and then I am done ( I think this is my longest post yet) The star coin is for when we really feel a child has gone above and beyond in anything. They can not work extra for this, they don't know when they are getting it, they star coin is parental discretion ONLY! The coin itself is worth either $5 bucks, a chance to get 20 minutes of TV/computer if they are grounded from it or the right to earn back 1 lost chip. (note, if they buy back their lost bedtime chip but lose another one that week, we take BOTH off). They can save the star coins if they want to but they can't use them all on the same thing (saving 3 coins for an hour of tv). Lastly, this chart is only made for 2 children, we have not decided how we will remake it when there are 4 but since a few of my readers have more than 3 or 4 kids I am hoping maybe you have some idea's on how to expand? LMK,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Andrew

Every year I am amazed that another year has come and gone. I think that these birthdays require me to realize the passage of time more than the birthdays of my children that are still blessed to be on this earth. Andrew's birthday's are not a grandiose celebration with friends and family that the other children's birthday's are. There is no busyness with cake and presents and parties. While I enjoy doing these things for my children, in many ways I look forward to Andrew's birthday more. His birthday celebration is a quiet, spiritual, private, personal celebration. For while I know it seems odd to some for me to call it a celebration, it truly is that. Andrew's birth was and always will be the birth of my 1st child. His birth and subsequent death taught me more about myself and my Lord than the birth of any other (although Jason's birth and NICU stay runs a close second). Andrew's birth showed me what unconditional love is. The unconditional love between a parent and child, between a husband and wife. There are many that will let this day go unnoticed and in all honesty, that is ok, in fact more than ok, perfect. For I really have come to enjoy my own private celebration with the original "peanut". While many will remember and not know what to say, that is ok too. There is love and beauty in the fact that you remember. Most will hug their children a little tighter (as I will too) and say a quick prayer of gratitude for them. That is perhaps the best way to celebrate Andrew's birthday for I know he is watching from Heaven smiling.
Thank you son for always being here, for watching over your brothers and sisters and for teaching me so much in such a short amount of time. Mommy loves you and while your birthday is still 3 days away, Happy Birthday Peanut!!!! You are missed in this world but will be seen again in Heaven, until that day, I love you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If there is anyone out there in bloggy world that actually reads this AND knows someone who has started a non-profit organization or a lawyer willing to donate their services, we need your help. Jim and I have a non-profit organization that we want to start and while we have much of the information done (mission statement, bylaws, governing structure) we still need help with much of the legal jargo. So, while I am not holding my breath for many responses, I am hoping that someone reads our plea for help and can respond accordingly. P.S. No, I am not sure where we are going to get money for paperwork, etc, but I am letting "THE MAN" worry about that :-) I know this will get done and in the meantime we will "just keep swimming"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Debt

WooHoo! I really got excited tonight when I realized that we have paid off $7100 in debt in just 6 months! I really have NO IDEA where most of that money has come from, but I am glad that we got it! I am even more excited about that fact that I got offered and have accepted a tutoring job. It doesn't start until late September to mid-October but since this money will ONLY go to paying off our debt, I am just ecstatic to have it. I am also thrilled to be back in action. There are few things in life I KNOW I am good at an teaching was/is one of them. I love my kids but am also excited to be needed in some capacity other than mommy and wife. I get to do something for me and boy am I tickled pink. The goal is with the money I am earning to put it straight towards more of our debt and at least get our final credit card paid off definitely withing 1 year from today, but I am hoping we can attack it with "gazelle intensity" and get it paid off by Easter? Wishful thinking? Maybe, but hey you gotta set goals. Imagine how I would look and how much richer we would be if I attacked the 2 trouble area's of my life (weight and spending money) with "gazelle intensity" but we shall save that for another post. Figuring our how much debt we have paid off has reawakened the desire in me to be debt free. I can't stand these bills that hang over our heads and prevent us from giving back and doing things as a family. We may never eat PB&J or go to the city park after we are out of debt :-) I have also been challenged today by an unknown source. I read a strangers blog, yes I am a voyeur of blogs unknown, and she has 6 kids ranging in age from 2-14 and she spend $600 monthly on food and essentials. Now, I thought I was doing pretty good with us only spending $600 monthly on these things, but the gauntlet has been thrown down and I am feeling challenged to take $100 off our monthly budget? Can I do it and still feed my kids healthy food? I am not sure but I am up for the challenge!!!!!! Now, if only the babies would get potty trained, oh the money we would save........everything in due time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

1

1 mommy
6 kids
2 wet beds
1 poopy crib
3 cups of coffee
6 loads of laundry (see bedding situation)
1 load of dishes
1 laundry room
1 hot water heater
50 gallons of water
0 wet/dry vacs
2 beach towels
12 bath towels
15 hand/kitchen towels
30-40 baby wash clothes
6 extra loads of laundry (at least)
5 frantic phone calls to dad & FIL
300 dollars for new hot water heater
96 hours til dear husband returns
1 day in the life of a SAH(husband travels 4 work & these things only happen when he is gone)M

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

pssssssst.. can you hear me

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Can you hear me down here? Nope, over here. You're getting closer, just a little bit more. Hey don't pour more water on me. Yoohoo, down here. Could you give me hand? I'm under the yellow washcloth under the green coffee cup, under the white but with cereal crusty's bowl. Hey, thanks for the lift. I can breathe again. I was about to drowned. Why was I under there? Well, I took yesterday off (in honor of my birthday) and boycotted ANYTHING to do with cleaning. Did I think it would clean itself? Well, no, but a girl can dream, can't she? Yes, this is more like a nightmare. Okay, you are not helping, I gotta go clean. Thanks for rescuing me though!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Like an alcoholic

Sometimes I think we are nuts. I guess the beauty in this is that we are crazy together but man, I think we invite temptation. 6 months ago, we (DH&I) made the pact to cut up and FOREVER forgo credit cards, store accounts and even car payments for that matter; we have quit debt in general. We still have quite a bit of debt but we are diligently (some months more than others) working to pay that off. This came as we started in a debt reduction/financial peace program given by Dave Ramsey. This is the perfect program for us. Many years ago we were in big debt and we worked our way out if it with the help of a credit consolidation program. After we completed that we slowly began to acquire debt again. This time we have promised ourselves, our families, God, friends, everybody that we ARE DONE WITH DEBT!! If we don't have cash, we don't get it!!!!!
OK, so our living room couch (which is probably 20 years old and reupholstered 10 different times) is falling apart in a big way. The cushions are ripped, the zippers are broke and now the front part, that holds up the cushions that you sit on, is broken. Suffice it to say we have come to the conclusion something needed done. As we were discussing this with our family, they said if we could find a replacement couch for $100-$200 they would help us out. Excited at the prospect to be shopping we head out (sans kids:-) on a couch hunting excursion. After stopping at a few thrift stores we think, let's just stop at a we-want-you-in-debt furniture store. Maybe, yeah right, they will have something on clearance. With the knowledge, stern warning and agreement that we are NOT going to buy anything if it doesn't fall into our price range we head in. Store #1 we walk in and DH says "Do you smell that?" "The new furniture smell" I ask? To which he responds "No, the smell of debt"!! SO TRUE!! We wander around store #1 and don't find anything even worth thinking about! YIPPEEEEEE!! Go us. Feeling pretty brave and untouchable off to store #2 we go. We wander around store #2 and are close to leaving when we both spot it at the same time. There it is. The answer to our couching prayers. The holy grails of sofa's. It is love at first sight from across the store. It seems like a marriage made in heaven when we see the price. IT IS IN OUR PRICE RANGE!!! This can't be happening. A brand new couch; beautiful, soft, comfy couch in our price range! Surely this is meant to be. But, as we stand there and debate the matching chair (it too on clearance and just as wonderful as the couch) and call our family to see if they would also help pay for the matching chair (we just have to have it-they match), someone else swoops in. Now, they didn't snatch it up immediately, they talked of going up a little more to something not right off the showroom floor. As they talk, we call. When we get no answer, we talk. After much debate, we promise that if we decide to touch our emergency fund money for the chair WE WILL PAY IT BACK IMMEDIATELY. We shake on this and say let's do it. Then the salesman tells us, the other couple is taking that couch, if we want another it will be from the back not the floor model and it will be $200 more!!! We immediately walk out. As we are getting in the care, we decide that we are like alcoholics walking into a bar. We would not have passed up that drink, we would have promised to only have 1, but we would not have said NO! That is where, God, fate, the spirit of DAVE RAMSEY came in and took the temptation away from us. THANK YOU!!!! Not all was lost, we went down the road to another consignment and found a great couch for $70! So with our resolve back in place, our near fall off the wagon only known to us and our checkbook still in the black, we pay for our new couch and thank God that he saved us from that drink!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

awesome life

As I embark on my 33rd birthday, I have to say I am the single most blessed woman in the world. No, it is not about the gifts, although they were GREAT this year!!!! It has everything to do with the family, friends, love I have in my life. I am married to a man that is truly my best friend; Who loves me as much as I love him!! My kids, oh, I could blog for hours on my children; they are amazing and the second greatest thing I ever did (after marrying my husband). My mom is truly my best friend; I only hope one day that I am blesses enough to have a realtionship with my kids like I have with my mom. I have a wonderful supportive appreciative father. My in-laws are awesome. My friends and beyond compare!!!! Don't hate me for how great my life is, celebreate with me about how blessed I am!!!
The gifts I got this year were suprisingly many, but they pale in comparison to the love, growth and peace that our family has found this year!
I LOVE MY LIFE (it just gets better everyday:-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

maicure, friends and self imposed grumpiness

So here I have been feeling cranky the last couple days. Even the kids will tell you. I feel bad for that Adam and Katie, I ask again please forgive mommy! There has been no real reason for this, just a bunch of little stupid stuff that I have let me mind run away with. Starbucks, cleaning the kitchen (sweeping, washing table, washing dishes, washing highchairs - 3x a day!), laundry, gray hair, colds - they have all played a part in my self-imposed I don't wanna let it go funk. I have built a fort for the kids and hoping maybe they will play nice together for a while so I can get some fun "chores" done like answering emails and uploading pictures. Of course, after 5 minutes of playing, the whining begins. Katie is knocking the fort over, Becca is trying to bite Jason, Adam is tattling on everybody and poor Jason is just crying. I know their whineyness stems from my grumpiness. I KNOW THIS!!! But, I am not done wallowing. All I can think of is I want to go away and feeling guilty for feeling that way! The "chores" get put on hold and off to referee I go. This is where my friend C.B. (not real name, rather initials for a term of endearment) happens to stumble into our day. C.B. decided after hearing my downtrodden mood she is going to bring some sunshine into our world! Forget the shine, I think she brought the whole sun!!! Arms laden with Publix bags, I wonder what she is up to. Out comes salads for the grown-ups, lunch meat, juice boxes, cheeze-its and grapes for the kids. After every surprise I can feel the excitement building (yes, mine not the kids) . As if someone taking over the lunch dilemma wasn't enough, she shoves me to the shower. Wait, a shower in the middle of the day without worrying the 4 kids will kill themselves or each other? I think I am in HEAVEN! After spending a guilty amount of time (thank God I haven't bought the hot water timer ye, more to follow) in the shower. While I am in the shower my friend, savior, angel cleans the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher (which Katie thanks her for since it is Katie's job this week) reloading it, sweeping and wiping down the highchairs and table. Now, I think I should feel guilty but am just so elated to get out of those chores for once that I can't :-) As if all this pampering of me wasn't enough (TRULY it was more than I deserve) she gives my an early birthday present by pushing me out the door for a manicure AND pedicure. I am speechless. This is surreal, I think I must have fallen asleep on the floor playing referee. Nope, I pinch myself and realize, yes my feet are soaking in the warm bubbling water of a pedicure!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! No, I don't feel guilty, I don't even try, I follow instructions and just ENJOY!
The self-imposed grumpiness has been replaced me a prettily painted, self-indulged, totally relaxed mommy who is reminded that it is not wrong to want to get away occasionally and that it is good to pamper yourself sometimes.
C.B. When you least expect it, I will return the favor!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

divorce

Got your attention didn't I? He he. Sorry, that wasn't nice.

I promised a blog on my dislike of friends, so here goes.

Making and having friends I have discovered is actually harder than getting and staying married. Or, maybe it is just me!

Making friends is just like dating. You can't wait to discover everything about the other person; you spend endless hours talking; you giggle; you make dates; you cook and dress to impress; Basically you "date". Then while you never decide to be exclusive you do begin to spend more time with that friend then your others. Finally, while still in the "you are so normal and we have so much in common and I love your kids" stage, you either verbally or by your actions announce to the whole world and all your other friends that you are best friends. This is the 1 friend you can't live without; the one person whom you have the most in common; the one you tell all your secrests too. This is also the same person you are going to want to divorce in a few years! TRUST ME!! My mother always said if it is too good to be true, it is. This also applies to friends. Whether they are your best friend or just a close friend, if they seems too great, they are.

Now, let's fast forward a couple years. Your bestest friend ever is human; they aggravate you; they don't always brush their hair to come see you; their cooking is bad (or what they passed off as theirs actually came from take out they threw in their own container); they have bad habits and their kids can be unruly (so can yours, but you have to keep them and love them anyway:-)

Now you are realizing that there are differences in being married and being friends. Your spouse is the only other person who loves to hear every story about your kids; who declared in front of God and the world in a million dollar ceremony that they will always love you; your spouse has seen you naked and is still around; your spouse can and occassionally does, clean the bathroom, mow the yard or keep the kids for free so you can go out for the evening alone; and honestly, there is the sex factor. Let's be grown ups here, we all have kids!

Finally you are left with a decision. Do you divorce, separate or make-up, with the friend. Well, Unlike the spouse, you can divorce the friend pretty inexpensively and you don't have to return half your house if it is within the 1st year. although some clothes/toys/house keys may have to be returned. Yes, you share memories but right now you can't remember the good one's. The kids will miss each other in the beginning but if you are quick enough to make new friends, then the kids won't remember johnny anyway. It is much easier to not mention the old friend for your children don't look like them (if they do, then you have bigger issue's). However, just like the spouse, they know a lot about you. They accept you faults and all. They give it to you straight, even when you don't want to hear it. They do make you laugh and they do love your kids (almost as much as their own). You do have history. They get the men jokes.

So, while they may aggravate you and you may go from friends, to best friends to just friends once more, a friend is a good thing to have. However deep the relationship, as long as the friend can pick you up when you are down, will go bikini shopping with you, make you laugh and help in your time of need, then I guess maybe you ought to hang on to them! Just like marriage, sometimes it may take work, but the best things in life usually do!!!!

Love ya,
T

changes

To say I am at a crossroads in my life is perhaps not the most accurate statement. Let's try to be more precise and say that some of my thoughts/ideals are changing due to newly received information. None of this newly received information is exactly new to the world, just me. Take for example, food co-ops. While these are not the recently discovered answer to economical or global salvation, they are an enlightenment to me. I suppose I knew they existed, I just never thought about them. Now that I am exploring them, I am in awe that they exist , that there are not more of them, that everyone doesn't want to be involved. There are many angles to take this stand point from. Doesn't everyone want to save money? Doesn't everyone want to eat healthier? Doesn't everyone want to know where they food is coming from, what is on it, what is was grown with? Doesn't everyone want to give their kids only the best life has to offer? Doesn't everyone agree that doing better things for the environment is healthier for us, our kids, our grandkids? I can honestly say that just a few months ago, I was like a lot of people. It wasn't that I didn't want these things, I just didn't think about them. Now, some people's first inclination might be to say that it is because I am hanging out with more people from church and that they (christians) are generally more tree huggerish (taking a tracy liberty here and making up my own words for understanding), more back to the basics, more concerened about the environment, community, world. I have to disagree. While that might play a factor in it, it has more to do with becoming more aware of the world around me as I grow up. Most of this fascination and interest was actually sparked by an immediate family member that is not a church goer (and that is perfectly ok). Although, I guess I could argue that maybe the fascination was always there and just dormant since one of my most used sayings on any aspect of life in the past couple of years has been "200 years ago....". Now, here is where I grapple with my new found interest. While I am intrigued with the go healthy and it all makes sense to me, I have yet to find a co-op to be in and truth be told, I like chips, cookies and chocolate (we have already discussed this in an earlier blog) and honestly, I am not looking to make a world of new friends (will discuss this in next blog posting). Now the last comment is only a small portion of the reason why and please no one be offended by that! But really, I like chocolate and chips and cookies and I just don't see how healthy living fits in with that. I know, everything in moderation!! But honestly, if I buy it, have it, am around it, it is very hard to resist. So, I guess I have to learn to walk the walk and talk the talk and indulg OCCASSIONALLY!!!!!!!!!!! After all, I have 4 sets of eyes learning from everything I do and if I am reshaping my family tree financially then I might as well be doing it nutritionally too and maybe I can find the common ground where the 2 go hand in hand!!!!

Love ya,
T