Sunday, December 16, 2012


This post could be filled with all that was wonderful this past week, two holiday concerts for G and A.  Family time with Grandparents galore.  Cookie baking and football games.  It is with a heavy heart that I write this tonight.  The realization that sweet, precious babies are gone and it feels wrong to hold mine.  It's strange isn't it? The overwhelming impulse we have to cradle whats ours when we witness people have theirs ripped away.  It seems logical, as if now you understand the gravity of your love for your children and families even more intensely than the days prior.  That is how it seemed on Friday when the news of Newtown and the tragedy that occurred there broke.  It was a normal day, screaming babies, running last minute errands, chatting on the phone, washing off counter tops, it's those days that "these" things happen.  I think until you experience a shock, a trauma in your own life you don't realize that.  You expect there to be warning, as if a dark cloud should appear over your house or car and inform you it's about to be struck and your children killed.  As if you should know that any minute at any given second, your entire life can be replaced with a new normal.  But, there is no warning, no alarm to say, "hey! pay attention, appreciate NOW!"  We tell ourselves that, over and over, live now.  Appreciate now, but it gets harder to do in our chaotic lives that we pack full with obligations, careers, activities, cleaning, and well, stuff.  So, tragedies, well they have a way of pulling you back in, they are your alarm...and sometimes, they don't have to be your own, they can be others and if you listen close enough, you can grab an ounce of intent and gratitude and thank God you did.

As I am sure all of you felt since Friday, I can't seem to wrap my head around this particular tragedy.  Who can? No one.  There are no answers wrapped in a neat package, love is messy and life even messier.  Why people make the choices they do whether it is their brain impaired with something innate or simply pure evil it doesn't seem to make sense or bring peace either way.  I think it's that we have a 5 and 6 year old, a 1st grader, our babies, just like those babies....

beautiful and loving
silly and shy 
tied up with pretty bows 

and funny faces 
 they melt us
 gentle and soft
 their excitement when greeting each other inspires us
mold us into better people 
their smiles erase our sadness 

their freedom of expression

you dream of their futures

 your heart breaks when you see their fears
and molds back whole when they smile

 they live in the now

worry only about this moment
 they have so much to teach us

And so, my heart lies heavy, knowing that we lost so many beautiful teachers that day, not just from the academic world, but from the world of children.  Who know how to laugh and love with pure hearts and who in that moment were filled with sheer terror and fear.  There is nothing right with that image, nothing ok with our world right at this moment.  Because all the "what ifs" were removed and became reality.  That in our beaufitul, sleepy town of Stillwater, MN, this too can happen. I could go on for days about my opinions of what the solutions could be and got into some heated debates on facebook that day, which I like.  I enjoy heated, I enjoy passion, intensity, we should be passionate and intense on keeping our children safe.  We should take this opportunity as a society to say, ENOUGH.  ENOUGH of isolation for a boy that doesn't fit.  ENOUGH of access to semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the homes of suburban moms.  ENOUGH of the blame game and finger pointing to schools.  ENOUGH of saying there is nothing that can be done evil resides everywhere.  ENOUGH of waiting for someday to come when change is needed.  ENOUGH innocent children and bodies strewn with bullets.  ENOUGH.  I say ENOUGH.  I urge you to take action.  Write to your senator, congressman, ANYONE and tell them you want changes, in whatever form you think is needed, whether that be gun control, more mental health outreach, school safety, I don't care your platform, I care to hear your voice, ringing and screaming louder than the gun shots.  Do it today.  Please.  NOW.  For these angels here on earth and up in heaven.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

most magical time of year....

I love days like today, live for them really.  Where all things are little miracles handed to you on platters of sweet, candy cane covered faces.  And the best part, totally unexpected and unplanned.  Our favorite days are usually spontaneous and full of adventure.  So, this morning started with a bang, our Elfie brought a color yourself cardboard pirate fort...( he found a different Elf who told him it was only 10 bucks at Michaels and a must buy :)  The kids were ecstatic, all but EJ who really only gets that excited when he takes a poop and sees mama...yeah I am equal to poop, it's ok I am cool with it.  So, I suggested to Jeremy that we see Santa at a little strip mall, since he was arriving by firetruck I thought it may be a fun excursion and we had just enough time to scramble the eggs and ourselves out of the house.  We arrived, with only a couple of minutes to spare, and bam, the old man appeared from the North Pole on a firetruck, which for the record Graham couldn't wrap his brain around, he kept asking, "but what do firetrucks and Santa have to do with each other??"  Oy how I long for the days of less questions and more mouth dropping. 
 ok perfect, there is some mouth dropping...
 and Mrs. Claus was a hit as well...
EJ was asleep so, well, he missed out...yep he's our 4th, whatever.  
 Nolan asked for more cookies, candycanes and ice cream for Christmas, treats are this kids magic button!
 there were plenty of crafts
 and colored hair
 the grinch

and a
Fourth of July celebration in december...I couldn't talk her out of blue and red :)
 reindeer ears

Mr. Nol
 In the firetruck...:)

And well, this day just seems like it can't beat all that, but as we were driving looking at a few houses, we saw some horses getting ready to pull a carriage and had to stop, a really sweet man said he was there from 1130-8pm in downtown to give carriage rides...well we can't deny our horse loving back we trecked after some naps.

and as if it wasn't perfect enough a really sweet woman offerred to take our pic- dang fancy camera- can't really expect others to figure out the focal point!  But, love it anyway! And EJ is hidden in the pouch!

comfy cozy underneath the big blankets...talks of how this is how people got around without cars...which of course the kids thought was so cool and wished we could do every day!
 Jeremy took these during our ride with Nolan screaming and climbing all over; had to capture our view from our horse drawn carriage.  I think we said how lucky we were to live in Stillwater about 5000 times!

bride and groom number 2 we saw...
we crossed this bridge to WI and had fondue; the kids favorite for dinner and topped the night with ice cream... good night our most beautiful town on this most blessed night, our hearts and bellies are overflowing.

Friday, December 7, 2012

ohhh that's so nice....

Ok..hang on it's a venting day around here...the thing about staying at home with kids, when you don't work outside the home.  I remember leaving my career and yes, I went to college for 6 years, so it qualifies as that, it was hard to leave.  Hard to imagine no identity, no tax forms, no pay stubs.  I checked my voicemail for at least 2 weeks after, I felt so empty!  And really I felt so unimportant.  Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant again, and soon enough I had 2 babies in 15 months and a husband that traveled a lot.  Gone were my days of high heels and pretty nails.  I had to say hello to the days of screaming, breast feeding, pooping, more screaming and repeat.  I can remember clear as day tip toeing out of the room of my new boss- a baby boy that screamed a lot, that wanted to be held or touched  It was exhausting, mind numbing, I felt stripped of every ounce of my ego that previously existed.  I questioned whether this was for me.  It surprised a lot of people that controlling, type A me- would choose to leave my career behind.  As a couple Jeremy and I have waited for dreams that we could have made come true much sooner had I worked, but still it was a choice I made in college.  That I would RAISE my children.  Not see them a few hours a day, but know them, hold them, be with them and I would have lived in an apartment to do that.  And yes that means that I tell my husband he isn't raising our kids, that's on me.  He of course contributes, helps, disciplines, plays, loves them to death, but  I don't think a couple hours a day do that- my opinion.  I was blessed enough to have comfortable surroundings and wonderful luxuries that a lot of stay at home mom's don't.  But, still I gave up something I worked many years to do, at a time that I loved my job and missed it terribly.  I pictured strolling along Grand Avenue looking in boutique windows while my perfect baby napped peacefully in his clean and beautiful stroller.  I hadn't pictured a raging, cheerio throwing maniac...with a sweet baby girl to boot.  It was a tough couple of years, managing the choas and my new roll as "just a mom".  I remember feeling at first that it was so important people knew that I had a career before I decided to stay at home, that I chose this life.  I wanted to live a life for people, our family, not for things and really a career is just that, it helps you obtain 'stuff" and I couldn't justify working.  Still, I had to get over my own ego and it's need to feel important and intelligent and the rush of deadlines and court dates...I screened people for commitments before I left and it was an intense, crazy job;  suited me well.  I felt accomplished and being a mom, well, I felt lost.  I couldn't seem to keep lines in the carpet like I imagnined.  I couldn't get a perfect dinner on the table for my husband when he got home, I didn't have ANY time to watch TV like I imagined.  The moms I met all seemed as frazzled, exhausted and over worked as me? So where was this imaginary land that 'stay at home' mom's get billed as living?  I needed to find it soon!

Most importnantly I discovered early on that I would need to do a few things to survive this gig.  Many working mom friends of mine have said, "I couldn't do it, I just couldn't."  I know what they mean, I felt that way for a long time, and then I decided, it wasn't that I 'couldn't' it was that I had to learn to do it differently to fit my very social personality.  I needed to feel needed.  So, I volunteered, I made dinnners for moms that needed them, I organized play groups and playdates nearly every day, I joined groups, I started running, I started cooking more, I pushed myself.  As with any career, it is what you make it.  For me, I knew that I had to make it something excitiing, challenging, and fun.  And so I did.  It isn't all the time, in fact the majority of time, I am overworked and puking children in the night aren't easier when you get up and STILL have to deal with them all day and can't leave them with a nanny or "take a day off" and your other kids are at day care.  We don't get vacation days or sick days.  There is no one to call in and ask to take on our roll, because NO ONE at least around here, knows what goes on and needs to get done.  My point isn't to bash working moms, its to say, stop with the "I am a mom AND I WORK."  You are a mom and you get to leave and have your ego fed and pee alone and have lunch with friends, stop for milk, drive in traffic ALONE, call in sick, make appointments without children attached to you and a list of other luxuries that stay at home moms do not have. 

I just am so tired of people coming up to me in a store and saying, "oh wow, how many kids do you have...and when I say 4 they follow it up with...oh well you must stay home, that's sooo nice."  NO it isn't.  It is a shitload of work and takes pure dedication if you are going to do it well and be productive and not yell all day, it is more work and more work and more work.  And no one is telling you thank you, or giving you a raise, or an award, there are no accolades, only deadlines and screaming bosses.  And others look at you like you have a cakewalk for a life, and you either lack motivation or intelligence and that's why you stay at home.  What happened to admiring a mom for being a mom, a good solid mom, that is there for her babies, that sacrificed her own life and ego to raise them in a loving home and it was her choice.  Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong, there are exceptions.... people with 1-2 kids who are in school...scratch that they did  HARD time to EARN this time now, so don't judge those mamas either. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Ok, so I have slacked, I mean really slacked on my blogging abilities, so many good intentions and ideas swirling in my head, but yet, nada, nothing, just ya know...raising 4 kids!  Well, and a few other things.

I threw and hosted a party for my dad's 60th, my aunts 50th and uncles 70th last night, ummmm yeah, 70 people later, it was quite the party, as in FUN and full of SURPRISE!!!!!  I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, I would compare the excitement level I had to waiting to go into labor and the night before I got married, yep I was THAT excited.  you see, my dad is a giver.  Rarely can you buy the man ANYTHING, no I mean, a McDonald's hamburger..nada...or do anything for him, so, I wanted to do this and do it right.  When I heard that my aunt and uncle had their respective decade birthday's within weeks of my dad's I thought let's go for it!  The whole family is already gathered and I KNEW it would give my dad great comfort to know the party wasn't ALL about him....he's like that, a humble guy.  So, I knew it would be perfect...if only I could surprise him, that was going to take some work.  We had some family members flying in, others driving hours, I mean how was no one going to spill the beans...70 people there is a lot of potential...So the day before the party, I concocted an academy award winning story and performance to lure him to the venue without any's long, complicated and totally perfect...ummm yes, I don't think it's good that I am proud of my lying...but still, it was good...I hung up the phone on Friday giddy, knowing I pulled one over on him and he had NO idea.

So, my aunt and uncle arrived minutes apart 15 minutes prior to my dad, a surprise was said for each and
they both were equally surprised as they thought they were coming to my dad's and not their party too...whew, it worked...then it was time.

I couldn't sit still, staring at the door, peering through the glass, waiting, waiting, waiting...then I spotted him, a look rushed over his face like, 'something is about to happen'...then bam, door opened, everyone their cheering, people from his past, clients, employees, friends, family, for him.
 All for him. Far and near. I asked everyone to share a tidbit of what they loved or remembered about my dad and I placed old photos of him growing up with their quotes in a book.  I have had tears many times over paging through the amazing memories and love that people shared about my dad.  I couldn't wait to show him, to stand up and say, we ALL love you dad.  The guy that plans and pays for everything, for everyone, it's your enjoy.  Well, his face was more like, "I think I am going to vomit."  Until I explained to him that his brother and sister were being honored as well, had their own cakes, their own books, their friends too, then, his shoulders relaxed and he took it in....well as much as a giver can.  It was glorious.  Fun had by all, everything went flawlessly...well minus the salmon tray that didn't make it out there until the other food was gone??? WTH?  (sorry side tangent...).  Here are some pics to enjoy...



how everyone felt after the evening was over, LOL...I like pictures, ok?!

That's the thing about giving, it's fun, fulfilling, exhilarating, when you are a giver.  But, receiving, that is an art.  To allow those around you to sometimes be the giver, fill you up, help you out, its not easy for my dad or me!  But, I am learning, slowly, how to just give a hug and say thanks, thank you so much.  Knowing relationships are built with a give and take, equally.  So, sorry about not giving to this blog much lately, it's been going elsewhere, but I promise to be back with Christmas fun, the elf is back...:)