Tuesday, November 29, 2011

move it

I live for change...disruption, drama, newness, whatever you want to call it, I like it. A lot. Some of my friends may know this about me, that I am an adventure seeker, never one to shy away from a daring feet. This includes the time that Jeremy surprised me for my birthday and we went skydiving, yep 10,000 feet in the air, with my feet dangling over the edge of an open plane...the scariest part by far, btw....then jump...a leap into open space, I had a hot guy with me of course, that didn't hurt! :) But, it

was awesome, the feeling of risk taking, carefree fun....well that was before kids. Kids change all that naive, free, fun-loving, risk taking behavior, for the most part. Now, well now I take my risks in small doses, that's laughable really because my risks involve moving furniture now. Yep, I like to change the scenery in our house about every 45 days as Jeremy tells me! Its a point of contention with us, see my 5 foot 3 inch...ok fine 2 1/2 inch frame isn't designed to move large pieces of furniture up and down stairs, so I have to depend on him, and well, he isn't a fan of this obsession. I don't believe him for the record...I think he really secretly loves the results of a new room once his move that a little more to the right, oops nope all the way back to the left, WAIT I got an idea, why don't we put that back upstairs in a different place...this is where he draws the line. He has one believe it or not, my
patient and loving husband does eventually draw it and well then I patiently wait a few months and revisit the option again....ever so lovingly.

I can't help it, I love new environments, ya know people who live in one house for 40 years, I just can't see it. I moved every year until we bought our first house, we lived there for 3 years and then here, which we only planned to stay in a few years, until the market went to crap and well now it's been 5, we'll see how much longer! I'm so crazy that I told Jeremy we should rent it out and go rent someone else's house just for fun! I couldn't think of a better idea than moving every year to a new area, testing them all out until finally we decide what is a great fit for us....let's just say he didn't think that was such a great idea! But, I am no
t one of these people who likes to stay still, same old same old. Nope, I want to pack up the boxes, clean out the clutter and find newness! Doesn't have to be bigger or better or perfect or new even, but just different. So, since I am stuck here for now, I like re-arranging our living quarters basically monthly. Nolan's therapist that come to the house have been the ones to most notice it, as they are here weekly and witness the frequency of change. I like gathering opinions and weighing other options from different opinions, it's fun! So, when it is Christmas tree time, you know some re-arranging is going to happen! I REALLY wanted to shake it up and take our eat in kitchen table completely out and put in t
wo big comfy chairs and a big leather ottoman and make it more of a sitting, gathering area just for the holidays! Jeremy nixed that, I think hauling all of it downstairs was the kicker, but a girl can dream! So, here is our living room now...I know I didn't get a before, SORRY....what's the point of a reveal without the before, I won't make that mistake again, and don't worry it won't be long before it's changed.

What I think is funny, is I am passing this on to the kids, whether that's good or bad is up for debate, but they love when I re-arrange, they run around saying, "WOW look at this new room!" And they have switched or changed beds, bedrooms, sleeping directions and arrangements no less than 20 times since we've lived here, no I am not kidding. But they go with it, they think it's fun to have a change of scenery, so much so, that my latest creation, is the bonus room over the garage, I had Jeremy take down Graham's bunk beds and separate them, hung up huge curtains and voila a new fun bedroom, that Audrey insists in sleeping in with Graham and doesn't want her awesome girly room! I'm with her and it's a good thing because taking those bunk beds apart wasn't so fun for my man, so I think it isn't going back to the room anytime soon, we shall see (wink wink)!

With all of this change and moving of "things" one thing that is a constant in our home is traditions. I live for the holidays, love the smell of the change of a season, get giddy for every single one. That's why as much as Jeremy wishes for warmer living arrangements I am thinking that's a no and we will be in Minnesota for years to come. I love the smell of turkey cooking, family laughing, football playing in the distance, it's all the same, year after year and that's one thing I don't ever want to change. I know it will, I know things do inevitably we will face loss and the landscape of our family will change, but for now it is all so perfect that this change feign is at peace. Speaking of change....guess who is learning to crawl...oh our sweet boy....I keep trying to download the video, but this new mac I am on is way smarter than me and I can't figure it out, so I will when I can, in the meantime, GO MOVE SOMETHING!!!! It's fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

to ignore or not ignore that is the ?

So, Jeremy and I have been discussing for some time our kids and their obsession with, well, how do I say this...US! It sounds all sweet at first like, "oh your kids really love you!" And I hope this is true and like to think that, but really, why do they want to be with us, over pretty much anything else? I've run the gammet on do we spoil them too much? Give in to their every whim, bring them to fun places, I mean, the zoo, the beach and the mall IN ONE DAY! Yep, I've done it! See, it's a lot on me, I like to be busy, running around, exploring the world, with my kids. I'd way rather do that then let them watch TV or learn video games, I just don't like the whole sitting around thing. So, this summer it hit me, I think my kids like being with us too much. I know it sounds impossible, but if you wake up and go to a park by 9, then the beach then another park in the afternoon, the ice cream truck at night and chasing daddy around the house playing monster, cap that with a candyland game and well, you right there are in childhood heaven! What can be wrong with that, right? I mean, isn't my job as staying at home to involve my kids in fun activities that we learn to play, laugh and have fun. These days include helping make pancakes and eggs for breakfast, cutting the bread for lunch and stirring the rice for dinner, also setting the table and clearing it off, wiping up their own spills, picking up their toys, I mean, it isn't that they aren't responsible for their things or respecting people..or learning how to cook and clean. It's just that it's all too damn fun! I mean don't you remember being a kid and you would play a game with your parents ONCE A WEEK? Not three times by 10 am? It's hard to know when enough is enough. When our days shouldn't be planned around our kids. I am pretty sure my parents days were planned around their life unless it was our birthday or something. And well, around here it's Sunday and well you wouldn't know it, I take today for instance....an anything but spectacular family Sunday...woke up went to our Aunt and Uncles restaurant for breakfast, which includes Mickey Mouse Pancakes and Waffles, then to Costco where we run around and caved on buying stuffed bird puppets (don't ask)! Getting home, playing with said puppets, getting our outdoor gear on and going sledding, at 11am, coming in having lunch with hot cocoa and marshmallows, playing with doll house and puppets with mommy, playing football with daddy, back outside played with neighbor kids for 30 mins in the snow then with daddy for 40 more, then back inside to watch a movie...finally a lil quiet time, then played together and read books, I mean lots of books, then back outside at 5pm to go sledding AGAIN and attempt to make a snowman, back inside at 6 for dinner. Bathtime with more toys than water, dance contest for 30 minutes then story time and finally bedtime. Are you exhausted? We are! But, it's family time right? They are little right? I just don't know. I don't know what is too much and not helping them.

So, I read this article tonight....


And it makes me feel what I have been worried about this whole time to be true. It is too much. Our kids have no idea what boredom, real boredom is like. And lately I have been working with both of them in the morning before school and what I mean by that is I IGNORE them. I FORCE myself to not engage in fun stuff and be all business. Just listen to my radio show and make them breakfast, let them play on their own, but no major fun stuff. And you know what? It's working, Audrey has been asking me, "when is school?" This coming from a girl that was crying every time I went to bring her. I don't know, it's tough this whole parenting gig. I feel guilty when I don't spend time with them doing engaging activities and I feel guilty when I ignore them. I know this may sound highly obnoxious and I TRULY am not trying to! It's just that there really is a place in being selfish and taking care of what we as parents need to do without feeling badly for our kids. I think our generation has lost a lot of this and believe our kids should be happy and having fun ALL of the time and really, they could use a little boredom a little neglect if you will...I think a lot of my independence and strength has come from learning and knowing I can do things on my own without the help of others. Apparently I need to let my kids do this as well and seriously let go of this dang mom guilt! Does it get easier, ever? stop.laughing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

crafty? check.

Sometimes I like to think of myself a certain way, you know like totally different than you really are? Simple things really, like my makeup bag, it is AWFUL, a disaster, I for some reason hoard makeup and before you tell me how disgusting that is and all of the bacteria, send me youtube clips of 20/20's showing the creatures that call home my 5 year old Mac eyeshadow collection, let me tell you...I KNOW! It's nasty! But for some reason I don't go through and organize and clean my makeup drawer like I do my fridge....why is that? So many random things like this occur, I have this image of my sweaters and shirts all color coded in the closest so neatly hung and all it takes is a random friday night going out and to tear through there like Hurricane Irene and bam, my dreams are all kaput. This may be TMI for some of you so hold on tight...I take this whole living to a new level, oh yes, I involve my husband. See I used to tell him, I wish I was a girl that wore matching bra and underwear sets, but I just can't, either I don't like the bra that much or too much that I don't want to wear it with just those undies, or I just don't like buying all of the matching sets, I mean, come on it's a rip off and I don't want to waste our money on that! But, in reality, I secretly wish to be a woman who does. Who underneath it all has it going on! You know the type. The perfectly creased shirts all crisp and ironed, hair is gorgeous and I gaurantee she has a closet that looks like a Macy's display. I want THAT life. To be THAT person...it just isn't in the cards! So one year, my husband being amazingly thoughtful, went and did "Oprah's favorite things" for Christmas for me, so I kept opening package after package of beautiful little things that I LOVED....my favorite lip glosses, a new wustof chopping knife, a Coach wristlet in Okra color, I mean he was good, it was amazing, then the ultimate package, three sets of lacy, beautiful perfect bra and undies (I can't stand the word panties and let's be honest this is all a little TMI anyway!). He ventured into my nursing bra, when we were dating bra, post babies bra, collection and determined as best he could my current size and went for it! He mentioned something about me always wanting to be matching and now I could! So sweet, so perfect, so. not. me. :) I did it for about 2 weeks, but let's just say the undies and bras that he selected were more on the "mens" side of liking than a woman, not really everyday kind of wear if you know what I mean! And then I realized it, they don't make matching sets for everyday, I mean, unless you want a plain beige bra with a plain beige granny panty...LOL....you match at least!

It was so sweet none the less and I totally appreciate it, but have sucum to the idea that I am indeed a mismatched girl through and through....so when I find a project that is "crafty" I fail miserably! I tell myself I can do that! And buy it all and find a pile of junk when I am complete and left with spray glue and paints, canvases, you name it, it's stored somewhere or I just threw them away, but I try! So, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, I LOVE LOVE LOVE her decorating, attitude on life and her little boy has a magic chromosome like our Nolan and can I just say, he is the CUTEST little boy EVER! So, I always ooooh and ahhhh at her works of art and think I wish I could do that! Finally a couple of weeks ago, I saw this post.....


and I thought for the 724th time, I can DO THIS! So, I followed all of her simple instructions, glue holly on a letter...lol...and hang, guess what it looks like....HERS!!! It's beautiful, so much that I made another one for my bestie using sparkly balls and love that one too (the B isn't for bestie, it's her last name, :))!

So, you know what this means right? I have new found confidence that I can in fact be a better me and live to a higher standard and that's a mighty scary thing, because project 725 is sure to be a bust, but you just gotta keep on trying and finding inspiration in other mom's, that's just essential and fun!

Monday, November 14, 2011



Graham and Audrey are obsessed with playing Santa and Rudolph right now...yep I am aware that this all began on November 9th, but I mean, you can't blame em right?

Jeremy and I were having a family weekend with the kids, no going out, no entertaining, no big to do lists, just us. It's hard for an over planning, entertaining nut like myself. But, it was awesome. We listened to Christmas music until Jeremy's ears bled. We made crafts and thought of gifts for others, shopped Toys R Us and imagined what we wanted to get ourselves, Jeremy wants the Wii more than the kids I think! But, it's all in the anticipation isn't it? Life really boils down to that it seems. The moments that you plan, dream and work towards. Not really the moment itself...funny how that works. I love taking this time of year to appreciate all that we are grateful for, all that we are blessed with. It would be ideal if we could do this daily, because listen, Saturday was a LONG DAY. And resulted in us taking the kids to Boca Chica's (Mexican restaurant)and Jeremy having one too many Don Gueremo's (the best margaritas ever!) and requiring my driving skill on the way home, lol, listen he deserved it! :) But, still it was fun, being us. It felt great. All until Graham through his hissy fits and Audrey decided to jump ship and join him and well Nolan, what can I say, that kid is just plain amazing, so I don't complain about him, like EVER.

So much so that this morning, while I was feeding him, my voice got a little tense and said, "come on Nolan..." (after blowing raspberries of mangos all over me!) And Graham said, "mama are you serious?" I said, "Am I annoyed with Nolan, well yeah kinda right now!" Graham's faced looked at him all somber as if to say, "sorry buddy, your fun ride is over, join the club". But it isn't really true. Nolan is our love, our baby and well, he's just so dang sweet you can't really be upset with him. Last night he was just plain crabby, a very rare occurence, but happening more now. He seems to be finding his voice, like the rest of our kids. He too says, "HEY I don't like this!" Jeremy was leaving on a flight and looked at me sadly due to Nolan being crabby and not really calming down and I said, "it's fine babe, really." Because with Nolan it is. I had a baby that didn't cry or complain for almost a year. He just laid and snuggled and really didn't do much else, and let me tell you it gives you perspective, that a little opinion is good. It's crazy how you grow and realize not to sweat all the things you did when you were a new parent. How you look back on the years and laugh at all that you complained and worried about. I mean, geez, talk about perspective, it just isn't worth it. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not some mom that doesn't get all wrapped up and annoyed with the whining, demanding, slave labor I feel consumed by daily, it gets old. But with Nolan, I'll take it. It's different. I appreciate it. I value almost all moments I am in with him, so differently than those that I did and do with my others. Watching your child go through something as tragic as Nolan did this summer forms your brain and perspective in a whole new light. And with every tragedy comes a gift if you look for it, I have always believed that. Not easy, not painless, ever changing and there will be times that I am sure to cry and feel sad again over him having down syndrome and his delays, but for now, it's all good. I feel blessed.

Nolan is sitting, like really sitting for up to 5-10 minutes at a time, learning to manipulate objects in his hands while sitting, (if you have a kid in PT you know the accomplishment of this!) I remember them asking me if he switched objects from his right to left hand and back again, well guess who's doing it all now? What a champ.

And what's even better than the love you have for your kids and sharing that with your husband and the world around you? Watching them have and share it with each other. There is no greater joy than the sibling love that our kids share. To see Graham not run to me in the morning, but to Nolan, to smooch him, make him giggle like no one else. To have Audrey say to me, "I want to lay with Nolan, can I sleep with him in his crib?" They smother him with love. Truly, there isn't a time I have ever seen them upset with him, annoyed with him, nada. Now, is this going to change, of course!!!! He will chuck toys at their head soon enough, he will take the last cookie and earn the last treat, he will find his place of annoying behavior as well. But for now, he is just love to them and them to him. What fun is that?

What was I so worried about? I go on a baby center with moms with babies with down syndrome, used to go on more and not really that often now, but I saw a post on there this last week from a mom with a new little one month old baby and she was simply asking, "when does it get easier?". I remember such a short time ago feeling the ache of my heart when I thought about Nolan's future and our future as a family. I remember Jeremy and I talking about traveling the world when our kids went off to college and living in far off cities, like Rome and Bali, just to do it, or maybe a year in NYC? How awesome. We dreamt of that life, that in reality probably wouldn't have happened anyway. That we either financially or emotionally couldn't be away for that long or given in to due to health or who knows what. But we had a dream. I still have those dreams, they just had to change a little, they just had to add a little boy into them and help of others to accomplish. But really what is the notion of independence and freedom, from what? Isn't there always something like health, money, obligations holding us back from truly doing all that we dream to do? So, I don't blame Nolan or DS anymore, if we want to do those things, we can, that will be a choice we can still make. It just won't be exactly how I pictured it, so I add that to the list of marriage, motherhood, staying at home and every other damn thing I thought I had figured out! I've just realized that finding peace with life struggles, finding a place of calm is just a timely, patient process and one that doesn't have an ending. It's a constant flow from learning, stretching and growing to appreciating, loving and breathing. Tonight as we were driving home and the kids were looking up the dark sky for a red blinking light, known in our house as Rudolph, Graham said to me, "Wasn't Rudolph's dad mad that he had a red nose when he was born?" I smiled to myself and thought, wow, you are amazing Graham! We continued to talk about the story and how Rudolph's red nose that all the other reindeer made fun of ended up saving Christmas and helping Santa and it was perfect indeed...

Ok...well...I have a little 5 year old in reindeer pj's that can't sleep...it was fun using my brain for a little bit anyway, goodnight. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

throwing fruitful fits!

What's the importance of men in our lives? What's their value on our daily struggles, triumphs and challenges? I often find myself in the throws of anger or irritation with my husband and chatting with my friends about this topic, men....they can be pains in the you know what! Then I find myself longingly understanding the point of sister wives (you know that show on TLC about polygamy, ok maybe you don't!) Anyway, call me crazy, but I get it! I think it would be AWESOME to have other women who helped with me chores, emotional breakdowns, were there when I was sick, could help my kid out when I felt helpless, women, we have this ability don't we? To understand each other. To know when one of us needs a meal, a hug, a drink, a day of shopping, to tell us we are beautiful with our muffin tops and all. Don't get me wrong, we can equally tear each other to shreds and spread jealousy faster than forest fires. But, we get it, this journey of motherhood and we are there for each other. But, men, well, sometimes they just don't. They look at us as if we have two heads, three eyes and wonder what planet we landed from. This doesn't help. At. All. But, it's true, we are crazy and yes I mean the head spinning kind of crazy, from time to time and they tolerate a lot, our men.

So, Graham, our 5 year old was up to his more "occasional" antics, improved from "frequent" about a year ago! Anyway, he was up to them this weekend and I just didn't know what to do! My wise and totally amazing aunt gave me some wisdom about 2 weeks ago and well I decided to take it! She said and I am paraphrasing, "sometimes kids are kids and just need to work their stuff out, it isn't about how or what you do to handle it, they need to go through it." She also said, "Children need their dad, that masculine energy that only men can give and you need to step back and let him be a man." I thought about these statement and being the control freak that I am, I had to find a "controlled" time to well, give it all up and say, "go for it!"

So, after our son, who I tend to sell short, because honestly he is an amazingly loving, gentle sweet boy, but really what fun is that too share? LOL....just kidding (about the sharing not him)! Anyway, he was in his mode. Where he can't gain control, screams at the top of his lungs, nasty things, awful things, things you shut your windows for so your neighbors don't judge you....like "icky mama" "poopy mama" "I hate you mama". Yep, lovely right, but listen he's 5, imagine what he can come up with when he's 15, his vocabulary will shock us all I am sure. So, we proceed to calmly and reactionless place him in his room and say when you are calm you may come out. Well, this didn't turn out so well, he began chucking plastic fruit from the play kitchen in the room at the door, bang, goes the tomato....ouch said the turkey...noooo screamed the plastic watermelon, but we looked at each other and said, wth....what is left? This is behavior he completely reserves for us, isn't that sweet? He loves to shower us with special antics! His behavior apart from us is well, PERFECT! So, it is mind numbing why he decides on a perfectly happy, functioning Saturday to lose it. Trust me, with my freakish analytical mind, I wonder, WTH??? And I go there, thinking it is me being to controlling, not giving him enough choices, telling him no to often, to the other spectrum of he is soooooo spoiled, he gets way too much and has no idea of what real suffering is, ummm trust me I have considered having him experience this, but hitting or spanking kids just isn't for us, so tempting though! And after having a child like this, I place no judgment on those that do choose to spank. So, after we have gone through a laundry list of ways to curve this behavior, all that included, star charts, rewarding good behavior, earning toys, taking toys away for a WEEK! Taking away his lovey, you name it, we have taken it, all of his pirate belongings, blah blah blah. Until finally about 1 month ago, I took away the ultimate of all ultimate's, time with his Grandpa Goose. I know you are gasping, how awful, how could I? But you know what? When your kid is acting like a little brat and taking advantage of all things that seem to be heavenly and wonderful, you dig deep. And my dad was taking the kids to the apple orchard and pony rides, hay rides and well, Graham had thrown things, called names and I thought, that's it, you aren't going, your sister is going to go alone. And let me tell you it was torture.... FOR US!!!! That's the truth, right? punishments at any age, really hurt no one more than the parents!!! So, he watched her go and giddily waived goodbye to his favorite person on the planet, my dad, and said, 'I am going to have a great time here.' He proceeded to play on his own and do chores that we asked of him and smile all day, telling us, "this is the best day!" Listen this kid is good. He's smart. Wicked smart. So, that was it for me. I reached my bottom barrel, thinking I surely scarred him for life that he missed a day of fun with his favorite person, but nope, he acted like he couldn't have cared less. Did this stop the meltdowns, well of course not. That would be too easy.

So, wow, that was a tangent....fast forward to this past weekend and he was up to his antics as I described the injured food being chucked against the door. The terrible words being spewed and then I did it. Jeremy looked at me and was like, wth? What do you think? I said, "babe, I have no idea what to do, I think whatever you come up with is good with me and you go, go for it." It was nice. That moment that he looked at me as if my head stopped spinning, one of my three eyes disappeared and he thought I was human again. He was like, "all right". I had NO idea what he was going to do...none! So, I heard some commotion, and then things quiet down, I walked by Graham's room and saw the door shut with silence. I heard Jeremy go back downstairs and thought, huh, maybe he is going to leave him in there for a really long time or something, time kept ticking and ticking and this is what he came out with 40 minutes later....

Priceless isn't it? My husband, who knew he was a flipping genius? Really though, I mean, I thought the whole page of writing the sentence "I am sorry. I love mom and dad.", was a little much for a 5 year old. But, that's not the point. On the spot when presented with the problem, this man that I often give not enough credit to, well he pulled it off, hit it out of the park. And it worked, ok so it's only been 4 days, but 4 days of no meltdowns and screaming and knowing daddy don't mess around. More importantly faith was renewed in my husband and I know he was renewed by me believing in him. The little things right?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My dad always says...

You know it's funny in life the older you get you realize how little your parents actually do know! Like when you're little, they know it all right? They are an encyclopedia of life, from dating to flat tires, to housing investments to cooking, everything they know. Then you get older and well part of the beauty of childhood fades. The beauty that your parents like the rest of us are human.

They too make mistakes, fail to live up to our expectations sometimes, disappoint us, of course. When you are spending your lives with someone on an intimate level such as a member of our immediate family. These things, well they happen.

And in the end we are all trying our best. I like to think so at least, that we are on this parenting journey and trying to do the best for our kids. Doesn't mean we always succeed or that there aren't bumps in the road of course, (like the time it was 30 degrees out and Graham was 3 and throwing a tantrum and I rolled down his window to shock the you know what out of him, yep not my proudest moment).

But, in the end I have been blessed with two parents of entirely two different worlds. And with that, I am open and able to see amply a much bigger picture than if they were the "cookie" cutter kind. I used to despise this. That my family was not the "normal" family growing up, that my parents got divorced when I was 13. Well, I still kinda hate that. But, now that I am a mom, I embrace all that both of my parents did for me, while trying to do their best.

I love that my mom was so creative with her time with us, when the power was out, we would take cheese and wrap it in foil and heat it over the fireplace and read and pretend we were Heidi in the hills of Switzerland. She transported us there with her imagination and enthusiasm. When it was a spooky summer night, we went "ghost hunting" to the cemetery, random, scary as all get out, but you know what, it was always an adventure and taught me to branch out with my kids. To be the silly mom in the Kindergarten class that gets down on the kids level and for mystery reader time, uses funny voices and asks crazy questions. And my son says to me this morning, "I wish you were my teacher mom!" I about cried, and asked sheepishly, "why?" And he said, "Cause we'd have so much fun!" It melts my heart, mainly because 30 minutes before it was at the top of his lungs, "I don't like you mommy, ICKY MOMMY!" LOL. Such is life with children, they will sell you out in a heartbeat!

But in the end you realize the little moments and how powerful they are in their hearts and minds. It's in those little, quality time moments that your relationships with them are defined and treasured. Hard to remember during our busy days to stop and look at their drawing and talk about why this pirate ship looks different than the 1000 before. Or what it means to let them paint your nails and gush over how beautiful they look.

My dad, well he's always had a place in my heart. Being his youngest little girl, I am sure that has helped. Also, being that if you have met him, known him for years or passed by him, you would know. Know what is true about my father. He is real. He is genuine. He doesn't take time out of his life worrying about others perceptoins of him, or the shallow things that fill most of our minds. He truly doesn't. I used to despise this about my dad, when I was a kid, I used to be embarrassed that he would pick me up from school after fishing and have a shirt on covered in fish guts and blood, I mean come on dad?! But the thing about my dad that is amazing is he truly loves and cherishs people in his life with little expectation. He could have a lot my dad, he could ask of people all that he gives and well be rather disappointed, because in honesty, most people don't give that much to others. He is a self-made man. He made all of his money from hard work and struggle and he would say a lot of luck. But, I don't think so, I don't think you run successful businesses for 30+ years and call it luck, I think it is motivation, drive, will power and as he always said, "when everyone else gives up, keep going". I wrote a book for him years ago, just a little book, and it was titled, "My dad Always says..." because he has the most amazing true advice! I could tell you a million things my dad has taught me about love and life, tell you amazing thoughtful things he has done, like sending my friends and I to see Oprah for my birthday! About the type of person he is and how he has effected so manys peoples lives for the positive. A most recent example is we were out to eat for our monthly father-daughter dinner at Marx in Stillwater and we ran into a group of local moms I know and we were there an hour before them and two after, yep, my dad survives 4 hours of talking to his daughter and loves it, I love it more, but truly we have a unique relationship that I cherish.

My parents are anything but dull. They have full, rich, lived lives. Somthing they also taught me, live life. Be bold. Be honest. Give back and be generous with your time and money. It all sounds so beautiful doesn't it? That's the thing about life, I can paint a picture in my head of the difficult trying times in my life growing up and my parents mistakes and have your mouths drop open. I can also re-live and focus on all that they did to equally drop your mouth. My favorite quote has always been, "perception is reality". So true. What we see and believe to be true, well it is.

lately though, just in this last year, one of life's lessons that my dad has said to me at least 1000 times, "don't worry about other people Grace, worry about what you do, how you handle yourself, that is all you can do." In reference to being stressed about some wrong doing by me or another. I focused my life on others for so long. What they said when I did somehting right or wrong. How they felt when I hurt them or tried to make them happy. The whole time hanging on that moment of approval or disregard. A lesson many of us women learn the hard way. Trying to do our best, for others, for our friends, husbands, parents, children, the list is endless. And isn't it true that your right way of doing things can also be the wrong way for someone else? I love getting older for this simple reason. Learning little by little just how LITTLE I really know! But, it finally sunk in. I finally understood what my dad has been saying all these years and really it is pure genius. If you focus on your own behavior and being the best you can be, you won't live in regret, or in question, you will feel confident you did the best you could and had true intentions and find peace in that alone. Your results may vary. Why? Because we are human and all of us may try not to disappoint, offend or insult others, but we may, just by being, but that's ok too, that's on them. We don't have the control or answers to make everyone happy, not even our children, and well, my parents know that! They've listened long and hard to years of me questioning their decisions and choices in life. They have always listened. I hope they hear this tonight. I am blessed to have them for parents, blessed that they live life and choose to take risks in love, and taught me to do the same. Love you both.